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7AM Newscast 04-05-2012

News, Podcasts

April 5th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


Atlantic Parks and Rec Director updates Council on projects

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 5th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Parks and Recreation Director Roger Herring, Wednesday, updated the City Council on various projects his department completed over the past year, and those still to come. Herring, who succeeded Travis Garrett as Parks Director about 10-months ago, said among the projects completed, was the Bull Creek Pathway, which was finished last Fall, and includes a new, eight-foot wide asphalt surface, that’s about 5-inches thick. Herring said the Parks Department has since received many favorable comments from the public about the clean-up and work done along the trail. He says also, numerous improvements have been made to Sunnyside Park, with more still to come. The improvements over the last year have included: the resurfacing of the parks’ roads, and the addition of Disc Golf, which Herring said continues to be a huge attraction for out-of-town groups and individuals. 

In addition, the Lake Number 1 trail at the Schildberg Recreation Area was completed last Fall. The trail he says, added another four-tenths of a mile to the existing 1.1-mile trail around Lake Number 3. Herring says he hopes to establish a link on the City’s official website showing a map of all the trails around the Recreation Area. You can view the map on our website at www.kjan.com, by using the search tab to find our March 20th story on Summer Rec Programs and Schildberg Improvements or by clicking on this link to the story http://www.kjan.com/index.php/2012/03/atlantic-parks-rec-board-approves-summer-rec-programs-schildberg-improvements. Herring says the trails are being heavily used from dawn to dusk, especially with the recent warm weather. More than a dozen benches have also been added around the lakes at the recreation area. 

Herring pointed out that most of the projects in the Schildberg Quarry Recreation Area have been accomplished with volunteer time and labor, and without much expenditure of City funds.

Projects on the drawing board or in the works include: The addition of a campground at the Schildberg Recreation Area, and an off-leash dog park; Additional improvements to Sunnyside Park, which includes: new fencing at the softball field, new grills/and or fire pits for cookouts at the shelters, repairs to the Kiddie Corral shelter, reconstruction of the tennis courts later this Summer or early Fall, restrooms repairs and necessary upgrades at the Sunnyside Pool. There will also be new playground equipment purchased for, and installed at the Pellett and Holt Parks. And, finally, there will eventually be a new Parks and Rec Department office and maintenance building at Sunnyside Park.

Northwest Iowa man gets 20 years for selling meth


April 5th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A 56-year-old northwest Iowa man with a record of drug convictions has been given 20 years in federal prison for selling methamphetamine. Federal prosecutors say Ronald Walstrom, of Palmer, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to sell meth and to possession of meth for sale. He admitted selling meth from January 2007 through April 2011. 
Walstrom was sentenced on Monday in federal court in Sioux City. He must serve eight years of supervised release after he leaves prison. Walstrom has two other felony drug convictions on his record. One came in October 1996 in Phelps County, Neb. The other came in May 1997 in the federal court for the Northern District of Iowa.

Bluffs Police investigate convenience store robbery


April 5th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs are investigating the armed robbery early this (Thursday) morning, of a convenience store. Officials say at around 12:05-a.m., two black men entered the Kwik Shop at 1602 Avenue G in Council Bluffs. One of the men displayed a black handgun and demanded money. Both suspects’ faces were covered as the entered the business. They were able to escape with an undetermined amount of cash. No injuries were reported.

The first suspect was described as being 5-feet 10-inches tall. He was approximately 18-to 25-years of age and weighed about 175-pounds. He wore a black hooded sweatshirt and jeans. The second suspect was also 18-to 25-years of age, about 5-feet seven-inches tall, and weighing about 150-pounds. He wore a royal blue hooded sweatshirt with a red symbol and white writing on the upper left chest area.

The incident remains under investigation by the Council Bluffs Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division.

Public hearing this evening in Walnut on development agreement


April 5th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The City Council in Walnut will hold a public hearing during their meeting this evening, with regard to a development agreement between the City and Lynn Driver, who has plans to add on to a new restaurant on the site of the old Villager Restaurant, near the interstate. The Council has been talking about providing Driver with Tax Increment payments as an incentive to build “Emma Jean’s” Restaurant. The restaurant is currently open and serves pizza and sandwiches, but Driver wants to expand so it becomes a full-service business and bigger menu. Following the hearing, the council will consider action on adopting a resolution approving the development agreement.

In other business, the Walnut City Council will hear the results of a youth survey, discuss nuisances, the possible development of a sand volleyball court at Fireman’s Park, and, review and update the City’s Infrastructure Needs Study and Strategic Plan.

Their meeting begins in the Council’s Chambers, at 5-p.m.

Atlantic City Council tables action on two issues; Mayor issues “Keep Atlantic Beautiful” proclamation


April 5th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council Wednesday tabled two of the items on their agenda for last night’s meeting. That included the first reading of an ordinance which would have added a Chapter to the City Code with regard to bow hunting of antlerless deer within the City limits. The Council wanted more input and information on the ordinance, as drafted, before it’s put back on the table. They also tabled a resolution to amend the City’s Personnel Policy with regard to employee safety, and loss control measures. The amendments would have required City employees to wear seat belts, and it would require the City to: have a designated physician for on the job injuries, and a return to work policy.

