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(Podcast) KJAN 8-a.m. News, 9/2/2015

News, Podcasts

September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

More area and State news from KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.


West Central Cooperative Finalizes Sale of Massena, Iowa Property

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with West Central had announced back in May it would close its agronomy business operations in Massena. Now, the cooperative has finalized the sale of its property, officially ending business in Massena. West Central regional manager, Brad Woodard said “We appreciate our customers’ and cooperative members’ business in the Massena area over the last five years.”  West Central purchased the Massena location from Pelgrow in 2010.

Woodard added “Closing a cooperative location is never an easy decision, however, our assessment of the location determined it no longer offered the efficiencies our customers’ businesses deserve. We thank our West Central Massena employees, who are now serving customers at other West Central locations, for their commitment to our growers through this transition.”West Central CoOp logo

West Central’s regional agronomy field marketers remain available to work with area growers. They include:

· Scott Small in Atlantic at (712) 243-3582

· Nick Richter in Adair at (712) 250-9200

· Brett Westergaard in Exira at (641) 740-0421

· Sid Skank in Oakland at (712) 741-3200

Assets from the site were relocated to other West Central locations or sold. The property, including the office, dry fertilizer facility and NH3 plant were sold to Massena Livestock Sales.

(Podcast) KJAN Morning News & funeral report, 9/2/2015

News, Podcasts

September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

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


Iowa’s Pheasant Population Jumps 37 Percent; Quail Highest Count in 21 Years

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Dept. Of Natural Resources say Iowa’s pheasant population increased for the second year in a row to a statewide average of 24 birds, up 37 percent over 2014. This is the highest bird count since 2008 for most of the state, and in southeast Iowa, it’s the highest count in more than a decade.  Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says “It’s amazing when you bring a few females through the winter you can bounce back. We had a great winter, little or no snow in March, and April weather was good giving hens a chance for an early nest. But June and July were pretty wet for all but the northwest third of the state and our counts reflected that.”

The highest pheasant counts were 44 birds per route in the northwest region, followed by 38 birds per route in central and 27 birds per route in southeast Iowa and should offer good hunting this fall. Lower counts came in southwest, south central and northeast regions. “We made improvements in these regions but have a ways to go to reach our long-term averages,” Bogenschutz said. 2015_survey_map_web
The key to increasing or maintaining pheasant numbers has been and continues to be winter and spring weather, and having the right habitat. Iowa had a double dose of bad weather each year from 2007-11 – cold snow-filled winters followed by cool, wet springs – that hammered the pheasant population, dropping statewide averages to 6.6 birds per route in 2011, 7.8 birds in 2012 and 6.5 birds in 2013. During this bad weather stretch, the DNR fielded calls to close the season or reduce the bag limit. Some hunters blamed pesticides and predators, like coyotes and hawks, for the plunge in pheasant numbers.

“It really comes down to winter survival and nesting success. If the hens don’t make it though winter, they can’t nest. If they can get though the winter, they need a place to nest that can shelter chicks from the elements,” he said.  “It’s nice to have Mother Nature smile on us a few winters in a row, but we could really benefit from adding additional acres of habitat, like the Iowa Pheasant Safe Conservation Reserve Program that provides a good mix of winter cover and spring nesting areas. If we can get one more mild winter, we may finally recover our population that was lost during the 2007-11 stretch of bad weather.”

Based on the average of 24 birds per route, hunters can expect to harvest 300,000 to as many as 500,000 roosters this fall, depending on the number of hunters that return. “We would need to have more hunters come back to hit the half million harvest, but the birds are there to support it,” he said.

Iowa’s 90 day pheasant season begins October 31. The DNR’s August Roadside Survey occurs each August 1-15, with staff driving the same 217, 30-mile routes each year.  The complete survey is available online at www.iowadnr.gov/pheasantsurvey.

Quail Population Highest in 21 Years
The quail population jumped to a statewide average of 1.44 birds per route, its highest since 1994. The highest quail counts were 4.8 birds per route in the southeast region, followed by 4 birds per route in southwest and just under 4 birds per route in south central Iowa. “If you ever wanted to go quail hunting, this is the year,” said Bogenschutz.

Rabbit Numbers Strong, Partridge Also Higher
Iowa’s rabbit population remains strong especially in south central, southeast central, and east central regions. Hungarian partridge numbers are also higher, offering an opportunity to pheasant hunters to bag a bonus bird in north central, central, northeast and northwest regions.

Judge dismisses Attempted Murder charge against Bluffs woman


September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

More than 20 months after stabbing her mother in the chest, a Council Bluffs woman has been released from Pottawattamie County Jail after attempted-murder charges were dismissed. According to the Omaha World-Herald, last Thursday, 29-year old Shaffelle Fergerson was transferred from Pottawattamie County Jail to the McDermott Center at CHI Health Mercy Hospital. Fourth Judicial District Judge Timothy O’Grady dismissed the charges against Fergerson because doctors felt she was not competent to stand trial.

