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Earth Day 2015

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Today is the 45th Anniversary of “Earth Day,” a day set aside each year to perform acts to clean-up our environment by picking up trash in parks, along roadsides and elsewhere, plant trees, and participate in various programs for recycling and conservation. In some areas, citizens will sign petitions to governments, calling for stronger or immediate action to stop global warming and to reverse environmental destruction.

Here in Atlantic, Earth Day will be marked by clean-up of the Schildberg Recreation Area. Jolene Smith, Secretary of the Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors, says the activities begin this afternoon.

Anyone who wants help clean-up the park, should show-up in the west parking beginning at 2-p.m., wearing old clothes, old shoes and gloves. The Parks and Rec Dept. will furnish the trash bags and trailer to throw full bags in, for disposal. Various local civic organizations and local students will be participating in the effort. The clean-up effort will run as long as volunteers are willing to stay, or until around 8-p.m. You can show up anytime throughout the afternoon. You don’t have to be there at 2-p.m.

Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring said they removed a lot of trash from the area last year. For more information about Earth Day, go to www.earthday.org.

2 cars totaled in Red Oak crash


April 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Two vehicles that collided Tuesday afternoon in Red Oak were totaled, but no injuries were reported. Red Oak Police say a 1996 Chevy Lumina driven by 16-year old Sabrina Robb, of Red Oak, was struck at the intersection of 8th Street and Highway 34 at around 4:15-p.m., after Robb stopped, but then proceeded into, the intersection, heading south on 8th Street.

Her vehicle was hit by a 1999 Ford Contour, driven by 45-year old Glen Meyer, of Red Oak, who was traveling east on Highway 34. Damage from the crash amounted to $17,000. Red Oak Police cited Robb for Failure to Obey a Stop or Yield Sign.

Former western IA teacher pleads not guilty to sex abuse charges


April 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A former Underwood Middle School teacher has pleaded not guilty to sexual abuse charges. According a report in the Daily NonPareil, court records show 46-year old Barret Glasnapp pleaded not guilty to four counts of third-degree sexual abuse and seven counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee. Glasnapp, a middle school social studies teacher, was employed by the Underwood district from September 1994 until his resignation on Nov. 6th, 2014.

The alleged victim, a female student, reported that she and Glasnapp had been exchanging text messages since she was in the seventh grade and that her last contact with Glasnapp was on Oct. 29th, 2014. The victim told investigators that the messages turned sexual in nature when she was 13 years old and a student in the eighth grade.

The victim alleges that Glasnapp touched her inappropriately and kissed her for the first time in his classroom during her ninth-grade year when she was 15 years old. Cellphone records subpoenaed by the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office indicated there were more than 2,600 text messages between Glasnapp and the victim between June 15, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2013. Records indicated an additional 120 text messages exchanged between Glasnapp and the victim in 2014.

Glasnapp is currently free on a $10,000 bond pending trial, which is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on June 2nd.

Bluffs man arrested on arson charge


April 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A Council Bluffs man faces arson charges after an alleged attempt to burn down his former residence. The Daily NonPareil reports Council Bluffs Police Department records show 56-year old Donnie E. Snipes was arrested at around 3:15-p.m., Friday, on a warrant for first-degree arson. He’s also charged with fourth-degree theft and making threats. Snipes remains at the Pottawattamie County Jail on $25,000 bond.

Officials said on April 12th, Snipes returned to an apartment he had been evicted from in 800 block of Sixth Avenue to retrieve personal belongings. Snipes then allegedly turned the thermostat to a high temperature and turned on the burners on the stove with paper across the top. Investigators say Snipes also allegedly threatened to burn the place down.

The landlord found the burners, thermostat setting and that water in the tub was left running when he returned to the building, but the dwelling did not catch fire. The residence was one of several occupied apartments in a converted house. A Fire Marshal’s Office investigation led to the warrant on first-degree arson charges. The first-degree classification comes because other residents lived in the house and could’ve been in danger.

Warm weather could stop any more bird flu outbreaks

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

State and national officials held a conference all with reporters to answer questions surrounding the latest bird flu out break in northwest Iowa. Officials first clarified that the facility in Osceola County has a capacity of five-point-three million egg-laying hens, but there are were three-point-eight million hens there when the disease was discovered. It is still the largest outbreak discovered in the U-S thus far. U-S-D-A chief veterinary officer, John Clifford, says the large number of birds at the Osceola County facility raised concerns.

