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Lawmakers OK $6 billion bill that funds schools


May 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Legislature has approved a bill that calls for nearly $6 billion in spending on a variety of programs and initiatives over the next two fiscal years. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate passed the bill Wednesday. It will next move to Gov. Terry Branstad. The bill spends $2.9 billion each fiscal year with $2.6 billion annually of that on basic school funding.

Other items include $29 million to help counties adapt to a regionalized mental health care system. It also establishes a new tax credit for farmers who donate excess produce to food banks. Along with budget items, the so-called standings legislation includes new policy items like more comprehensive background checks for school employees. Another provision requires hospitals to perform congenital heart disease screenings on newborns.

Cass County Master Gardeners invite local gardeners to “Hop on the Bus!” June 20

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Master Gardener’s group is inviting local gardeners to “Hop on the Bus” June 20th, for a tour of area businesses that grow and produce from their flowers, vineyards, and nurseries, a wide variety of products. Loess Hills Lavender Farm is the first stop on a bus trip to the Missouri Valley area. The trip is scheduled for June 20, 8 AM to 5:45 PM. It is sponsored by the Cass County Master Gardeners but is open to everyone. Numerous people have expressed their interest in visiting the lavender gardens and they should be at their peak in bloom. Lavender is used to make many healthful products and lavender cookies are on the snack list. Participants will be able to purchase live lavender to plant at home, dried lavender and other products.

A visit to Sawmill Hollow will include tasting samples of wine, jelly, barbeque sauce and many other gourmet aronia berry foods. Aronia berries are promoted as providing more health benefits than blueberries. They are native to this area and Sawmill Hollow was the first aronia farm in the United States. Lunch will be served here.

Other stops include nurseries. One sells homemade pies, jams and jellies made from their orchard produce. They also provide garden bedding plants. Another nursery will demonstrate landscape planning starting with layouts on the computer. A variety of plants are available in their greenhouse.  The final stop is at the Harrison County Historical Village and Iowa Welcome Center showing Iowa life, prairie and a celebration of the Lincoln Highway. Fresh locally grown produce will be available at the Farmers Market.

LaVon Eblen, President of Cass County Master Gardeners, encourages you to get your registrations made now to save your spot on the bus. The cost is $47.00 which includes transportation, entrance fees and a meal and snack. Contact LaVon for a registration form or find a copy on the Cass County Extension website, at www.exension.iastate.edu/cass. The form and payment are due by May 31st.

Head-on crash in Page County injures 2 women


May 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Two southwest Iowa women were injured during a head-on crash Wednesday afternoon, in Page County. The Iowa State Patrol says 86-year old Martha Bordner, of Clarinda, and 78-year old Nola Bloomfield, of Yorktown, were trapped in their vehicles and freed by mechanical means before being transported by Clarinda Rescue to the Clarinda Regional Hospital. The women were later flown to nearby trauma centers for treatment. Officials say Bordner’s 1999 Oldsmobile 88 was traveling west on Highway 2 at around 3:30-p.m., when for reasons unknown, it crossed the center line and struck Bloomfield’s 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix. Both women were wearing their seat belts. The accident remains under investigation.

Harlan Arrest Report


May 22nd, 2013 by admin

The Harlan Police Department reports the arrest on May 16th of two Walnut residents. Twenty-nine year old Gabriel Brown and 22-year old Rachel Long were arrested on active Shelby County warrants, and taken to the Shelby County Jail, where Brown was served with his warrant for Interference with Official Acts, Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, and Prohibited Acts penalties. Long’s warrant was for joint criminal conduct.

On Monday, May 20th the Harlan P-D took 41-year old Jeffrey Ross of Portsmouth into custody when officers were called to a disturbance at the Big House bar. Following the investigation, Ross was arrested and transported to the Shelby County Jail and was charged with Assault Causing Bodily Injury, for allegedly striking Brent Knauss of Panama. Ross was also charged with Public Intoxication and Disorderly Conduct.

On that same day, 25-year old Jackie Thielen of Harlan was arrested on an active Shelby County warrant for violation of an order for compulsory education. She was transported to the Shelby County Jail.

On Tuesday, May 21st Officers were called to the Durant Street Country Store where clerks had observed a possible theft of liquor. Officers later located 32-year old Mariah Thuringer of Council Bluffs and 30-year old Jesse Davis, who were both arrested and transported to the Shelby County Jail. Thuringer was charged with Theft/5th degree and she and Davis were both charged with public intoxication.


Norovirus sickens more Sioux City children


May 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Nearly a dozen more children at a Sioux City elementary school have called in sick due to symptoms from norovirus. The Sioux City Journal reports officials at Bryant Elementary School say 11 children said they would be out Wednesday.  The Siouxland District Health Department announced Tuesday that lab results confirmed an outbreak of norovirus was to blame for an illness that’s sickened dozens of students over several days.
Norovirus is a common food-borne pathogen with symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea.   The last day of school is Thursday.

New Information in the Search for Kathlynn Shepard


May 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

WebsterCounty,IOWA— Investigators and search parties have gained additional information surrounding the abduction and subsequent search for Kathlynn Shepard. Most significantly, a search team of law enforcement and K9s located the young girls’ backpacks late yesterday, Tuesday, May 21, 2013. Additionally, investigators obtained an image of Kathlynn from the day of the abduction.

In the included image is Kathlynn as she exited the school bus, shortly before her abduction. Previous reports indicated she was wearing a “Vikings” baseball cap. However, in the image provided, she is wearing a “Cubs” cap.

