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Atlantic City Council passes housing resolution


February 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

After a lengthy period of discussion, the Atlantic City Council, Wednesday, passed a Resolution of Support for the development of an affordable housing project on the City’s south side. The City’s Finance Committee has discussed the matter twice, and recommended the Council approve the resolution, which does NOT commit the City to any financial package or incentives, but will serve to lower the developers’ operating costs, by allowing them to qualify for Low Income Housing Tax Credit through the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA). Councilpersons Kathy Somers and Shaun Shouse are the Council’s liasons on the Finance Committee. Somers said last night, the developer, Cohen-Esrey, has lowered the construction costs of its planned single-family homes in the area of 22nd and Olive Streets, to $100,000, including the land. That means the homes would cost approximately $88,500, wih an assessed value of $85,000.

The original proposal called for the City to offer, in the developers’ application to the IFA, a level of financial support of up to $160,000, but the Council voted to have the amount of $65,692 written into its resolution, which equates to about $4,105 per unit. The resolution also calls for a 10-year, $65,000  Tax Increment Financing proposal, instead a 17-year Tax Rebate, as originally proposed. A number of hoops remain before the City actually commits any funds for the project, including: public hearings, a minimum assessment agreement, and completion of a development agreement.

Cohen-Esrey says if their IFA application is approved, they will move forward with plans to build 16, 3-bedroom, 12-hundred square foot, single-family homes. Somers says studies have shown Atlantic could use some more Low Income Housing.  Councilmen Dana Halder and Steve Livengood expressed concern about the quality of the homes…their energy efficiency and the types of studs used, for example…especially in light of how much they will sell for. Many questions still remain about the details of the construction elements, but one thing is known: the homes will be built on concrete slabs, and will not have basements, because of water drainage issues in the area.

Somers said the idea behind the project is that the homes will be rental properties for 15-years, but at the end of the 15-years, the homes will be sold. The renters will contribute $50 each month toward a maintenance fund/downpayment on home ownership. In 15-years, the renter could buy the home for about $65,000.

7AM Newscast 02-02-2012

News, Podcasts

February 2nd, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


Record setting temps end in Atlantic

News, Weather

February 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The first three days of this week saw record breaking temperatures set in Atlantic, but there’s little liklihood today will come close to the record high for this date. Wednesday’s high in Atlantic was 60, which broke the old record of 58, set back in 1987. Today’s record high was 66, in 1992, but the forecast only calls for a high of around 56-degrees.

A major change in the weather is set to take place late Friday night into Saturday night, as a snowstorm sets its sights on Nebraska and Western Iowa. Right now, it appears snowfall amounts will range from 4-to 7-inches, but that could change, depending on the track of the storm, and how late the rain we get on Friday, changes to snow.

A Winter Storm Watch will be in effect for most of the listening area, from late Friday night into Saturday night. Travel conditions are expected to deteriorate Friday night, with reduced visibilities due to blowing heavy snow, and slushy road conditions.

Oakland-Riverside Voters head to the polls Tuesday


February 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Patrons of the Oakland-Riverside School District will be heading to the polls next Tuesday, to vote on a $13.3-million bond issue. Jim Sutton, Superintendent at Oakland-Riverside said if approved, funds raised by the sale of bonds, would be used for a project that’s very similar to one proposed last Spring, which calls for the combining of their educational centers located in Oakland, Carson and Macedonia, into one building. Sutton said getting to this point has been a multi-year process. He says the Riverside School Board opted for another bond issue attempt because 53 percent of the voters supported the project last time around. According to Sutton, there would be a cost savings of close to $250,000 per year, by combining the educational centers. Those savings he says, could be used to pay for additional teachers. 

While the total cost of the project is around $21.6-million, Sutton says there will be $2.5-million in savings. He says there is also a little under $6-million which will be borrowed from the remaining sales tax that’s available. The district’s taxpayers will likely see an increase of $2.70 per thousand dollars taxable valuation, which will generate the $13.3-million dollars to pay for the project. Sutton says if you have a $100,000 home, it will cost about $11 more per month in taxes, or about $134 per year, to pay for the bonds, or about $2.25 more per acre of agricultural land. He says there are only six school districts across the State of Iowa with a lower tax asking rate than the Oakland-Riverside District, which is currently at $10.19 per thousand dollars assessed valuation.

Sutton says with interest rates at historically low levels, now is the prime time to lock in the bids for any new construction, and because the builders are being very competitive. At a public meeting held January 23rd, it was pointed out that the district has the money now to build the project as proposed, but it will not be able to have that money if it continues to spend sales tax money to add new roofs and elevators to outdated buildings that are landlocked, and it will add extra costs to the district in various other ways.

