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Nebraska nuclear plant back in operation

News

December 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – The Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in eastern Nebraska is back in operation after nearly three years of being shut down under the heavy scrutiny of federal regulators.  Omaha Public Power District spokesman Jeff Hanson said Thursday that the 478-megawatt plant reached 98 percent power on Christmas Day and was expected to hit 100 percent later Thursday.

Hanson says nothing out of the ordinary arose during restart, which began last week. On Dec. 17th, OPPD received permission from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to restart the plant across the river from Iowa.

Fort Calhoun initially shut down for routine maintenance in April 2011, but significant flooding that summer, a small fire and a series of safety violations forced it to remain closed. With NRC oversight, OPPD addressed more than 450 concerns at the plant.

Trooper in Iowa shooting also shot suspect in 2008

News

December 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The details might seem familiar when a prosecutor reviews an Iowa trooper’s decision to shoot a suspect.  Pottawattamie County Attorney Matthew Wilber is expected to decide in coming weeks whether Trooper Tim Sieleman was justified in the Dec. 1 shooting of 28-year-old Michael B. Lee of Carter Lake.  Five years ago, Wilber concluded that Sieleman’s shooting of Matthew Loth was a reasonable use of force.

In both cases, Sieleman opened fire at a suspect who was driving a stolen car at him during a pursuit. Both suspects were wounded and transported to the Nebraska Medical Center for treatment. And both occurred in similar locations in Council Bluffs.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is expected to give its investigative report on the shooting of Lee to Wilber in January.

Glenwood woman injured during Monday accident

News

December 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Mills County report three accidents occurred over the past week, only one of which resulted in injuries. Officials say Cindy Hunt, of Glenwood, was transported by Glenwood Rescue to the Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs Monday evening, after the 2008 Pontiac she was driving left 221st Street for unknown reasons, and struck a tree in a ditch.

The other accidents occurred Tuesday evening in Glenwood, and last Friday afternoon in Malvern. Drivers involved in those collisions included Susanne Plummer and Jenee Zeski, both of Glenwood, and John Benton and Grace Hatfield, both of Malvern.

Mills County arrest report 12/26/13

News

December 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Mills County report an Oakland man was arrested Tuesday for Violation of a Protection Order. 50-year old Christopher Scott Donaldson was arrested on 192nd Street at the Mills/Pottawattamie County line at around 11:45-p.m., Tuesday. Donaldson was being held without bond in the Mills County Jail.

Arrested on Christmas Day in Mills County, was: 30-year old Drema Lynn Burson, of Glenwood, who was charged with OWI/1st offense. Burson was being held on $300 bond. And, 47-year old Michael Scott Holtz, a homeless man, was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. His bond was set at $1,300.

Cass Co. Recorder announces her retirement

News

December 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Recorder Joyce Jensen has announced she will be retiring at the end of her 2014 term in office. Jensen has served as the County’s recorder since 1991. She was elected to the Iowa State Association of Counties’ (ISAC) Board of Directors in 1998 and served as the organization’s President in 2001. Among her other accomplishments, is being elected to the Iowa County Recorders Association Board, and serving as its President in 2007. She also serves on the Atlantic Municipal Utilities’ Board and is Chair of the 1st United Methodist Church Council.

Jensen says “Serving the citizens of Cass County has been a privilege. It has always been my hope that we continue to keep services local, and that government is accessible to all.”

Forester offers sky-high estimate for removing Iowa’s ash trees

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

One estimate finds it will cost more than three-billion dollars to eliminate all ash trees from Iowa’s communities as the infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer marches forward. The estimate comes from state forester Paul Tauke, who says there are more than three-million ash trees in Iowa’s urban areas, which are all at risk of being devoured by the destructive insects.  “Once you reach the point where ash trees are declining and dying, basically, every ash tree in town will be dead in 5 or 6 years,” Tauke says. “The longer you wait, the longer you stick your head in the sand, the more impact you will have and troubles you’re gonna have when it finally shows up on your doorstep.”

Tauke says communities should start with a tree census and an action plan. He expects the Asian beetle to spread relatively quickly through counties in southeast Iowa that are now under a firewood quarantine. It’s not unusual for endangered ash trees to comprise 15-20 percent of a town’s total tree inventory. Tauke says Iowa’s cities and towns will face new budget challenges as the Asian beetle widens its attack on ash trees across the state.

