Lee County Sheriff Warns of Chip-Sealing Scam

A group of men claiming to be legitimate chip-sealers are working to defraud Lee County Customers, according to the Lee County Sheriff. Sheriff Jim Sholl said in a Friday news release that the group was last seen in the Franklin area, driving a flatbed truck of an unknown make and model and a newer red dump truck. The group allegedly offers customers a reduced rate to seal coat their driveways using “extra product” from another job. The product offered is apparently sub par and only a thin coating is applied. During the last reported encounter, the potential victim told the alleged scammers he wasn’t interested, and the group took off in a hurry. Continue Reading

Orascom Plant

IEDA Green-Lights More Tax Breaks for Orascom Fertilizer Plant

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A state board has approved $25 million in extra tax breaks for a company building a giant fertilizer plant in Wever. The Quad-City Times reports the Iowa Economic Development Authority Board on Friday approved the tax breaks for the Lee County plant after the Iowa Fertilizer Company pledged to add 11 more jobs. The project’s total cost now totals $1.9 billion, and it will employ 180 people. According to board documents, approval of the request brings the total amount of tax benefits the state has provided to the company to $107.5 million. The construction of the plant near Wever is one of the largest economic development projects in state history. Continue Reading

HAM Radio Enthusiasts Want to Show Their Stuff in Fort Madison

The Fort Madison Amateur Radio Club will be participating in a nationwide, 24 hour long emergency preparedness drill called “Field Day”. The event is sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, a national organization for amateur radio and locally by Lee County Emergency Management Agency. Field Day events test federally licensed amateur radio operators’ (HAM) ability to set up portable stations, under simulated disaster conditions, and contact other groups across the United States and Canada. HAM Radio operators are an invaluable resource for communications, especially once present systems become inoperable. The Fort Madison Amateur Radio Club intends to use voice, Morse code, digital, and satellite communications. Continue Reading

Orascom Plant

Wever Fertilizer Plant Asking for More State Incentives

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A $1.9 billion fertilizer plant under construction in southeast Iowa is asking for an additional $21.5 million in incentives from the state. The Des Moines Register reports the Iowa Economic Development Authority Board will consider the request from the Iowa Fertilizer Company on Friday. It also includes additional sales use tax refund of $3.5 million. According to board documents, approval of the request would bring the total amount of tax benefits the state has provided to the company to $107.5 million. The construction of the plant near Wever is one of the largest economic development projects in state history. Continue Reading

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Flood Barriers Go Up in Burlington

HESCO flood barriers were installed on the Burlington Riverfront yesterday morning, even though the river isn’t currently expected to flood outside of it’s banks. Burlington Public Works Director Steve Hoambrecker says that the river was projected to crest at 16.3 feet Thursday. City crews started work on installing 150 of the barriers along the riverfront Thursday morning. Hoambrecker says that past experience has taught the department that it’s better to start early on setting up flood barriers, as a heavy rain upstream could cause the river to rise rapidly and unexpectedly. Hoambrecker says that the work will be done without needing to use overtime hours for city crews. Continue Reading

These guys get everywhere... Picture from Mayfly.org

“Citizen Scientists” Tapped to Help Monitor Mayflies

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials are recruiting “citizen scientists” to gather field data to help better predict when millions of the mayflies will swarm the banks of the Mississippi River. A website and smartphone apps have been developed to allow volunteers to gather and submit field observations. A fisheries biologist with the agency tells the La Crosse Tribune that the technology will allow those with little training to record standardized observations that will be uploaded to public databases available to scientists. The chief visitor services manager for the Upper Mississippi River Fish and Wildlife Refuge says the approach aims to collect data and encourage people to visit the 240,000-acre refuge. Continue Reading

Loud ‘Boom’ Heard in Lee County

Lee County Sheriff Jim Sholl says that they aren’t sure exactly what caused a loud booming noise heard in Lee County Thursday morning. At least ten calls were made in to the LeeCom dispatch center regarding the noise, but Sholl said that no source has been identified. In 2008, similar booms occurred in Lee County. Military aircraft flying at extremely high altitudes can sometimes produce sonic booms on the ground. The Federal Aviation Administration is looking into the case to determine whether or not any military aircraft were in the area yesterday morning. Continue Reading

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BPD Chief Gives Tips on Staying Safe from Police Impersonators

A report of a man impersonating a police officer in Henry County has some member of the community on edge, concerned about how to determine whether or not they’re being pulled over by a real cop. Burlington Police Chief Doug Beaird stopped by the KBUR Talkshow on Thursday to clear up concerns. He says that the police are aware of the situation and that there are plenty of things you can do to keep yourself safe during traffic stops. “We always recommend, especially if it’s at night, and even if there are flashing lights behind you, don’t give the impression that you’re eluding the police but try to get yourself into a well-lit area,” Beaird told hosts Steve Hexom and Rob Sussman. Beaird also says that police tend to follow a very typical procedure when interacting with those they pull over. Continue Reading

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Rockford, IL Man Tapped for West Burlington Fire Chief Position

West Burlington has found the man they want as fire chief. The West Burlington City Council extended a conditional offer of employment to Andrew Pieri during a Wednesday night city council meeting. Pieri currently works as the Planning and Building inspector in Rockford, Illinois. West Burlington Mayor Hans Trousil says that Pieri was picked over two in-house candidates due to his building inspection experience, as the fire chief position in West Burlington doubles as the building inspector. If he accepts the offer, Pieri will step into the shoes left by the late Mike Heim, who passed away unexpectedly in March after five years on the job. Continue Reading