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Council Bluffs preps for thousands of bicycle riders

News, Sports

July 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Council Bluffs is preparing for 25-thousand visitors as RAGBRAI begins this weekend. The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa brings in bicyclists from around the world and they’ll start the west-to-east trek in Council Bluffs this year. Kathy Fiscus, with the Council Bluffs Convention and Visitors Bureau, says 20 committees have been working on RAGBRAI preparations for several months, with public safety as the top priority.

Fiscus says, “That means examining the route to make sure the streets are in good shape, to consider where directional signage should go so that semi-truck traffic and RVs and campers and bicycles don’t tangle up and create a mishap.” Fiscus says it’s an honor for Council Bluffs to be the first host city for this year’s big cycling event. “It’s a way to show, not only Iowans, but the world, our beautiful city,” she says. “This year, the tire dip is at the Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park and the exit route this year will go through Council Bluffs, so the riders will see our beautiful Bayliss Park, our historic 100 block of Broadway, for example.”

Council Bluffs hosted RAGBRAI in 2009 and was designated then as City of the Year. Fiscus says 15-thousand bicyclists are expected to leave Council Bluffs Sunday morning for the start of the week-long RAGBRAI. Riders will also pass through Harlan, Perry, Des Moines, Knoxville, Oskaloosa and Fairfield along the route. RAGBRAI ends on July 27th in Fort Madison.

(Radio Iowa)

Page County Sheriff involved in accident

News

July 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Clarinda Police Chief Keith Brothers reports a Page County Sheriff’s vehicle was involved in an accident this (Tuesday) morning. According to the report, 43-year old Sheriff Lyle Palmer, of Shenandoah, was traveling west on Lincoln Avenue at around 11:05-a.m., when the 2009 Chevy Silverado Sheriff’s pickup he was driving, and a 2010 Mazda driven by 62-year old Rebecca Wiese, of Clarinda, collided in the middle of the uncontrolled intersection, in the westbound lane. The accident happened as Wiese was traveling north on 15th Street and approaching the intersection with Lincoln Street.

Wiese was issued a citation for Failure to Yield. Damage from the crash amounted to $10,000. No injuries were reported.

3,200 govt. plates elude Iowa cameras

News

July 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – State data shows that more than 3,200 license plates have been issued to local, state and federal agencies with a designation that allows them to avoid tickets from Iowa traffic cameras.  A recent speeding incident involving Gov. Terry Branstad’s state SUV has revealed how cities give a break to some government vehicles caught on red light and speed cameras.  Several cities said they do not issue tickets to drivers whose plates are not included in police databases because they’re conducting undercover or sensitive work.

Iowa Department of Transportation data requested by The Associated Press shows that 350 agencies have been issued at least one license plate with that designation, ranging from small police departments to the Transportation Security Administration. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources leads the way with 210.

Parts of Iowa are now experiencing “flash drought” conditions

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

July 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

You’ve heard of flash flooding. Now, there’s the flash drought. Parts of Iowa are seeing the driest July in decades and Jim Lee, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, says the term “flash drought” applies, as the heat wave came on very quickly following Iowa’s wettest-ever spring. “A drought can be characterized by a lack of rainfall, low levels of ground water and soil moisture, affects on plants and so forth and sometimes droughts occur over long time scales of several years, sometimes the occur over a period of a few months,” Lee says. “So for the shorter events, sometimes we refer to them as flash droughts.”

Lawns that aren’t being watered are becoming brown and crunchy, especially in parts of central Iowa, where it’s the driest July, so far, since 1976. Des Moines has only gotten six-hundredths of an inch of rain this month. Lee notes, the turnaround from earlier this year is unusual.

“We did have the wettest spring on record in Iowa in terms of the average statewide rainfall from March through May,” Lee says. “We’re not necessarily in a drought yet, in fact, very little of Iowa is in drought conditions right now, however, if we continue to see the dry pattern that we’ve seen established over the last couple of weeks persist through the rest of July, then we could enter that territory.”

Much of the state and a large portion of the region were hit with a drought that lasted the majority of last year, however, the rainy spring gave promise to a change for Iowa. Lee says it’s still not known whether this flash drought will become another full-fledged drought. Lee says, “The fortunate thing about events like this is that because we had that wet spring, we were able to replenish our soil moisture, subsoil moisture, river levels, reservoirs and so forth, so that we’re better able to take a drier second half of summer.”

