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Bluffs men and 1 other in Omaha killing, to stand trial

News

October 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska judge has sent the cases against three men charged with killing an Omaha man to Douglas County District Court for trial. Fifty-year-old James Asmus was found shot to death on Sept. 2 in a south Omaha garage. Jason Hanan, of Omaha, and Anthony Good Jr. and Corey Brooks, both of Council Bluffs, Iowa, are charged with first-degree murder and weapon charges. Online court records show Judge Sheryl Lohaus found probable cause and sent the cases to district court last Friday. All three men are being held without bond.

Iowa DOT plans to reopen I-29 in southwest Iowa later this week

News

October 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – Oct. 3, 2011 – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is reporting that it plans to reopen Interstate 29 later this week from the Missouri state line to U.S. 34 (exit 32) near Pacific Junction. Portions of this section of the interstate have been closed since June 15. An announcement with the day and time of the opening will be made as soon as a more precise determination can be made. Construction and repair work is ongoing at this time.

When the road reopens, temporary lane crossovers will be in place at mileposts 0.8 northbound and 3.2 southbound, near Hamburg. Two-way traffic conditions will be present between the crossovers and diverted into the southbound lanes. The crossovers are necessary until repairs can be completed to the embankment of the northbound bridge, which was damaged during the flooding.

Exit 1, Iowa Highway 333 to Hamburg; and exit 10, Iowa Highway 2 to Nebraska City, will remain closed after I-29 reopens. Iowa 333 has sustained flood damage; and now that the water has receded, the Iowa DOT will be able to perform a more thorough assessment of the roadway. Iowa 2 sustained substantial damage due to the flooding and must be repaired. The goal is to restore traffic on these roadways as quickly as possible.

Four arrests reported in Cass County

News

October 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports four arrests over the past week. On Friday (Sept. 30th), 37-year old James Leroy Chelf, of Atlantic, was arrested on a charge of Driving Under Suspension. Chelf was taken to the Cass County Jail where he pled guilty the following day and was released.

On September 27th, 25-year old Ashley Renee Dewitt,  of Griswold, was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on three charges of Theft in the 5th Degree. Dewitt was taken to the Cass County Jail where she pled guilty and was also released the following day. And, 31-year old Matthew Bernard Steffens, of Wiota, was arrested on a District Court warrant for Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registry. Steffens was taken to the Cass County Jail where he posted $5000 bond and was released.

On September 25th, 25-year old Jared Wayne Pelfrey, of Elkins, Arkansas, was arrested in Cass County, on a charge of OWI 1st Offense. Pelfrey was taken to the Cass County Jail where he posted $1000 bond and was later released.

Accidents reported in Cass County

News

October 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office today (Monday) released a report on recent accidents. On Saturday (Oct. 1st), deputies responded to a report of a two-vehicle accident on 590th Street. Officials say a 2002 Honda CRV owned and driven by 58-year old Rebecca Lynn Klein,  of Belton, MO, was southbound on Highway 173, when her vehicle was struck in the rear by a 2011 Honda owned and driven by 55-year old Laura A. Richardson, of Raymore, MO. A total of four people  were transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Damage from the accident amounted to $7,500. No citations were issued.
On Thursday (Sept. 29th), Cass County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a single-vehicle accident on Buck Creek Road. Authorities say a 2008 Dodge Durango owned and driven by 38-year old Tawnya Juanita Brooks,  of Atlantic,  was traveling south on Buck Creek Road when Brooks lost control of the SUV, which entered the west ditch and hit a culvert. The woman refused transport to the hospital. She was subsequently cited for Failure to Maintain Control. The damage to her vehicle was estimated at $4,000.

