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State Fair opens with unveiling of butter sculpture

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Duffy tribute - Butter Sculpture

A massive sculpture made of more than 12-hundred (1,200) pounds of butter was unveiled this (Thursday) morning as part of the opening ceremonies for the 2011 Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. It’s located in the Ag Building near the famous life-sized butter cow which has now been part of the Fair for 100 years. The Fair’s “butter cow lady,” Sarah Pratt, also created the surprise sculpture which includes a cow and a young boy teaching a calf to nurse. It’s placed on a turntable so the entire sculpture rotates 360 degrees.

“Some people might know, but I’ll let out the secret, the other cow isn’t completely finished all the way around. It’s only finished on the parts that you can see from outside. So, I was excited to be able to do a sculpture that everyone could see from all sides,” Pratt said. The sculpture, located behind glass in a 42-degree cooler, pays tribute to Norma “Duffy” Lyon – who served as the Fair’s “butter cow lady” for 45 years. Lyon passed away earlier this year at the age of 81. Pratt says she was inspired by a story about how Norma met her husband Joe. Their first meeting involved a minor argument about Norma chasing a butterfly. The sculpture includes a young Norma Lyon with a butterfly in her hand.

“To me, it signifies her curious spirit and her love of all living things. But also, just that spirit that embodies the Fair of curiousity and learning and exploring,” Pratt said. “So, I hope when people are on the fairgrounds and they see a butterfly they might remember Norma.” The 34-year-old Pratt, who’s from Norwalk, learned the art of butter sculpting from Lyon and took over the role of the Fair’s “butter cow lady” in 2006. She spent three weeks working on the sculpture revealed this morning.

“Because it rotates and people can see it from all different angles, there was a lot of consideration taken into all the angles. And because it was all done in secrecy, it made it difficult to come outside and view the sculpture,” Pratt said. “Now that I can see it from outside, I think there are some things I might go in and fix up a little bit.” A long line of people stretched throughout the Ag Building this morning as fairgoers waited to see the butter cow and Pratt’s sculpture of Lyon.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa State Fair seeks Omaha customers

News

August 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Midway rides at the IA State Fair

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – The Iowa State Fair is spending more money to draw Omaha customers than the Nebraska State Fair as organizers continue their efforts to attract more Omaha-area fairgoers. The Iowa State Fair is spending $125,000 to advertise in Omaha this year, which represents about 20 percent of its total advertising and production budget. Iowa’s campaign includes print and broadcast advertising, seven Omaha billboards and another in Council Bluffs. Officials say their efforts, which began in 2010, are paying off.

Iowa fair marketing director Lori Chappell says roughly 15 percent of Iowa fairgoers came from the Omaha area last year. The Iowa State Fair kicks off today (Thursday) and runs through Aug.21st.

Griswold man wins top prize in the IA lottery’s “MONOPOLY” instant-scratch game

News

August 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Craig Leighton, of Griswold

Officials with the Iowa Lottery say a Cass County man has claimed the top prize in the “Monopoly” instant-scratch ticket game. Craig Leighton, from Griswold, claimed his $50,000 prize last Friday at the Iowa Lottery’s regional office in Council Bluffs. He’d purchased his winning ticket at a convenience store in Council Bluffs.

MONOPOLY is a $5 scratch game. Players win a prize by matching any of “your numbers” to any of the “winning numbers.” If they find the “top hat” symbol they win double the prize shown. There are also three bonus areas where players can win $10, $25 or $50 instantly. Seventeen top prizes are still up for grabs in MONOPOLY as well as 266 prizes of $1,000, more than 1,060 prizes of $200 and more than 2,650 prizes of $100.

Since the lottery’s start in 1985, its players have won more than $2.7 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.3 billion for the state programs that benefit all Iowans.

Lottery proceeds in Iowa have three main purposes: They provide support for veterans, help for a variety of significant projects through the state General Fund, and backing for the Vision Iowa program.

9AM Newscast 08-11-2011

News, Podcasts

August 11th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

7AM Newscast 08-11-2011

News, Podcasts

August 11th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Public meetings this evening in Villisca over whole grade sharing

News

August 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The first of a series of meetings will be held this evening with regard to options for whole grade sharing between the Villisca and Stanton, and Villisca and Corning Community School Districts. The first session, a joint meeting between the Villisca and Stanton School Boards, takes place in the Villisca High School gymnasium, beginning at 7:30- p.m. That will be followed by a similar meeting between the Villisca and Corning districts, at 8:35, also in the Villisca High School gym.

During both meetings, members of an educational consulting group from the University of Northern Iowa will present the results of feasibility studies conducted between Villisca and Stanton and Villisca and Corning School Districts. Villisca Superintendent Willie Stone says the studies will outline options for wholegrade sharing between the districts.

