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New Wastewater Superintendent to begin work in Atlantic

News

January 18th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic City Administrator Doug Harris says while’s been busy working on the Fiscal Year 2013 budget, he’s also been working to fill the City’s Wastewater Superintendent position, which was created by the announcement last year, current Superintendent George Evans would be retiring this year, effective February 29th. Harris announced at Wednesday night’s City Council meeting, the position has been filled. Harris says he’s hired Mark Farrier, who’s worked for the past 5-years as treatment plant operator in North Liberty, IA.

Farrier has a Grade 3 Treatment Plant license and a Grade 2 Collection System license. He has attended the University of Iowa. Ferrier and his wife have three children, whom they home school. Harris says an extensive process was undertaken to screen applicants for the Wastewater Superintendent’s position. Farrier will begin his duties on February 27th.

Teacher evaluation changes concern Iowa lawmakers

News

January 18th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Some Iowa lawmakers are concerned about details of the governor’s education reform plan. During a House Education subcommittee meeting Wednesday evening, lawmakers were particularly concerned about how teachers would be evaluated under the bill from Gov. Terry Branstad. Representatives agreed teachers should be evaluated annually as the bill calls for, rather than the current minimum of every three years. But they questioned how administrators struggling to keep up with their workload would do that, and what those evaluations would consist of. The committee got to just four sections of the 17-section bill during the two-hour meeting. The committee will continue discussion of the legislation Monday morning. Committee Chairman Greg Forristall, a Macedonia Republican, hopes to bring the bill before the full committee on Feb. 15th.

Atlantic City Council to take bids on CIP’s

News

January 18th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday, set February 15th as the date for a public hearing on bids to be received for several Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) valued at just over $4-million. In the plan, $3.4 million dollars will be spent on streets, while almost $634,000 is budgeted for the Parks and REC Department. The move followed a public hearing on the details of those projects, which include Hot Melt Asphalt (HMA) resurfacing on specific roads, Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) paving and Storm Sewer work, PCC patching on Linda Drive and 14th/Olive Streets, and work on the City Park sidewalk project, Phase 2. Snyder and Associates Engineer Dave Sturm ran down the list of roads residents can expect to see crews working on this Summer. The first part covered the various concrete projects.

They include: 22nd Street, from Chestnut to Palm [widening of pavement w/granular shoulder]; 1 block each of Hickory, Cedar and Locust Streets [complete reconstruction w/storm sewers added]; the addition of a storm sewer to Laural Street, from 7th to 8th; and curb and gutter work on 8th Street, between Laural and Palm. Sturm said the HMA work covers 15 sections of town, and involves minor patching, curb repairs, milling in some locations, and asphalt overlay: Birch, from 4th to 7th St.; Chestnut St., from 7th to 18th St.; 18th Street, Chestnut to Bryn Mahr; Cass Avenue; Waddell Dr.; Oak St., from 4th to 7th, and from Ridge Rd. to 21st; 17th St., from Olive to Lomas Circle, including the cul-de-sac; Mulberry St., from 9th to 10th St.; Lois Circle cul-de-sac by Redwood Dr.; Pine Street, from 3rd to 7th; 11th St., from Linn to Olive; 3rd St., from Walnut to Pine; Hazel St., from 3rd to 9th; & Elm St., from 3rd to 9th.

A storm sewer will also be added on Elm Street, near Akin Building Center. Sturm said plans for all projects should be ready to submit to contractors by sometime next week, with bids being opened on February 15th, prior to the public hearing on that date. He said the contractors for those projects will be required to begin work no later than June 1st, but regardless of when they start, there will be a deadline for completion, which by DOT standards, is no more than 50 days.

Engineer Ken Coffman, of Atlantic, talked about the projects he’s in charge of overseeing, including the milling of asphalt on 29th Street, from Highway 6 just to the west of Palm Street, and the overlaying of hot melt asphalt. His other projects include the City Park sidewalk, Phase 2, which involves the widening of the northwest spoke, from 4-to 6-feet, the replacement of the west sidewalk with a two-foot wider sidewalk, along with necessary grading, and patch work on the southwest spoke, which is already 6-feet wide.  There will also be seeding done on a portion of the City Park which wasn’t done after last year’s sidewalk work was finished.

