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Atlantic may have to return more than $183,800 in CDBG funds

News

January 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic may be forced to refund to the State more than $183, 800 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds it received for the rehabilitation of 13 homes, because the full grant amount from has not yet been spent. That was the word during Wednesday night’s City Council meeting, from SWIPCO (Southwest Iowa Planning Council) representative Dave Riedemann.

In his status update, Riedemann said the City received a $484,500 grant last year for the rehab program. The City contributed in-kind funds amounting to $26,000, for a total amount of funds available, of $510,500. So far all but $183, 809 has been spent. Eight of the 13 homes have been completed, with the remaining five in various stages of completion. Riedemann said SWIPCO has requesting an extension from the State for a six-month extension and permission to rehab three additional homes, because there will be leftover funds amounting from about $115-to 125-thousand dollars.

That would bring the total number of homes assisted to 16, if the State grants permission for the City to do so. Riedemann says up until this past Monday, that seemed like a sure thing. He says a similar extension was asked for in Shenandoah, but it was denied, which Riedemann says was “A first” for SWIPCO. He said “Things are tightening-up at the State level and changes have been made in how the CDBG program is implemented. Some of the changes will apparently be “retroactively applied.”

He says he’s hopeful that the State will grant a time extension for expenditure of the funds and completion of three more homes, but that’s hard to predict. The funds must be used by the end of April. If not, more than $100,000 will have to be returned to the State. Regardless, Riedemann said the original 13 houses will be completed as planned. HUD says SWIPCO can’t expend overall more than $37,500 per house, including lead abatement. Hard costs cannot exceed $25,000 if there is no lead removal needed.

Most of the work involves the installation of vinyl siding to enclose lead-based paint, vinyl replacement windows for energy efficiency, high efficiency furnaces and air conditioning, updated electrical and plumbing, and special needs alterations as needed and funds allow.

2014 City of Atlantic Street Improvement Program will cost $945k

News

January 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Following a study by Snyder and Associates Engineers firm in Atlantic of street conditions in the city, Street Superintendent Derald Andersen and Snyder’s Dave Sturm created a list of priorities for fixing the worst streets. City Administrator Doug Harris told the City Council during their meeting Wednesday night, there are six sections of streets in the proposed improvement program, which need to have an asphalt overlay this year, and one section needs to be reconstructed. The plan also calls for the seal-coating of 52 blocks of streets.

Harris says without seal-coating, the road surface begins to oxidize and water seeps into the cracks, which causes the road to quickly deteriorate. He says the City doesn’t have the money to just “Let the roads go and then rebuild them.” Therefore the plan is to use a new process to “micro-seal” 10 blocks and see how effective that is. The roads selected for the micro-seal, should be good for 10-years before milling and an overlay is needed. Harris said the cost of the Street Improvement Projects this year amounts to $945,000.

He said the City has options when it comes to bidding-out the overlay projects. He said the because current contract the City has with PCS Concrete and its asphalt subcontractor Henningsen Construction is not yet complete, the City could ask for a “Change Order” which allows the price to be held, but the engineering for the added projects would need to be done. Harris expects to gather additional information for presentation to the Council during their next meeting, and a possible vote.

During his report to the Council, Harris was asked by Mayor Dave Jones, if there would be a sewer rate increase this year, to which Harris replied “No.”

8AM Newscast 01-23-2014

News, Podcasts

January 23rd, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

AHST & Walnut Schools announce Whole Grade Sharing begins next fall

News

January 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the AHST Community School District have announced AHST and the Walnut Community School District will officially begin Whole Grade Sharing of grades 7-through 12 beginning in the fall of 2014. The Walnut School Board approved the 4-year sharing agreement at their regularly scheduled meeting this past Monday. The AHST Board approved the same agreement during their meeting on Wednesday.

The process of Whole Grade Sharing began in Sept. 2013, when both districts passed a resolution to enter into negotiations for sharing. Following  a a period of public comment, a draft Whole Grade Sharing agreement was presented in Dec. 2013, during separate public hearings to patrons of both districts.

All students in grades 7-through 12 will be served at the AHST secondary school. The name of the secondary for extracurricular activities will be AHSTW. The mascot will be the Vikings and Lady Vikes, with the colors remaining blue, red and white. Walnut will reimburse AHST for 80-percent of the district cost per pupil by the state, to educate their resident students.

AHST also approved the expansion of programs and staff. Next year, the AHSTW secondary will have a full-time Agricultural Education and Industrial Technology program. AHST is also adding a full-time TAG (Talented And Gifted) program teacher, a secondary Language Arts teachers, a Student Services Coordinator, as well as increasing staff in the Special Education and Title 1 departments.