Tonight’s public meetings are the first of several planned with regard to whole grade sharing. They’re designed to help the school boards make a more informed decision on how to proceed with their plans for the future.

After the respective presentations with regard to the feasibility studies, members of the public in attendance at the meetings, will have three minutes each to make comments, or ask questions.

Farmers encouraged to register for the America’s Farmers Grow Communities Program

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Applications are currently being accepted for the annual America’s Farmers Grow Communities Program, sponsored by the Monsanto Corporation. Deborah Patterson, Monsanto Fund President, says the program was launched in 2010, and has resulted in investments of more than $3-million in local communities across the country during 2011. Patterson says they’re sponsoring the program again, because they “Care deeply about rural communities.” Patterson says there are some requirements that need to be met before farmers can qualify for the program.

They need be 21-years of age or older, actively engaged in farming a minimum of 250 acres of corn or soybeans, or 40-acres of vegetables. She says there is no purchase required. The application process began August 1st and continues until November 30th. Applications can be completed on-line at www.growcommunities.com, or by calling 1-877-267-3332.

This year, nearly $250,000 is available for disbursement in Iowa to all 501-C-3 non-profit organizations, units of local governments, such as fire departments, libraries and schools. Farmers in each of Iowa’s 99 counties are eligible for the program. The winners will be randomly selected by a third party and announced in January, 2012. Once a farmer has won, they get to decide which non-profit organization they wish to receive a portion of the funds.

In addition, for every farmer that enters the contest, Monsanto will donate $1 to their local United Way chapters. So far, over 1,700 farmers have signed up for the current contest period. Patterson says since the program began in 2010, the three top recipients of cash awards have been FFA, 4-H and Fire Departments. She says the farmers themselves don’t get a prize, but they do get a sense of pride in knowing they’re helping out their communities.

Among the local non-profit organizations selected in 2010 by winning area farmers to receive a portion of the funds provided by the America’s Farmers Grow Communities Program, was: the Massena, Audubon, Brayton, Greenfield, and Shelby Fire Departments; the Shelby County Fair Board, and Coon Rapids-Bayard FFA. Those organizations received their awards this past Spring.

ConAgra to close a portion of its Hamburg facility

News

August 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

An official with a major employer in Hamburg has confirmed rumors a portion of its factory will close this fall. Teresa Paulsen, with ConAgra Foods said in an e-mail to the media Wednesday evening, the company will close its microwave popcorn facility in Hamburg, this October, and transfer that portion of the operation to the company’s other popcorn facilities. The Hamburg plant produces Orville Redenbacher’s and ACT II microwave popcorn. The move will result in the loss of 95 jobs at the Hamburg plant.

In her e-mail, Paulsen said those employees were notified of the company’s plans in meetings held Wednesday. She said also ConAgra Foods is committed to providing benefits and services that will help employees transition from the company. In the meantime, Paulsen says the bulk popcorn processing and packaging plant will remain open in Hamburg where 45 employees will continue to work.

Chris Whitehair, ConAgra’s vice president of Operations for the Snacks division, said in a written statement they wish the decision was not necessary, “Especially given the challenges the Hamburg community has faced this summer.” He said also that while the people in Hamburg “Have worked hard to maintain normal operations in the midst of historic flooding…” the company needed to find a more efficient and economically viable option to producing its product.

Pawlenty knocks Obama, Bachmann in same swipe

News

August 10th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

ATLANTIC, Iowa (AP) — Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty says President Barack Obama’s previous job as a community organizer didn’t prepare him for the job. And the Republican presidential candidate says Iowa shouldn’t repeat the mistake of voting for another charismatic politician who lacks experience. That was an obvious reference to Pawlenty’s homestate rival, Michele Bachmann, in the race for the GOP nomination.

Pawlenty lags in polls and has questioned the congresswoman’s experience as he’s sought to derail her in the GOP race. He is telling residents not to repeat the mistakes of 2008, when Obama’s win in Iowa began his pathway to the presidency.

Habitat improvement project slated for Thursday, in Cass County

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 10th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Employees with the Cass County Conservation Service invite the public to join them Thursday morning, for a clean-up effort at the West Nodaway Wildlife Area. AmeriCorps Habitat Specialist Rebekah Karsch says from 9am-until Noon, conservation staff and other volunteers will be working to cut down invasive cedar trees to improve the grassland habitat for pheasants and quail.

Karsch says if you have a chainsaw, and are skilled in operating it, you’re welcome to bring it along. Otherwise, you’ll need gloves, bottled water, a long-sleeved shirt and pants, because you’ll be helping to drag the cut trees off to the side.

The West Nodaway Wildlife Area is located 4-miles south and 2-miles west of Massena, on Victoria Road, in the Edna Township. The public land is available for hunting and picnics.

If you have any questions about the clean-up effort taking place Thursday morning, call Rebekah Karsch at 712-243-3180, extension 134.