On September 24th, a two-vehicle accident was reported to have occured on 750th Street, about  one-half mile north of Glendale Road. Sheriff’s officials say a 2011 Ford F-150 Super Cab driven by 26-year old Alexis Arturo Hernandez, of Crane, TX, was northbound on 750th Street when it crossed the center line and collided with a 1998 Ford F-150 pickup, owned and driven by 44-year old Jeffrey Allen Baker, of Earlham. No serious injuries were reported.  Damage from the crash amounted to $3,500. The sheriff’s department says Hernandez was cited for Driving on the Wrong Side of Two-Way Highway.

And, on September 23rd, a single-vehicle accident occured on 690th Street in Cass County, about one-quarter of a mile north of Cumberland. Officials say a 2007 Hyundai Tiburon driven by 16-year old Cole Daniel Johnson, of Cumberland, was traveling south on 690th Street, when the car left the road and entered the east ditch before hitting a tree. An unidentified passenger in the car was injured, and transported to the Cass County Hospital by Cumberland Rescue. Damage to the car was estimated at $15,000.

Reminder: meeting Tuesday night to discuss Kimballton Post Office

News

October 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Concerned citizens want to remind residents of Kimballton and Elk Horn about a meeting scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday) night in Kimballton, regarding the possible closure of the Kimballton Post Office. The meeting takes place from 7-until 9-p.m at the Kimballton Town Hall.

The residents of Kimballton recently received letters explaining the possible closure. The letter included a questionnaire residents can fill out, along with information about the declining workload and revenue the Kimballton office has experienced. Post Office officials will be at Tuesday’s meeting to answer any questions citizens may have.

If a decision is made by USPS to close the Kimballton location, residents may opt to request their mail be delivered to the Elk Horn post office. A form is also available at the Kimballton Post Office to request rural delivery service. Postal Service officials say while the Kimballton Office is being studied, it does not necessarily mean the office will end up being closed.

Other southwest Iowa post offices being studied for possible closure include Brayton, Cumberland, and Lewis. A meeting about the possible closure of the Cumberland post office was held last Thursday evening.

Corn expert says Iowa yields will be widely varied this fall

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

One ag industry expert says corn yields are expected to be widely varied across Iowa this fall. Roger Elmore, a corn specialist at the Iowa State University Extension, says several factors come into play, including the July heat wave. Elmore says very warm nighttime temperatures in parts of Iowa sped up the maturity of the corn, but it may end up limiting yields.  “That high night temperature…truncated the growing season, meaning, the seed fill period was less than normal, maturity was reached faster than normal, and all of that would add up to light kernels and if all of that did happen, we’ll see a lighter yield,” according to Elmore.

He says growers who tried to capitalize on higher corn prices by planting corn on the same land where they grew corn last year may be disappointed with this year’s yields. “We always expect to see a pretty significant yield difference when you’re comparing corn following corn to corn following soybeans. On average, over the years, the best data we’ve got across the state of Iowa suggests that difference is about 14 or 15-percent.”

He says that average could be as low as zero-percent or as high as 30-percent, based on the year, the weather, the environment, the hybrid and other factors. According to Elmore,  Iowa farmers can plan on seeing losses if they’re planting the same crop on the same land back-to-back.  He says “On average, if you’re trying to run a spreadsheet analysis on things, just calculate in a 14 or 15-percent yield reduction from corn following corn.”  If stalk conditions are good, Elmore says producers should delay harvest during this dry fall weather to allow the corn to dry down in the field. 

(Radio Iowa)

IOWA FARM BUREAU STUDY ESTIMATES MISSOURI RIVER FLOODING TO CAUSE $207 MILLION IN CROP AND ECONOMIC LOSSES

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

This year’s devastating flooding on the Missouri River caused an estimated $207 million in lost crop sales and related economic activity in six western Iowa counties that border the river, according to a new study commissioned by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF). The flooding began in late June when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened up a series of dams in the Dakotas to release water caused by heavy snows and record rains. Farmers are finally seeing the floodwaters recede and assessing the damage which includes severely damaged roads and the destruction of several hundred thousand acres of corn and soybean fields.

