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State budget tight in 2015


December 5th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Key legislators say the slow down in Iowa’s ag economy means state budget prospects will likely be scaled back in 2015. House Speaker Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha is the top-ranking Republican in the legislature and he says while Iowa’s overall economy is growing, not all budget demands can be met because farm income is on the decline. “That will make it a very difficult budget year, but just ’cause it’s difficult doesn’t mean we won’t figure out how to get through it and so we will do that,” Paulsen says. “I think people have to have some pretty tempered expectations when it comes to that.”

Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, of Council Bluffs is the top-ranking Democrat in the legislature.
Gronstal says he’s “upbeat” about prospects for 2015, but Gronstal says Paulsen makes a valid point about the budget difficulties ahead. “And that is not going to make this a particularly easy year,” Gronstal said. “…Come January, people of good faith on both sides of the political aisle are going to sit down and work together and try and face some of Iowa’s most pressing problems. Some of those will be easy. Some of them will be hard. Some of them we won’t get done because we won’t be able to put that all together.”

Legislators in the past have promised increased state spending to bolster education reform efforts in K-through-12 schools as well as the promise of state tax revenue to replace lost local property tax collections due to the commercial property tax reductions approved in the 2014 legislative session. To meet those promises, legislative leaders say it is likely other areas of the budget will have to be leaner.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., Dec. 5th 2014


December 5th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Governor Terry Branstad has ordered that flags in Iowa be flown at half-staff to mark Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day weekend. Branstad announced yesterday that the flags will be set at half-staff from 5 p.m. Friday through 8 a.m. Monday at the State Capitol Complex and other public buildings throughout the state.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — High nitrate levels in the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers have forced Des Moines Water Works to turn on an expensive nitrate removal system. Water Works CEO Bill Stowe says he had no choice but to run the system, which costs about $7,000 a day to operate. Stowe says the finished drinking water after treatment is safe to drink.

LE MARS, Iowa (AP) — The city of Le Mars plans to buy a downtown movie theater from a bank that acquired it at a sheriff’s auction. The Le Mars Daily Sentinel reports officials want to ensure the theater remains open. The Northwest Bank bought Royal 3 Cinema last year after it was put on sale at the auction because its previous owner didn’t pay his debt. The City Council voted Tuesday to approve the use of city dollars to buy the property.

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Bryce Dejean-Jones had 27 points, Georges Niang added 26 with eight assists and 20th-ranked Iowa State never trailed in rolling past Number 18 Arkansas 95-77 last night. The Cyclones extended their non-conference home winning streak to 24 games.

Fatal fire in Massena ruled accidental


December 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A fire in Massena during the early morning hours of Nov. 14th has been ruled accidental. The State Fire Marshal’s Office reports the fire that destroyed a mobile home occupied by 53-year old Bruce Neumann at 208 Pine Street, in Massena, was caused by an improperly shielded fire place, the heat and flames from which caused nearby wood and wood paneling to ignite.

Neumann died from smoke inhalation. Officials say there was no smoke detector in the home when the blaze broke out at around 1-a.m. Nov. 14th. The home was a total loss. So far this year, 36 people have died from fire related incidents, in Iowa. In five cases, there was no smoke detector in the home, and five persons died because their smoke detectors were not working or were not equipped with batteries.

DNR seeks public input on plan to reduce lead in Council Bluffs


December 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS — The Iowa DNR’s Air Quality Bureau is seeking public comments on a draft plan to meet federal air quality standards for lead in the Council Bluffs area. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated part of Council Bluffs as a nonattainment area for lead in November 2011, three years after EPA substantially reduced the permissible lead levels allowed in air. The public is invited to submit oral or written comments on the draft plan at a public hearing at 10:30 a.m., Dec. 22 at the Council Bluffs Public Library, 400 Willow Ave.

The DNR worked with two lead-emitting facilities, Griffin Pipe Products Co. LLC and Alter Metal Recycling, to develop air pollution control measures that will quickly reduce ambient air impacts of lead emissions and meet federal air quality standards in the nonattainment area.

The control strategy will reduce lead emissions from Alter Metal Recycling by nearly 95 percent, primarily through cleaning and sweeping haul roads. Griffin Pipe will use similar practices and continue to operate existing control equipment. The control strategy also provides Griffin Pipe flexibility in their method of operation while maintaining public health protections for lead.

Details of the strategy for the lead nonattainment area in Council Bluffs can be reviewed in the draft state implementation plan (SIP) at the Council Bluffs library, at the DNR-Air Quality Bureau in Windsor Heights or on the DNR’s website under Stakeholder Involvement, Public Input at

Submit written comments on the proposed plan by 4:30 p.m. Dec. 22, to Matthew Johnson, DNR Air Quality Bureau, 7900 Hickman Road, Suite 1, Windsor Heights, IA 50324. Or, fax comments to 515-725-9501 or email Matthew.Johnson@dnr.iowa.gov.

Council Bluffs staff collect birds for winter


December 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — City staff and volunteers have rounded up more than 10 domesticated birds left at a Council Bluffs park to ensure they can survive the winter. The Daily Nonpareil reports the geese and ducks will be sheltered at a Glenwood farm. The birds, dropped off at Big Lake Park when their owners no longer wanted them, were gathered by animal control officials and volunteers Wednesday.

The city parks department used to collect them and house them over the winter before returning them to the park. But DeAnn Nelson with Animal Control says the money, time and space needed to do so became a burden.

Flags at half-staff over weekend for Pearl Harbor


December 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered that flags in Iowa be flown at half-staff to mark Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day weekend. Branstad announced Thursday that the flags will be set at half-staff from 5 p.m. Friday through 8 a.m. Monday at the State Capitol Complex and other public buildings throughout the state.

The state is encouraging businesses, schools and other public buildings to also fly the flag at half-staff during that time period. Sunday marks the 73rd anniversary of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack killed about 2,400 sailors, Marines and soldiers.

ATV, Snowmobile Registrations Due December 31

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

December 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) say customers who have snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-road utility vehicles (ORVs), or off road motorcycles (ORMs) registered with the DNR, will need to renew their registrations by December 31st. Registrations can be renewed by any county recorder office or on the DNR’s website at www.iowadnr.gov. User permits can be purchased at any location where hunting licenses are sold including the Iowa DNR website. After December 31 customers can still renew their registration but they will pay a $5 penalty.

Resident Snowmobiles

Iowa residents are required to have and display a current Iowa DNR registration and user permit on their snowmobile in order to lawfully operate on any public land or public ice in Iowa.

Nonresident Snowmobiles

Nonresident snowmobilers are required to have and display a current registration from their home state and display a current Iowa DNR user permit. If a nonresident resides in a state that does not require or offer snowmobile registration, the only requirement is to display an Iowa DNR user permit.

Resident Off-Highway Vehicles

Iowa residents must have and display a current Iowa DNR registration on their ATV, ORV, or ORM to operate on any designated public land or ice in Iowa. Residents are not required to display an Iowa DNR user permit.

Nonresident Off-Highway Vehicles

Non-residents are required to have their machines registered in their home state and display an Iowa DNR user permit.

Kimballton couple arrested on drug charges


December 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A man and woman from Kimballton were arrested Wednesday on drugs charges resulting from an investigation into the search of a home in Audubon on March 13th. The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office says 34-year old’s Crystal Ann Richter and Michael David Lollie, both of Kimballton, were taken into custody on outstanding warrants charging them with Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Richter was arrested at an Audubon business at around 11-p.m., Wednesday. Lollie later turned himself-in to the Sheriff’s Office. Both have since posted bond and were released. They’re scheduled to appear in front of the magistrate on Dec. 11th.

Red Oak woman injured in Thu. morning accident


December 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

One person was injured during an accident this (Thursday) morning, in Red Oak. According to the police report, at around 8:17-a.m., a westbound pickup driven by 71-year old Dennis Reynolds, of Elliott, ran a stop light at the intersection of north Broadway and west Oak Streets. The truck collided with a southbound car driven by 72-year old Bonnie Norris, of Red Oak. Norris suffered minor injuries and was transported by Red Oak Rescue to the Montgomery County Memorial Hospital.

Damage from the collision amounted to $6,000. Officials say Reynolds was cited for Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device.

Atlantic Chamber Alert!: Lost checks


December 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce are advising businesses in the area not to take any checks from Alan or Lori Johnson. Their checkbook has been misplaced and they have closed the account.

If you have any questions, please contact the Chamber.