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(Update) Fatal vehicle/pedestrian crash in Council Bluffs


August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Council Bluffs Police says a 63-year old woman was struck and killed early this morning while she crossed the street on her daily walk. Council Bluffs Police Sgt. Bob Sellers said Mae Zhang, of Council Bluffs was crossing the street from the north to the south when she was hit by an eastbound car driven by 21-year old Sarah Harris, also of Council Bluffs.  Zhang died at the scene. The accident happened at around 7:15-a.m. in a neighborhood just east of the Mall of the Bluffs. Sgt. Sellers says sunglare was likely a factor in the accident. Witnesses say the glare is most prominent when motorists traverse the hill in those hours just after sunrise.

Fender bender in Atlantic, Wednesday


August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports an accident Wednesday afternoon on Chestnut Street caused about $1,500 damage, but no one was hurt. Officials say vehicles driven by Ryan Richie, of Clarinda, and James Adams, of St. Augustine, FL, collided in the 400 block of Chestnut, at around 3:15-p.m.

The accident happened as Adams was traveling south on Chestnut, and making a left turn into the northbound parking stalls. As he was making the turn, a vehicle driven by Richie was backing out, and collided with the Adams vehicle. Adams was cited for “Left Turn for Parking.”

FSA Announces Continuous Sign-up for CRP Highly Erodible Land Initiative

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

John R. Whitaker, State Executive Director for USDA’s Iowa Farm Service Agency (FSA), announced Thursday, that continuous sign-up for the Highly Erodible Land (HEL) Initiative under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) started on July 23rd, 2012. Iowa received a total allocation of 50,000 acres to enroll in the HEL CRP program. Offers will be accepted until either the state acreage allocation limit is reached or September 30, 2012 whichever occurs first.

Whitaker says “CRP is a voluntary program that shows the commitment that landowners have to protect environmentally sensitive land. This initiative will accept offers with a weighted average wind or water erosion rate of at least 20 tons per acre per year for new cropland or CRP acres that expire on September 30, 2012; however, existing grass stands that are not expiring CRP will not be considered eligible.”

Producers should stop by their local county FSA office to determine if their land qualifies for the Highly Erodible Land Initiative and to receive additional location-specific details. Landowners enrolled in CRP receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland. Incentive payments are not authorized under this initiative. New land contracts approved during this continuous sign-up initiative will become effective the first day of the month following the month of approval and are valid for 10 years.

USDA Announces 67 Iowa Counties as part of Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowa State Executive Director for USDA Farm Service Agency, John R. Whitaker today (Thursday), announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 62 Iowa counties as part of a Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation.   Farm operators who have suffered major production and/or physical losses caused by drought beginning August 7th, 2012 and continuing may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans.  This designation makes the remaining producers in Iowa eligible for these loans.

The Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation determination of August 15th, 2012 lists 35 Iowa counties as primary disaster areas.  These primary counties locally, include:  Adair, Adams, Audubon, Carroll, Cass, Crawford, Dallas, Fremont, Guthrie, Hancock, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Pocahontas, Pottawattamie, Sac, and Shelby.  Thirty-two Iowa counties are contiguous to this designated disaster area, making those producers also potentially eligible for the program based on this designation.  The contiguous counties include:  Ringgold, Taylor and Union, in southwest Iowa.

Whitaker says “With this designation, all producers who have suffered a loss due to a natural disaster are eligible to apply for an FSA Emergency Loan. With the various designations that have been issued, producers should contact their local FSA office to determine the application deadline that applies to them.”  The Farm Service Agency may make emergency loans to eligible family farmers which will enable them to return to their normal operations if they sustained qualifying losses resulting from natural disaster.

Applicant must be unable to obtain credit from other usual sources to qualify for the Farm Service Agency Farm Loan Program assistance.  The final date for making application under this designation is April 15, 2013. Interested farmers may contact their local County FSA office for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs.  For a list of disaster designations for Iowa, go to www.fsa.usda.gov/ia.

Atlantic jeweler wins national award


August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An Atlantic business has won a national award from a group of over 850 retailers. Geis-Perry Jewelry owners Rich and Nedra Perry received the 2012 Diamond Importer of the Year award from the Retail Jewelers Organization (RJO). The award was presented during the RJO’s annual gala, held August 5th, in Milwaukee, WI.

Each year, the RJO selects one jeweler who participates in international diamond buying trips to Antwerp, Belgium, and excels in the selection, grading, and promotion of diamonds and diamond jewelry. One retail jeweler is selected annually, who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment in expanding their knowledge f diamonds, by traveling to the “Diamond Capital of the World,” to hand select diamonds for their store, and clients.

Shelby County Fire Danger back to the “HIGH” category today

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A slight improvement in the atmospheric moisture content has prompted the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency to reduce the Fire Danger index from “Extreme” to “High,” where it had been for several weeks prior to Wednesday’s extremely dry and dangerous conditions. Shelby County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert says thunderstorms are in the forecast for the next few days and hopefully, some of that rain will fall over Shelby County.

