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DOT warns drivers to anticipate stopping school buses


August 16th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The big yellow buses are hitting the roadways today in numbers greater than yesterday, as some school districts get classes under way this week and the rest prepare to start next week. The Iowa Department of Transportation now has more penalties to hit drivers who pass the buses that are stopped and picking up students. The D-O-T’s director of driver services, Kim Snook, says you should be alert to a potential stop anytime you are on a roadway with a school bus. And then take action when you see the warning lights. “It’s kind of like what we all learned in drivers ed, when you see yellow you slow down, you get prepared to stop. That’s exactly what you need to do with a school bus. When you see the yellow, slow down and assume you are going to stop, because when the red comes out you need to stop,” Snook says. “And don’ proceed. If the stop arm is out there and the red light’s are on, stop.”

Snook says after you properly stop for a bus, don’t be in too big a hurry to take off again. “Even if it looks like all the kids have been discharged, just stay where you are at until the bus driver makes it very clear that you are able to proceed,” Snook explains. A law increasing the penalties for passing a stopped school bus was created following the death of seven year old Kadyn Halvorson of Northwood on May 10th of 2011. Snook says they’ve found too many people are not paying attention to the bus laws.

“A one day count conducted earlier this year was 43-point-seven percent compared to 38-point-two percent in 2011, that was the number of people illegally passing a school bus, that’s really significant,” according to Snook. “And when you think of the passengers in school buses, young children, it should be zero.” Drivers may think stopping for a school bus will make them late, but Snook says you have to think about what could happen if you don’t.

She says there is precious cargo in the school buses, and while everyone is in a hurry, you always want to be aware of that and follow the law. Snook says you may think you are going to get to your destination faster, but you won’t. Under the news rules, your driver’s license could be suspended for 30 days on the first conviction of illegally passing a school bus. That moves up to 90 days for a second conviction, and 180 days for a third or subsequent conviction. The law also allows for jail time of up to 30 days for the first offense and one year for repeat violators and also includes fines that start at 250 dollars and move up.

(Radio Iowa)

Storm Spotters may be needed tonight…

News, Weather

August 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson


346 PM CDT WED AUG 15 2012





Home sales in Iowa increase for 13th consecutive month


August 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Home sales and prices increased in Iowa again last month. Dale Gross, of Atlantic, is president of the Iowa Association of Realtors (IAR). “We’ve had a tremendous 13 months in a row where everything continues to go a little bit up or a lot up,” Gross says. Home sales have increased in Iowa for 13 consecutive months. A new report from the I-A-R shows 3,367 homes were sold last month, compared to 3,274 homes sold in July 2011. The median sale price of a home in Iowa last month was $134,900, up from $130,000 in July 2011. Gross says the inventory of homes available for purchase has dropped 13-percent over the past year.

“We’re down from nearly 25,000 houses to 21,600 houses available for buyers to look at,” Gross said. “That, along with the low interest rates – which we’re seeing the 30 year (interest rate) at just under 4% and the 15 year under 3% – means there are still people out there buying or involved in the home buying process.” Gross said he’s concerned about the impact the drought will have on home sales in rural Iowa communities.

“And yet, the statistics don’t show that anybody is backing away here in the summer months,” Gross said. “I guess maybe the farmers have the right amount of crop insurance or something like that and everybody is talking like, ‘well, we’ll get by.'” The new I-A-R report shows pending home sales were up 4.2 percent in July compared to the previous year. The average number of days on the market in July was 96 days, down from 106 days in July 2011.

(Radio Iowa)

Founding president of Iowa Western college dies


August 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – The founding president of Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs has died.  Robert Looft was 87.  Bill Cutler, of the Cutler-O’Neill mortuary in Council Bluffs, said Wednesday that Looft died Monday at a nursing home in Council Bluffs.  Looft’s daughter Diane Machmuller said that her father had been ill for a couple of years.

