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Iowa Business Council releases 2014 4Q survey

News

December 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A new survey of the CEOs of 25 of Iowa’s largest businesses shows most are predicting an increase in sales over the first half of 2015. Elliott Smith, executive director of the Iowa Business Council (IBC), says the survey also shows little movement in terms of capital spending and employment. “That’s been the story for most of this year — just good, solid, positive performance,” Smith said. “We’re hoping that’s what the first five or six months of 2015 have in store.”

The IBC survey finds 35-percent of the state’s largest business leaders expect “no change” in employment levels between January and June, while 15-percent forecast cuts to their workforce. “Maybe that’s a little indicative of some of the uncertainties we’re seeing in the agriculture sector right now, with the impact of commodity prices on farms and how that might be rippling into the non-farm segment of the state’s economy,” Smith said.

Only five-percent of the CEOs surveyed anticipate a decline in sales over the coming six months, while 75-percent predict an increase in sales. “When sales either maintain or move up, as it did this particular quarter, that is promising,” Smith said. “When sales are good and steady for a number of quarters, that gives businesses the confidence to invest in more machinery, build more buildings, expand, and hire more people, hopefully.”

The IBC’s overall economic outlook survey index for the fourth quarter of 2014 is 65 — which is the same as the third quarter and up three points (62) from one year ago.

(Radio Iowa)

Semi hits bridge on I-80 in Cass County

News

December 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A semi struck a bridge on Interstate 80 in Cass County early this (Tuesday) morning, but no injuries were reported. The accident happened on I-80 westbound about two-miles east of the Anita exit, at miler marker 72. According to dispatch reports just before one-a.m.,  the rig had entered the north ditch.

A Cass County Sheriff’s Deputy investigating the scene reported there was some damage to a bridge guardrail and some small pieces of concrete missing off the bridge from where the impact occurred, but there appeared to be no other structural damage.

An Iowa DOT Bridge Inspection Crew was expected to take a look at the structure later today. No other details are currently available.

Iowa early News Headlines: Tue., Dec. 2nd 2014

News

December 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A man has been rescued from the Des Moines River in central Iowa. The Des Moines Fire Department says emergency personnel responded to a report Monday afternoon about a man in the river near Sixth and Holcomb Avenues. Emergency personnel floated a boat to the man and used it pull him to shore. Authorities say the man did not follow instructions during the rescue, and at one point let go of a rescue device.

KALONA, Iowa (AP) — A man has been charged with vehicular homicide in connection to a car crash in eastern Iowa that killed a teenager. The Iowa State Patrol says 28-year-old Jeffrey Bulechek faces charges of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and serious injury by vehicle. Court records do not list an attorney. Authorities say Bulechek failed to yield at an intersection before the crash. They say he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is praising Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of a ban on crates for sows but says the New Jersey Republican’s action wasn’t influenced by the 2016 Iowa caucuses. Branstad called Christie’s veto on Friday of legislation outlawing gestation crates a “good decision.” Branstad says the veto allows farmers to protect young pigs from being crushed by heavy sows. Branstad said, “I give him credit for listening.”

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Dozens of people gathered at the University of Iowa Monday to join nationwide protests over the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case in Missouri. Organizers say they want to “start a conversation” with authorities about how police officers treat minorities.

Santa’s Cabin open Thursday’s in Atlantic

News

December 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce invites you to experience the magic of Christmas at Santa’s Cabin this Thursday, December 4th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm in the Atlantic City Park. Share your holiday wishes with Santa while observing his new chair, hand built by local resident Steve Livengood. Santa’s Cabin will be open every Thursday from 5:30-to 7:30-p.m. through December 18th, sponsored by the Atlantic Rotary Club.Lights 2012 FB

Santa’s cabin will also be open on Saturdays, December 6th from 3-to 5-p.m. and December 13th & 20th, from 1:30- to 3:30-p.m. Enjoy a stroll down Chestnut Street by horse-drawn carriage on Saturdays
in December, sponsored by First Whitney Bank and Wells Fargo. December 6th from 3-to 5-p.m. and Dec. 13th & 20th from 1:30-to 3:30-p.m.

For more information, contact the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce at 712-243-3017.

VA Town Hall meeting to be held in Des Moines Dec. 15th

News

December 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald has directed all Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare and benefits facilities to hold town-hall events to improve communication with, and hear directly from, veterans nationwide.  McDonald said “Caring for veterans is a calling, and our first commitment is to provide veterans and their families the timely, quality care and benefits they have earned and deserve through their service to our nation.Dept of VA

He went on to say “As we seek continual improvement and to rebuild trust among veterans, it is critical that we continue to listen and learn directly from those who use our system.” The meetings are designed to allow feedback from Veterans, family members and other beneficiaries. Each facility will also welcome input from Congressional stakeholders, Veteran Service Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, and other community partners.

