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Des Moines police chief says she’ll retire

News

August 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Des Moines Police Chief Judy Bradshaw says she’ll retire from her job in October after 34 years with the department. Bradshaw announced Tuesday she would retire in early October. She says will “seek other opportunities and find different ways to serve the community.”

Bradshaw says she hopes her replacement is hired from within the department. The Des Moines Police Department is the state’s largest.

As ALS group rakes in $80M in Ice Bucket Challenge, Sen. Grassley reminds: “…we’re still watching”

News

August 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

As tens of millions of dollars stream into the A-L-S Association thanks to the viral popularity of a recent fundraiser, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley warns that charity and all others that the government is “still watching” to make sure the money goes to research, as promised. Grassley, a Republican, says he launched an investigation into several non-profit groups in 2003.

“We heard reports initially involving philanthropic organizations set up for the 9-11 disaster in New York,” Grassley says. “The money wasn’t being used. People were raising questions about what it went to.” The probes were broadened to include several groups that took in donations that were considered tax deductible, as it was potential federal tax dollars that were being diverted to various causes and not into government coffers.

In 2013, the National Institutes of Health financed 237 areas of disease research, spending more than 30-billion dollars on medical research. Grassley says the taxpayers deserve to know every tax dollar assigned to medical research is spent prudently, not funded and forgotten. “We changed laws for the Red Cross, as an example, because they’re chartered by the United States,” Grassley says. “We’ve had the conservation organizations that were self-dealing within their board of directors on land that was donated.”

The A-L-S Association has taken in nearly 80-million dollars in recent weeks through the Ice Bucket Challenge, where people dump a bucket of ice water on their heads, make a donation and challenge others, by name, to do the same thing. Millions of videos have appeared on Facebook since July to raise money for research into A-L-S, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Grassley says the A-L-S Association is -not- being singled out for an investigation and nothing is pending involving that organization.

“I think the non-profits are on top of things pretty well,” Grassley says, “but I just want every organization to know that we’re still watching.” The senator was asked if he’s been challenged to dump a bucket of ice water on his own head. “I had an inquiry from somebody, the answer is yes, but I thought that the best thing to do would be to use my position as a United States Senator, not to be mellow dramatic, but to promote research, not just for ALS but for all diseases.”

Grassley calls the Ice Bucket Challenge a “social media sensation.” He says it’s good to see more people becoming engaged and educated about diseases that cause pain and suffering for so many. In a statement, he says: “For the families, caregivers, patients and victims of this and other incurable diseases, the increased attention and awareness are welcome signs. It means more people are empathizing with the heartbreak and hardship that comes with a medical diagnosis that so far has no cure.”

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic Parks Board discusses donor names on buildings

News

August 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

There won’t likely be a policy anytime soon establishing the criteria for naming the various Park Shelters or other such structures in Atlantic after persons or groups who offer large donations for improvements or new facilities that are controlled by the City’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Parks and Rec Vice Chair Mary Strong said Monday, she called numerous other communities to inquire what their policies are for placing sponsor names on buildings and shelters. She said none of the seven communities she contacted had a policy in-place. Representatives of those communities suggested however, that if someone has funded an entire structure or helped donated and has helped out in the community many times before, they that have their name placed in commemoration on a building.

Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring suggested the Board take requests as they come, on an individual basis, because his experience has shown him “It’s a very personal thing,” to want a building or some other type of structure named after someone. He says it’s difficult to come up with a specific policy, however, because of the varying degrees of donations and what they are intended for. Herring says there’s no way to honor every request, nor make everyone happy.

Herring says he recalled a case when he was the Principal at the Atlantic High School, where memorial money was offered, but the funds would cover about half of the project they wanted to raise money for. He said he could have covered the other half, but a wrench was thrown into the deal.

He says out of nowhere, another “big hitter,” [donor] wanted to pay for the entire project. Because there was already an offer on the table, Herring asked that influential second person if instead, they would be interested in paying the remaining half of the project cost, but they declined, saying they would pay for the whole thing or nothing at all. Herring said that person refused to talk to him about participating in the project after that.

He said that’s why coming up with a policy is so hard, because sooner or later you’re going to close the door on fundraising opportunities down the road by upsetting certain individuals who want their name on the marquee and no one else.

