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Iowa early News Headlines: Thursday, 7/21/16


July 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 3:40 a.m. CDT

BOSTON (AP) — Two Iowa men accused of bringing guns and ammunition to Boston after allegedly making online threats against the Pokemon World Championships are expected to change their not guilty pleas. James Stumbo, of Boone, and Kevin Norton, of Ames, are scheduled to appear in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston on Thursday for a change-of-plea hearing. The men pleaded not guilty after they were arrested last year on five weapons charges.

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a corrections officer at the Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility is recovering from cuts, bruising and swell following an attack by an inmate. Prison spokeswoman Andrea Wright tells the Hawk Eye that the inmate punched the officer several times in the face Monday afternoon. The officer was treated at the scene, then taken to a hospital to receive stitches for cuts from the assault.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A Charles City-area farmer has pleaded guilty to selling more than 90,000 bushels of corn that was pledged as collateral on federal Farm Service Agency loans for more than $196,000. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that 59-year-old Leroy Jones pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to one count of conversion of property pledged to Farm Service Agency. Jones admitted during the hearing to removing or converting 90,581 bushels of corn that he used to mortgage a loan for $196,327.

MONONA, Iowa (AP) — Waterloo television station KWWL reports that Commercial Vehicle Group will close its plant in Monona, Iowa. The station says workers were told the news Tuesday. The company says there are 146 employees at the plant, and some will remain to support purchasing, sales and other roles after manufacturing ends next spring. The company recently closed its plant in Edgewood, cutting 60 jobs.

Atlantic City Council news from 7/20/16


July 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council Wednesday evening, passed a Resolution in support of a Workforce Housing Tax Incentive Program Application being submitted to the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IDEA), by the Whitney Group, LLC, for a 16-unit housing project located at the former old Whitney Inn (222 Chestnut St.).

Mark Smith, owner/investor in the project, said beside the State and Historical tax credits the investor group has applied for, the Workforce Housing tax credit, if approved, would allow for a 10-percent tax credit from the State. Those awarded the credit are selected by a type of lottery system, but in order for their application to be considered, the investors must show there is support from the City and the Council for the project and related credit.

The Council also passed a Resolution approving the contract and bonds for the 2016 Street Improvement Project. Snyder and Associates’ Engineer Dave Sturm, said the action was necessary as part of the process of approving the contract with Henningsen Construction. Sturm says there is no definitive start date on the projects at this time. The weather has played a role in any plans to begin in the short term.

The Atlantic City Council received a presentation from Gary Loop, with Engineering Technologies, Incorporated in Omaha, with regard to an electrical system study commissioned for the second and third floors of City Hall. Loop said the study revealed old, outdated equipment that needs to be replaced. It also lacks a fire alarm system, but since the 3rd floor is not being used for public events, there’s no immediate need to install it. The price tag for a complete overhaul of the electrical systems on both floors, including lighting, according to Loop (with a 10% contingency), amounts to $177,000+.

He said the main thing that needs to be done first, is upgrading of the electrical panels and service to bring the building up to Code, which would cost between $113,000 to $114,000. Loop said the improvements could be accomplished in steps, with the priority being getting the building up to Code, by replacing the electrical panels and service. The Code  issue involves improper grounding and other matters.

The Council, by a vote of 6-to 1, approved moving forward with the process to re-piping of Bull Creek, between 8th and 9th Streets, where a section of ground covering a storm sewer pipe has collapsed, creating a sink hole. Councilperson Kathy Somers was opposed to replacing the entire length of the pipe over concerns it would violate restrictions set forth by the Corps of Engineers.

The Atlantic City Council also accepted the resignation of At Large Councilman Bob Cord, effective July 20th. In March, Cord announced he would be leaving his seat because he and his wife planned on relocating to Des Moines, but the date of his departure was left open at that time, pending the sale of his home here in Atlantic. His term on the Council was set to expire January 1st, 2018. Mayor Dave Jones said 3rd Ward Councilperson Ashley Hayes expressed an interest in being appointed to the seat, because she intends to purchase a house in Atlantic, but is not yet certain where that will be. It may mean she would move out of the 3rd Ward.

