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Iowa agrees with EPA to boost farm inspections

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa officials have signed an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that increases the number of livestock farms routinely inspected, requires more farms to obtain permits, and more strictly enforces violations when manure leaks into rivers.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources signed the work plan Wednesday after years of negotiating with EPA, which had threatened to take over enforcement of federal Clean Water Act rules itself if Iowa didn’t step up.

The agreement requires on-site inspections of farms with more than 1,000 cows or 2,500 hogs. That’s about 3,200 farms in Iowa. Smaller farms also may be inspected if they’ve had recent spills or are near streams or rivers. Environmental groups which have lobbied for stricter enforcement say the plan is a good first step.

Iowa 92 near Massena to close Sept. 18 for bridge construction


September 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation’s Creston construction office reports a bridge replacement project on Iowa 92 1 mile west of Iowa 148, near Massena, will require closing the roadway for nine days beginning 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, weather permitting.

The Iowa 92 closure is necessary as work crews remove the existing bridge and slide the new bridge into place. Traffic will be detoured around the construction zone as follows….

Eastbound Iowa 92 traffic will be detoured on Cass County Road N-28 north to Cass County Road G-48, east to Iowa 148, and then back south to Iowa 92.

Westbound Iowa 92 traffic will be detoured north on Iowa 148, west on Cass County Road G-48, and then south on Cass County Road N-28 to Iowa 92.

The new bridge has already been partially constructed just north of the existing bridge. Once the road is closed, the existing bridge will be demolished, new steel piling supports driven into the ground, new concrete abutments placed, and the new bridge slid into place.Additional work to place the new bridge rail, approach paving, and guardrail will be completed before the road is reopened.The work is all part of the Iowa DOT’s accelerated bridge construction (ABC) program.

The $1.3 million project is being constructed by Herberger Construction Co., of Indianola. Work is scheduled to be complete by late fall. Additional information may be found at the Iowa DOT website: www.iowadot.gov/MassenaBridge/index.html

The Iowa DOT reminds motorists to drive with caution, obey posted speed limit and other signs in the work area, and be aware that traffic fines for moving violations are at least double in work zones. As in all work zones, drivers should stay alert, allow ample space between vehicles and wear seat belts.

Atlantic P-D reports 1 arrest & 1 accident


September 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Police in Atlantic report one person was arrested Tuesday on alcohol-related charges, and one person was cited following an accident. Officials say 38-year old Christopher Harper, of Atlantic, was taken into custody on a charge of Public Intoxication. He was booked into the Cass County Jail and held pending an appearance before the magistrate.

And, a Creston man was cited for Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Signal Tuesday morning, following an accident at 7th and Plum Streets. Shamus Brown, of Creston, was traveling east on 7th Street at around 10:05-a.m., when he allegedly ran the red light and was hit by  a vehicle driven by Todd Friesleben, of Atlantic. The accident happened as Friesleben was traveling north on Plum and had the green light. Damage from the accident amounted to $3,250. No injuries were reported.

Cass Co. Supervisors approve grant subcontract and DL examiner status


September 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors met Wednesday morning during a brief session that included approval of a subcontract between the County Board of Health and the Nishna Valley YMCA. Auditor Dale Sunderman said the contract with Iowa Department of Human Services is for the continuation of a Community Transformation Grant. The YMCA has been working with the grant for a number of years. The County serves as the flow-through agency for the grant funds.

The Board also approved a change in employment status from part-time County Treasurer’s Office employee/Drivers License Examiner, Brandi Wittrock, to a full-time, retroactive to September 1st. Wittrock has been with the Treasurer’s Office since October 24, 2012. She will receive a nearly $2.30/hour raise plus benefits, for a total package of $37,000 per year.

Treasurer Tracey J. Marshall said the change is needed to an increase in the number of drives the County will be offering as tests for persons seeking their driver’s licenses. Her office currently only offers driving tests on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s, but more opportunities will be made available now that Wittrock is being made a full-time employee. Wittrock will handle other tasks at the office as well, including filling-in for other Treasurer’s Office employees, who are on vacation.

And, in his report to the Board, County Engineer Charles Marker provided updates on various on-going and future roads projects. Marker said deck work was completed last week on the Hoppley Bridge and are currently working on the bridge approaches. Marker said also a culvert pipe has been put in under Yankton Road over Bridge #43 in Edna Township. Supervisor Chuck Rieken said persons who use that road for transporting their harvest are grateful it was done ahead of time (work had been scheduled to take place on the project next year).

And, Marker said work on the M-56 Bridge over Interstate 80 won’t be completed this year as previously announced. Marker said the Iowa DOT discovered they have two projects very close together. That includes a nearby Interstate bridge over Indian Creek. That creates a conflict with the contractors, and the need to postpone the M-56 project until next season. When work does begin on the M-56 bridge, it will only mean a resurfacing of the bridge deck, and not the replacement of the substructure.

8AM Newscast 09-11-2013

News, Podcasts

September 11th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Atlantic P& Z passes resolution pertaining to POET ethanol transfer station


September 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Members of the City of Atlantic’s Planning and Zoning Commission gathered Tuesday evening at City Hall, and expressed their displeasure with the way Poet Bio-refining, LLC began construction of a ethanol transfer station near the downtown area. When finished, the station will allow semi tanker trucks full of ethanol to transfer their loads derived from a processing facility in Coon Rapids, into railroad cars.

