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Senate backs tougher rules for teen drivers

News

March 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s teen drivers would face tougher rules under a bill that passed the Senate. Senators approved the legislation in a 41-8 vote Wednesday. Under the plan from Democratic Sen. Tod Bowman, drivers under the age of 18 would need to hold a learner’s permit for a full year before getting a license.

Teen drivers also would not be able to transport more than one unrelated minor, unless they are with a parent, guardian or driving instructor, for the first six months they hold a license. Parents could sign a waiver so the passenger rules would not apply to their kids. Bowman says teen drivers are far more accident-prone than older motorists. The bill now moves the House where lawmakers must provide approval.

Road construction to reroute CCMH traffic

News

March 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic, say due to construction, the west, 10th Street entrance to CCMH will be closed Thursday, March 28th from 10 am – 3 pm. Patients and visitors will need to use the north atrium entrance or the east entrance at the back of the building during those hours.

Controversial Iowa voting rule goes into effect

News

March 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A new rule backed by Secretary of State Matt Schultz is taking effect that allows election officials to remove people from voter registration lists if their citizenship is questioned.  Schultz, a Republican, says the change is needed to reduce voter fraud, which he’s made his key issue since taking office in 2011.

The rule effective Wednesday allows Schultz’s office to compare voter registration records against federal immigration lists. Anyone registered to vote flagged as a noncitizen is notified by mail that they may be unlawfully registered and should provide citizenship proof.

Opponents have unsuccessfully fought enactment of the rule. They say it intimidates immigrants who are citizens and may discourage them from voting.  The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa says it will continue to fight the rule in court.

Iowa sheriff may fight policy on off-duty deputies

News

March 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Woodbury County sheriff is considering suing the county board of supervisors over a disputed policy that prevents off-duty deputies working community events from wearing their uniforms and driving county cars.  The Sioux City Journal reports Woodbury County Sheriff Dave Drew wants to reverse a policy adopted in 2010 by the board that prohibits county employees from using county equipment for things like private security at community events. The board said at the time it was a liability issue.

Opponents argued people are more likely to respect uniformed officers. Drew, who was elected in November, says elected officials should have leeway to set their own policies. He told the board Tuesday that he would allow some time for them to work out a compromise before filing a lawsuit.

Cable rates to increase in Harlan

News

March 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Cable Customers with Harlan Municipal Utilities (HMU) will see an increase in their bill starting in May. In a regular board meeting Tuesday, the HMU board of Trustees approved resolution No. 40 for the rate changes for Cable TV and Internet Services. Doug Hammer, Marketing Director for HMU, said at the meeting, new network contracts were signed and many of the channels were increased and a lot of the increases were in part because of sports content. “This is where a lot of the hidden fees come in. Folks like Turner will go out and spend $11 billion for the college basketball tournament because they know they have a revenue stream to pay for it. They continue to pass it along to the cable and satellite customers. And we are seeing it across other sports too,” according to Hammer.

He says even the once free “over the air” content is now being paid for by the consumer. He says “Our basic cable cost of $14.49, that 38% off the top just for the TV stations that we never paid for, is being paid by the customer.” The difficulty in avoiding the rate increases are because of how the contracts are dictated by TV companies. “People always say is there a way to mitigate the cost, how do we slow down or can we stop the increase? The only way to do that is drop content. There is the possibility to drop broadcast channels but that won’t save much. To drop other channels, you will have to wait to the end of the contracts. You can’t drop one channel or you lose out on other channels. It’s an all or none,” he says.

Overall, the basic cable TV package for HMU customers will increase by $2 and expanded basic cable $4 to $52.95. All bundle packages of either/or cable/internet, cable/phone or all three will be a $3 increase. All premiere movie packages such as HBO or Showtime will increase $2 as well. The increase will go into effect on May 1st.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Senate votes to create new state department for disasters, emergencies

News

March 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa has voted to create a new state department to deal with emergencies. The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management agency is currently a division of the Iowa Department of Public Safety. Senator Rob Hogg, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, is critical of Governor Branstad’s opposition to the idea — and Hogg suggests that if the Emergency Management division had been elevated to a full-fledged agency, western Iowans hit by Missouri River flooding would have been better served. “And you know what Governor Branstad offered? Zero from state government,” Hogg said.

Last year Governor Branstad vetoed a similar bill creating a new Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department. A spokesman for the governor defends the way state government responded to Missouri River flooding. Senator Hogg scoffs “It’s really easy for people to do a good job when you just ignore it.”

Republican Senators say Hogg’s comments are over the line. Former Governor Chet Culver created a new but temporary state agency to deal with the severe flooding that hit the state in 2008. A spokesman for current Governor Terry Branstad says not every crisis demands a new state agency.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic Farmer’s Market meeting set for this evening

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A meeting for previous, prospective or interested members of the Atlantic Farmer’s Market will be held this (Wednesday) evening, in the breakfast room at the Super 8 Motel, in Atlantic. Organizers of the Farmer’s Market will go over the rules, dates and other pertinent information pertaining to the selling of your locally grown produce. The meeting begins at 6-p.m.

If you have any questions, please call Kathee at 712-249-2758.

Iowa DOT Online Land Auction Underway

News

March 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation reports an online land auction is currently underway in which nine Iowa DOT-owned parcels are being offered for sale in Jefferson, Shelby, Wapello and Warren counties. Officials say the land offers something for everyone, from building sites, potential recreational property and high-quality farmland. In Shelby County, the parcel is a .13-acre lot, in Harlan.

Bids are currently being accepted until 5-p.m. Friday, April 5th. Details on the parcels can be found on the Iowa DOT’s website at http://www.iowadot.gov/propmanage/index.html. Click the online auction link at the top of the page.

Atlantic man arrested on a sex abuse charge

News

March 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Police in Atlantic report the arrest Tuesday of 19-year old Mathew Watts, of Atlantic.

Mathew Watts (Cass Co. Sheriff’s Office photo)

Watts was taken into custody on a charge of Sexual Abuse in the 3rd degree. He was being held in the Cass County Jail.

Richard Randall Eatwell (Polk County Sheriff’s office photo)

The A-PD reports also, 38-year old Richard Randall Eatwell, of Des Moines, was arrested today (Wednesday), on a nationwide warrant issued on February 1st out of Polk County, for a Parole Violation associated with Work Release. Eatwell was booked into the Cass County Jail.

Corning residents arrested on drug charges

News

March 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Adams County report the arrest Tuesday of two people on drug charges. 20-year old Janelle Blaisure and 18-year old Mikel Hilton, both of Corning, were separately arrested on Adams County felony warrants for Conspiracy to Manufacture a Controlled Substance/Methamphetamine.

The pair were being held in the Adams County Jail on a $50,000 cash bond only.