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Adair-Casey FFA takes 1st place in challenge program (updated)

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Monsanto Company say members of the Adair-Casey FFA Chapter based in Adair, have been awarded first-place in a pilot FFA Chapter Challenge program, sponsored by the seed company. The Adair-Casey Chapter of the FFA has a total of 65 members, both in- and-out of school. Their Advisor, Mike Cooley, says it’s the biggest school organization in their district. Cooley says while the organization is the “Future Farmers of America,” his students learn much more than becoming good stewards of the land. He says they promote leadership, which is accomplished in-part by participating in Career Development Events. The CDE helps prepare students in communication skills and honing their leadership abilities.

Since early March, FFA chapters in Iowa and six other states have reached out in their communities, to local farmers, in an effort to meet them, learn about their operations, and connect with those persons, by sharing what their local FFA chapter is doing in their community. Cooley says it’s important to note that the Adair-Casey FFA students didn’t do anything different to earn the honor, than what they’ve been doing all along. 

He says the students are always active in the communities they serve, and strive to set good examples for others. Cooley says when the members put on their trademark blue corduroy FFA jacket, he stresses to them the importance of being a “first-class” organization, and he’s never had a problem with them upholding his expectations.

He says one of the main reasons they won the award, is because they have a good working relationship with the residents and business in the communities of Adair and Casey, who are truly supportive of the program. Farmers were asked to visit FFAChapterChallenge.com, and vote for their favorite FFA chapter.

More than 360 FFA chapters and a combined 22,000 FFA members, earned over 10,000 votes from farmers across the seven-state area. The Adair-Casey chapter won a cash award, for receiving the most votes out of more than 230 other FFA chapters in the state of Iowa. Cooley says they’ll receive a giant credit card for $1,500.

The award will be presented at around 8-p.m. Friday, during the half-time program at A-C’s season opener with East Union. Cooley says they will use part of the funds to send another student to a leadership camp in Washington, D.C., and the rest will go toward additional leadership events. He says they are grateful to the everyone who voted for the Adair-Casey chapter of the FFA.

Rural Health Roundtable to be held Friday, in Atlantic


September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A gathering of health care professionals will take place Friday afternoon, in Atlantic. The Rural Health Roundtable, coordinated by the Iowa Primary Care Association, begins at 2-p.m. Friday, at the Cass County Memorial Hospital.

The event provides an opportunity for health care providers to discuss issues facing rural physicians, nurses and health care administrators as well as consumers and local business leaders. The information gathered will be used to help guide the ongoing work of the White House Rural Council.

Speakers at the event will include: Judy Baker, regional director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Mary K. Wakefield, R.N., administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration; Tom Morris, associate administrator for rural health policy; Patricia Markham, CEO, Cass County Memorial Hospital; Dr. John Bigelow Jr., director, Southwest Iowa Mental Health Center; and Jan Kinnison, local business owner and health care consumer.

Red Cross chapter gets 515K for flood recovery


September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – The Red Cross has received a $515,000 grant to help with flood recovery along the Missouri River in Iowa and Nebraska. The grant is from the Iowa West Foundation and is funded by investment earnings and the Iowa West Racing Association, which receives fees from casino operators – Ameristar and Harrah’s. The foundation announced the grant on Wednesday to the Red Cross Loess Hills Chapter in Council Bluffs. Officials say the funds will be used for client services, cleanup kits, support programs and to replenish the chapter’s supply of water and other items provided during sandbagging operations.

The cleanup kits will be distributed in Pottawattamie, Fremont, Harrison, and Mills in Iowa; and Cass, Douglas, Sarpy, and Washington in Nebraska.

Theft and OWI arrests in Montgomery/Adams Counties


September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Montgomery County report the arrest Wednesday evening, of 49-year old Gary L. Mattson, of rural Villisca. Mattson was taken into custody on a warrant charging him with 5th degree theft. He was arrested without incident and brought to the Montgomery County Jail, where he was released after posting $300 cash bond.

And, the Adams County Sheriff’s Department reports the arrest Wednesday evening, of a Corning man, on an OWI charge. Scott Cornish was taken into custody at around 7:30-p.m.

Meeting this afternoon to discuss filling Cass Co. Supervisor vacancy


September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Committee tasked with deciding how to fill a vacancy on the Cass County Board of Supervisors created by the death of Supervisor Charles Kinen on September 3rd, will meet this afternoon at three o’clock. The meeting takes place in the Supervisor’s Boardroom in the Cass County courthouse. The precincts composing Cass County Supervisor District 2 are Atlantic Ward 2/Grove Twp 2 (the portion of Grove Twp NW of the Atlantic city limits) and Atlantic Ward 3.

According to the Code of Iowa, a vacancy position may be filled by an appointed committee of county officers, for the period until the next pending election, and within 40 days the vacancy is created. If a petition is filed with the county auditor requesting a special election to fill the vacancy within 14 days of publication of the appointment, the appointment is temporary and a special election will be called for.

If a special election is held to fill the office for the remaining balance of the un-expired term, the committee will have to give 30-days to the public. If a special election were held with the city election in November, the filing period would be the same as the city election.

A state tax extension for some flood-weary businesses, individuals


September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The state’s top tax official has used her authority to grant a tax extension to businesses and individuals living and working in the Missouri River flood zone. Victoria Daniels, a public information officer in the Iowa Department of Revenue, says it’s unclear how many taxpayers may be late in filing. “We just don’t know,” Daniels says. “But this is an ability that the director has, by law, to grant this extension in the event of a disaster.”

