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Bluffs area grass fire allowed to burn itself out

News

May 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A grass and brush fire near Renner Drive in the Twin City area of the Bluffs was declared under control Thursday. However, the Omaha World-Herald says drifting smoke from the still smoldering blaze in the Veterans Memorial Bridge area left a burning odor over downtown Omaha early today (Friday).

Authorities said the fire began Wednesday in the West End between the levy and the Missouri River. The Council Bluffs Fire Department contained the fire Thursday and was allowing it to burn out.

Iconic landmark in Stanton is no more

News

May 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A water tower fashioned to look like a Swedish coffee pot is no longer perched above the town of Stanton. The Daily NonPareil reports the water tank was cut from its moorings early Thursday afternoon, and lowered to the ground. It will be preserved as a piece of town history on the grounds of the Cultural Center, operated by the Stanton Historical Society.Stanton coffee pot

The water tower, which had supplied water to the town since 1914, had been a visible symbol for decades. The structure once looked like others that were perched above prairie towns like Stanton. But in 1970, the town’s centennial, locals started a campaign to repaint the water tower and add a metal handle and spout to make it look like a Swedish coffee pot.

It was a tribute to the city’s Swedish heritage and a nod to Virginia Christine, an actress and Stanton native. Christine appeared on American televisions as “Mrs. Olson” in Folgers Coffee commercials. But the water tower had not been in use since December. In 2000, a new tower was completed, this one with a reservoir shaped as a Swedish coffee cup with the same floral design. The newer tower can hold up to 150,000 gallons of water, compared to the coffee pot’s 40,000-gallon capacity.

Both water towers were used, but by 2010 it was determined fixes were needed to the coffee-pot tower. With a $1.3 million water-system improvement project beginning that year, fixing the old tower would have been too costly and unnecessary. The old water tower will be moved today to the Cultural Center. The empty tank will be hauled the three blocks through town on a trailer.

April economic report suggests slow growth ahead in Midwest

News

May 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A new monthly survey report says April results suggest that slow economic growth remains ahead for nine Midwestern and Plains states. The survey report issued Friday says the overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index rose to 52.7 from 51.4 in March.  Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says rising economic expectations from nonenergy firms, resulting from lower energy prices, “more than offset economic pessimism stemming from weakness in firms directly tied to energy.”

The survey results from supply managers are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests economic growth, while a score below that suggests decline. The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

Iowa DPS launches gun contract investigation

News

May 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Three longtime employees of the Iowa State Patrol have been placed on leave over concerns with the state’s new contract for handguns. The state patrol employees are Major Todd Misel, Major Michael Winter and Lieutenant Richard Pierce.

 Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Roxann Ryan

Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Roxann Ryan

In an email to employees, Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Roxann Ryan said the agency is reviewing the process that led the state last year to contract with Smith & Wesson to supply handguns to officers.

Few other details are known, but two retired DCI Special Agents are leading the investigation. Ryan also announced that the patrol’s leader, Colonel David Garrison, is being reassigned to his previous position as a lieutenant. Ryan said the move is not related to the gun investigation and Garrison requested the reassignment. Ryan has named Michael Van Berkum as the new chief of the Iowa State Patrol.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., ay 1st 2015

News

May 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Agriculture officials say five more farms likely have been affected by the deadly H5N2 bird flu virus, including an egg-laying operation with 5.5 million chickens. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says more than 15 million of Iowa’s 60 million egg-laying chickens are now affected with the news of it spreading to another farm in Buena Vista County. Thursday’s numbers include two turkey farms in the same county with an unknown number of birds, an egg-laying farm in Sioux County with 84,000 chickens and an unknown number of chickens on a Clay County egg farm.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Des Moines Water Works has tapped into reserve storage wells as nitrate levels in the rivers used for source water exceed federal regulations. The Register reports the public utility on Thursday began drawing from an aquifer storage well in Clive, one of two 300-million-gallon reserves under Water Works’ control.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — One person is dead and two others have been taken to the hospital following a head-on collision in Cedar Rapids. Authorities say two vehicles were involved in the wreck Wednesday. Police say the driver of one of the vehicles, 53-year-old Jonathan Dale of Mount Vernon was pronounced dead at the scene. The collision is under investigation.

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — The Washington Redskins have taken Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff with the 5th pick of the NFL draft. Scherff, listed at 6-foot-5 and about 320 pounds, is from Denison, Iowa.

Senator Ernst discusses nuclear accord with Iran

News

April 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A bill before the U.S. Senate would require any potential nuclear agreement with Iran to be reviewed by Congress. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst calls it a “crucial” measure to ensure preservation of the country’s interests and security. “This enables the American people to have a voice in that process,” Ernst told reporters in a conference call today (Thursday). “Congress must have more oversight of this process and the opportunity for thoughtful consideration to ensure that we have been very clear about our demands and the framework of any final agreement.”

