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Atlantic City Council to hold 1st readings of tobacco free policy & rezoning


January 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Two public hearings will be held Wednesday evening during a meeting of the Atlantic City Council. The first hearing is with regard to an Ordinance pertaining to the Sunnyside Park Tobacco Free Policy. The second pertains to the rezoning of a property at the southwest corner of 7th and Olive Streets from Residential to Commercial.

With regard to the Tobacco Free Ordinance, the Atlantic Park and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors approved the policy at their meeting on Nov. 18th. The ordinance was drafted by the City Attorney and modeled after a similar ordinance in Adel. If approved, the ordinance would prohibit the use of tobacco  “In designated areas of Sunnyside Park: the trails, the outdoor recreational facilities, and all public building and grounds restrooms, athletic fields, spectator areas of athletic facilities during a sporting event, tennis courts, basketball courts, skate park, pavilions, and within 25’ of the playground equipment areas and picnic shelters.”

Violations would be punishable as follows: For a first violation, a monetary penalty not to exceed one hundred dollars. For a second violation within one year, a monetary penalty not to exceed two hundred dollars. For each violation in excess of a second violation within one year, a monetary penalty not to exceed five hundred dollars for each additional violation.

Afterward the public hearing on the tobacco free policy, the Council will hold a hearing on an amendment to the Zoning Map to reclassify a section of land at the southwest corning of 7th and Olive Streets, from R-3 (High Density Single Family) to C-1 (Highway Commercial). The Planning and Zoning Board approved the rezoning request from Plummer Investments during their meeting on Jan. 14th, even though the City Comprehensive plan shows that the area in question should be zoned medium density residential. The Board said “The rezoning proposal conforms to the Comprehensive Plan.”

It’s still not clear what Plummer Investments plans to do with the lot once a 133-year old home sitting on the property they own, is demolished. There are concerns about whether the house would be removed in a timely manner, and whether or not new construction would “improve the general condition of the neighborhood. Safety at the heavily traveled intersection, is also a concern that will need to be addressed.

The Atlantic City Council meeting will be held in the Council’s Chambers at City Hall, beginning at 5:30-p.m., Wednesday.



Hosts Needed for 10 State Park Campgrounds

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the opportunity to spend the summer in an Iowa state park is available for individuals who serve as campground hosts. Campground hosts receive free camping at a designated site while they help state parks staff by assisting campers, explaining park rules, helping with registration and serving as an impromptu local tour guide. Hosts help park staff to keep the park clean and with light maintenance.

Hosts are needed for the season at Clear Lake, Geode, Lake Wapello, Nine Eagles, Pikes Peak, Pleasant Creek, Prairie Rose, Springbrook, Viking Lake and Wapsipinicon. The camping season is April 1st to October 31st. Applications are available online at www.iowadnr.gov/volunteer then click on the campground hosts link in the column on the left.  Or, call 515-242-5704 to have an application mailed.

Applicants will have a federal criminal history and drivers’ license check as part of the process. Officials say the would like to get hosts placed in parks by mid-March so they are ready to go in April.

Brosam honored for safe recovery of abducted teenager


January 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa State Patrol reports Trooper Wayne Brosam, of Atlantic, received honorable mention for the “Looking Beyond the License Plate Award” that 3M Corporation sponsored at the 2013 International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference.

Commissioner Noble, 3M Corporation Government Services Manager Tom Pugh, Trooper Brosam (Center) and Colonel Garrison are shown in the photo provided by the ISP.

Commissioner Noble, 3M Corporation Government Services Manager Tom Pugh, Trooper Brosam (Center) and Colonel Garrison are shown in the photo provided by the ISP.

Trooper Brosam was nominated for a traffic stop that he initiated for speed and registration violations that resulted in the recovery of an abducted 14 year old female. The award is to recognize law enforcement officers whose observations of a license plate resulted in the apprehension of a suspect or the solution of a crime.

The state of North Dakota was preparing to issue an AMBER Alert for the juvenile, but stopped when they were notified that the Iowa State Patrol already had recovered her unharmed. Trooper Brosam said that while talking to the driver he felt that the man’s story did not add up. He continued to question the occupants of the vehicle until he had sufficient grounds to take the driver into custody.

