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Severe storms wind heavy rain, large hail expected Saturday evening/night

News, Weather

June 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The National Weather Service in Valley, NE., says severe storms are possible Saturday night through early Sunday morning across a large portion of east central Nebraska and parts of western Iowa. In the KJAN listening area, parts of  Crawford, Monona, Harrison, Shelby and Pottawattamie Counties will be under the gun for the most severe weather this weekend.outlook6-1024x459

In their Hazardous Weather Outlook issued this (Friday) morning, the Weather Service says very large hail, damaging winds and heavy rainfall can be expected, with some areas along and north of Interstate 80 picking up in excess of two-inches of rain.

An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out, either Saturday evening. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK., has indicated that a “Moderate Risk” of severe storms will exist across most of the area. Storm spotters will likely be called into action Saturday afternoon and night.

Fremont County Authorities investigate theft of weapons

News

June 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Fremont County are asking for the public’s help in solving a crime that involves the theft of firearms. Sheriff’s officials say sometime between Monday, June 2nd and Monday, June 9th, a person or persons unknown entered a storage unit at Holliman Storage in Hamburg. Inside, they removed several firearms, including assault rifles.

A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in connection with the incident. If you have information you think might be helpful in solving the crime, call Fremont County Chief Deputy Steve Owen or Deputy Andrew Wake, at 712-374-2424.

Cruisin’ Highway 6 on motorcycle

News

June 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

More than 2,000 motorcycle enthusiasts are expected to begin a trek across Iowa today along U-S Highway 6, from Council Bluffs to Davenport, where they will be a part of the “20th Anniversary Rally on the River” event, Saturday night. The bikers are participating in the “River to River Motorcycle Cruise.”  In Council Bluffs, participants will meet at the 100 block of West Broadway. River to River

They’ll wave the checkered flag at 9-a.m., and take the original Broadway Ave/McPherson Ave alignment out of Council Bluffs, riding through the scenic Loess Hills. Among the communities the large group will be passing through is: Oakland; Atlantic; Wiota; Anita; Adair; Casey; Menlo: Stuart; Dexter; Redfield and Adel.

They’ll be checking out the Freedom Rock in Oakland, along with the the Jesse James and Bonnie & Clyde robbery sites.  The motorcycle enthusiasts will roll through Des Moines, Altoona, and Colfax before meeting up with Thunder Nites in Newton, where they typically have between 1500 to 2000 bikes on hand, and live music on the square.

U.S. Highway 6 stretches 3,205 miles from Provincetown, Mass., to Bishop, Calif. It formerly stretched 3,652 miles from Long Beach, Calif., to Provincetown, making it the nation’s longest highway, before portions of its California route were decommissioned. The River to River Motorcycle Cruise was inspired by the movie “River to River: Iowa’s Forgotten Highway 6,” by award-winning filmmakers Kelly & Tammy Rundle, and inspired by the Highway 6 research and photography of David W. Darby.

(For more information: http://www.usroute6iowa.org/Cruises/River-to-River-Motorcycle-Cruise/2014/Cruise-Info)

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., 6/13/14

News

June 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

MILFORD, Iowa (AP) — The mayor and a City Council member in the northwest Iowa city of Milford have resigned because of disagreements with members elected last fall. The Sioux City Journal reports council member Rick Kilts acknowledged he and Mayor Don Lamb quit Wednesday night.

MURRAY, Iowa (AP) — The Department of Natural Resources has announced a boil advisory for part of the town of Murray, in south-central Iowa. The advisory was issued for the northern part of the city after a water main break on Wednesday. The advisory applies to portions of the city north of Fifth Street. Repairs were made yesterday morning and the system was being flushed. The boil advisory will remain in place until two sets of bacteria samples have been taken, and both show the water is safe.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Police say a Council Bluffs man who went missing died in an accidental New Year’s Eve fire in southwest Iowa. The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs reports that 26-year-old Travis Bach disappeared around the time of the house fire near an Iowa Highway 370 bridge in Mills County.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Roughly 3,000 classic cars and hot rods will cruise through eastern Iowa as part of a tour. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports that the cars were to spend Thursday night in Bettendorf. Today they’ll pass through Maquoketa, Bellevue and Dubuque on their way to Wisconsin.

6 Iowa counties qualify for storm damage help

News

June 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Six Iowa counties hit by storms last week now qualify for emergency disaster assistance. Gov. Terry Branstad has issued proclamations for Adams, Clarke, Decatur, Mills, Taylor and Wayne counties. All were affected by severe storms that brought heavy rain, hail, and high wind on June 3. The proclamation allows state resources to be used.

The proclamation also activates the Iowa Individual Assistance Program for Decatur County which provides grants of up to $5,000 for households meeting income eligibility guidelines for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food, and other assistance.

State emergency management officials have requested a federal damage assessment to public infrastructure in 10 counties including Adams, Clarke, Decatur, Harrison, and Mills counties. Also included are Montgomery Pottawattamie, Ringgold, Taylor and Wayne.

Bluffs Police ID remains found in Dec. house fire

News

June 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs, Thursday, released a report identifying the remains of a person found following a house fire on Dec. 31st, 2013, in rural Mills County. Officials with the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny said based on circumstantial evidence in the case, bone fragments discovered in the home at 16683 Alcorn Avenue, are most likely those of Council Bluffs resident, 26-year old Travis Bach.

Several small, burned bone fragments were located during an excavation of the home on Jan. 15th and 16th, 2014. The fragments were sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for testing. A test of Mitochondrial DNA was conducted, but none was located.  The Medical Examiner has listed the cause of death as accidental, and probably related to smoke inhalation and thermal injuries.

