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Iowa lawmakers propose delay to reading program over money

News

April 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa lawmakers in a legislative budget group plan to propose delaying a state-mandated summer reading program for struggling third-graders because there’s no money to pay for it. Leaders in the joint Education Appropriations Subcommittee say the roughly $14 million needed to support the program is not available. They want to add language to a budget bill that would delay implementation from 2017 to 2018.

Sen. Brian Schoenjahn, an Arlington Democrat and co-chairman of the group, says there’s bipartisan support to delay the program. He called it an “unfunded mandate.” At least one education group applauded the move. Gov. Terry Branstad did not include money in his budget recommendations for the program, which could hold back some third-graders who don’t complete it.

US wind energy output hit record in ’15, industry group says

News

April 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

BRIGHTON, Colo. (AP) – An industry group says wind energy generated a record 191 megawatt-hours of electricity last year, enough for 17.5 million homes. The American Wind Energy Association said Tuesday that wind produced 4.7 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2015. It says coal generated 33 percent and natural gas slightly less than that.

Texas remains No. 1 for wind energy while Iowa is second. The report says Iowa generated more than 30 percent of its electricity from wind last year, a record for any state. The association says the industry employed the equivalent of 88,000 full-time workers last year. The group says tax breaks extended by Congress last year will help stabilize the industry.

IA Transportation Commission News: Parts of Hwy 6 jurisdiction transferred to C. Bluffs

News

April 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Transportation Commission today (Tuesday), approved the transfer of jurisdiction of portions of segments of U.S. 6 and Iowa 192 to the city of Council Bluffs. The transfer segments lie within the corporation limits of Council Bluffs of U.S. 6 from 36th Street east to Sixth Street and Iowa 192 from Sixth Street to Big Lake Road for a total length of 4.95 miles. Following a transfer of jurisdiction, the city is responsible for all future maintenance and improvement of that roadway and right of way.US_6.svg

 

3-way sharing agreement shaping up for southwest Iowa schools

News

April 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Last Thursday, the Griswold School Board voted to explore a three-way Superintendent sharing agreement with two, unidentified school districts, pending approval by the other boards. Monday night, the South Page School District’s Board of Education approved the proposed sharing of their Superintendent Gregg Cruickshank, with the Griswold and Sidney Community School Districts.

Under the proposal, Sidney and Griswold would get 40% of Cruickshank’s time, or about two-days per week each. The remaining 20%, or one-day per week, would be spent in South Page. The proposed agreement would also involve a one-third cost-sharing contract. The arrangement would be for one-year, to start, with an evaluation taking place between late this fall and March 1st, 2017. The arrangement would save the Griswold District $127,000 per year, in a time when they’re looking at cutting $500,000 from the budget.

The Sidney School Board is set to vote April 18th on the proposal.

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board Special Meeting set for Wed.

News

April 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors will meet in a special session Wednesday, beginning at Noon, in the Council’s Chambers at City Hall. The only item on their agenda, is action on the use of Hotel/Motel Tax Fund money to make up a portion of the matching funds needed for a Vision Iowa CAT grant. The $360,000 grant, if approved in its entirety, would be used for improvements to the campground portion of the Schildberg Recreation Area, in Atlantic.

Weather’s not cooperating this morel mushroom season

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

You can put them on your pizza, toss them in your salads or fry them in butter and serve as a side dish. For many people, morel mushrooms are some of the tastiest wild foods in Iowa. The season for hunting morels is underway, but Annette Whitrock with the Wapello County Conservation Board says the weather hasn’t cooperated so far this year.  “Depending on where you are, it would be late March until I guess the season’s over through April, sometimes into May, just depending on weather,” she says. “You really need temperatures for the soil probably in the 60 degree area and you can’t be down lower than 40 degrees at night for them to grow. We haven’t had that yet.”

A Morel mushroom (ISU Extension photo)

A Morel mushroom (ISU Extension photo)

Soil temperature maps provided by Iowa State University show soil temperatures around 45 degrees for most of Iowa. Overnight temperatures dipping into the 20’s and 30’s are also preventing morels from popping up. Even when they do pop up, morels are some of the most elusive foods to find. Hunting them requires hiking trips through the woods and it takes a sharp eye to spot them. Whitrock says there are some urban legends on the best places to look.

