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High Speed Pursuit in Audubon, Cass and Pottawattamie Counties


March 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

(Update 10:35-p.m.) Multiple law enforcement agencies became engaged in a high speed pursuit late Wednesday night through three area counties. The pursuit began just before 10-p.m. on Highway 71 in Audubon County. It continued south into Atlantic at around 10:15-p.m., with the suspect vehicle, a dark colored BMW with paper registration tags only and no license plates, reaching speeds of up to 125-miles per hour. The pursuit entered Pottawattamie County on Highway 6 and had approached Oakland, where at least police two units were set up to intercept the BMW. The suspect was reported to be in custody as of 10:34-p.m.

The pursuit involved deputies with Audubon, Cass and Pottawattamie Counties, the Iowa State Patrol, Atlantic Police Department and other agencies. While additional details are currently not available, it appears the chase may have pertained to a domestic situation involving child custody.

Atlantic Developer pulls plans for Southern Heights II Subdivision, citing conflict w/City Administrator


March 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Developer Don Sonntag Wednesday, decided to pull his application for $250,000 in Tax Increment Financing funds from the City, which would have helped to bankroll a housing development on the City’s southern edge. In a letter he read before the council and provided to the media, Sonntag said since a meeting pertaining to TIF funds for the Southern Heights II project was held on November 30th, 2012 between himself, his grandson Austin, Attorney Dave Chase, and City Administrator Doug Harris, Harris has apparently been working behind the scenes to “Derail the project.”

Those efforts, according to Sonntag, included negative talking points about the project in City Council members’ packets. Sonntag said also he believes “Conversations were made with individuals from the public who would be opposed to using TIF funds for the project, and were given encouragement to speak out against it..”  Sonntag said even if the Council were to have recommended the TIF request be used for the project, he has “A strong feeling that drafting of a TIF agreement with the City Administrator, of (sic) who has been opposed every step of the way, would be very difficult and suspect of major risk for us financially going forward with this project.” Sonntag went on to say “past experience of his (Harris’) actions and characteristics leave us skeptical on what other roadblocks may arise in further into the process and project.”

He concluded by saying “I do not believe our present City Administrator has the same goals for Atlantic as some of us and therefore, I find the need to step back, stopping the process, and discontinuing my efforts on this project.” He said he deeply regrets “The loss of jobs that could have been created,” had the project moved forward. City Administrator Doug Harris was not present at Wednesday night’s meeting.

Afterward, Mayor Dave Jones said he differs from Harris, who’s TIF philosophy, according to Jones is “Not all development is good for the City.” Jones says “No development is not good for the City.”

Suspicious Fire in Fremont County


March 20th, 2013 by admin

Authorities in Fremont County are investigating a structure fire in Bartlett, the origin of which is being called “suspicious.” Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters, including crews from Tabor, were called to an abandoned house and garage located at 1119 Western Avenue in Bartlett at around 12:20-a.m., Wednesday. Upon arrival, deputies observed both structures fully engulfed in flames. The buildings were declared a total loss.  Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office at 712-374-2424.



March 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say crews with the city of Elliott discovered a wastewater discharge this (Wednesday) morning on the northwest side of the Montgomery County town. City officials are not sure when the discharge began, but they estimate up to 8,000 gallons per day of untreated wastewater is bubbling up in the middle of an unnamed tributary of Coe Creek. Coe Creek flows into the Nishnabotna River. The city has contracted with a company to dig up the sewer line and fix it. Work will begin March 21st.

The DNR cautions residents to keep children and pets away from the unnamed creek on the west side of Elliott for at least 48 hours after work is completed. The DNR will be on the site today to provide assistance to the city. DNR staff will continue to monitor the cleanup. The city will be sampling water quality upstream and below the discharge.

Nebraska man arrested after allegedly throwing Marijuana from vehicle


March 20th, 2013 by admin

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office reports a Nebraska man was arrested Tuesday, after allegedly been seen throwing a large bag of marijuana from a vehicle. Following an investigation which took place in the 1500 block of Washington Street in Hamburg, deputies arrested 33-year old Derrick E. Traub of Nebraska City, NE. Traub was taken into custody while allegedly attempting to retrieve the bag containing approximately 50 grams of marijuana.

Traub faces charges that include Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Intent to Deliver, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Failure to have a Drug Tax and Interference with Official Acts. He was booked into the Fremont County Jail, and subsequently released on $5,000 bond.

