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Late accident report from Cass County


February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office today (Thursday), released information about an accident that happened last Friday evening (Feb. 13th).  According to the report, a two-vehicle accident on I-80 eastbound at the 51 mile marker, as a 2006 Kenworth driven by 48-year old James Allen Thimmesch,  of Aurora, IA, was eastbound on I-80.The semi was passed by a 2007 Ford F150 pickup owned and driven by 63-year old Douglas Duane Wager, of Shelby,which suddenly slowed when it got into the lane in front of Thimmesch’s vehicle, causing Thimmesch to strike the rear of Wager’s vehicle. No accident injuries were reported, although Wager was subsequently transported by Medivac to the Cass County Memorial Hospital for a potential medical condition. Damage to the vehicles amounted to $3,000 altogether.
(12-p.m. News)

Godwin Scholarship Application Deadline Is March 31st


February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon County Community Foundation reminds students in the Exira/EHK school District, that the deadline for submitting applications for the Exira Lions Club/Harold and Beverly Ann Godwin Endowed Scholarship is March 31st. The Fund will award one scholarship for $1,000 and is open to any high school senior from the Exira-EHK School District pursuing a two or four year degree, full-time, at any accredited vocational/technical, educational institution, a college or university.

Applicants are asked to complete the application form and submit it with a copy of their current transcripts to their high school guidance counselor, as directed in the scholarship’s fact sheet. Scholarship applications are available from the guidance counselor.

McCurdy Scholarship Deadline is March 31st


February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County Community Foundation are reminding students that the deadline for submitting applications for the Dustin McCurdy Endowed Scholarship Fund, is March 31st. The McCurdy Scholarship provides two scholarships of approximately $500 each to high school seniors from Cumberland Anita Massena High School (C-A-M).

Applicants are asked to complete the application form and submit it with a copy of their current transcripts to their guidance counselor as directed in the scholarship’s fact sheet. Applications are available from their high school guidance counselor.

Bill would force governor to keep MHIs in Clarinda & Mt Pleasant open through June 30th


February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A subcommittee in the Iowa Senate has endorsed a bill that would force the two state Mental Health Institutes targeted for closure to admit patients through the end of June, but staff at the facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant have been told layoff notices are coming soon. Senator Rob Hogg, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, says the staff at the Mental Health Institute in Mount Pleasant told him they’ve already turned away more than three-hundred patients.

“We appropriated the money. We expected these facilities to operate for the year,” Hogg says. “And for them to be unilaterally closed is unacceptable.” Senator Mark Segebar, a Republican from Vail, says while officials have been trying to “redesign” the state’s mental health service delivery system for several years, this is not the time to “make this jump” because the beds at the two state-run Mental Health Institutes are still needed for patients.

“Sometimes they just take ’em to the ERs and leave them there for three days until they can find a bed in their own hospital,” Segebart says. “That’s terrible. It’s really a crisis.” Danny Homan is the president of AFSCME Council 61, the union which represents many of the workers at the two facilities. He says staff at the Clarinda Mental Health Institute were told on Tuesday that patients with acute mental illness will no longer be accepted there after April 1st and the last day for staff there will be on or before May 18th. According to Homan, staff at the Mount Pleasant M-H-I were told Tuesday that the first round of layoff notices would go out this Monday, February 23rd and May 31st is the target date for complete closure of the facility.

“The legislators are on the right side of this issue,” Homan says. “The governor of this state is on the wrong side of this issue.” Governor Branstad says it’s been difficult to recruit psychiatrists to work in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant and he says the two facilities are antiquated and ill-suited to modern treatment. Senator Hogg says that wasn’t his impression when he toured the M-H-I in Mount Pleasant two weeks ago. “It was built in the late ’50s and early ’60s. It’s in as good a condition as the high schools in Cedar Rapids,” Hogg says. “…Second, the staff there is working hard and most importantly the patients who we had a chance to visit with talked about how treatment they might have received in prison had failed. Treatment they may have received in the community they liked, but it wasn’t enough. They were really benefitting from being there.”

The bill that cleared a senate subcommittee early this morning (Thursday) calls on the governor to keep the institutes operating through June 30th, since the budget approved by the legislature last year allocated that money. Homan says it’s clear community services for mentally ill patients can’t handle the number of patients who would have been served at the state-run hospitals. “And the governor should sign this bill and he should stop the movement to close these facilities until the infrastructure’s in place to do what we need to do,” Homan says. “And we’re not there.”