(Radio Iowa)

The forecast calls for a few scattered showers but no significant rainfall until perhaps the weekend.

Branstad expresses concern over proposed EPA rules

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Environmental groups pushing the federal government to take over enforcement of Clean Water Act regulations in Iowa say Gov. Terry Branstad has lobbied the EPA on behalf of farmers, ignoring the fact that water in Iowa’s rivers is worsening due to manure spills and farm runoff.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement says Tuesday it has obtained a letter from Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds through a Freedom of Information Act request. The letter shows Branstad and Reynolds wrote to top EPA officials in Washington in May, stepping over the EPA’s regional office in Kansas City, which is negotiating with Iowa DNR about stricter livestock enforcement.

Branstad and Reynolds express “strong concern” about proposed increased farm regulation. The EPA has been pushing Iowa for stricter enforcement for a year.

Area school board news

News

July 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

In area school board news from Monday’s evening’s meetings, the CAM Board approved an increase in the price students will pay for their school lunch. Superintendent Steve Pelzer said the costs will go up a dime for the coming school year. Pelzer says Pre-k through 5th grade lunches will be $2.45, 6th through 8th grade students will pay $2.50, and 9th through 12th grade students lunches’ will cost $2.60.

The CAM Board also approved a three-percent increase in salary/benefits for Pelzer. Tami Jacobsen, Secretary/Treasurer for the Elk Horn-Kimballton Board, says they approved contracts Monday evening with Tony Santisteban and Kelly Juhl. Santisteban will be the junior high boy’s basketball coach and assistant high school boy’s basketball coach, while Juhl will be the assistant girl’s high school basketball coach.

The Griswold School Board had a case of what might be described as “sticker shock” Monday evening, with regard to the high school locker rooms and bathroom renovation projects. Griswold Superintendent Dana Kunze says they’re going to have to make some changes in their plans because of the huge costs involved.

He said Estes Construction Company came back with some “harder numbers” on the projects, than had previously been determined. Kunze said the board had a hard time wrapping their heads around the $1.7-million price tag. He said they simply don’t have the money right now to complete the projects with the costs being so high.

Kunze says they’ve got to take a look at scaling-back the projects and making them more affordable for the district, and prioritizing again. The restrooms have to be redesigned to make them ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant for both students and patrons. As for the school’s boiler system, that’s another area where the costs are inflated due to the work that’s necessary to incorporate a new system into the buildings structure.

He says the plan is to try and switch from partial steam and hot water heat, to all hot water heat. That would mean the boilers would be scrapped, but the plumbing that runs through the ceiling would also have to be replaced, and that requires tearing out the dropped ceilings. The result is that the costs start piling up pretty fast, according to Kunze.

Dana says the bottom line is that the designers and engineers associated with the projects will be asked to come up with ways to shave some of the dollars off the costs of those projects or provide a better plan to serve the needs of the district and its facilities. And he says they’ve been willing to accommodate the district the same way with other projects in the past, and saved a good chunk of money in the process.

8AM Newscast 07-16-2013

News, Podcasts

July 16th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

7AM Newscast 07-16-2013

News, Podcasts

July 16th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Ernst launches GOP Senate bid with 6-city trip

News

July 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

RED OAK, Iowa (AP) – A Republican candidate for Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat is launching her campaign with a six-city tour.  State Sen. Joni Ernst announced last week she would seek the GOP nomination for the Senate seat held for decades by Democrat Tom Harkin, who decided not to seek re-election.

The 43-year-old Ernst will start her initial campaign trip Wednesday morning at the Montgomery County Courthouse, in her hometown of Red Oak. She’ll continue with stops Wednesday and Thursday in Waukee, Council Bluffs, Cedar Rapids, Sioux City and Davenport.

Other Republicans seeking the nomination include former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker, Sioux City talk show host Sam Clovis, attorney Paul Lunde and David Young, a former aide to Sen. Chuck Grassley. On the Democratic side U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley is his party’s only candidate.

Atlantic man arrested on drug charge in Adams County

News

July 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Adams County report an Atlantic man was arrested Monday night on a drug charge. 22-year old Joshua D. Peters was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, following a traffic stop on Highway 148 at around 10:40-p.m., Monday. During the stop, the Adams County K-9 was deployed and alerted to the presence of narcotics in the vehicle.

Peters, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia. He was brought to the Adams County Jail in Corning, and later posted a $300 bond.