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Efforts are being renewed to bring a proposed Ethanol plant near Atlantic

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Economic development officials and local leaders have been trying for years to bring an ethanol plant to Atlantic. After hopes were dashed in 2006 when Amaizing Energy pulled plans to build a plant here, and a Green Plains Renewable Energy deal fell through, plans were announced in 2011-2012 for Ron Fagen, with Fagen, Inc. of Granite Falls, MN, to buy the property. But since then, only an administrative building, an outbuilding and foundation have been placed on the site, and the County constructed a road leading to the facility.

During a meeting of the Cass County Board of Supervisors this (Wednesday) morning,
Kathy Schowalter, with PlanScape Partners, said by speakerphone, momentum is once again building for the stalled-out project. She said Fagen has been trying to market the site, and if he can get assistance from the State of Iowa, the County and City of Atlantic, he will work and develop the site himself.

The company is now ready to submit an application to the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), but officials there have made it clear they need proof such a plant is needed before financial assistance is considered and granted. She said they have had to demonstrate there is adequate corn available for processing, and an available labor force.

Showalter said they used 2013 data provided by CADCO (the Cass-Atlantic Development Corporation) and other anecdotal information about the county to support the application. The application needs to be submitted to the State by January 4th. A decision on the request won’t be made until the end of January.

As part of the application, Showalter said there has to be “Some local skin in the game,” in the form of a 50-percent match of the TIF (tax Increment Financing) for 10-years, which is projected to be nearly $3.5-million, based on an assessed value of $25-million dollars.

The County, has passed a Resolution approving the sponsorship of and local match for the application to the IEDA High Quality Jobs Program for Farmers Energy, Cardinal, LLC. If the application is approved, the ball would start rolling on $190-million dollar investment toward bringing an annual 150-million gallon ethanol plant to the County just outside of Atlantic. The plant would be added to the Cass County Urban Renewal Plan, and the project, which is larger than the originally proposed 100-million gallon production facility, would create at least an estimated 45 new jobs. Other details about the proposal are still being worked out, and are pending approval of an economic development package from the State.

Red Cross Seeks Nominations for Annual A Night of Heroes & Jazz Event


December 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The American Red Cross is seeking nominations for the “2016 A Night of Heroes & Jazz.” The event honors individuals who have saved a life or otherwise positively impacted their community during the past year. Jill Orton, Executive Director for the Council Bluffs Omaha Chapter, says “Heroes walk among us everyday—the people who put others above themselves—and it’s our pleasure to recognize them during A Night of Heroes & Jazz.”Am. Red Cross logo

Awards will be given in the following categories:

Call to Action – presented to an individual who by circumstances beyond their control found themselves in a challenging situation and demonstrated extraordinary courage.

Commitment to Community – presented to an individual, couple, group or organization that has made a tremendous impact on the community through their volunteerism, philanthropy, service to others, or example.

Disaster Relief – presented to an individual or organization who has served an important role in disaster relief in our community.

Gift of Life – presented to an individual, couple, group or organization that supports the lifesaving mission through personal blood or platelet donations or inspiring others to give blood or platelets.

Good Samaritan – presented to an individual who is considered a hero because of their unselfish devotion and concern for the welfare of others.

Lifetime Hero – presented to an individual who inspire others by their example. This individual has overcome hardship, risen above challenges, or dedicated their life to serving others.

Public Servant Hero – presented to an individual who in the line of duty (police, fire, military, medical, etc.) went above and beyond the call.

Residents in the following counties are eligible for the Award: Harrison, Mills and Pottawattamie counties. Nominations may be submitted online at redcross.org/neia or by completing a nomination form. Nominations must be returned to the American Red Cross, 705 N 16th Street, Council Bluffs, IA 51501. The awards will be presented at a dinner event on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at Iowa Western Community College.

Last year, the Red Cross honored Gerry Sue and Sal Rinella of Missouri Valley for their dedication to responding to disasters across western Iowa. The Iowa West Foundation accepted the Red Cross’ Commitment to Community award for their hard work to grow the Council Bluffs Omaha metro, and Jeff Ballenger received the Service to Armed Forces Hero award for his allegiance to helping veterans to Washington D.C. to view military memorials through the “Honor Flights”.