According to Homan, staff at the Clarinda M-H-I are contacting nursing homes and trying to transfer geriatric patients who’re being treated at Clarinda for a mental illness. Homan says that’s “outrageous” since four of those geriatric patients are violent sexual predators who did time in prison for sex crimes.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa prep wrestler’s condition has improved, hospital says

News, Sports

February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The condition of an Iowa wrestler who collapsed at the state high school duals tournament has improved. Spokesman Gregg Lagan for Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines said Thursday morning that Tayler Pettit’s condition has been upgraded to serious from critical. Lagan says he can’t provide other medical information on the teenager. The Creston/Orient-Macksburg wrestler doubled over during the tournament Wednesday.

Pettit began to seize and quit breathing. An on-call doctor used an automated external defibrillator and shocked Pettit twice before moving him from the mat.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers To Be Held in Red Oak


February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Do you help take care of an older family member or friend? If so, you are not alone. Over 65 million family caregivers in America provide a vast array of emotional, financial, nursing, social, homemaking and other services on a daily or intermittent basis.  Powerful Tools for Caregivers is an educational series designed to provide tools you need to take care of yourself. image001

ISU Extension officials say if you take good care of yourself, you will be better prepared to take good care of your loved one. As a participant you will learn how to: reduce stress, improve self-confidence, better communicate your feelings, balance your life, increase ability to make tough decisions and locate helpful resources.

Iowa State University Extension is sponsoring Powerful Tools for Caregivers in cooperation with Good Samaritan Society in Red Oak in March and April. This program has been tested and evaluated through a grant from the U.S. Administration on Aging. Classes consist of six, 2 ½ hour sessions held once a week. Two experienced leaders conduct each class. Interactive lessons, discussions and brainstorming help you take the “tools” you choose and put them into action for your life.

Sessions are scheduled every Wednesday for six weeks and begins on March 18th. Classes will be held at Good Samaritan, 201 Alix Ave., Red Oak from 2:00 – 4:30 pm. A grant received from Good Samaritan defrays the participant costs. Participant books are available for use or purchase ($35). For more information or to register, contact Montgomery County Extension at 712-623-2592 before March 13th.

Early Connections to Nature & Science Online Class


February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

ISU Extension and Outreach wants to encourage young children to find opportunities in nature, and to that end, they’re offering an online class for child care providers called Early Connections to Nature & Science. The 90-minute class will emphasize children’s need for physical activity, explore nature’s benefits, and highlight free resources as well as additional learning opportunities for providers.

The class will be held on Wednesday, March 18th, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Providers may register at the Iowa Child Care Provider Training Registry, https://ccmis.dhs.state.ia.us/TrainingRegistry/. Registration and payment is required by March 11th. Registrants only need an internet connection and speakers. The online class counts as face-to-face and is highly interactive.

Sandra McKinnon, human sciences specialist with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach, says “Research tells us that spending time in nature has many positive benefits. Children who have opportunities to play and learn in nature are more likely to handle challenges and problems more capably and act responsibly toward the earth and each other. They are more physically active and less likely to be obese.”

McKinnon says “Children can play anywhere and with anything, but the natural world is an especially inviting place for play. Children play to invent, explore and try different things. Open-ended play in natural settings or with natural objects enhances curiosity and triggers the imagination.”

(Podcast) KJAN News, 2/19/2015

News, Podcasts

February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The 8-a.m. Newscast w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.


Cass Community Website Approved


February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Atlantic, Cass Atlantic Development Corporation (CADCO) and Cass County are collaborating to create a new website to serve the entire community. The site will serve existing and potential new residents and businesses. Quida Wymer, Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, said “We are excited to be a part of this professionally designed website incorporating all four major entities in Atlantic. Uniting together will create a more effective and successful website to attract people to Cass County. The project will also encourage and build stronger relationships between the Chamber, City, CADCO and County.”

Wymer says bringing all four organizations together will achieve a number of benefits for the entire Cass Community: increased search engine ranking for all four entities, information for the community on one user friendly site, strategic design will attract new entrepreneurs and young business leaders, as well as, become more efficient by eliminating duplicate information.

Five Q Communications a Cass County based digital marketing firm will be leading the website project. The initial stage of discovery will provide the organizations with an understanding of the end users, solid graphic design brief and a clear plan of execution. This discovery will provide insight into the user experience that must be created to accomplish the goals of each organization.

Wymer says the new skillfully designed website will be the first impression to our community. It will represent who we are: established yet progressive, offering endless opportunities. The website will communicate and promote all Cass County and the Atlantic Area has to offer to both its current residents and new visitors.

(Press Release)

2 arrests in Atlantic Wednesday


February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Two people were arrested on separate charges Wednesday, here in Atlantic. The A-PD reports 34-year old Christopher Anstey, of Atlantic, was arrested for Public Intoxication, and, 23-year old Jacob Osbon, of Neola, was arrested for Interference with Official Acts and Theft in the 4th Degree (Shoplifting).

Both men were booked into the Cass County Jail.