As the search area is primarily rural and uninhabited terrain, investigators continue to solicit information from locals and frequent visitors. In particular, investigators are asking any hunters that may have placed hunting cameras in the area, to check their recorders and report any findings to law enforcement. Please call 515-573-1410.

Additional volunteers are not needed at this time, however, they may be needed in the near future. If you would like to contribute to the search for Kathlynn, please call Webster County Emergency Management at 515-571-6483. Please leave a message for search coordinators indicating your name and contact number, as well as any resources you may be able to provide.

AMC provides school immunizations and physicals


May 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

As the 2012-2013 school year winds down, the staff at Atlantic Medical Center (AMC) are starting to prepare for the 2013-2014 school.

Jeri Orstad, RN, AMC Immunization Nurse, prepares to administer an immunization

Officials say if your child will be entering preschool or kindergarten in any of the area schools and is still in need of their immunizations, make the call now to avoid last minute appointments and schedule conflicts.

All immunizations given at AMC are entered into the state immunization database, so records are current and easily accessed. If you are unsure if your child needs immunizations before starting school call AMC and ask for the immunization room. The immunization nurses will be happy to check your child’s immunization record.

For older children, AMC will be offering vaccine updates at the sport physical exams this year. Parents must be present at the time of exam in order for their child to receive any immunizations. Sport physicals will be offered every Tuesday from July 9th through August 6th, beginning at 5-pm.**  Appointments are necessary and can be made by calling AMC.  Cost for sport physicals is only $12, payable at the appointment, with no insurance submission.

If you have questions about immunizations for people of any age, contact Jeri at the Atlantic Medical Center Immunization Room, 712-243-2850.

**CCMH has corrected the time of the physicals late Wednesday afternoon from 5-9pm to “beginning at 5-p.m.”

Harlan City Council news


May 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan City Council is ordering bids for the 2013 Sewer Rehabilitation Project. In a council meeting Tuesday, the council approved Resolution No. 2012 to order bids to be advertised for the proposed plans, specifications and form of contract for the project. The detailed plans and specs were prepared by Veenstra and Kimm Engineers. A public hearing will be held at the next Harlan City Council meeting, Tuesday, June 4th on the matter. 

In other business, the city council approved an amendment to the 2012/2013 City budget and approved the joint participation agreement with SWIPCO for taxi services. The Shelby County Supervisors approved the same agreement with SWIPCO during their meeting Tuesday. 

Towards the end of the meeting, Harlan Mayor Gene Gettys gave an update on the filming of “Today inAmerica”. He said the filming crew is planning on being in Harlan between August and September.

Councilman Dave Pedersen reported to the council the Therkildsen Center is looking for different display items for each month. He said the Center is looking for anything people save or collect such as Coca-Cola memorabilia to blankets and anything in between.  If you would like to show off a display of collected items, contact Sheri or Alice at the Therkildsen Center. 

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Cass Supervisors approve agreement with SWIPCO and budget adjustment


May 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Wednesday), approved a Fiscal Year 2014 Rural Transit System Joint Participation Agreement with SWIPCO (the Southwest Iowa Planning Council). The annual agreement counties pay remains unchanged from the last fiscal year, at $6,000. The Board however tables action on the abatement of taxes on a property owned by the City ofAnita. Cass County Treasurer Tracey J. Marshall requested the matter be taken up again next week, because the legal process is not finished. She said the Supervisors should not agree to an abatement unless they are “Signed-off on by the Treasurer.”Marshallsaid she was not ready to do so because she needs to conduct an investigation because the City ofAnitafiled a 657A.10A petition with the court to claim title to an abandoned property. The matter went through the court, and there was a tax sale, so she needs to do some checking. 

The Supervisors approved a County budget appropriations adjustment (changes in spending authority) for a decrease in the General Basic Fund, Capital Project department, by $7,000, and a related increase in the Conservation Capital Improvement Fund by $7,000. Conservation Director Micah Lee explained the move allows his department to expend funds it received in the current fiscal year in the form of a grant, for some new equipment designed to clear the trails and other areas. He said they applied and received a grant they hadn’t budget for, therefore there were not enough funds in the budget to cover the purchase of a Utility Terrain Vehicle – UTV and rotary broom. The grant check has already been received and deposited, so the simple transfer of funds would allow the Conservation Dept. to pay for the machines. The budget would then be amended at the end of the fiscal year. 

And, Cass County Engineer Charles Marker reported to the Board the Secondary Roads Department is in the process of hauling contract rock to various locations in the County from the outlying quarries, for use on long sections of roadways. Contract rock is not intended for filling smaller holes, or projects.

Harlan High School Seniors donate to wounded warriors


May 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The 2013 graduating class at the Harlan Community High School raised the bar for future graduating classes Sunday, when it comes to doing something notable on graduation day.  The class had been encouraged to do something special while walking up to the podium to get their diploma. Harlan Community School District Superintendent Justin Wagner said it was a challenge from him and High School Principal John Connell to do something special.

He says they didn’t really know what to expect following the practice ceremony as they trusted to the students since it was a special class. Wagner said the first student came up and shook his hand and then gave him money and it kept going for the whole 128 students. He said a few of them told him the money was for the Wounded Warrior Project. (http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/)

Wagner said he was really proud of the kids who stepped up. He called it special since it was the entire class and not just one student. The class raised a total $359 and has their efforts had a ripple effect, with Wagner saying he would match the dollars raised by the students. In addition, an anonymous donor from Sioux City has promised to match the combined donations of the students and Wagner.

Wagner said the moment certainly made a lasting impression as the class made their mark. He said he saw the video of the standing ovation which went on for about 38 seconds. Adults were crying and students were emotional. He said it was a special time.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)