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Realignment in the Atlantic School District: Rasmussen out as AD/Asst. Prinicpal – Alexander in

News, Sports

March 12th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic School District’s Board of Education Monday night approved by a vote of four-to-one, a proposed realignment of district administrative personnel beginning with the 2014 school year, in light of the announced resignation of Middle School Principal Cam Smith, which is effective at the end of the current school year. The change moves Atlantic High School Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Josh Rasmussen to Smith’s position. Matt Alexander, who is currently the Principal at the Schuler Elementary School,  will become the Atlantic High School Assistant Principal and Athletic Director. The search will begin to find someone to fill Alexander’s position.

Board member Rod Hartwig was the only “No” vote on the matter. Prior to the vote, he questioned if anyone could effectively deal with the workload and discipline the AD position requires, on top of the Assistant Principal’s job. High School Principal Heather McKay said Rasmussen’s Assistant Principal’s job currently requires him to spend “very little” time on academic and disciplinary activities as compared to those which are related to athletics, which are very demanding.

In other business, the school board approved, by a vote of four-to-one a recommendation by Athletic Director Josh Rasmussen, to change the girls’ varsity and junior varsity sports team name from “Trojann’s” to “Trojans.”  Board member Josh McLaren was the lone “No” vote.  And, the Board approved the adding of one more day to the end of the school year, to make up for lost time due to snow days. The last day of school for students other than graduating Seniors, will be Wednesday, May 29th, barring any further lost days due to the weather.

Hospital School cut from Atlantic’s FY 2013-2014 budget

News

March 12th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A facility which is designed to provide Kindergarten through 8th grade students in the Atlantic Community School District with serious psychiatric conditions a safe and therapeutic environment for evaluation and treatment outside of a regular classroom setting, became a victim of the budget cutting axe Monday. Despite a public hearing on budget, during which several people made impassioned pleas to save the hospital school and make cuts elsewhere, the Board of Education voted unanimously in favor of approving the budget without funding for the Link Center Hospital School for FY 2013-14 at the Cass County Memorial Hospital. The school was created in the mid-1990’s.

None of the board members wanted to cut the funding umbilical cord from the hospital school, but they also didn’t want to risk losing the district’s spending authority by losing a similar amount in what  it would pay to keep the school open, which Superintendent Mike Amstein said in February, would be about $375,000. He said the district cannot continue to lose its spending authority, which has steadily been on the decline for the past five-years, and continue to pay for the school out of the General Fund. Amstein said also, they would have to increase the property tax levy 50-cents above the 10-cent increase already planned for the next fiscal year, based on zero-percent allowable growth, which equates to $14.51 per thousand dollars taxable valuation. The current levy is $14.41. Amstein said the students will continue to be served by the district’s Level 3, or Behavioral Health, program.

He said for those students who the district cannot effectively serve under a Level 3 program, it will look at other day treatment program – if space is available. The bottom line, according to Amstein, is that the district is required to provide a Level 3 program, and they intend to do so. He acknowledged however, that it will provide the same type and quality of service currently provided by the Hospital School, but it “Will look very similar to a Level 3 program,” found in Marshalltown, Des Moines, and elsewhere. Amstein was asked by Board member Rod Hartwig, if there are any other ways the program could be saved, either by grants, and cuts elsewhere, but Amstein said the revenue sources just aren’t there.

Amstein said there is no easy solution to saving the school while at the same time keeping the district in “Solid fiscal shape.” He said the if the board continues to fund the program at current levels, district officials may be called in front of the Iowa Department of Education’s School Budget Review Committee to have a plan developed to address the district’s spending authority issue, which is something he doesn’t want to see happen.

Amstein says if the district loses its spending authority, even if it has the cash, it can’t touch it. He said his decision to recommend cutting funds for the Hospital School was not an easy one, but he and Business Manager/Board Secretary Mary Beth Fast had turned over “every stone” to try and find ways other ways, but were unable to do so, even after talking with an expert in school financing.

William Kautter sentenced to probation for Atlantic arson

News

March 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

An Omaha man charged with felony 1st degree arson and six felony charges of Attempt to Commit murder will not face any prison time. According to court documents, 27-year old William C. Kautter appeared in Cass County District Court Monday and plead guilty to an amended charge of Arson in the 2nd degree. The remaining charges were dismissed. Judge Timothy O’Grady ordered Kautter to be committed to the Director of the Iowa Department of Corrections for a period not to exceed 10-years, and fined $1,000. The judge then suspended both the sentence and fine, and ordered the man placed on two-years of supervised probation. Kautter was ordered to pay all related court costs, attorney’s fees, and restitution to his victims, not to exceed $1,800 altogether. He was given credit for time already served. Kautter’s 29-year old wife Elizabeth was also facing a felony 1st degree arson charge, but those charges were previously dismissed.  All charges stem from a Dec. 2010 residential fire at 601 E. 6th Street, in Atlantic.

The homeowners, Myron and Jolynne Gill, along with one of their adult children and three juveniles, were in the home at the time, but all escaped without injury. Investigators determined gasoline was splashed across the front door and porch of the house and then set aflame. Complaints and Affidavits filed in coordination with the arrest of William and Elizabeth Kautter said prior to the fire, William Kautter had made several harassing phone calls, threatened physical harm and death to the Gill family. In addition, cell phone records showed the Kautter’s had traveled to Iowa from Omaha the night of the fire, and, Elizabeth Kautter was seen purchasing gasoline at an Atlantic area gas station on December 14th, 2010.

