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Storm damage report: 9/19/13

News, Weather

September 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Strong storms passing through western Iowa early this (Thursday) morning have caused damage in some locations. The National Weather Service in Des Moines says a trained spotter in Audubon reported winds gusting up to 60-miles per hour caused large tree branches to snap and fall four-miles east of the Audubon Airport, and some shingles were blown off a roof. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for parts of Audubon, Cass, Adair and Guthrie Counties, just before 6-a.m.

2 people arrested in Red Oak; 2 thefts being investigated

News

September 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak report the arrest of two people on separate charges, Wednesday. Officials say a little after 9-p.m., 17-year old Jacob Ryan Ballard, of Red Oak, was arrested in the 400 block of East Oak Street, on charges of Aggravated Assault and Disorderly Conduct. The teen was subsequently released to the custody of his parent.

At around 3:25-p.m., Wednesday, police in Red Oak arrested 21-year old Cody Dean Johnson, of Red Oak, on a charge of Burglary in the 3rd degree. Johnson was taken into custody near the intersection of North 2nd and Cherry Streets. His bond was set at $5,000.

Red Oak Police say they are also investigating two reports of theft. At around 7:15-p.m., a Red Oak resident reported a person or persons unknown took his black mountain bike with silver decals. The incident occurred in the 2400 block of North 8th Street. The bike was valued at $550. Earlier Wednesday evening, an Emerson woman reported to Red Oak Police someone took her son’s black I-POD with neon green colored case, from the Red Oak YMCA. The device was valued at $400. Anyone with information about either theft incident is asked to call the Red Oak Police at 712-623-6500.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., Sept. 19th 2013

News

September 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

CRESTON, Iowa (AP) — A longtime manufacturing plant in southern Iowa plans to close its doors and lay off nearly 80 employees. Gits Manufacturing says it will shut down its Creston headquarters and move development staff to an Urbandale location. Mayor Warren Woods said yesterday that the company sent him a letter this week with the news. The affected positions will be cut in five stages between November and June 2014.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa City is expanding free Wi-Fi in its downtown area. The City Council approved a plan Tuesday night that will let Internet service provider South Slope Cooperative Telephone Company mount equipment atop the Iowa City Public Library that will expand the area of free wireless access.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — People with disabilities will have an easier time boating on a popular Des Moines lake thanks to new equipment installed with help from volunteers. A ceremony was held yesterday to dedicate the EZ Launch system at the docks at Gray’s Lake Park.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The name of an adult care worker in eastern Iowa will be removed from the state’s dependent adult abuse registry after the Iowa Court of Appeals concluded the state failed to prove the worker engaged in a negligent act. The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals had found Meria Burrage committed dependent adult abuse on a 95-year-old woman who had called for help. The woman complained that Burrage grabbed her arm, causing a large bruise.

Atlantic City Council passes No Parking Zones ordinance on west 7th Street

News

September 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council Wednesday, passed the second reading of an ordinance entitled “No Parking Zones,” on U-S Highway 6 (7th Street), in front of the Casey’s General Store/KFC Restaurant, and suspended the rules before approving the ordinance on the third and final reading. During their last meeting, the Council requested input from the store owners on whether or not trucks parking along the highway created a traffic obstruction, that the Iowa Department of Transportation had alluded to earlier.

City Administrator Doug Harris said the affected businesses confirmed the DOT’s assertion. He said the manager of the Caseys store told him trucks parking along the highway creates a problem for their patrons trying to exit the parking lot, because they block motorists’ view of the highway. The manager was supportive of the No Parking rule.

The DOT said in a letter to the City that trucks parking along the shoulder also cause damage to the area, which results in increased maintenance costs. Councilman Steve Livengood hinted the DOT may be willing to pave the shoulder, or at least put in more effort to maintain it, if it was deemed a No Parking area.

In other business, City Administrator Doug Harris announced a rough section of Highway 6 (7th Street) in Atlantic, will get a makeover next construction season, courtesy the Iowa Department of Transportation.  He said a section of the road from Olive Street east, to just east of Burger King, will receive a full reconstruction during the 2014 construction season. That means a complete replacement of the concrete, not just the shoulders or an asphalt overlay. The project is expected to cost well over $1-million.

Atlantic City Council takes limited action on Ethanol transfer site

News

September 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council Wednesday evening, discussed at length the Poet ethanol transfer station being built near the downtown area. And, the Council passed, by a vote of 4-to 2, a motion calling for the writing of a resolution opposing the location of the transfer station, but not in opposition to the project itself. Councilman  Shawn Shouse was not present at the meeting to vote on the matter.