Persons with questions about the Whole Grade Sharing agreement may contact AHST/Walnut Community School District Superintendent Jesse Ulrich.

(8-a.m. News)

7AM Newscast 01-23-2014

News, Podcasts

January 23rd, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

USDA Report 01-23-2014

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 23rd, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Denny Heflin

Play

Many Iowa, Nebraska schools delay openings

News

January 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Subzero cold and chilling winds have forced many Iowa and Nebraska schools to cancel classes or delay opening by a couple of hours.  The National Weather Service says temperatures across Iowa on Thursday morning were as low as minus 12 in Mason City, with a wind chill of minus 37. In Davenport the wind chill was minus 29. In Sioux City the wind chill was minus 26 around 6 a.m. A wind chill of minus 25 was reported for Des Moines.

You can find a list of school late starts on kjan.com. Under the “Community Hub” on the right side of the home page, click on “Cancellations.”

Van rollover on Cass-Aud. County line Thursday

News

January 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

No serious injuries were reported following a rollover accident near the Cass-Audubon County line early this morning.

Photo courtesy Mike Kennon - Cass County Emergency Management

Photo courtesy Mike Kennon – Cass County Emergency Management

According to dispatch reports at 4:10-a.m., a Dodge van carrying five people rolled onto its side off of 710th Street, near the “Tree in the Middle of the Road” landmark, a few miles north of Interstate 80.

Two adults and three children, ages 3, 4 & 5 were outside the van and conscious, but cold. Anita Rescue and a Cass County Sheriff’s deputy responded to the scene. One of the adults and the three children were transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital for evaluation.

Authorities say the driver of the van was charged with Driving While Revoked, with additional charges pending. The driver’s name has not yet been released.

NWS forecast for Cass & area Counties: 1/23/14

News

January 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

346 AM CST THU JAN 23 2014

…WIND CHILL ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON CST TODAY…

EARLY THIS MORNING…CLEAR. BITTERLY COLD. NORTHWEST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH. WIND CHILL READINGS 20 BELOW TO 30 BELOW ZERO.

TODAY…SUNNY. VERY COLD. HIGH 5 TO 10 ABOVE. NORTHWEST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH. LOWEST WIND CHILL READINGS 20 BELOW TO 30 BELOW ZERO IN THE MORNING.

TONIGHT…MOSTLY CLEAR. BREEZY. NOT AS COLD. LOW ZERO TO 5 ABOVE. SOUTHWEST WIND 5 TO 10 MPH INCREASING TO 10 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS TO AROUND 30 MPH AFTER MIDNIGHT.

FRIDAY…MOSTLY SUNNY UNTIL LATE AFTERNOON THEN BECOMING MOSTLY CLOUDY. BREEZY. MUCH WARMER. HIGH IN THE LOWER 40S. SOUTHWEST WIND 15 TO 25 MPH.

FRIDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLOUDY. A 50 PERCENT CHANCE OF LIGHT RAIN THROUGH MIDNIGHT. BREEZY. NOT AS COLD. LOW IN THE LOWER 30S. NORTHWEST WIND 15 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS TO AROUND 30 MPH.

SATURDAY…PARTLY SUNNY. HIGH IN THE MID 30S. NORTHWEST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS TO AROUND 25 MPH.

SUNDAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A 20 PERCENT CHANCE OF SNOW. BREEZY. HIGH IN THE UPPER 30S.

Iowa News Headlines: Thu., Jan. 23rd 2014

News

January 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Senate panel is giving preliminary backing to a bill that would exempt military pensions from the state income tax. A Senate subcommittee approved the legislation during a brief hearing yesterday. The military pension exemption is a top priority for Republican Governor Terry Branstad, who has made support for veterans a key part of his budget plan this year.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Former residents and employees of the Iowa Juvenile Home testified before a legislative panel and urged lawmakers to support a measure that would force officials to reopen the facility that closed last week. Those testifying Wednesday before the Senate Human Resources Committee told lawmakers they tried to create a safe environment for teens at the Toledo, Iowa home which closed January 15th.

AMES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Board of Regents is appealing a district court’s decision to reinstate Iowa State basketball player Bubu Palo to the team. The Des Moines Register reports the Iowa Attorney General’s Office filed a motion yesterday on behalf of the board that seeks an immediate stay of a Webster County district judge’s recent order to let Palo rejoin the team.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Nik Stauskas scored 26 points, and Number 21 Michigan held off 10th ranked Iowa 75-67 last night to remain unbeaten in the Big Ten. Aaron White scored 14 of Iowa’s points in a row down the stretch, but it wasn’t enough to rally the Hawkeyes from an 11-point deficit.