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Cashless system scrapped for Iowa State Fair


January 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Officials behind the Iowa State Fair say they’re scrapping plans to eliminate cash sales at food vendors and other attractions, following a heavy public backlash. The Des Moines Register reports the Iowa State Fair Board canceled plans for the cashless payment system at a meeting Thursday.

Fair officials announced Tuesday that they would sell 50-cent tickets online and at multiple locations at the fairgrounds for food and other rides. They said the new system would be more secure and speed up food purchases. In response, some fairgoers said the hassle of lines and other confusion would keep them at home.

Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement they were pleased with the board’s decision. Reynolds also serves on the board.

The Southern District of Iowa U.S. Attorney’s Office Collects More Than $5.6 Million in Civil and Criminal Actions for U.S. Taxpayers in Fiscal Year 2013


January 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt announced today (Thursday), that the Southern District of Iowa collected more than $5.6-million in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2013. Of that amount, nearly $4.1-million was collected in criminal actions and slightly more than $1.5-million was collected in civil actions. In addition, the Southern District of Iowa worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $4.1-million in civil cases pursued jointly with those offices.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department collected approximately $8.1 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30th, 2013. The more than $8 billion in collections in FY 2013 represents nearly three times the appropriated $2.76 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorney’s offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.

The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the department’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the U.S. and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims. The law requires defendants to pay restitution to victims of certain federal crimes who have suffered a physical injury or financial loss. While restitution is paid to the victim, criminal fines and felony assessments are paid to the department’s Crime Victims’ Fund, which distributes the funds to state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of Iowa, working with partner agencies and divisions, also collected more than $2.3-million in administrative and judicial asset forfeiture actions in FY 2013. Forfeited assets are deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund and are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes. $862,737 in forfeited assets was returned to victims during FY 2013, and $543,406 was equitably shared with state and local law enforcement agencies.

2 arrests in Mills County


January 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Dept. reports two recent arrests. This (Thursday) morning, 35-year old Joshua Robert Saunders (No town given), was arrested for Failure to Appear on a Driving While Barred order. He was taken into custody near the intersection of Highway 34 and 195th Street at around 3-a.m.  Bond was set at $2,000.

Wednesday afternoon, 33-year old Angela Danielle Neil, of Malvern, was arrested in Glenwood, for Violation of a Protection Order. Her bond was set at $300.

Secretary of State Schultz running for Congress


January 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz is running for U.S. Rep. Tom Latham’s House seat in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District. Schultz announced his campaign Thursday in Council Bluffs where he used to serve on the City Council.

Since he was elected secretary of state in 2010, Schultz has pushed for a state voter ID law and focused on combatting voter fraud. He recently came under scrutiny over whether his use of federal money for voter-fraud investigations is proper. Schultz is expected to be a formidable candidate for the seat that Latham unexpectedly decided to vacate at the end of his 10th term.

Last week, Republican David Young abandoned a U.S. Senate campaign to run for Latham’s seat. Democratic former state Sen. Staci Appel, of Ackworth, announced her candidacy last year.

Youth fishing event set for Sat. in Council Bluffs

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

In an effort to promote fishing, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Council Bluffs Parks and Recreation Department will host a youth fishing event this weekend, at Big Lake. The lake is located at 2600 North 8th Street, in Council Bluffs, and will take place on Saturday, January 11th, from 9am to 1pm.

A raffle drawing will be held to award prizes to young anglers 16 years of age or younger in attendance. The DNR plans to stock Big Lake with 1,000 rainbow trout on Friday at around 4-pm, to ensure the youth anglers get plenty of bites and action on the lake Saturday. Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologist Brian Hayes said, “The trout stocking Council Bluffs provides a unique opportunity for people looking for an outdoor activity.” Stocking trout in urban areas like Council Bluffs brings fishing close to home for a lot of people and provides an opportunity to involve kids in fishing.

Registration for the youth fishing event will from 9- to 10-a..m., Saturday. Kids under 16 fishing with a properly licensed adult, do not need a trout fee to fish for or possess trout, but the daily limit together is five trout. A fishing license and trout fee can be obtained at any local hunting and fishing license sales agent or your county recorders’ office.

Penguin Day Camp for youngsters in Cass County

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean your children can’t have fun at camp. The Cass County Conservation Board and Cass County Extension Service is offering kids and opportunity to do on a non-school-day, by registering them for “Penguin Day Camp.”  The Penguin Camp is for children in Kindergarten through 2nd grade and will be held on Monday, January 20th, at the Cass County Community Center in Atlantic.

Youth may register for either the 9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon or 1:00 PM – 4 PM Activities include: Penguin Crafts – Learn about penguins and make a fact book; Taking an outdoor adventure by going on a winter hike and coloring in the snow;  Enjoying a live bird presentation by the Blank Park Zoo, and Participation in games & activities about penguins.