(Podcast) KJAN Morning News & funeral report, 12/23/2015

News, Podcasts

December 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The area’s top news at 7:06-a.m., w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson


Iowa authorities drop 1 count filed against Nebraska inmate


December 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Iowa authorities have dropped one of the child sex abuse counts that had been filed against a man already serving time in Nebraska for a similar crime. Court records say the count was dismissed Tuesday in Pottawattamie County District Court. 29-year old Rocky Ontiveros still faces another count. He’s pleaded not guilty.

Iowa court documents say Ontiveros sexually abused two minors from Nov. 1, 2013, to Sept. 19, 2014. The Daily Nonpareil reports that prosecutor Dan Salvo-McGinn filed the motion to dismiss one of the counts because the child involved remains in therapy and is in no position to testify. In August Ontiveros was sentenced to 30 to 40 years in a Nebraska prison. He’d pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a minor in Douglas County.

2 arrests in Red Oak Tue. night


December 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak arrested two people on separate charges Tuesday night. At around 10:25-p.m., 34-year old Jesse Donald Trost, of Red Oak, was arrested on a Montgomery County warrant for an original charge of Disorderly Conduct. During his arrest, Trost was allegedly found to be in possession of prescription drugs without a prescription. He was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $1,300 bond.

And, at around 10:05-p.m., Red Oak Police arrested 22-year old Bekka Lynn Matzen, of Red Oak, for Driving While Suspended and Having no SR-22 Insurance on-file. Matzen was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $1,000 bond.

Iowa football fans can expect tight security at Rose Parade and Rose Bowl

News, Sports

December 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Thousands of Iowa football fans will be heading to California next week and they can expect tight security at the Rose Bowl game and parade. Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez talked about the increased enforcement for the 127th Rose Parade at a news conference Tuesday. “We’ll have more than two dozen undercover officers who will be patrolling the parade route and more than two dozen bomb-dog teams,” Sanchez said. Dozens of security cameras will be in place as well, according to Sanchez. More than 700,000 people are expected to line the route of the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day morning. The Rose Bowl, featuring Iowa versus Stanford, will kickoff later that afternoon.

Homeland Security Special Agent Mark Selby said they’ll be deploying an “unprecedented volume of resources and technologies” for both the parade and game. “In the wake of the tragedy two weeks ago in San Bernadino, I really don’t think anybody needs to be reminded of the necessity and the vital importance of security,” Selby said. “But I think it’s important to realize these preparations started more than a year ago.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will patrol the game and parade from the sky. Fans attending the game will be provided with clear bags for their personal belongings as they enter the stadium. The University of Iowa received over 54,000 ticket requests from fans hoping to attend the game. The Iowa Hawkeyes last played in the Rose Bowl in 1991.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed. 12/23/15


December 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — Authorities are looking for a Fort Dodge man accused of throwing hot grease on his dog and burning him. Webster County officials say an arrest warrant was issued for 52-year-old Gary Wilson on one count of animal torture. Wilson is accused of throwing hot grease on his black Labrador retriever, Bob, in November. Baldridge says the alleged abuse caused second- and third-degree burns to the dog’s head and face.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A private company hired to help manage Iowa’s $4.2 billion Medicaid program is formally challenging its recent contract termination. WellCare of Iowa says in a petition that it wants the state Department of Human Services to temporarily halt its plans to terminate the company’s contract while the issue is sorted out in legal proceedings. A state official on Friday reaffirmed a judge’s recommendation that the state terminate WellCare’s contract over its contact with state officials during the bidding process and a failure to fully disclose information involving fraud or mismanagement.

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — Officials say it could cost at least $52,000 for cleanup completed at the Webster County Courthouse following a vandalism incident. Webster County Supervisor Merrill Leffler says that total for a cleaning company doesn’t include associated costs like extra personnel who helped clean affected computers. Insurance should pay for all costs associated with the vandalism, which was reported on Dec. 8 and closed the courthouse for a week.

