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Twister-wracked Thurman sees recovery begin to take shape

News

April 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Recovery efforts are still in full-swing in the southwest Iowa town of Thurman which was hit by a powerful tornado on Saturday. Hundreds of volunteers turned out to help with the initial clean-up. Red Cross spokeswoman Alyson Roach says her agency’s workers are still in the Fremont County town, lending a hand. “They’re out right now with food trucks serving meals, snacks, making sure people are hydrated,” Roach says. Virtually every home in Thurman suffered some damage from the E-F-2 twister, while 14 houses were demolished and 28 were heavily damaged. The town of about 229 people had no serious injuries reported and no deaths. The Red Cross will continue to serve meals as long as they’re needed and Roach says they’re helping residents who were impacted by the storm.

“We have assessed the damage in the area to determine which houses were hardest hit and we are starting the process of client casework,” Roach says. “We’ll determine the immediate disaster cause needs of families and help them out with food, clothing, shelter, referrals, information, whatever they need to get through the next few days while they’re recovering.” Roach says those clean-up volunteers made a huge difference, evidenced in one example on Sunday, the day after the tornado struck.  “Six o’clock AM, you couldn’t see across the park because it was so littered with tree limbs, debris and insulation,” she says. “By the end of the day, there were kids playing in the playground.”

To make a donation toward the community’s recovery, call 800-Red Cross or visit: “redcross.org”.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

Iowa students hospitalized after experiment

News

April 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) — Five students at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake are hospitalized after officials say they ingested caffeine during a science experiment. University spokeswoman Jennifer Felton told KTIV-TV in Sioux City that the students were hospitalized late Monday and will remain in the hospital until Wednesday. No details of the experiment were immediately released. Felton says in a statement that the students’ instructor has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an investigation. The instructor’s name wasn’t released. Felton says all research involving physical activity or changes in the human subjects have been suspended until further notice.

Every 15 minutes played out at the Griswold Schools

News

April 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Students at the Griswold High School witnessed the effects drinking and driving have on young lives, Tuesday. The school driveway was the scene of a “fatal” traffic accident involving five of their classmates.

Griswold students, including the "Living Dead" gather prior to the accident scene being revealed

As the student body gathered on bleachers and two buses that were blocking their view of the crash scene pulled away, the teens witnessed the aftermath of the “crash,” which was actually staged as part of a program entitled “Every 15 Minutes.” Aptly named because on average, every 15 minutes, someone in the country dies in an alcohol related collision. Tuesday’s program began with a 9-1-1 call to Cass County Communications.

When Griswold Rescue arrived on the scene, they found the driver of a pickup 17-year old Jordyn Sindt, of Griswold, laying “dead” on the hood of the pickup, after having been ejected through the windshield.

The driver of the pickup, "dead" with a white sheet upon her.

Three teens were in a crumpled car. In the scenario, Lifenet Helicopter is called in and lands next to the crash site. The chopper transported one of the victims, 17-year old Alec Capps to a trauma center, where he later “dies.”

LifeNet touches down in front of the Griswold High School

Two other passengers in the car, driven by 18-year old Garrett Muhlbauer, of Lewis, were “injured” and transported by ambulance to the Cass County Memorial Hospital. They included 18-year old Melanie Palmer and 16-year old Austin Lorenz. A State Trooper administered a field sobriety test to Muhlbauer, who tested .09 for alcohol consumption and was “arrested” and taken to jail.

Trooper Wayne Brosam administers a field sobriety test to Muhlbauer

Muhlbauer was charged with two counts of motor vehicle homicide and cited for open container.

Judy Nelson, a Registered Nurse with the Cass County Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Room, helped facilitate the exercise. In the two-day program, one student is removed from the classroom every 15-minutes. That person becomes one of the “Living Dead.” They are returned to the classroom with a ghostly white painted face, and are told not to respond to or talk with anyone for the remainder of the day. Their parents receive a phone call from law enforcement, informing them of their child’s “death.”

The parents identify their child, "killed" in the crash.

Other activities, aside from viewing the results of the collision, include a mock trial for the accused drunk driver, an overnight retreat for students, and a separate retreat for parents. The second day culminates with a mock funeral and/or memorial service for the entire student body. When asked whether the students would actually learn something from the experience, Cass County Sheriff Darby McLaren said the serious message about the consequences of driving impaired will make them think before they get behind the wheel or ride with an impaired driver.

The program was featured last Spring, in Atlantic, as well. Judy Nelson said she hopes to have all of the school districts in the County experience it for themselves. For more information about the “Every 15-minutes” program, log on to www.every15minutes.com.

Mock collision being staged today in Griswold

News

April 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An educational, mock collision is taking place this (Tuesday) afternoon, in Griswold, at the High School. The “Every 15 Minutes” program involves students portraying victims of a crash caused by an impaired driver. The public is being asked to avoid the area along North Street and Highway 48, between 1- and 3-p.m., so as to not interfere with Emergency vehicles. No parking is being allowed in the area.

Woman pleads guilty to stealing from SW IA Booster Club

News

April 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Clarinda woman facing a jury trial over the theft of funds from the Clarinda High School Athletic Booster Club has instead plead guilty to the charges filed against her. 52-year-old Cynthia Ann Gerdts entered her plea Monday,  in Page County District Court.  Gerdts had faced a felony charge of Theft in the 2nd degree, and an Aggravated Misdemeanor charge of Theft in the 3rd degree. She was granted a deferred judgement and ordered to pay restitution to the Booster Club amounting to just over $25,600.

