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Iowa harvest speeds ahead

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa farmers are close to wrapping up this year’s harvest as they work to get drought-damage crops out of the fields as cooler weather arrives. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says 76 percent of the corn has been harvested, which is a month ahead of normal. Eighty percent of the soybeans are in from the fields, which is two weeks ahead of normal.

The USDA says in Tuesday’s report that the corn condition is 47 percent poor or very poor, 33 percent fair and 20 percent in good or excellent shape. Soybeans are 31 percent poor or very poor, 37 percent fair and 32 percent in good or excellent condition.  The statewide average rainfall was .05 inches. It’s the 20th week of the past 22 with below normal precipitation.

Father appeals order for kids to visit female inmate from western IA

News

October 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A father has appealed an Iowa judge’s ruling that requires him to travel across the country to take his two children to visit their mother while she serves prison time for first-degree murder. Michael Roberts said Tuesday his attorney appealed the ruling last week. Judge Nancy Whittenburg ordered Roberts last month to take his children from California to visit Tracey Richter at the women’s prison in Mitchellville three times while she appeals her conviction. The judge says Roberts also cannot move back to his native Australia until then.

Whittenburg says the 14-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl have a positive history with Richter. She says the visits will help them bring closure to events that ended with Richter being convicted in the 2001 execution-style death of neighbor Dustin Wehde in the Sac County town of Early.

Villisca man arrested Tues on contempt charges

News

October 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports a Villisca man was arrested Tuesday afternoon. 50-year old Gary Lee Mattson was taken into custody on a valid Montgomery County warrant for Contempt/Illegal Resistance to Order or Process. Mattson was brought to the Montgomery County Jail and held on $800 bond.

3 injured in accident near Atlantic Tue. night

News

October 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Three people suffered what are believed to be non-life threatening injuries, during a rollover accident Tuesday night, north of Atlantic. According to dispatch reports from the Cass County Communications Center, the accident happened at around 10-p.m. on Buck Creek Road, near the intersection with Eastland Street. The victims were out of the vehicle when law enforcement arrived on the scene, prior to Atlantic Fire and Rescue. No other details are available early this morning.

Opponents of oil pipeline warn Iowans they may be next

News

October 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Opponents of a controversial oil pipeline being built across the heart of the U-S are making several stops in Iowa this week, warning residents the next version of the pipeline could be cutting through the Hawkeye State. Randy Thompson, a farmer from central Nebraska, says his greatest fear is the widespread environmental damage that would come if TransCanada’s Keystone X-L pipeline ever ruptures. “That’s one of my major concerns,” Thompson says. “I’m also very concerned about the fact we have a foreign corporation coming in here and stripping us of our individual property rights. We have a company coming into America and taking land that belongs to American landowners for their own personal gain and use and that’s not right.” He says landowners are being compensated but “it amounts to a little bit of nothing.”

Thompson raises corn and cattle in central Nebraska’s Merrick County, which he says was in the pipeline’s original path, until TransCanada bowed to pressure and moved the proposed route away from environmentally-sensitive areas. Those include the Ogallala Aquifer and the Nebraska Sandhills. A Hollywood actress was arrested last week during a protest of the pipeline’s southern leg in east Texas. Thompson says he knows the elderly Texas landowner who was taken into custody along with Daryl Hannah. “Eleanor Fairchild, she’s 78 years old and she got arrested on her own ranch for criminal trespass,” Thompson says. “That’s because of an eminent domain court ruling that granted the rights to TransCanada. She went out there and got in front of the construction equipment, they had her arrested and taken off to jail.”

TransCanada’s permit was denied by President Obama in January and the company has reapplied to build, though the pipeline’s future remains in limbo. The seven-billion-dollar project would carry crude 17-hundred miles from the oil fields of western Canada to the refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Supporters say the pipeline would create thousands of construction jobs while the oil it would provide would help reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign petroleum. Thompson says that’s a “ridiculous” argument.”If you listen to the political rhetoric surrounding Keystone XL, you would think it has some kind of a magical power,” Thompson says. “Politicians say these few thousand temporary jobs somehow will solve America’s unemployment problem and somehow this oil that’s flowing across our nation and then on overseas, that’s supposed to be solving our country’s energy problems.”

Thompson is convinced the oil would be sold on the world market, lining the pockets of big oil execs and having no beneficial impact on domestic pump prices. He says Iowans need to be aware and be on guard. “There’s trillions of barrels of this stuff up in Canada and the oil companies desperately want to get it down to where they can ship it overseas,” Thompson says. “They’re looking for easy passage. It’s not to say that sometime in the future, they might look to Iowa.” Thompson is being joined on the Iowa trek by a minister, a Native American leader, an Iowa legislator and representatives from at least three environmental groups. Oglala Lakota Vice President Tom Poor Bear from Pine Ridge, Nebraska, claims the pipeline will violate the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty and jeopardize the safety of the water supply for the Oglala Lakota Nation. The group has stops planned today (Wednesday) in Des Moines and Ames, and on Thursday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Davenport.

(Radio Iowa)

King, Vilsack spar in fourth debate

News

October 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Republican Congressman Steve King was a bit more aggressive last night (Tuesday) in the fifth face-to-face debate with Democratic challenger Christie Vilsack. In their first debate, King said he was “surprised” by Vilsack, who had opened that meeting by saying King was guilty of “a lot of talk and no action” in congress. King closed last night’s session with this rap against Vilsack. “I looked at one of the ads of Mrs. Vilsack’s on the way here, through the text of it, and when I drew a line through everything that was a question, or everything that was untrue, the only thing left was: ‘I’m Christie Vilsack and I approved this message,'” King said. “You deserve better than that.”

