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Fire damages Iowa town’s community center before state audit

News

August 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

CASEY, Iowa (AP) — An early morning fire destroyed the community center in a west-central Iowa town just hours before state auditors were to arrive. Des Moines television station KCCI says the Casey Community Center burned early Wednesday. No injuries have been reported.

The station says state auditors who’d been called in to help audit the town’s finances were scheduled to arrive later in the day. The building housed the town clerk’s office, where financial records were kept. A state auditor, Warren Jenkins, says a CPA firm’s workers found items that led them to call for state assistance.

Casey Mayor Forrest Schnobrich says the fire chief thinks the blaze started in the clerk’s office, but it’s not considered suspicious.

Deere to lay off about 460 in Waterloo

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

MOLINE, Ill. (AP) — Deere & Co. has announced hundreds of layoffs at its tractor factory in Waterloo. The Illinois-based agricultural equipment maker says about 460 workers will be laid off effective October 20. Deere said last week that it would lay off more than 600 employees at four Midwest factories that make harvesting and other agricultural equipment due to slumping demand. That layoff includes another Iowa plant, in Ankeny.

The company said earlier this month that it planned to reduce agricultural equipment production for the remainder of the year. Company shares are down 63 cents to $85.58 in early trading.

Evansdale police launch website for slain cousins

News

August 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) — Evansdale police have launched a new website to provide a clearinghouse of information about the unsolved abduction and killing of two young cousins in 2012. Ten-year-old Lyric Cook and her 8-year-old cousin Elizabeth Collins disappeared in Evansdale after they left for a bike ride in July 2012. Their bodies were found in December 2012 in a rural wildlife refuge in Bremer County.

No arrests have been made in their deaths. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports the website was launched Thursday. It displays information about likely characteristics of the cousins’ kidnapper. Investigators believe the abductor is from the area and chose the wildlife refuge because it was secluded.

A $150,000 reward has been set for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

Ice Bucket Challenge goes viral, Iowa ALS leaders stunned

News

August 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

It seems everybody’s got a video on social media lately, having a bucket of ice water dumped on their heads — captains of industry, Hollywood celebrities, Iowa’s governor, or your neighbor down the street. The Ice Bucket Challenge was launched late last month as a way to raise awareness and funds for research into what’s known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or A-L-S. Abbi Costigan, coordinator of the Iowa chapter of the A-L-S Association, says the response has been completely unexpected and overwhelming.

“There is not one person from our chapters or nationwide that was even prepared for something like this,” Costigan says. “It’s been absolutely amazing to see the support of people who didn’t even know what Lou Gehrig’s disease was or that our chapters existed.” The challenge has spread very quickly through websites like Facebook. Once challenged, you can either dump a bucket of ice water on your head and donate at least ten dollars toward A-L-S research and challenge three more people — or skip the challenge and donate 100 dollars. Costigan says the first challenge she’s aware of was on July 29th, just three weeks ago. Since then, many thousands around the planet have accepted the challenge and written checks. The money is streaming in.

“I know it goes up and down because we’re getting donations every day,” she says, “but the last number I heard was about $41.8 million.” A-L-S stands for Amyotrophic (amy-oh-TROH-fick) Lateral Sclerosis (sklair-OH-sis). It’s a motor neuron disease, first described in 1869. It usually attacks both upper and lower motor neurons and causes degeneration throughout the brain and spinal cord. Once diagnosed, life expectancy is usually only two to five years. While the cause of A-L-S is not completely understood, Costigan says the last decade has brought a wealth of new scientific understanding about the disease that provides hope for the future. The sudden awareness of this killer disease — and the outpouring of support — is something Costigan can only describe as stunning.

“It gives me goosebumps,” Costigan says. “ALS has been around. We just celebrated 75 years since Lou Gehrig’s speech and to think this disease has been around for this long and it’s not until the year 2014 that we’ve had something like this go viral.” About 250 Iowans are afflicted with A-L-S at any one time. Learn more about the disease and The Ice Bucket Challenge at: www.alsaiowa.org

(Radio Iowa)

More people opted to ride bus to state fair

News

August 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Attendance at the Iowa State Fair was down but more people rode buses to reach the fairgrounds. The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority says ridership between park-and-rides and the fairground was 221,188 during the 11-day fair. That an 8 percent increase over last year. The increased ridership came even as overall fair attendance dipped a bit to nearly 1,016,000 people. That is the smallest attendance since 2010.

