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Record of 2011 Iowa legislature

News

July 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Property tax reform is at the top of the list of topics discussed but later tabled by the 2011 Iowa Legislature. The governor and leaders of both political parties began 2011 agreeing that property tax reform was at the top of the legislature’s agenda. Six months later, nothing was accomplished because of split control at the statehouse. Iowans elected a Republican governor last fall and Republicans hold a 20-seat advantage over Democrats in the Iowa House. But the Iowa Senate is still controlled by Democrats, who hold a two-seat advantage there. The two parties in the legislature had different approaches on the issue and the governor had another. In the end, a compromise was elusive. Governor Branstad hasn’t ruled out the idea of calling legislators back to Des Moines later this year for a “special session” to deal with the property tax issue.

Lawmakers debated establishing limits or even banning so-called “red light” cameras, but shelved that topic as well. Senator Brad Zaun, a Republican from Urbandale, says he’s fielded hundreds of complaints about the cameras — and the very pricey tickets. Senator Jeff Danielson, a Democrat from Cedar Falls, suggests the cameras are working to reduce speeds and curb red-light-runners.

The top policy accomplishment of the General Assembly was approval of a massive plan that reconfigures legislative and congressional district lines. The redistricting plan is based on the new data from the 2010 Census. The 2011 legislature made dove hunting legal in Iowa, too. Opponents legislators rushed the bill through in less than 24 hours, giving critics little time to mount a campaign to defeat the bill.

(O.Kay Henderson/ Radio Iowa)

Brace for what may be the hottest day of 2011 (Heat index of 137? Really?)

News, Weather

July 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

At least three Iowa cities hit high temps of 99 degrees on Thursday — in Atlantic (at the airport. Here at the KJAN studios, the official weather reporting station, we topped at 93-degrees), in Perry, and in Knoxville. Forecasters say today (Friday) promises to be even hotter….in fact, they say this could be the hottest day of the year, so far. Jacob Beitlich, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, says most of Iowa will be in the mid to upper-90s today with a few 100s possible.

“With the humidity and the warm temperatures, we could see heat index readings of 105 to 110 degrees with a few isolated higher readings in eastern Iowa,” Beitlich says. “That’s just going to lead to uncomfortable conditions, potentially dangerous if you don’t take the necessary precautions of taking breaks, finding some A/C if you have to work outside and drinking plenty of fluids.”

Eddyville had an unofficial heat index on Thursday of 137 degrees. A Heat Advisory is posted for all of eastern and central Iowa through 7 P-M. Beitlich says a slight cool-off is coming. A cold front is expected later today and overnight, taking away some of the heat and humidity, bringing much of the state closer to the average July temps in the mid to upper 80s.

(Pat Powers/Ric Hanson – Radio IA)

9AM Newscast 07-01-2011

News, Podcasts

July 1st, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ News Director Ric Hanson

Play

Shelby County accidents

News

July 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Two accidents occurred in the same area of Shelby County, Thursday, with only minor injuries reported. The Sheriff’s Office says the first accident happened at around 2:45-p.m., on northbound Highway 59 near the intersection with County Road F-32.

A vehicle driven by Caryn Gekas, of Lincoln, NE, was stopped on the road waiting for a semi-tractor trailer hauling wind turbine parts to pass, when her vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by Jennifer Rogers, of Lincoln, NE. Official say Rogers was unable to stop prior to the collision.

The accident caused extensive damage to both vehicles, and resulted in injuries to both drivers and a young female passenger in one of the vehicles. All three persons were transported to Myrtue Medical Center in Harlan for treatment of their injuries.

The second accident happened about 35-minutes later. As traffic was stopped on Highway 59 waiting for the first accident scene to be cleaned-up, a vehicle driven by Juan Tercero, of Denison, was hit from behind by a car being driven by Joshua Roberts, of Denison. Officials say Roberts failed to notice traffic in front of him had come to a halt.

He was cited for Failure to Stop in an Assured Clear Distance.

