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Boots to Heels Conference Scheduled for March 24th in Atlantic

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Women in Southwest Iowa are invited to a day of fun, learning and friendship during the sixth annual Boots to Heels Conference on Saturday, March 24th. The conference runs from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Cass County Community Center in Atlantic. The lineup of speakers scheduled for the one-day conference will focus on the interests of women living and working in rural Iowa.

The conference will start off with a keynote address on “Finding Happiness in the Craziness of Life” by Kathy Petersen. Kathy and her husband run a 5th generation farming operation near Storm Lake, Iowa. Kathy speaks and conducts training sessions all over the U-S through her company, Peopleworks, Inc. Throughout the day, conference participants will be able to select from twelve unique topics during four workshop sessions. Break-out topics include Home Organization, Farm Succession Planning, Wind Energy, Food Preservation, Interior Decorating and more.

Each presenter has a wealth of knowledge in their respective field and will provide practical tips based on first-hand experience. Conference attendees will be treated to snacks, a breakfast, lunch and  special dessert, served by locally-owned businesses. Lunchtime entertainment is being provided by the Patchwork Pals. In addition, there will be door prizes, time for conversation and networking.

Registration for the entire day, which includes a continental breakfast, lunch, dessert and materials, is just $30 if postmarked by March 16th. Registrations postmarked after that date are $35. A special “bring a friend” rate of $55 for two registrations is also available if postmarked by the 16th. Registration forms are available at local ISU Extension offices or may be printed off at www.extension.iastate.edu/cass.

See the schedule of events here: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/NR/rdonlyres/D1EEFECF-F465-45BD-8DC5-C852E153FA99/165430/WebFliertopost1.pdf

Creston FSA Office on the cutting block

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

News that U-S Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack plans to approve the closing of 131 Farm Service Agency (FSA) Offices around the country within 90-days, including three in Iowa, does not sit well with western Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King. King said today (Thursday) that while he believes all government agencies should strive to become more efficient, the USDA and Secretary Vilsack have not taken into account the actual FSA workload in the affected counties, which includes Appanoose, Decatur and Union.

The criteria for office closures were based on the number of employees the offices had on the payroll in mid-December of 2011. Any office that had two or less employees and was 20 miles or less from another office has been slated for closure. Last year, when the proposal was developed, the Iowa FSA system was under a hiring freeze due to budget issues and therefore offices that had retiring employees experienced lower than normal staffing numbers.

King says “Historically we have had a tool to determine the workload in each county office based on the programs offered and the number of participants in those programs. I suspect an analysis of the workloads of these offices would justify keeping them open. It’s also important to note that the FSA offices in Iowa that are slated for closure by Secretary Vilsack are located in counties that have a large number of acres in CRP. Over several decades, this has led to a loss of population, a loss of farmers and shrinkage of our small towns. This proposal will only make things worse for small town and rural Iowa. Soon these counties will begin to see more and more acres come out of CRP. There’s no question they’ll be hurt by the lack of local FSA offices to help support revitalization of their land and communities.”

King called upon Secretary Vilsack to reconsider his decision.

Boil Advisory issued for parts of Adel


March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports a water main break in Adel has resulted in a water boil advisory being issued for the northern half of the city. The boil advisory is for the portion of the city north of Green Street, also known as old Highway 6. The repair on the water main was expected to be complete by early Thursday evening, but since water pressure was lost during the break and repair, the boil advisory is being issued. The southern half of the city is not affected.

Due to the potential for bacterial contamination, it is being recommended that the water be boiled before using for drinking or cooking or that an alternative source such as bottled water be used. Two sets of samples need to be taken to determine the water is safe so it is likely that Saturday will be the earliest that the boil advisory can be lifted. It is recommended not to drink the water without boiling it first. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water. The water may be used for bathing and other similar purposes.

General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1(800) 426-4791.

Red Oak Pamida Store to close


March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Shopko plans to close six Pamida stores and consolidate the headquarters of the two companies after completing its acquisition of the competing retailer. Shopko said Thursday the new chain has nearly 350 stores in 22 states, and will be based in its home of Green Bay, Wis. Deal terms weren’t disclosed. Spokeswoman Tara Powers says the company decided not to invest in 6 Pamida stores with disappointing sales. Among the six is the store located in Red Oak. About $80 million will be invested in converting the other Pamida stores by the end of 2012. Powers says 88 of Pamida’s 200 headquarters employees in Omaha were offered new jobs in Green Bay. Sixty-five accepted and will move.

Two arrested in Atlantic Wednesday


March 1st, 2012 by admin

The Atlantic Police Department reports the arrest of two people on Wednesday.

Twenty-year-old Alex Garside of Atlantic was arrested for domestic abuse simple assault.  He was transported to the Cass County Jail and booked.

Twenty-one-year-old Joshua Peters of Atlantic was also arrested Wednesday for driving under suspension.  He was transported to the Cass County Jail and booked.

