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Survey says Midwest economic survey index jumped


April 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A monthly economic survey index for nine Midwest and Plains states jumped last month, suggesting improving economic growth for the region over the next three to six months.  The Mid-America Business Conditions index hit 58.2 in March, compared with 53.1 in February and 53.2 in January.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he credits the index jump to “the strongest new-orders growth in two years.”  The survey of business leaders and supply managers uses a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth while a score below 50 suggests decline for that factor.

The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

Iowa early News Headlines: Mon., April 1st, 2013


April 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Governor Terry Branstad and legislators will recognize those who donated land in Iowa for permanent recreation and conservation use. The event, called the Gift to Iowa’s Future, will be at the state Capitol this morning. The first Monday in April is designated as the Gift to Iowa’s Future Recognition Day, an effort which started in 2008.

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (AP) — An 18-year-old Iowa man is facing an arson charge in connection with the fire that destroyed a downtown Knoxville building. Nicholas Carter of Knoxville was arrested Saturday on suspicion of second-degree arson. Carter was released Saturday after posting bond, but authorities say additional charges linked to the March 25th fire are possible.

LANSING, Iowa (AP) — Northwest Iowa authorities are investigating a shooting where a 27-year-old man injured himself. The Allamakee County Sheriff’s office says the incident happened around 4:30 a.m. yesterday at a home near Lansing. Authorities say Logan Bunn fired a gun at a tree outside the home, but the bullet bounced back and hit him. Police were notified after Bunn showed up at a La Crosse, Wisconsin hospital for treatment.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — The father of one of two Iowa cousins found dead following their disappearance last summer is facing new drug charges. Thirty-six-year-old Daniel Morrissey of Waterloo is being charged with trying to make methamphetamine and possessing simulated meth sometime between December 1st and his February 11th arrest for failing to comply with conditions of his pre-trial release.

Public hearing in Atlantic, Wednesday, over sewer bonds and Park & Rec bldg. contract


April 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A public hearing is set to take place during the City Council meeting Wednesday evening in Atlantic, with regard to the issuance of a maximum of $7.28-million dollars in Sewer Revenue Bonds. City Administrator Doug Harris has previously reported to the Council, that current interest rates makes it beneficial to issue the bonds, rather than draw down the remaining $6.6-million from the State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) to finance the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The total amount of the issue is $7.28-million, according to Harris, because the City is required to establish a sinking fund which provides bond holders with some additional security, and, it will ultimately be used to pay off the final payments. Harris estimates a savings to the City of $23,500 per year for the first 17-years of the bond maturity structure, for an overall savings of $391,177.  The Council will consider a resolution to enter into a SRF agreement for the bonds, following the public hearing.

In other business, the Atlantic City Council, Wednesday, will hold a public hearing as well, on the plans, specifications, estimated cost and form of contract for the Parks and Recreation Department’s Maintenance and office facility. As we reported last Friday, the Parks and Rec Board on Thursday, approved a base bid and alternate additions for the project, from Iron Specialties, of Atlantic, for $291,362. If the bid is approved by the Council following the public hearing, the project would be paid for using 2012 Bond proceeds.

The Council will also act on a resolution approving the contract and bonds for Dostals Construction Company, with regard to the Sunnyside Tennis Court reconstruction project, in the amount of $295,000. The revised start date for the project is May 1st, with completion expected by no later than July 31st. If the project is not finished, the contractor would be subject damages amounting to $500 per calendar day. The Council will also act on resolutions: approving the contract and bonds amounting to $227,538 for a sanitary sewer relining project; and the 2013 Street Improvement project, which amounts to slightly more than $1.75-million.

Prior to adjournment, the Council will enter into a closed session, as allowed by the Code of Iowa, Chapter 21.5 (i), which pertains to personnel and/or legal matters. The Atlantic City Council meeting begins at 5:30-p.m., Wednesday, at City Hall.

Copper thieves in Council Bluffs become more brazen


April 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Council Bluffs are asking residents to keep an eye out for unusual activity in areas where homes or businesses are vacant or foreclosed. Those are the types of places where thieves target air conditioning units for their copper tubing, and the thefts are happening in broad daylight. Officials told the Daily NonPareil, that 34 air conditioning units have been reported damaged or stolen, most of them in a concentrated area, since January 1st. Many of the thefts have occurred in the downtown area of Council Bluffs, from about 8th Street to Bluff Street, and 9th Avenue north, to West Broadway.

Other air conditioning units have been reported stolen from a four-plex on South First Street, and from the Council Bluffs Veterinary Clinic on Third Street. Vacant and foreclosed homes are often the prime target of thieves, who cause thousands of dollars in damage just to get $30 worth of copper tubing. Authorities say thieves show up in the middle of the day and look as though they are part of a construction crew. Other times, they will target poorly lit businesses and break down the a/c units at night. They’ve hit small businesses, and even churches in the area, according to police.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that theft of copper wire alone costs Americans $1 billion per year. Authorities say no one should be around a business when it is closed, or an abandoned or foreclosed property. Vigilant public reporting of unusual activity around those types of structures could help prevent copper thefts. Officials say some other keys to deterring copper thieves include making sure the area around air conditioning units is well lit, removing bushes or trees that block the view of air conditioners, and installing cyclone fencing.

Authorities say anyone seeing questionable activity, especially when it involves air conditioning units near vacant or foreclosed structures, should call 9-1-1. If possible, get a description of the people working around the unit, and a detailed vehicle description, including a license plate number.

