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8AM Newscast 06-06-2013

News, Podcasts

June 6th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


Walnut City Council to meet this (Thursday) evening


June 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The City Council in Walnut will hold a regularly scheduled meeting this evening. On their agenda for the 5:30-p.m. session, is the consideration of, and possible action on: Resolutions calling for the transfer of funds from: the Local Option Capital Improvements Fund into the General Fund, the transfer of Tax Increment Financing funds into the Debt Service Fund, the transfer of funds from the General Fund into the Fire Department Equipment and Ambulance Trust Funds.  

The Council will also consider and possibly act on a resolution approving and adopting the Pottawattamie Countywide Multi-jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan. Other business includes discussion with regard to: the regulation of agricultural spraying within the City Limits of Walnut; a Law Enforcement Services contract with the Pott. County Sheriff’s Dept.; a possible Streetscape Enhancement Project; and the Walnut Antique Show, including the use of pubic streets and rights-of-way, camping fees at the City Park, and residential trash collection during the June Antique Show. 

The Council may also act on a recommendation for a replacement on the Board of Adjustment, with that person’s term to expire in June, 2018.

Suspicious letter received at the Council Bluffs Water Works plant


June 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials in Council Bluffs say the Water Works plant received a letter Wednesday containing a suspicious white substance. Council Bluffs Fire Chief Alan Byers told the Omaha-World Herald a Hazardous Materials crew determined the letter contained granulated sugar. The letter had been left in a drop box for water bill payments, and was not sent through the mail. It was the fourth time in a week suspicious substances had been received by authorities in Council Bluffs.  

On May 30th and June 3rd, the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office received bulky packages containing a white substance. The substance received last month was said to be non-toxic, but additional tests were being conducted to determine what it was. Monday’s package was also deemed non-hazardous.  

Sheriff Jeff Danker told the paper investigators have an idea of where the packages came from, but their investigation was ongoing. Surveillance video at the Water Works plant is being reviewed to see if a suspect is observed placing the latest suspicious letter into the drop-box. Council Bluffs Police Sgt. Dave Dawson told the World-Herald a woman filed a complaint Tuesday with police, saying her brother had placed a letter with a powdery substance in it.  

All of the incidents are said to be related.

Western Iowa man says he can’t recall killing, kidnapping


June 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — A western Iowa man accused of killing his mother and kidnapping another woman says in a written statement to police that he doesn’t remember killing his mother, though he recalls choking her. The Messenger in Fort Dodge reports the statement by 21-year-old Kirk Levin of Early was presented to jurors Wednesday in Webster County during his trial. Levin is charged with first-degree murder in the January death of Marilyn Schmitt. He faces third-degree kidnapping for allegedly abducting 21-year-old Jessica Vega.

The newspaper reports Levin gave the statement after a videotaped police interview where he repeatedly denied killing Schmitt. Levin says in the statement that he is the only person who could have killed his mother. He says he can’t explain his thinking, and he doesn’t remember picking up Vega.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., June 6th 2013


June 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DAYTON, Iowa (AP) — Authorities plan to resume their search by river for a teenager in central Iowa abducted last month. Dayton Police Chief Nick Dunbar says the state Department of Natural Resources will deploy boats on the Des Moines River this week to search for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard. Authorities halted their search for Kathlynn last week, which included more than 250 square miles in the Dayton area. Flooding also affected their efforts.

BUFFALO CENTER, Iowa (AP) — Agriculture officials have revoked the permit of a dairy plant in northern Iowa because of food safety concerns. An administrative law judge ruled yesterday in favor of the state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, which revoked the dairy plant permit for Meinders Farm Fresh Dairy in Buffalo Center. The company must cease all operations and sales.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Authorities in Waterloo are investigating the vandalism of 11 police squad cars. The Waterloo Police Department discovered broken windshields on the Ford Crown Victoria vehicles on Monday. They were parked by city gas pumps on Black Hawk Street.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — A Davenport man has pleaded not guilty to charges in connection with the assault of a man at a county courthouse. Court records filed last week show 46-year-old Jimmy Lightner pleaded not guilty to willful injury causing bodily injury and going armed with intent. He also is charged with an aggravated misdemeanor of interference with official acts causing bodily injury.

Tall grass issues still plague some residential properties in Atlantic


June 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic is once again issuing a warning to residents about keeping their lawns mowed and not allowing the clippings to be blown into the streets. City Adminstrator Doug Harris said at Wednesday night’s City Council meeting, that City crews are getting behind in mowing properties they are receiving complaints about, because of the volume of calls being received.  He says the Parks and Rec, and Wastewater Department staff are handling nuisance abatement’s for mowing tall grass, but they’ve had a hard time catching up because grass at the parks still has to be mowed as well. Harris said under City Ordinance, notices aren’t sent out until grass becomes 12-inches tall.

