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Two people arrested in Audubon last week

News

December 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Audubon Police Chief Dave Simonsen said today (Tuesday), his officers arrested two people last week. On Thursday, 53-year old Patricia Ann Richter, of Audubon, was arrested for Theft in the 3rd Degree. And, on Friday, 19-year old Tyler Everett Williamson, of Audubon, was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Driving Under Suspension, and Operating a Motor Vehicle without Registration.

Richter and Williamson were booked into the Audubon County Jail and held until making an appearance before the magistrate.

Theft, assault and public intox arrests in Atlantic

News

December 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports three people were arrested recently on separate charges. On Monday, 29-year old Jason Prescott, of Atlantic, was arrested on a charge of 5th Degree Theft (shoplifting). And, 20-year old Alex Buresh, of Atlantic, was arrested for Simple Assault. Both men were cited for the offenses and released, with orders to appear in court at a later date.

The A-P.D. says 20-year old Jesse Luft, of Villisca, was arrested today (Tuesday), for Public Intoxication. His arrest came just two days after Luft was arrested in Atlantic on a charge of Criminal Mischief in the 5th Degree. Luft was being held in the Cass County Jail, pending an appearance before the magistrate.

Panel: Corps not to blame for Missouri River flood

News

December 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — An expert panel says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was not to blame for record Missouri River flooding this year, but that changes could help avoid a disastrous repeat. A report to be released Tuesday by the corps says that current manuals and procedures could be improved and updated to recognize the more recent weather extremes following “unprecedented levels of runoff that could not be predicted in advance.”

The corps has said that the floods caused $630 million in damage to the levees, dams and channels built to control the river. The corps manages the 2,341-mile-long river, which flows from Montana through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri. One recommendation from the experts calls for improved monitoring of pending snowmelt in plains states.

Griswold School Board approves contract to manage roofing project

News

December 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Members of the Griswold Board of Education Monday, voted to enter into an agreement with Estes Construction to manage a roofing project slated for the High School/Middle School Building. Superintendent Dana Kunze said the board had been exploring fixing the roof for “some time,” and it’s at the top of their priority list to get it taken care of before they take on other projects. Kunze said an early estimate puts the cost of the project at $1.2-million dollars. He says it will be funded by bonding against their penny sales tax. A Revenue Purposing Statement allows the District to go after the bonds now, and into the future. 

Kunze said also, the Griswold School Board discussed the transferring of a deed to about 5 acres of school property on the north edge of Elliott, to the City of Elliott, for a wetland project. The marshy land is an ideal, natural means of filtering nitrates out of the City’s drinking water. Action on approving the deed transfer is expected to take place during the Board’s meeting in January. The land has been owned by the School District for more than 100-years. 

In other business, the Griswold School Board, Monday, agreed to have Red Oak Awning and Glass handle the replacement of glass at the district’s buildings in Elliott and in Lewis. One of the projects is another entranceway to the Elliott building on the northeast side, and the finishing of what’s called the “Storefront” on the Lewis building, with new replacement glass. The new glass will solve some problems with water leaking into the buildings, and is energy efficient.

CAM School Board sees limited but positive interest in on-line school

News

December 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

About 10 people showed-up at Monday night’s meeting of the CAM School District’s Board of Education. Those who were in attendance had a chance to hear a report on the a possible partnership with Connections Education, to form a free K-12 online learning center within the district. CAM Superintendent Steve Pelzer said the meeting, which was part of the regular school board session, was chance for people to find out what the district’s learned so far about the online school. He says while the turnout was low, those who did attend the meeting were interested in the topic. He said some of the people in the audience weren’t even from the CAM District, but had read or heard about the program, and wanted to know more. 

Pelzer said those who listened to what was said seemed to have favorable comments about the program, which would operate independently of the CAM District’s educational program and would serve students statewide in the open enrollment process.  He said before they can make a decision though, there are a couple of issues that need to be addressed. One is a funding issue. The district he says, needs to get an opinion from the Department of Education as to whether the program can be fully funded. They’re also waiting to hear from the District’s Attorney with regard to a Products and Services Agreement with Connections.

Pelzer says it’s “Kind of a waiting game right now,” but the Board is still interested in moving forward. He says they “Just have to have some things answered, first.”. A decision on whether the district should partner with Connection will have to be made prior to the March 1st deadline for open enrollment applications.

Update on Fatal crash near Underwood – Neola man injured

News

December 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office has identified one of the victims of Monday evenings rollover accident near Underwood. Authorities still have not identified the man who died in the crash, but the other occupant of the car was identified as 33-year old Kirk Ring, of Neola.