“A lot of people ask the question ‘well what can we do about it?’ Well, one of the things that we’re doing, we are trying to determine the pathway of introduction into these houses,” Clifford says. “My guess is — and right now there is no solid evidence as such — my guess is there are multiple pathways of entry and it doesn’t mean that people are using poor biosecurity.” The disease is believe to be carried by wild waterfowl. Clifford says other states like Minnesota have seen more cases than Iowa thus far because they have more lakes and more wild migratory birds. He says other states have also had some colder weather.

“And hopefully through the summer we would expect to stop seeing these cases because of the heat. This virus does not like the heat much at all, it prefers cooler temperatures in weather,” Clifford says. He says we could see more cases of the virus as the waterfowl move gain in the fall and spring. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey was asked about the economic impact. He says it has varied since the first outbreaks were reported in other states in January.

“In some cases we’ve lost some markets, some export markets. In that case maybe we see a negative impact to prices — we actually see lower prices because there are less place for these egg products and poultry products to move,” Northey says. “In other cases we now are starting to see some significant reductions in the supply, so we are kind of counterbalancing, so it depends on how this plays out on what the impact might be.” But Northey says while millions of birds have died in Iowa and other states, the impact has not been major in terms of prices.

“Right now it does not appear that the loss of supply in either turkey products or egg products is significant at this time to show a significant impact on prices,” Northey says. The first outbreak in Iowa was in a turkey facility in Buena Vista County. The 37-thousand turkeys there were destroyed and Northey says state and local officials are helping the Osceola County facility euthanized the birds there. Northey says the cases appear to be isolated at this point.

“We do not believe this is spreading in a way that is likely to create other problems on other farms. We believe this is coming from wild birds to these farms. That does not mean we might not see a significant number of new cases,” according to Northey. But he says this could also be the last case found in Iowa too. Northey says these two facilities are a small part of the large egg and turkey industry in the state.

“As of today, eggs are still rolling out of most of our facilities. These are good, healthy eggs,” Northey says. “Consumers need to feel very comfortable eating Iowa eggs, eating Iowa turkey and eating Iowa chicken meat as well.” Doctor Clifford with the U-S-D-A says the eggs from the facility in Osceola are cracked and pasteurized for use in egg products, so that would have killed any of the virus in those eggs. And the chickens are not being released into the market, so they do not pose any threat.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., April 22nd 2015


April 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa House has passed a $365.2 million transportation bill, one of several budget bills requiring floor votes before the end of the legislative session. The Republican-controlled House voted in support of the budget, which would cover the fiscal years ending in 2016 and 2017. It now heads to the Democratic-led Senate. The bill’s funding will go to the Iowa Department of Transportation, which oversees expenses for the state’s motor vehicle division and its highway division, among other things.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The nation’s top publisher of magazines and websites for women has announced the layoffs of about 100 employees, one-third of which are in Des Moines. Meredith Corp. officials say the job cuts are a result of the Des Moines-based company’s recent acquisition of several new businesses, including Shape and Martha Stewart Living magazines. Another third of the layoffs are in New York and the rest elsewhere in the country.

GARNER, Iowa (AP) — Jurors didn’t reach a verdict Tuesday after a day of deliberating the case of a former Iowa lawmaker accused of sexually abusing his wife, who suffered from dementia. They will resume deliberations at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Prosecutors say 78-year-old Henry Rayhons had sex with his wife at a nursing home May 23 after being told she was not mentally capable of consenting. He testified in his own defense, saying he and his wife did not have sex that day. His wife, Donna Lou Rayhons, died in August.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa House has approved Gov. Terry Branstad’s bill aimed at expanding broadband in the state, though some lawmakers say the legislation still needs work. The bill now heads to the Senate. The legislation would create a 10-year property tax relief program to help service providers with the cost of adding infrastructure for broadband, also known as high-speed Internet. A grant program would be funded with federal and private dollars.

Harlan Police make 4 arrests


April 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Four people were arrested recently on separate charges, in Harlan. Officials said Tuesday (today), three arrests took place on Saturday:

20-year old Johnathan Behrens, of Harlan, was arrested after officers responded to a possible road rage situation, where the Behrens was allegedly threatening another driver with a knife. After Police stopped Behrens’ vehicle, he was taken into custody and transported to the Shelby County Jail where he was charged with assault with displaying a dangerous weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia.