Jimerson uses social media to poll Atlantic residents


March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic City Councilman Chris Jimerson is using the power of social media to poll residents of the community about a proposed speed reduction ordinance on 22nd Street. Jimerson posted a Facebook question asking for residents’ opinion on whether the speed limit on two different sections of 22nd Street should be reduced from 45-to 35-miles per hour. If the ordinance is approved, the speed limit would be reduced on East 22nd, from Highway 71 to Olive Street, and on West 22nd, from Chestnut to Highway 6.

As of 6:30-p.m. Thursday, 87 people said they were opposed to reducing the speed limit, 18 were in favor of it. Jimerson, who was elected to the Council last Fall, is the first known local government official to post such a poll on a social media website.

Gov. Branstad announces appointments to Iowa’s boards and commissions


March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad today (Thursday), announced the appointments of individuals to Iowa’s various boards and commissions.  Several western and southwest Iowans were among those appointed. Their terms begin on May 1st, 2012, unless otherwise noted and are subject to Senate confirmation.   Here are the Boards and/or Commissions, and those from our listening area appointed to them:

Accountancy Examining Board: Robert Snodgrass, Creston; Evelyn Rank, Clarinda

Alcoholic Beverages Commission: Tami Doll, Council Bluffs

Board of Barbering: Gwendolyn Ecklund, Denison

Commission on Community Action Agencies: Kelly Busch, Creston

Credit Union Review Board: Timothy Marcsisak, Atlantic

Early Childhood Iowa State Board: Jean Stadtlander, Manning; Robert Ockerman, Adel Michael Bunde, Denison

Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa Board (HAWK-I): Mary Mincer Hansen, Panora

Landscape Architectural Examining Board: David Fjare, Council Bluffs

Board of Medicine: Julie Perkins, Carroll

Mental Health and Disabilities Service Commission: Suzanne Watson, Council Bluffs

Board of Pharmacy: Susan Frey, Villisca

Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Examining Board: Rodney Schultz, Council Bluffs; Patricia Weese, Bedford

Board of Podiatry: Sarah Kleffman, Harlan

Board of Speech Pathology and Audiology: Jon Schuttinga, Denison

Commission of Status of Women: Brian Mueller, Winterset

Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission: Kathleen Kohorst, Harlan

Commission of Veterans Affairs: Mickey Williams, Harlan

Free women’s health care screenings still available in Cass County


March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

 Free women’s health screenings are still available from the Cass County Health System and Cass County Home Care.  Karla Akers, Care for Yourself Coordinator of Cass County Home Care says the screenings are made available through the Iowa Care for Yourself program and a grant from the Iowa Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  Screenings include mammograms, clinical breast exams, and pelvic exams with or without pap smears.

Some age, income, and insurance guidelines apply, but Akers encourages women to call about availability.  Enrollment numbers are limited and services must be completed by the end of March.  Women interested in accessing the women’s health screenings should contact Karla Akers at 712-243-7443.

Not much change in the latest flood outlook

News, Weather

March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The National Weather Service in Des Moines says in its latest Flood Outlook there’s not much change in the forecast for the risk of flooding as we head into Spring in a few weeks. The outlook, issued this (Thursday) morning, covers a time frame from early March through early June, and includes the Nishnabotna and 102 Rivers. Officials say the risk of flooding continues to be near or below normal at all locations. Current conditions, they say, are not conducive to major, large-scale flooding, since the last outlook was issued on February 16th.  The outlook does not include the heavy snowfall which fell earlier this week across the northern U-S (The Dakotas, Minnesota & Wisconsin). 

The Weather Service says people should continue to monitor conditions for any changes. On March 14th, the Weather Service will change the Flood Stage, Moderate Flood Stage and Major Flood Stage for 44 of its 47 river forecast points. The Flood Stage will change by several feet at many locations. For more information on the changes, go to www.weather.gov/desmoines. The most recent outlook uses the current flood stage predictors.

DNR to hold public meeting to discuss fall hunting and trapping regulations

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will hosting public meetings on March 6th, to discuss possible changes in the hunting and trapping regulations for this fall. The changes would affect deer and waterfowl hunters as well as hunters and trappers who pursue bobcats and otters. Proposed changes would stabilize deer numbers in some areas, potentially add a third zone for waterfowl and increase the harvest number of otters and bobcats.

Dr. Dale Garner, chief of the wildlife bureau, says regulation changes for deer would allow deer numbers to stabilize in areas of the state where numbers have been reduced to the department’s goal while still allowing hunters to harvest extra does in areas of the state where numbers need to be reduced. He says “Without these changes deer numbers in some areas of the state will continue to decline and Iowa will lose its standing as one of the best states for hunting whitetail deer. Failure to make these changes could adversely affect rural areas since deer hunters spend nearly $200 million annually.”  The proposed changes for the waterfowl season are due to a change by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which now allow states to have three zones and a split waterfowl season.

The public meetings on March 6th from 6- to 9-p.m., will be held locally, in: Carroll; Council Bluffs; Creston and Onawa. The list of possible changes is available online at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Portals/idnr/uploads/Hunting/proposed_changes2012.pdf“  For those who cannot make the meeting, comments may be sent to wildlife@dnr.iowa.gov.