Another project, is a PCC patching project which covers 14th St. and Linda Drive, and from Olive St. to Roosevelt. Some sewer intakes in that area will also be replaced. And, PCC patch work is scheduled to take place on Olive Street, from about the KJAN studios on south, to near the north side of the Troublesome Creek bridge, as well as from just south of the bridge, to about Commerce Street. Traffic lights will be in-place once work begins to control through traffic on Olive. Work on Coffman’s portion of the CIP projects is slated to begin no later than April 2nd.

City Administrator Doug Harris said they won’t have a good idea on what the total cost of the projects will be, until the bids are received, but if there’s enough money left over from the bonding and other funds for those projects, other street repairs and/or projects that were scheduled for upcoming years, could be moved forward.

Capital Improvement Projects in Atlantic will likely mean an increase in tax rate

News

January 18th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic City Administrator Doug Harris says the various, proposed Capital Improvement Projects the City hopes to have completed this year, will mean an increase in the tax rate, by as much as 35-cents per thousand dollars valuation, or about 2%. Most of the projects will be paid for through the issuance of bonds, while others will come out of the Local Option Sales Tax.

He says the City is looking at a $3.9-million bond issue. It was hoped the bonds could be paid for with “modest increases in the tax rate,” but the final figures aren’t yet known. It could add 12-cents to the tax rate, or as much as a 35-cent tax rate increase. The issuance of bonds, according to Harris, would account for about one-third of that increase.

Harris said the City needs to catch-up on backlogs to the repair of the streets, but he says they understand “These are difficult times, and people can’t afford to catch everything up.”  He says the City will do the most modest repairs possible, without putting undue pressure on the tax rate, yet keep it well within or below what it was in 2005.

Snow & bitterly cold air to surge into the area overnight!

News, Weather

January 18th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT/NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DES MOINES IA/ 356 PM CST WED JAN 18 2012

Counties: CRAWFORD-CARROLL-GREENE-BOONE-STORY-MARSHALL-TAMA-AUDUBON-GUTHRIE-DALLAS-POLK-JASPER-POWESHIEK-CASS-ADAIR-MADISON-WARREN-MARION-MAHASKA-CLARKE-LUCAS-MONROE-WAPELLO-WAYNE-APPANOOSE-DAVIS…

…BIG CHANGES HEADED FOR IOWA TONIGHT AND THURSDAY…

A WEATHER SYSTEM WILL PASS ACROSS THE AREA TONIGHT AND PRODUCE A BAND OF LIGHT SNOW BETWEEN THE HIGHWAY 20 AND INTERSTATE 80 CORRIDORS. AT THIS POINT IT APPEARS SNOWFALL AMOUNTS WILL BE AN INCH OR LESS BETWEEN HIGHWAY 30 AND INTERSTATE 80. THE BIGGER STORY WILL BE THE COLD AIR SURGING INTO THE STATE LATE TONIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY. LOWS WILL FALL INTO THE SINGLE DIGITS WITH SOME VERY COLD WIND CHILLS. PEOPLE WAKING UP THURSDAY MORNING WILL BE IN FOR A SURPRISE WITH A NORTH WIND AT 15 TO 25 MPH…AN INCH OF SNOW ON THE GROUND AND TEMPERATURES ABOUT 20 DEGREES COLDER THAN TODAY.

Counties…ADAMS-UNION-TAYLOR-RINGGOLD-DECATUR-

AT THIS POINT IT APPEARS THAT SOUTHERN IOWA WILL SEE FLURRIES TO A FEW TENTHS OF AN INCH. THE BIGGER STORY WILL BE THE COLD AIR SURGING INTO THE STATE LATE TONIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY. LOWS WILL FALL INTO THE 5 TO 10 DEGREES ABOVE ZERO RANGE WITH SOME VERY COLD WIND CHILLS. PEOPLE WAKING UP THURSDAY MORNING WILL BE IN FOR A SURPRISE WITH A NORTH WIND AT 15 TO 25 MPH…FLURRIES IN THE AIR AND TEMPERATURES ABOUT 20 DEGREES COLDER THAN TODAY.