The judge also placed Gerdts on two-years probation in association with the felony charge, and ordered the woman to stay with a gambling treatment program. She must also complete 365 hours of community service over the next two years. On the second charge, the judge sentenced Gerdts to two-years in prison, but then suspended the entire term. The case against her was prosecuted by the Page County Attorney’s office.

Sedina trial set for May 30th

News

April 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Trial for an Atlantic woman accused of taking inappropriate pictures of a bathing, elderly woman at a local nursing home, will take place May 30th in Shelby County District Court. 35-year old Amanda Sedina, was arrested last month on a serious misdemeanor charge of Invasion of Privacy-Nudity, for allegedly taking a picture of a 78-year old female resident at the Salem Lutheran Home, in Elk Horn. Sedina was working as an employee of the facility at the time. The alleged incident was reported to authorities on March 22nd

Sedina is scheduled to be arraigned April 23rd. Her pre-trial conference will be held May 7th. Sedina remains free on bond, while awaiting her court appearances.

Trial date set for former Anita CSD teacher

News

April 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The trial date for a former Anita Community School District teacher facing a single felony charge of Sexual Exploitation by a School Employee, and, 49 Aggravated Misdemeanor counts of Sexual Exploitation by a School Employee-Arousal, has been set for July 10th in Cass County District Court. 65-year old William Glenn Foulkes, of Anita plead not guilty to the charges last month. His arraignment hearing will be held April 30th, with a pre-trial conference scheduled to take place May 29th. If convicted on all of the charges, Foulkes could face a maximum time of 103 years in prison and fines of more than $300,000.

Foulkes allegedly exploited a minor female over a period of 13-months, from August 2009 to November 2010, while teaching the student in a math program. A former long-time Math teacher at the Anita High School and Anita Elementary School, Foulkes resigned from his teaching position in November 2010. He was arrested March 15th, 2012, and remains free on bond. He’s been ordered not to have any contact with the alleged victim.

Atlantic man arrested on warrant

News

April 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An Atlantic man was arrested Monday on a Cass County Sheriff’s warrant. 33-year old James Wolff was taken into custody on a warrant for Failure to Appear. Wolff was being held in the Cass County Jail.

(9-a.m. News)

Cass Co. Community Foundation grants announced

News

April 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Chair of the Cass County Community Foundation has announced $95,900 was awarded recently to several non-profit groups and organizations within the County. Nicholas Hunt says the grant checks were presented to those non-profit organizations which had submitted applications to the CCCF by the February 1st deadline.

CCCF grant recipients display their checks on the steps of the Cass Co. Courthouse

Grant funds amounting to $8,000 were awarded to: the Ann W. Wickman Child Development Center in Atlantic, for increased classroom play space, and to the Hitchcock House Advisory Board, for the addition of a registration/gift shop/restroom building. Awards of $7,000 were given to the Cass County Mormon Trail Association, for the restoration of the Nishnabotna Ferry House, in Lewis, and, to the Nishna Valley Family YMCA in Atlantic, for their Water Spash Program.

A grant amounting to $6,400 was made available to the Cass County Memorial Hospital, for their Healing Garden project. Grant awards of $6,000 each were presented to the City of Wiota’s Fire Dept., for new turnout gear, and to the Lewis 1st Responders and Firefighters Assoc., for the purchase of Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBS) for two firefighters.

In addition, four organizations received $5,000 grants, including: the Atlantic Parks and Rec Dept., for the purchase of a kit for use in Summer program activities….the Cass County Conservation Board, for the purchase of a new equipment trailer….the City of Griswold, for an upgrade to the Cocklin Fish Farm to an attractive park for community use…and the City of Marne, for lights, bleachers and a sound system for the City Park Ball Field.

The Cass County Historical Museum also received a $4,000 grant for continued renovations on the upper floor of the Museum. The Griswold Fire Dept. received a $3,500 grant to equip a fire truck with updated safety and rescue equipment, and the Lewis Public Library received $3,500 for six new computer stations at the Library/Heritage Center. Eight other organizations within Cass County received grants ranging from $1,500 to $2,500.

All grantees met the criteria as Cass County nonprofit agencies or organizations, with charitable missions in the areas of civic, cultural, health, education and social services. For more information about the Cass County Community Foundation, contact any CCCF Board member, or Dennis Nissen, Iowa Program Officer for the Community Foundations of Southwest Iowa, at 1-800-794-3458.

(9-a.m. News)

Griswold School Board approves settlement w/certified staff

News

April 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Griswold Community School District’s Board of Education Monday night, approved a settlement with the district’s certified staff. Superintendent Dana Kunze said the total package agreement was for 4.0% of the base salary. The package includes an insurance increase, and increases to FICA and IPERS. Kunze says the agreement puts the district in-line with what other districts in southwest Iowa are averaging. The Board also held a hearing at 5:30-p.m. with regard to School Board Director Redistricting, District Maps and the method of electing school board members. He says a district patron asked some questions about the process, and the board later voted to approve redistricting, unanimously. That means there will still be seven directors, but four geographical districts instead of seven, with three members elected At Large.

The process of determining Director Redistricting began following the results of the 2010 census. In other business, the Griswold School Board set May 1st at 1-p.m. as the date and time for the sale of just under $3-million in bonds for various current and future projects. The move followed the approval Monday evening of a service agreement with the District’s bonding agent, Piper Jaffrey.  And, the board approved a contract with Bishop Engineering of Des Moines, for the parking lot project.

(9-a.m. News)