The home where Bach’s remains were found belonged to 69-year old Gerald Nibbe, who’d been away the night of Dec. 31st, 2013, night visiting family in Omaha. The Mills County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa State Patrol had responded to a call from a security company around 9:30 p.m. saying the home’s motion-detecting security alarms were going off. When officers entered the home, they discovered multiple alarms going off and a fire.

Nibbe returned between 11 p.m. and midnight to find his home ablaze. Bach’s mother, Colleen, said her family believed Travis Bach was near the scene of the fire. Officials had investigated a suspicious vehicle parked on the property the night of the event. The vehicle’s owner, who lives in Council Bluffs, told sheriff’s deputies that he lent the vehicle to Travis Bach. Bach knew Nibbe and had done “odd jobs” for him in the past.

Council Bluffs police Sgt. Chad Meyers says authorities believed from the outset that remains found at the scene were Bach’s, but DNA tests were inconclusive. Meyers described the home as a “hoarder’s house,” full of items that made the fire burn hotter and longer than usual.

Investigators with the Iowa State Fire Marshal Division were not able to determine what caused the fire.

$135,000 in CAT Grants Awarded to 2 western IA Communities

News

June 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Vision Iowa Board has awarded a total of $135,000 in Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) grants for improvements at the French Icarian Village in Corning, and renovations at the Dunlop Wildlife Recreation Area near Orange City. The grants were approved by the Vision Iowa Board at their meeting in Des Moines, Wednesday.

The French Icarian Colony Foundation’s “Garden to Table” Kitchen and Sanitary System Project received a requested $40,000 toward the total $166,945 cost of the project. The award is contingent upon the foundation having completed its fundraising efforts within 60 days. The project includes the renovation of the basement and other areas of the historic dining hall to be used as a state-certified community kitchen, installation of a sanitation system for the dining hall and two public restrooms for
visitors.

And, the City of Orange City received a $95,000 CAT grant for the Dunlop Wildlife Recreation Area Renovations project. That was $2,300 less than they had asked for. The total cost of the project is $516,500. The award is contingent upon the City completing its fundraising efforts within 30 days.

The project will renovate the Dunlop Wildlife Recreation Area by adding an amphitheater, fishing piers, trails, a playground, bathrooms, a bridge to a trailer campground, a bigger open-air shelter, a picnic and camping area, plus new trees, bushes and seeding.

The Vision Iowa Program provides financial incentives to communities for the construction of recreational, cultural, educational or entertainment facilities that enhance the quality of life in Iowa. Currently, 388 CAT awards have been granted by the board, totaling $145,359,186. The next Vision Iowa Board meeting is scheduled for July 9, 2014, in Des Moines.

3rd arrest made in western Iowa flagpole thefts

News

June 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

CARROLL, Iowa (AP) — Iowa authorities have arrested a third man accused of stealing flagpoles from the Carroll American Legion over the Memorial Day weekend. The Carroll Daily Times Herald reports  that 18-year-old Jerad Wayne Reed of Lohrville was arrested on Tuesday. Authorities have also charged 37-year-old Christopher Lee Gay and 20-year-old Chance Abel Kenny, both of Lake City.

Police say the men stole two trailers with an estimated 550 metal flagpoles and attempted to sell them at two local salvage yards. Legion members say the salvage-yard workers declined to buy them. The total value of the poles was estimated at $16,500.

All three men face felony theft charges. They face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Special Investigation of Menlo’s financial books

News

June 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Auditor of State Mary Mosiman Thursday (today) released a report on a special investigation of the City of Menlo for the period January 1st, 2001 through May 31st, 2013. The special investigation was requested by City officials as a result of concerns regarding certain transactions prepared by the former City Clerk, Brenda Simmons.

Mosiman reported the special investigation identified $82,893.51 of improper and unsupported disbursements. The slightly more than $81,632 worth of improper disbursements identified include:
• Over $62,362 worth of payments made by the City for health insurance coverage which
should have been paid by Ms. Simmons and the City’s former maintenance employee, John Freeman,
• Approximately $6,430 worth of unauthorized payroll and the City’s share of related FICA and IPERS payments,
•Nearly $12,680 of additional payroll issued to Ms. Simmons because of an improper increase in hourly wages and the City’s share of related FICA and IPERS payments, and
• And $160 of interest paid to IPERS.

The slightly more than $1,260 of unsupported disbursements identified includes just over $1,073 worth of payments to Ms. Simmons and almost $188 worth of payments to Simmons’ husband. Mosiman reported it was not possible to determine if additional improper disbursements were made because sufficient records were not readily available.

The report includes recommendations to strengthen the City’s internal controls and overall operations, such as improving segregation of duties, performing bank reconciliations, requiring adequate documentation to support disbursements, and performing an independent review of bank statements. In addition, all disbursements should be approved by the City Council.

Copies of the report have been filed with the Division of Criminal Investigation, the Guthrie County Attorney’s Office, and the Attorney General’s Office. A copy of the report is available for review on the Auditor of State’s website at http://auditor.iowa.gov/specials/1322-0367-BE00.pdf
and in the Office of Auditor of State.

Rain-packed storms cut drought in Iowa, Nebraska

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

June 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Storms last week brought with them some peril in the form of wind and large hail but they also delivered enough rain to significantly relieve drought conditions in Iowa and Nebraska. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows Iowa’s remaining drought is mostly confined to the northwest and southeast corners of the state. About 40 percent of the state has some drought down from nearly 56 percent a week earlier.

In Nebraska, the drought area has been reduced to 63 percent of the state from nearly 70 percent the week before. Extreme drought was removed from central Nebraska. About 30 percent of the 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico have moderate drought or worse, compared with 31 percent a week earlier.