About half an hour earlier, Vilsack suggested King had failed to vote for bills that provided money earmarked for expanding Highway 20 and Highway 29, key projects for northern Iowa. “I think that he is one person here and a different person in Washington,” Vilsack said. “And I don’t think that’s the kind of person you want representing you, someone who is disingenuous.” The two covered some of the same ground they’ve debated in their four previous meetings, discussing the Farm Bill, immigration and gun rights. Last night’s debate was sponsored by The Sioux City Journal and the A-B-C T-V affiliates in Sioux City and Des Moines.

(Radio Iowa)

Federal officials prep drought response with meeting in Omaha

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

October 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The first of four drought workshops organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture was held Tuesday in Omaha. U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said this year’s historic drought has highlighted the “resiliency” of American agriculture and the capacity of farmers to embrace new technologies and new techniques.”One of the reasons why we’re potentially going to see yields a little bit higher than we anticipated is because of our farmers acceptance of new seed technologies, in particular, that have allowed yields to be greater than anticipated because the crops are more resilient,” Vilsack said. “At the same time, our farmers have embraced conservation…and perhaps they’ve been able to retain the moisture more effectively than they have in the past.”

Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, said the lack of new Farm Bill will likely delay the federal response to the drought. He added the drought’s impact extends far beyond the family farm. “I think we learned today there are a lot of implications to this drought that you might think of at first. Just as an example, the impact on tourism, the impact on energy supplies, the impact on water resources for our communities,” Vilsack said. “This extends, obviously, beyond the serious impact it has on our producers.” Many workshop attendees agreed the livestock industry faces the biggest challenges in the months ahead – with tight supplies of feed grains and high prices.

Matt Swantek, an Iowa State University Extension swine program specialist, said pork producers are definitely concerned about cash flow. “What’s it going to take to stay in business and be able to…maintain livestock numbers? When this does turn, it’s going to be a turn for the good, which has always been the case in the past,” Swantek said. “But if we don’t have pigs out there to take advantage of it, there’s not going to be an opportunity (to stay in business) long term.” Three more workshops are scheduled to discuss resources available to assist with drought recovery efforts. Those meetings will be held in Pueblo, Colorado; Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and a site to be determined in Ohio.

(Radio Iowa)

Carter Lake soldier killed in TX shooting

News

October 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

KILLEEN, Texas (AP) — Central Texas police are still investigating a shooting that left a western Iowa soldier serving at Fort Hood dead, and another injured. Police say 22-year old Specialist Jamie Lee Schnider, of Carter Lake, died Thursday night during a fight outside a Killeen home near the Central Texas Army post. A 21-year-old Fort Hood soldier whose name wasn’t released also was shot. It’s unclear if he remains hospitalized. Killeen police spokeswoman Carroll Smith says a man was taken into custody, questioned and released.

Fort Hood officials say Schnider entered active-duty service in 2008. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood since late 2008. Schnider served in Iraq in 2009 and again in 2011.

Food Allergies in Children on the Rise: Extension Offers Childcare Provider Training

News

October 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Childcare providers in Cass and area counties have an opportunity to learn strategies and practical skills to provide an allergen-safe and healthy environment, for children in their care. ” Just a Bite: Managing Food Allergies in Childcare,” is a training program sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The training helps providers identify common food allergens for children, understand allergen food labeling laws as well as recognize and treat the signs and symptoms of food allergies. The program will be held October 30th, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at the ISU Extension and Outreach Office in Atlantic. The program will be conducted by ISU Extension Nutrition & Health Program Specialist Barb Fuller.

According to ISU Extension, the prevalence of food allergies among children is rising. Officials say they have increased 18% in the last 10 years. Food allergies are more common among children, affecting 6-8% of children under age 4 whereas 4% of the adult population has food allergies. The highest incidence of food allergies occurs among children under the age of 3. Almost 1 in 5 of children in that age group have food allergies.

According to Fuller, “The prevalence of food allergies in this age group, can create life-threatening situations if a childcare provider is unaware of the management and treatment of food allergies.” She says “It often takes just a bite of the allergen to cause a reaction.” Fuller adds that “There are eight major food allergens that account for 90% of all food allergy reactions. Food allergies can be easily prevented and treated by knowing some basic principles.” Those principles will be the subject of the October 25th meeting in Atlantic. Call Rebecca at 712-243-1132 for more information or to register by October 25th.

14 IA Water Quality Projects Benefit from more than $13 million in State Revolving Fund Loans

News

October 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Finance Authority recently approved a combined total of more than $13 million in water quality loans to assist Bennett, Griswold, Kelley, Kiron, Lake Creek District, Laurens, Le Mars, Liscomb, Lohrville, Melborne, Terril, Walker, Wapello and Winterset. Griswold will receive $1.637-million loan for a Clean Water construction project.

The Construction Loans are a source of low-interest financing for these communities to address pollution of Iowa streams and lakes and the Planning & Design Loans will assist with project expenses. The funding is made available through the State Revolving Fund’s Construction Loan and Planning & Design Loan Programs.

The Iowa Finance Authority has awarded Iowa communities and municipalities more than $1.8 billion in Construction Loans and $120 million through Planning & Design Loans since program inception. The loans are made available as part of the State Revolving Fund. For more information on Planning & Design Loans, as well as other State Revolving Fund programs, visit www.IowaSRF.com.