Clarinda woman to appear in court on theft charges


February 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Clarinda woman accused of taking nearly $30,000 from the Clarinda High School Booster Club over a three-year period, is scheduled to appear in court Monday, for an arraignment hearing. 51-year-old Cynthia Ann Gerdts, faces a felony charge of 1st Degree Theft.  Gerdts, who was previously employed at the Page County Federal Savings Association, and served as the Booster Club’s treasurer, allegedly used a number of elaborate techniques to embezzle the money. Her pre-trial hearing will take place March 5th,  with the trial set for April 10th. If convicted on the charge , Gerdts could get up to 10 years in prison and have to pay a $10,000 fine.

(updated 5-a.m.) Winter Storm Could Bring 6 or more inches of snow to the listening area


February 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for parts of southwest, western and northwestern Iowa. The watch covers Cass, Adair, Adams, Audubon, Crawford, Carroll, Fremont, Guthrie, Harrison, Madison, Mills, Montgomery, Pottawattamie, Shelby and Union Counties in our listening area, and will be in effect from Friday evening through Saturday afternoon in northwest Iowa, and Saturday evening in western/southwest Iowa. The forecast calls for up to six-inches of snow in the southwest counties, with six or more inches possible in the western/west central and northwest counties of the state.

Rain with mix with and change over to all snow Friday night, and continue through the day on Saturday, before ending Saturday night. There is still a great deal of uncertainty, according to forecasters, as to the exact track of the storm, when the rain will change to snow Friday night. The sooner the rain changes to snow, the greater the snowfall accumulations will be. If the changeover is delayed, lesser amounts of snow are expected.

Travel is expected to become difficult Friday night, with heavy snow, and winds of up to 25-miles per hour, reducing visibilities and making for slippery travel conditions. Stay alert for further weather statements on this

CCMH Special Care Unit Relocates


February 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

ATLANTIC – Effective February 1, 2012, the Special Care Unit (SCU) at Cass County Memorial Hospital has been moved to the Medical Surgical wing.  Specifically, patient rooms 125, 126, 127 and 128, have been equipped to provide the higher level of SCU care for inpatients.  At the same time, the name of the unit has been changed to Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

These changes have been made in anticipation of the completion of the new addition at the hospital, where all inpatient units (Medical Surgical, Obstetrics and Intensive Care) will be on the second floor with closer coordination of staff between the areas.  The name change is simply to better reflect the level of care provided.  “We want to begin working on some of the staff coordination and processes before we move to our new addition, so everything goes as smoothly as possible at that time,” explained Linda Hemminger, Assistant Administrator of Clinical Services.  “Intensive Care is a more accurate reflection of the care we provide, so this seemed like a good time to make that change, too.”

All of the equipment, monitors and other patient care items from the SCU have been relocated to the four ICU rooms, so patients will receive the same level of care and staff attention they have always received.  A permanent move to the new addition inpatient area is anticipated late this summer.

Crash Blocks US 30 in Harrison County – Issued 2:35 PM


February 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa DOT says a multiple vehicle crash is blocking U.S. 30 east of Missouri Valley, in Harrison County. Motorists are advised to use an alternate route to reach their destination.

Court: Bluffs police search of bicyclist was illegal


February 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled a Council Bluffs police officer’s late night search of a bicyclist was illegal and marijuana found during the search should be suppressed. The court overturned Keith Sorick’s drug possession conviction Wednesday, saying the officer had no reason to search Sorick after pulling him over in 2010 for not having lights on his bicycle at night, which is required by city code. After talking with Sorick, the officer patted him down and found the marijuana.

The officer testified at trial that he searched the 28-year-old Sorick because it dark and people in the neighborhood were known to have weapons. The court ruled that wasn’t enough to search Sorick, who was fined $315.

Measure would let Iowa casinos end dog racing


February 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Senate panel has approved a measure allowing the state’s two greyhound tracks to stop holding races, but it’s still not a sure bet the measure will clear the Senate. The bill approved today (Wednesday) would allow Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs and Mystique Casino in Dubuque to pay the state a combined $70 million over seven years to end a requirement to run dog races.
 The measure’s supporters say the industry is dying out across the nation and costing casinos millions to prop up. Others say ending the requirements would cost hundreds of jobs, including track workers and people who breed and train the dogs.  A similar measure discussed last year did not reach the Senate floor, and lawmakers say they’re unsure of this measure’s prospects this year.