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Smaller corn surplus could push food prices higher

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON (AP) – Food prices could rise next year because an unseasonably hot summer is expected to damage much of this year’s corn crop. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates a surplus of 672 million bushels of corn will be left over at the end of next summer. The estimated surplus is down from last month’s forecast and well below levels that are considered healthy.

This spring, farmers planted the second-largest crop since World War II. But high temperatures stunted the plants. Corn prices soared to record levels earlier this year because of limited supplies. More expensive corn drives food prices higher because corn is an ingredient in everything from animal feed to cereal to soft drinks. It takes about six months for corn prices to trickle down to products at the grocery store.

7AM Newscast 09-12-2011

News, Podcasts

September 12th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


School Board elections set for Tuesday


September 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Voters across Iowa will head to the polls Tuesday, to elect their school board members and make a decision other, school related matters. The polls open at Noon at close at 8-p.m.  In Cass County, there are contested races in the Atlantic Community School District, where there are three At Large seats to fill. Incumbents Dennis Davis, Phil Hascall and Jon Martens are up for re-election, along with Rodney Hartwig. Voters in Atlantic will also act on approving a Physical Plant and Equipment levy that would allow the district to ask for up to 85-cents per thousand dollars of taxable valuation, beginning in the Fiscal year ending June 30th, 2013. The levy would remain in effect for the following 10-years.

In the newly re-organized CAM Community School District, Julie Williamson is the lone candidate for the North District, and incumbent Todd McKee is unopposed for the South District. In the Griswold Community School District, Scott Peterson is running unopposed for the District 2 seat, and Douglas Lembke is unopposed in District 6.  They are expected to replace two retiring Board members, Mary Perdue and Angie Amos.  Incumbents Scott Hansen and Clarion Campbell are also unopposed in Districts 4 and 7 respectively.  Voters in the Griswold District will also decide whether or not to adopt a renewed Revenue Purpose Statement. Superintendent Dana Kunze  says it‘s basically a continuation of “business as usual” with regard to how sales, service and other tax funds from the State of Iowa can be used.  He says it’s an extension of the statement for a few more years. It will not increase or decrease taxes paid by the district’s patrons. It will allow the district to plan for some large projects. That includes the Griswold High School parking lot, which Kunze says is in pretty rough shape.  It also includes a new roof for the high school, projects will can be completed without having to raise property taxes, which is something that hasn’t been done in a while. In fact, in the last year, those taxes were lowered by One-dollar per thousand dollars valuation. Patrons of the district may vote at the Community Building in Elliott, and at the City Hall in Griswold and Lewis.

In the AHST Community School District, there are three spots open on the Board of Education: Kimberly Wise is running for the District 2 seat being vacated by Alan Sieh; Russell Sturm is running for the At Large seat in-place of Allen Cordes, who has decided to seek election in his own district, which is District 4. Incumbent Tony Denning will not seek re-election in that district.

In the Elk Horn-Kimballton School District, Mark Smith and Joel Schlueter have filed for the District 1 and 4 seats, respectively. Each of the incumbents in the Walnut Community School District are unopposed for re-election. Voters in the Corning Community School District have no candidates for District 2, so that will filled by write-in vote, the other districts have one candidate running for each seat. In the Prescott School District, there’s another write-in situation for a vacant Director At Large seat.

There are no contested races in either the Audubon or Exira Community School Districts, but voters in the Audubon District will act on adopting the Revenue Purpose Statement. In Guthrie County, there are a total of 14 seats up for election in five school districts, but only two contested races. One is in the Panorama School District, and pits incumbent Tom Arganbright against Jim Nelson, in District 3. The other is in the West Central Valley School District, where newcomers Dianne Harwood and Bryan Abbott face off in District 5.

Proposed bridge replacement on U.S. 34 over Platte River in Adams Co., to be discussed Sept. 22


September 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – Sept. 12, 2011 – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) will hold a public information meeting Thursday, Sept. 22, to discuss the proposed bridge replacement of the U.S. 34 bridge over the Platte River, 1.3 miles west of the Iowa 25 intersection, in Adams County. The meeting will be held from 4:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the Lenox Community Center, 110 E. Dallas St. in Lenox. This public information meeting will be conducted utilizing an open forum format. No formal presentation will be made. Iowa DOT staff members will be present to discuss the project informally. Through traffic would be detoured using Adams County Road N-64, Taylor County Road J-13 and Iowa 25 during construction. 

For general information regarding the proposed bridge replacement or the public meeting, contact Donald Stevens, interim district engineer, Iowa DOT District 4, 2210 E. Seventh St., Atlantic, Iowa 50022, telephone 712-243-3355 or 800-289-4368, e-mail donald.stevens@dot.iowa.gov. Visit the Iowa DOT’s project-related public meeting website at www.iowadot.gov/pim for information about scheduled public meetings and hearings – and opportunities to offer input to the Iowa DOT during the development of certain projects.

Massena City Council to meet this evening


September 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The City Council in Massena is set to hold its regular meeting this evening. On the agenda at 7-p.m., is discussion and possible action with regard to tree removal in the historical area, the sewer improvement system design, and the transfer of City funds to the road use tax fund, for blacktop payment.

