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7AM Newscast 02-23-2012

News, Podcasts

February 23rd, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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Atlantic CPC to discuss speed limit & deer hunting, Friday

News

February 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic’s Community Protection Committee (CPC) will discuss and take input from the public on, a proposed speed limit reduction for 22nd Street. The Ordinance calls for the speed limit on East 22nd Street (from Highway 71 to Olive Street), and on West 22nd Street (from Chestnut to Highway 6), to be reduced from 45- to 35-miles per hour.  Following public input on the matter, the CPC will forward its recommendations to the City Council for a vote during their next regular meeting.

The Committee will also discuss deer hunting, within the Atlantic City limits, in an effort to cull the herd. The meeting takes place at 4-p.m. Friday, Feb. 24th, in the Council’s Chambers at City Hall, in Atlantic.

(update) Mechanical malfunction causes semi trailer Fire on I-80 in Cass County this morning

News

February 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A mechanical malfunction of some sort was to blame for a semi trailer fire early this (Thursday) morning on Interstate 80, in Cass County. Firefighters from Atlantic and Marne were called to the scene located on I-80 westbound at the 52 mile-marker, at about 5:49-a.m.  Atlantic Firefighter Gene Schmelling told KJAN News a tire burned out on the trailer of the semi which was hauling lime. The flames spread to the rest of the trailer, causing a substantial amount of damage to the rear. The semi’s driver managed to separate the tractor from the trailer, and prevent further damage. Firefighters were on the scene for about an hour. No injuries were reported. The DOT reported the right lane of I-80 westbound was blocked for a little more than four-hours this morning, while crews worked to remove the damaged trailer and clean-up the mess. Cass County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Kennon says the wreck was finally cleared by around 11:45-a.m. 

Firefighter Gene Schmelling said it’s not clear how the fire began, but it was most likely caused by a blow-out, bad brakes or worn bearings.

Semi Trailer Fire (Mike Kennon/Cass Co. EMA photo)

Trailer Fire on I-80 WB at mm 52 (Mike Kennon photo)

Winter Weather Statements Issued Feb. 23rd, 2012

News, Weather

February 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

COUNTIES: AUDUBON-GUTHRIE-ADAIR-

421 AM CST THU FEB 23 2012

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM THIS MORNING TO 9 PM CST THIS EVENING

* TIMING…A MIX OF RAIN AND SNOW WILL DEVELOP THROUGHOUT THE MORNING AND INTO THE EARLY AFTERNOON HOURS BEFORE TRANSITIONING TO ALL SNOW BY LATE THIS AFTERNOON. THE SNOW WILL TAPER OFF BY LATE THIS EVENING. * STORM TOTAL SNOW…TOTAL SNOW AMOUNTS OF 2 TO 5 INCHES.* WINDS/VISIBILITY…GUSTY NORTHWEST WINDS OF 15 TO 30 MPH WILL DEVELOP LATE THIS AFTERNOON AND LEAD TO VISIBILITIES OF LESS THAN ONE HALF MILE AT TIMES INTO THE EVENING HOURS…ESPECIALLY DURING RUSH HOUR. * IMPACTS…CONDITIONS MAY QUICKLY DETERIORATE BY THE MID TO LATE AFTERNOON. TRAVEL WILL BECOME QUITE DIFFICULT AT TIMES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW MEANS THAT VISIBILITY WILL BE LIMITED DUE TO A COMBINATION OF FALLING AND BLOWING SNOW. USE CAUTION WHEN TRAVELING…ESPECIALLY IN OPEN AREAS.

