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City of Atlantic agrees to sign a commitment letter to help with Regency Villa rehab


November 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The City Council in Atlantic, Wednesday, authorized City Administrator Doug Harris to sign a letter of commitment with the non-profit RD Atlantic LLLP group, which will help the group get a higher tax credit rating for an elderly affordable housing project. RD Atlantic representative Cindy Voorhees with National Consulting Alliance in Des Moines, says the group is seeking a Low Income federal Housing Tax credits award administered by the Iowa Finance Authority, for the acquisition and rehabilitation of the 24-unit Regency Villa Apartments on Redwood Drive.

She says a local government contribution will help to make the project competitive and successful. Right now however, they don’t need money from the City, just a commitment that would enable the developer to get the necessary tax credits and begin work on the project.

The developer plans on investing $2.1-million to improve the property, which includes rehabilitation of the living units, new roofing and siding, appliances and carpeting. Voorhees says the organization will need some financial help from the City, but it’s really only necessary to increase the chances they will get more points in the tax credit rating. She says in order for the organization to get more money from the feds, the City needs to agree to provide a $20,000 interest free loan for 15-years with a “Bullet Maturity” (that is, no principal paid until the end of the 15-year term). The $20,000 will be put in a cash or cash equivalent account to fully secure the loan.

Originally, the developer had asked the City for a $100,000 interest free loan with a 20-year Bullet Maturity. Voorhees said the project would make a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) of $750 per year for the first 15-years.

Regency Villa is owned by a non-profit organization and is in the Rural Development Program, a benefit of which is that the tenants will never pay more than one-third of their income, for rent.

Ready or not, winter is coming, so now is the time to prepare

News, Weather

November 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

While parts of Iowa have already seen snowfall twice in recent weeks, today (Thursday) is Winter Weather Awareness Day. Meteorologist Jeff Johnson, at the National Weather Service, says a host of important information is being posted on the agency’s website to help Iowans prepare for what could be wicked weather ahead. “We’ll talk about what makes up a winter storm,” Johnson says. “Some of the things you’ll see from the National Weather Service in the way of products, and what I mean by that is, our winter storm watches, warnings and advisories, and things folks can do to make themselves more safe this winter season.”

The first day of winter is December 21st, but winter weather may arrive much sooner. While there’s much speculation, Johnson says it’s really too early to say what kind of winter Iowa will experience.  “Looking at the long-range predictions, there are a lot of uncertainties as to the weather pattern for the upper Midwest, so at this point, about all we can do is prepare for the worst,” Johnson says. “Expect some snow events and extreme cold.”

States just west of Iowa were whalloped by a paralyzing blizzard in early October. B-J Fictum, an emergency management consultant, says the most important thing Iowans can do is prepare for up to 72 hours without any outside help.  “Look out in western Nebraska, look at South Dakota earlier this year, you couldn’t get anywhere for at least 48 hours or more,” Fictum says. “They need to have enough stuff, enough food, enough medicine, enough supplies so they can do it. That’s what we’re trying to push. Make sure to be prepared and be self sufficient.”

Other supplies to keep stocked include: a flashlight with batteries, a portable radio or weather radio, and an emergency heat source. Also, have a survival kit in your vehicle, with items like: blankets or sleeping bags, extra clothing, a first aid kit, flashlights, mobile phone and charger, a shovel and scraper and non-perishable food items. Learn more at www.weather.gov.

(Radio Iowa)

7AM Newscast 11-07-2013

News, Podcasts

November 7th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


City of Atlantic Housing Study: 54% of homes are in fair to poor condition


November 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A housing study completed by SWIPCO (the Southwest Iowa Planning Council) for the City of Atlantic revealed no new surprises for those searching for affordable housing.

Jeremy Middents

Jeremy Middents

SWIPCO Housing Director Jeremy Middents said a drive-by survey found more than half (54%) of the existing housing units in Atlantic are rated in “Fair” to “Poor” condition. Middents told the City Council Wednesday, more than half of the homes are in need of some sort of repair or major rehabilitation. Another two-percent are beyond hope for rehabilitation or repair, and need to be demolished.