“I’ve been told dead elm trees are the place to look, ash trees, oak trees, old apple orchards or where the May apples are blooming, so it really depends on who you talk to,” Whitrock says. “I think if you find a spot, you find a spot.” Whitrock suggests being wary of all the advice, as people may be trying to drive you away from their best spots. Whitrock says in the early hunting season, morels grow mostly on south facing slopes because that ground is warmer. But be careful, because Whitrock says the inexperienced morel hunter can be fooled or even poisoned.

“There’s some false morels out there and some morel look-alikes that can, depending on how you react to it, I guess they could give you symptoms like cramps,” Whitrock says. “some of them, if you react to them poorly, could kill you.” Whitrock says it’s fairly easy to tell if what you’re looking at is a true morel or an impostor.

“Morels have a darker cap that is pitted, for lack of a better word, and is connected to the stem and I guess the best thing to look for is a hollow stem,” Whitrock says. “If your mushroom doesn’t have a hollow stem, chances are it’s not a true morel — probably don’t want to eat it.”

Whitrock cautions Iowans to make sure they have permission to hunt for morels on property they don’t own. You can find out if you can hunt on public properties by contacting your local conservation board or the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

(Radio Iowa)

Citation issued following Saturday accident in Harlan

News

April 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Police in Harlan say a woman from Panama was cited following a collision, Saturday. Stephanie Smith was cited for Failure to Stop in an assured, clear distance, after the 2005 Chrysler she was driving collided with the rear of a 2002 Ford, driven by Zachary Jones, of Harlan. The accident happened on Chatburn Avenue.

Officials say Jones was traveling eastbound and had stopped to turn left into a car wash. Smith was eastbound in the same lane, but didn’t see Jones stopped for the turn. Damage from the collision amounted to $5,500. No injuries were reported.

Harlan Police report (4/12/16)

News

April 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Police Department has released a report on recent arrests. As we mentioned Monday, 25-year old Colton Benson-Blaine, who was listed as escaped Sunday afternoon from the Council Bluffs Work Release Facility, was arrested in Harlan later that same evening. Benson-Blaine, who allegedly stole a vehicle from a construction zone, was located in the area of 5th and Laurel Streets in Harlan, and brought to the Shelby County Jail. He was held at the jail pending transfer to authorities in Council Bluffs. The stolen vehicle was located at J-J Jensen Park, and returned to its owner.

Two people were arrested Saturday, in Harlan. 18-year old Perry Gross, of Manilla, was cited for Open Container as a driver, and charged with OWI. And, 45-year old Carrie Green, of Harlan, was arrested Saturday, for OWI. She was also cited for failure to display a registration plate.

Last week, 19-year old Brett Keane, of Panama, was arrested in Harlan on an active Shelby County warrant for Probation Violation. Keane was brought to the Shelby County Jail.

Muscatine police charge teen with headstone toppling

News

April 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) – Muscatine police say they have charged a teenager in connection with the toppling of dozens of headstones at a cemetery. The Muscatine Journal reports police arrested the 17-year-old Monday morning and charged him with second-degree criminal mischief. The Associated Press doesn’t generally name juveniles charged with crimes.

Workers discovered April 3 that about 50 headstones had been pushed off their bases at Greenwood Cemetery. Crews had to use equipment to put the headstones back into place. Police estimated the vandalism caused $3,000 in damage.

More info. released on Cass County pickup vs. tractor accident

News

April 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office today (Tuesday) released additional information pertaining to a pickup truck vs. tractor accident that took place Monday afternoon, south of Cumberland. Officials say the crash happened at around 3:34-p.m. on southbound 690th Street, about 1.5-miles south of Cumberland. It occurred, as 31-year old Cole Andrew Christensen, of Hamlin, attempted to pass an International tractor, driven by 54-year old David Crum, of Atlantic, as Crum was attempting to turn left into a farm drive.

The 1994 GMC Sierra pickup struck the tractor, causing the tractor to flip onto its side. Christensen and a passenger were transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital by Cumberland Rescue, and later transported to Omaha for further medical treatment.

Picture courtesy Mike Kennon, Cass County Emergency Management Agency.

Picture courtesy Mike Kennon, Cass County Emergency Management Agency.

Crum was transported to CCMH by private vehicle. Damage to Christensen’s vehicle is estimated at $15,000; damage to the tractor is also estimated at $15,000. The incident remains under investigation.