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Atlantic Parks & Rec Board approves Office & Maintenance bldg bid

News

March 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic’s Parks and Recreation Board of Directors, Thursday, approved a bid from a local contractor for the construction of the department’s new office and maintenance building at Sunnyside Park. Tim Teig, from Snyder and Associates Engineers in Atlantic, said two of the three base bids they received and reviewed earlier that afternoon, were within $4,000 of each other, while the third was about $40,000 higher than the lowest bid. All of the bids were higher than the engineer’s estimated base bid of $221,500, and all included alternate additions that could be tacked-on to the base bid. Both Teig, and Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring recommended the Board approve the base bid of $244,762. Herring said Iron Specialties, of Atlantic, was the low bidder. Following the bid letting, Herring and Teig sat down with City Administrator Doug Harris, and determined it was within the budget to accept the base bid and alternate additions 1 and 2.”

The additions, which add nearly $46,000 to the base bid,  include the finishing of the exterior and an entrance canopy, which are the two highest priorities. Herring said the idea to have the exterior finished instead of just having a plain metal shell, was so that the building would fit in with the park environment, and not be an eyesore from the road.

The Parks and Rec Board agreed, and requested Teig and Herring look into adding one garage door opener to supplement the otherwise manually operated doors for the building. That matter will be discussed with the contractor when the contract is awarded. The City Council has the final say on whether the recommended bid will be awarded, during their regularly scheduled meeting on April 3rd. The other two bids for the project came from Henningsen Construction, of Atlantic, and Jensen Builders, in Ft. Dodge.

In other business, Herring said the Sunnyside tennis court reconstruction project will likely be finished ahead of schedule. He said it was originally thought the project wouldn’t be finished until August 31st. Now it appears that, weather permitting, it should be done by the end of July. That means, according to Herring, that a Youth Tennis Tournament may be possible at the end of Summer, as well as a Fall Adult Co-ed Tennis League, along with a grand opening and US Tennis Association presentation.

Confiscated dogs won’t being going home

News

March 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A judge in Pottawattamie County issued a ruling Thursday on the disposition of nearly two-dozen dogs seized from a home in Neola. According to the Daily NonPareil, Fourth District Court Judge James Heckerman ruled that 17 shih tzus and one cavalier King Charles spaniel will not be given back to Troy C. Dargin, or his mother, Cathy Eckmann, and her husband, Dennis, whose home the dogs were confiscated from on March 13th, by Pottawattamie County Animal Control. Another dog will be returned to its owner in Kansas City, Mo.

Two of the owners said health issues in the family resulted in the dogs not being cared for after March 1st.  County Animal Control Director Corbin Ranslem said  the dogs were found in cages in a garage at the Eckmann residence. Some of the small enclosers held two and three animals. Most of the food and water dishes in the kennels were empty at the time of the seizure. A majority of the animals were in “unkept condition,” one had a severe skin condition, another a heart murmur, four had umbilical hernias and five suffered from dental disease. Eight of the dogs were deemed to be in normal physical condition.

The dogs’ fate has not yet been determined. The Eckmanns and Troy Dargin still face criminal charges in the incident.  The three were each arrested on 37 misdemeanor charges, including 19 counts of animal neglect, nine counts of unlicensed operation of a commercial breeder and nine counts of violation of standard care. No court date has been set in the criminal matter.

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., March 29th 2013

News

March 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Governor Terry Branstad’s administration has agreed to stop allowing workers in state employee unions to voluntarily contribute to their health insurance costs. The Des Moines Register reported yesterday that Branstad halted the option in exchange for unions dropping a complaint about the voluntary plan filed with the Public Employment Relations Board.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Conservative state lawmakers have threatened to withhold state funding for an Iowa community college if the school spends tax dollars on a conference for gay youths. Sixteen Republican lawmakers released a statement yesterday threatening to vote down funding for the Des Moines Area Community College, which sponsors the Iowa Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth. The conference is set for April 3rd at Prairie Meadows in Altoona.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Two Iowa men have pleaded guilty and face up to 40 years in prison for conspiring to rob a store in northeast Nebraska. Federal prosecutors say 20-year-old Terrence Miles of Sioux City and 19-year-old Austin Peters of Nemaha made their pleas on Tuesday in federal court in Sioux City. Peters also is known as Austin Stadler.

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State basketball coach Fred Hoiberg has agreed to a new 10-year, $20 million deal with the Cyclones that will run through 2023. Hoiberg, who just completed his third season with the Cyclones, finalized the contract with Iowa State President Steven Leath and athletic director Jamie Pollard last night.

Former Harlan teacher charged with student abuse & unethical practice

News

March 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A former Harlan Community School District vocal teacher has been charged by the Iowa Board of Education Examiners. The Harlan News-Advertiser reports Heidi Schwery was charged with student abuse and unethical practice. Schwery resigned from her position back in October 2012. She is accused of encouraging or consummating a romantic or otherwise inappropriate relationship with a student. The relationship was not sexual in nature. Schwery is also charged with unethical practice by failing to make reasonable efforts to protect the health and safety of students or creating conditions harmful to student learning.