The City has, in the past, purchased abandoned and dilapidated homes with the intent to clear the lots for future, new buildings, and it has participated in programs to improve the existing housing, through grant applications (such as CDBG’s) for owner-occupied homes intended to aid in their rehabilitation. Middents said also, that CADCO – The Cass/Atlantic economic Development Corporation – has helped by participating in the “Paint the town red” program which helps elderly and disables homeowners with the painting of their homes.

He says SWIPCO has applied for the Federal Home Loan Bank Repair Program funds on behalf of the City. Officials should learn next week whether the funds are approved. Middents says many of the homes are in poor condition, and unless the home or property owners get some type of assistance, those homes will continue to deteriorate and become dilapidated. One of the options for the spaces made vacant by demolished homes, according to Middents, is to construct affordable housing units, which the latest Census shows there is a current lack of.

Middents says the Census doesn’t take into account various subsidies that are available. He said a survey of rental complexes are at or near capacity in Atlantic, and several had waiting lists of persons wanting to rent. There’s also concern about the condition of rental units, especially those designed for single families. He said the City could create a Rental Maintenance Code, and back that up by incentives or disincentives for the land or property owners in order to spur them into bringing their properties up to Code and perhaps prompt them to apply for assistance in making additional housing available.

The study shows also, that the City needs new upper- moderate – and affordable homes and rental unit housing, but it needs to create incentives for developers to come up with more “Mixed-use” housing complexes or units. SWIPCO is working with the City to create a plan to address the problem of housing in Atlantic.

Wednesday morning fire destroys vacant home in Oakland: suspicious origin


November 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Investigators examining the remains of a home in Oakland that was destroyed by fire early Wednesday morning, consider the cause to be suspicious. According to the Daily NonPareil, firefighters were called to the unoccupied rental home at 208 Oak Streetin Oakland, a little after 12-a.m., Wednesday. Oakland’s Fire Chief Brant Miller told the paper the house was fully engulfed in flames and the entire structure collapsed within 10-minutes of crews having arrived on the scene. Firefighters were able to prevent the flames from spreading to another, nearby home.

Firefighters from Oakland and Carson were on the scene for about 5-hours. No injuries were reported. The house, assessed at $57,000. was a total loss The fire is considered suspicious because of the manner in which it started, and because there had been unusual activity in the home in recent weeks. The cause remains under investigation.

Former SW IA physician to undergo competency exams


November 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Board of Medicine has come to terms with a former Shenandoah Medical Center physician charged for practicing without informing the board he had received discipline from the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine. Under the settlement agreement, 55-year old Subir Ray, who is no longer employed by the medical center, will  undergo several health and behavioral exams to determine his competency to practice medicine.The board issued Ray a citation and warning, and ordered him to pay a $2,500 civil penalty, according to a press release.

Ray must also complete a comprehensive clinical competency evaluation, a comprehensive physical, neuropsychological, mental health, and disruptive behavior evaluation and a professional ethics program. He was placed on indefinite probation subject to board monitoring and a board-approved practice monitoring program.

The Iowa board filed disciplinary action against Ray on Aug. 30th, and the Shenandoah Medical Center suspended him on Sept. 6th. Ray, who provided minimally invasive surgery at SMC, previously worked at PinnacleHealth in Harrisburg, Pa. He began working in Shenandoah in September 2010.

He was disciplined by the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine in November 2011 after the board concluded that Ray practiced medicine with a “mental disability” and engaged in unprofessional conduct, according to a report from the Iowa Board of Medicine. His medical license is valid until July 1st, 2014.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., Nov. 7th 2013


November 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

SLATER, Iowa (AP) — The family of a man shot by police after a car chase at Iowa State University is questioning why he was killed. James Comstock told The Des Moines Register he’s outraged police shot and killed his son, 19-year-old Tyler Comstock. Ames police say Tyler Comstock of Boone drove a stolen truck onto the ISU campus on Monday. Patrol officer Adam McPherson fired six shots into the truck, fatally wounding Comstock.

