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General election ballots delivered to Cass County

News

September 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman reports General Election ballots have been delivered to the Auditor’s office. Requests for Absentee ballots (those cast prior to ‘election day’ by mail or at Auditor’s office) may be sent or brought to the County Auditor’s office. First day to vote in the auditor’s office is Thursday, September 27th, 2012 and the last day to vote in the auditor’s office is Monday, November 5th, 2012. Absentee ballots may be requested by mail or may be voted at the Cass County Auditor’s Office during normal business hours. In addition to regular office hours, the office of Cass County Auditor will be open Saturday, October 27, 2012 from 8 AM thru 5 PM and Saturday, November 3, 2012 from 9 AM thru 5 PM.

Sunderman notes that this year, Cass County will have two Satellite Voting Stations, to provide in-person absentee voting at places other than the courthouse. At the satellite voting station you must mark the absentee ballot and leave it with the officials similar to the process used at the courthouse. You cannot take the ballot home with you. The two satellite stations, the two days, the two times and the ballots available will be: at The MASSENA PUBLIC LIBRARY on October 15th, 2012 from 2:00 p.m. thru 8:00 p.m., and ballots that will be available are those for Edna Township, Victoria Township, Massena Township, City of Massena, Union Township and the City of Cumberland; the other Satellite station is at the GRISWOLD COMMUNITY BUILDING,on October 17th, 2012 from 2:00 p.m. thru 8:00 p.m. and ballots that will be available, are those for Pleasant Township, Noble Township, City of Griswold, Bear Grove Township, Cass Township and the City of Lewis

In order to vote in Iowa a person must be registered in the person’s current county of residence, under the person’s present name, and at the person’s current address. Registration forms are available at the county auditor’s office, many State of Iowa service offices and on the Secretary of State’s web site: sos.state.ia.us The county election commissioner recommends that persons not currently registered or who have moved since last registering and are planning to vote in the November General Election pre-register in the office of the County Auditor as soon as possible. You may register or re-register and vote absentee on the same day.

You may also update your registration as you update your address for your driver’s license. Since your Iowa driver’s license is often used as official identification, it’s important that the data shown is accurate. Iowa law requires residents to notify the Department of Transportation within 30 days of an address change. The easiest method of changing your address is to visit an Iowa driver’s license station. In Cass County that station is in the Cass County Treasurer’s office.

For additional information, call the Cass County Auditor’s office at 712-243-4570.

USDA expands counties eligible for disaster loans

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Farmers in 22 additional Iowa counties now may qualify for low interest emergency loans from the federal government as a result of this summer’s drought. With the latest designation announced Wednesday, farmers in all Iowa counties now could qualify for drought-related emergency assistance. Six counties added by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as primary natural disaster areas include Clarke, Emmet, Madison, Taylor, Union, and Warren. In addition farmers in 16 contiguous counties may qualify for the loans and other assistance.

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. The emergency loan interest rate had earlier been reduced to 2.25 percent from 3.75 percent by the Department of Agriculture.

Cass Co. Engineer provides an update on projects

News

September 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Engineer Charles Marker says work on one bridge project in the northern part of the County is almost finished, while the bid letting for another project is slated to take place in December. Marker says work on a high overhead truss Bridge (#440) just west of the Buck Creek United Methodist Church, is almost finished.

Marker says emergency work on Bridge # 272, located about three-miles south of Wiota, was conducted, and the weight restriction set in-place earlier, has been removed. The bridge inspection crew had said the previously un-posted weight limit bridge needed to be reduced to an 8-ton limit, because a support pillar was rotted away at ground level. Marker says they utilized steel piling to replace the rotted 5-foot section, and they re-tensioned the I-beam overhead. The bridge is now open for the full legal load limit.

And, bid letting for Bridge #345 across the Nishnabotna River located near the old Research Farm southwest of Atlantic, is scheduled to take place on December 18th. It will be up to the contractor to determine when they are to start on the project.  Marker says also, each instance of rain helps his Secondary Road crews make progress on eliminating some of the “wash board” conditions on County gravel roads, but because the roads dry out quickly, they are unable to work on section of the county until rain has fallen, and even then, only for a few days at a time, but they are making some progress.

Theft and probation violation arrests in Audubon County

News

September 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon County Sheriff’s Department reports an Arkansas man was arrested Tuesday afternoon on a warrant issued in connection with a bad check written to Audubon business in December, 2006. 53-year old Joseph Leo Collins, of Van Buren, AR, was charged with 5th degree theft. The sheriff’s department received assistance in conducting the arrest, from the Iowa State Patrol. Collins was held in the Audubon County Jail until appearing before the magistrate and pleading guilty to the crime. He was fined and later released.

The sheriff’s department said also, 52-year old Jeffrey Dennis Spencer, of Hamlin, was arrested Tuesday night at his residence, on an outstanding warrant charging Spencer with a Violation of his Probation. He was placed on probation in Oct. 2011, following a charge of 3rd offense Public Intoxication. Spencer has since allegedly violated the terms of his probation. He was being held in the Audubon County Jail on $3,000 bond.

Cass County General Relief Coordinator warns about utility disconnects

News

September 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

This Saturday marks the first day of Fall, and Cass County General Relief Coordinator Teresa Kanning is warning persons who receive heating assistance (for electric, gas, propane or other heating sources), to make an effort to pay at least a portion of your bill from last year, or risk having your heat shut-off. Kanning says her office is starting to see clients come in with “Disconnect” notices, because they are behind on their utilities as they prepare to enter the LIHEAP, or Low Income Heat Assistance Program. She says the utilities are being adamant that clients be caught up in their bills before the October 1st start of LIHEAP.