Sheriff Jeff Danker says both men were ejected from the 2005 Mazda as it rolled into a ditch near the intersection of Railroad Highway and 240th Street, just before 5-p.m., Monday. When deputies arrived, Ring was found conscious and breathing, but suffering from serious injuries. The other man was dead at the scene. Ring was flown by helicopter to Creighton University Hospital in Omaha, for treatment of his injuries. The body of the man who died in the crash was transported to the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office, where an autposy will be performed.

Witnesses told authorities the vehicle had been traveling south on Railroad Highway at a high rate of speed prior to the crash. Danker says alcohol is believed to have played a role in the accident, which remains under investigation.

Over 900,000 Iowans per month get some benefit from state’s welfare agency

News

December 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Nearly a third of Iowans get some sort of benefit from the state’s welfare agency. Chuck Palmer is director of the Iowa Department of Human Services. “I think what is in some ways impressive and in other ways kind of overwhelming, on any given month we touch about 30 percent of the citizens of Iowa,” Palmer says. “Certainly child support becomes a big one, but we’re over 900,000 in any given month.” Parents who owe child support submit those payments to the agency, which in turn sends the money to the parent who has custody of the child.

The Department of Human Services also manages Medicaid, the government-paid health insurance for poor and disabled citizens. Palmer estimates the state will have to spend 11 percent more in the coming fiscal year to cover Medicaid costs. And that’s before the program takes on more adults who don’t have health care coverage. “We’ll pick up approximately 150,000 additional Iowans if health care goes through,” Palmer says. 

The state of Iowa has joined in the appeal of the national health care reform law President Obama signed in 2010. The director of Iowa’s Department of Management estimates the state would have to spend 315-million more dollars to cover those 150-thousand uninsured Iowans in the first year they’d be eligible for government coverage, in 2013.

(Radio Iowa)

Gas prices below $3 a gallon at some Iowa pumps

News

December 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Gas prices have dipped below three dollars ($3) a gallon in some parts of the state as many Iowans prepare to hit the road for the Christmas holiday weekend. Triple-A reports the average price in Iowa for regular unleaded fuel stands at $3.12 a gallon. Spokesperson Gail Weinholzer says the price has been dropping, for the most part, since hitting $3.92 a gallon early this summer. “We peaked out this year right around May first and we’ve been having a pretty steady decline since then,” Weinholzer said. “We are experiencing the lowest gas prices we’ve had in the last year. In fact, a year ago today the prices (averaged) $2.92.” 

Iowa’s current gas prices are roughly a dime a gallon cheaper than the national average. Motorists may want to consider fueling up now, rather than wait for the weekend, but Weinholzer said it probably won’t matter. “I don’t know that we’ll see a significant increase between now and the weekend. I think prices will hover where they are into the new year,” Weinholzer said. Many gas stations in the Des Moines area are currently pricing regular unleaded fuel at $2.95 a gallon. Triple-A estimates 100 million Americans will be traveling somewhere between December 23 and January 2, with most people doing so via highways and interstates. 

(Radio Iowa)

8AM Newscast 12-20-2011

News, Podcasts

December 20th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Study finds rural areas across Midwest are losing residents

News

December 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A study finds rural areas across the Midwest are losing residents, especially in vital age groups. Jon Bailey, research director at the Center for Rural Affairs, says the center’s latest report shows many areas of the region are being caught between “bookend generations” of the youngest and oldest segments of the population.  “A major implication is that both of those, the youngest and oldest generations, tend to need more services than the middle-age, working generation,” Bailey says. “You have needs for schools and health care and other social and human services that go for the youngest and oldest in our population.” 

Bailey says without the working generation, those between the ages of 25 and 55, it would be difficult to fund vital services in rural areas.”That’s a huge issue for rural communities,” he says. “How are they going to keep up the services that our youngest and our oldest need when the people who work and pay the taxes are increasingly going to larger communities and decreasing in numbers in rural places?”  Bailey says significant federal policy changes are needed to help rural areas bridge the growing gap. He says, “There’s policy investments we can take, both at the state, local and federal levels, on how to make more investments in rural places to create more businesses and create more jobs and a lot of it is to just take advantage of the advantages that rural communities have.” 

The report recommends a Rural Renewal Initiative be created in the next farm bill, and that Congress commit 500-million dollars over five years to a Community Prosperity Fund to help rural areas stabilize. The Center for Rural Affairs is based in Lyons, Nebraska. 

(Radio Iowa)