The charges stemmed from a knife attack on Dec. 18, 2013, at the Fergersons’ home in the 2500 block of South 19th Street. According to the criminal complaint, Fergerson stabbed her mother, Kathryn Fergerson, several times with a 6- to 8-inch knife and fled. Kathryn Fergerson survived the attack.

According to the complaint, Kathryn told police that her daughter suffers from severe schizophrenia and bipolar mental illness. While Fergerson is no longer facing attempted murder charges, she has not been set free. The state is expected to begin civil commitment proceedings.


Gas prices are down, travel for Labor Day will be up


September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Gasoline prices are expected to be the lowest in a decade for Iowans during the Labor Day holiday weekend ahead. Rose White, at Triple-A-Iowa, says those falling gas prices along with rising wages are helping to boost Iowans’ disposable income — which should lead to a boost in travel for the last vacation of summer. “Thirty-five-point-five million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday, the highest volume for the holiday since 2008,” White says. “This will mark the fourth consecutive year of overall travel growth for the Labor Day holiday period.”

A motor club survey finds most travelers, about 86-percent, will be getting from Point A to Point B using a motor vehicle. “Those hitting the roadways will find very favorable fuel prices,” White says. “In Iowa, the state average is $2.51 and that’s down 83 cents from prices we saw a year ago. Just during the last week, they’ve fallen from $2.65 down to the current level of $2.51.” Not everyone has cemented a complete schedule for the three-day weekend, and there’s help if you need suggestions.

“If you haven’t yet made travel plans, there’s a wealth of information that can be found on the website traveliowa.com,” White says. “Families are encouraged to visit the site to learn more. If you enjoy camping, visit IowaDNR.gov.” For Iowans who are flying this weekend, airfares are expected to be one-percent lower for Labor Day compared to last year.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., 9/2/15


September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — The trace of a pesky insect that slowly kills ash trees has been reported in Dubuque County in eastern Iowa. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship says emerald ash borer was confirmed in Dubuque. The discovery means the insect has been confirmed in 28 Iowa counties. The emerald ash borer is a small, metallic-green beetle. Its larvae chew into the layer of wood under the bark, cutting off the flow of water and nutrients to an ash tree.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Officials of the Gazette Company in Cedar Rapids say they have agreed to sell television station KCRG to an Atlanta, Georgia company for $100 million. KCRG-TV9, an ABC affiliate, serves Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Waterloo and Dubuque. The sale to Gray Television is effective Oct. 1.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Cedar Rapids will need to install thousands of new curb ramps and make changes to parks, buildings and parking lots under an Americans with Disabilities Act settlement with the federal government. City officials say the price tag could top $15 million. The federal government is giving the city four years to make all the changes.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An August business survey of suggests an economic slowdown ahead for Iowa and eight other Midwest and Plains States. The Mid-American Business Conditions Index dropped to 49.6 last month. Survey organizers say any score under 50 points to a decline.

Survey shows top CEOs in Iowa “tempering enthusiasm” for economic growth


September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The latest survey of the CEOs of Iowa’s largest companies shows they’re expecting the state’s economy will be cooling off in the coming six months. Elliott Smith is executive director of the Iowa Business Council (IBC). “The release of our third quarter survey did indicate a bit of a tempering of enthusiasm, I think, for some of the economic activity that we’ve seen lately,” Smith said. The survey employs a 100 point scale, with a score over 50 considered “positive sentiment.” The IBC’s third quarter Overall Economic Outlook Survey Index was 59 — eight points lower than last quarter and six points lower than one year ago.

“I think we are seeing some impact of international economic activity finally resonating here in the state, simply because so much of Iowa’s business activity itself rests on export trade and international business,” Smith said. The survey shows most of the CEOs anticipate steady or increased hiring levels, sales and capital spending between September and February. But, Smith notes the numbers in all three of those categories are down from previous surveys.

“Yes, the survey did back off a little bit from its previous optimism, but I think we’re still in for a decent remainder of 2015,” Smith said. ” The numbers still remain solidly in positive sentiment territory, so I don’t know if there’s any need to raise red flags of warning yet.”

(Radio Iowa) – more online at www.iowabusinesscouncil.org

John Deere to lay off 30 employees at Davenport plant

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — John Deere says it will lay off 30 employees at its plant in Davenport. The company said Monday that the workforce reduction at Davenport Works affects employees who make construction and forestry equipment.

Spokesman Ken Golden tells the Quad-City Times that the layoffs are effective Oct. 2. The company on Monday also announced plans to lay off 150 people at its plant in East Moline in neighboring Illinois. Those layoffs are effective Sept. 18.


Driving While Revoked arrest


September 1st, 2015 by Chris Parks

The Red Oak Police Department announced the arrest Tuesday of 17-year-old Dakota Girouex of Red Oak for Driving While Revoked (a serious misdemeanor).  Girouex was arrested at 3:25pm at the intersection of North 5th Street and East Elm Street in Red Oak.  Girouex was taken to the Montgomery County Jail and cited into Juvenile Court and released to her parents.