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Cass County Supervisors approve 1st reading of Amended Zoning Ordinance

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

After more than 75-minutes worth of discussion about an amendment to the County’s Zoning Ordinance that would change the Zoning Districts’ Permitted Principal Uses, the Cass County Board of Supervisors Wednesday approved the first vote on the matter. However, their approval came with the caveat that the Cass County Attorney review the wording as it stands, and comment on whether the words “Light Industrial” needs to be added to one sentence in the amendment. The question also remains, whether those two words will cause a conflict between the County, and Fagen, Incorporated, which has already purchased the former Amaizing Energy Ethanol site, and looks to use the property for renewable energy production.

Last Fall, Kathy Schowalter with PlanScape Partners, presented to the Board a proposal from Ron Fagen, CEO of Granite Falls, Minnesota-based Fagen, Incorporated, which pertained to the possible creation of a 25-million gallon Cellulosic ethanol plant on the Amaizing Energy site. During Wednesday’s meeting, Schowalter said while they had hoped a cellulosic ethanol plant would be operating on the site, that is by no means a certainty.

She said Fagen doesn’t have a buyer lined up for the site he purchased just yet, so it could become almost anything ag related, including a seed corn processor. But it would not become a CAFO – Confined Animal Feeding Operation. She said they simply don’t know what will “Come down the pike.”

Cass County Engineer Charles Marker expressed his concern that two words apparently left out of the amended ordinance may leave a loop hole for heavy industrial operations to locate in a Light Industrial Zone, not just at the Amaizing Energy site, but anywhere in the County. He said he ordinance as worded does not specifically say a site will be used for “Light Industry.” Instead, it says “Industry which uses renewable energy,” which he says, becomes an “Administrative problem.” That means any industry, heavy or not, which uses renewable energy as a means of production, could apply under article 17 of the ordinance.

Zoning Administrator Rich Hansen said the Zoning Commission, which forwarded its recommendation to the Supervisors for their approval, would have no problem with a slight re-wording to the amendment, prior to next week’s second hearing and vote by the Supervisors. But Supervisor Chuck Rieken questioned whether the Board has the right to delete or add language to an amendment without making sure the legalities are taken care of. That means consulting with County Attorney Dan Feistner.

The Board then approved the Zoning Commission’s initial recommendation, with the stipulation legal counsel provide input for the next hearing.

Atlantic City Council approves Personnel Policy resolution amendment


January 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday evening, approved an amendment to the City’s Personnel Policy. City Administrator Doug Harris explained one part of the amendment pertains to how close the city’s police officers must live with regard to their response time. The current requirement calls for officers to live within five-miles of the City limits, but after consulting with Police Chief Steve Green, and looking at other, legal requirements, it was determined the officers may live within a 25-minute response time.

The second change to the Personnel Policy, pertained to the parity between Union and Non-Union contracts, with regard to Personal Holiday time. The current contract allows non-union employees two-personal holidays per year. The proposal called for that to increase to three days per year, which would make the total number of holidays 11. That matches what Union personnel employed by the City, receive. The amendment was approved unanimously.

In other business, City Administrator Doug Harris said the Airport Commission has submitted their Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to the State of Iowa. He says if approved, the local share for the projects, the total cost of which is $2.62-million, the local share would end up being $875, 953. And, if it’s approved by the State, the Commission would have to request the Council consider a bond issue to finance some of the improvements, which by the way, were not included in the CIP Harris presented to the Council last month.

He said also, renovations on the Atlantic City Hall will begin next week, with the lobby area. Eventually, work will proceed into the Council Chambers, which will result in one of the regular council meetings in February having to take place at another location.

Atlantic’s CPC looking for downtown beautification proposals


January 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Atlantic Community Promotion Commission (CPC) report they would like anyone interested in doing the downtown beautification project…which includes planting, mulching, weeding, watering, and other maintenance of the flower beds on Chestnut Street…to write a proposal, and send it to city officials by noon on Jan 30th. The CPC will discuss the proposals during its meeting in February.

Those who make the proposals are invited to attend the meeting February 7th, at noon, to answer questions from the CPC about the proposal. CPC members said they have requests from other parties about overseeing the project, and decided to ask for proposals from those interested this year. The project consists of flower beds in Chestnut Street median between Sixth and Seventh Streets and on the Chestnut Street corners from Second to Sixth Streets, however, $7,500 has been budgeted, and if funds remain after the Chestnut Street area is complete, other areas (for example, the corner at Seventh and Olive Streets) could be considered.

The CPC also notes that the flower bed in the median on Chestnut Street is irrigated. Proposals should detail plant types, color schemes, plant heights (keep drivers’ visibility in mind), maintenance schedule, volunteer involvement, and a breakdown of costs, and in addition to annual plantings, CPC members would like proposals to expand the use of perennials to save money in the long run. Because types of plantings aren’t specified, the project will be considered based on the overall value (bang for the buck) rather than lowest cost.

Maintenance should be ongoing with special attention given to downtown events – Customer Appreciation Days, Crazy Daze, Atlanticfest, Coca-Cola Days, Harvest Fest, etc., and proposals should include all labor, materials and equipment. Those submitting proposals are responsible for their own insurance. Volunteer involvement is not required, but there has been a volunteer planting day in the past. Those submitting proposals may want to continue with that, utilize volunteers to assist with maintenance instead (such as coordinating businesses or groups to “adopt” corners to weed), or eliminate volunteers all together.

Use of volunteers is at the discretion of those submitting proposals. Volunteers would be coordinated and overseen by those submitting proposals. For more information, contact Caryn Barbero-Just at 254-0989.

