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Wanted: small town attorneys

News

June 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Many rural Iowa communities are losing a valuable resource: attorneys. The state bar association reports it’s a growing crisis as small town lawyers are retiring and few are willing to take their place. Some small town residents are struggling to get basic legal services they need to sell a house or draft a contract. Phil Garland, chair of the bar’s Rural Practices Committee, says they’re teaming up with the University of Iowa to place law students in rural areas this summer. “We’re also expanding it to really try to encourage a lot of us in small town Iowa to hire a clerk during the summer, to take a spin and really see what life is like in a small town,” Garland says.

Some Iowa towns currently have no resident attorneys, according to Garland. He says Adams County now has just two attorneys and several other rural counties have only three or four. The program is placing eight law students in small towns this summer with plans to add more students next year. Garland was a guest on Iowa Public Radio’s “River to River” program.

(Radio Iowa)

Warrant issued for Hamburg bank robbery suspect

News

June 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Fremont County have issued an arrest warrant for a Missouri man, in connection with a bank robbery earlier this month, in Hamburg.

Nathan W. Smith (Bank robbery suspect)

Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope says the warrant was issued for47-year-old Nathan Wayne Smith, of Lexington, MO.  An investigation by Aistrope’s office and the FBI determined Smith was the man behind the June 11th robbery of the Great Western Bank, in Hamburg.

Smith, a black male, was described as being in his early 20s, approximately 5-6, to 5-8, inches tall, and 175 pounds. Anyone with information as to the location of Nathan Wayne Smith, should call the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office at 1-800-432-9210, or the Omaha FBI office, at 1-402-493-8688.  The man is to be considered dangerous, and should not be approached by the public.

Alleged witness tampering leads to arrest in Red Oak

News

June 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County arrested a Red Oak woman Friday evening on a charge of Tampering with a witness. Officials with the Red Oak Police Department say 58-year-old Michelle Dawn Ronfeldt was being held on $2,000 bond. Additional details about the incident which lead to her arrest, are currently not available.

Emergency Communications Demo. this weekend in Grant, IA

News

June 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Several southwest Iowa Amateur or “Ham” Radio operators will offer the public a chance to meet and talk with those individuals during an event being held this weekend, near Grant. Rob Koppert, 911 Director for Cass County, along with Red Oak Police Chief Drue Powers, who is the emergency communications liaison for Montgomery County, will operate their amateur radio stations at Pilot Grove County Park on County Road H14 about 3 miles west of Grant, from 2:00pm today (Saturday), until sometime early Sunday morning, as part of the annual “Field Day” event.

The Field Day is the climax of the week long “Amateur Radio Week” sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the national association for Amateur Radio. Using only emergency power supplies, ham operators will construct emergency stations in parks, shopping malls, schools and backyards around the country. Their slogan, “When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works” is more than just words to the hams as they prove they can send messages in many forms without the use of phone systems, internet or any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis. More than 35,000 amateur radio operators across the country participated in last year’s event.

Over the past year, there have been many reports in the news, of ham radio operators providing critical communications during unexpected emergencies in towns across America including in Creston, during a devastating tornado,  the California and Colorado wildfires, winter storms, and other events world-wide. Amateur Radio’s people are often the first to provide rescuers with critical information and communications. Often called “hams,” they provide backup communications for everything from the American Red Cross to FEMA and even for the International Space Station, all for free.

The public is invited to come to the local event this weekend, and learn more about what modern Amateur Radio can do. They can even help you get on the air. To learn more about Amateur Radio, go to www.emergency-radio.org.

BC Truck driver injured in rear-end collision Friday afternoon

News

June 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A tractor-trailer driver from Richmond, British Colombia was injured Friday afternoon during a collision on Interstate 29, in Mills County. According to the Iowa State Patrol, 56-year old Michael Vostrov was driving a 2003 Volvo semi northbound on Interstate 29 at around 2:50-p.m., when the rig slammed into the rear of another semi that was slowing for a traffic problem ahead. The other semi, a 1999 Kenworth, was driven by 31-year old Yevgeniy Martyn, of Vancouver, WA.

Officials say following the collision, the semi driven by Vostrov came to rest in the east ditch. Vostrov was flown by Lifenet helicopter to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. A report on his condition is not available.

2012 Cass County Relay for Life a Great Success

News

June 22nd, 2012 by Chris Parks

The 2012 Cass County Relay for Life took place Friday night (6/22) at the Atlantic High School Track.  A beautiful evening accommodated a large crowd that came out for a night of celebrating survivors, remembering loved ones lost, and fighting back against cancer.

Teams and committee members work throughout the year to raise funds to support the American Cancer Society and the fight against cancer.  This year’s effort in Cass County raised an impressive $68,880.08 to date with more donations still coming in.

A tractor ride started the day for Relay for Life with 44 tractors on the ride.  A motorcycle ride took place later in the day and the survivor’s dinner began at 4:30pm.  The Survivor’s lap kicked off the festivities on the track.  The crowd was able to enjoy entertainment on the infield stage, children’s activities throughout the night, and an education tent along with strolling around the track.  The luminary ceremony wound down the night supporting those with cancer and remembering those lost.

The Cass County Relay for Life committee would like to thank all of the area businesses and residents that supported the Relay effort and helped make it a great success.

City of Hamburg receives $500-k award for levee reinforcement

News

June 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Economic Development, Friday, announced that the City of Hamburg was awarded $500,000 in direct financial assistance, to maintain and supplement as needed, the existing federal levee and install three new flood-closure gates on highways in and around the city. The levee will then continue to protect businesses, employees and citizens who represent the majority of industry in Fremont County. The project represents a $2.2 million capital investment.

The award was announced following action Friday by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), which awarded financial assistance to 10 companies in all, and one community, for job creation and expansion projects. The awards will assist in the creation of 238 new jobs, retention of 142 jobs and will result in $77 million of new capital investment to the state.

In addition to assistance provided to Hamburg, the board approved assistance for planned or proposed projects located in Ames, Farley, Dubuque, Polk County, Clinton, Keokuk County, Orange City, Urbandale and Davenport.

Shelby County Road closed for repairs for at least 5 days

News

June 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Shelby County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert says 2200th Street, just west of the intersection of 2200th Street and Road M56, is currently closed for repairs between Jefferson Townships 15 and 22, in Shelby County. The road will be closed during the construction process, which is expected to last approx 5 days, depending on weather. Emergency responders and others should plan to take alternate routes while work on the road is being conducted.  If you have any questions, please call the county engineer at 712-755-5954.

Seivert reminds emergency responders that it is  illegal  for  an emergency vehicle,  as well as the motoring public to violate a work zone.  When  approaching a work zone with  an emergency vehicle,  recommended procedure is to stop and have the flagman or traffic controller clear the work zone prior to your entering it.  Entering  an unsafe work zone could result in your vehicle being disabled by the hazard being repaired,  or could result  in you striking a worker who does not expect you there.  Contractors and  County work  crews will make  every effort to make your passage through the work zone expeditious and safe.

Bluffs man called-in to roundup loose cattle on Omaha

News

June 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Animal Control Officers had a hard time trying to corral cattle that got loose on a major freeway in Omaha on Thursday and an Iowa cowboy came to their rescue. The J-F-K was closed for more than five hours after a cattle truck overturned. Of the 57 cattle in the trailer, 44 escaped and stampeded away. Logan Allen, who lives near Council Bluffs, knows how to handle a horse and how to round up cattle. Allen says he wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms when he showed up on his horse ready to work. He says, “They really didn’t want us to come over and help at first because they said, ‘We can’t have civilians coming over and get hit by a car,’ and I said, ‘I’m not just some greenhorn.’ I said, ‘I don’t want you guys shooting the cattle just because you can’t catch ‘em. I can catch whatever you got.’ Yeah, I like beef.”

Before moving to southwest Iowa, Allen lived in Texas and New Mexico. He said rounding up cattle on the highway was all in a day’s work. He says it’s best to let someone with experience handle this kind of situation. “Just go easy and gentle, ’cause them cows, they just had a big ole’ wreck and they don’t know what the hell’s going on. Then to ask them to get back on a trailer when they just tipped over, that’s a lot to ask for a cow,” Allen says. “People call them dumb animals all the time but they are brilliant, really.”

Allen says the semi was hauling fat cattle and they were used to seeing horses. “They’re actually better about horses than people so if he’s going to walk up to them, they would know better a horse than a person so they stay pretty quiet,” he says. While he has lots of experience rounding up loose cattle, Allen says this was the largest populated area that he has had a chance to “play” in.  “All’s I do is ride horses,” Allen says. “I train horses for the public and I can ride at home all day long and it’s the same for them horses everyday. You don’t get to make horses like these unless you come do stuff like this. You can’t sell a horse for a bunch of money if you just stay at the house and they don’t ever see anything. We ask quite a bit of these horses, drainage ditches all over and stuff like that and they keep clacking along.” Allen did have to keep a close eye on the clock while helping authorities round up the cattle. He had to make it to South Dakota for a rodeo later in the day.

(Radio Iowa)

Bluffs/Omaha area sting nets seven arrests for prostitution

News

June 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An on-going operation to deter the sex trafficking of children netted seven arrests Wednesday, in Council Bluffs. Council Bluffs Police Sgt. Bob Christensen, who is with the Vice/Narcotics Division, told KJAN News the prostitution sting, part of the “Great Plains Lost Innocence Task Force, was conducted at a Bluffs’ motel, with the cooperation of the Southwest Iowa Narcotics Task Force, and FBI. He says they are targeting teenage or child prostitution, by looking at ads both online and in print. If the ad offers or asks for young girls, the Task Force will place their own ads, and try to lure prostitutes or their customers, into a motel room. Once in the room, he says, most of the prostitutes or customers, both male and female, turn out to adults. He says once money is offered or requested for a sex act, the persons involved are cooperative for the most part, when confronted, but sometimes they’re not. 

Sgt. Christensen says both male and female undercover officers are used in the sting. Taken into custody on Suspicion of Prostitution charges, were five women: 23-year old’s Charla Bulcalf and Seanna Clemmon, 25-year old’s Abigail Rodriquez and Jessica Mackey, and 24-year old Courtney Evans, all of whom were from Omaha. Two men, 59-year old Timothy A. Jensen, and 30-year old Jeremy Jensen (no relation) were also arrested on Suspicion of Prostitution. Both are from the Omaha area. 

Christensen said Wednesday’s stormy weather may have played a role in how many actual perps and prostitutes they were able to nab, but he’s still satisfied with the results. He said they try and run these types of operations every couple of months, and they typically end up making about 10 arrests each time. The fact Wednesday wasn’t a “pay day” for most people seeking those types of services, also may have factored into the low response. In April, 17 people were arrested in a two-day operation, also held in a Council Bluffs motel. Christensen has some advice for those who seek prostitutes or those who offer sexual services for pay…He said “We’re going to be operations all the time, so if you’re doing this kind of stuff, you need to stop.”

The main purpose of the sting, he said, is not to try and lure men, regardless of age into the motels to arrest them. He says they’re trying to target the people who are forcing young girls into prostitution. Some of those girls start as early as 13- or 14-years of age.