Some members of the Council, including the Mayor, were upset with Poet, LLC.‘s plans to build an ethanol transfer station, near the heart of the downtown, just north of the Chamber of Commerce. Their concerns centered around safety issues, wear and tear on city streets, and the City’s legal liability in the event of an explosion, for having allowed such a facility to be built. Poet obtained the necessary federal permits to have ethanol, trucked from its production facility in Coon Rapids to Atlantic, where it would be unloaded onto rail tanker cars.

City Attorney Dave Wiederstein said the company was not required to seek local building permits because of federal interstate commerce laws, but he acknowledged it would have been nice if the company has notified the City of its intent. He said also, that a resolution opposing the location of the site, would not absolve the City from any legal liability in the event of an explosion.

Wiederstein said regardless of why the company failed to come to the City Council nearly a year ago, “It’s imperative that the City reach out to them in a cooperative spirit and nurse this relationship into something that will eventually lead into an ethanol plant being opened down here.”  He said also, that the City’s legal options are limited. It could speak with an attorney who specializes in the type of litigation the City could pursue, but it would be throwing “Good money at bad for even just exploring” the matter in the courts, because federal law leaves very few legal loopholes.

Wiederstein mentioned that any resolution passed expressing the City’s disapproval of the location, should also include copies of the federal permits and applications Poet obtained, which he intends to seek from the company. He added however, Poet is not required to provide those documents to the City.

(Update) Structure fire northwest of Anita Wed. evening

News

September 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Firefighters from Anita and Wiota were called to the scene of mobile home fire northwest of Anita late Wednesday afternoon. The call about the blaze south of 52939 740th Street was dispatched at around 4:53-p.m. Heavy smoke was seen coming from the residence prior to firefighters’ arrival.

Photo courtesy Cass County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Kennon

Photo courtesy Cass County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Kennon

Anita Fire Chief Duane Murphy told KJAN News the center section of the mobile home was completely engulfed in flames by the time the first crews arrived. No one was inside. Murphy said fire crews were able to knock down the flames quickly, but there was still a severe amount of damage.

Crews remained on the scene for about an hour. A cause of the fire had not yet been determined Wednesday evening, and Murphy said the State Fire Marshal would not be called to investigate at this time.

Anita and Wiota Fire on the scene of a house fire

News

September 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Firefirefighters from Anita and Wiota were called to the scene of a house fire northwest of Anita late this (Wednesday) afternoon. The call about the blaze south of 52939 740th Street was dispatched at around 4:53-p.m. Heavy smoke was seen coming from the residence. No other details are currently available.

Century-old company in Creston to close. 95 workers will lose their jobs

News

September 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A manufacturer of air flow management systems for numerous mechanical operations — including diesel engines, turbo chargers, pumps and gear boxes — has announced the closing of its 103 year old plant in Union County, and the loss of 95 jobs. KCCI-TV reports GITS Manufacturing in Creston confirms its plans to close its plant in Creston. The company told its employees it intends to shut down production to other Actuant factories. They have plants in Urbandale and China.

GITS started in Creston in 1910.The company said a total of 95 employees are affected with 15 being moved to the Urbandale facility and the other 90 will have their jobs phased out. Job cuts will start in November and run through June of 2014.  The plant is expected to officially close on June 30, 2014.

Omaha man arrested in connection w/suspicious mail sent to Pott. Co. Sheriff’s Office

News

September 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker reports the arrest last week of a Nebraska man on charges associated with the delivery of suspicious mail to the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office in Council Bluffs. An arrest warrant for five counts of Harassment was issued on September 11th, for the arrest of Frank Donald Hytrek, of Omaha. Hytrek was subsequently arrested and booked into the Pottawattamie County Jail. On September 6th, Hytrek admitted during an interview with investigators, to sending the packages to the Sheriff’s Office and to other various locations in the Metro Area. Harassment 3rd is a Simple Misdemeanor in the State of Iowa.

Originally Investigators were looking into charging Hytrek with Terrorism; however the facts of the crime did not meet the definition of Terrorism under Iowa Law. The suspicious envelopes were received on May 30th, June 3rd, June 4th, June 19th, and July 10th. The suspicious nature of the envelopes varies from containing unknown powders to unknown liquids. Initial forensic testing indicated that the substances were non-toxic. Further testing has isolated that the substances range from Flour to Muriatic Acid.

The incidents were investigated by the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division.

 

Iowa Gov. wants to meet with feds on health plan

News

September 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad is seeking to meet with federal officials in Washington to urge them to approve Iowa’s proposal to expand low-income health care. Branstad aide Michael Bousselot says Wednesday that meeting details are being finalized for next week when Branstad will be in Washington.

State lawmakers in May approved legislation that accepts federal funding to create a new health plan for some poor residents and to pay the premiums for other low-income Iowans to get private insurance on the new health care exchanges. Branstad submitted the plan to federal authorities for approval last month.

The new health care marketplaces are opening for enrollment on Oct. 1. Bousselot said state officials are still negotiating some plan details, but expect approval by then.