If they fail to comply, the City mows it and bills the property owner at rates which are nearly double what it would have cost the land owner to have the problem taken care of on their own. Harris said the City needs to reconsider how to better enforce the ordinance, especially with regard to repeat offenders, and the Council seemed to agree. Mayor Dave Jones reminded citizens and business owners in Atlantic about the Ordinance prohibiting grass clippings from being blown onto City streets.

Jones said he’s received numerous complaints about grass being blown into the streets. Those clippings enter the storm sewer and clog the system, which requires man hours to clean out, and can contribute to increased costs which are passed along to the taxpayer. Jones said if residents and business owners would simply make sure the clippings are blown back onto the lawn, there would be no need for citations being issued when complaints are followed-up on.

Iowa Officials to Atlantic: You can’t restructure debt to save money on sewer bonds


June 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council Wednesday, was forced to table indefinitely, action on approving resolutions pertaining to a bond purchase agreement and issuing of Sewer Revenue Bonds, because the Iowa Finance Authority won’t allow it. City Administrator Doug Harris said he received the bad news late Wednesday afternoon from Chip Shultz, with Ruan Securities. Shultz told Harris the IFA won’t allow the City to restructure the debt, even though officials with the State Revolving Loan Program had initially indicated there wouldn’t be a problem with it.

The City had hoped to save on the amount of interest it pays on the bonds by restructuring at a lower rate, or by drawing down on the remaining $6.6-million from the State Revolving Loan Fund. However, delays by Ruan Securities in issuing the bonds over the past two months means the City lost its chance at grabbing a lower interest rate. Harris says the City lost $12,150 it paid to achieve a Standard and Poors rating on the bonds, also, but Schultz promised Ruan Securities would reimburse the City, since problems on their end caused the delay in getting the bonds issued.

Those problems included staff changes at Ruan, and an assumption the interest rates would continue to decline or remain nearly level, instead of increasing with an improving economy. Harris said the setbacks won’t change the amount the City receives in increased sewer revenues, at least in the short-term. In addition to tabling the bond purchase agreement, City leaders had no choice but to table a resolution approving the issuance of Sewer Revenue Bonds.

Cass County bridge replacement project to use the latest construction methods thanks to a grant


June 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A bridge replacement project along Highway 92 in Cass County received a financial boost this week. The office of Senator Tom Harkin has announced the Iowa Department of Transportation will receive a $400,000 Highways for LIFE pilot program grant from the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, to replace a bridge on Highway 92, one-mile west of Highway 148, near Massena.

Conceptual drawing of the new Highway 92 bridge near Massena. (Courtesy IA DOT)

The bridge will be constructed using prefabricated superstructure and substructure elements and will be the first bridge in Iowa to be installed using the lateral bridge slide method. When construction begins, traffic will be detoured using Highway 148, Oxford Road and through Cumberland, using 690th Street.

The Highways for Life program is intended to advance longer-lasting highways using innovative technologies and practices to accomplish the fast construction of efficient and safe highways and bridges. The innovative technologies and practices encouraged through the Highways for LIFE pilot program will improve construction time and help ensure that the new bridge will provide drivers along Highway 92 with a safe crossing for many decades. The replacement structure will be a single span 120’ x 44’ bridge with precast abutment footings, precast wingwalls and a precast superstructure fabricated adjacent to the existing bridge and moved into position by lateral slide. 

Harkin says he’s pleased that the Federal Highway Administration has made the project possible, and he looks forward to seeing the results.

Conceptual video of the bridge construction process/function:63825279

Mills County fatal


June 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A man from Nebraska was killed Wednesday afternoon when the SUV he was driving collided with a semi, near Hastings, in Mills County. The Iowa State Patrol identified the victim as 66-year old Carlos Alvarez, of Omaha. Officials say Alvarez was traveling west on Highway 34 just east of 350th Street at around Noon, when his 2012 Ford Escape crossed the center line of the road and collided with an eastbound 2012 Kenworth semi driven by 27-year old Chase Alm, of Griswold, and registered to Alm Farms of Griswold. Alvarez died at the scene. Alm was not injured. The Highway remained closed for several hours following the crash. The accident remains under investigation.

2 arrests in Mills County


June 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports two arrests occurred Tuesday. 21-year old Thomas James Bertelsen, of Glenwood was arrested at around 2:20-a.m. on a warrant for Failure to Appear on an original charge of Driving While Revoked. He was being held in the Mills County Jail on $2,000 bond. And, 39-year old Roy Allan Tyson, of Omaha, was arrested at around 9:30-a.m., on warrants for Ongoing Criminal Conduct, Theft in the 1st degree, Fraudulent Practice and Unauthorized Use of a Credit Card. His bond was set at $55,000.