Her hearing is set for Thursday, May 23rd. The paper says the matter may be resolved by Schwery surrendering her teaching license or an agreement to a lesser sanction. She was employed by the Harlan Community School District in August of 2005 and resigned on October 22nd, 2012.

Statistics show large increase in Iowa vineyards

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – Statistics show a big jump in the number of vineyards in Iowa.  KWWL-TV reports that in 2000, Iowa had only five vineyards that covered about 15 acres. That’s now grown to 310 vineyards that stretch out over 1,200 acres.  Iowa’s roughly 100 wineries place the state in the top 20 nationally for the number of wineries.

Iowa State University Extension viticulture specialist Mike White says Iowa winemakers in 2012 sold a total of about 300,000 gallons of wine. Despite the growth, some winemakers say they must offer other features to be profitable, such as restaurants or catering.

Atlantic man arrested on a moving violation

News

March 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Police in Atlantic report the arrest Wednesday, of an Oakland man. 31-year old Jesse Westover was taken into custody for Driving While Barred. He was brought to the Cass County Jail and held pending an appearance before the magistrate.

(12-p.m. News)

Atlantic & Council Bluffs men arrested on weapon & drug charges

News

March 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon County Sheriff’s Department reports the arrest Wednesday afternoon of a Cass County and Pottawattamie County man on weapon and drug charges. 49-year old George Otis Brittain, of Atlantic, was charged with Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Possession of Methamphetamine/3rd offense, Possession of Marijuana/3rd offense, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

45-year old Danny Lawrence Brittain, of Council Bluffs, was charged with Possession of Meth/2nd offense, and Possession of drug paraphernalia. The charges stem from a search warrant executed at 3210 Zinnia Road, in Audubon County.

Both men were brought to the Audubon County Jail and held. George Brittain appeared in magistrate court this (Thursday) morning, and was being held in the Audubon County Jail. His preliminary hearing is set for April 8th. Danny Brittain also appeared in magistrate court, and was released. His preliminary hearing was set for April 15th.

The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office was assisted in the execution of the search warrant, by deputies from the Cass and Shelby County Sheriff’s Offices.

(12-p.m. News)

USDA: Highest corn acreage since 1936 expected

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The USDA reports that farmers intend to plant 97.3 million acres of corn this year, the most since 1936.   The spring planting survey released Thursday says the 2013 corn planting forecast is up slightly from last year’s 97.2 million acres.

Corn remains profitable, as prices are strong after last year’s drought left the grain in short supply.  Record corn acreage is expected in Arizona, Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, and Oregon. But some Corn Belt states will continue to be affected by the worst drought since the 1950s, with slightly less planted acreage expected.

The report says farmers plan to plant 77.1 million acres in soybeans, down slightly from 2012′s 77.2 million acres but still the fourth-highest soybean planting on record.

WPRDC to hold Progressive Dinner

News

March 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the White Pole Road Development Corporation have announced the return of theirs popular “Progressive Dinner,” but for only one last supper on Saturday, April 20th at 5:30 p.m. In honor of the night’s new starting place, the menu will take on an Italian theme with each of the group’s five towns hosting a different course for a five-course meal.

Drinks and antipasti (appetizers) begin at Zipp’s Pizzaria, 301 Audubon Street in Adair.  Dinner guests will then proceed east on buses to the Casey Visitor’s Center for homemade zuppa (soup), the Menlo Café for insalata (salad), the Saints Center in Stuart for piatto principale (main entrée), and then finish the night at the Dexter Roundhouse for dolce (dessert). But according to the event organizer, this year’s dinner will be the last one for a while.

Liz Gilman, event chair says The people who have attended these dinners have a blast. But after producing nine of these as a volunteer,” Gilman says she’s “Ready to take a little break.” She added that “If you are one of those people who have said ‘Oh, I want to do that sometime’, now is the time. Come make some friends and toast to a fun night all along the White Pole Road.”

Advance tickets are required and must be purchased prior to April 17th. The cost is $25 per person which includes roundtrip bus transportation from town to town. Tickets can be purchased at Town & Country Insurance in Stuart (515-523-2026) or Fisher, Fisher & Groetken, P.C. in Adair (641-742-5231). Guests are also welcome to drive themselves or for those wanting to leave their cars in Dexter for the end of the night, a shuttle bus for Adair will leave the Dexter Roundhouse at 5 p.m. SHARP.

For more information on this event and the White Pole Road Development Corporation, please visit www.whitepoleroad.com.

USDA to release first look at 2013 crop estimate

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The USDA is releasing its first estimate of the 2013 crop size in its spring planting report. After a year dominated by worst drought since the 1950s, farmers are looking ahead to the next crop. Some analysts are expecting slightly more corn and soybeans to be planted than a year ago.

Farmers planted 97.2 million acres of corn last year, the most since 1937. Some analysts are expecting corn acres at around 97.5 million acres.  Darrel L. Good, an agriculture economics professor at the University of Illinois, says more acres are available for planting because farmers enrolled 2.6 million fewer acres in the conservation reserve program last year.

Thursday’s USDA report is based on about 80,000 farmer surveys and is the first indication of planting intentions for this year.