Seivert is asking participating agencies in the County to move their “Fire Danger” signs back into the High Category. He says while the explosive conditions the area experienced Wednesday have moved on, the wind this (Thursday) afternoon and Friday are expected to increase into the 20-mph range.

Open burning is not recommended.  Please call the emergency management Agency at 755-2124 if you feel you need to burn during this time.

Iowa DOT cautions travelers about work zones over Labor Day holiday


August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation reminds motorists that travel during the upcoming Labor Day holiday may be slowed by road construction. The DOT says  several projects on Iowa’s interstate and state roadways may warrant advance planning on the part of drivers.

In Southwest Iowa, the projects include:

  • A staged bridge construction on U.S. 30 northeast of Woodbine in Harrison County has traffic restricted to one lane. Traffic is being maintained with temporary traffic signals.
  • A bridge deck overlay on U.S. 71 south of Atlantic in Cass County has traffic restricted to one lane. Traffic is being maintained with temporary traffic signals.

There are many other ongoing construction and maintenance projects affecting traffic on state, county and local road systems. Details of all current Iowa DOT construction projects can be found at www.511ia.org.

Tips for driving safely in work zones

  • Expect the unexpected. Normal speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be changed, and people may be working on or near the road.
  • Slow down and do not tailgate. Speeding is one of the major causes of work zone crashes. Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead. The most common crash in a highway work zone is the rear-end collision.
  • Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and road workers and their equipment.
  • Pay attention to the signs. Warning signs are there to help you and other drivers move safely through the work zone. Observe the posted signs until you see the one that reads “End Road Work.”
  • Obey flaggers. The flagger knows what is best for moving traffic safely in the work zone. A flagger has the same authority as a regulatory sign; so, you can be cited for disobeying his or her directions.
  • Stay alert and minimize distractions. Dedicate your full attention to the roadway and avoid changing radio stations, using cell phones, texting or other distractions while driving in a work zone. Texting while driving is illegal in Iowa.
  • Keep up with the traffic flow. Motorists can help maintain traffic flow and posted speeds by merging as soon as possible. Do not drive right up to the lane closure and then try to merge.
  • Be patient and stay calm. Work zones are not there to inconvenience travelers. Remember, road workers are improving the road for your use.
  • Watch for persons wearing high visibility (HiViz) apparel. All persons are required by federal law to wear HiViz apparel when in highway work zones.
  • Prepare for your trip to take a little more time. Check radio, TV or websites (www.511ia.org), call 511 (within Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (nationwide), or stay connected with 511 on Facebook or Twitter at www.iowadot.com/511/socialmedia.html, or on your mobile phone.
  • Expect delays and leave early so you can reach your destination on time.
  • Be aware that traffic fines for moving violations are at least double in work zones.
  • Buckle up. Iowa law requires all persons to be buckled up in the front seat and all persons under age 18 to be buckled up, regardless of vehicle seating position.

SIRHA update


August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A representative of the Southern Iowa Regional Housing Authority (SIRHA) spoke before the Cass County Board of Supervisors during their meeting Wednesday, in Atlantic. Gene Eyberg told the Board the Creston-based organization subsidized 1,031 Section 8 housing units that are privately owned in a 13 County area. He says of those 1,031 units, 187 are located in Cass County. 2.3%, or 318 people, are actually being served through Section 8 Housing.

Eyberg says year-to-date, that amounts to $290,635. SIRHA, which provides rental assistance or rent subsidy to low income individuals, families, elderly or disabled who meet qualifying program guidelines utilizing different programs, has a budget of more than $5-million. The organization operates 2 rental assistance programs:  Public Housing and the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Eyberg says most of their budget comes through the federal Housing and Urban Development program (HUD). He says HUD has insisted SIRHA dwindle-down their surplus funds which are used for everything that’s involved in the program. Eyberg says they are working to reduce the surplus, as directed. He says they’re proud of the rental assistance program, because it fosters independence and a sense of worth, once those who are enrolled successfully complete the requirements.

He says it encourages people to get out on their own, forward their education, market themselves, and increase their earning potential. The money it saves qualifying individuals also ultimately can be applied for the purchase of a new home. That’s because a portion of the rent that’s paid, goes into a trust fund. For more information, surf the web to www.sirha-ia.org.

8AM Newscast 08-23-2012

News, Podcasts

August 23rd, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Drought intensifies in key farming states

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

ST. LOUIS (AP) – The latest update on the nation’s drought shows that the parched conditions continue worsening in key farm states even as the situation across all of the continental U.S. leveled off.  The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map shows that more than two-thirds of Iowa, the nation’s biggest corn producer, was suffering extreme or exceptional drought – the worst two classifications – as of Tuesday. That’s up more than 5 percentage points from last week, despite cooler temperatures.  Nearly all of Nebraska and Missouri are in extreme or exceptional drought, narrowly ahead of Illinois and Kansas in those two categories. The amount of Nebraska afflicted with exceptional drought conditions – the most-serious level – remained unchanged while dropping only slightly in Illinois.