The study focused on Fremont, Pottawattamie, Mills, Woodbury, Harrison and Monona counties and analyzed the direct and indirect economic impacts from crop losses from flooded fields, said Dave Miller, IFBF director of research and commodity services. The study also factored in the impact of lost wages as the income of the lost crops won’t circulate in the western Iowa communities.For the farmers in the six-county region, the flooding cost $46.1 million in net income compared to pre-flood estimates.  That total included losses on flooded acres that can’t be harvested, as well as yield losses from affected crops that were within a mile of the flooded area. The study also factored in the cost of seed, fertilizer and other inputs that farmers had already invested in their 2011 corn and soybeans before the fields were damaged or wiped out by flooding. The study also accounted for potential crop insurance indemnity payments that farmers will receive because their crops were destroyed, as well as payments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Revenue Assistance payments (SURE) program, which provides financial assistance for crop production and or quality losses due to a natural disaster.

Fremont County suffered the highest losses, at an estimated $52.2 million; with $43.9 million in direct crop income loss and $8.3 million indirect losses from the damaged fields. Harrison County suffered $36.7 million in crop and other economic losses, and Monona County lost $32.3 million. Losses in the remaining Missouri River counties were: Pottawattamie at $31.2 million; Mills at $22.2 million and Woodbury at $14.7 million. The study measured losses of economic activity from lost crop sales and didn’t factor in losses to personal property, or the steep cost of rebuilding roads, levees and other infrastructure damaged or destroyed by the months of flooding.

Dave Miller, IFBF director of research and commodity services, says  “This is really just the tip of the iceberg on economic losses from the flooding.” He says they “Hope the study will provide valuable information to help farmers, community leaders and lawmakers as they rebuild the region and push for policies to prevent or minimize flooding in the future.”

Traffic stop nets four arrests on drug charges in Cass County, IA

News

October 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A traffic stop on Interstate 80 Sunday night in Cass County resulted in the arrest of four persons on drug charges. According to Sheriff’s officials, a deputy stopped a vehicle about a mile east of the Marne exit on westbound I-80, at around 11-p.m., Sunday. Taken into custody on a charge of 1st offense OWI, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charges, was 18-year old Martin Wayne Looney the third, of Des Moines. 19-year old Chad Robert Fogarty of West Des Moines, and 18-year old Martinae Diane Looney, of Des Moines, were charged with Possession of Marijuana, and, 19-year old Corey Jamison Leonard, of West Des Moines was charged with Possession of Marijuana as well as Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. 

Each of the individuals were transported to the Cass County Jail and held, pending an appearance before the magistrate.

Branstad calls for sweeping education change

News

October 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad is calling for sweeping changes in the way teachers are paid and tougher standards for measuring student performance. At a news conference Monday, Branstad said he would link teacher pay with performance in the classroom. He says he would create a system where instructors would be classified from apprentice teachers to master teachers. Under Branstad’s plan, students would have to pass proficiency tests to advance beyond the third grade, and would have to demonstrate competency before graduating from high school. The governor conceded the plan would cost more than the $3.45 billion the state currently spends on schools, but he says a final price tag hasn’t been set. Branstad says he plans to travel the state to rally support for his proposal.

SC GOP sets presidential primary date, trumps Fla.

News

October 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina Republicans will hold their first-in-the-South presidential primary on Jan. 21 to trump Florida’s rule-breaking jump ahead in the party’s calendar. State GOP Chairman Chad Connelly made the announcement Monday. It caps days of speculation about how the state party would respond to Florida’s decision to hold its primary on Jan. 31. South Carolina has been poised to hold its primary in late February. Florida’s early date breaks Republican National Committee rules and would cause the state to lose half its delegates to next summer’s national convention. South Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Iowa have been conferring on how to deal with Florida’s move. South Carolina’s move will likely make the 2012 primary calendar look a lot like 2008, with Iowa’s caucuses just days into the year.