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson will need a comeback if he wants to recover the momentum that briefly propelled him to the top of the GOP field this fall. But since then, the retired neurosurgeon has faced questions about his readiness for the job and lashed out publicly at media scrutiny of his compelling life story. His campaign leaders say he remains in a strong position to win Iowa and do well in South Carolina once voting begins in February.


Got the blues on Day 1 of winter? Easy treatments for SAD


December 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

This is the first day of winter and Iowans are reminded there are some relatively easy fixes if they find they’re being hit by a case of the winter blues. Dr. Patty Quinlisk, medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, says Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is brought on by a lack of exposure to sunlight and it can make people feel moody and lethargic.

“Certainly, there are going to be some people who might be more prone to getting this than others,” Dr. Quinlisk says. “For example, people who already struggle with depression might be more susceptible.” This is the shortest day of the year and while the days will be getting longer for the next several months, Quinlisk says Iowans are more at risk for SAD than people living in Florida.

Quinlisk says, “It can hit you anywhere, but the farther north you go, the less and less sunlight you have during the day in the wintertime, the more likely you are to have people get this.” Some SAD sufferers may be helped by counseling while others might benefit from prescribed medication. For many though, special full-spectrum lamps or “light boxes” can literally brighten the day through what’s called light therapy or phototherapy. Quinlisk says other possible solutions focus on lifestyle.

“Things as simple as during the day, going out and taking a walk at lunchtime, sitting closer to a window during the day at work or when you’re at home,” she says. “Exercise helps us, and eating a good diet.” State health officials don’t track SAD case numbers within Iowa, but studies find it impacts between 10 and 20-percent of all Americans. While she doesn’t suffer from SAD, Quinlisk says she uses a clock equipped with a full-spectrum light at her bedside as she prefers not to be startled awake every morning by an alarm clock.

“I like it because you set the light so it gradually comes on and you wake up naturally, as if the sun were rising, rather than, all of the sudden at 6 o’clock, ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!'” she says. “I find that irritating. You can find those lamps all over the place. There’s different kinds and I’ve used them for years.” As an added benefit, when she reads by the lamp’s light at night, it provides plenty of artificial sunshine.

(Radio Iowa)

At lottery-fixing trial, prosecutor wants Bigfoot kept out


December 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Three friends involved in buying tickets and claiming jackpots that were allegedly fixed by a lottery insider have something else unusual in common. They allegedly hunt for Bigfoot in their spare time. In a legal motion that is as strange as the elusive humanoid, Iowa prosecutor Rob Sand asked a judge Monday to bar any discussion of Bigfoot hunting at the upcoming trial of Eddie Tipton. He says the “prejudicial effect could potentially be as strong as Sasquatch itself.”

Tipton is the former Multi-State Lottery Association security director who’s accused of rigging jackpots in Iowa, Colorado, Wisconsin, Kansas and Oklahoma to enrich himself and his friends. Tipton’s attorney, Dean Stowers, says the state’s “whole case is a Bigfoot hunt,” saying there is no evidence he tampered with lottery equipment.

(Update) CO woman reports shots fired on I-80 near Neola


December 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

In an update to our earlier report, the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office reports what’s believed to be an isolated road rage incident involving shots-fired occurred early this (Tuesday) morning, on Interstate 80, about four-miles west of the Neola exit. According to Lt. Rob Ambrose with the Pott. County Sheriff’s Office, the Pottawattamie County Communications Center received a 911 call at around 5:19-a.m. with regard to shots being fired on Interstate 80 near the 24 mile marker eastbound.

Deputies made contact with the reporting party, 20-year old Tyler Carfora, of Colorado, who was driving a 2010 Audi.  The woman said a white male, in his 20’s, driving a gray car with Wisconsin plates had pulled beside her and fired a handgun toward her vehicle, striking the passenger side rear tire.

The suspect vehicle had stickers on the rear of the vehicle and blankets in the rear window. Carfora’s tire did have damage consistent with being shot with a firearm. Neither the male subject or his vehicle was located.

The incident remains under investigation.