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It’s national farm safety week

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

This is National Farm Safety Week as experts look to try and cut down on the over 300 farm-related deaths that happen each year.Iowa State University extension safety specialist Charles Schwab, farming ranks as one of the most hazardous occupations. “The agricultural industry, as a whole, has a much higher death rate than any other industry, and higher than the whole average, nine times higher, than all the other industries combined. So it’s a huge number of fatalities that we deal with in our population,” Schwab says.

Tractor roll overs account for the most farm deaths, and Schwab says they can be prevented if tractors have roll over protection or ROPS. “The phrase in Iowa which is very viable is we haven’t had a fatality from a roll-over with a tractor with ROPs and all of them have been with tractors without ROPs, and so a good life insurance policy is get the ROPs on the tractor,” according to Schwab. La Vonne Galles is the coordinator for Agri-Safe of Plymouth County, a division of the Floyd Valley Hospital in Le Mars. Galles says many times farm accidents occur because of fatigue, so she tells farmers to “take a break” from the busy harvest season.

“The main thing is just be careful, to think before we do anything, and try not to be, you know, so tired. I guess if we can take rest breaks and we can go at a pace that is conducive for good, safe, conduct, then that’s what I think we should be doing,” Galles says. She is worried the summer drought may present a new hazard on the farm in the form of aflatoxin mold in grain. “Yeah, its a respiratory issue of course and so that dust or mold that gets into our respiratory track. If we can avoid that by just using a mask, you know I think that is really important,” Galles says. “Think of that first before we enter into those grain bins, or even any close area that has the grain.” Galles warns that combines, grain trucks, wagons, and grain bins can often times be a playground for children, and she reminds farmers to always know the whereabouts of their children before moving equipment.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic B&B owner facing fines for violating City Code


September 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The owner of a bed and breakfast business in Atlantic is set to meet with City officials today at 10-a.m., to request more time to meet an October 1stdeadline to complete repairs on the exterior of his business, which is on the National Register of Historic places.

S.F. Martin House property owner Roger Steffens faces fines if he doesn’t complete work on his property by Oct. 1st. (Ric Hanson-photo)

Roger Steffens, owner of the S.F. Martin House at 5th and Poplar Streets, told the Council Wednesday evening, he has taken, and continues to take, steps to complete the restoration of the structure in a historically correct manner, but rushing to complete them by the October 1st deadline would result in a less than aesthetically pleasing appearance. Steffens said he wants 2-more years to complete the job. The building has been an eye sore in Atlantic, especially on the east side, for nearly 15-years, while the inside is pristine. Steffens said he received a letter from City officials  saying he would be fined $250 every month after October 1st, if the work is not completed according to City Code, by the deadline.

Steffens said also, he received a letter from the City saying work must be completed on one specific side of the structure. City Administrator Doug Harris acknowledged the City sent Steffens a letter in May, saying work needed to be done on the west side of the building, but sent a corrected letter on April 30th to say it was the east side that needed the most attention immediately. Steffens said he only received two letters from the City, one in May the other in August. Harris produced a copy of the letter sent in April, but Steffens claims he never received it. Steffens said he will need more time to “Do the work the right way,” and that he’s already spent “Tens of thousands of dollars” on the on-going project, but he’s not willing to do the job hap-hazardly.

Atlantic City Councilman Shawn Shouse says it’s not the type of work being done that is the problem, it is all about the amount of time it is taking to get it done. Shouse said by Steffens’ own admission, he is taking too long. He says that’s what the council feels, as well. Steffens thinks he’s being singled-out by the City, but Shouse said that’s not the case. Shouse said the City has sent out notices to other property owner’s who are not in compliance with the Code.

Atlantic City Council News


September 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday evening, adopted a revised Ordinance pertaining to Private Wells. The new ordinance says “No person shall install a private drinking or non-drinking water well within city limits, unless a determination has been made by the City Administrator that it is a “closed-loop system,” or that the well is located greater than 1,000-feet from where an area of contamination exists. The Iowa DNR has identified the City’s old street garage site at 211 Commerce, and sites at 1408 East 7th, and 100 West 2nd Street, as contaminated sites, under Iowa law.

The Council also set 5:30-p.m. October 3rd, in the Council’s Chambers at City Hall, as the time, date and place for a public hearing on the disposal of certain real estate at 400 Hickory Street. City Street Department Superintendent Derald Andersen provided the Council with an update on departmental activities and progress during the meeting.

Andersen said the street crews are still doing some asphalt patching, and will try to seal coat some of the roads next week. He says some of the roads haven’t been seal coated in nearly 10-years. City Administrator Doug Harris and Andersen agreed, that over one-third of the 55-miles worth of roads in the City have been repaired over the past 10-years or so, and the work continues, as part of the City’s Capital Improvements Plan. Andersen said also, it’s about that time of year to prepare the City’s Christmas lights for display.