Jones said Hayes would have to resign from her current seat on the Council and fill the At Large seat by appointment. Assuming that’s approved, her seat would then have to be filled by appointment. Regardless of which seat is filled by appointment, the public has 14 days from the date of publication, to file a petition calling for an election. No official motion was made with regard to the filling of Cord’s seat during Wednesday’s meeting.

In his report to the Council, Mayor Dave Jones asked citizens to report to the Cass County Communications Center (243-2204), any delays longer than 10 minutes, caused by a train blocking the main arteries in Atlantic (including Olive and Linn). Police Chief Steve Green will address a letter to the railroad, reminding them of their responsibility as well, to notify the Comm Center if they expect the roads to be blocked more than 10-minutes. Jones said also, the west side of Palm Street will be closed for parking on Saturday, July 23rd, in association with the Cass County Fair. The street closure in necessary to accommodate vehicles pulling trailers to the fairgrounds.

He also reminded property owners to trim tree limbs hanging over sidewalks, to a minimum of seven-feet above the ground. Complaints are coming in about limbs hanging too low, and obstructing pedestrian travel on sidewalks.

New Admissions Areas Now Open at CCMH


July 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the  Cass County Health System (CCHS) said Wednesday, that as part of the current remodeling project at CCHS, both the Cass County Memorial Hospital and Atlantic Medical Center feature new, private admissions bays.

Admissions Area (Photo provided by CCHS)

Admissions Area (Photo provided by CCHS)

To check in for an appointment at the Atlantic Medical Center, patients can use one of four private bays to check in with staff. Just around the corner is Hospital Admissions, and those bays face towards the atrium and feature new doors that slide shut for increased patient privacy.

Redwood Road & 2300th Street now open in Shelby County


July 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency reports two roads, which had been temporarily closed for construction projects, are now re-open. Roads now open include Redwood Road, which was closed for an expected 24-hour repair project, was opened sooner than expected, late Wednesday afternoon. And, 2300th Street, just east of Juniper Road, where a pipe replacement project was underway, is also now open to normal traffic.

Red Oak man arrested for Driving While Barred


July 20th, 2016 by Chris Parks

The Red Oak Police Department reports the arrest of a Red Oak Man on Wednesday afternoon following a  traffic stop.  At 4:15pm Officers stopped a vehicle in the 1200 block of N. 4th Street in Red Oak for driving the wrong way on a one-way street.  Officers then arrested 44-year-old Jesse Lee Simmons of Red Oak for Driving While Barred, an Aggravated Misdemeanor.  Simmons was taken to the Montgomery County Jail and held on $2,000 bond.  He was also cited for Failure to Have Valid Insurance and was given a written warning for driving the wrong way on the one-way street.

Redwood Road closed for one day in Shelby County


July 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

(Update 6:30-p.m. 7/20 – construction has been completed, and Redwood is open!)

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency reports Redwood Road will be closed for one day, effective today (Wednesday). The closure is between 147 and 210 Redwood Road, Monroe Township Section 328. Construction is expected to last for about one day.

RedwoodThe area has many dirt or Level B roads. Considerable route planning will be necessary for some emergency responders if they are called to residences in the area.

Iowa State Fair butter sculpture to feature “Star Trek”

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – One of the most viewed displays at the Iowa State Fair will peer into the future and celebrate the past at the same time as the popular butter sculpture exhibit features characters from the “Star Trek” television series. Each year Sarah Pratt creates a cow from 600 pounds of butter for the butter cow exhibit. The refrigerated case also features a second scene which has included Elvis Presley, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon.

This year standing next to the cow will be Captain Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy and Uhura in two scenes on the bridge of starship USS Enterprise to commemorate the original “Star Trek” television show’s 50th anniversary. The Iowa State Fair, which attracts more than a million people a year, begins Aug. 11.

Sen. Grassley proposes criminal justice system reforms


July 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

With rising tensions between police officers and some members of the public, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s introducing legislation calling for a series of reforms in the criminal justice system. Grassley, a Republican, says the bill would look at multiple issues, including ways to make the sentencing process more fair along with tighter regulations on law enforcement.