City Administrator Doug Harris said the recommendations followed a site visit from Ed Morrison, Loss Control Representative for the Iowa Municipalities Worker’s Compensation Association (IMWCA). The Council tabled action on the policy, because they still had several questions on some of the guidelines and specifications the IMWCA has proposed its member cities adopt in their ordinances. Instead of acting on the resolution, the Council chose instead to refer it to the City’s Personnel and Finance Committee for further review and clarification.

In other business, the Council passed a resolution accepting and approving the acquisition of property located at 400 Hickory Street, 300 Cedar, and 302 1/2 Cedar. The properties have been deemed abandoned and unsafe for human occupation. With the possible exception of one structure, the other structures are likely to be demolished, and the lots sold to the public.
In his report to the Council, City Administrator Doug Harris said the City’s new, $14-million wastewater treatment plant is scheduled to come on line during the early morning hours of Sunday, April 15th.

Harris says once any “bugs” are worked out of the new system and the plant is fully operational, the old wastewater treatment plant will be demolished, most likely around the first of May. Plans to replace the old wastewater treatment plant began in 2006, after it was determined the current, nearly 70-year old facility could not handle a significant storm water run-off, and, because the D-N-R had required the city to build a million-gallon retention basin, or lagoon. The City opted instead, to build a new, more modern plant.

Also during Wednesday night’s meeting, Mayor Dave Jones issued a proclamation designating April 2012 as “Keep Atlantic Beautiful” month. The proclamation encourages every family, business and organization within the community to keep the town litter-free and “more beautiful.” Jones says citizens should “Look for opportunities to pick-up, clean-up, paint-up, fix-up and plant-up, to see what a difference we can make altogether.”

Prairie Chicken Festival April 6th & 7th in Ringgold County

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say the 2012 Annual Prairie Chicken Festival will be this Friday and Saturday, April 6th & 7th, in Ringgold County.

A Prairie Chicken (photo at iowabirds.org.)

The event will kick off at the Ringgold County Courthouse auditorium in Mount Ayr with a celebration Friday evening from 5:30- to 7:30- p.m. The evening will include a presentation by Chief Blue Star Eagle, Sherwyn Zephier, and his wife Estellene on prairie chickens in the Yankton Sioux culture, including an authentic prairie chicken dance. Additional presentations will be made by Iowa Audubon, Blank Park Zoo and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

This Saturday, prairie chicken viewing will begin at 6:30 a.m. at the Kellerton Grassland Bird Conservation, two miles west of Kellerton on Hwy. 2, and one mile south.  Participants will be able to view prairie chickens on their booming ground, or lek. Spotting scopes will be provided and naturalists will be on hand to answer questions. In addition to prairie chickens, an extensive list of grassland nesting birds including upland sandpipers, Henslow’s sparrows and northern harriers will be prevalent. A second program will be presented by Chief Blue Star Eagle at the site at approximately 8:30 a.m.

A medium-sized grouse, prairie chickens were abundant in tallgrass prairies in the eastern and central United States at the time of European settlement. Their numbers began to decline in the late 1800s because of habitat loss and market hunting. The last known nesting in Iowa occurred in Appanoose County in 1952.  Today, most of greater prairie chickens are found in Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, with small populations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and North Dakota. The Kellerton population of prairie chickens is a result of reintroduction efforts by the DNR in the 1980s.

Visit www.iowadnr.gov to read more on the prairie chicken.

Persia, IA man sentenced to prison for Omaha murder


April 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An Iowa man who pleaded guilty to killing an Omaha man has been sentenced to 60 to 80 years in prison. A Douglas County judge on Wednesday sentenced 29-year-old Justin Reinders, of Persia, Iowa, to 50 to 60 years for second-degree murder and 10 to 20 years on a weapons charge. Reinders was charged with fatally shooting Milton Jackson at a lubrication business in Omaha in January 2011. Reinders, who had been charged with first-degree murder, pleaded guilty earlier this year in a deal with prosecutors. Questions had been raised about Reinders’ sanity at the time of the shooting. A judge ruled earlier that Reinders was not insane and was competent to stand trial.

Harrison Co. murderer dies in prison


April 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A man convicted of killing his wife in western Iowa in 1982 has died in prison. The corrections department says 70-year-old Roy Bales died Tuesday at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville. Department spokesman Fred Scaletta says Bales died as result of several health problems, including congestive heart failure. Bales was convicted of first-degree murder in Harrison County in August 1982 and sentenced to life in prison. Assistant County Attorney Judson Frisk says Bales was found guilty of killing his wife, Darlene. Frisk, who was county attorney at the time, says Bales beat up his wife and drove her to a country road where he stabbed her and hid the body in a tube under a gravel road.

Mom in Iowa western IA murder case wrote to Wis. sex offender


April 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A prosecutor says a mother convicted of a high-profile western Iowa murder wrote a letter detailing the crime scene to a Wisconsin sex offender in an attempt to solicit testimony to back up her self-defense claims. Tracey Richter has claimed her 2001 shooting of Dustin Wehde, was self-defense during a home invasion in the Sac County community of Early. But jurors in November sided with prosecutors, who argued that Richter killed Wehde in a plot to implicate her first husband in a murder-for-hire scheme.
Jailers copied one letter Richter wrote to Wisconsin inmate James Landa that showed diagrams of the home where the shooting happened and a car where evidence was found. The letter included information about the victim and others Richter claims was involved. Prosecutor Ben Smith said Richter was seeking testimony to win a new trial.