He says crews will begin the process of preparing for the Grand Lighting ceremony that takes place in December, on October 1st. Three men in bucket trucks will spend 27 days decorating the trees on Chestnut Street, weather permitting. That includes all the garlands and other decorations. In other news from the Council meeting, Atlantic Mayor Dave Jones set Wednesday, October 31st from 5:30-to 7:30-p.m., as the date and times for Halloween Trick or Treating in Atlantic.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., Sept. 20th 2012


September 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Suspended Iowa State basketball player Bubu Palo has pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexual abuse. Palo was suspended September 7th after being charged with sexually abusing a woman he was driving home earlier this year. Online court records say Palo’s attorney, Matthew Boles, filed a written plea of not guilty on Tuesday. Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg has suspended Palo, a reserve guard.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Farmers in 22 additional Iowa counties now may qualify for low interest emergency loans from the federal government as a result of this summer’s drought. With the latest designation announced yesterday, farmers in all Iowa counties now could qualify for drought-related emergency assistance.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An escaped prisoner from Iowa has been apprehended in southeast Missouri, where he was found driving a stolen vehicle. The Iowa Department of Corrections says Steven Adcock was arrested yesterday and was being held in the Stoddard County Jail in Bloomfield, Missouri. He’s scheduled to appear for an extradition hearing today.

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) — After several years of silence, the Marshall County Courthouse bell may soon ring again. County buildings and grounds director Todd Kelley told officials Tuesday that he likely would ask a Minnesota company to affix a new ringer to the bell so it could resume ringing. Mechanical Watch Supply of Minneapolis estimates the job would cost nearly $4,500 and be completed in about a month.

Cass Co. Democratic HQ officially opens


September 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Democratic Party officially opened its Election Headquarters at 511 Chestnut Street in Atlantic, Tuesday, with 32 voters attending its Open House. Sherry Toelle, Cass County Democratic Party Chairperson, says former Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge was the keynote speaker at the event, acting as a surrogate for President Obama as well as speaking from her twenty years of experience in the political arena. Toelle says Judge stated the Democrats running for Statehouse seats were some of the best candidates that she has seen in years.

She expressed the need for a large voter turnout this election as it is the most important election of this generation, citing controversial issues such as Medicare and Social Security stability, voter suppression issues across the nation, and health care coverage for all citizens. In addition, John Rose, candidate for Iowa House District #21, running against Jack Drake, spoke of his slate of issues, including education, educational funding, property tax reform, infrastructure, and Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid funding for the states.Rose cited concerns that the current Governor has expressed negativity toward the Medicaid expansion, despite increased federal funding for the program.

The Cass County Democratic Party’s Headquarters is open 7 days a week.

General election ballots delivered to Cass County


September 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman reports General Election ballots have been delivered to the Auditor’s office. Requests for Absentee ballots (those cast prior to ‘election day’ by mail or at Auditor’s office) may be sent or brought to the County Auditor’s office. First day to vote in the auditor’s office is Thursday, September 27th, 2012 and the last day to vote in the auditor’s office is Monday, November 5th, 2012. Absentee ballots may be requested by mail or may be voted at the Cass County Auditor’s Office during normal business hours. In addition to regular office hours, the office of Cass County Auditor will be open Saturday, October 27, 2012 from 8 AM thru 5 PM and Saturday, November 3, 2012 from 9 AM thru 5 PM.

Sunderman notes that this year, Cass County will have two Satellite Voting Stations, to provide in-person absentee voting at places other than the courthouse. At the satellite voting station you must mark the absentee ballot and leave it with the officials similar to the process used at the courthouse. You cannot take the ballot home with you. The two satellite stations, the two days, the two times and the ballots available will be: at The MASSENA PUBLIC LIBRARY on October 15th, 2012 from 2:00 p.m. thru 8:00 p.m., and ballots that will be available are those for Edna Township, Victoria Township, Massena Township, City of Massena, Union Township and the City of Cumberland; the other Satellite station is at the GRISWOLD COMMUNITY BUILDING,on October 17th, 2012 from 2:00 p.m. thru 8:00 p.m. and ballots that will be available, are those for Pleasant Township, Noble Township, City of Griswold, Bear Grove Township, Cass Township and the City of Lewis

In order to vote in Iowa a person must be registered in the person’s current county of residence, under the person’s present name, and at the person’s current address. Registration forms are available at the county auditor’s office, many State of Iowa service offices and on the Secretary of State’s web site: sos.state.ia.us The county election commissioner recommends that persons not currently registered or who have moved since last registering and are planning to vote in the November General Election pre-register in the office of the County Auditor as soon as possible. You may register or re-register and vote absentee on the same day.

You may also update your registration as you update your address for your driver’s license. Since your Iowa driver’s license is often used as official identification, it’s important that the data shown is accurate. Iowa law requires residents to notify the Department of Transportation within 30 days of an address change. The easiest method of changing your address is to visit an Iowa driver’s license station. In Cass County that station is in the Cass County Treasurer’s office.

