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Missouri River levee fails in southwest Iowa

News

June 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

PERCIVAL, Iowa (AP) – Authorities are reporting that a Missouri River levee has failed near Percival in southwest Iowa. The National Weather Service says the breach occurred Thursday morning a mile northwest of Percival in Fremont County.

Local emergency officials told the weather service that the breach is expected to flood only previously evacuated areas between Interstate 29 and the river. Percival sits just east of the interstate.

National Weather Service forecaster Josh Boustead says the breach was discovered after the river level downstream at Nebraska City dropped about 6 inches this morning to 27.6 feet. The breach occurred shortly before 4 a.m. Boustead says the breach was roughly 100-to-150-feet-wide Thursday morning.

Percival is about 16 miles northwest of Hamburg, which had to build a secondary levee earlier this month after earlier breaches.

Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce Director resigns

News

June 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Ann McCurdy

The Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce’ Board of Directors is expected to begin the search for a new Chamber Executive Director. The move follows word today that current Executive Director Ann McCurdy has tendered her resignation, effective at the end of July. McCurdy started with the Chamber in 2006, and was named Executive Director in 2007.

She says there’s no particular reason for her resignation, other than to have a “happier, healthier lifestyle,” and spend more time with her kids. She intends to be a “full-time mom” to her three children, ages 5, 3 and six-months old.

Her husband, John McCurdy, is a Community Development Specialist for SWIPCO (The Southwest Iowa Planning Council). Ann says he fully supports her decision. Ann says she’s enjoyed her time spent as Chamber Director, and is looking forward to seeing who her replacement will be.

Cass Co. BOS passes NW sewer/water extension resolution

News

June 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors have adopted a resolution relating to the financing of proposed water and sewer projects to be undertaken by the County. The action came during their meeting this (Thursday) morning, in Atlantic. Auditor Dale Sunderman said the resolution was drafted and approved by bonding attorney Bob Josten.

He says in order for the county to maintain its tax exempt status and be able to repay some of the upfront financing costs associated with the mobilization of the project before the General Obligation bonds are issued and the cash is in-hand, the Resolution maintains the county can repay the fund monies are borrowed from.

The maximum amount of bonds the county can issue for the water and sewer improvement project northwest of Atlantic is $560,000, but the actual amount has not yet been determined, and may be as much as $30,000 less.

To date, no County funds have been allocated on a long-term basis or otherwise set aside to provide permanent financing for expenditures associated with the project, which would connect the City of Atlantic’s water and sewer system to a 50-acre area owned by CADCO (The Cass-Atlantic Development Corporation), near where the defunct Amaizing Energy ethanol plant was to have been located.

In other business, the Cass County Supervisors voted to re-appoint Terry Rutherford, of Atlantic, to the Cass County Commission of Veterans Affairs for a term of three-years, based on a recommendation by the Commission and the fact Rutherford has served on the Commission for several years.

Cass Supervisors approve 1 pay raise, deny 2 others

News

June 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisor’s today (Thursday) approved a wage adjustment for one county department assistant and denied raises to two others. The board approved a request proposed in December by County Attorney Dan Feistner, for Assistant Stacey Platt. Platt has been with his office for nearly three-years.

Monies for her wage increase will come from the Delinquent Fines and Fees account, and will not affect his budget or what the tax payers contribute to her salary. Her pay will increase $260 per pay period.

The board denied a request by General Assistance/Mental Health Coordinator Teresa Kanning, for wage adjustments to the salaries of her assistants Debbie Schuler and Vicki Adams. If approved, Schuler’s pay would have increased $102 per pay period, while Adams’ would have increased slightly more than $196 per pay period.

Supervisor Chuck Kinen said he was opposed to the wage adjustment because the board had already approved a two-percent across the board increase earlier in the year, and because the board had agreed not to provide middle of the year increases in salaries.

Kanning told Kinen the issue was discussed during a budget work session, and she was instructed to present her proposal at the beginning of the Fiscal year. Kinen said the increases are “completely out of line.” Kanning said the increase would have brought her staff up to the same rate of pay as others who perform similar tasks in the courthouse are receiving.

Kanning said she has approached the board many times over the past few years asking for an increase in her assistant’s pay, especially for Schuler, who was required to have, and does hold, a college degree. Schuler has worked for Kanning for the past seven-years.

Kinen said people should be more concerned about having a job than how much they are going to make, to which Kanning replied neither of her assistants were aware she was making the request on their behalf. Because a motion to approved the wage increase for Adams died for lack of a second, Kanning left the Board room. The supervisors then failed to approve an increase for Schuler when there was no second to the motion.