Supervisor: Council Bluffs levees won’t be ready

News

January 18th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A Pottawattamie County supervisor says he believes repairs on the levee system north of Council Bluffs won’t be ready before spring. Supervisor Scott Belt told the board Tuesday that “there’s no way.” The levees had about a dozen breeches during summer flooding on the Missouri River. County Engineer John Rasmussen says the Federal Emergency Management Agency says in order for the county to get reimbursed for repairs, the county has to prove ownership of the levees or show a record of maintenance. Neither can be done, so that request has been scrapped. The county is now turning its attention to developing a levee district to deal with repairs. A report is expected next week.

Iowa receives $5.6M in farm-flood recover funds

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 18th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa will receive $5.6 million in agriculture disaster funds to help farmers recover from flooding along the Missouri River. The funds were part of $310 million in USDA funds announced Wednesday by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. About 200,000 acres of Iowa farmland were affected by last summer’s Missouri River flooding. Officials say the aid will help remove debris and sand left behind when the floodwaters receded. Rich Sims, state conservationist with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Des Moines, says one farmer spent $100,000 for a bulldozer to remove sand from 100 acres of land. He says the funds announced Wednesday may not seem like much but it’s only one part of a funding stream available to producers and that every little bit helps.

2 minor accidents reported in Atlantic, Tuesday

News

January 18th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Police in Atlantic cited two persons for Failure to Yield, following investigations into two separate accidents, Tuesday. Officials say at around 10-a.m., vehicle driven by Sandra Meis, of Lewis, and Allen Gaines, of Atlantic, collided at the intersection of 10th and Plum Streets, after Meis failed to yield to Gaines’ vehicle. Meis was cited for Failure to Yield upon entering a highway. Damage from the accident amounted to $4,000.

The second accident happened at around 1-p.m., Tuesday. Officials say Tiffany Hansen, of Atlantic, was cited for Failure to Yield while making a left turn, after her vehicle collided with one driven by Marchelle England, of Audubon. The accident happened on Highway 6 (7th Street), at the intersection with Hospital Drive. Damage from the mishap amounted to $2,600.

No one was injured in either accident.

Audit finds Improper disbursements in Taylor County town

News

January 18th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A State audit of the Taylor County Community of Conway shows there were more than $32,500 in questionable payments made to the former City Clerk. The report released today by State Auditor David Vaudt covers the period October 24th, 2002 through March 8th, 2011. The special investigation was requested by City officials as a result of alleged misappropriations of City funds by former City Clerk Nicole Paul. Vaudt said the special investigation identified $32,575.47 of improper and unsupported disbursements.

Improper disbursements amounting to just under $32,100 include just over $19,900 worth of payroll and reimbursements issued to Nicole Paul. The improper disbursements also include slightly more than $4,000 in checks Paul allegedly issued from the City’s checking account for cash and money orders, nearly $7,500 worth of checks issued for other improper disbursements, and almost $673 worth of late fees. The unsupported disbursements of approximately $491 were payments issued to various vendors.

Vaudt reported it was not possible to determine if additional amounts were improperly disbursed or if any collections were not properly deposited because adequate records for disbursements and receipts were not available. The report includes recommendations to strengthen the City’s internal controls and overall operations, such as improving segregation of duties, performing bank reconciliations, requiring adequate documentation to support disbursements and performing an independent review of bank statements.

In addition, Vaudt recommended all disbursements be approved by the City Council and the City adopt a policy for purchases which may not meet the test of public purpose, such as flowers and bakery items. Copies of the report have been filed with the Taylor County Attorney’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office and the Division of Criminal Investigation.

Disturbance leads to tasering in Shenandoah

News

January 18th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Police Officers in Shenandoah deployed a Taser against a man this (Wednesday) morning, after he allegedly became combative. The Shenandoah P-D says 28-year-old Seth Rogers was arrested on a charge of interference with official acts, in connection with an alleged disturbance in the 300 block of South Iowa Street. 

Authorities say when Rogers allegedly became combative with Officers Steve Mather and Nephi Jones, Mather deployed his Taser, and soon after took Rogers into custody. He  was released from custody after posting $300 bond.