One of the meetings will take place in Des Moines from 6-to 8-pm Dec. 15th, at the VA Medical Center, Canteen (3600 30th Street). The event will be hosted by Des Moines VA Medical Center Director and the Des Moines VA Regional Office Director.  If you would like more information, contact the hospital’s public affairs office at 515-699-5588.

1 arrest and 2 accidents in Mills County

News

December 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office, Monday, reported the arrest on Saturday of 50-year old Roger Lee Wimer, of Council Bluffs. Wimer was taken into custody at around 5:30-p.m at Highway 34 and Ingrum Avenue,  on a charge of OWI/1st offense, His bond was set at $1,000.

Sheriff’s officials said also, there were two accidents over the holiday weekend. At around 6-a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, a 2011 Malibu driven by Kaviona Freerman of Omaha,was traveling south on 221st Street and around a corner towards Deacon Road, when she lost control of the car after she was blinded by the bright lights of an oncoming vehicle.  When Freerman’s car went onto the right shoulder of the road, she over corrected. The vehicle crossed the center line went into the east ditch and collided with the embankment. Freerman was transported to Jennie Edmundson Hospital, by Glenwood Rescue.

And at around 8:35-a.m. Friday, a woman lost control of her 2005 Chevy, after it hit a patch of ice on a Highway 34 bridge, just east of 295th Street, in Mills County. The car, driven by Andrea Weston of Red Oak, was traveling westbound on State Hwy 34 east of 295th Street when  it started sliding. A witness stated that after hitting the frost, Weston over corrected, sending the vehicle across the center line before it made contact with guard rail on the south side of the bridge.Weston was also transported by Glenwood Rescue to Jennie Ed. for treatment.

After snowy, cold November, the December ahead may be warmer

News, Weather

December 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

There’s a good chance of a December ahead that’s actually warmer than the November we just finished, according to the state climatologist. Harry Hillaker says it was a particularly chilly November and the snowiest November Iowa’s seen in 23 years. “Temperatures for the state ran about 7 degrees below normal, our coldest November since 1996 and it actually ranks the 7th coldest November among 142 years of records,” Hillaker says. “It’s pretty unusual to see a November this cold.” Some Iowans love the snow, but many of us were displeased at the amount of flakes that fell during the month, especially since it’s still technically still fall until December 21st.

“On the snowfall end of things, I was kind of surprised when I looked these numbers up, but it was our snowiest November since 1991 for a statewide average of 5 inches of snow, which is about double the usual amount for November,” he says. Hillaker says December could bring some warmer weather to the state. “Generally speaking, we’re looking for December temperatures probably to end up being above normal,” Hillaker says. “Obviously, we’re quite cold on this first day of the month, but by Thursday or so, we may be up a little above normal and we look to be staying that way, at least for the foreseeable future.”

The month ahead could also end up being above-normal for precipitation. He cautions, even with the prediction it will be warmer than normal, it may still be cold enough to snow, and with the above-normal precip prediction, that could mean a very snowy December.

(Radio Iowa)

Report: Wholesale liquor sales are up in Iowa

News

December 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – A new report shows sales of wholesale liquor in Iowa increased by $7.7 million in the last fiscal year. The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division’s annual report also shows alcohol revenue topped $300 million in the state. That includes totals from beer tax revenue, license fees and wine taxes.

The report’s numbers on wholesale liquor shows flavored liquor and craft beer helped drive sales. Still, well-known brands also sold very well. The total alcohol revenue was a 3 percent jump from the previous fiscal year, which was substantially less than the 9.5 percent increase seen in the fiscal year that ended in 2012. Division Administrator Stephen Larson says he expects modest percentage increases in revenue in the future.

Athena Award deadline has been extended to Friday, December 5th at noon.

News

December 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Deter Motor Company, in Atlantic, and The Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce, have announced the deadline to nominate individuals for 14th annual ATHENA Award in Atlantic, has been extended until Dec. 5th. The award will be presented on Saturday, Jan. 17th, 2015 at the Cass County Community Center.

It is given to an exceptional individual who has achieved excellence in her/his business profession, has served the community in a meaningful way and has assisted women in their attainment of professional goals and leadership skills.

Those interested in nominating an individual can pick up a nomination packet at the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce, 102 Chestnut Street, or by visiting www.AtlanticIowa.com. Nominations are due by December 5th, 2014

Exira man arrested Friday night

News

December 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office reports an Exira man was arrested Friday night. Officials say 26-year old Brock Daniel Knapp was taken into custody at around 6-p.m. for allegedly Violating a Protective Order. Knapp has since posted bond, and was released. He’s scheduled to appear before the magistrate on Thursday.