(Podcast) 8-a.m. News & funeral report, 8/26/14

News, Podcasts

August 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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Disc Golf Tournament comes to Atlantic this weekend

News, Sports

August 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A big event is coming this weekend to Atlantic’s Sunnyside Park. Atlantic Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring says the Iowa Disc Golf Tournament…a Frisbee –style Tournament of Champions – will be held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 30-31. Last year, the event, which was created by Atlantic resident Frank Saddlemire, drew 140 participants from five different states.tg-Coca_Cola_Classic_Jr_Nov_Rec_Int_Women_AGM_2014-1408501334-large

Herring says there are varying levels of players in the Coca-Cola Classic tournament, including Professional, Advanced, Junior, Intermediate, and Recreational.  He says the degree of difficulty in completing the course varies on the level of expertise and experience, and at some points is unbelievably hard.

The event is hosted by the Atlantic Disc Golf Club. For more information, or to register, surf the web to www.discgolfscene.com/tournaments/Iowa, and click on the Coca Cola Classic site.

Iowa DOT to host public auction of small equipment

News

August 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Office supplies and items for vehicles are up for grabs during a public auction of state-owned equipment. The Iowa Department of Transportation says the auction Sept. 6 will feature everything from laptop computers to storage cabinets. Oak desks and book cases will also be on sale.

Other equipment available will be tires, drill presses, floor jacks and generators. Potential buyers can inspect the items Sept. 5 and Sept. 6. The event will be held at the agency’s auction building in Ames.

(Podcast) 7:06-a.m. News & funeral report, Tue. – 8/26/14

News, Podcasts

August 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

Play

Hatch unveils “CommunityFirst” approach to economic development

News

August 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Democrat Jack Hatch says if he’s elected governor, he’ll “realign” the Iowa Economic Development Authority advisory board, splitting it into four regions, along the lines of Iowa’s four congressional districts. Each region would get an equal amount of money from the state and the local boards would decide which projects quality for state grants and loans. “As a state, we find our best ideas come when we allow our communities to determine their own destiny and not rely on a top-down model in which government picks winners and losers,” Hatch says. Hatch would forbid any of the members of these advisory boards to be involved in a business that gets a grant or loan from the state.

“It’s now like an ‘old boys club’….You have to know somebody in Des Moines,” Hatch says. “That just leads to abuse and loss of opportunities.” Hatch says the regional boards he envisioned would likely dedicate more state resources to smaller businesses rather than the big corporations Republican Governor Terry Branstad has been courting.

Branstad reconfigured the Iowa Department of Economic Development shortly after returning as governor in 2011, establishing a public-private partnership instead of a strictly state-run agecny. Hatch unveiled his idea for regional advisory boards during a speech in Davenport on Monday.

(Radio Iowa)

Branstad says it “makes sense” to charge sales tax on fuel purchases rather than collect per-gallon tax

News

August 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad says he’s open to continued discussions about how to find new funding sources for road and bridge construction in Iowa, including the idea of imposing the state sales tax on fuel. “That kind of an approach is an approach that has been used now recently by a number of other states and its one that would be more of a permanent soluation,” Branstad says. Charging the six-percent state sales tax on gas would add far more to the cost of filling up the tank than just raising the state gas tax by 10-cents a gallon.

For example, someone buying 10 gallons of gas would pay a dollar ($1) more if the state gas tax went up a dime. But, if the state sales tax were charged on that transaction, the consumer would pay two-dollars ($2) more. “Anything you do, obviously, the users are going to have to pay for it,” Branstad says. The state fuel tax hasn’t been hiked since 1989, when gas was selling for less than two-bucks a gallon. The average price today in Iowa is 3-37 ($3.37) a gallon. Branstad says charging the state sales tax on fuel purchases would keep up with inflation.

“Going away from the old-fashioned gas and diesel fuel tax, to me, makes sense,” Branstad says. But the governor is not calling on legislators to pass a bill that would make the change. Branstad has repeatedly said he’s waiting for a “bipartisan consensus” to develop in the legislature. According to Iowa D-O-T estimates released a couple of years ago, the state is at least 215-million dollars short of what’s needed to maintain and expand the state’s transportation network.

(Radio Iowa)

Nuclear plant north of Omaha to test siren system

News

August 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

BLAIR, Neb. (AP) – The siren alert system will be tested Tuesday at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station in eastern Nebraska. Omaha Public Power District says the radio-controlled sirens are placed within 10 miles of the plant. The plant sits on the southeast side of Blair, across from Iowa on the Missouri River and about 20 miles north of Omaha.

OPPD says the sirens will sound for four minutes sometime between 9 and 10 a.m. The annual test may be delayed if the weather is severe.

If something that posed a danger to the public were to occur at the plant, the sirens would sound to signal people that they should tune into local broadcast media and follow Emergency Alert System guidance.