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July 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Community homecoming ceremonies for three Iowa Army National Guard units mobilized as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, will be held on Thursday, July 14 in Cedar Rapids, Boone, and Johnston. Local officials and Iowa National Guard leadership will participate and the public and media are welcome and encouraged to attend these homecoming ceremonies.

Here are the units and details:

Cedar Rapids-11:30 a.m., Prairie Point Middle School gym, 401 76th Ave. SW

Company C, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Iowa Army National Guard (approximately 50 Soldiers)

Johnston-12:30 p.m., Johnston High School gym, 6501 NW 62nd Ave.

Company B, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Iowa Army National Guard (approximately 50 Soldiers)

Boone-1 p.m., Boone High School gym, 500 7th St.

Selected Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Iowa Army National Guard (approximately 85 Soldiers). Additional Soldiers from this company will return later in July-date and time to be determined.

These units are part of the approximately 2,900 members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division deployed to Afghanistan. These Iowa Soldiers reported to their mobilization station at Camp Shelby, Miss. in Aug. 2010 for additional training and preparation before departing for the Afghanistan theater of operations.

The units arrived in Afghanistan in November 2010, where the Soldiers provided full-spectrum operations in a combat theater, including lethal and non-lethal capabilities, support to Afghan National Army and Police units, and assistance to humanitarian relief initiative.

(Press Release/IANG)

Draining Prairie Rose Lake Next Step for restoration

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Praire Rose lake

HARLAN – The process of draining Prairie Rose Lake ahead of the $3 million restoration project will begin early next week.  Once the water control gate is opened, the water level will fall about three feet per week, until the lake is completely drained sometime after Labor Day.  Boat ramps will likely not be usable after August 1.

Bryan Hayes, fisheries biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for Prairie Rose Lake, said the next two years of the project include modifying the spillway to prevent carp from entering the lake, fixing the gate valve, placing riprap along shore to prevent shoreline erosion, and installing fish habitat and fishing jetties.

“The project has been going on since 2008 but most of the work has done behind the scenes,” Hayes said.  “Beginning next week, the progress will be much more visible.”

“Our goal is to minimize the time that the lake is down, so the plan calls for mechanical dredging while the lake is down then switch to hydraulic dredging in future years. We will hopefully be putting water in early next summer,” he said.  “One important piece of the puzzle is to put more storage capacity in the wetland east of the highway so it will function as a sediment and nutrient trap, as intended.”

The DNR is partnering with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Shelby County Soil and Water District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service on the watershed portion of the project.  David Brand serves as the Prairie Rose water quality project coordinator.  The renovation plan is based on a 2008 lake study and recommendations from Iowa State University.

“We have worked with landowners in the watershed to install 40 miles of terraces, install grassed waterways, and to better manage nutrients on the land,” Hayes said.  “We purchased a containment site last year where the dredge material will be deposited, hopefully beginning in late fall.”

The lake protection features installed in the watershed should extend the benefits of the in lake work far into the future. “Our goal is to improve the water quality that will get Prairie Rose off the impaired waters list and have a sustainable, healthy lake system,” Hayes said.

Prairie Rose Lake is in one of Iowa’s more popular state parks of the same name. The lake has an annual economic impact of $3.37 million and the campground hosts more than 21,000 camper nights per year. The campground and other park facilities will remain open during the project.

“I know it’s no fun to give up fishing your favorite lake but it is necessary to get the lake on the right track.  We have a number of examples at nearby parks, of what benefits anglers and park visitors will see after the work is done.  Lake Anita and Viking Lake are both experiencing excellent fishing and improved water quality since the projects were completed,” Hayes said.

“We are excited to get this project to the next step, now we will need some cooperation from Mother Nature to keep us on schedule,” he said.

The lake will refill in 2012 and be stocked with largemouth bass, bluegills, crappies and channel catfish. Hayes said they are collecting adult bass from Prairie Rose this week that they will hold until next summer to encourage reproduction early on.  He said they will also stock larger fingerling bass and catfish to jump start the fishery.

(DNR Press Release)

Work begins on flood-mitigation project south of Blencoe on I-29


July 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – July 12, 2011 – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is reporting that work will be starting Wednesday, July 13, on a flood-mitigation project located south of Blencoe on Interstate 29.
The southbound lanes of I-29 will be closed because the roadway is being elevated approximately 1 foot to prevent flood waters from inundating the highway.
I-29 southbound will be closed between exit 95 (Harrison County Road F-20) and exit 105 (Monona County Road E-60). The I-29 southbound ramp at the Blencoe interchange will also be closed.
The project is expected to be completed by July 22.

Corps to trim key Missouri River dam releases


July 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will reduce water releases from Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota, a sign that major Missouri River flooding could be nearing an end. The corps’ Omaha District construction chief, Robert Michaels, says the corps will decrease the water volume gradually from its current 160,000 cubic feet per second.

The corps plans to drop the flow to 155,000 cubic feet per second on July 31 and cut it to 150,000 cubic feet per second on Aug. 1st. Michaels said Tuesday that the corps will trim the releases slowly to keep the water flow stable and prevent further erosion of flooded farmland and roadways.

Missouri-based flood expert David Rogers says lowering the levels gradually is crucial to lessening the risk of levee failure.

Runway blow up in Corning


July 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A pavement blow-up on the runway at the Corning Airport has forced the closure of the facility to air traffic until further notice. According to reports, Corning Mayor Guy Brace told the Corning City Council Monday, that hot temperatures caused the pavement blow-up, similar to what motorists may encounter on the highways during the summer months.

Brace says an engineer will inspect the damage tomorrow (Wednesday). No timetable was set on repairing the runway.

Preview of Cass & Adair Co. BOS meetings…


July 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to meet Wednesday morning, here in Atlantic. On the agenda is: approving the employment of a jailer and establishing the amount of loan and/or bonds for the northwest sewer and water line extension project.

The meeting begins at 9-a.m.

In Greenfield, the Adair County Board of Supervisors will hear a semi-annual report from County Treasurer Brenda Wallace, and annual report from Veteran’s Affairs Administrator Donna Bittner. They’ll also discuss with Sheriff Brad Newton a Personnel Policy, and, a construction permit application by Deb Bauer and Larry Victora.

The session will conclude with discussion pertaining to a construction permit for a large hog confinement operation, matrix scoring for the application, and a recommendation to the DNR on whether the permit should be approved.

Their meeting begins at 9-a.m.

Corps hands control of levee over to Hamburg


July 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has handed control of a Hamburg levee over to local officials in the southwest Iowa town. Robert Michaels, the Omaha district chief of construction, said in an interview Tuesday that the Corps will still offer help if the hastily built levee shows any trouble signs. But Michaels said he was confident the 9,000-foot-long earthen flood barrier will hold until the Missouri River flood subsides.

Southern Hamburg had faced a significant flood threat when a levee along the Missouri River ruptured in June. Federal and local officials scrambled to build a new levee along the town’s western edge, working around the clock as the flood water neared. Water is still pressing against the 18-foot-tall levee, but has caused only minor seepage problems so far.

IA DOT deactivates temporary flood call center today


July 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Dept. of Transportation say they DOT’s temporary flood-releated road information call center is slated to be deactivated at 1-p.m. today. Iowa travelers can still continue to call 511 for automated road closure information, and out-of-state callers can find out which roads are impacted by flooding by calling 1-800-288-1047.  You can also surf to www.iowadot.gov and click on the “Flooding Ahead” sign.

Information on flooded roadways is neighboring states is available on the web.  For Missouri road conditions, surf to www.modot.org.  Information on Nebraska roads is at www.511nebraska.org.  For info. on South Dakota roads, go to www.safetravelusa.org, and for road conditions in Kansas, www.511ksdot.org.

The Iowa DOT says closures continue on sections of I-29 and I-680 (in Council Bluffs), Iowa 333 in Hamburg, Iowa Hwy 2, from I-29 west to Nebraska City, NE, and the Iowa Hwy 175 bridge between Onawa, IA and Decatur, NE.

9AM Newscast 07-12-2011

News, Podcasts

July 12th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


Iowa report notes big jump in whooping cough cases


July 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A big jump in whooping cough cases is cited in a state of Iowa report on diseases. The Iowa Department of Public Health says its 2010 Iowa Surveillance of Notifiable and Other Diseases Report covers the more than 60,000 reports of infectious disease that were submitted to state disease surveillance programs.

The state says the number of vaccine-preventable diseases dropped compared to a three-year average. But the state says mumps and pertussis cases increased: 73 percent for mumps and 229 percent for whooping cough. The health department director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, says there were 705 reported cases of whooping cough reported last year.

She says most adults haven’t had a vaccination since childhood, so they probably have little or no immunity left to whooping cough, which also is called pertussis.