The bill would give Congress a 30-day review period if and when a final nuclear accord with Iran is struck. Ernst believes Congress should be allowed to vote to approve or reject any such accord. “Iran’s more than a quarter century long effort to obtain a nuclear weapon will not subside overnight and it is a faulty assumption that Tehran is on the side of the rule of law,” Ernst said.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved the bill earlier this month and President Obama pledged his support — but promised a veto if there are amendments added that are unrelated to Iran’s atomic program. Ernst and others who are trying to push the bill through the Senate have been fending off proposed amendments by a few Republicans, including several running for president in 2016.

(Radio Iowa)

Flower Sales to Benefit CCHS Foundation

News

April 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Supporting a great local cause can be as easy as buying flowers. On Friday, May 8th, Hy-Vee will donate $1.00 from every hanging basket purchased to the Cass County Health System (CCHS) Foundation. Volunteers from CCHS will be at Hy-Vee to help customers pick out a beautiful hanging basket, and the funds raised will go towards the 2015 Annual Campaign.

CCHS Foundation Director Dawn Marnin and Hy-Vee Gen. Merchandis Mgr. Aaron Siggins.

CCHS Foundation Director Dawn Marnin and Hy-Vee Gen. Merchandise Mgr. Aaron Siggins.

“Hy-Vee has been a great supporter of the CCHS Foundation for years,” said Dawn Marnin, Foundation Director. “This promotion is just in time for Mother’s Day, which seems appropriate since our campaign’s goal is focused on new mothers and infants.”

This year’s campaign goal is to purchase a Central Monitoring System for the Cass County Memorial Hospital OB Department, which costs $100,000. Last year’s campaign enabled CCMH to purchase new fetal monitors, which need to be read at the patient’s bedside.

Adding the Central Monitoring System will allow nurses and physicians to closely monitor multiple babies at the same time. Together, these two systems create a powerful tool to monitor and protect our newborns and their mothers.

(Press Release)

Wright County leaders declare state of emergency due to bird flu

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Due to outbreaks of avian flu, the Wright County Board of Supervisors in north-central Iowa is declaring a State of Emergency in an effort to take what they call a proactive, preventative approach. Supervisor chairman Karl Helgevold said with the current outbreak of the disease in northwest Iowa and the potential severe economic impact such an outbreak could cause, the supervisors felt it necessary to issue the state of emergency.

The supervisors stressed there are no reports of avian flu in Wright County and that there is no risk to the public. County officials are working together to develop a plan for rerouting certain traffic in the areas of some of the poultry facilities in an effort to help limit traffic and prevent the spread of the disease.

Wright County leads the state in poultry population with nearly 15 million birds in more than 20 locations across the county. The poultry industry employs more than 600 people in Wright County alone.

(Radio Iowa)

Public meetings scheduled to discuss new water quality permits

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will hold two public stakeholder meetings in May to collect public comments on proposed National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) water quality permits.DNR logo Meetings will be held May 20 in the DNR Water Supply Office in the Wallace State Office Building, 502 East Ninth St. in Des Moines, in the second floor conference room 2N.

A meeting from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. will discuss a potential general wastewater permit for hydrostatic test water, underground storage tank ballast water, and potable water line testing discharges (General Permit Number 8). A second meeting from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. will cover a potential general wastewater permit for dewatering and household geothermal discharges (General Permit Number 9).

If issued, General Permit 8 would authorize discharges resulting from hydrostatic testing, which is a process that uses water to verify that a container, like a pipe or tank, will not leak when put into service. The permit would also authorize discharges from underground storage tank ballasting, where water is used to weigh down a tank at installation, and from potable water line testing.

General Permit 9, if issued, would authorize discharge of wastewater from excavation and groundwater dewatering activities. It would also authorize discharges to waters of the United States from residential open-loop geothermal systems.

Both permits will establish eligibility requirements and best management practices to ensure discharges meet state water quality standards. People may make oral or written comments at the public meetings, or can submit written comments through May 27th to Julie Faas, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 502 E. Ninth Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0034; fax at 515-725-8202; or by email, including the commenter’s name, to Julie.Faas@dnr.iowa.gov.

Atlantic man arrested on drug & other charges

News

April 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

An Atlantic man was arrested Wednesday, on drug and other charges. The A-PD says 24-year old Devin Register was taken into custody for Possession of a Controlled Substance/Methamphetamine, Unlawful Possession of a Prescription Drug, and Criminal Mischief in the 5th Degree. Register was booked into the Cass County Jail.