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Atlantic & Marne Fire called to a fire that sounded worse than it was


June 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Firefighters from Marne and Atlantic were called to the scene of what was initially reported to have been a structure fire in rural northwestern Cass County this morning. According to dispatch reports, there was a blaze was in a barn on the Dale Larsen property at 57384 Boston Road. However an Iowa State Patrol Trooper who was the first to arrive on the scene shortly after the call was dispatched at 6:40-a.m, indicated it was merely a large round bale of hay that was smoldering, and there was no structure fire.

The Atlantic Fire Department said later, that three large, round hay bales were smoldering inside a hay barn on the property. The owner used a forklift to move the bales to his pasture so they could be extinguished. The cause of the incident appears to have been the result of spontaneus combustion. No injuries were reported.

Atlantic woman arrested on drug charges in Red Oak


June 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An Atlantic woman was one of five people arrested on drug charges Wednesday, in Red Oak. According to Red Oak Police, 19-year old Jessica Moorehead, of Atlantic, was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance/Marijuana, following an investigation into a separate incident. Officials say Red Oak Police officers arrived at 1660 East Summit Street, and upon arrival, smelled a strong odor of marijuana allegedly coming from an apartment. 

A search warrant led to the arrests of Moorehead and 19-year-old Timothy Jennings, of Red Oak, who faces Possession of a Controlled substance/Marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia charges. 41-year old Kevin Eugene Jennings, of Red Oak, was also charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. 37-year old Anthony Deon Gregory, of Red Oak, along with 19-year old Timothy Gene Humphrey, of Omaha, were charged with Trespassing.

Medivac Ambulance Service changes ownership


June 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

There’s been a change in ownership at Medivac Ambulance Service. David Miller and his wife Donita have owned the company based in Harlan, since 1979. Miller spoke about the change and trends that they’ve seen over the past year before the Atlantic City Council, during their meeting Wednesday night. He said their over-all call volume has pretty much stayed the same over the past year as the primary paramedic/advanced life-support provider. They average about 1,200 ambulance calls per year. Miller says over the past year, they have increased their staff somewhat. He says two, full-time paramedics have moved from Nebraska into the community of Atlantic and purchased real estate. One of the paramedics has more than 20-years of experience. 

Miller says he celebrated his 40th year in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) this year, and, while he’s enjoyed his career, “All goods things must come to and end.” With that having been said, Miller introduced the new owners of Medivac, Bob and Nella Seivert, of Harlan. He said the couple has been with the company for 28-years individually, and nothing will change as far as how things operate. 

Bob Sievert said he and his wife moved to the area in 1984, from northwest Iowa. He said they’ve watched Medivac and the EMS field grow over the years. Nell Seivert is an instructor in several areas for the American Heart Association. Bob Sievert serves as the Emergency Management Coordinator for Shelby County, a position he will retain. Nell will become the Operations Manager for the both the Harlan and Atlantic Medivac service. 

Seivert says LaVonne Schroeter, Manager of the Atlantic Medivac division, will also continue in her position with the company. Bob Seivert says he “Looks forward to a long and productive relationship,” with the City, and will continue Miller’s open-door policy of communication.

Corps awards $8M for navigation channel project


June 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded $8.3 million in contracts to restore the navigation channel along a nearly 120-mile stretch of the Missouri River in Iowa and Nebraska affected by last summer’s historic flooding. The corps says the project is to repair a 300-foot-wide by 9-foot-deep channel between Sioux City, Iowa, and Rulo, Nebraska. Dikes and other rock foundations are used to create the channel and prevent erosion along the bank. Many were damaged by the high floodwaters. The repairs will take about 250,000 tons of rock and will involve cranes operating from barges. The project is in two sections — from Sioux City to Fort Calhoun, Nebraska and from Fort Calhoun to Rulo. Work is to begin within the week and be completed by September 2014.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., June 21st 2012