Grassley says, “In light of recent and justified public concern over treatment of suspects by some police and the treatment of police by people who would do them harm, the need for criminal justice reform is even greater now.” The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act aims to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. It would also enhance prison programs that are proven to reduce the likelihood of an inmate re-offending once released. Grassley says inmates who successfully complete those programs could see a reduced sentence.

“I’ve heard from Iowans who have raised concerns about the fast-growing federal prison population,” Grassley says. “I guess you hear at the state level as well, also about the cost to taxpayers to house those prisoners.” Grassley says he’s also hearing concerns about people who’ve committed relatively minor crimes being given lengthy sentences that are usually reserved for hard-core criminals.

Grassley says, “The bill I’ve authored is a step forward in healing wounds by closing some disparities in sentencing that disproportionately affect African-Americans and helping people already within the prison system become productive members of our society.”

The legislation would also require states receiving certain federal funds to report information regarding the discharge of a firearm by a law officer which results in the death of a civilian. Another element of the bill would offer various reforms to the federal criminal justice system, like allowing people convicted of certain crimes as juveniles to expunge their criminal records if they turn their lives around.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa Livestock Care Essential as Temperatures Soar Around the State

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – July 20, 2016 — Iowa’s continued heat wave isn’t just the subject of conversation at swimming pools and office water coolers; it’s also a concern on Iowa’s livestock farms.  Iowa’s farmers work around the clock to keep their animals safe, no matter the conditions.

Iowa Farm Animal Care Coalition (IFAC) Executive Director, Denny Harding says “Dog owners know that they can’t leave their pets in a hot car, even for a moment, because when temperatures climb, a pet can suffer brain damage or even death in as little as 15 minutes.  But, livestock farmers around the state are also keeping a watchful eye on their animals, because disaster can strike in minutes, without proper care.”

IFAC is a network of professionals, veterinarians, animal behavior scientists, and farmers committed to answering Iowans’ questions about farm animal care and ensuring that one vision is shared by all – that every Iowa farm receives proper, humane animal care.

Management is key for Iowa farmers, and thanks to technology and innovative animal housing, livestock are more comfortable than ever before. That’s because many of today’s modern hog barns are climate-controlled to allow for constantly-regulated temperatures, continuous air flow, ventilation, and individual water delivery systems.

Today’s farmers keep a watchful eye on their herds for signs of heat stress, and move fast to treat it appropriately. Iowa farmers frequently consult their veterinarians to ensure proper prevention and care to keep their livestock at an optimum level of health; an especially important practice for Iowa cattle farmers who keep their animals on pasture throughout the summer months.

Iowa State Veterinarian, Dr. David Schmitt, says, “Iowa livestock farmers know their animals and do a tremendous job caring for them regardless of what the Iowa weather throws at them. During the hot summer months it is very important farmers closely monitor their animals, whether they are raised in a building or outside. Animals need to have adequate water and access to shade to help them weather the extremely high temperatures. It is also important farmers remain in close contact with their veterinarian who can also provide more information and answer questions.”

If you have questions about livestock care in Iowa’s ever-changing weather, visit the Iowa Farm Animal Care website at:  http://www.iowafarmanimalcare.org/.

Cass County Fair Queen/King Contest Indoors Due to Heat!

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

July 20th, 2016 by Jim Field

The forecast for high heat and humidity has forced Cass County Fair officials to move the Thursday night program indoors to the Atlantic High School auditorium.  Deb Schuler, one of the organizers of the Queen/King contest, told KJAN today that there isn’t enough room in the community building on the fairgrounds with all of the projects to accommodate the contestants and the crowd.  When asked, the Atlantic school administrations was fine with holding the contest in the high school auditorium.

The night will begin with the new Little Miss/Mister contest at 7:00 pm followed by the King/Queen contest and senior recognition.  The high school boys baseball banquet will be held in the high school commons beginning at 6:30 Thursday evening, so school officials do ask that those coming to the auditorium to be courteous .