Transit authority General Manager Elizabeth Presutti says the ridership figures show more people want to avoid the cost and hassle of parking near the fairgrounds. Fairgoers with prepaid fair tickets also were offered bus discounts.

The increase also may reflect a more accurate ticketing system used at some park and ride locations.

Vilsack in Iowa to announce new product grants

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is returning to Iowa to announce federal grants designed to encourage development of new value-added farm products and to discuss other rural development funding programs. Vilsack, accompanied by U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, will travel to a dairy operation in Ely in eastern Iowa and a food cooperative in Marshalltown.

They’ll announce recipients of Value-Added Producer Grants for Iowa businesses. Money for the grants was increased in the 2014 Farm Bill. They also will discuss the Rural Economic Development Loans and Grants program which provides zero-interest loans and grants to utilities that lend funds to local businesses for projects to create and retain employment in rural areas.

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., Aug. 22nd 2013

News

August 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

OELWEIN, Iowa (AP) – A northeast Iowa mayor accused of sexually abusing two girls has been released from jail. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports 36-year-old Jason Manus left the Fayette County Jail on Wednesday after a bail bonding company posted a reduced $65,000 bond. Manus, the mayor of Oelwein, is accused of sexually abusing two girls, ages 9 and 14, in 2010. He faces five counts of second-degree sexual abuse. He was arrested on August 11th.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – A Dubuque man faces federal charges for allegedly selling crack cocaine out of his candy store earlier this year. The Telegraph Herald reports 35-year-old Dwayne Howard is charged with four counts of distributing crack cocaine near a school or playground.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A northeast Iowa man sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison for fabricating grain elevator scale tickets and bankruptcy fraud has lost his sentence appeal. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says 48-year-old Michael Recker was properly sentenced last year to 46 months in prison. Recker admitted at sentencing that in 2008 and 2009 he bribed an elevator worker to create false grain tickets then lied to Internal Revenue Service investigators about it.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The University of Iowa marching band is trying out a new, $15-million indoor facility for the first time after stormy weather blew through Iowa City this week. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports the Hawkeye Marching Band was able to rehearse inside on Wednesday.

Villlisca woman arrested Thu. afternoon

News

August 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest on Thursday afternoon of a woman on an assault charge. 22-year old Danielle Lynette Archer, of Villisca, was taken into custody at around 3:15-p.m., on a warrant for Domestic Assault.

Archer was being held without bond in the Montgomery County Jail.

Economy slowing down in rural parts of 10 states

News

August 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new monthly survey of bankers suggests the economy is slowing down in rural areas of 10 states in the Plains and the West. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says falling crop prices have farmers spending less, and crop prices are expected to continue declining this fall. The overall economic index for the region fell into negative territory to 48.3 in August from July’s 51.8. The survey indexes range from 0 to 100. Any score below 50 suggests decline in the months ahead.

Goss said bankers are not very optimistic about the next few months. The survey’s confidence index dropped to 39.9 in August, from 42.9. Bankers from rural areas of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

Atlantic Chamber Board Names New Director

News

August 21st, 2014 by Jim Field

The Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced Thursday that Ouida Wymer has been hired as its new Executive Director, effective Monday, August 25th. Wymer has been working as the Chamber’s Program Director since March and had previously worked as the Executive Director of Adams Community Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Corning  before coming to Atlantic.

Board President Amy Jordahl, in a press release, states that her attitude and teamwork are outstanding and her commitment and passion to the Chamber is evident to all that know or have worked with her. Most recently she played a key role in working with committee members, volunteers and the public to make AtlanticFest a big success.

The interview process concluded Monday with board members interviewing three applicants.

Jordahl said the committee spent a lot of time discussing the applicants and it wasn’t an easy choice.  She believes Wymer will be a great fit as the organization moves forward.