June 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Workers at a Quaker Oats plant sharing a record $241 million Powerball jackpot in Iowa are demanding anonymity following a day of public celebration. The 20 workers say they’ll go to court to get an injunction ensuring their last names aren’t released. It’s believed to be the first time an Iowa lottery winner or group of winners have taken legal action to stay confidential.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded $8.3 million in contracts to restore the navigation channel along a nearly 120-mile stretch of the Missouri River. The corps says the project is to repair a 300-foot-wide by 9-foot-deep channel between Sioux City, Iowa and Rulo, Nebraska damaged by last year’s flooding. Work is set to begin within the week.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Valero Energy has temporarily halted production at its ethanol plant in Albion in eastern Nebraska because shrinking margins, due in part to rising corn prices. A company spokesman says a glut of ethanol also played a role in the decision. Valero is the second Nebraska ethanol plant to temporarily stop production in the past month.

OSAGE, Iowa (AP) — A Minnesota man has been given a suspended 10-year prison sentence for stealing hundreds of hogs in Iowa and Minnesota. Forty-four-year-old John Arndt of Hayfield, Minnesota was sentenced on a theft charge earlier this month in Iowa’s Mitchell County. The thefts happened at hog confinement operations between November 2010 and September 2011.

Atlantic Council to request street/bike lane conversions from I-DOT


June 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday, by a 6-to-1 vote, passed a Resolution requesting the Iowa Department of Transportation, to allow the City to convert 2nd Street from Buck Creek Road to Poplar Street, from a four lane to three-lanes (2 travel lanes, with a center turn lane) and a five-foot bike lane on both sides. The idea is to have a safe route of travel for bicycling enthusiasts to get from downtown Atlantic to the Schildberg Recreation Area, and an eventual connector to the T-Bone Trail.

The original Resolution had called for the conversion to include 2nd Street to Chestnut, but as Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Livengood pointed out, there would be a loss of parking spaces on 2nd Street, between Poplar and Chestnut. Councilman Shaun Shouse said it wouldn’t be possible to include the stretch of 2nd Street between Poplar and Chestnut, because the road is too narrow. Shouse said the cost of re-striping for the bike lanes and adding signage to the proposed route is much lower than trying to pave gravel portions of road on alternate routes, which come through  industrial areas that are also less aesthetically attractive. City Administrator Doug Harris said another reason the Resolution was changed to end the bike lanes at Poplar, was because that’s as far as Highway 83 (which becomes 2nd Street in Atlantic) goes, and the only stretch of the road where permission is needed from the State to add bike lanes or make other such changes.

Councilman Chris Jimerson, who often rides his bike to work, provided the lone nay vote on the Resolution, citing safety concerns. He said he worries about a child, or even an adult, getting onto Buck Creek Road and getting hit by a car, because it is a well traveled Road. During discussion, Councilman Dana Halder wondered if the City wasn’t getting ahead of itself, because there is no clearly defined bike route into Atlantic, and the Schildberg Rec Area, other than along the main highways. He wanted to know if there would eventually be more than one route into Atlantic from the Trail connection to the north.

Nishna Valley Trails group member Myra Kail, who initiated the bike lanes discussion with City Administrator Doug Harris, said her intentions was to find a way to bring the trail into Atlantic, that would ultimately “benefit the community.”  She says as far as she’s concerned, bring bicyclists into Atlantic doesn’t mean they necessarily have to come by way of the Schildberg Quarry. It means “Into the City proper, of Atlantic,” where they can shop, find food, a restroom and things of that nature. ” She says she wanted to “Open the doorway,” for how they would get bicyclists safely from Schildberg, into the City. Kail said “The possibility for there to be on-the-ground visibility of progress” being made on the trail, “Is absolutely huge, to the overall plan.”

City Administrator Doug Harris said he doesn’t yet have an estimate on how much it would cost the City to pay for the striping and signage changes, but Ed Kail, who is also with the Nishna Valley Trails group, said they “Would be willing to put some skin in the game,” as far as helping to pay for the cost of the signs, but no dollar figure will be available until the actual costs become clearer.

‘The Shipping 20’ Claim $241 Million Powerball Jackpot


June 20th, 2012 by Jim Field

DES MOINES, Iowa – A group of 20 co-workers from the shipping department at a Cedar Rapids cereal plant stepped forward Wednesday to claim a $241 million Powerball jackpot, the largest lottery prize won to date in Iowa.

The group laughed that they had the worst-kept secret in the state, as word of their win in the June 13 Powerball drawing had spread like wildfire — first through the Quaker Oats Co. plant in downtown Cedar Rapids where they worked and then nearly as quickly through the community.

Al, 61, buys the tickets for the group and said he had just recently planned to tell a neighbor the good news, only to learn that the neighbor already knew.

“So, yeah, it’s the worst-kept secret, I guess,” he said.

The group, which formed a trust calling itself The Shipping 20, chose to receive the jackpot as the lump-sum option of $160.3 million. Members of The Shipping 20 said they have played Powerball together for years, with each person chipping in $5 for tickets, but only when the jackpot was $100 million or higher. Each member of the group – 18 men and two women – each will receive about $8 million ($5.6 million after withholding taxes).

Lawyers for the group stated that the members of The Shipping 20 want their individual names to remain confidential and intend to request an injunction to that effect, which is allowed under Iowa’s Open Records law. The lottery believes the names are public and should be disclosed, but understanding the specifics of the law, the lottery has agreed to give the group 10 business days to seek an injunction.

The group’s winning ticket is the seventh overall in Iowa to win Powerball’s big prize.

Members of the group range in age from 35 to 64 and all live in and around Cedar Rapids. All are long-time employees of the Quaker Oats plant and are members of Local 110 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union/United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. On the job, they ship out boxes of Quaker Oats cereal from the plant. At least 11 members of the group said they would retire after winning the prize.

Al, who bought the group’s tickets, said he has worked at the plant for nearly 30 years and plans to keep working until Sept. 1.

“I feel bad for Quaker. It’s a busy time of year so it’s going to be hard on the guys who are there, so I kind of feel sorry for them,” he said. “I’ll stick around as much as I can.”

Three other group members also shared their plans:

  • Denise, 52, has worked at the plant for nearly 34 years, and said The Shipping 20 has a combined seniority of 686 years at Quaker Oats. “I’m just such in a fog, it’s hard to describe everything,” she said. “I’m shaking. It’s hard to wrap your head around.” Denise said she planned to use her winnings to help her adult children. She said her husband also is a member of the group and his last day at the plant is Friday.
  • Kelly, 54, has worked at the plant for 36 years and said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll retire. He was the group member who first realized they had won. Kelly said he saw the winning numbers on the lottery website the morning after the drawing and then had to check them several more times before he could believe it. Then he started yelling for his co-workers. Kelly said he is thankful that the big win can make a positive difference for Cedar Rapids, which suffered such huge losses in widespread flooding four years ago. “We’re in a position now as a group to work together somehow to make this a positive thing,” he said. “This is positive all around.”
  • Mike, 55, said he initially was deluged with text messages from family and friends. “I just went in shock,” he said. “But I made it through!” He has worked at the plant for nearly 35 years, plans to keep working and will take some time before he makes any big decisions. “I think it makes my kids be debt-free and that was my main goal,” he said.

For this particular drawing, Al bought their tickets at Hy-Vee, 5050 Edgewood Road in Cedar Rapids. One of those tickets beat the odds to win the jackpot.

Hy-Vee will receive a $10,000 bonus from the Iowa Lottery for selling the jackpot-winning ticket and store officials said the money will be shared on that front as well. Store Director Jamie Franck said that because Hy-Vee is an employee-owned company, workers at the store will see some of the store’s bonus in their own bonus checks.

“That money will go back to our employees,” Franck said. “That goes straight to our bottom line, back to their bonus checks. So they’ll reap in those rewards.”

The winning numbers in the June 13 Powerball drawing were: 7-10-14-33-57 and Powerball 18. The Shipping 20’s ticket matched all six numbers drawn to win the jackpot.