COUNTIES: MONONA-HARRISON-SHELBY

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 10 PM CST THIS EVENING

COUNTIES:

MONONA-HARRISON-SHELBY-POTTAWATTAMIE-MILLS-MONTGOMERY-FREMONT-PAGE-

...WIND ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT FROM 2 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 6 PM CST THIS EVENING

* WINDS…WEST NORTHWEST WINDS WILL INCREASE TO A GENERAL 30 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 45 MPH BY MID AFTERNOON. * IMPACTS…THE STRONG WINDS WILL MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT… ESPECIALLY ON EAST TO WEST ORIENTED ROADS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT SUSTAINED WINDS OF 30 MPH ARE EXPECTED. WINDS THIS STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT… ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES. USE EXTRA CAUTION.

COUNTIES: CRAWFORD-CARROLL-GREENE-

WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM CST THIS EVENING…* TIMING…SNOW WILL SPREAD OVER WEST CENTRAL TO NORTHWEST IOWA THROUGH THE LATE MORNING HOURS AND PERSIST THROUGH THE EARLY EVENING TONIGHT. HEAVY SNOWFALL WITH RATES OF 1 TO 2 INCHES PER HOUR ARE POSSIBLY LATE THIS MORNING…BUT ESPECIALLY BY THIS AFTERNOON. THE HEAVIEST SNOWFALL WILL BEGIN TO TAPER OFF BY EARLY THIS EVENING. * STORM TOTAL SNOW…TOTAL SNOW AMOUNTS OF 5 TO 10 INCHES…WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS POSSIBLE. WINDS/VISIBILITY…VISIBILITIES OF ONE QUARTER MILE OR LESS AS NORTHWEST WINDS OF 15 TO 30 MPH CAN BE ARE EXPECTED THROUGH THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING. * IMPACTS…CONDITIONS WILL QUICKLY DETERIORATE BY MID TO LATE THIS MORNING AND WORSEN THROUGH THE AFTERNOON. SOME AREAS OF BLOWING AND DRIFTING OF SNOW IS EXPECTED BY THE EARLY EVENING.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL…KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT…FOOD…AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

Atlantic City Council approves proposed $10.1-million budget; Public hearing March 7th

News

February 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council Wednesday evening approved a proposed $10.1-million dollar Fiscal Year 2013 budget. Mayor Dave Jones says the Council has spent many hours over the past couple of days preparing the budget, which will be open for a public hearing, on March 7th, 2012.  City Administrator Doug Harris said there were some last minute changes to the budget Wednesday, because the Atlantic School District has agreed to pay part of the cost to refurbish the tennis courts at Sunnyside Park, which are in bad shape and need to be resurfaced, especially before district tennis action can be held. Atlantic Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring had said earlier, grants would be available to pay for a portion of the City’s cost to repair the tennis courts.

The School has agreed to pay $88,000 as its share of the cost to repair the tennis courts, which amounts to $44,000 per year for Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014. That means the City will have  to pay upfront, the first-half of the $44,000 it will receive from the District, in order to pay for the repairs in the upcoming Fiscal Year. Because of that, Harris says he’s worked with Roger Herring to modify some of his planned project start dates, and will be dipping into his fund balance for any potential losses due to storms. Those projects and/or funds will be reimbursed, but not until Fiscal Year 2014.

The proposed Fiscal Year 2013 Budget adopted by the Council Wednesday also includes $13,055 for change orders on the City’s new waste water treatment plant. The budget night can be lowered following the public hearing, but it cannot be increased. The $10.1-million dollar budget includes $725,000 for the new waste water treatment plant and $190,000 for the storm water improvement system. The adopted budget will result in a slight increase in property taxes, to cover increases in the City’s employee benefits fund & Workman’s Compensation Insurance,  as well as an increase in the Debt Service tax levy.  Residents with an assessed property valuation of $100,000, for example, would see an approximate $31 increase in their taxes, factoring-in the rollback.