For additional information, call the Cass County Auditor’s office at 712-243-4570.

USDA expands counties eligible for disaster loans

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Farmers in 22 additional Iowa counties now may qualify for low interest emergency loans from the federal government as a result of this summer’s drought. With the latest designation announced Wednesday, farmers in all Iowa counties now could qualify for drought-related emergency assistance. Six counties added by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as primary natural disaster areas include Clarke, Emmet, Madison, Taylor, Union, and Warren. In addition farmers in 16 contiguous counties may qualify for the loans and other assistance.

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. The emergency loan interest rate had earlier been reduced to 2.25 percent from 3.75 percent by the Department of Agriculture.

Cass Co. Engineer provides an update on projects


September 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Engineer Charles Marker says work on one bridge project in the northern part of the County is almost finished, while the bid letting for another project is slated to take place in December. Marker says work on a high overhead truss Bridge (#440) just west of the Buck Creek United Methodist Church, is almost finished.

Marker says emergency work on Bridge # 272, located about three-miles south of Wiota, was conducted, and the weight restriction set in-place earlier, has been removed. The bridge inspection crew had said the previously un-posted weight limit bridge needed to be reduced to an 8-ton limit, because a support pillar was rotted away at ground level. Marker says they utilized steel piling to replace the rotted 5-foot section, and they re-tensioned the I-beam overhead. The bridge is now open for the full legal load limit.

And, bid letting for Bridge #345 across the Nishnabotna River located near the old Research Farm southwest of Atlantic, is scheduled to take place on December 18th. It will be up to the contractor to determine when they are to start on the project.  Marker says also, each instance of rain helps his Secondary Road crews make progress on eliminating some of the “wash board” conditions on County gravel roads, but because the roads dry out quickly, they are unable to work on section of the county until rain has fallen, and even then, only for a few days at a time, but they are making some progress.

Theft and probation violation arrests in Audubon County


September 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon County Sheriff’s Department reports an Arkansas man was arrested Tuesday afternoon on a warrant issued in connection with a bad check written to Audubon business in December, 2006. 53-year old Joseph Leo Collins, of Van Buren, AR, was charged with 5th degree theft. The sheriff’s department received assistance in conducting the arrest, from the Iowa State Patrol. Collins was held in the Audubon County Jail until appearing before the magistrate and pleading guilty to the crime. He was fined and later released.

The sheriff’s department said also, 52-year old Jeffrey Dennis Spencer, of Hamlin, was arrested Tuesday night at his residence, on an outstanding warrant charging Spencer with a Violation of his Probation. He was placed on probation in Oct. 2011, following a charge of 3rd offense Public Intoxication. Spencer has since allegedly violated the terms of his probation. He was being held in the Audubon County Jail on $3,000 bond.

Cass County General Relief Coordinator warns about utility disconnects


September 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

This Saturday marks the first day of Fall, and Cass County General Relief Coordinator Teresa Kanning is warning persons who receive heating assistance (for electric, gas, propane or other heating sources), to make an effort to pay at least a portion of your bill from last year, or risk having your heat shut-off. Kanning says her office is starting to see clients come in with “Disconnect” notices, because they are behind on their utilities as they prepare to enter the LIHEAP, or Low Income Heat Assistance Program. She says the utilities are being adamant that clients be caught up in their bills before the October 1st start of LIHEAP.

Several people she says, have told her they are 60 days behind on their heating bills. Before you can apply for LIHEAP,  Kanning says you need to have certain information available. LIHEAP starts taking applications on October 1st at West Central Development. The program puts a moratorium on people have their utilities shut-off, from November 1st through April 1st, but if you didn’t make your payments last Winter, you’ll be shut-off.

She said they have some clients with bills from last Winter amounting to more than $1,000, but who haven’t made an effort to get caught up on those bills.  Kanning says she always tells her clients to make SOME payments all-year long, because LIHEAP doesn’t pay for the entire bill. It’s only an assistance program.

The Bureau of Energy Assistance administers the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The federally-funded block grant is designed to aid qualifying households in the payment of a portion of their residential heating costs for the winter heating season. The program’s energy crisis intervention components are designed to provide immediate response to alleviate potentially life-threatening situations, and the client education component of the program provides funds for activities that encourage regular utility payments, promote energy awareness and encourage reduction of energy use through energy efficiency, client education and weatherization. For more information about LIHEAP, contact West Central Development Corporation in Atlantic, at 712-243-5421. They are located at 304 Chestnut Street, and their office hours are Monday through Friday, from 9-am to 3-p.m. Other WCDC offices are located in Shenandoah, Council Bluffs, Sidney, Harlan, Red Oak, Logan, Malvern, Onawa and Denison. Or, go to this link to find the assistance office in your area: www.dcaa.iowa.gov/app_sites/liheap_map.html