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CAM School Board Special Meeting

News

March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Members of the CAM School District’s Board of Education will hold a special meeting Monday evening in the CAM High School Media Center. During the 6:30-p.m. session, the Board will act on a resignation and discuss sharing a Superintendent, prior to entering into an exempt session for negotiations.

Size of state labor force and unemployment rate increase

News

March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s unemployment rate in February climbed to 4.4 percent, up from 4.3 percent in January. But, the latest report from the Iowa Workforce Development agency ultimately contains positive economic news. I-W-D spokesperson Kerry Koonce says the tenth-of-a-percent hike in the jobless rate was driven by a significant increase in the size of the labor force. “What that means is people who were previously maybe still discouraged with the labor market are moving back into it. When that happens, you tend to increase your number of unemployed as well,” Koonce said. “We’re at one-million-610-thousand (1,610,000) employed Iowans and that’s the highest level we’ve been at since June 2008.”

The number of unemployed Iowans rose to 74,400. The state’s unemployment rate last month is down from a year ago, when Iowa posted a 4.9 percent jobless rate. The state added 3,900 nonfarm jobs in February, up by 20,100 compared to a year ago. The gains in nonfarm employment last month were led by the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which added 2,000 jobs. “That was followed by construction, which added 1,500 (jobs),” Koonce said. “That’s very good this time of year. We like to see construction starting to increase. We are saw nice gains in the professional and business services area (+600) and in health care services (+600).”

Those job gains were offset by losses in other areas.  Manufacturing shed 900 jobs in February, while the financial activities sector trimmed 300 positions.

(Radio Iowa)

3rd District Congressional candidate to visit Shenandoah & Atlantic, Saturday

News

March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District Republican candidate, Robert Cramer, will be hosting campaign events in Page, Cass and Dallas Counties, Saturday (March 29th). Cramer will visit with constituents in the district and discussing issues of importance to Iowans.

In Shenandoah, Cramer will be at Godfather’s Pizza  (1009 S. Fremont St.) from 11-a.m. until Noon, Saturday. In Atlantic, he’ll stop at the Pizza Ranch (in the Hy-Vee Shopping Plaza), from 2-until 3-pm. His hosts in Atlantic are Rick Harlan, Keith and Joan Harlan, and Kathy Somers.

Refreshments and food will be provided by the campaign. The events are open to the public.

Central IA businessmen funding a “Freedom Flight” for SW Iowa Veterans

News

March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Efforts are underway to send 150 southwest Iowa veterans to Washington, D-C as part of a “Freedom Flight” being paid for in-full by two successful businessmen from Ames who are former Atlantic residents.  The Freedom Flight allows veterans to tour the national war memorials. The event is open to any veteran, not just World War Two or Korean War Vet’s as is the case with the “Honor Flights.” Steve Livengood, retired Military Veteran, and former Atlantic City Councilman was selected by Ames residents Roger Underwood and Jeff Becker, to take charge of the event.  

Preference will be given first to those veterans in Atlantic and Cass County. If there is not enough interest locally, the scope will expand to the surrounding counties. About a dozen “Guardians” with special skills are also needed to help veterans get around once the plane lands in D-C.

Livengood says he wants prospective veterans or those interested in being a guardian or serving on a committee, to contact him at 243-5445. Another aspect of the Freedom Flight is a committee to help organize the event. Both veterans for the trip and committee members are needed to help make it possible.  So far, he says, about a half-dozen veterans have asked to have their names included on the list, and just a few people are on the committee.

The committee members will be tasked with making sure many different aspects of the trip are successful. Livengood says there is an application form for both veterans and guardians that must be filled out after those persons call to have their name put on the list for the trip. Underwood and Becker will charter a Boeing 737 to fly 150 Military veterans and the guardians. Livengood says that’s not cheap. It costs 95-to 100-thousand dollars. Livengood asked Underwood if he really intended to make the flight free for veterans, and he said “yes.”

The date for the Freedom Flight has not yet been selected. That information will be released later, but it will be announced with plenty of advanced notice so as to try and avoid schedule conflicts for both veterans and guardians. Livengood says for now, the focus is on getting interested veterans to apply for the trip.

First tornado of 2014 is confirmed late Thursday in south-central Iowa

News, Weather

March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s first tornado of 2014 touched down Thursday afternoon (March 27th) in rural Clarke County, south of Osceola. No injuries are reported but the strong winds did damage, tearing down tree limbs, knocking down power lines and causing some structural damage to a homestead. Jeff Johnson, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service, says it may’ve been small, but it was a twister. “Based on the radar data and some eyewitness accounts and then some damage that was reported, we did have a brief tornado,” Johnson says. “The eyewitness report said it lasted roughly a minute.”

The funnel cloud touched down in south-central Iowa and became a tornado around 4:30 P-M, though its duration and scope was limited. “Basically, we had a Morton building that was damaged and damage to someone’s home and the winds were consistent in the range of EF-0 or EF-1 on the enhanced Fujita scale,” Johnson says. “That would put us around 90 miles an hour for wind speeds.”

This is the first confirmed report of a tornado in Iowa this year and the first in nearly six months. “The last time we had tornadoes in Iowa was last fall,” Johnson says. “We had a very active fall actually and on October 4th in northwest Iowa, we had several tornadoes.”

This is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa, an event that’s highlighted by a statewide tornado drill that was held on Wednesday. It’s a time when Iowans are reminded about the sometimes-violent weather that comes with the arrival of spring. “It’s not a coincidence that we have it during this time of year,” Johnson says, “although we usually like to have the week out of the way before we actually get the weather, but Mother Nature seldom cooperates. The irony there is that the tornado came a day after the tornado drill.”

(Radio Iowa)

Lawyer won’t be sanctioned in farmer slaying case

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Supreme Court says an attorney won’t be sanctioned for helping a wealthy farmer shield his assets from the estate of another farmer he killed.  The court declined to reprimand Indianola attorney Mason Ouderkirk, ruling Friday he didn’t violate ethical rules while representing Rodney Heemstra.

Heemstra fatally shot his neighbor, Tommy Lyon, in 2003 during a dispute over farmland and then hid his body. He was convicted of first-degree murder but later granted a second trial, where he was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter.  After Heemstra was charged, Ouderkirk assisted his family in transferring ownership of millions of dollars of farmland into trusts.

A judge later ruled that those transactions were fraudulent and designed to shield assets from Lyon’s estate, which had been awarded millions in a wrongful-death lawsuit.

(Update): 6 people injured in Council Bluffs blast, fire

News

March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say at six people have been hospitalized after an explosion and fire at a home on the east side of Council Bluffs.  Fire investigator Dan Roberts told Omaha television station KETV that the accident occurred about 8:10 p.m. Thursday. Four children and two adults suffered mostly second-degree burns, and two of the injured were taken to a burn center in Lincoln, Neb.

Authorities say a group of Boys Scouts had been working on a ceremony display at the home when the explosion occurred. The fire marshal’s office is investigating.

8AM Newscast 03-28-2014

News, Podcasts

March 28th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

3 people hospitalized after Council Bluffs fire

News

March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – At least three people have been injured in a residential fire in Pottawattamie County. Authorities say the three were hospitalized Thursday night for burns. Two people also received lacerations.

The Daily Nonpareil says the fire was reported a little after 8 p.m. Thursday on the east side of Council Bluffs.

(8-a.m. News)

7AM Newscast 03-28-2014

News, Podcasts

March 28th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson