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More than $700,000 in Grants Awarded to Iowa Communities


May 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Vision Iowa Board today (Wednesday), awarded $739,862 in grants to an historic railroad district in Sioux City, a park pavilion in Moville and the John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Winterset. The grants were approved today by the Vision Iowa Board at their meeting in Des Moines.

The Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District in Sioux City was award a Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) Grant amounting to $314,862. The award is contingent upon completion of fundraising within 30 days. The total project cost of more than $2.6-million includes the exterior renovation of five historic buildings, the construction of a permanent restroom facility and an alternative transportation system of interpretive walking trails, parking lot and a miniature railroad. Additionally, the project will also support interior improvements to the roundhouse building and continue interior improvements to the machine shop building.

The John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Winterset received a $400,000 CAT grant for a project expected to cost over $1.38-million. The grant funds are contingent upon completion of fundraising within 60-days. The project includes the construction of the John Wayne Birthplace Museum, an interactive museum and learning center honoring the life and work of John Wayne. The facility will include a welcome center, theater, extensive exhibit space and gift shop.

The Vision Iowa Program provides financial incentives to communities for the construction of recreational, cultural, educational or entertainment facilities that enhance the quality of life in Iowa. Currently, 373 CAT awards have been granted by the board, amounting to nearly $139.6-million.

Three more names to line the Iowa Peace Officer Memorial, including former Stuart Police Chief


May 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

This Friday, the State of Iowa will honor three officers who died in the line of duty: Stuart Police Department Chief Robert Smith, Motor Vehicle Enforcement Officer Philip J. Adams, and Floyd County Deputy Levi Bowers. Each of the men died as a result of their efforts to secure Iowa communities.

Stuart Chief of Police Robert Smith was called to a disturbance at an establishment in Stuart, Iowa on September 20, 2009. As a result of this call, Chief Smith executed an arrest on a subject who physically resisted orders. In an attempt to escape, the suspect pushed Chief Smith to the ground at which time he struck his neck and knee on the pavement. The injuries to his neck required surgical intervention. Complications arose during the surgery, and Chief Smith was left paralyzed. He died from complications of the paralysis on August 13, 2010.

Chief Smith served the community of Stuart as the Police Chief since 2006. Prior to that, he served on the Ackley Police Department from 1994 to 2006 as Sergeant and Assistant Police Chief. Additionally, he served 23 years in the Army and Army Reserves. He is survived by a wife, six children and one step-child.

The event honoring Smith and the other two men will take place beginning 10-a.m. Friday, at the Peace Officer Memorial found at Oran Pape State Office Building in Des Moines (215 E. 7th St.). In the event of rain, the event will be held in the rotunda at the State Capital. On-hand for the ceremony will be Governor Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Commissioner Brian London, and officers from Local, County, and State Law Enforcement Agencies

Red Oak Man Arrested for Harrassment


May 8th, 2013 by admin

The Red Oak Police Department reported the arrest today of 39-year old Geoffrey Allan Maurer of Red Oak. Maurer was arrested on North Highland Avenue and charged with Harassment/3rd Degree. His bond was set at $300.

Judge narrows scope of wrongful conviction case


May 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A federal judge has significantly narrowed the scope of a lawsuit filed by two black men seeking millions of dollars from Council Bluffs and two police officers after being wrongly convicted for the 1977 murder of a retired white police officer. Terry Harrington and Curtis McGhee, of Omaha, Neb., were released from prison in 2003 after the Iowa Supreme Court found prosecutors committed misconduct.

Their lawsuit filed in 2005 claims two police officers violated their constitutional rights. A Nov. 1 trial ended in mistrial in December when three jurors said they disagreed with the verdict. Judge Robert Pratt, an April 30 ruling, has thrown out all the allegations except for one. He says a jury at a second trial may consider whether the officers deliberately manufactured or coerced false evidence.

EPA grants fund former industrial site cleanup


May 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Five cities in Iowa and one in Nebraska have received federal grants to help clean up contaminated former industrial sites. The Environmental Protection Agency awards the money for environmental assessments, planning, and cleanup projects. In Iowa the cities of Dubuque, Fort Dodge and Ottumwa each received $400,000 to assess sites in need of cleanup. Council Bluffs received $200,000 and Coralville $382,000.

The EPA says grants target under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed. The EPA awarded grants to 240 projects in 45 states this year.

Sioux City path could finally connect to somewhere

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A recreational trail to nowhere could finally be connected to somewhere.  The Sioux City Journal reports that for four years, the three-mile Floyd River Trail hasn’t had a north trailhead. It ends abruptly, and the only way to reach it from the north is to walk through a muddy area, up a slope, across a railway bed, then down an embankment.

Because it doesn’t connect to another path, avid bicyclist Garrett Soldati, of Sioux City, says few people use the path.  That could change under a plan being studied by the Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council to build a trail from Le Mars along state Highway 75 to Sioux City. It would connect to the Floyd River Trail.