The camps will be offered free of charge, with pre-registration required. A snack will be provided. Parents should remember to dress your children to go outdoors for fun and a winter hike. Registration deadline for Penguin Camp is January 15th. Call the Cass County Extension office at 243-1132 or email xcass@iastate.edu to register your children. No registrations will be accepted after the registration deadline.

Adair County Supervisor’s to receive more funding requests


January 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Adair County Board of Supervisors will receive additional requests for Fiscal Year 2015 funding during a Special Session that begins at 8:45-a.m., Friday. The Board will first hear a recommendation from the Compensation Board with regard to compensation for elected officials, and consider FY 2015 hourly wage increases for full- and part-time employees.

Beginning at 9-a.m., the Supervisors will hear FY 2015 funding requests from: The Southern Iowa Council of Governments (or, SICOG); The Connections Area Agency on Aging; DHS; Recorder’s Dept.; the Adair County Fair Board and Historical Society, and from the MATURA Community Action Agency.

The meeting will adjourn following a Budget Work Session.

“Farmer’s Coffee” set for Jan. 30th, in Guthrie Center

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Farmers and those associated with agriculture are invited to attend a “Farmer’s Coffee” in Guthrie Center, on Thursday, January 30th. The event will be held at the Guthrie County Extension office, beginning, at 9-a.m.

You’re invited to come and network with other individuals and learn more about current ag issues, as well as catch up on the latest ag news with ISU Farm and Ag Management Field Specialist Shane Ellis, who will be talking about the future outlook for livestock, crops and also land prices.

Coffee and refreshments will be served. The event is sponsored by the Guthrie County State Bank.

In Depth Financial Management Class for Farm Women Starts January 27

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Cass County is hosting a program for local farm women to learn the details of farm financial management and ways to determine a farm’s financial stability, starting January 27th, in Atlantic.

Moving Beyond the Basics: Farm Record Keeping” is a four-week program that addresses practical farm financial management in an interactive setting. Focusing on financial management skills such as farm recordkeeping, financial statements, and analysis tools, the program is modeled after Annie’s Project for Farm and Ranch Women, empowering farm women to be better business partners through networking and by managing and organizing critical information.

Annie’s Project gives farm women the opportunity to learn from female agricultural professionals and network with other women in similar situations. Moving Beyond the Basics provides women who participate the opportunity to evaluate record keeping systems and experience accounting software in a hands-on, open discussion format. Knowing the resources available for analyzing financial position also helps participants better plan for periods of low prices and farm income fluctuation.

Moving Beyond the Basics will be offered at the Cass County Extension office in Atlantic on Mondays from 6-9 p.m. starting January 27th. The program will run for four consecutive weeks. Registration fee is $50 for all four sessions, including all course materials and a light dinner before each session. Course size is limited, so interested participants are encouraged to register before the January 24th deadline to ensure a spot in the class. Registration is required through the Cass County ISU Extension office by calling 712-243-1132 or by filling out a registration form, found online at www.extension.iastate.edu/cass.

For local farm women who would like to a broader overview of farm financial and risk management, Adair County Extension will be hosting the original Annie’s Project in Greenfield, starting on February 6th, 2014. This six-week course is designed especially for farm women to help them develop their management and decision-making skills for their farms. Sessions include brief presentations, discussions focused on the participants’ questions, and computer training to use spreadsheets. Topics include understanding market terminology, interpreting financial statements, and estate planning tools. For more information, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/adair or call (641)743-8412.

These programs have been developed through a grant from the North Central Risk Management Education Center and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

ISU Extension and Outreach Hosting Free Program on Choosing Health Insurance


January 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With only a couple months remaining to meet requirements for having health insurance, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering a free workshop to help Cass County residents understand how to make smart choices for purchasing health care coverage. The workshop will take place Tuesday, January 28th from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Cass County Community Center, 805 West 10th Street in Atlantic. Pre-registration is requested by calling 712-243-1132.

Mary Beth Kaufman, Family Finance Specialist will be the presenter for the workshop. At the workshop, participants will understand key health insurance terms and concepts, learn to identify personal health care needs and priorities, understand key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, use Iowa’s new Health Insurance Marketplace, and understand new tax credits and financial assistance available.

The workshop is intended for both current health insurance consumers and those who are newly eligible through the Affordable Care Act. The Smart Choice workshop will not offer one on one assistance or advice for enrolling in a particular insurance plan.

The Smart Choice Health Insurance Program is made possible by funding from a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant. For information about the workshop contact the Cass County Extension and Outreach Office at 712-243-1132, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/cass or email xcass@iastate.edu.