Taxpayers must submit sales and use taxes, plus any withholding for income taxes, on a quarterly basis. But taxpayers living in the six counties that border the Missouri River now have ’til October 31st to file. “Maybe they can’t get to their business location,” Daniels says. “Or their computers are under water and they can’t do what they need to do to acces the eFile & Pay system — something to that effect.”

Taxpayers in Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie and Woodbury Counties who’ve been hit by flooding can qualify for extension and file their quarterly tax payments by October 31st without penalty or interest. Daniels says her agency also has gotten a number of inquiries from the Dakota Dunes area, where people have temporarily relocated to Iowa because of the flooding there.

“There was some question about, ‘O.K., if I move to Iowa, am I now an Iowa resident and do I now owe Iowa income tax?’ And the guildeline has always been if you have Iowa-source income of $1000 or more, regardless of where you live, you are going to need to file an Iowa return,” Daniels says. “And we do have some guidelines for what we consider permanent residency.” Daniels says most South Dakotans fleeing flooded homes will be considered temporary, not permanent residents of Iowa because they intend to move back to their South Dakota home. The State of South Dakota, by the way, does not have a personal income tax.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Supervisors approve redistricting and precincting plans


September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors Wednesday, approved a redistricting and re-precincting plan proposed by a three-member committee tasked with drafting it, based on the results of the 2010 Census. The committee, comprised of Sherry Toelle, Board Chair Duane McFadden, and Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman, first met on June 22nd, to begin the process. 

Under the new plan, which retains the five supervisor districts, Supervisor District 1 would include Districts 2 and 3 in the City of Atlantic, along with the Brighton, Grove, Pymosa, and Washington Townships. Supervisor District 4 includes the Cass, Bear Grove, Pleasant, Noble, Edna and Victoria Townships. And, Supervisor District 5 would include the Benton, Franklin, Grant, Lincoln, Union and Massena Townships.  It shifts around some townships, but Sunderman said the plan ultimately makes it more convenient for the voters. He says there were two different plans, but one made too many changes that would inconvenience the voters. The other was closest to the current district map. The new plan has District 5 comprised of six townships, instead of 5.

He said the committee had very strict guidelines and tight margins to deal with in creating the plan. They had to try and make sure there were 2, 791 persons in each district. He says they only had less than a one-percent margin to play with, according to the new rules which were established by the legislature. Sunderman says they tried to come up with a plan that would not split any of the precincts, which includes townships, cities, or city ward.

The Supervisors will hold two public hearings on an ordinance adopting the plan they approved Wednesday. The first takes place during their meeting on September 14th. The Board is expected to waive the third reading of the ordinance following a second public hearing and second reading, on September 21st.

No hearing on hog lot expansion near Walnut, but written comments still being accepted

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors has decided not to hold a public hearing on a request by Lincoln Center Farms, to expand its hog operation south of Walnut. There are no complaints on record about the farm, and a public hearing on the company’s expansion plan is not mandatory in order for it to proceed. Regardless, the Board agreed to keep the application for expansion on file at the Planning Department, so that  accept any written comments may be accepted.

County Planning Director Kay Mocha said Lincoln Farms has asked the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for a construction permit to add a fourth building at the farm. The farm has about 3,300 head of swine and is looking to add 1,100. Mocha says it’s the first request for expansion of a livestock lot that the county has received since a master matrix program was enacted in 2002. The master matrix is a scoring system for concentrated animal feeding operations, with point allocations in three categories: water, air and community impacts.

The Iowa DNR will have the final say on whether the farm can expand.

Arrest made in Coon Rapids death investigation


September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Public Safety reported late Wednesday night, that an arrest has been made in connection with the death over the weekend, of a Coon Rapids man. 21-year old Travis Jeffrey Barker of Coon Rapids, was taken into custody Wednesday evening, on a charge of Murder in the First Degree,  in connection with the death of 28-year old William Smith on Sunday, September 4th. Barker’s bond has been set in the amount of $1,000,000.00. He is currently in custody at the Carroll County Jail awaiting an appearance before a magistrate.

Officials say police and paramedics were called to a residence in Coon Rapids at atround 1-p.m. Saturday, for a man that was involved in an altercation.  The man was identified as 28 year old William Smith.  Smith was taken to St. Anthony Regional Medical Center in Carroll for treatment and later flown to Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines.  Smith was pronounced dead late Sunday afternoon, September 4, 2011.  The cause of death was determined to be due to an epidural hematoma. William Smith and Travis Barker were roommates.

The Coon Rapids Police Department is being assisted by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Judge grants western IA slaying suspect’s request for aid


September 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

SAC CITY, Iowa (AP) — Taxpayers will help fund the defense for a woman charged with fatally shooting a 20-year-old man at her home in western Iowa in 2001. Online court records show District Judge Kurt L. Wilke on Tuesday ruled that Tracey Richter-Roberts can hire a criminal investigator, a private investigator and a psychologist at the state’s expense for a total cost no greater than $6,750. A prosecutor had opposed her request.

Richter-Roberts was arrested in July and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Dustin Wehde at her home in Early. She has pleaded not guilty and says she was defending herself from a home invasion.

Trial is scheduled for later this month but Wilke has suggested it could be delayed.