Pickup and car collide in Red Oak Friday – no injuries


March 31st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County said Saturday, no injuries were reported following a collision between a pickup and a car Friday afternoon, in Red Oak. According to Red Oak Police, a 1995 Chevy pickup driven by 62-year old Valerie Carmona, of Red Oak, was traveling south on Broadway at around 2-p.m., when her vehicle was hit by a 1993 Ford Taurus, driven by 91-year old Esther McHenry, of Red Oak, who was traveling east on Corning Street.

Officials say Carmona claims she had the green light, and proceeded into the intersection, but as she continued into the intersection, the traffic signal turned red. McHenry told authorities she had the green light and proceeded into the intersection, where the collision occurred. Damage from the accident amounted to $1,500. No citations were issued.

Cumberland VFD and Atlantic Food Pantry each receive $2,500 Saturday

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 31st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Representatives with the Cumberland Volunteer Fire Department and the Atlantic Food Pantry received ceremonial checks for $2,500 each over the weekend, as part of a seed company’s contest.

Ruth Steffen (Center, pink jacket) hold a ceremonial $2,500 check for the Cumberland VFD. Representatives with the Dept., including Chief Sean South (on the far left), and the Atlantic Food Pantry along with Bob Sloss (Far right) also appear in the picture. (Ric Hanson/photo)

The checks were presented to CFD Fire Chief Sean South and a representative with the Atlantic Food Pantry’s by Bob Sloss, District Sales Manager for Kruger Seeds, a division of the Monsanto Seed Company, during an event held Saturday evening at the Cumberland Fire Department. Sloss said for the past three-years, Monsanto has sponsored a program called “America’s Farmers Grow Communities.” He said it’s the company’s way of giving back to those communities, whose farmers purchase their products.

In years past, according to Sloss, the company has given one award per county to farmers who have entered their names in a contest. No purchase was necessary. The winners choose a non-profit organization of their choice to receive a check for $2,500. This year, awards are being presented to 1,271 counties in 39 states, and there’s a twist to the monetary amounts being donated. He says because Cass County was in a USDA declared disaster area due to the drought of 2012, the donation doubled to $5,000. Ruth Steffen was the winner in Cass County, and she won the right to choose the recipients of the funds.

Ruth selected the Cumberland Fire Department and Atlantic Food Pantry, each of which received checks for $2,500. Steffen says she selected the Cumberland Volunteer Fire Department because she has had to call them several times over the years, and their assistance has been invaluable. CFD Chief Sean South said they would use their funds to help with the purchase of a new grass rig, which is used to fight grass and other small fires. The truck is currently under construction, and should arrive later this Spring.

He said the 2013 Chevrolet will replace a 1979 Ford grass fire fighting truck that has 124,000 miles on it. That vehicle was purchased used, one-year after it came out of the factory, and was owned by a farmer. The department took sealed bids on their used truck Saturday night, during their Pork Chop Supper, which is their biggest fundraiser of the year. They will continue to receive bids until the new unit arrives. The new truck cost $45,000, and will be equipped with some pieces of equipment from the old truck.  South said they already have the necessary funds to purchase the new truck, and the money raised from Saturday’s supper will help to replenish the funds used from Certificates of Deposit (CD’s) to help pay for the new truck. He said donations such as the one from Ruth Steffen and Monsanto, as well as others, are greatly appreciated.

The Atlantic Food Pantry will use their $2,500 donation to buy basic necessities to help families in need.

State Voter Registration Rule Being Challenged


March 30th, 2013 by Chris Parks

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Opponents are suing to stop a new state rule that allows people to be removed from voter registration rolls if their citizenship is questioned.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and the Iowa League of United Latin American Citizens filed a lawsuit in Polk County District Court on Friday asking a judge to declare the rule illegal.

The rule is backed by Secretary of State Matt Schultz, a Republican. He says the change is needed to reduce voter fraud, which he’s made his key issue since taking office in 2011.

The civil rights groups stopped enactment of a similar emergency rule just before the November general election. But Schultz continued to pursue a permanent rule, which became effective on Wednesday.

Red Oak Disorderly Conduct Arrest


March 30th, 2013 by Chris Parks

The Red Oak Police Department reports the arrest of a Red Oak man on a disorderly conduct charge Saturday (3/30).  23-year-old Zachary Allan Colebank was arrested at a residence on North 8th Street in Red Oak at 2:08pm Saturday.  Colebank is being held at the Montgomery County Jail on $300 cash bond.  No further details are available at this time.

Red Oak Man Arrested on Numerous Charges


March 30th, 2013 by Chris Parks

Red Oak Police report the arrest of 33-year-old Mitchell Robert Deupree of Red Oak on numerous traffic charges at 11:10pm Friday (3/29).

Duepree was then also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia along with traffic charges of driving while suspended, failure to have an SR-22 on file, and no or improper registration.  He was taken to the Montgomery County Jail and was being held on $1,000 bond.

Marijuana Arrest in Adams County


March 30th, 2013 by Chris Parks

A Council Bluffs woman was arrested on a previous warrant in Adams County on Friday.  According to the Adams County Sheriff’s office 32-year-old Brandy Fidler was arrested at 4:30pm Friday on an outstanding warrant for Delivery of a Controlled Substance-Marijuana.  The warrant comes from an incident that occurred in June of 2012 and Fidler was being held on $5,000 cash only bond.