Trial delayed for 2 Atlantic arson suspects


January 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The trial for two Nebraska residents charged in connection with an arson fire in Atlantic in Dec. 2010 has been delayed until March. According to online court records, 27-year old William Kautter, of Omaha, faces a felony 1st degree arson charge, and six felony charges of Attempt to Commit murder. His wife, 29-year old Elizabeth Kautter, also of Omaha, faces a felony 1st degree arson charge. All charges stem from a Dec. 2010 residential fire at 601 E. 6th Street, in Atlantic.

The homeowners, Myron and Jolynne Gill, along with one of their adult children and three juveniles, were in the home at the time, but all escaped without injury. Investigators determined gasoline was splashed across the front door and porch of the house and then set aflame.
Complaints and Affidavits filed in coordination with the arrest of William and Elizabeth Kautter said prior to the fire, William Kautter had made several harassing phone calls, threatened physical harm and death to the Gill family. In addition, cell phone records showed the Kautter’s had traveled to Iowa from Omaha the night of the fire, and, Elizabeth Kautter was seen purchasing gasoline at an Atlantic area gas station on December 14th, 2010.

The Kautter’s have plead not guilty to the arson charges. Both trials were set to have begun Tuesday, Jan. 8th, but on Monday, Judge Jeffrey Larson agreed to extend the pre-trial conferences until Feb. 25th, with the both trials slated for March 26th. The couple remains free on bond. William Kautter had also been charged with Making Terrorist Threats, but he instead plead guilty to a reduced charge of 1st Degree Harassment.

Iowa officials warned of inmate’s troubling behavior before his release


January 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Documents show Iowa prison officials had confiscated a notebook with drawings depicting rape made by an inmate charged with fatally stabbing his mother and kidnapping a female acquaintance hours after being released. A search warrant affidavit made public Wednesday shows Iowa Department of Corrections officials told the Sac County sheriff about Kirk Levin’s troubling writings and drawings shortly before his release from prison Jan. 1st. The document says the 21-year-old’s notebook contained explicit writings “and drawings depicting the sexual assault and rape of a female.”

Prosecutors say Levin repeatedly stabbed his mother at her farmhouse in Early on Jan. 3. They say he then kidnapped a 21-year-old woman who he tied up and put in the trunk of a car. The woman eventually escaped after he drove into a ditch.

McDermott Trial delayed until May


January 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The trial for an Atlantic man facing a felony charge of Willful Injury Causing Bodily Injury, and a Serious Misdemeanor charge of Domestic Abuse Assault Causing Bodily Injury, has been delayed until May. According to online court records, Judge Jeffrey Larson, on Monday, granted a request by attorneys in the case of 45-year old Rex Dean McDermott to delay his trial until 9:30-a.m. May 29th.

His pre-trial conference is set to take place earlier that same month.His trial was originally set to take place January 8th in Cass County District Court. McDermott entered a written plea on Monday, of Not Guilty to the charges, and is currently free on bond.

McDermott had been arrested in Oct. 2012, following an incident which allegedly occurred at R&B Feeds in Atlantic.

Adams County woman arrested for OWI & Child Endangerment


January 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A woman from Corning was arrested early this (Wednesday) morning, following an investigation into an accident which occurred previously. The Adams County Sheriff’s Department says 20-year old Kaitlyn DeYoung, of Corning, faces an OWI and Child Endangerment charge. She was taken into custody at around 10:30-a.m. DeYoung was being held in the Adams County Jail on $3,000 bond.

(Update 11:30-a.m.) Bluffs Precautionary Boil Order Issued


January 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

An underground water main broke early this (Tuesday) morning in Council Bluffs and prompted part of a residential street to collapse. Homeowner David Froth woke up around 3 A-M to see the road caving in. Froth says he ran to the aid of a neighbor who was driving up the street and crashed into a large hole. “It’s a little scary seeing something like this and then trying to help your neighbor out of his own car,” Froth said.

Officials with the Council Bluffs Water Works said a major water main break near Ave E and N. 9th Street caused a loss of water pressure on the west end of Council Bluffs. The water main break has been isolated and the system was repressurizing late Wednesday morning.

The utility says “While loss of pressure does not necessarily mean the water has been contaminated, it does mean that pathogens may be able to enter the piped-water system and thus be carried to consumers. The Council Bluffs Water Works is issuing precautionary boil water advisory for the entire City until further notice. The precautionary notice includes the cities of Crescent, Underwood, and McClelland and the Bentree Subdivisions.

Do not use tap water for drinking or food preparation. Under a boil-water advisory (BWA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that water be brought to a rolling boil for one minute before it is consumed in order to kill protozoa, bacteria and viruses. The Council Bluff Water Works will be taking water samples throughout the City to verify the safety of the water and lift the advisory as soon as possible.”

Court upholds western Iowa mom’s conviction in ’01 slaying


January 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld the first-degree murder conviction of a woman serving life in prison for the 2001 fatal shooting of a neighbor in her Iowa home.  The court on Wednesday rejected Tracey Richter‘s argument that prosecutors failed to overcome her claim that the shooting of 20-year-old Dustin Wehde was in self-defense.

Richter shot and killed Wehde in her home in the Sac County town of Early. She maintains that she shot Wehde to protect herself and her three children after Wehde and another man invaded her home. Prosecutors say the home invasion claim was a hoax, and that Richter killed Wehde as part of a plot to frame her ex-husband.

The court says there was “substantial evidence” from which jurors could conclude the killing wasn’t justified.

8AM Newscast 01-09-2013

News, Podcasts

January 9th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson