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Weather officials say hail, damaging winds possible in Iowa

News, Weather

June 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Weather officials say large hail and damaging winds are possible in parts of Iowa as thunderstorms move through the state. The National Weather Service says thunderstorms in southeast Iowa will pose the biggest threat Monday afternoon into the evening. Parts of central Iowa will also be affected.

The forecast doesn’t rule out conditions for tornadoes, and heavy rainfall in some areas may also produce flash flooding.

Ericksen sentenced to maximum of 25-years in prison

News

June 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A Pottawattamie County man who plead guilty June 1st to one felony count of Sexual Abuse Assault in the second-degree, was sentenced today (Monday, June 22nd), to serve a maximum of 25-years at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center. Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Jeffrey L. Larsen said 56-year old Roger Allen Ericksen was also ordered to pay a fine amounting to $1,000. Cass County Attorney Dave Wiederstein says at a minimum, Ericksen will be incarcerated for 17 and a half years before being eligible for parole, with credit given for time already served.

In exchange for his plea of guilty to Count I, the remaining nine counts of sexual abuse in the second degree were dismissed. Ericksen is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life under the sex offender registry rules, pay all related court costs and fines, and his court appointed attorney fees. He is also required to submit a DNA sample for profiling.

There is also pending parole violation arising from his conviction in Cass County to Sexual Abuse in the 3rd Degree, on December 4th, 2012.

Consultant expects longer Omaha VA hospital funding delay

News

June 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A consultant’s report says funding to build a replacement for Omaha’s aging Department of Veterans Affairs hospital may be even further away than expected. In 2011 the VA unveiled plans for a 1 million-square-foot replacement in Omaha to serve Nebraska and western Iowa veterans. Congress approved $56 million to start the project planning, and it tentatively was scheduled to open in 2018.

The analysis by Omaha-based Booz Allen Hamilton released Monday says funding now could be delayed until the late 2020s. The analysis points to a $9 billion backlog of approved projects and VA infrastructure needs that could reach $60 billion. “There never really was any real chance there was going to be a new hospital here,” said U.S. Rep. Brad Ashford, D-2nd District.

Hwy 6/7th Street construction project update

News

June 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

As part of a weekly report on the Highway 6/7th Street construction project here in Atlantic, Scott Suhr, Iowa Dept. of Transportation District 4 Planning Coordinator, says the contractor had a very productive week considering the amount of rain we received.

The sanitary sewer work at Mulberry, Pine and Spruce has been completed. The EPA work has also been completed. Bluffs Paving began trimming grade from Olive to Spruce. They will work on trimming grade from Spruce to Pine this week. The contractor will prepare grade from Pine to Cherry this week.

Suhr says there is a possibility the contractor may begin pouring concrete on Friday but there is a lot of work to do before that. The contractor will also work on the sanitary sewer near Plum Street this week. Atlantic Municipal Utilities could replace the water main later this week or possibly early next week.

Gov. Branstad signs broadband bill into law

News

June 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

PERRY, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad has signed a bill into law that is aimed at expanding high-speed Internet in Iowa. Branstad signed the bill Monday at an equipment supplier in Perry. The law creates a property tax relief program for service providers adding infrastructure for high-speed Internet, also known as broadband. It also designates more responsibility to the state’s chief information officer to establish more broadband opportunities.

Branstad made broadband expansion a legislative priority during the last two years, but lawmakers were often at odds over its implementation. A bill with more tax incentives for service providers failed in 2014. Lawmakers this year disagreed on the direction of a grant program that was stripped of $5 million in state dollars. The program is in the law, but it will be privately funded.

2 non-injury accidents in Union County

News

June 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Union County investigated two, non-injury accidents over the past few days. Late Saturday morning, vehicles driven by 17-year old Mica Graham, of Sidney, and Anthony Weeks, of Lorimor, collided at the intersection of Highways 169 and 34, causing $8,000 damage. Sheriff’s officials say when Weeks failed to yield the right of way, the 2010 Dodge Caravan collided with a 2005 Mercury Sable, driven by Graham. Weeks was cited for Failure to Yield upon making a left turn. He told authorities he didn’t see the car because of a vehicle in the turn lane.

The other accident happened just after Noon on Thursday, at the intersection of W. Howard and N. Elm Streets, in Creston. According to Police, a 2004 Chevy Malibu driven by 74-year old Maynard Madore, of Creston, was hit by a 1999 Chevy Silverado pickup driven by 48-year old Dixie Akers, of Creston, after Akers failed to obey a stop sign. Damage from the collision was estimated at $2,800.

2 Atlantic residents arrested on assault charges

News

June 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports two people were arrested on assault charges, Friday. 44-year old Brenda Osborn, of Atlantic, was arrested for Domestic Abuse/Serious Assault. And, 58-year old Terry Calhoun, of Atlantic, was arrested for Domestic Abuse Assault/3rd or subsequent offense. Both were booked into the Cass County Jail.

And, Atlantic Police say no injuries were reported following an accident late Friday morning, at 10th and Plum Streets. Officials say vehicles driven by Marjorie Turner and Sharon Arnold, both of Atlantic, collided just after 11-a.m., when Turner stopped, but then continued into the intersection as she was heading north on Plum Street. Her vehicle hit Arnold’s vehicle as it was heading west on 10th Street, causing a total of $18,000 damage. Turner was cited for Failure to Obey or Yield from a Stop Sign.

Audit says fired official filed for improper reimbursement

News

June 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SHENANDOAH, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa State Auditor’s Office says a special investigation showed the former superintendent of Shenandoah schools requested nearly $1,200 in improper or unsupported mileage reimbursements.

The investigation requested by the district says Jeff Hiser claimed mileage for a Des Moines meeting in late August, but meeting minutes show he attended electronically rather than traveling to Des Moines. The investigation report issued Monday also says Hiser claimed mileage for a Des Moines conference trip in early August but actually drove a district vehicle rather than his own.

The school board voted in November to considering terminating Hiser based on allegations of fraud, policy violations and a cover-up of misdeeds. He was fired in January.

Reminder: Cass County Landfill road bridge to be closed Wednesday

News

June 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A reminder to area residents from Cass County Engineer Charles Marker: primary access to the Cass County Landfill will be cut-off beginning this Wednesday, June 24th, due to a bridge replacement project. Landfill mapThe roughly 100-foot bridge is along Jackson Road, to the west of the landfill. Once the road is closed, it will remain closed for approximately two-to three months, depending on the weather. The project is being paid for with 80-percent federal bridge replacement funds and a 20-percent local government match.

Effective Wednesday, you will no longer be able to access the landfill road via Highway 71. Persons needing to bring items to the landfill will need to take Highway 6 (WhitePole Road), east, to just west of Wiota, and then turn south onto 665th Street. Continue south until you see Jackson Road, and turn west to reach the landfill.

OWI arrests in Audubon County

News

June 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office reports two people were arrested for impaired driving, over the weekend. At around 2:45-a.m. Saturday, 28-year old Travis Lee Strasser, of Audubon, was taken into custody on a charge of OWI/1st offense, following a traffic stop on 180th Street, near Robin Avenue. Strasser was brought to the Audubon County Jail and later posted a cash bond, before being released. He’s scheduled to appear in court this Thursday morning.

And, at around 12:30-a.m. Sunday, 20-year old James Nicholas Madsen, of Kimballton, was arrested for OWI/1st offense, following a traffic stop on Highway 44, near Crane Avenue. Madsen appeared later in front of a magistrate and was released, with his preliminary hearing set for July 9th.