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HMU approves agreement with Power Board

News

November 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Municipal Utilities (HMU) approved a capacity agreement with the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA). In a regular meeting Tuesday, the HMU board agreed to the contract to help with peak electricity emergencies and as a back up in case an outage was to occur. Chief Executive Officer Darrell Wenzel explained to the board the contract costs $700 per month and is mainly for peak times during summer months. HMU would incur a fine in the sum of $93,000 if they did not have the agreement. The contract with WAPA will run from now until December 31st, 2015.

In other business, HMU agreed to a new nepotism policy. The policy is for conflicts of interest that could arise including when circumstances exist which would place relatives in a situation of actual or reasonably foreseeable conflict between HMU’s interest and their own. Wenzel stated HMU needed the policy in case two individuals such as family members or domestic partners, outside the work setting that could make it difficult for the individual with the decision-making responsibility to be objective or that for a reasonable person would create the appearance that such an individual may not be objective.

During the director’s report, recently hired office manager Krista Allen told the board a financial change has been made in the office. Previously, HMU had hired an outside identity to work on financials. However, Allen is taking on the responsibilities for all the financials to make things easier and get the financial information out quicker to the board members and officials with HMU.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Cass Supervisors consider funding request, tax abatement & homestead/military tax credits

News

November 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors, Wednesday, took under advisement, a request from Elizabeth Tobak, who asked for $1,400 in funding for a continuation of her “I Care About Kids” PRICE Parenting classes. Tobak has presented the classes for several years, but none has been held for the past four-years, due to a lack of interest. Auditor Dale Sunderman says according to Tobak, interest has recently been renewed in the classes, which teach the basics of positive parenting to new parents. Sunderman says PRICE stands for Positivity, Responsibility, Influence, Consequences and Encouragement.

In a letter to the Board of Supervisors, Tobak says she would like to teach two, four-session PRICE Parenting Seminars and one, “1,2,3,4 Parents” class, beginning in January, 2014. In the past, the County has budgeted $1,200 for its contribution to the program.

In other business, the Cass County Board passed a motion to allow or disallow homestead credit and military service exemption claims for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 taxes collectible in FY 2014-2015, and a motion to exempt from taxation (for taxes collectible Fiscal Year 2015 – Jan. 1, 2013 values), all valuation on three parcels owned by the City of Atlantic, at the Municipal Airport.

In a letter to the Board from City Administrator Doug Harris, he said “The taxes on Atlantic’s Airport should be abated because it meets the exemptions under Section 427.1 of the Iowa Code as this property is devoted to public use and is not held for pecuniary profit.” The County has received a similar request for the past two-years. Sunderman said the reason the matter was brought before the board was because of a difference in opinion between the Assessor and Harris, on what “Pecuniary profit” is.

Community meeting scheduled for Dec. 19th on Regionalization of Mental Health Svcs.

News

November 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

With State law having changed with regard to funding for the Mental Health and Disabilities Services in Iowa, Counties are forming Regions to respond to the changes. The Southwest Region includes nine counties (Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Pottawatttamie and Shelby). Local advisory and Community input meetings have been scheduled to take place across the Southwest Region. The first was held Tuesday, in Shenandoah. Cass County Mental Health/General Relief Coordinator Teresa Kanning said the next meeting will be held in Pottawattamie County. She says the meeting takes place Dec. 19th at the Oakland Community Center (614 Dr. Van Zee Road), in Oakland.

The meeting begins at 3-pm and runs until 5-p.m. In the event of a snowstorm, it will be held January 7th at the same location. The public is invited to attend the session to provide input into the current mental health service system, including what you feel works and doesn’t work. It’s also designed to: develop ideas for future service needs, including Crisis Response in rural areas; Build relationships and interest in participating in Local Advisory Councils, and to provide an overview of the developing region’s progress, administrative structure, future board and advisory structure, and current service systems.

Anyone who is a consumer of mental health services, family members of those using mental health and disability services, community mental health/developmentally disabled service providers and those interested in being a part of forming the Southwest Iowa MH/DS Region, is urged to attend. The meeting is being facilitated by Beth Morrissette, Executive Director of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Network.

If you miss the Dec. 19th meeting in Oakland, there will be a final session in Harrison County, January 21st,  at the Dunlap City Hall.

New Cutting Edge Equipment for Design Technology at IWCC

News

November 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Iowa Western Community College in Atlantic report that with the help of local donors, a new piece of technology has been purchased for the Design Technology Program, with the goal of understanding how objects can be taken from the physical world, translated into a virtual image, and then reproduced (using a 3-D printer) back into the physical world. The piece of equipment, made by FARO Industries, is commonly referred to as the FARO Arm and Laser Scanner.

FARO arm & laser scanner (Picture from FARO.com)

FARO arm & laser scanner (Picture from FARO.com)

By using a highly tuned laser scanner, thousands of points per second are reflected off of the surface of an object. The result is a collage of hundreds of thousands of points, (referred to as a “point cloud”), which is reminiscent of a 3-D game of connect-the-dots. The point cloud is then uploaded to specialized software that connects all the points to create solid surfaces. At this point, the object can be manipulated and altered to fit the needs of the Design Technology students. Once the virtual image is verified, the students can then hit the “Print” button and the design will spring to life, creating a copy of the object that was just scanned.

This technology now gives students the opportunity to recreate objects that may be too complex to measure with traditional hand tools. With the FARO Laser Scanner, students can now capture all of the free-flowing, aerodynamic curves. The tandem function of Design Technology’s 3-D printer and the Faro Laser Scanner gives Design Tech students a unique experience during their education. In addition, it creates a broad skill set that will earn them the opportunity to be employed in a wide variety of positions across a full spectrum of industries.