28-year old Jared Joyce, of Audubon, was arrested Saturday after officers were called to investigate the theft and use of an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card from one of the homes owned by Concerned, Inc. Joyce was brought to the Shelby County Jail where he was charged with theft in the 5th degree.

And, 26-year old Chelsey Hancock, of Elk Horn, was arrested Saturday following a traffic stop, in Harlan. Hancock was charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and speeding.

On April 14th, Harlan Police filed charges against 34-year old Juan Romero, of Harlan, after officials with the Harlan school notified police about a young man who might have been abused. Romero was charged with child endangerment with injury. He was cited, given a court date and released from custody.

Atlantic City Council Special Meeting, Wed. evening


April 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council will hold a special session Wednesday evening in their chambers, at City Hall. The meeting begins at 5:30-p.m. During their session, the Council will act on accepting site plans for the Heritage House addition. During their regular meeting last week, the Council tabled action on accepting the site plan, so the City’s Engineers could review a private engineering firms’ plans to deal with storm water runoff and concerns about how it might affect other area properties.

The Council Wed. evening will also act on approving an amendment to an Economic Development Agreement with Sonntag Development, LLC, with regard to the Southern View Estates Housing Project.

And, prior to adjournment, the Council will enter into a closed session to review and/or discuss records which are required or authorized by state or federal law, to be kept confidential.

Iowa jobless rate drops for third-straight month


April 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A state report released Tuesday shows Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped for the third-straight month this year, down to 4.0 percent in March. Iowa Workforce Development data shows the rate improves upon February’s 4.1 percent and the March 2014 rate of 4.4 percent. It is also under last month’s national average of 5.5 percent.

Iowa lists approximately 1.65 million people as employed in the state, 600 more than in February and 25,500 higher than last year. The report also shows the education and health services sector posted the most job gains in March with an increase of 2,300.

Agency director Beth Townshend says consistent growth in Iowa’s nonfarm workforce shows such employment has expanded to an all-time state high, boosting the overall number of nonfarm jobs to about 1.57 million.

$21.8 million awarded to Iowa communities for infrastructure and housing development projects


April 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Awards totaling $21.8 million were announced today (Tuesday) for 57 communities across the state. The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) awarded the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to support 58 community investment projects. The federally funded grants were awarded for community facilities, infrastructure improvements, downtown revitalization and single family owner-occupied housing rehabilitation.

In the KJAN listening area, CDBG funds were awarded to the following cities for their respective projects:

Guthrie Center – $500,000 for the replacement of old, undersized water mains, with new, 6-to 8-inch mains.
Magnolia – $183,000 for the construction of improvements to the city’s water system to provide a reliable source of water and to comply with 10 state standards.
Mt. Ayr – $420,000 for the installation of a sewer main extension to add 4 customers who are illegally not on the municipal system, and better serve a 5th household.
New Market – $143,500 for the repair of the sewer collection and lagoon valve systems to reduce inflow and infiltration, and eliminate excess discharges.
Elk Horn – $304,00 to be administered through SWIPCO, for eight housing units.
Red Oak – $368,500 administered through SWIPCO for 10 housing units.
Adair – $300,000 for the rehabilitation of 18 downtown building facades.
Clarinda – $500,000 for the rehabilitation of 16 downtown building facades.
Walnut – $300,000 for the rehabilitation of 15 downtown building facades.
Mapleton – $482,586 for Stormwater verge infrastructure.

Debi Durham, director of IEDA said “Using these federal funds in all areas of our state, we are able to make strategic investments in Iowa’s smaller communities to assist them in becoming development-ready. As a result of these projects, thousands of Iowans will see infrastructure improvements, rehabilitated housing, new community facilities and exciting enhancements in their downtowns.”

IEDA received 108 applications for funding, totaling $38.9 million in requests. Grants were awarded based on benefit to low- and moderate-income persons, slum and blight elimination, financial need, project impact and readiness, and commitment of local resources to the project.

The Community Development Block Grant program is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). IEDA is responsible for administering the CDBG funds in the non-metropolitan areas of the state. Applications are solicited annually, generally during the fall.