Cass County Dan Feistner said the charges were based on strong circumstantial evidence, but there was literally no “smoking gun” tying the defendants to the crime. It was more of a “Connect the dots” type investigation that took place over a long period of time. He said there was an ongoing feud between the defendants and the victims, which is not in dispute, but there is a long “Back story,” including the dealing of drugs, that would not have been a benefit in prosecuting the case.

 

Strip club oversight bill gets Iowa House approval

News

March 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Legislation giving Iowa cities more authority to regulate strip clubs easily won the support of the state House. Lawmakers approved the measure in an 89-10 vote on Monday. The bill would allow cities to pass ordinances prohibiting nudity in establishments in their jurisdiction. Iowa strip clubs are already subject to some limits set by city zoning laws and sales tax rules barring the sale of alcohol by businesses that allow public nudity.

The state Supreme Court ruled in a split decision last year that a city of Hamburg ordinance prohibiting nude dancing and alcohol consumption at sexually oriented businesses and requiring seminude employees to remain 6 feet from customers conflicted with a state law that superseded it. But the court didn’t declare all such restrictions unconstitutional.

Police: Video ties Iowa man to fatal house fire

News

March 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say surveillance video from a fatal Council Bluffs house fire in February shows the homeowner’s estranged husband entering the house before it caught fire. The Council Bluffs Police Department says the video shows 43-year-old Mark Vander Woude backing into the house’s driveway with a van on Feb. 25. A fire begins several minutes later. Woude died in the fire, which damaged the entire house. No one else was home at the time.

Investigators believe Woude broke into the house through a back door, and brought in flammable liquids after opening the garage door. Woude once shared the house with his wife and their three children. Police say the couple had separated, and his wife had a protection order against him.

Georgia trucker injured in Sunday crash near Underwood

News

March 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa State Patrol say a Georgia man suffered possible, unknown injuries during an accident involving a tractor-trailer Sunday morning on Interstate 80, near Underwood. The Iowa State Patrol reports 59 year old Melvin Cuffee of Decatur, GA was traveling eastbound on I-80 near the 13.45 mile marker when he lost control of the 2012 Freightliner. The semi was in the left lane and crossed into the right lane, entered the eastbound ditch and then jacked knifed. The semi and trailer were both damaged in the accident, which took place around 10:05-am Sunday. Cuffee was transported by Underwood Rescue to Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs, where he was examined for possible injuries. The Patrol says Cuffee was wearing his seat belt, which saved his life.

Council Bluffs man sentenced on firearm charges

News

March 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa says a Pottawattamie County man was sentenced Friday to more than 3 1/2 years in jail for being a felon in possession of a firearm.  United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt says 27-year old Ronald Wayne Reed, II, of Council Bluffs was sentenced in United States District Court in Council Bluffs.

Chief United States District Court Judge James E. Gritzner sentenced Reed to 46 months imprisonment, to be followed by a 2 years term of supervised release. The Court also ordered Reed to forfeit the firearm and ammunition which he had possessed, and to pay a $100.00 special assessment for the Crime Victim Fund. Reed remains in the custody of the United States Marshal pending designation of the Federal Bureau of Prisons facility at which he will serve his sentence.

On December 5th, 2012, Reed pled guilty to the charge of felon in possession of a firearm. The charge arose out of the purchase by an undercover officer with the SouthWest Iowa Narcotics Task Force, of a .357 caliber revolver and 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.

CCMH Healing Garden receives $1k donation

News

March 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Xi Beta Phi Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi International recently donated $1000 to the Cass County Memorial Hospital Healing Garden.

Shelly Rubel (left) presented the gift to Dawn Marnin, CCMH Foundation Director.

The local women’s service organization raised monies by selling decorative greens – wreaths, sprays, garlands – during the holiday season.

SW IA teens arrested on drug charges in Cass County

News

March 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports two southwest Iowa teens were arrested Friday on drug charges, following a traffic stop on eastbound Interstate 80, near the 42-mile marker. Officials say 18-year old Dominque James Schlup, of Hastings, was arrested on charges of OWI 1st Offense, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and on a Pottawattamie County warrant. And, 18-year old Dylan Lee Conn, of Malvern, was arrested on charges of Possession of Methamphetamine 3rd Offense, Possession of Marijuana 3rd Offense, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and on three warrants out of Mills County.

Both were taken to the Cass County jail. Schlup remains at the Cass County Jail on $3325 bond. Conn also remains at the Cass County Jail on $7325 bond.

Lewis man arrested for OWI after he hits a traffic signal pole in Atlantic

News

March 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports two people were arrested on OWI charges recently. 51-year old Harry Moses, of Lewis, was arrested at around 2-a.m. Saturday, following an accident on east 5th Street. Officials say Moses was traveling west on east 5th near the Post Office and approaching the mailbox island, when his vehicle went up over the curb and hit a traffic signal light pole and utility pole. Damage from the accident amounted to $2,000. In addition to be arrested for OWI, Moses was charged with Failure to Maintain Control, Failure to show proof of insurance and striking a fixture on the highway.

And, 50-year old Deborah Kessler, of Atlantic, was arrested on Friday on a charge of OWI/1st Offense. Kessler and Moses  were booked into the Cass County Jail and held pending a court appearance. Also arrested Friday, was 93-year old Gregory Loppe, of Exira. Loppe was cited for 5th degree theft (Shoplifting), and then released.