 

8AM Newscast 11-27-2013

News, Podcasts

November 27th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

(Update) Firefighters still on the scene of a grain bin fire

News

November 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Firefighters from several western Iowa departments remained on the scene late this morning of a grain bin fire east of Shelby.  As we reported earlier, crews from Shelby, Avoca, Harlan, Minden and Defiance were  called to the scene  north of Interstate 80, at 33804 400th Street. KETV in Omaha says the blaze was reported at around 3:30-a.m., and the first crews saw heavy smoke upon their arrival. 20-foot high flames were also reportedly shooting from the roof of the bin, which held 8,000 bushels of corn.

No injuries have been reported. A cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

7AM Newscast 11-27-2013

News, Podcasts

November 27th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Roger Sandhorst recognized as IHA Hospital Hero

News

November 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Director of Plant Operations at the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic was recently recognized recently as a “Hospital Hero,” by the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA).  Roger Sandhorst was one of just ten hospital employees selected from the 174,000 hospital workers across the state to receive this honor at the 2013 Iowa Hospital Association’s Annual Meeting.  IHA has been recognizing Hospital Heroes for seven years.  Sandhorst is only the second facilities manager to earn this distinction.

Roger Sandhorst (center) was presented with his Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) Hospital Hero award by Scott Curtis, IHA Board Chairman, and Pat Markham, CEO of Cass County Memorial Hospital, at this fall’s IHA Annual Meeting in Des Moines.

Roger Sandhorst (center) was presented with his Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) Hospital Hero award by Scott Curtis, IHA Board Chairman, and Pat Markham, CEO of Cass County Memorial Hospital, at this fall’s IHA Annual Meeting in Des Moines.

He was nominated as a Hospital Hero by the Cass County Memorial Hospital Administrative Team.  CCMH CEO Pat Markham said “Roger’s dedication to our staff, patients and community is unfailing, and we are thrilled he received this well-deserved recognition.” Markham added that while Sandhorst does not provide direct patient care, “His commitment to service and excellence directly impacts the ability of [our] direct care workers to provide outstanding care to [our] patients.”

The IHA program for the awards ceremony contained the following summary of Roger’s nomination as a Hospital Hero: “Heroes come in many shapes, sizes and colors. Some even wear capes!  Many though, are much less visible, preferring to fly under the radar.  Roger Sandhorst is one of those quiet heroes.  Never one to attract attention, to put things off, to give up, or even go on vacation, Roger is too busy taking care of everyone else to put himself first.

“In a hospital full of professional caregivers, the Director of Plant Operations may seem an unlikely recipient of the Hospital Hero Award.  He may not have a medical or nursing degree, or even touch patients, but he spends all of his routine 10 – 12 hour days caring for others in his own way.  Of course, he is always ready to go in an emergency.  Snowstorms, power outages, broken pipes – Roger is leading his crew to save the day quickly, quietly and professionally.  But what really makes Roger stand out is what he does every day, when it isn’t an emergency.  How he oversees the routine care of a 45 year old building, where visitors routinely comment “It can’t be that old!”  How he ensures that routine requests are handled almost as quickly as emergencies.  How he sets the standard of professionalism to the highest degree.

“During his 27 years as Supervisor and Director of the Plant Operations Department, Roger has led Cass County Memorial Hospital through two major addition and renovation projects.  His expertise has been key to the successful completion of these projects, bringing state-of-the-art medical facilities to the people of southwest Iowa.   He makes it possible for the medical personnel to do their jobs just that much better, contributing to the life-saving care they give every day.

“Roger’s dedication to Cass County Memorial Hospital has been unwavering.  In 27 years, his vacation days could probably be counted on your toes and fingers.  Hours of the day mean nothing to Roger when it comes to taking care of the people and facilities that make up CCMH.  Whatever it takes, whenever it happens, Roger is there.  He has earned the respect and gratitude of all who have had the privilege to experience his quiet care and compassion.  Roger Sandhorst truly is a Hospital Hero.”

“Status quo” budget for Iowa State Highway Patrol

News

November 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The head of the Iowa Department of Public Safety plans to replace retiring state troopers, but the budget outline Public Safety Commissioner Larry Noble has drafted does not call for expanding the ranks of the Iowa State Highway Patrol. The union for state troopers argues about 100 more officers should be hired to adequately patrol the state’s highways and respond to emergencies at all hours of the day and night.

Noble acknowledges some troopers may have to travel greater distances or work more overtime. “I think that we will sustain coverage,” Noble says. “…We are going to provide services to the citizens of Iowa.” Noble expects 19 troopers to retire within the 18 months — and he says it takes a year to 18 months to train a replacement. “We’re going to have an academy this summer so that way we can prepare for that,” Noble says.  As of today, there are 348 state troopers on the payroll.

“We do more than just write tickets,” Noble says. “We go beyond the stop and we work in criminal interdiction, such as drugs (and) human trafficking. We’ve had instances of that where people are taken against their will.” Noble says. The patrol is now a “stable” organization, according to Noble, a former state trooper who says deep budget cuts in the past have been gradually restored.

Noble presented a budget outline for his entire agency to Governor Branstad on Tuesday afternoon. He proposes NO increase, but the same level of spending as the current year.

(Radio Iowa)

Corning man arrested Tue. night in Adams County

News

November 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Adams County report the arrest Tuesday night, of Tommy Watters, from Corning. Watters was taken into custody at around 8-p.m. after his vehicle was stopped on Corning Carl Road for having a headlight out. During an investigation, deputies learned Watters had a suspended license. He was taken into custody for Driving Under Suspension and brought to the Adams County Jail, where Watters was released later on $566 bond.