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Reading Garden Grand Opening held at Atlantic Public Library

News, Podcasts

August 28th, 2017 by Chris Parks

The Atlantic Public Library hosted a Grand Opening open house on Saturday for the newly completed reading garden project. Members of the public, library board, staff, and other contributors gathered to dedicate the new space. Atlantic Library Board Member Dee Beebensee said the project took about six months to come together once the planning details were complete. She thinks it’s a nice outdoor space to enjoy while visiting.

Former Director Natalie Struecker, who was here during the planning process of the project, talked about how everything got started.

Struecker thinks the space will add valuable usable space to the Library property.

Gary Oedewaldt and his wife Margaret Oedewaldt from Missouri were on hand for the grand opening. Margaret’s Great Uncle Carlos Cole was one of the first board members for the library in 1903 and a number of other family members have served in that same role. Margaret worked at the library in high school and when they found out about the project they wanted to contribute so they helped sponsor a bench. Gary Oedewaldt said he liked the fact that the project will help highlight the front entrance.

The reading garden is now open for the public to use and enjoy. You can listen to the full interviews with Dee Beebensee, Natalie Struecker, and Gary Oedewaldt below.


Massena man arrested on drug & other charges in Bridgewater


August 28th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A traffic stop at around 11:25-p.m. Aug. 22nd in Bridgewater, resulted in the arrest of a Cass County man. The Adair County Sheriff’s Office reports 35-year old Brian Harold Eilts, of Massena, was pulled over for failure to have license plates on his vehicle. As he approached the vehicle, the deputy recognized Eilts, and knew he had been barred from driving due to an earlier incident.

When Eilts exited his vehicle, the deputy noticed a broken glass pipe at Eilts’ feet. The man admitted it was a broken bong. After he was placed under arrest, a search of the vehicle was conducted, during which a broken glass pipe used for smoking meth, and a baggy of a white substance that appeared to be meth, was found. Eilts was taken into custody for Possession of a Controlled Substance/3rd or subsequent offense, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Driving While Barred. His bond was set at $5,000.


BBB and Give.org Offer Tips on Helping Texas in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

News, Weather

August 28th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

August 28, 2017 –The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and BBB Wise Giving Alliance are advising people to help as much as they can in the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, but to do so with caution and make sure their donations get to the people who need it most. “The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey prompts us to do what we can to help as soon as possible,” said H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB’s Give.org,) “but donors need to be aware of some key cautions so that their generosity will get to those in need quickly.”

The National Weather Service reports that Hurricane Harvey has brought over 20 inches of rain to portions of southeast Texas and the volume of flooding is unprecedented for this area. And, another 15-25 inches of rain is anticipated in the days to come. As the impact of this storm on Texas communities is heart wrenching, many will seek to contribute to help those in need.

BBBs are already seeing crowdfunding appeals of a dubious nature, and in the days ahead expect to see “storm chasers” looking to make a quick buck off of clean-up efforts (bbb.org/storm). Consumers can report suspected scams to BBB Scam Tracker (bbb.org/scamtracker) or the Texas Attorney General’s hotline (800-621-0508 or consumeremergency@nag.texas.gov).

BBB Wise Giving Alliance suggests that donors keep the following tips in mind to help avoid questionable appeals for support:

  • Verify the trustworthiness of soliciting relief organizations by visiting Give.org to access free reports that specify if the charity meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.
  • See if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas. Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate needs.
  • Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to see whether they are equipped to provide aid effectively.
  • Be cautious about gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations. In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.
  • Understand crowdfunding. Keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals who decide to post for assistance after a disaster, and it is often difficult for donors to verify the trustworthiness of crowdfunding requests for support. If you decide to contribute via crowdfunding, it is probably best to give to people who you personally know that have posted requests for assistance. For more Give.org tips on crowdfunding, check out this Wise Giving Wednesday post.

Phases of disaster relief. Remember that every disaster has several phases – rescue, emergency relief, and recovery. Each part relies on public support and continuing funding for success. The need for donations doesn’t stop when the headlines do.
Recovery time line. For many communities, recovery will be a long-term activity that can take many months or years to accomplish, depending on the extent of the damage. Those truly concerned about helping communities bounce back will have many opportunities to help.

Disaster planning. Although it may seem obvious, no one wants to experience a repeat performance of a disaster. Areas that work toward recovery will probably also need to develop plans to better respond to a similar storm in the future. Even those that already had measures in place can find ways to improve based on experience.

The following is a list of BBB Accredited Charities (i.e., organizations that meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability) that are raising funds for Hurricane Harvey relief assistance. This list will be updated as additional relief efforts come to BBB WGA’s attention.

American Red Cross; AmeriCares; Church World Service; Direct Relief; GlobalGiving Foundation; Humane Society of the United States; Islamic Relief USA; MAP International; Operation USA; Salvation Army; Save the Children; United Methodist Committee on Relief; United Way of Greater Houston.

Bluffs woman arrested on drug charge in Audubon County


August 28th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A traffic stop in the 1400 block of Highway 71 in Audubon County, Sunday afternoon, resulted in the arrest of a Pottawattamie County woman on drug and other charges. The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office reports 47-year old Jackie Rae Kennedy, of Council Bluffs, was taken into custody at around 4-p.m. for Driving While Suspended, Speeding and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Kennedy was booked into the Audubon County Jail, posted bond and was released.

School Bus safety tips


August 28th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Community School District Transportation Director David Eckles is issuing a reminder to motorists about the law, when it comes to passing school buses that are preparing to pick-up and drop-off students. The primary thing to remember he says, is that on two-lane roads, the law requires ALL drivers to stop for a stopped school bus with its amber or red lights flashing, and stop arm extended. Do not pass a bus that has stopped, because children you may not be able to see, could be walking around the front of the bus when they are coming home from, or going to, school.