Supervisor Mark Wedemeyer said the board should make note of the pay requests and have them equalized by January 1st. Kinen said later, it doesn’t make sense for the assistants to be paid more than their director, in any department.

9AM Newscast 06-30-2011

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June 30th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Morning Announcer Chris Parks

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8AM Newscast 06-30-2011

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June 30th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ News Director Ric Hanson

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7AM Newscast 06-30-2011

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June 30th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ News Director Ric Hanson

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Legislators expect to meet looming deadline

News

June 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Lawmakers spent most of Wednesday grinding away on just a couple of issues, delaying the final adjournment of the 2011 legislative session until sometime today (Thursday). They’re close to the deadline for approving a state budget plan, as the new state budget year begins Friday. The six-month-long effort to strike a deal between the two parties on property tax reform was abandoned Wednesday and legislators focused solely on the final details of the state budget. Senator Bob Dvorsky, a Democrat from Coralville, is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“We have a good group of senators and house members who really worked at it,” Dvorsky says. “And once people of good faith sat down, we were able to move some things forward.” Representative Scott Raecker, a Republican from Urbandale, is the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

“It has taken a long time this year,” Raecker says. “But I believe the end result will be something that people will walk out of the capitol knowing that they did an exceptional job and Iowans will be very proud of the budget that’s been delivered.” A huge budget bill cleared both the Senate and House last night before lawmakers adjourned for the evening. But property tax reform has fallen off the to-do list. Republicans like Senate G-O-P Leader Paul McKinley of Chariton blame Democrats for failing to pass the property tax cut Republican Governor Terry Branstad has been pushing. Democrats like Senator Joe Bolkcom, of Iowa City, fault Republicans for failing to embrace the significantly different property tax relief plan Democrats devised.

The two parties did strike an agreement on education spending, approving a status quo spending plan for K-through-12 schools for the next academic year and a two percent increase in the following year. The House and Senate are scheduled to return to the statehouse this morning (Thursday) to take action on two final bills, including the legislation that has been at the center of the latest abortion fight. Lawmakers faced a looming deadline for final approval of the budget, as the new state fiscal year begins July 1st. One of the two bills scheduled to approval today (Thursday) would ensure the governor has the authority to keep state government operating before he gives his formal approval to each of the budget bills. The governor will have 30 days to review the bills, and he could use his item veto authority on some individual spending items.

(O.Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)

Legislators find “middle ground” on education budget

News

June 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

After a protracted stand-off over state spending on schools, the two political parties have agreed to a status quo level of state aid to K-through-12 public schools for the school year that begins this fall. However, the agreement calls for two percent more in per-pupil state aid in the following year. Representative Cecil Dolecheck, a Republican from Mount Ayr, helped craft the final deal. “It’s a compromise that’s pretty close to middle ground,” Dolecheck says.

Republicans had proposed ending state-funded preschool programs, but Democrats objected. This year, the state spent about 36-hundred dollars on each four-year-old enrolled in public preschool programs. The compromise calls for reducing that state spending by about seven-hundred dollars per student. Senator Bob Dvorsky, a Democrat from Coralville, is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and he sees that as a victory. “There’s a lot of support for preschool out there,” Dvorsky says.

Dvorsky says school districts needed that extra seven-hundred dollars per preschooler the past few years as programs were started, but Dvorsky says preschools should be able to easily operate on with about three-thousand dollars per student in the coming year.

The Iowa House has just endorsed the education budget bill, which includes spending for the state-supported universities and community colleges, too. The Senate is expected to take up the plan soon. The next state budgeting year begins Friday, July 1st and legislators are racing to strike final deals and pass bills that outline the final details of a nearly six-billion dollar state budget.

There is a budget-related dispute over abortion policy which remains unresolved. The effort to enact a major property tax reform package has been abandoned today, but Governor Branstad is hinting he’ll press the issue, perhaps in a special session later this year.

(O.Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)

Veteran’s Memorial Hwy Traffic Advisory

News

June 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Council Bluffs Police Department has issued a Traffic Advisory concerning the Veteran’s Memorial Highway. Officials say the Army Corps of Engineers Missouri River Seepage Blanket Project will result in heavy truck traffic entering and exiting Vet’s Memorial Highway at the ATV parking lot, on the north side. The Advisory covers the 3500-to 4200 Block of Veteran’s Memorial Highway.

Officials say all westbound traffic will need to be prepared to merge to the left lane, west of South 35th Street, in Council Bluffs. Traffic control devices will assist motorists with the merge, while the right lane will be dedicated to truck traffic only.