In other business, the Council will receive information about the DNR’s plan of action to reduce the sewer system inflow and infiltration, act on a contract for wastewater collection systems improvement, discuss a DNR Open Burn application, and, set the dates for public hearings on building permit and engine brake ordinances.

The meeting begins at 7-p.m., in the Massena City Hall.

1 Injured During Semi vs. Motorcycle Crash in Adair County, Sunday


September 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A northwest Iowa woman suffered serious injuries during a crash between a motorcycle and a semi Sunday afternoon, in Adair County. The Iowa State Patrol says a 2007 Volvo semi driven by 40-year old Larry D. Fry, of Fredericktown, Ohio, was traveling east on Interstate 80 in the slow lane just east of the Highway 25 exit, and was unable to merge into the left lane.

A 2003 Harley Davidson motorcycle, driven by 44-year old Deborah Lynn Dirks, of Gilmore City, was merging from the ramp onto I-80 eastbound and collided with the side of the semi. The impact caused Dirks to lose control of the cycle, which came to rest in the south ditch.  The accident happened at around 4:15-p.m.

Dirks was flown by helicopter to Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. According to her friends, doctors were forced to amputate one of her legs below the knee. She also suffered lacerations, broken bones, and a collapsed lung, but was expected to survive from her injuries.

Friends say the woman was riding with the “Freedom Riders” motorcycle club when the accident, which remains under investigation, took place.

Western IA man & NE woman die in cycle crash


September 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

(A-P) EMERSON, Neb. — Two people on a motorcycle have been killed in a head-on collision with a car near Emerson in eastern Nebraska. The Dixon County, NE,  sheriff’s office says that 20-year-old Christopher Oberg, of Mapleton, Iowa, and his passenger, 19-year-old Alexis Calfee of Bennett, Neb., died at the scene of Friday evening’s crash. The sheriff’s office says Oberg was heading westbound on the motorcycle when he encountered an eastbound car in his lane. He swerved but couldn’t avoid a crash. The driver of the car, identified as 55-year-old Robert Mahler, of Hubbard, Neb., was taken to an Iowa hospital. The crash is under investigatio

More Social Security recipients get direct deposit


September 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – More recipients of government payments in the Midwest are signing up for direct deposit, but officials say 1.8 million people are still counting on paper checks. That could be a problem because the federal government plans to end paper checks for Social Security and other benefits in March 2013. The Treasury Department says 88 percent of the benefit payments in the Midwest are now being made electronically. That’s up from 85 percent seven months ago. Officials hope the number of people using direct deposit will continue to grow. So reminders will be sent to benefit recipients in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Anyone needing help with the change can call 1-800-333-1795 or visit www.GoDirect.org.

Irwin man arrested on Public Intoxication in Montgomery County


September 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Montgomery County said Sunday, a Shelby County man was arrested at around 9-a.m. Sunday on a charge of public intoxication. 20-year old Dustin William Martz, of Irwin, was taken into custody on Highway 71,  about one-half mile north of the intersection with Highway 34. Martz was brought to the Montgomery County Jail and held on $300 cash bond.

Area Health Care providers speak at Rural Health Roundtable (follow-up to earlier posting)


September 10th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A Rural Health Roundtable held at the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic, Friday, gave area health care providers a chance to speak about issues affecting how they do their jobs and how the Obama administration’s new initiatives might affect them.

Dr. John Bigelow

One of those who spoke was Dr. John Bigelow, Executive Director of the Southwest Iowa Mental Health Clinic in Atlantic. Bigelow mentioned  the Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) which is in danger of  closing because a lack of reimbursement from Medicaid and Medicare has cost the hospital nearly $500-million dollars. He said the Affordable Care Act policies are looking to make behavioral health care part of primary care, which is important, because many of the patients he treats have significant health issues. He says statistics show there are a significant number of people who are dealing with depression and anxiety disorders, due in-part to the economy. The economy he says also creates a hardship for those who have to travel about 40-miles or more to receive the limited amount of services they BHU can provide.

A number of surrounding counties he says, don’t have community mental health centers because they weren’t being funded appropriately. Bigelow says the SWIMC is doing better than similar facilities because of Medicaid cost reimbursement, but that only covers about 35% of the clients they serve. CCMH he says, has provided cash flow during times of financial shortage, and the County subsidizes services to individuals who don’t have insurance, but some policies have high deductibles or don’t cover mental health. Bigelow said he was pleased to learn the Health and Human Services Administration (HRSA) has expanded eligibility of the National Health Corps, because it should help to attract mental health professionals to rural communities. He says it took more than seven months to fill the last two positions in his department, because some applicants weren’t qualified to take advantage of financial programs which would allow them to work and repay their loans.

Ed Friedman, a rural health Physician’s Assistant (P.A.) at the Redfield Medical Clinic and an administrator for 26-years, said good legislation, along with reasonable enforcement of those regulations andreimbursement are critical to the delivery of rural health care.  Friedman said the funding of a P.A. education  program by HRSA has made a big difference in bringing licensed P-A’s to Iowa. He says 40-years ago, there were none, now there are 800. Rural Health Clinics he says, have also made a huge difference. Still, he says RHC’s and Community Health Centers need guidance from HRSA on how to collaborate on policies which are confusing, and out-of-date, and those policies need to be integrated into the Affordable Care Act.

P.A. Ed Friedman