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Vision Iowa Board awards CAT grant to project in Greene County


December 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A small town in west-central Iowa was awarded a 220-thousand dollar ($220,000) state grant Wednesday for the construction of a new community center. Diane Wise has helped lead the fundraising effort in Grand Junction. She says the town’s old community center was shut down this summer. “It had black mold, the ceiling was falling in, the floor was falling in, it was just an old, old building,” Wise said. “It is the center of everything in Grand Junction…and it was closed just because it was no longer useable.” The Vision Iowa Board awarded Grand Junction with a Community Attraction and Tourism grant. The total cost of building the new community center is estimated at one-point-one million dollars ($1.1 million).

Grand Junction - proposed Community Center

Grand Junction – proposed Community Center

The building will house the city hall and council chambers and will include a kitchen, a meeting room, and a larger space to accommodate groups of roughly 200 people. Wise has high hopes for the project’s ability to revitalize the town of 800 people. “We’ve got new businesses approaching us about coming into town and this building is just going to draw more and more to the community,” Wise said. “This is a catalyst to a new community.”

While she’s been the driving force behind the project, the 63-year-old Wise is not even a resident of Grand Junction. Her address is rural Jefferson. Wise’s husband, David, died in 2002. He grew up in Grand Junction and Wise has been pushing for the new community center as a way to honor her late husband. David Wise, a Vietnam War veteran, died of lung cancer likely linked to exposure to Agent Orange.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., Dec. 11th 2014


December 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Aside from increased demand for corn to make food sweeteners and a boost in soybean exports, few adjustments are found in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest crop update. Farmers in 22 states including Iowa and Nebraska expect record corn yields this year as part of the anticipated record 14.41 billion-bushel crop. Soybean farmers expect a record 3.96 billion bushel harvest.

ARLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a 16-year-old has been taken into custody following a bomb threat at a northeast Iowa high school. The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office says the male teenager was taken into custody after a handwritten message about a bomb threat was found Wednesday morning at Starmont High School in Arlington. Authorities did not find any bomb.

DAKOTA CITY, Neb. (AP) — A 23-year-old Iowa man has been convicted of killing a northeast Nebraska woman almost a year ago. The six-day trial ended Tuesday evening when the Dakota County District Court jury found Raymond Gonzales Junior guilty of first-degree murder and a weapons charge.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Residents in a western Iowa city are celebrating the installation of a large steel sculpture on the Missouri River bank. The Daily Nonpareil reports a ceremony was held Tuesday at a Council Bluffs park to mark the installation of “Big Mo” by 81-year-old Mark di Suvero. The nearly 76-feet high piece painted in “spacetime orange” has three legs and two moving parts on top that rotate in opposite directions.

Iowa group wants lawyers to pay $100 annual fee


December 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Legal Aid wants the state’s lawyers to be required to contribute $100 annually to the charity, which represents people with low incomes. Some lawyers say it’s wrong to require such contributions, even to a valuable organization that provides legal services in civil cases. The group’s executive director says the number of people eligible for services has increased by almost 40 percent between 2000 and 2010.

According to a report from Supreme Court staff, the money the nonprofit receives from two big donors has declined. The Des Moines Register reports the mandatory fee could raise $903,400 of about $1.8 million needed to increase the number of staff attorneys.

Eight other states currently require attorneys to pay similar fees.

Ambassadors visit Atlantic High School


December 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Area Chamber Ambassadors visited the Atlantic High School recently, to learn about hands-on programs for students in the Agriculture, Industrial Technology and Culinary Arts departments. Eric Miller, Agricultural Instructor and FFA Advisor at AHS, explained the variety of classes he instructs. Miller instructs two welding classes that are hands-on and take place in the shop located within the school.

Pictured: Dolly Bergmann, JoAnn Runyan, Chelsea Amundson, Matt Alexander, Heather McKay, Connie Wailes, Janet Cappel, Nedra Perry, Rich Perry, Pat McCurdy, Tammy Waters, Sue Muri, Lana Westphalen, Debbie Leistad, Renee Wilson, Home Sweet Home, Crystal Christensen, Julie May, Dr. Keith Leonard, Russell Joyce, Kate Olsen, JoAnne Mueller, Dr. Haley Kickland, Carole Schuler, Melanie Petty, Dr. Jim Kickland, Lucas Mosier, Chip Hansen, Dr. Mitch Peerbolte.

Pictured: Dolly Bergmann, JoAnn Runyan, Chelsea Amundson, Matt Alexander, Heather
McKay, Connie Wailes, Janet Cappel, Nedra Perry, Rich Perry, Pat McCurdy, Tammy
Waters, Sue Muri, Lana Westphalen, Debbie Leistad, Renee Wilson, Home Sweet Home, Crystal Christensen, Julie May, Dr. Keith Leonard, Russell Joyce, Kate Olsen, JoAnne Mueller, Dr. Haley Kickland, Carole Schuler, Melanie Petty, Dr. Jim Kickland, Lucas Mosier, Chip Hansen, Dr. Mitch Peerbolte.