THREE PEOPLE SENTENCED ON SEX TRAFFICKING AND PROSTITUTION CHARGES

News

February 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa says three Omaha, NE residents were sentenced this week in U-S District Court in Council Bluffs, in association with sex trafficking crimes. 39-year old Parrish Jason Casebier, 41-year old Cheryl Elaine Tucker, and 26-year old Kentrell Vertner, were convicted for their participation in crimes relating to sex trafficking and interstate transportation for prostitution. Judge John A. Jarvey sentenced Parrish Jason Casebier to 300 months imprisonment, and Cheryl Elaine Tucker to 120 months imprisonment for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. Kentrell Vertner was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for his role in conspiracy to transport individuals in interstate commerce for prostitution.

Judge Jarvey also sentenced Casebier and Tucker to 5 years of supervised release following their respective terms of imprisonment, and sentenced Vertner to 3 years of supervised release following his imprisonment. Each defendant was also ordered to pay a $100.00 special assessment for the Crime Victims Fund, and ordered to remain in the custody of the United States Marshal pending designation to a Federal Bureau of Prison facility at which he or she will serve that defendant’s federal sentence.

Casebier was found to be the leader of the prostitution operation, and to have committed the acts of physical and sexual abuse against the victims. Tucker was Casebier’s girlfriend and served as his manager of the prostitution operation. Vertner played a much lesser role in the prostitution operation, primarily associated with at times posting internet solicitations for prostitution and assisting with transporting various of the other individuals for prostitution.

The investigation arose out of a Council Bluffs Police Department (PD) response to a June 8th, 2010 request for help regarding an alleged kidnapping at a motel in Council Bluffs. As a result of Council Bluffs PD’s quick response to the call for help, a 19 year old
woman was rescued and another woman taken into protective custody. At that time, Casebier was arrested and charged by the Pottawattamie County Attorney’s Office with kidnaping. The State of Iowa charges were later dismissed, and a federal investigation was begun by the FBI and the Council Bluffs PD.

In February of 2011, as part of the continuing federal investigation, the FBI and Council Bluffs PD conducted a prostitution sting in Council Bluffs. As a result of the sting, a third woman was taken into custody and removed from Casebier’s control. Ultimately, four women were identified as victims of the defendants. The record shows that three of the four victims were originally induced by false promises to join the prostitution operation, and then coerced to participate in prostitution by Casebier’s acts of physical and
sexual abuse and threats of abuse. The fourth victim, a woman who had just turned 19 years of age, was enticed away from a homeless shelter by Casebier with promises of assistance, deceived or forced into being taken by Tucker from Omaha to Council Bluffs, and then coerced by Casebier to engage in acts of prostitution for just over one day until the victim was able to make a call for help without Casebier knowing. The conspiracy lasted from early in 2009, to June 1, 2011, ending with the arrest, on a federal warrant, of Casebier and Tucker by the Iowa State Patrol in eastern Iowa.

The case was investigated by the FBI, the SouthWest Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, the Council Bluffs, Iowa, Police Department and the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Department, with later assistance by the Pottawattamie County Attorney’s Office. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Lenox Police Chief offers advice to prevent vacation scams

News

February 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Lenox Police Chief John Huggins is offering some advice on how to prevent getting scammed when it comes to making your vacation plans. Even though summer is a ways off yet,many people have begun to think about where they would like to vacation. Don’t let your vacation turn into a nightmare because someone takes advantage of you! There are a lot of vacation scams out there. It makes sense, when you think about it: we all want to save money, and with the economy in its current state, many people are working hard, long hours without any hope of a holiday. The idea of two weeks in Paradise for absolutely free is hard to resist.

Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous individuals who prey on those exact desires. Their jobs are to lure you in with promises of a free vacation and then get money out of you any way they can. Fortunately, you’re too smart for them (you’re reading this, after all!). Here’s how to spot a vacation scam before it goes too far. There are many warning signs that you’re dealing with a vacation scam. Of course, there are legitimate opportunities to win a free vacation, but usually these require you to actively enter. For example, a travel agency might offer a drawing for a free vacation in order to drum up business.

