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Major snowmelt flows into Missouri River system

News, Weather

June 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – More water than normal flowed into the Missouri River system last month because of the amount of snow melting, but officials say the reservoirs can handle it. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday the increased runoff was expected. May’s runoff was about 130 percent of normal.

The corps is predicting the Missouri River system that stretches from Montana down through the Dakotas and into Missouri will see 31.1 million acre feet of water this year. That’s down slightly from last month’s prediction, but ahead of the average of 25.2 million acre feet.

Jody Farhat with the corps says the reservoirs along the river are in a good position to handle the increased runoff, and less than 25 percent of this year’s snowpack remains.

Woodbine police chief resigns after 3 months


June 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

WOODBINE, Iowa (AP) – A western Iowa police chief has resigned after three months on the job. The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs reports that Woodbine Police Chief Scott Brammer stepped down effective Friday. Brammer declined to comment, except to say that he has taken a job as a security director for the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Sioux City.

Brammer was hired as the city’s police chief in March, after serving as an officer. He took over for Gary Dull, who had held the job since 2012. The Woodbine City Council approved the hiring of Michael Jensen as interim police chief. Jensen will go through a six-month probation period before the council decides whether to hire him permanently.

Jensen has been an officer for the city for about four years.

Transportation Commission approves 5-year plan


June 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Transportation Commission Tuesday, approved the five-year road building program. The plan will spend two-point-seven Billion dollars on the roadways in the fiscal years 2015 to 2019. The plan includes upgrades of Interstate 29 in Sioux City and 900 million dollars for repairing and upgrading bridges. The plan also includes spending on aviation, transit, railroads, trails, and highways in the state. State officials say there remains uncertainty though over the amount of federal highway funding. The current federal transportation funding bill expires in September.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., June 11th 2014


June 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

WEBSTER CITY, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a man found dead in a Webster City home died of blunt force trauma during a fight with his son. The Iowa Department of Public Safety made the announcement Tuesday after authorities finished an autopsy on 61-year-old Steven James Graesch. Authorities have charged his son, 27-year-old Corbin James Graesch, with first-degree murder.

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) — An Ottumwa man has been sentenced to up to 50 years in prison for the beating death of a man in 2011. Bobby Snow was sentenced to at least 35 years in prison, with a maximum of 50 years, in the death of James McElroy. It took jurors only a couple hours to find Snow guilty of second-degree murder last March.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Waterloo officials are giving up on efforts to sell some blighted homes, and they’ll now be demolished. City Council cancelled plans to sell one house after no one submitted a bid to buy and renovate it. There also were no bids last week for a similar structure. Both houses will be demolished.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The airport board in Des Moines has approved a plan for a new and bigger terminal even though officials don’t yet know how they will pay for the $468 million project. Even with federal aviation grants, increased airline fees and other airport revenue, there is a $202 million funding gap. Construction is years away.

2 arrests in Harlan, Monday


June 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Harlan say two people were arrested Monday on separate charges. According to Harlan Police, 47-year old Timothy Turner, of Harlan, was arrested on an OWI/2nd offense charge as well as for Driving Under Suspension. And, 26-year old Zane Szeliga, of Harlan, was charged with Public Intoxication, after officers responded to a reported disturbance in the 500 block of Market Street. Both men were booked into the Shelby County Jail.

And, last Friday, 24-year old Janice Massey, of Harlan, was cited for allowing a dog to run at large, after officers investigated a report of a dog allegedly attacking children in Little George Park. The aggressive dog, belonging to Shawn Schechinger, of Harlan, was surrendered to the animal shelter.

The H-PD said also, Kirk Petersen, of Harlan, suffered from shoulder pain and scrapes during a motorcycle accident last Friday. Authorities say the 1979 Honda motorcycle Petersen was riding went out of control as it came over a hill in the 1100 block of 1100th Street. The cycle went onto its right side and slid for several feet. The damage was estimated at $400. Petersen was thrown from the cycle and rolled down the ditch. He was transported to Myrtue Medical Center for Treatment.

Central IA man arrested on OWI charge in Cass County


June 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest on Saturday of a Central Iowa man. 31-year old Andy Alden Hanson, of Grimes, was arrested on charges of OWI 1st Offense and Driving While Suspended. Hanson was taken to the Cass County Jail where he is being held on $1000 bond.

2 arrests on drug and weapon charges in Audubon County


June 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Two people were arrested after a search warrant executed this (Tuesday) morning at a residence in rural, southeastern Audubon County. The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office reports 47-year old Mark Wayne Rydl, of Exira, and 55-year old Pamela Jo Steele, of Council Bluffs were arrested during the execution of a warrant at 3312 Quail Avenue.

