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Senate Oversight panel approves 18 recommendations

News

September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Senate Government Oversight Committee has voted to pass 18 recommendations to the Iowa Legislature for consideration next year including a ban on secret settlement agreements and expanded whistleblower protection.

The committee of three Democrats and two Republicans voted 3-2 on party lines Tuesday to accept the committee’s findings and recommendations. The committee has met for six months, calling dozens of state workers and administrators to testify. The committee looked into alleged improper hiring practices, the exertion of political influence over judges hearing unemployment cases and several other issues raised by workers.

Chairwoman Janet Petersen, a Des Moines Democrat, says enacting the recommendations would clean up state government. Republican committee member Julian Garrett says the recommendations are campaign gimmicks meant to discredit Republican Gov. Terry Branstad who is seeking re-election.

3 suffer possible injuries during rollover accident in Cass Co.

News

September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office says three people were transported by private vehicle to the hospital in Atlantic, following a rollover accident late Sunday morning. Authorities say deputies responded at around 11:25-a.m. to a report of a one-vehicle accident on 690th Street and Hamburg Road.

An investigation determined a 2002 Chevy Tahoe owned and driven by 31-year old Amanda Joy Graham, of Marne, was northbound on 690th Street when Graham swerved to avoid a vehicle slowing to make a turn. Her actions caused the SUV to roll onto its passenger side.

Graham and two passengers were transported to the hospital to be checked for possible injuries. Damage to the Tahoe is estimated at $10,000. Graham was cited for Failure to Maintain Control.

AG’s office says Templeton Rye lawsuit can proceed

News

September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa attorney general’s office says a lawsuit alleging whiskey maker Templeton Rye misled consumers can proceed. The Des Moines Register reports a state law requires the Iowa attorney general’s office to evaluate the lawsuit and determine if the claims have validity to move forward in court.

The proposed class-action lawsuit was filed in Illinois by a Chicago law firm on behalf of consumers in the country who have purchased a Templeton Rye bottle. It claims the company broke consumer protection laws and misled drinkers about where the whiskey is made.  The newspaper reports a second Chicago law firm plans to file a class-action lawsuit.

Keith Kerkhoff, co-owner of Templeton Rye, says the company’s lawyers will respond to the lawsuits in court.

Congressman King supports U-S giving equipment to help fight ISIS

News

September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

As U-S led coalition forces continue air strikes targeting Islamic State Group positions, some wonder if troops will eventually be needed on the ground to finish the job against the radical forces. Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Kyron, isn’t advocating for troops, but he also doesn’t think the Iraqi Army is capable of eliminating the threat of ISIS. “The army fell apart and they ran away from the weapons that we gave them and the equipment that we gave them. And I don’t have faith that they can be put back together — not without a lot of Americans to stand shoulder to shoulder with them,” King says.

He says he’s not advocating sending in thousands of troops but says we know that if we send in equipment the Kurds will fight. King says the Kurdish people want their own state as opposed to a unified Iraq. “I am happy accepting a Kurdistan that would defend itself in that region. I think that would be a good thing for the United States, they would be an ally of ours. They’d be a counterbalance in that part of the world and they not let ISIS invade any further into the Kurdish region,” King says. “But they would not go to Damascus and they would not go to Baghdad, and I don’t think they should.”

King says it will likely take more than arming the Kurdish people to bring an end to ISIS though. He says air strikes are helping to slow down ISIS, but they aren’t enough either. “I don’t think its enough, it’s surely not shock and awe and it’s not rolling thunder, it’s pin pricks — strategic ones, though they seem to be strategic. So, it’s a start and they send a message,” King says. “If it can slow down the funding that’s coming into the ISIS war machine, that will be helpful.” King says the military intervention is buying time and he hopes to see a better plan by America and its allies to defeat the insurgents.

(Radio Iowa)

Men from Omaha & Des Moines arrested on drug charges in Cass County

News

September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports two Nebraska man were arrested last Friday on drug and other charges, following a traffic stop. 33-year old Tyson Hubbard, of Omaha, was taken into custody on a charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance. The driver of the vehicle, 26-year-old Bradley Levi Petermann, also from Omaha, was charged with OWI 1st Offense and Driving Under Suspension. Both were taken to the Cass County Jail and released later that day on their own recognizances.

Also last Friday, deputies in Cass County arrested 28-year old Tyler Dean Gage, of Des Moines, on two District Court Warrants for Failure to Appear. Upon his arrest, Gage allegedly attempted to smuggle a controlled substance into the jail and was subsequently charged with Possessing Contraband in a Jail. Gage was being held at the Cass County Jail on $15,000 bond.

Sioux City wants to recruit vets to fill jobs

News

September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Leaders in Sioux City are encouraging businesses to hire veterans so it can become the first city to gain a Home Base Iowa designation. Home Base Iowa is a new private-public partnership seeking to make Iowa a job destination for veterans who’ll be relieved from active duty over the next several years. According to the federal defense department, it’s the largest drawdown of active duty forces since World War II.