Unsolicited emails and phone calls, on the other hand, usually aren’t going to hand you a free holiday. Here’s how the scam works: you get a phone call or an email informing you that you have a limited time offer to win a free vacation, or to purchase a vacation at a ridiculously discounted price. All you have to do is answer a few survey questions. So you phone the toll free number and talk to someone who asks you a few routine questions to make the operation look legit. They then congratulate you on winning a free vacation and tell you it’s a limited time offer with only a few vacations remaining, and they need your credit card immediately to pay for port taxes or the like. Once you give them that information, they may or may not tell you that the package is non-refundable. You probably won’t get that money back without involving a lawyer. Here’s what happens next.

There are a variety of free vacation scams, but they all work in more or less the same way:

-You arrive at your destination to find that the food is terrible and the accommodations are dirty and cramped. When you complain, you find that they can give you an upgrade for a ludicrously inflated price.

- You arrive at your destination to find that the food is terrible and the accommodations are dirty and cramped. When you complain, you find that if you choose to move to a new hotel, they will not pay for your return airfare.

-You arrive at your destination to find that your ‘holiday’ will consist at least 50% of time share presentations and high pressure sales tactics.

-Even before you arrive, the fees start to appear: $100 in taxes here, $200 in supplemental fees there.

Here’s the unfortunate truth: it’s very rare to get something for nothing. A free vacation is no exception. Protect yourself from free vacation scams by practicing a healthy dose of skepticism.

Anita VFD receives AFT Grant

News

February 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Anita Volunteer Fire Department is one of five departments from across Iowa awarded a total of $941,355 from the U-S Department of Homeland Security’s “Assistance to Firefighters Grants” (AFT) Program. The Anita Fire Department’s share, $213, 750, will be used for a vehicle acquisition. Other departments will use their funds for vehicle acquisition, safety, and operations. The grants were announced today (Wednesday), by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, who is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which funds the Department of Homeland Security.

Page County Sheriff warns of “Public Official” phone scam

News

February 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Page County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about recent, attempted phone scams that have been happening in the area. Sheriff Lyle Palmer says one of the attempted scams has a the caller is posing as a law enforcement, court or other, public official, from another country.  The caller says your relative in another country and is in trouble, whether with the court system, law enforcement, or needing money for another reason.  The caller pleads with the resident to send money to keep their relative out of jail, prison, or other legal problems including being stranded. This is a new twist on the old “grandchild in trouble with the law” phone scam. Palmer says fortunately, everyone that has contacted the Page County Sheriff’s Office has not fallen for the scam. 

Another attempted scam that has been reported recently has to do with personal financial issues.  The caller claims to be from a debt collection agency and demands money be sent immediately or the resident will be arrested.  Sheriff Palmer says this is definitely a false accusation as immediate arrests don’t come from debt collection agencies.  They come from court orders or active investigations and are not done over the phone.  Law Enforcement does not call on the phone to collect a debt from a private individual / company.   Law Enforcement will show up in person with a court order from a previous court judgment that was rendered.

 If anyone calls you and wants money sent immediately, always be cautious.  Ask for a phone number to return a call.  If it is a legitimate call, you should have no problem getting one.  Check out the alleged reason for sending money with other relatives, no matter what the caller tells you, even if they claim to be a relative.  Call Law Enforcement to report the call and the details before you would comply with the requests. If someone wants money immediately, it is usually a good indicator of a scam.  Always be cautious about giving any financial information over the phone / internet as it could be “seen” by more than the intended viewer and your information compromised.

Cass County Dems elect Executive Committee

News

February 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Chair of the Cass County Democratic Committee said today (Wednesday), the County Democratic Central Committee Tuesday elected its new Executive Committee. Sherry Toelle  says she was re-elected as Chairperson. Also elected was: Kathy Kerns, Vice Chair; and, Cheryl Wessels, Secretary. Dale Whittaker was elected to the Treasurer’s Post, following the retirement of former Treasurer Helen Pigg. Elected officers will serve a two-year term (2012 & 2013).