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Public meetings scheduled on proposed MidAmerican rate increase request


June 12th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Utilities Board begins hosting eight public meetings Thursday on the proposed electric rate increase requested by MidAmerican Energy. I-U-B spokesman, Rob Hillesland, says the first meeting is in Iowa City at the public library. “MidAmerican filed a petition to increase its permanent base rates to generate approximately 135-point-six million dollars additional revenue annually. And they are proposing that that be phased in over three years, and so the board has 10 months — or until March 17th of 2014 I believe — to make a decision that permanent rate proposal,” Hilllesland says. The process allows MidAmerican to start collection a temporary rate pending the approval of the board.

“Temporary rates are approved and then if the final rate decision is a lower amount, customers could be refunded temporary rates plus interest,” Hillesland says. He says the board has three months to make a decision on approving the temporary rate — which would be August 15th of this year. The request for the permanent rate increase is NOT connected to MidAmerican’s decision to refund money to customers that was not used in its study of the feasibility of building a new nuclear power plant. Hillesland says it is also not related to MidAmerican’s announcement that it will lower rates as the company builds new wind power turbines. The upcoming meetings are for comment on this proposed rate increase.

“And customers are also welcome to talk generally about the quality of service that they feel the utility provides to them, or to other customers, or to their business or whatever,” Hillesland says. If you can’t make one of the public meetings, you can provide written comments.You can e-mail comments to customer@iub.iowa.gov or you can leave comments on the I-U-B’s website comment form at:www.iub.iowa.gov. Or you can send regular mail with comments to : Iowa Utilities Board,, Docket No. R-P-U-2013-0004, 1375 E. Court Avenue, Room 69, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0069. All of the public meetings begin at 5:30.

Here are the schedules for some of the other meetings:
Council Bluffs: Monday, June 24, 2013, Council Bluffs Public Library, Room B, 400 Willow Avenue.
Sioux City: Tuesday, June 25, 2013, Briar Cliff University, Stark Student Center, Clare Room, 3303 Rebecca Street.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News headlines: Wed., June 12th 2013


June 12th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Woodbury County has given its deputies the green light to monitor seven towns. Deputies with the Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office will respond to calls for help with dogs at large and other ordinance violations for a $35 per hour fee. The Sioux City Journal says the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors approved a measure yesterday that will add the towns of Cushing and Smithland to a list that already includes Bronson, Danbury, Hornick, Lawton and Pierson.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Police say the death of a man found in a Cedar Rapids residence is being investigated as a homicide. The Cedar Rapids Police Department says the man was found dead following a medical call Monday afternoon. It was initially investigated as an unattended death. Authorities have not released the man’s name.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Authorities in Iowa City say two men face intoxication charges in connection with a potential bomb threat over the weekend. Iowa City police say 58-year-old Tobias Hermann and 44-year-old Maurice Graham were charged with public intoxication for their alleged actions on Sunday as a bomb squad examined a suspicious package.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Rehabilitation specialists say they’re now caring for three young hawks found around downtown Waterloo. Specialists with the Black Hawk Wildlife Rehabilitation Project say the birds were recently discovered on streets and sidewalks. One hawk was corralled into a coin-operated laundry facility. Another was caught in a cardboard box, and the other was found hanging near a dumpster.

Gov. Branstad to hold Harrison and Monona County town hall meetings


June 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad today (Tuesday) announced he will hold town hall meetings in Harrison and Monona counties on Tuesday, June 18th. Branstad plans to discuss 2013 legislative accomplishments including enacting significant property tax reform, transformational education reform and a modernizing of the Medicaid system that focuses on making patients healthier while protection Iowa taxpayers. Both events are open to the public.

The Governor will hold a Harrison County “Our Opportunity. Our Iowa. Our results”  town hall meeting at 2-p.m. June 18th at the Missouri Valley Public Library (420 East Huron St.).  A similar meeting takes place that same day at 3:45-p.m., at the Onawa Public Library (707 Iowa Ave.),  in Monona County.