Powerball jackpot winners can choose to receive the big prize in annuitized payments over time or as a one-time, lump-sum payment. The $241 million prize is the 15th-largest Powerball jackpot won to date.

Iowa Lottery players now have won seven Powerball jackpots. The six previous winners are:

  • Tim and Kellie Guderian of Fort Dodge, who were Iowa’s biggest lottery winners when they claimed a $200.8 million jackpot in October 2006.
  • Hugh Hawkins of Des Moines, who won a $113.2 million jackpot in December 2005.
  • Jacquelyn Moore of Omaha, Neb., who won a $14.4 million jackpot in October 2004 (she bought her ticket at a convenience store in Carter Lake in western Iowa).
  • The Larry Hasken family of Sabula, who claimed a $31.8 million jackpot in January 2000.
  • Tim Schultz of Des Moines, who won a $28 million jackpot in February 1999.
  • Ed Brown of Washington, who split a $10.4 million jackpot with a Missouri woman in December 1992.

Attempted Break-in at Montgomery County Emergency Mgmt Office


June 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Red Oak are investigating an attempted break-in at the Montgomery County Emergency Management Office. Emergency Management Coordinator Brian Hamman told KJAN News the incident happened at his new office located in the basement of the County Highland Annex Building in Red Oak, sometime between 5-p.m. Monday and 8-a.m. Tuesday. Hamman said the Red Oak Police Chief told him it looks like a large crow bar may have been used. The person or persons responsible were nearly able to break through two panes of glass, and they were determined to try and gain entry, as there were shards of glass both inside and outside the office.

He says it’s the first time he’s aware of someone has tried to break into the EMA Office. Hamman wouldn’t comment on what it is they were after, but there are various pieces of electronic equipment typically used for communications and data, that were of value.  He says it’s ridiculous that things like this happen. Hamman says “It’s frustrating that people can’t mind their own business, and leave other peoples’ things alone.” He said on top of the attempted break-in at his office, someone hacked into the I-Tunes account on his cell phone. An investigation into the break-in, continues.

Diocese of Des Moines to launch new Catholic Foundation of SW Iowa


June 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Diocese of Des Moines plan to launch a new Catholic Foundation of Southwest Iowa on July 1st, and fold its endowments into the foundation as a means of providing cost savings, better professional management and investment opportunities for supporters. In his monthly column in The Catholic Mirror, Bishop Richard Pates said “This new development, I am confident, will serve well the charitable, organizational, and fiscal structure of the Catholic community in the 23 counties of southwest Iowa.”

Anticipated benefits of having the foundation include:

• Better Professional Management. The consolidated foundations will be served by a board with expertise and strong credentials in the investment arena.

• Benefits for Supporters. A variety of options for Catholics in the Diocese of Des Moines will be available. The Endow Iowa 25 percent tax credits also will be a possibility for those who are able to take advantage of this tax consideration. Other personal opportunities such as “Donor Advised Funds” will be incorporated into the new foundation.

Initially, the Catholic Foundation of Southwest Iowa will include funds from the Diocese of Des Moines. Over time, parishes and schools may take advantages of the foundation benefits by investing endowment funds in the foundation. Each parish entity will retain ownership of funds and will be accounted as such for future parish use. The Foundation will be a vehicle to raise resources for parishes, institutions and the diocese through legacy giving and planned giving. The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines will provide office support. The Diocese of Des Moines includes 81 parishes in 23 counties in central and southwest Iowa.

Atlantic man arrested for harassment


June 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports the arrest Tuesday of a local man on a harassment charge. 44-year old Ronald Jeray, of Atlantic, was taken into custody on a Cass County warrant for Harassment by Communication. Jeray was brought to the Cass County Jail and held pending a court appearance.

And, the A-PD says there were no injuries during an accident Tuesday evening at 10th and Cherry Streets. Officials say a vehicle driven by Bernice Meurer, of Atlantic, was traveling west on 10th Street at around 5:20-p.m., when it hit a legally parked trailer owned by Kevin Petersen, of Walnut. The damage amounted to $2,450. Meuer was given a warning following the incident, for Failure to Maintain Control.