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Iowa DOT increases security of flood-damaged roads


September 9th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – Sept. 9, 2011 – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is stepping up security measures to prevent persons from entering flood-damaged roadways in western Iowa. Locked gates and other barrier devices are being installed at strategic highway locations to secure areas unsafe for motor vehicle or pedestrian travel.

Individuals have been disregarding traditional road closure devices, such as barricades and fence, by driving over and around them, or removing them. These actions place persons at significant risk due to damage to the roadways and bridges, unexpected pavement failures and heavy equipment at work.

In addition, ignoring road closure devices prolongs the recovery effort by disrupting the work of contractors.

Residents of Percival seeking access to their community for cleanup and rebuilding, should contact the Fremont County Emergency Coordinator who will coordinate access to and from the town using Interstate 29. Access will be provided through the gate located on Iowa 2, east of I-29.

The Iowa DOT reminds all persons to never enter a roadway blocked by barricades; not only is it illegal, but your safety is a risk.

Olive Street North of Atlantic to be closed for railroad work next week


September 9th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County Engineer’s office in Atlantic, say Iowa Interstate Railroad will be upgrading the railroad crossing on Olive Street approximately 1½ miles north of the Atlantic City Limits by the ADM Elevator (formerly known as Farm Service Coop).  Olive Street will be closed to thru traffic for approximately five (5) working days starting Monday, September 12th at 9:00 A.M.  People wanting to go to the interstate should use Hwy 71 until Olive Street is open.

7AM Newscast 09-09-2011

News, Podcasts

September 9th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


Iowa congressional delegation reacts to Obama speech


September 9th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Democrats in Iowa’s congressional delegation say they’re ready to get to work on the jobs package President Obama outlined last night, while Republicans like Chuck Grassley and Steve King raise doubts about the president’s approach.

 Republican Congressman Steve King of Kiron said the “best thing (Obama) could have done would be call for a balanced budget amendment” rather than introduce new spending ideas. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said Obama’s proposal was just “more of the same” and it was “time for something new” like an effort to reduce government regulations. Republican Congressman Tom Latham of Ames didn’t criticize Obama’s plan at all in his statement after the speech, however. Latham said the “simple truth is that we must do better as a Congress and as a government to work together to find real solutions” to the nation’s economic ills.

Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, praised Obama’s plan as going “to the heart” of the problem by focusing on job creation. Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, said he hopes the president’s speech “refocuses the debate” in Washington. Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Iowa City, said he hopes congress starts the “real work” that’s necessary to find “commonsense solutions.” Congressman Leonard Boswell, a Democrat from Des Moines, suggested Obama had said what most American’s believe, “that Warren Buffett and Bill Gates can afford to pay the same percentage of payroll taxes that their own secretaries pay.”

(O. Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)

Sexual assault investigation in Taylor County


September 9th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

One person has been questioned, but no arrests have been made in connection to investigation into an alleged sexual assault in Taylor County. Sheriff’s officials say their on-going investigation into an alleged sexual assault in the vicinity of Nitro’s Bar in Gravity, resulted in the execution of a search warrant at 1257 Highland Avenue, in rural Taylor County.

During the investigation, 33-year-old Tommy Spears, a resident of the home, was detained for questioning, and arrested on a separate charge of Harassment of a Public Official, for giving a false name and date of birth when law enforcement attempted to identify him.

Spears posted bond on the charges and has been released from custody. Further charges are pending as a result of evidence found during execution of the search warrant.

Flood barrier on I-29 being removed


September 9th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa transportation officials say barriers that protected Interstate 29 near Blencoe from flooding along the Missouri River will be coming down. Officials say a contractor will begin removing them on Monday because the river continues to fall and they’re no longer needed. The barriers, called TrapBags, are filled with rock. The Iowa Department of Transportation says the work involves cutting open the bags to release the rock, and then loading and hauling the rock and bags away.

The project, which will cost over $160,000, is expected to last until Sept. 30. Northbound traffic will be rerouted for about 10 miles from the Blencoe interchange to a Monona County highway to Iowa Highway 175 and then back to I-29 at Onawa.