2 drug arrests in Cass County


June 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports two people were arrested last Friday, on drugs and other charges. 56-year old Terry Dean Calhoun, of Atlantic, was arrested on charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance, Drug Paraphernalia, and Public Intox. Calhoun was taken to the Cass County Jail where he is being held on $2000 bond. And, 43-year old Kory Chris Schubert, of Griswold, was arrested Friday on charges of Domestic Abuse (Simple Assault), Drug Paraphernalia, and Obstruction of Emergency Communications. Schubert was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was released the next day on his own recognizance.

On Sunday, deputies in Cass County arrested 31-year old Brian Howard Eilts, of Massena. Eilts was  was arrested for Carrying a Firearm and Driving Under Suspension. He was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was released the next day on $1000 bond.

And on Monday, 58-year old Blaine Lugene Buchanan, of Atlantic, was arrested on a charge of Public Intox. Buchanan was booked into the Cass County Jail and was released the following day on $300 bond.

(12-p.m. News)

Chamber takes on shop local initiative to increase Local Option Sales Tax Receipts


June 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Six months after unveiling a three to five year Strategic Plan, the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce says they are ready to launch their first project mid-June. Chamber President Chip Hansen said one of their top priorities is to increase Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) receipts, because the Chamber’s members have repeatedly indicated that there is a need for more shop local education to ensure success for their businesses. 

The Chamber’s plan states they will spur an increase in local option sales tax receipts by 20 percent in the next five years through strategic marketing. Executive Director Megan Roberts said the goals associated with the new priority include developing a local branding concept for general marketing of the community, updating the AtlanticIowa.com website and developing key relationships between partners for the campaign. Roberts said “The last time the Chamber took this on was in 2005-2006 with the +5 Grow Atlantic campaign, and it is again a piece of the plan for growing local sales.” 

According to the Iowa Department of Revenue payment history records, receipts in Atlantic have nearly doubled since the tax was adopted in 2001. The previous +5 Campaign showed receipts were up nearly $100,000 during and after the campaign versus the more common $11,000-$20,000 annual increase in years prior. 

Roberts stressed the importance of reinvesting in promotion to continue the trend. The City of Atlantic Community Promotion Commission currently receives 7 percent of the receipts to use for “external marketing.” Supported projects have included beautification efforts, holiday lighting and marketing, tourism marketing and events such as Little League, Coca-Cola Days & Museum and the Spring Garden Seminar that bring visitors to town. 

Other than the Community Promotion Fund, LOST funds are allocated through a city resolution stating 25 percent to Recreation Center Fund, 40 percent to Capital Improvement Streets, 28 percent to Sales Tax Progress Fund including Industrial Development, Housing Development, Commercial Development, Sidewalks/Pathways and Bull Creek Storm Sewers. 

Hansen said the increase in LOST receipts benefits many groups including local businesses.

Architectural firm representative says lights won’t fall again in Atlantic School


June 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The man who is the creator and principal-in-charge of a central Iowa architectural firm tasked with overseeing construction and remodeling projects for the Atlantic School District, apologized during Monday night’s school board meeting, for an incident that occurred on May 15th, that resulted in injuries to three students. Design Alliance Architect Jerry Purdy said the incident where a light fixture broke loose and cascaded down upon students in a classroom, won’t happen again, because it was limited to one-type of fixture that was improperly installed.

Purdy said as soon as they heard about the incident, they requested the contractor inspect each and every light fixture. It turns out the problem pertained to one type of light fixture found in two classrooms that had been screwed into a fiberboard tile, instead of a solid mounting surface.

An AtlanticMiddle School student was transported to the CassCountyMemorialHospital for treatment of minor injuries following the incident, which happened in a renovated classroom. School officials said two other students suffered from scratches. All three were treated by the school nurse before one of the kids was transported to the hospital for additional examination and treatment. The fixture that fell, was in four sections, and had collapsed in a sort of “Domino effect,” according to Superintendent Mike Amstein.