Several people she says, have told her they are 60 days behind on their heating bills. Before you can apply for LIHEAP,  Kanning says you need to have certain information available. LIHEAP starts taking applications on October 1st at West Central Development. The program puts a moratorium on people have their utilities shut-off, from November 1st through April 1st, but if you didn’t make your payments last Winter, you’ll be shut-off.

She said they have some clients with bills from last Winter amounting to more than $1,000, but who haven’t made an effort to get caught up on those bills.  Kanning says she always tells her clients to make SOME payments all-year long, because LIHEAP doesn’t pay for the entire bill. It’s only an assistance program.

The Bureau of Energy Assistance administers the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The federally-funded block grant is designed to aid qualifying households in the payment of a portion of their residential heating costs for the winter heating season. The program’s energy crisis intervention components are designed to provide immediate response to alleviate potentially life-threatening situations, and the client education component of the program provides funds for activities that encourage regular utility payments, promote energy awareness and encourage reduction of energy use through energy efficiency, client education and weatherization. For more information about LIHEAP, contact West Central Development Corporation in Atlantic, at 712-243-5421. They are located at 304 Chestnut Street, and their office hours are Monday through Friday, from 9-am to 3-p.m. Other WCDC offices are located in Shenandoah, Council Bluffs, Sidney, Harlan, Red Oak, Logan, Malvern, Onawa and Denison. Or, go to this link to find the assistance office in your area: www.dcaa.iowa.gov/app_sites/liheap_map.html

Shelby County Fire Danger Index bumped up to “High”

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Shelby County Emergency Management Director Bob Seivert says the Fire Danger rating has been bumped up from “Moderate,” to “High.”  Seivert says the local fire danger index is being adjusted due to the wind conditions and low relative humidity. And, while Red Flag warning are being posted for areas to the west, Seivert says he doesn’t expect Red Flag conditions in Shelby County, but because winds are expected to shift to the northwest this (Wednesday) afternoon, they will monitor that component very closely. He says property owners should not conduct ANY open today. The next local fire danger notice will be Monday September 24th, unless an unexpected change in conditions occur.

Authorities seek grader and tractor last seen: 2-years ago!

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office reports they are currently seeking information on the whereabouts of a 1950′s model road grader and a 1956 John Deere Model 70 tractor. The implements were last seen on a farm in central Guthrie County…about two-years ago. If you have any information on the disappearance of the equipment, contact Guthrie County Sheriff Marty Arganbright at 641-747-2214.

8AM Newscast 09-19-2012

News, Podcasts

September 19th, 2012 by Doug Evans

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

7AM Newscast 09-19-2012

News, Podcasts

September 19th, 2012 by Doug Evans

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

State committee will issue two opinions on school start date

News

September 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Members of the state task force assigned to address the controversial issue of when school should start in the fall has decided they don’t like the current policy that grants waivers to 98-percent of schools to allow them to start school in August. But the group decided to issue a majority and minority opinion on whether the state should set a concrete start date that everyone has to stick with. Waterloo Schools Superintendent, Gary Norris represented the eastern side of the state. He voted with the majority who want the school start date to be left up to individual districts.

“Generally the schools I represent — which are some of the larger districts in the state — believe that the needs of Iowa children are so unique from one district to the next that it is impossible to take a decision like this and make it perfectly at the state level,” Norris said. “So, we would prefer that it be made at the local level.” The minority side wants the legislature to set a school start date within the first week of September with no waivers. They argue earlier starts have an impact on the Iowa State Fair, tourism and student summer jobs. “We do understand the other competing interests here,” Norris said, “And clearly the economy of Iowa is a major factor here, and we respect that. The Iowa fair is a rich tradition.”

Department of Education liaison, Mike Cormack (the former Mayor of Massena) served as the moderator for the committee meeting and he says including both opinions is the best way to handle an issue that has admittedly become very contentious through he years. “I think that the viewpoint of the group was that this is one element of many elements and throughout all the other topics — which include the length of the school year, length of the school day, afterschool programming — there was a lot of consensus among this group. And so what they didn’t want was one area where there wasn’t consensus to distract from where there was,” Cormack explains. “So I think it (having two opinions) was basically a respect through a process of each other that served as taskforce members”.

Cormack said the issue of when to grant waivers to allow schools to start in August has been muddled by language that says there should not be “specific negative impact on students” from allowing earlier starts. He said everyone on this task believed that was to vague. “What each side would agree upon is that there should be clarity. The law should be defined and a decision needs to be made so that districts can do some long-term planning and so that businesses can do long-term planning as well,” Cormack said.

Superintendent Norris said everyone agrees there is not real evidence to show any impact on student learning based on when the school year begins. “You know there really isn’t. There’s a lot of emotion on either side, but there’s no that I know of, I’ve not read any definitive studies that talk about the start of the year,” Norris said. “There is some interesting studies that talk about that teenagers should start later in the day, there’s some definitive stuff on that, but the start date — as I tried to point out to the committee is largely driven by tradition.” The tradition included the agricultural calendar where kids had to be out of school to help with farm work. The committee will hold one final meeting by telephone to complete the language on their recommendation and then will send the majority/minority opinion on to the legislature to hash out the final start date.

(Radio Iowa)