On four-lane roads, motorists in the opposite lanes of travel do not have to stop, but those behind the bus must stop until the bus begins moving again. Slow down and pay attention. Children’s lives are at stake!

Iowa governor disagrees with ban on transgender troops


August 28th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says she disagrees with President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender individuals joining the military. The Republican governor told reporters Monday that anyone who signs up for military service deserves appreciation and respect. Her office later said Reynolds doesn’t plan to take any action in response.

Trump directed the Pentagon on Friday to implement the ban and gave the agency authority to decide the future of openly transgender people already serving.

It’s unclear how many transgender Iowans serve in the military. An Iowa National Guard spokesman says no one has openly declared their status as transgender. Among Iowans serving in the federal armed forces, at least one transgender Army reservist told The Des Moines Register in July that he hopes to have a full military career.

NE man suffers minor injuries during Union County rollover accident


August 28th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Union County say a man from Nebraska suffered possible/minor injuries during a rollover accident Sunday morning. 25-year old Austin Jay Fricke, of Lincoln, NE., was driving a 1988 Toyota 4 Runner that was towing another 1988 4 Runner westbound on Highway 34, when the second vehicle began to sway. After Fricke lost control of his SUV, both vehicles entered the south ditch and rolled over.

Damage from the crash, which happened at around 9:10-a.m., Sunday, amounted to $3,500. Fricke, who was wearing a seat belt, complained of pain and/or injury, but was not transported to the hospital. There were no citations issued.

Judge rules against Iowa DOT in traffic citations case


August 28th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Another judge has ruled that Iowa Department of Transportation officers didn’t have authority to issue speeding tickets to drivers of noncommercial vehicles. The Des Moines Register reports Scott County District Associate Judge Christine Dalton says if officers had the authority to give tickets prior to a law change in May, an amendment wouldn’t have been necessary.

The new law gave department officers the authority to ticket drivers of noncommercial vehicles until July 2018. The ruling comes only weeks before another court takes up the broader issue of whether the agency acted illegally before the state law change.

State officials say the department could lose millions of dollars in federal money without the authority to ticket drivers of all types of vehicles.

Grassley visits Atlantic, discusses health care, NAFTA & more


August 28th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley was in Atlantic last Friday, visiting with staff and administrators at the Cass County Memorial Hospital. Afterward, he spoke with KJAN’s Jim Field about health care and other issues, including NAFTA. (You can listen to the “Heartbeat Today” interview under the podcast link found at kjan.com, under the “Programs” tab)

With regard to healthcare, two separate approaches to the Affordable Health Care Act (Obama Care) are being bandied about. Grassley said on one side, hearings are set for September on a Bi-partisan bill to deal with the issue. The other one, which could be bi-partisan, but is currently partisan, is picking up support.

US Senator Charles Grassley visited Cass County Health System on Friday, August 25th. After a tour of the facility with CEO Brett Altman, Senator Grassley met with CCHS administrators and staff. A number of healthcare issues were discussed, including the importance of continuing both the federal support for Medicaid and the 340B pharmaceutical program, which provides funding from pharmaceutical companies for discounted medications for patients. “We certainly appreciate Senator Grassley taking time to visit,” Altman said. “It was a great opportunity to showcase our first rate medical facilities and share with him the great work being done by our dedicated staff here at CCHS!” (Photo provided by CCHS)

Grassley says something has to be done to allow people to buy private health insurance. As for NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), Grassley says it’s important, especially for Iowa, not to have NAFTA upset. President Trump proposed getting rid of NAFTA during the election, but his views have since wavered, according to Grassley. He says Trump may be wanting to renegotiate NAFTA, and there is support from other changes, to at least make some updates or changes to, the agreement.

Grassley says the U-S has opened discussions with a hard bargaining position, but “That’s typical of how you start to bargain,” and he doesn’t think there will be a lot of damage done to NAFTA, particularly from the standpoint of agriculture.

And, with regard to President Trump’s threat to shutting down the government if he doesn’t see action soon on the border wall, Grassley said he hopes it’s just a bargaining tactic. He says experience has shown it’s costly to shut down and then at some point re-open the government. Shutting down the government, he says, “Would be a very bad thing to do.”

Grassley said also, he wishes the Press would focus more on what’s being accomplished in Washington than on what’s controversial, because there are bi-partisan efforts to move the country forward.

Oakland man arrested for disorderly conduct/fighting & Possession of paraphernalia


August 28th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A call about a disturbance early Sunday morning, in Oakland, resulted in an arrest. The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office reports 18-year old Shane Elam Rouse, II, of Oakland, was taken into custody at around 3:50-a.m., for Disorderly Conduct/Fighting, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Authorities say a Deputy was dispatched to the area of Hill Street for a disturbance involving two males in the street who were fighting. When the Deputy arrived, he was unable to locate the subjects. Another Deputy stopped an SUV that was leaving the are of the disturbance. The vehicle was pulled over in the Casey’s parking lot, in Oakland.

Rouse was a passenger in the vehicle. The report says Rouse’ knuckles were bloody. He acknowledged he had been in a fight with three people in ski masks on Hill Street, because they disrespected his girlfriend. Rouse was alleged to be “Extremely intoxicated and uncooperative.”

Based on his own admissions with regard to the incident, he was placed under arrest, at which time a marijuana pipe was found in his boxer shorts, near his groin. He was transported to the Pott. County Jail without incident.