Harlan man to stand trial June 25th on numerous charges


June 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A Harlan man has been charged in Shelby County District Court with intent to deliver methamphetamine. According to court documents, 29-year old Gabriel Brown was charged with possession with intent to deliver meth, enhancement penalty on certain property and prohibited acts. Brown was accused of stashing two baggies of a crystal substance while running from authorities May 9th. The bags were later found and tested positive for methamphetamine. Brown faces a maximum of 17 years in prison along with fines totaling $12,500 if convicted. His trial date has been set on Tuesday, June 25th.

That same day, Brown will be tried on numerous charges releated to various incidents dating back to Dec., 2012. That includes: Domestic Abuse Assault impeding air or blood flow, causing bodily injury; Ongoing Criminal Conduct in April 2013; 2 felony counts of forgery; a felony charge of 1st degree theft; Possession of contraband in a Correctional Facility; Carrying weapons; and Possession of a Controlled Substance.

Brown has entered a plea of not guilty to all of the charges.

IA Transportation Commission approves funding for area programs


June 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Transportation Commission today (Tuesday), approved funding for the Safe Routes to School and Federal Recreational Trails programs. In our area, the Commission approved an award of $245,584 for the North Manning Safe Route to School program, in Manning. Altogether, six such projects received a total of $786,651 in funding for the program, which is designed to increase the number of children safely walking and bicycling to school. Funding is available to cities, counties, state agencies, nonprofit groups and public and private schools, through an annual, application-based program.

The Commission also approved $300,000 in funding for the Pottawattamie County Multi-use Trail, Phase 1, administered by the Pott. County Conservation Board. The Commission also approved an award of $139, 103 to the Dallas County Conservation Board, for the Raccoon River Valley Trail-to-High Trestle Connection/Hiawatha Trail.

A total of $1.3-million was approved by the Commission for seven federal Recreational Trails Program projects, for the purpose of developing and maintaining recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both motorized and non-motorized trail users.

Cass and Adair County Supervisors’ meeting previews


June 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass and Adair County Board of Supervisors will hold their regular weekly meetings Wednesday morning. Both meetings begin at 9-a.m. In Atlantic, the Cass County Board will act on appointing a Veteran Affairs Commissioner to a 3-year term, beginning July 1st, and authorizing Sheriff Darby McLaren to charge an additional fee of $10 for each weapons permit card issued. 

The Board will also discuss and possibly act on approving: An employment contract for the CountyEngineer; Expense appropriations for FY 2014; Receiving certifications from county officers for base salaries of their deputies, and certify base salaries of deputies to the county auditor. They’ll also determine the compensation of “Other employees” (those who are not part of a bargaining unit or other contract), and act on approving a 28-E agreement for Mental Health Regionalization. 

In Greenfield, the Adair County Board of Supervisors will act on an amendment with Cost Advisory Services, Inc., and discuss and/or act on Third Party Administration and benefits. Other business includes that pertaining to a grant contract and 28-E agreement with Home Care, and discussion with a representative of P-J Greufe & Associates, with regard to Human Relations and Labor Negotiations.

Atlantic Airport Commission to hold public hearing, Wednesday


June 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A public hearing will be held Wednesday morning in the Atlantic Airport terminal building, with regard to the plans and specifications and form of contract for Runway 2/20 Parallel and Connecting Taxiway Paving, Marking and Lighting. The hearing takes place during a regular meeting of the Atlantic Airport Commission, which begins at 9-a.m, and will be followed by a resolution approving the plans and specs as well as the form of contract.

Other new business, includes a review of construction bids, and a resolution awarding a construction contract, along with other, general business discussion, a status update on the “Clearance for Demolition” of the Block Hangar.