Miller also instructs Ag Processes, a course focused on turning livestock and crops into food, Ag Business, and Agronomy. Ambassadors were also educated on student projects taking place in Industrial Technology by Mr. Derek Bair – Industrial Tech Instructor and Culinary Arts by Mrs. Meryl Hopper-Henningsen, Culinary Arts Instructor.

Iowa Finance Authority Awards more than $7.3 million to 27 Local Housing Trust Funds to Move Local Affordable Housing Priorities Forward


December 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

(DES MOINES) – The Iowa Finance Authority Board of Directors today (Wednesday) approved a total of more than $7.3 million in grants to 27 Local Housing Trust Funds to support local affordable housing initiatives, which will assist 2,336 Iowa families.

In the KJAN listening area, the following entities received grants:

  • The Council Bluffs Housing Trust Fund, Inc. – $180,234, for the City of Council Bluffs.
  • Council of Governments Housing, Inc. – $283,273. Area served: Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Greene, Guthrie and Sac Counties.
  • Southern Iowa COG Housing Trust Fund – $275,217; Area served: Adair, Adams, Clarke, Decatur, Madison, Ringgold, Taylor and Union Counties
  • Southwest Iowa Housing Trust Fund, Inc. – $350,669; Area served: Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie (excluding the city of Council Bluffs) and Shelby Counties.

The funding is provided from the State Housing Trust Fund’s Local Housing Trust Fund program. Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Dave Jamison says  “The Iowa Legislature created the Local Housing Trust Fund program to allow certified Local Housing Trust Funds the ability to efficiently fulfill unique local affordable housing needs throughout the state and these awards will do just that. The grants are leveraging an additional $4.1 million in local contributions, which is a testament to the shared dedication of meeting these vital needs.”

The grant funds will be used for initiatives such as preserving aging housing stock, subsidizing local down payment assistance programs, providing low-interest loans or grants to assist Iowans in home rehabilitation, financing construction of new single-family housing for low-income Iowans and supporting housing for persons with disabilities and homeless assistance programs.

Five New Containers Across State to Help Combat Clandestine Labs


December 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Des Moines, IOWA – The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Division of Narcotics Enforcement (DNE) continues to be a leader in illegal narcotics investigations.  With the help of the DEA, five new large containers have been installed and strategically placed across the state, where methamphetamine production is more prevalent.ContainerPic The containers are 7’x7’x9’ and include an exhaust system and are under 24/7 supervision and in locked and secured areas.  The containers are housed at the following locations:

  • Montrose, Iowa
  • Clinton, Iowa
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Council Bluffs, Iowa

DEA requires that all law enforcement officers utilizing these containers have a minimum 40 hour clandestine lab certification and complete a 3-day DEA container course. All local agencies that have signed agreements with the DNE will have to follow the DEA and DNE protocols to be able to utilize the container located nearest to them.

The Iowa DNE recognizes the extremely toxic chemicals with methamphetamine labs pose a serious safety risk to the public. These containers allow for safe disposal, greatly minimizing the safety risks to the public.

The Iowa DNE also recognizes the growing concern of local agencies and task forces across the state meeting budgets and having to deal with the costs of disposing of methamphetamine laboratories.  To properly dispose of methamphetamine labs, it can cost several thousands of dollars per lab. For this reason, the Iowa DNE felt these containers would be a great resource to our law enforcement partners and take the burden off of Iowa taxpayers.

“We greatly value our partnership with our local agencies and task forces, and the work they do to bring an end to illegal narcotics in our state.  Safety of the citizens of our state is our number one priority. With these containers in place, the DNE, along with local agencies, will be able to safely and properly dispose of all materials from Clandestine Labs, and they’ll be able to do that at no cost,” stated Paul Feddersen, Assistant Director of the Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Iowa Department of Public Safety.

The Iowa DNE is eager for this continued partnership with the DEA and Iowa law enforcement agencies as we work together to reduce Clandestine Labs and illegal narcotics in our state.

More containers may be placed across the state in the future, after the five initial containers are evaluated.

2 injured when semi driver falls asleep and crashes in Adair County


December 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The driver and a passenger in a semi tractor trailer were injured this (Wednesday) morning, when the rig entered a ditch of Interstate 80 in Adair County, and crashed into an embankment. The Iowa State Patrol said 41-year old Alan Martin Johnson, of Milwaukee, WI, was traveling west on I-80 at around 7:50-a.m. about 4-miles east of Adair, when he fell asleep at the wheel of the 2014 Freightliner semi.

The truck left the road and entered the north ditch. It continued down the ditch, jumped a deep creek and crashed head-on into the embankment. Johnson, who was wearing a seat belt, and a passenger in the cab, 51-year old Rigoberto Deleon Quiles, of Chicago, who was not buckled-in, were trapped in the vehicle, and had to be freed by mechanical means.

Johnson was transported to the Adair County Hospital in Greenfield by Adair Fire and Rescue. Quiles was taken by Stuart Rescue to Mercy Hospital, in Des Moines. A report on their conditions is not available.