Zoning Administrator John Lund said the City wasn’t notified about the company’s intentions until well after work had begun on the project. Word about the project came on or about August 22nd, and it was from a citizen, not from officials with Poet.

When City officials met with representatives from Poet last week, they were left with more questions than answers, and the answers themselves conflicted with what the Iowa DNR was told would be in-place at the site, located just north of the Atlantic Depot/Chamber of Commerce, on north Chestnut Street. Lund said City Attorney says the P&Z has no authority to do anything about the situation.

Lund said Dave Wierstein told Lund he can’t force Poet to obtain a building permit. Lund said it should have been a P&Z issue “from the get go.” He says if Poet had come to the City first, as a professional courtesy, the City might have been more supportive of the plan, but that didn’t happen.

Among the Commissioners expressing their dismay with the way Poet went about the project, was Roger Herring, who said Poet displayed a “Blatant disregard for the City of Atlantic,” in building a facility in “The very heart and center” of the information and downtown district. Herring said he’s not against Poet and what there business is, but the manner of how they went about constituted a blatant disregard for the City and its citizens, and it shouldn’t work that way.

John Lund says there will be a follow-up report during next week’s City Council meeting. Mayor Dave Jones, who along with Councilman Steve Livengood and Shawn Shouse, were in attendance at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, Tuesday, said the City isn’t done exploring its options on how to best deal with the situation. The Commission Tuesday passed a Resolution for the record, expressing their frustration at the lack of communication Poet had with the City, that the matter was not brought before them in a timely manner, that an engineering study was not conducted about the location and possible risks, and that the Commission was not aware of the project before construction began.

In other business, the Commission tabled until its meeting in October, discussion pertaining to multiple families occupying Single-family properties. The issue was brought to the Commission’s attention after a citizen expressed her concerns about numerous, extended family members staying in a home in Atlantic, and how that affects property values, along with other, related concerns.

(Podcast) 7:06-a.m. News

News, Podcasts

September 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson….

Council Bluffs house fire probed as hate crime


September 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Vandalism and a fire at a Council Bluffs house are being investigated as a hate crime. Firefighters were sent to the home about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, and they put out flames that had engulfed a bedroom there. No injuries were reported.

Kevin Durham and Shelly Owens were gone and their children were at school when the fire occurred. The couple say the house had been vandalized and racial slurs had been spray-painted several times on the walls. Durham is black; Owens is white.

Council Bluffs police Sgt. David Dawson confirmed that the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

School Board election results (Contested races – Summary)


September 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Voters across the State went to the polls Tuesday (9/10/13) to cast their ballots in the 2013 School Board elections. Among the area contested races:

In Cass County, incumbents Kristy Pellett and Josh McLaren were re-elected to the school board in the Atlantic Community School District. Both beat out challenger Bob Reilly for the two At Large open seats on the Board. In the Griswold District, incumbents Steve Baier and Robert Peterson were re-elected to the school board. The men defeated Denise Bridges for the two open At Large seats on the Griswold School Board. Also in Cass County, both Iowa Western Community College levy measures were overwhelmingly approved by the voters.

In Adair County,  Megan Kading, Jeff Leonard and Mark Williams were elected to the At Large seats on the Adair-Casey school board. The three won the three open At Large seats in a four way race with Tobin Muller.

In Guthrie County, Deb Douglass defeated two other challengers for the single, open seat in District 2 of the Panorama School District, and Jon Stezel beat challenger Shari Clark in District 4. The winner of the Coon Rapids-Bayard District 1 school board seat was Brenda Schlatter, who beat challenger Kelly Pevestorf 227-to 61. Chad Leighty had a somewhat closer win over challenger Steve Dentlinger in CR-B District 4, 183-to 108.

In Montgomery County, there were no contested races, but voters in the Stanton School District did pass Proposition A by 113 to 6.

In Pottawattamie County, Steve Paul Kock won a two-way race for an At Large seat on the AHST school board, and Lindsay Bentley won a three-way race for a District 5 seat in the Riverside School District. And, in the Walnut School District, Shane Brockhoff and Tom Carroll won a four-way race for two At Large seats on the Walnut School Board.

In Shelby Countythe Harlan Community School Board will see no changes after elections Tuesday night. In District 2, Amy Rueschenberg defeated Robert Dickinson 252 to 12 in the only contested race. The Public Measure for the Revenue Purpose Statement for the Harlan Community School District passed 228 yes to 21 no. Sam Hansen and Eric Ramsey won a race against three other contenders for two open At Large seats on the IKM-Manning School Board.

You can see the full results on the News page on our website, at www.kjan.com. Just scroll down and look for the “Sept. 10th 2013 School Board election results.”

Ohio man arrested in fatal Omaha crash


September 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – An Ohio man has been arrested in Omaha after a fatal traffic accident.    Omaha police say 30-year-old Evan Shiplett, of Zanesville, Ohio, was arrested on Tuesday evening after he was released from a hospital. He is being held on one count of vehicular homicide.

Police say Shiplett was driving fast when his pickup went out of control and rolled as it left Interstate 480 in eastern Omaha on Friday evening. One of his passengers, 19-year-old Matthew Doty, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, was killed. Another passenger, 18-year-old Jacob Levene, of Neola, Iowa, left the scene but was later taken to a hospital.

Jail records say Shiplett remained in custody on Wednesday morning.