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UPDATE! IOWA AMBER ALERT CANCELLED (5:12-a.m.)

News

February 16th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An Amber Alert issued earlier this morning for a 3-year old boy allegedly abducted by his biological, non-custodial mother and another woman, has been cancelled. State Radio reports the child has been found unharmed.  Police say Nicholas Jimmerson had been abductedfrom a Des Moines home on Wednesday night. The alert was issued at 3:15 a.m. Thursday. He was found just after 5 a.m.  The alert said authorities were looking for 22-year-old Melanie Stout and 25-year-old Amber Johnson.  Police have not provided details yet on the recovery of Nicholas or whether anyone has been arrested in the case.

$250,000 added to Atlantic Bond Issue/ Tax asking to increase

News

February 16th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

City Administrator Doug Harris said a $4.7-million bond issue the Council had earlier approved to pay for the entire Capital Improvement Program (CIP) had to be amended by adding $250,000, because the bonding attorney says the City cannot do a planned lease-purchase program for equipment. He says for many years the City has had a lease-purchase agreement with AMU in order to avoid paying interest, and even though it’s a “grey area” under State law, the bonding attorney said he could not longer approve that agreement. Harris says Ruan Securities has agreed that the City add the $250k to the bond issue, and pay that same amount off within a period of six-months.

The effect he says is minimal, but it still adds to the City’s approximately $6-million budget. Public hearings on the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget will take place next Monday and Tuesday night (Feb. 20th & 21st) at 5:30-p.m. Mayor Dave Jones says he welcomes residents’ input on how the City spends their money. He said also, the levy (or tax asking) would increase this year…how much is not clear.. but Jones said it still under the 2005 tax asking. He says the City is  “Still making up ground for the years we cut taxes…for four-or five-years. Now we’re repairing the streets.”

Atlantic City Council Approves Street Project Bids

News

February 16th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council Monday approved bids for various street repair projects that will get underway late this Spring or early Summer. Snyder and Associates Engineer Dave Sturm said there were two bids for the Hot Melt Asphalt (HMA) Paving and Storm Sewer Improvement project. He recommended the Council award the bid to Henningsen Construction of Atlantic. Their bid of slightly more than $1.88-million was about $40,000 over the engineers estimate of the project cost.

Sturm said also, there were four bids for Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) Paving and Storm Sewer Improvement project in the City. The engineer estimated the project would cost $801,000. But the low bid of $712,317 was received by Carley Construction in Treynor. Prior to approving the bid, the Council wanted assurances Carley wouldn’t fall behind and leave work undone like they did last year on 22nd Street in Atlantic, and that there would be penalties in-place for failing to get the job done in a timely manner. Sturm explained that prior to the past year, they hadn’t had any problems with Carley. He attributed last year’s problems to the company having taken on more work than they should have. He says this year, the contract is set up on a “working day count.”

Once they start, they have 60 working days to complete the job, not counting weekends and rain days. Their work must begin no later than June 1st. Sturm says failure to complete the job within 60 working days will result in a fine of anywhere from $500-to $1,000 per day. Two other major improvement projects the City accepted bids for Wednesday, included a PCC patching project, and repair of the City Park sidewalk. Coffman Engineering’s Ken Coffman recommended the Council approve a low bid from Ten Point Construction in Denison of $287,785 for the PCC patching job. There were six bidders for the project, which the engineer had estimated would cost $276, 472.

The company has to begin work on the project by no later than April 2nd, and has 60 working days to complete it in order to avoid a $400 per day penalty. Coffman said the construction projects will cause some disruption in traffic flow in some areas of town, and detours in others. He says people will have to get used to one-lane traffic, flaggers and pilot vehicle on Olive Street, from about Commerce to the City limits near the KJAN studios, while the PCC patching project is underway. Coffman also recommended a low bid of $22, 319 from Precision Concrete in Atlantic, for the City Park sidewalk project. That was about $3,000 less than the engineer’s estimate. The total cost of the projects approved by the Council amounts to slightly more than $2.9-million, which is below the engineer’s estimates of nearly $3.52-million.

Amber Alert issued in Iowa!

News

February 16th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Public Safety has issued an AMBER ALERT for a child abducted from Des Moines, effective at 3:15-a.m.. Authorities say a 3-year old white male, Nicholas Jimmerson, was abducted from a residence in Des Moines.

Melanie Stout (suspected abductor/biological mother)

Nicholas is about 3-feet tall, weighs 35-pounds, has brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a black “Batman” t-shirt with yellow, long sleeves, black sweatpants, and black shoes. He has a shaved, tribal-style design cut into his hair on the left side of his head. (There is no picture of the child available from officials) He was allegedly taken by two white females, 22-year old Melanie Elaine Stout, Nicholas’ biological mother, who does not have custody of him, and 25-year old Amber Jo Johnson.

Stout is 5-feet 6-inches tall, weighs about 126 pounds, has brown hair and green eyes. Johnson is 5-feet four inches tall, 109-pounds, has short brown hair and hazel eyes. The was wearing a white t-shirt with black sweatshirt and stripes, and blue jeans. The suspects are believed to be driving a maroon 2001 Ford Taurus, with Iowa license plate 831 YLY. Direction of travel is unknown.

If you see the suspects, the child, or the vehicle, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Amber Jo Johnson (suspected abductor)

Atlantic City Council honors George Evans/New Treatment plant almost ready for testing

News

February 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council Wednesday evening passed a Resolution honoring retiring Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendent George Evans. Evans is wrapping 39-years of service to the City, which Mayor Dave Jones called “A great accomplishment in itself.”