In a letter from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, they wrote, “This award is indicative of both Trooper Brosam’s individual excellence and dedication to highway and public safety as well as the excellence of the Iowa State Patrol which has supported him in providing outstanding service to the citizens of your state.”

Colonel Robert Garrison said that this is what the citizens of Iowa have come to expect from the Iowa State Patrol and Trooper Brosam is a great example to all law enforcement that there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop.

Support grows to end greyhound racing in Iowa


January 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – City and business leaders are backing an effort to end greyhound racing in Dubuque and Council Bluffs.  The Mystique greyhound track in Dubuque and Bluffs Run Greyhound Park at Horseshoe Council Bluffs are the last two remaining in the state, and attendance has been falling for years due to casinos. Gambling profits at the tracks have plummeted from a combined total of $186 million in 1986 to $5.9 million in 2012.

The Des Moines Register reports about $14 million in annual subsidies from Iowa casino profits help keep greyhound racing operations afloat. Some lawmakers believe the money could be better spent. Other lawmakers, expressing concern over job losses, say they want the greyhound industry and casino industry to reach an agreement before a bill is formally on the table.

2 injury accidents in Harlan last week


January 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Police Department says two people were injured during separate accidents last week. On Friday, vehicles driven by Julie Schneider, of Portsmouth, and Jacob Wilderding, of Neligh, NE, collided at 10th and Durant Streets, after Wilwerding failed to yield upon entering a through highway. Schneider was transported by private vehicle to Myrtue Memorial Hospital for treatment of back pain. Damage from the crash amounted to $11,000.

And on Jan. 13th, vehicles driven by Helen Schmitz, of Harlan, and Michael Fisher, of Council Bluffs, collided at the intersection of 19th and Chatburn, in Harlan. A passenger in the Fisher vehicle was transported to Myrtue Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The accident caused $4,500 damage. The report did not indicate any citations were issued.

Harlan Police report (1/21/2014)


January 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Police Department released a report today (Tuesday) on recent incidents, investigations and arrests. Officials say on Sunday, a Harlan resident reported that someone had broken the window out of her 2000 Toyota Sienna while parked at her residence in the 800 block of Court Street. A cable receiver was also missing from her garage, and graffiti spray painted on the garage. The estimated cost of repairs and replacement amounted to $950.

Authorties say last Friday, Theft charges were filed by Dana Lauritsen, Harlan, against Daren Lauritsen, Exira, for allegedly removing a playhouse and swing set from the property in the 1600 block of West Park. Charges were filed with the clerk of court.

On January 16th, Express Lube and Tire in Harlan reported to police the theft of a blue 1997 Chevrolet. The vehicle was taken from the business at 1101 Chatburn Avenue. Authorities continue to investigate the incident.

On January 14th, a Harlan man reported to police the theft of a custom dirt bike. The bike was taken from a residence in the 1700 block of 6th Street. There are no suspects and the case remains under investigation.

On January 11th, 39-year old Victoria Gonzales, of Harlan, was arrested following an investigation. Gonzales was taken to the Shelby County Jail where she was charged with child endangerment. Officials say two minor children were transported to Children’s Square in Council Bluffs.

And on January 10th,  a female in Harlan reported the theft of an iPod taken from her vehicle parked at Dollar General. There are no suspects and the case remains under investigation.

First stirrings from 2013 education reform plan


January 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

About one-third of the state’s school districts have started the application process to set up teacher mentoring programs and start changing the way teachers are paid. The application deadline is January 31st and Iowa Department of Education director Brad Buck says the grant money will be distributed based on a formula, so schools of all sizes and in all areas of the state will get started in year one.  “Great teachers are at the heart of good schools,” Buck says. “The teacher leadership and compensation system is about investing in our teachers, who are the most important influence on learning inside schools, to improve instruction and raise student achievement.”

The education reform law passed in 2013 set aside enough grant money for these teacher projects in one-third of Iowa schools in the first year, two thirds in the second and all schools in the third year. The new law does not require schools to participate, but Governor Terry Branstad expects all will do so given the additional state money that’s being offered. Branstad says three-hundred-and-nine dollars ($309) per student is a “significant financial incentive” for participation.