Officials say Rydl had outstanding warrants from Harrison and Pottawattamie Counties. Rydl has been charged with Felon in Possession of a Firerarm/Ammunition, Possession of Methamphetamine/3rd offense, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Unlawful Possession of Prescription Pills, and Possessing a Stolen Motor vehicle. The latter charge was assessed following the discovery on the property, of a vehicle reported stolen from Omaha.

Steele was charged with Possession of Meth with the intent to Deliver, Possession of Marijuana/2nd offense, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Both suspects were booked into the Audubon County Jail. The incident remains under investigation.

(12-p.m. News)

Iowa whistleblower brings investigation of $18M contract at USPS


June 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A whistleblower from western Iowa reported allegations of very expensive mistakes being made within the U-S Postal Service. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he talked with the whistleblower personally, then asked for an Inspector General’s investigation of how a contract was awarded for maintaining and changing the locks on P-O boxes in post offices across the region. “The contract was not awarded in accordance with Postal Service policies and procedures and it did not develop a purchase plan or conduct a price analysis before awarding the contract,” Grassley says, “and possibly $18-million was spent that didn’t need to be spent at a time when the Postal Service is bleeding billions of dollars.”

The investigation found the whistleblower was right, Grassley says, and calls it a “good example of why whistleblowers who identify waste, fraud and abuse deserve a Rose Garden ceremony.” Grassley says every federal agency that serves the public needs an independent watchdog to review issues of concern.  “I thanked the whistleblower for coming forward,” Grassley says. “Hopefully, this will put the Postal Service on the alert to follow their own rules and regulations.” It’s still unclear if one or more people are responsible for the problem and Grassley isn’t sure if there will be charges filed or firings because of the case.

“The Postal Service is kind of independent,” Grassley says. “They probably have some opportunity to have heads roll. I’ve always said, unless heads don’t roll, you aren’t going to change anything. I’m going to have to make further inquiries and follow up.” The 18-million dollar contract for the post office box work is with Diebold Incorporated. The inspector general’s report concluded the Postal Service overestimated the annual cost savings by six-point-eight million dollars per year and awarded the contract based on the inflated cost.

(Radio Iowa)

Harlan School Board approves budget amendment


June 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Community School Board of Education has approved an amendment to the 2013-2014 budget. In a regular board meeting Monday, the board made the motion after discussing the amendment at length at the public hearing held on Tuesday, May 27th. The amendment was in regards to PPEL funding and the Merrill Field Project. In other business, the school board approved milk bids with Anderson Dairy, bread bids with Bee Bo bakery, fuel bids with Agriland FS for $170,176.40 and a new Thomas Bus for $84,069. Primary School Principal Scott Frolich reported to the board, the school district submitted an elementary school wide title 1 application to the state for flexibility in using reading resources for all students in the elementary school district. Superintendent Justin Wagner said those dollars will help students who struggle in reading.

“It’s a federally funded program from the federal government. And basically it helps kids who struggle in reading. Well our reading rate at the elementary building has typically hovered around the 40 percent rate. Now that it has increased over 40 percent, we were able to put in our application to really use our Title 1 funds, resources and staff for all students instead of certain students.”

The application was approved by the school board. Mr. Frolich also mentioned the primary building has 55 students taking summer school, 35 in the intermediate and 16 more in the high school. In the discussion items, Wagner spoke about the blue zones initiative in the Harlan Community. The school district must meet the Wellmark Blue Zone criteria in order for Harlan to become a blue zone designated community.

Wagner spoke for quite sometime on the recommendations Wellmark handed out to the school district. The school district is focusing solely on the elementary building first before trying to install the new proposals in the other school buildings. Some of the recommendations included not using physical activity as a punishment, no unhealthy foods to be used for fundraisers and not using foods at class celebrations. The school needs to hit 54 points in order to pass for a blue zone designation. Wagner says some are controversial.

“Things like out at recess, if a student misbehaves you would send them to a timeout. They go stand by a wall and we do other things. In the blue zone initiative, they say that takes away physical activity during recess. It makes sense. I understand the physical side of it. The flip side, what do we do to students who aren’t following direction or bullying other students? There has to be some kind of consequence.”

Wagner said the school district is in negotiations with Wellmark and more details will follow at a later school board meeting.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Frederickson Fund helps bring the “Scary Guy” to Cass County


June 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Trevor Frederickson Memorial Fund has announced their sponsorship of the “Scary Guy,” who will be sharing his message with Atlantic, CAM and Griswold Schools in August 2014. Scary will be working with over 2,400 students, faculty and community members during his 10 day stay in Cass County. photo

The Cass County Child Abuse Prevention Council is declaring 2014-2015 the year of Violence Prevention in Cass County Schools. Prevention begins with our youth and teaching them the skills they need to eliminate hate.

For further information or if you would like to donate please contact Kristen Templeton at 243-8006