George Evans (left) receives a plaque & congratulations from Mayor Jones

Jones says Evans will stick around for a couple of months, as a consultant to the City and to his replacement, Mark Farrier, until the new 14-million dollar wastewater treatment plant comes on-line. In his final report to the Council, Evans said the new plant will be up-and-running very soon. He says the pre-treatment building on the east side of Sunnyside lane will be online first, with start-up of the main plant sometime in April or May.

City Administrator Doug Harris says the original schedule called for the plant to begin  testing in March, but there was an issue with receiving certain electrical components that caused the timeline to be pushed back slightly. Evans says there’s much testing that needs to be done before the changeover is official. He says they want to keep the old facility available for a little while, until the new plant is fully operational. Evans says that shouldn’t violate any state regulations.

Once the new plant is fully online, the current plant, which is more than 60-years old, will be demolished. Plans to replace the current facility began in 2006, when the Iowa D-N-R ordered the City to build a million-gallon retention basin, or lagoon, because the current facility was deemed incapable of handling storm water run-off during times of intense rain events.

Tainted sprouts again linked to Jimmy John’s

News

February 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sprouts from the sandwich chain Jimmy John’s have been linked to an outbreak of foodborne illness — again. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that 12 cases of E. coli poisoning in five states are linked to clover sprouts eaten at Jimmy John’s restaurants. The outbreak comes a year after sprouts from one of the chain’s suppliers were linked to 140 salmonella illnesses. Sprouts from the chain were also linked to a 2009 salmonella outbreak in several Midwestern states and were suspected in an E. coli outbreak in Colorado in 2008. The CDC reports more than 30 sprout outbreaks in the last 15 years. Sprouts need warm and humid conditions to grow, encouraging bacterial growth.

Illnesses were reported in Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Wisconsin.

Officials identify body found in Ida County

News

February 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

IDA GROVE, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a body found in a ditch near Ida Grove in northwest Iowa is that of an Odebolt man reported missing in early January. The Ida County sheriff’s office on Wednesday says an autopsy identified the man as 44-year-old Charles Bird. He was reported missing on Jan. 7. Bird was last seen leaving his house to search for his wallet. A county worker found his body on Feb. 9 near Arthur. Authorities don’t suspect foul play in Bird’s death.

Sleep-texting? It’s happening more than you’d think…

News

February 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Do you sleep with your cell phone on a bedside table? You may want to move it after reading this report from Radio Iowa’s Matt Kelley:

The director of a sleep disorder clinic in Omaha says he’s seeing patients from Iowa and Nebraska, mostly teens and young adults, who are sleep-texting — that’s right, texting while they’re asleep. Dr. Michael Summers says, “The transition from wake to sleep and sleep to wake happens fairly abruptly and you still may be in and out of that either wake or sleep state and that is where these occur.” Dr. Summers believes sleep-texting is a lot more common than you might think. “The frequency of it really increases if you’re sleep-deprived,” he says. “You combine that with certain sleep medications that can make parasomnias more common and you’re starting to see this become more of an issue. It’s probably fairly under-reported, at least sleep-texting, because admittedly, some people may send things that are a bit embarrassing to talk about.” Summers blames the phenomenon of sleep-texting on sleep deprivation. He says, “Most people average around seven hours — or less — of sleep per night and a vast majority of studies show that most people need at least nine hours of sleep per night.” He says sleep deprivation does take its toll on a person and it can carry over into their awake time.

“You are more prone to making mistakes,” Summers says. “You’re less efficient. Chronic sleep deprivation decreases response times, so when you’re driving, you may not be able to react as quickly. You may do what we call automatic behaviors where you’re driving and you may go into this zone-like state where you drive by your exit.” Too little sleep can also lead to sleep-eating, night terrors, restless leg syndrome, sleep paralysis, chronic pain and teeth grinding. Summers, whose clinic is at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, says the first step in stopping these episodes is to get more sleep. He recommends that at a certain time, electronics are turned off. He says never get into bed with your cell phone. If you need it in your bedroom, put it out of reach.

Cass Supervisors approve early payment on NW Water/Sewer project

News

February 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Wednesday) approved the transfer $191, 000 from the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) fund to the Debt Service Fund, in order to pay down a $520,000 loan for the Northwest Water/Sewer Extension Project. The loan was originally set-up to be paid in 20 annual installments of $26,000 each, but the agreement also provided an option for the County to prepay the bond principle in all or in-part, prior to its maturity.

The project was approved by the Board in May, 2011. It involved the laying of 3,200 feet of water main and sanitary sewer from Highway 83 to the Amaizing Energy Industrial area and along Glacier Road and underneath the railroad spur line. The utilities were created in that area in hopes of fostering economic development. The County is paying for the project, with Atlantic Municipal Utilities acting as the flow-through agency for the funds.

In other business, the Board set March 14th, 9:05-a.m.,  as the date and time for a public hearing on the proposed Fiscal Year 2013 County budget.

Navy says new ships named Sioux City, Omaha

News

February 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Two new Navy ships will be named for cities in Iowa and Nebraska. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced plans Wednesday for five new ships, including the USS Sioux City and the USS Omaha. They are littoral combat ships, which Mabus says are fast and agile, and can operate in shallow and deep waters. Mabus says he chose the names to honor the “patriotic, hard-working citizens” of Sioux City and Omaha. The USS Sioux City, which will be built in Marinette, Wis., will be 378 feet in length. The USS Omaha, which will be built in Mobile, Ala., will be 419 feet in length. Mabus also named three new Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyers — the USS John Finn, the USS Ralph Johnson and the USS Rafael Peralta.