“They have absolutely got to be removed because they’re going to present a public safety hazard to the citizens of that community and to homeowners,” Tauke says. “We estimate just the removal costs of those ash trees as they start to decline is going to be 3 to 3.5 billion dollars. Somebody’s going to have to pay for that.”

Burlington alone is looking at removal expenses of one-million dollars for nearly 900 ash trees. Including rural areas, where cutting them down is not as pressing, the state has up to 60-million ash trees.

 

(Radio Iowa)

8AM Newscast 12-26-2013

News, Podcasts

December 26th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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Cass Co. Red Kettle campaign raises more than $8,240

News

December 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Bell Ringer’s in Cass County collected more than $8,240 during the campaign held this year at three sites in Atlantic. According to Bell Ringing Chair Mark Wedemeyer, the donations, which benefit the Salvation Army’s local chapter, amounted to $8,241.91. Donations were down more than $2,360 from last year. Bell Ringing Co-Chair Teresa Kanning said donations in 2012 amounted to $10,608. In 2011, they were $8,605. Donations in 2010 amounted to $5,827 and in 2009, $5,264. Kanning said residents of Cass County have always been very supportive of the Salvation Army, and they are always grateful for every penny and dollar they receive.

Mark Wedemeyer told KJAN News he really doesn’t know why donations are down, except to say that there was one less weekend for fundraising this year, and that farmers may have been less inclined to contribute due to the decline in the price they are getting for their corn. Two years ago, corn was selling for about $7 per bushel. This year, it’s down to $4 per bushel. Kanning added that colder weather may also have contributed to the reduced number of people getting out to drop funds into the kettles.

Bell Ringing Chair Mark Wedemeyer (right) and a volunteer bell ringer. (Teresa Kanning/photo)

Bell Ringing Chair Mark Wedemeyer (right) and a volunteer bell ringer. (Teresa Kanning/photo)

She said they had plenty of volunteers to ring bells this year, and several brought unique aspects to their shifts, bringing smiles to many people. Last year’s donations were used to: Aid stranded motorists with their basic needs; Assist low income families with the purchase of athletic shoes; Donate money to the Shop with a Cop and Family Dream Christmas programs, and donate supplies to the Parents as Teachers program.

(Podcast) 7-a.m. News, Thu., 12/26/13

News, Podcasts

December 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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Vision Iowa CAT grants awarded to nearly two dozen projects in 2013

News

December 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Vision Iowa Board awarded 23 projects around the state with Community Attraction and Tourism — or “CAT” — grants this year, including those located in Harlan, Coon Rapids, Templeton and Winterset, Board spokesperson Jessica O’Riley says the CAT program reached a big milestone in 2013. “The total CAT project costs, from the very first CAT award to this year, topped one-billion dollars,” O’Riley says.

The CAT program was launched 14 years ago. In 2013, the total CAT project costs topped 42-million dollars ($42 million). The Vision Iowa Board awarded just over five-point-five million dollars ($5.5 million) to those projects.

The smallest CAT grant award this year was 25-thousand dollars ($25,000) toward the construction of a park pavilion in the small northwest Iowa town of Moville. The largest awards went to massive projects in Des Moines and Pella. The Vision Iowa Board awarded a one-million dollar grant to the Pella Sports Park project, which carries a total price tag of nearly $7.5 million. Officials in Pella believe the facility, once opened in 2015, will draw regional tournaments.

Locally: The Merrill Field Renovation Project in Harlan and the Templeton Community Center Project each received $200,000 from Vision Iowa; A project that incorporates the construction of 35 miles of state-of-the-art “soft trails” through a seven-square-mile landscape at Whiterock Conservancy near Coon Rapids, received $400,000, and the John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Winterset also received $400,000 from Vision Iowa.  

The biggest CAT grant awarded in 2013 was $1.1 million for the renovation of a 35-year-old public space in downtown Des Moines formerly known as Nollen Plaza. The $9.7 million project, called Cowles Commons, will include gardens, a new water feature, and a new stage for Des Moines Performing Arts programs.

(Radio Iowa)