The Sioux City Journal reports local officials asked employers to sign up for the initiative, making an appeal Monday at the Chamber’s annual dinner. At least 10 percent of businesses in a city, county or region must sign up to get the Home Base Iowa designation. Sioux City’s economic development director says the minimum number is about 175 for Sioux City.

Iowa corn, soybean harvest lagging behind average

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Corn and soybean crops are in good condition but the challenge for farmers is getting the crops harvested before the weather turns cold.  Late planting caused the crops to mature later than normal. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in its weekly update Monday that 60 percent of the corn crop is mature, well behind the five-year average of 70 percent. Soybeans are two percentage points behind the average.

Just 2 percent of the Iowa corn crop is harvested far less than the 15 percent average. About 3 percent of soybeans are out of the fields, behind the 17 percent average. Nationally, 12 percent of corn is out of the fields half the average at this point in time. Ten percent of soybeans are harvested, seven points behind the average.

Marker updates Board on Cass County Road Projects

News

September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Engineer Charles Marker, Tuesday, updated the Board of Supervisors on various County road, culvert and bridge projects. Marker said the box culvert project near the Marne Cemetery is finished, but due to the wet weather, the dirt that surrounds the culvert was wet and is creating a “pumping” effect, whereby ruts are formed in the dirt. Crews are working on “healing-up” the dirt before the heavy combines and grain carts start to cross the box during the harvest. The road however is open to traffic.

In the same area, the contractor for the M-56 bridge over Interstate 80, reports the old bridge deck has been removed, and they’re getting ready to install new concrete. The detour routes meanwhile are being monitored by County crews, and there have been no reports of excessive dust or ruts in the gravel road serving as a detour during construction, which primarily takes place during the nighttime hours.

Marker says mud is appearing on gravel and paved roads from various pieces of ag equipment coming into and out of the fields. County crews are trying to get that swept off the roads as much as possible, but once it dries out, the mud will turn to dust and make for some cloudy conditions as vehicles pass by. Marker says there’s not much they can do about the dirt/dust clouds at this point because there are so many roads to cover.

And, Marker was as happy as a child at Christmas when he announced they received the two, new Caterpillar motor graders they ordered earlier this summer. One the graders – which will be housed at the Anita maintenance shed – has an added benefit of a GPS unit that receives instructions by satellite on the elevation and slope of the terrain being graded. The computer onboard the grader automatically adjusts the pitch of the grader blade to level the road in accordance with the terrain. The bonus feature (valued at approximately $2,000) was added as a surprise at no extra cost by the dealer, since it was being used as a demonstration unit. If the new feature works as well as expected, future County graders would be ordered with GPS.

Marker says normally, the grader operator has to look back at a “ball indicator”-type level mounted on the machine, to make sure the pitch and angle are correct. It’s tricky, because they also have to watch the road ahead, be on the lookout for obstructions.

Griswold man injured in Tues. morning collision southwest of Atlantic

News

September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports a Griswold man was transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital and later to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, following an accident just before 7-a.m. today (Tuesday), southwest of Atlantic. Tyler Johnson was injured when the pickup he was driving failed to stop in-time and crashed into the rear of a semi, driven by Brent McKee, of Neola. The accident happened as both vehicles were traveling north on Highway 6 just north of 29th Street, and approaching the entrance to the Schildberg Quarry.

Photo courtesy Mike Kennon, Cass Co. EMA

Photo courtesy Mike Kennon, Cass Co. EMA

The semi slowed to make a left turn into the quarry, when it’s trailer was hit from behind by Johnson’s pickup.  McKee was not injured in the crash. Johnson’s injuries were serious, but did not appear to have been life threatening. Damage from the accident amounted to $7,000.

Cass County Supervisors approve bike racks near to courthouse & in City Park

News

September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors gave Atlantic Parks and Recreation Dept. Director Roger Herring, permission to go ahead and locate two bike racks near the courthouse and on a portion of County-owned property in the Atlantic City Park.

The "Hitching Post" type of proposed for locations near the Cass County Courthouse and Atlantic City Park.

The “Hitching Post” type of proposed for locations near the Cass County Courthouse and Atlantic City Park.

Herring proposed installing two “Hitching post”-style bike racks near the southeast corner of the Courthouse, or, two near the old generator room entrance on the southwest side of the courthouse. The Supervisors however, were more in favor of the southeast side location. Herring also proposed installing two posts in the City Park, near the intersection of 6th and Chestnut.

One of the proposed locations near the Cass Co. Courthouse (the exact location is yet to be determined)

One of the proposed locations near the Cass Co. Courthouse (the exact location is yet to be determined)

In the future, two other posts will be located on the northwest side of the park, near “Santa’s Cabin,” diagonally across the street from the Atlantic Public Library, where similar bike racks have already been installed. Additional bike racks can be found at Sunnyside Park, near the tennis courts, and near the Chamber of Commerce Building (Old Rock Island Depot), at 2nd and Chestnut.

The bike racks will be paid for through a recently received grant or, out of Herring’s Park and Rec Budget, and at no cost to the County.