Looft began his work at the college in 1966, after he’d been awarded a doctorate from Iowa State University. He pushed hard for Iowa Western’s development at a hillside location on the east side of Council Bluffs. The school continued to grow after he left in 1987. Carl Heinrich, who succeeded Looft, says Looft possessed intelligence, vision and creativity. Heinrich says it was an honor to have known Looft.

IA Connections Academy begins classes Thursday


August 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Students enrolled in the first-ever Iowa Legislature approved pilot online learning academy for K-through 12th grades, will begin classes Thursday, just as their counterparts head-off to the classroom learning environment in a traditional brick-and-mortar type building. The CAM School Board in January approved the entering into of an agreement with Iowa Connections Academy, for the 2012-2013 school year. IACA Principal James Brauer said the response they’ve received since enrollments started to be accepted after the open enrollment deadline of March 1st, has been phenomenal. Brauer said as of this (Wedneday) morning, 217 students had enrolled full-time in the online program, and it is possible they could have 225 students by the time the “virtual bell” rings Thursday morning.   Students enrolled in the online academy – which will have a building located in Anita – receive their education from fully-licensed, totally-endorsed teachers in their respective contact areas, on a daily basis.

Brauer says students will communicate with their instructors through a variety of electronic media. In addition, different field trips and club activities will be planned throughout the year, where students can get together with others, in order so they may socialize. And, while some people may be skeptical of students “sloughing-off” by not attending an actual classroom setting, Brauer says the power of being able to guide your own learning and have it facilitated by a teacher, provides students with a sense of “autonomy.” He says adults in the family will have to provide proof the student has spent a certain number of hours each day in the online classroom, just as traditional schools have to certify attendance figures.

But there is no online tracking of the students per se. Brauer says however, that some of the high school courses are set up so that students will be required to attend a webinar-type setting, and interact with other students as well as the teacher. He says one of the reasons online courses are becoming more and more popular, is the issue of bullying in the traditional school setting. He says while he has no hard numbers, the parents he’s heard from cited that problem as one reason for keeping their students home. Brauer says in the more than 125 phones calls he’s made to families enrolled in the Connections Academy, more than three-quarters of them indicated some form of bullying or harassment lead to their decision to enroll their child in the online program.

Brauer says as a virtual public school they still have to the various accreditation guidelines and all the State laws and regulations. Since they work with the CAM District, the requirements are tied to what the CAM School Board has approved, and the graduates receive their diploma from CAM. Connections will coordinate and host the graduation ceremonies. Currently around a half-dozen students will graduate next Spring from the Academy, if they successfully complete the program.

Mills County accidents and arrests


August 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Mills County say no injuries were reported following two separate accidents Tuesday. An accident that took place at around 10:40-a.m., occurred when 18-year old Phillip Reinsch, of Glenwood, was driving a 1990 BMW north on Levi Road, about three-miles southeast of Glenwood. Sheriff’s officials say Reinsch was attempting to light a cigarette, when the vehicle left the road to the right and passed through a barbed wire fence before coming to rest in a pasture.

The second accident happened when a 2012 Subaru driven by 55-year old Deborah Howard, of Sacremento, CA, rear-ended a 2008 Hyundai, driven by 57-year old Kathy Anderson, of Glenwood. The mishap occurred on the Highway 34 southbound exit ramp to Interstate 29. Only minor damage was reported to Anderson’s car.

The Sheriff’s Department reports also, 27-year old Brandon Matthew Swanson, of Glenwood, was arrested Tuesday for violating a No Contact Order. His bond was set at $300. And, 42-year old Lori Sue Tompkins, of Moss Point, MS, was arrested Tuesday night on a charge of OWI 1st offense. Her bond was set at $1,000.

Cass Supervisors approve hourly rate for Trustee fence viewers


August 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Wednesday), approved a $10 hourly rate of pay for township trustees serving in an official capacity as “Fence Viewers.” Victoria Township officials had asked the Board to consider establishing a fee for the service, which covers those rare occasions when fence maintenance and/or construction issues are in question. Prior to their decision, the hourly rate for “fence viewing” was $7.50, and attendance for scheduled meeting of trustees was at flat rate of $35.

Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman said ISU staff Attorney Erin Herbold noted with regard to written fence agreements, for an agreement that details the allocation of fence maintenance and/or construction, two options exist. One is  for adjacent owners to enter into a written agreement, or Two, those same owners can request an order from the fence viewers (township trustees), allocating responsibility between the parties.

Iowa Code, according to Sunderman, says the County shall pay except when the trustee is acting as a fence viewer in a case where a provision is made for payment from a source other than the General Fund of the County. The Code does not address the issue of fees, except to say township trustees while engaged in official business shall be compensated at an hourly rate by the Board of Supervisors. The Board may elect also to establish a minimum daily pay rate for time spent by a trustee attending a scheduled meeting of the township.

In other business, County Engineer Charles Marker updated the Board on current road maintenance activities. Marker said two bids were received Tuesday for maintenance projects. One is the German Lutheran Church road, which will be ground up, compacted and reshaped. There were two bids. One from Sta-bilt Construction in Harlan, which bid $29,140. The other was from Blacktop Service Company, out of Corning, which bid $98, 425. Marker says they will accept the bid from Sta-bilt.

The other maintenance project is for a seal coat on 745th Street, which goes north out of Anita two-miles, then east to Highway 48. The project was bid on square yardage. Sta-bilt bid $1.88 per square yard for the work, which covers 30,333 square yards, or about $57,026. Blacktop Service bid $1.95 per square yard, of about $59,149. Marker says once again they chose Stabilt to handle work on the project. The project has a completion date of October 1st. Marker said also, work is underway on bridge #166 two-miles east of Cumberland.

No injuries reported following Tuesday rollover accident in Cass County


August 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

No injuries were reported following a rollover accident Tuesday afternoon in Cass County. The Sheriff’s Office reports a 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup owned and driven by 21-year old Tyler Allan Twaddle, of Cumberland, was southbound on Hwy 148 when Twaddle lost control on the rock shoulder, over-corrected. The pickup slid into west ditch before rolling onto its side. The accident caused a small fire, which was quickly extinguished. Damage to the vehicle is estimated at $3,500.

USDA Announces 11 IA Counties as part of Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowa State Executive Director for USDA Farm Service Agency, John R Whitaker today (Wednesday), announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated eleven Iowa counties as part of a Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation.  Farm operators who have suffered major production and/or physical losses caused by drought beginning July 31, 2012 and continuing may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans.

A Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation has been issued for four Iowa counties as the primary disaster area.  These primary counties are:  Lyon, Plymouth, Sioux, and Woodbury.   Seven Iowa counties are contiguous to this designated disaster area, making these producers also potentially eligible for program based on this designation.  The contiguous counties are:  Cherokee, Crawford, Ida, Monona, O’Brien, and Osceola.  Harrison County is contiguous to a primary county in Nebraska.

The Farm Service Agency may make Emergency Loans to eligible family farmers which will enable them to return to their normal operations if they sustained qualifying losses resulting from natural disaster.  Physical loss loans may be made to eligible farmers to enable them to repair or replace damaged or destroyed physical property, including livestock losses, essential to the success of the farming operation.  Examples of property commonly affected include; essential farm buildings, fixtures to real estate, equipment, livestock, perennial crops, fruit and nut bearing trees, and harvested or stored crops.  For production loss loans, the disaster yield must be at least 30 percent below the normal production yield of the crop, on a crop or crops that make up a basic part of the total farming operation.

Applicant must be unable to obtain credit from other usual sources to qualify for the Farm Service Agency Farm Loan Program assistance.  The interest rate for emergency loans is 2.25%.  Each applicant applying for credit will be given equal consideration without regard to race, creed, color, marital status, or national origin.

8AM Newscast 8-15-12

News, Podcasts

August 15th, 2012 by admin

w/ Ric Hanson