Rural Oakland man sentenced on firearm charges


May 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa reports 38-year old Shannon James Keiffer-Rose, of rural Oakland, was sentenced Tuesday in United States District Court in Council Bluffs, on a Felon in possession of a firearm charge.  United States District Court Judge John A. Jarvey sentenced Keiffer-Rose to 12-months and one day in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release. The Court also ordered Keiffer-Rose to forfeit whatever interest he has in a rifle, a shotgun, a .45 caliber pistol and ammunition found in his possession, and to pay a $100.00 special assessment for the Crime Victim Fund.

Keiffer-Rose was allowed to remain under supervision by the United States Probation Office pending designation of the Federal Bureau of Prisons facility at which he will serve his sentence.

Keiffer-Rose was sentenced following his plea of guilty on December 5tg, 2012, to being a felon in possession of a firearm. The firearm charge against Keiffer-Rose arose from a June 8, 2012, vehicle fire at his residence, during which responders discovered a marijuana grow, marijuana use paraphernalia, a.22 caliber rifle, a 12 gauge shotgun, a loaded .45 caliber handgun, and over 2,000 rounds of ammunition.

The investigation was conducted by the SouthWest Iowa Narcotics Task Force and the
Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

“Roar into Harlan” returns next week


May 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The City of Harlan will see the return of “Roar into Harlan” events beginning next week.  During the Harlan City Council meeting on Tuesday, Mike Wohlhutter, Coordinator for the Roar events, told the council things will change a little bit for this year’s events. Wohlhutter said they are going to make each night a different theme. There will be a music night, lady’s night, kid’s night and a few others.

Wohlhutter also told the council this year the Hotel/Motel tax committee helped by granting $4,000 for the events for all the liability that went for to pay per event and advertising fees. The first Roar into Harlan will be held on Thursday, May 16th and will be a patriotic theme. Wohlhutter said they will ride the colors into town again, as there was  much interest in that from the Patriot riders, Legion riders and locals.

Participants will meet at Harlan Auto Mart at 5:30pm and everything will be at the square at 6pm. There will be a flag folding ceremony, a dedication to the flag (to show what the thirteen folds mean), and what everything consists of with the ceremony.

Following this month’s Roar into Harlan, the flag used in the ceremony will be donated to Jack Kenkel for use at the Freedom Rock site, in Earling.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Cass Supervisors approve RBEG application


May 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors have approved an application by the local Food Policy Group seeking funds from the USDA to help pay for a part-time Local Food Policy Coordinator. If the application is approved by the USDA, the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) Program, would require up to $2,500 in County matching funds, which the Board also authorized by signing the forms. The County would serve as a sub-grantee for the program.

The total amount of the project is $58,450. Harrisdale Homestead has agreed to contribute a third-party, in-kind match of $6,000 for an office space for the part-time person, who has yet to be hired. That person would work out of the office, two-days per week.

Bahia Barry had served as the full-time Food Policy coordinator for Cass County from her office at the Golden Hills RC&D in Pottawattamie County, but her position was eliminated.

In other business, the Board tabled action on appointing a person to fill a vacancy position on the Cass County Zoning Board of Adjustment, as no one has expressed an interest in the post. The Cass County Zoning Board of Adjustment is a five (5) member board that holds hearings and issues decisions on applications for Special Exception Uses, Variances from the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance, and appeals of decisions by the Zoning Administrator. The Board of Adjustment has the final say on matters in which it has jurisdiction.

32 Iowa students win National History Day in Iowa contest


May 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Thirty-two Iowa students, including two from the Kirn Middle School in Council Bluffs, took top honors in a statewide history contest this week and will represent Iowa at the National History Day competition next month at the University of Maryland. Junior Division qualifiers Sam Hulett and Ben Price, under guidance of teacher Deb Masker, won for their project entitled “Star Wars.”

The 32 students competed against 375 other students in the junior division (grades 6-8) of the National History Day in Iowa contest this week at the State Historical Museum of Iowa in Des Moines. The students join 38 other Iowa students who competed last week in the NHD in Iowa senior division (grades 9-12) in advancing to the 2013 Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest held June 9-14, 2013, at the University of Maryland.

The group of 70 Iowa students will compete for scholarships and cash prizes against nearly 2,500 students from the United States, Guam, America Samoa, Department of Defense Schools in Europe, and Shanghai, China.

National History Day is an academic-enrichment program that helps students learn about historical issues, ideas, people and events. The year-long academic adventure fosters students’ enthusiasm for learning and encourages them to use primary, secondary, community and statewide resources on a subject of their choice related to an annual theme. The theme for 2013 is “Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events.

Nearly 10,000 Iowa students competed in the program this year, with winners at school and district competitions advancing to the state contests in Des Moines.