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) — Video of a former Iowa jail guard accused of killing his pregnant wife shows the man denying involvement in her death. The Ottumwa Courier reports (jurors watched more video yesterday in the murder trial of Seth Techel. It features an investigator questioning Techel about his actions on the morning of his wife’s death.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have released the name of a man found dead outside a Des Moines duplex. Des Moines police say 28-year-old Shay Zeller was discovered Monday morning by a woman leaving for work.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Court of Appeals says a woman who trains service dogs may proceed with a lawsuit against Drake University, which she says did not allow her to attend classes in 2009 with a dog at her side. Nicole Shumate, a 2009 Drake Law School graduate, says in her lawsuit people training service animals are permitted by Iowa law to seek civil damages when denied the right to be accompanied by their animal.

Travelers likely won’t have to pay bridge toll


November 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DECATUR, Neb. (AP) — Traveling over the Missouri River at Decatur, Neb., should soon be cheaper and a little quicker. The Sioux City Journal reports motorists will no longer have to pay a toll to use the bridge, which links Nebraska and Iowa about half way between Omaha and Sioux City. The change comes as the Burt County Bridge Commission turns over ownership of the bridge to Iowa and Nebraska.

Bridge manager Clark Beck says it’s good news for Decatur residents who will no longer have to pay the $1 toll to drive a car or pickup truck over the span. But he notes it also means the loss of more than a dozen part-time toll-taking jobs.

Iowa and Nebraska still must give final approval to the ownership change, but that’s expected soon.

MidAmerican continues with wind energy expansion projects


November 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

MidAmerican Energy has released more details about a plan to add nearly 450 wind turbines across the state. Construction is underway on the projects around O’Brien, Webster, Grundy, Madison, and Marshall Counties. The company says it has reached an agreement with RPM Access, LLC for the acquisition of the approximate 117-megawatt Macksburg wind project site in Madison County. The Macksburg wind project will be constructed by Mortenson Construction, which is based in Minnesota.

The utility has announced the blades for the expansion will be manufactured by a Siemen’s plant located in Fort Madison. Once completed by the end 2015, MidAmerican officials say the new wind projects will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 317-thousand (317,000) Iowa households.

MidAmerican says the wind energy expansion projects will provide more than $3 million in landowner payments each year and more than $360 million in additional property tax revenues over the next 30 years. Construction will take place at no net cost to the company’s customers, and officials say it will help stabilize electric rates over the long term.

Approximately 1,000 construction jobs will be added to Iowa’s economy during the two-year construction period, and approximately 40 new permanent jobs will be added when the expansion is complete.

King says Obama to pay a price for lying about ObamaCare


November 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Republican Congressman Steve King says President Obama has lost the “moral authority to govern” because Obama repeatedly promised Americans if they liked their health care plan, they could keep it.  “Nixon lied and was severely punished for it,” King says. “That set a standard. We severely punish presidents for lying.” King says modern presidents have paid a price for lies or statements that were perceived as lies, like George Bush’s assertion that Iraq was trying to buy nuclear material in Iraq to his father’s decision to break his “no new taxes” promise.

“There’s been a very, very harsh criticism of presidents who were accused of lying whether they told the truth or not,” King says. “This one you can’t peel it off. The ObamaCare brand is branding on Barack Obama dn not only did he sell us ObamaCare with a series of big lies, but he retained…his place in office by repeating them over and over again.” King backed the recent partial government shutdown and has accused the president of being a “narcissist” by closing National Parks and public monuments in Washington, D.C. during the 16 day impasse with congress.

King says over the past 72 hours he’s come to the realization that Obama “had to know” he was lying when he said Americans would be able to keep their insurance.  “I think he is a smart guy. I don’t think he was duped. I think he was part of the duping. If he was willing to dupe the people on ObamaCare and dupe the American people to get reelected and take this vindictive, spiteful, narcissistic position when we call him on it in congress, I think that brand sticks hard and I think that the next three years of his presidency he can’t lead with moral authority any longer,” King says. “He can lead, perhaps, with presidential edict until the people refuse to follow, but he can’t lead with moral authority any longer.”

King says Obama’s lying would have more impact today if Obama hadn’t given employers another year to meet the health insurance mandate in the Affordable Care Act, as that affects far more people than are being impacted by the individual mandate.

(Radio Iowa)