Beware of different traffic controls in Clarinda


March 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Clarinda Police Chief Keith Brothers says effective at Noon today (Wednesday, March 20th), all traffic control lights/signals have been deactivated on the square. All intersections on the square are now controlled by 4 way (all way) stop signs. Brothers reminds motorists that pedestrians approaching the cross walk, entering the cross walk and in the cross walk ALWAYS have the right of way. Remember to make a complete stop behind the stop line and do not drive through the area while inattentive or distracted.

The City of Clarinda Public Works Department will remove the traffic signal stands and light heads at a later date.  Brothers says with everyone’s cooperation this should be a smooth transition.

(12-p.m. News)

Oak Strollers Nature Club for Families- Location Change

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Naturalist Lora Kanning reports due to the wind chill factor, the “Rocks” program will now be held at the Atlantic Public Library Community Room at 11AM Thursday, March 21, 2013.  The 2013 Oak Strollers Nature Club is sponsored by Cass County Conservation.

Join the Conservation Department for monthly events to guide your family outdoors. Events will be for all ages. Some events may be public Cass County Conservation and some may occur during the day when school is in. The nature club led by Naturalist, Lora Kanning gives parents the comfort of exploring nature in Cass County.

Kanning parents should “Bring your child and plan to have a great time-making a memory.”

Cass Supervisors approve paying of Valley Business Park property loan


March 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Wednesday) approved the renewal of $40,000 per year funding for Fiscal years 2014 through 2018, for the Valley Business Park loan. The funds are payable out of the Local Option Sales Tax fund in Cass County. Audubon County has already agreed to the continuation of their payments. The process to spur economic development in the area began in 2003.

A 28-E agreement was entered into, with the Board of Supervisors in both counties making a formal commitment of $50,000 per year for five-years, to develop the area. The CABEDA (or, Cass-Audubon Business Economic Development Agreement) Board, which is comprised of representatives from both Counties and local economic development officials, agreed to purchase 149 acres of land at a cost of $1-million, in March, 2007.  Cass County Supervisor Duane McFadden said in November 2006, the counties agreed to share in paying on a loan for the purchase of the land.

McFadden says the loan was later rewritten, so the interest rate was reduced from 6.25-percent to 3.95-percent, which he says has made a “big difference” on their payments last year. It means an additional $4,000 each year can be made toward the payments. McFadden says at one point they had a serious prospect for the land, but then the economy tanked. Still, he says efforts persist to market the area. Cass-Atlantic Development Corporation (CADCO) Executive Director Russell Joyce echoed McFadden’s statement, and said while they continue to seek businesses for the area, the land is being rented out to local farmers, which is bringing in much needed revenue. He says the amount of rent payments they receive has nearly tripled since it was purchased, and the value of the land itself is nearly double what it was purchased for in 2007.

In other business, the Cass County Board of Supervisors approved a two-percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Child Support Recovery employees, which is covered under the Intergovernmental Cooperative Reimbursement Agreement between the County and Dept. of Human Services. They also approved the hiring of Cory Kirchhoff for the Secondary Roads Department, for an Operator 1 position at the Atlantic office. Engineer Charles Marker said there were 50 applicants for the position. Six of the applicants were interviewed, with Kirchhoff being well qualified and having met all the requirements, according to Marker. The Board also received two bids for sanitation and recycling services at the courthouse. They approved a lower bid of $100 per month from Cook Sanitation of Atlantic, effective April 1st.

8AM Newscast 03-20-2013

News, Podcasts

March 20th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Harlan CC approves refinancing of bonds


March 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

City Officials in Harlan have approved the refinancing of their 2007  General Obligation bonds. The City Council Tuesday approved a  bid from UMB Bank in Kansas City, MO for $2.845-million in G.O. Refunding Bonds, Series 2013. Jenny Blankenship from PFN in Des Moines, reported to the Council on the three bids the city had received for the bonds. The bonds were originally from 2007 and were set at a 4.25% interest. Blankenship demonstrated to  the board that with the new bid from UMB Bank, the interest rate will fall to a true interest of just over 1.88-percent. The annual savings from 2016 to 2027 will amount to a little more than $318,700, with a net savings of just under $280,000.

In addition to approving refinancing of the bonds, the Harlan City Council agreed to spend $13,567 on new Christmas decorations. City Clerk Debra Sawyer said with the money, the city will buy 11 LED Candy Canes and 11 Standing Deer for Chatburn Avenue, along with new garland and 1500-feet of LED lights for the downtown area. The money will come out of the 2011 bond issue.  Sawyer said the city will be purchasing more Christmas decorations in the coming years.

And, Harlan Fire Chief Roger Bissen provided the City Council with his regular report.  Bissen said the Fire Department held a board meeting Monday, and elected one new firefighter. The addition brings the total number of members in the department to 35. The maximum number of personnel the department is allowed to have is capped at 40.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)