2015 Sponsor Program will help fund Emergency Management in Adair & Guthrie Counties again in 2015


December 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

For a third year, members of the private sector (business & industry) in Adair & Guthrie Counties are joining with the public sector (city and county governments) to support the budget needs of the Adair & Guthrie County Emergency Management Programs. Adair & Guthrie County Emergency Management Coordinator, Robert Kempf says, “Emergency Preparedness is not just the responsibility of our local governments. Emergency Management and Preparedness are a team sport; everyone has a part to play. The participation by the private sector is critical to accomplishing our planning and response goals and objectives.”

Kemp said “We have large areas in our counties that are not covered by storm sirens, our emergency notification system provide timely and address specific weather warning information to residents that have signed up.” Officials can also send out emergency information based on geographical location about evacuations & shelter in place incidents, drinking water issues and resource needs during a major disaster. Individuals and Businesses can sign up landline phones, cell phones, text messaging and email addresses as ways to receive emergency information.

The agencies maintain a Hazardous Materials Response Contract to help provide response information and assistance to emergency responders and industry in the case of a chemical spill or leak.  According to Kempf, “Our emergency services cannot afford the equipment and training required to maintain a local hazardous materials team. Our contract with the Council Bluffs Fire Department allows our first responders 24/7 access to the information and expertise that might be needed for this type of incident.”

The Emergency Management Program provides preparedness and recovery information to the public in many ways throughout the year. Kempf said ” We have a booth at both county fairs with information available to speak to different civic groups and business throughout the year”.

The Sponsorship Program includes four support levels: Bronze up to $100.00, Silver up to $250.00, Gold up to $500.00 and Platinum over $500.00.

The 2014 Sponsors included:
Bronze Sponsors: Adair Feed & Grain of Adair, 21st Century Coop of Fontanelle & Greenfield, Guthrie County State Bank of Guthrie Center & Panora and Union State Bank of Bridgewater & Greenfield
Silver Sponsor: West Central Coop of Adair, Casey & Guthrie Center
Gold Sponsors: Adair County Health Systems, First National Bank of Fontanelle & Greenfield, Guthrie County Public Health
Platinum Sponsor: Lake Panorama Association

Any businesses, industry or groups in Adair & Guthrie Counties that would like to learn more about the program or become a sponsor or would like a presentation about preparedness can contact Kempf at 641-332-3030 or gcema@hotmail.com.

Tough choices ahead for pair of SW Iowa school districts following failed merger


December 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The leader of the regional agency serving southwest Iowa public schools says the Farragut and Hamburg districts are facing major decisions. A proposal for merging the two small districts failed a little over week ago. Green Hills Area Education Agency Chief Administrator Lane Plugge says the two districts will be asking state administrators for extra spending authority or they’ll need to make drastic cuts.

“In fact, the workout plan in Farragut talks about reducing half of their certified staff and they also are having some corrective action plans for an accreditation visit, and there’ll be a follow-up one after the first of the year,” Plugge said.

Even though the merger, designed to create a new district with more than 300 students, fell seven votes short of passing — Hamburg and Farragut are continuing whole grade sharing. A recount of the votes is scheduled for Thursday.

(Radio Iowa)

Early winter could mean more cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder in Iowa


December 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Cold weather rolled into Iowa weeks early this fall and lingered, forcing many people indoors much sooner than usual. Kevin Gabbert, a social worker and counselor at the Iowa Department of Public Health, says being deprived of exposure to the sun can bring on the blues and make people feel moody and lethargic. Gabbert says the early onset of winter -may- bring an uptick in cases of SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder.  “It really kind of depends,” Gabbert says. “If it’s a longer winter, if there’s less sunlight, those types of things tend to play a role in SAD and we could experience more cases. It’s a little early for us to say yet.”

On the plus side, Gabbert says a little counseling can go a long ways for SAD sufferers. “Talking about what’s going on with you, talking about your feelings,” Gabbert says. “It may be to the point where counseling would be beneficial. For those symptoms that are a little more advanced, it may be something you want to talk about with your physician. It may be that medication would be beneficial for you. Also, light therapy or phototherapy could be very helpful as well.”

Dr. David Towle, a Cedar Falls psychologist and director of the University of Northern Iowa Counseling Center, says light therapy is a simple solution that really helps some people get through the Midwestern winter.  “We typically think about exposure of about 30 minutes per day of a full spectrum light,” Dr. Towle says. “Often, people will get up in the morning and sit and read the newspaper, listen to the radio, drink their coffee, and sit in front of a light for 20 or 30 minutes and that’s a pretty effective intervention.”

Towle says another option is what’s called “negative air ionization,” which uses a device like an air purifier.  “It is like that and it’s something that people use while they’re sleeping,” Towle says. “It seems not to be quite as effective as the full-spectrum light exposure but it’s pretty effective for a lot of people.”

Studies find that between ten and 20-percent of Americans report feeling tired or sad when there are fewer hours of daylight during the winter months.

(Radio Iowa)