Branstad plans Missouri River flooding meeting


September 9th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad will bring an assortment of top state officials to Council Bluffs to learn more about this summer’s record Missouri River flooding and hear from those affected by it. Branstad’s flood meeting is scheduled for Friday afternoon. Representatives of farming groups, utilities and Iowa cities hit hard by the flooding are all scheduled to attend. Flooding has been a problem all along the Missouri River since June because heavy spring rains and significant mountain snowpack generated massive amounts of water. The floodwaters have started to recede, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts the river won’t return to normal flows until sometime in October. Corps officials will also give a presentation at the meeting about the way they managed the river’s dams.

State Education Director blasts no child left behind


September 9th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The 2011 state report card for the federal “No Child Let Behind” guidelines identifies 415 schools and 30 districts that are in need of assistance for failing to meet benchmarks set by local administrators. That’s several dozen more than last year, and Iowa Department of Education Director, Jason Glass, says while he’s concerned about the designation it’s not unexpected.  “If the goal is just to rank, blame and shame schools we have that model down under No Child Left Behind. If our goal is really want to find schools that are legitimately in need of improvement and help them get better than we need to come up with a different system,” Glass says.

Glass says not only does the program shame schools, it makes it hard for them to change.  He says the program is fundamentally flawed because it ratchets up student achievement goals every year. Glass says while the number of failed schools increased, that doesn’t tell the whole story. “We embrace accountability. But the accountability should be fair, should be intelligent and the sanctions and the supports applied should drive us toward better outcomes for kids. Not toward blaming and shaming schools and educators,” Glass said.

A districts that continually fail to meet benchmarks can be forced to replace it’s principal or even close down. Glass says closing or privatizing the only school in a small town would be difficult. He says he plans to ask the federal government for a waiver from “No Child Left Behind” if congress does not repeal or amend the law. You can read the State Report Card for “No Child Left Behind” by clicking on this link, and then opening or downloading the PDF file:


Cass County Supervisor’s position to be filled by Special Election


September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A three-person committee tasked with deciding how to fill a vacancy on the Cass County Board of Supervisors created by the recent death of Supervisor Chuck Kinen, has voted to hold a Special Election in conjunction with the November 8th City elections. The decision came during a meeting this (Thursday) afternoon at the courthouse in Atlantic. The committee was comprised of Auditor Dale Sunderman, Recorder Joyce Jensen and Treasurer Tracey Marshall. Their vote was unanimous.

Sunderman said the next step is contact the Chairpersons of the Central Committees, who will be allowed to file a Nomination by Convention. He stressed however, that the nomination will be open to all interested persons who are residents of Cass County, who file a nomination petition. Sunderman said because of the Special election, there will be two ballots for voters in Atlantic Ward Two.

He says there will be a ballot for the County residents with only the County office on it, plus the regular City ballot, with the County office included on it as well. The precincts which make up Cass County Supervisor District 2 are Atlantic Ward 2/Grove Twp 2 (the portion of Grove Twp NW of the Atlantic city limits) and Atlantic Ward 3.

The filing deadline to file nomination petitions to be included for the County Office is 5-p.m. September 23rd at the Auditor’s office in Atlantic. Those interested do not need to declare a party at this time. The person who wins the nomination would be sworn in immediately after the results of the election are canvassed on November 15th, and hold the Supervisors post until the next General election in 2014.

Recorder Joyce Jensen noted that Chuck Kinen would have approved of the committee’s decision to hold a special election during the City Election. She said he would be happy it’s not costing the taxpayers any extra money.

80 year old man walks into chopper rotor in Fremont County


September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

TABOR, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say an southwest Iowa man was injured after he walked into the tail rotor of helicopter that had just landed after touring flooding along Missouri River. The Fremont County sheriff’s office says 80-year old Robert Smith, of rural Tabor, was injured Wednesday afternoon. Sheriff’s dispatcher Cole Tackette told The Associated Press on Thursday that a private, two-seat helicopter flown by Larry Inman, of Randolph, had just landed near Smith’s house southeast of Tabor, and Smith walked out to meet it. Tackette says Smith apparently didn’t see the rotor and was hit in the face.

Smith was rushed to the Fremont-Mills School before being flown by helicopter to Creighton Medical Center in Omaha, and later transferred to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Hospital spokesman Paul Baltes said Thursday Smith was in critical condition, but Sheriff Kevin Aistrope told the Omaha World-Herald the mans’ injuries were not considered to be life-threatening.

The Sheriff said it’s possible Smith tripped and fell into the rotor blade, but the accident, which happened at around 1:30-p.m. Wednesday, remains under investigation by the sheriff’s office and the Federal Aviation Administration.