A few schools in rural areas with low enrollment, however, may opt out because of the higher minimum teacher salary required by the new law, as the additional state money won’t be enough to cover the required salary hikes. Buck says two task forces created by the 2013 law are coming up with recommendations, too. One task force is considering new ways to evaluate teachers and the other will recommend the best way to test students.  “The main goal with this is to make sure we’re going everything we can as a state to make sure all students leave high school prepared for post-secondary education and training,” Buck says.

A new state-run website for job openings in Iowa schools — www.TeachIowa.gov — has been created because of the education reform plan, too. Almost 15-hundred job openings advertised on the website today.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass Co. Supervisors to act on hearing date for vacating of a road


January 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors will act Wednesday on a Resolution setting Feb. 12th as the the date for a hearing on the vacating of a section of County-owned road Right-of-Way. The affected  road is 644th Street in Section 14 of Grove Township,  and a portion of 700th Street, lying between sections 2 and 3, Grove Township.

In other business, the Supervisors will act on approving a contract with SWIPCO for the providing of services necessary to carry out the formal adoption of a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) for rural Cass County and the eight cities within the County. Total cost of the contract amounts to $53,000, with the Feds and State picking up $45,050 of the cost, and the local, in-kind share amounting to $7,950.

The Board will also act on an appointment to fill a vacancy term on the Cass County Board of Health, if an appointee name is made available.

Search resumes for second body at Omaha plant


January 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Search teams have resumed the effort to recover the body of a worker killed in a southwestern Omaha industrial accident.  Omaha Fire Department Battalion Chief Tim McCaw says the search resumed about 8 a.m. Tuesday, as temperatures hovered just below zero.

Witnesses at the International Nutrition livestock feed manufacturing plant reported hearing an explosion before a fire and partial collapse of the three-level plant Monday morning killed two people and injured 17 others.

The body of 53-year-old Keith Everett, of Omaha, was recovered from the mangled structure Monday evening. But a combination of strong winds, cold temperatures and the dangerous rubble forced rescuers to suspend operations before the second victim could be recovered. That second victim’s name has not yet been released.

Boyer-Valley School District Superintendent search


January 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Boyer Valley Community School District has taken the next step in finding a new Superintendent/Middle School High School Principal. In a packed community room at the high school Monday night, the board heard from several members of the audience during the open forum to voice their disapproval of the recent board vote to combine the principal and superintendent jobs into one.

Twenty five people were in attendance. Elizabeth Heistand, a recently elected board member, told the audience the board decided in an agreement to approve the motion at their last board meeting. Of the concerns from the crowd, trust was an issue as was the lack of research done by the board. Board member Steve Puck agreed. “We should have discussed the ideas of how we are going to cover it, who’s going to do what. That all should be part of our decision and we never did.”

Chairman Bud Dunham differed in opinion by stating the board had talked about merging the jobs several times and no one mentioned other solutions. Trisha Roberts, a concerned citizen told the board she would like to see the board rescind their vote from last month. “I personally would like to see more exhaustive research done. And if it ends up being the same decision, fine. But I don’t feel like all the plans and different options were completely exhausted for such a major decision be made. I would like to see the board reconsider their vote from last month and do that research and come up with a plan and then comeback and say yes this is the plan and this is the way to go.”

Dunham mentioned 51 other schools in the state of Iowa have a shared position of Superintendent/HS Principal at the moment. Later in the meeting, the board did move forward with the plans to find a new Superintendent/MSHS Principal by hiring long time Harlan Community Superintendent Bob Broomfield as a consultant to help the school district hire the shared position. The fee for Broomfield is $7,000.

In other business, the Boyer Valley School board heard from head football coach Jay Peterson on the topic of the school’s baseball program. Last year, the district shared baseball with Woodbine. Coach Peterson said the original plan a week ago was to disband baseball from the district altogether but now believed that was not a good idea. “I think we will have enough kids here to maintain a baseball program successfully without scraping by and keep that in house without sharing equipment. It is something I would be interested in doing with that job were available.”

Peterson went on to say he had spoken to kids informally and had a rough estimate of 16 to 19 kids who would go out for baseball if it were offered in the summer. Last season with Woodbine, only 5 to 7 kids went out according to Athletic Director Ernie Klein. The board agreed and a formal motion will be brought to the board at their February meeting.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)