HCHS to receive “Character Counts” award

News

July 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Community School District will receive a 2011 Iowa Character Counts Award from “Character Counts in Iowa,” next month. The award annually honors individuals, schools and organizations that consistently demonstrate and promote the six pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

Paulette Rasmussen, who nominated the school, said, “Staff, students and community members of Harlan are all very involved and supportive of the character counts initiative.” Character Counts in Iowa is a non-profit organization that promotes civility and good character in our homes, schools, workplaces and communities.

Harlan High School representatives will be honored along with 12 other Iowa award recipients at the 2011 Character Counts Awards banquet on August 5th. All 13 award recipients were chosen by a volunteer selection committee made up of more than 50 Iowans.

Airlines make plans in case Omaha airport floods

News

July 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Airlines and other businesses that use Omaha’s Eppley Airfield are making plans in case flooding forces the airport’s closure. Lincoln Airport executive director John Wood says he’s had discussion with three passenger airlines, all freight airlines and all the rental car companies that serve Eppley. He also says ConAgra, Mutual of Omaha and Kiewit have moved their corporate planes from Omaha to Lincoln. The Lincoln Journal Star reports Wood has also had discussion with the Transportation Safety Administration about possible flight diversions to Lincoln.

The Omaha airport is protected from the swollen Missouri River by levees, and pumps are keeping the main road to the airport dry. The river isn’t expected to overtop the levees but there is concern that the prolonged flooding could weaken the airport’s levees.

Status of flood mitigation work on U.S. 30 west of Missouri Valley

News

July 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – July 1, 2011: 8 a.m. – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is reporting that work on installation of the flood barrier wall along the south side of U.S. 30 in locations west of Missouri Valley is expected to be completed and the road reopened at 8:30 a.m. today (Friday).
 
After the road is opened, it will remain so through the Fourth of July holiday weekend. 
 
The road will close again temporarily Tuesday, July 5 at 8:30 a.m. to begin work on installing a flood barrier wall on the north side of the road. That work will also be performed around-the-clock and take approximately 48 hours. Earlier it was thought that work could possibly be performed under controlled traffic conditions. However, it has been determined that the work cannot be performed safely or efficiently under those conditions. 
 
Road closure information

Iowa DOT’s flood information call center 866-452-8510, open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Friday, July 1, speak to an operator for travel assistance.
Road condition information during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, available 24 hours a day: visit www.511ia.org or call 511 (in Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (outside of the state) for a recorded message of road closures.
Iowa DOT on Twitter- http://twitter.com/#!/iowadot/

View the flooded Iowa roads map for road closures, detours and areas at risk of flooding – http://tinyurl.com/3o2mtlp

7AM Newscast 07-01-2011

News, Podcasts

July 1st, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ News Director Ric Hanson

Play

USDA awards $550K to Neb., Iowa entities

News

July 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded more than $550,000 to help organizations in Nebraska and Iowa develop or expand local programs. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that Central Community College in Nebraska will get about $175,000 to help harness local assets and resources and the Nebraska Enterprise Fund will get almost $125,000 to support two microenterprise programs.

The Golden Hills Resource Conservation and Development Center (RC&D) will get some $83,000 to offer training on sustainable food production in southwest parts of Iowa and Nebraska, while Regional Development Inc. in Iowa will get about $175,000 to develop leaders for regional food systems.

The funding is part of the USDA’s Rural Community Development Initiative Program.

Survey suggests Midwest economic growth slowing

News

July 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A survey of nine Midwestern and Plains suggests that higher energy prices and supply problems are slowing economic growth. A report released today (Friday), says the Business Conditions Index for the Mid-America region dropped in June, to 54.9 from 60.2 in May.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says higher energy prices and supply problems stemming from the Japanese tsunami and Midwest and Plains flooding have slowed economic growth. The survey of supply managers and executives and the report use a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100.

Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests economic growth in the next three to six months, while a score below 50 suggests a contracting economy. States in the survey are Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.