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Iowa bill grants benefits to more veterans


March 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — More veterans would be eligible to receive financial assistance when purchasing a home under a bill approved by the Iowa Senate. The Senate unanimously approved a measure Monday meant to expand eligibility requirements for veterans seeking grants through the Military Homeownership Assistance Program. The legislation, which coincides with Gov. Terry Branstad’s initiative to better support veterans in Iowa, now goes to the House.

Current law limits grant eligibility to veterans who served beginning on or after Sept. 11, 2001. The bill would extend eligibility to veterans who served during the Persian Gulf conflict, beginning Aug. 2, 1990, and ending April 6, 1991.

Democratic Sen. Jeff Danielson says expanding eligibility would hopefully further the program’s success. Similar legislation being considered in the House would allocate more money to the program.

Senate: landowners can’t allow underage drinking


March 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate has passed a bill that would make it illegal for landowners to allow drinking on their property by anyone under 21. The bill, which passed 48-0, makes it a simple misdemeanor for the first violation and imposes a $200 fine. A second offense and future offenses carry $500 fines.

The bill also holds juveniles responsible by making it a simple misdemeanor for anyone aged 18, 19, or 20 to drink alcohol in violation of the bill and imposes a fine of $200. A second offense carries a fine of $500 and a third offense carries a $500 fine and the loss of a driver’s license.

Sen. Robb Hogg, a Cedar Rapids Democrat, says the bill sets expectations for parents and communities. It moves to the House.

Clarinda Police report


March 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Clarinda Police Chief Keith Brothers, Monday, released a report on his department’s most recent arrests and incidents. In the report, Brothers said on Saturday, 53-year old Kevin R. Lindahl, of Clarinda, was arrested for Aggravated Assault.

Last Thursday, 76-year old Kenneth Lee Polsley, of Blanchard, was arrested for first offense operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. On Feb. 25th, a 15-year old female from Council Bluffs was picked up as a runaway from Council Bluffs. On Feb. 23rd, a 16-year old male from Clarinda was arrested for Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and on Feb. 11th, 39-year old Christopher Paul Hamm, of Clarinda, was arrested on warrant for violation of probation/parole.


Cass County Master Gardeners Grant Money Available for Local Garden Projects

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Now is the time to plan and plant for future gardens. The Cass County Master Gardeners group is offering a total of $1500 in grant money to be used in the 2014 growing season, to encourage gardening to grow food and/or beautify local communities. The money may also be used for gardening education purposes. The David Williams Master Gardener Grants are offered to honor the many years of service Master Gardener David Williams provided as a long-time volunteer, with the Master Gardener program and other community organizations, including a term as Cass County Master Gardener president in 2012.Master Gardner

Any Cass County not-for-profit group or individual may apply. Schools, churches, libraries, 4-H clubs, Scouts, and individuals working to improving their communities can use the money to begin or improve gardens or landscaping, or to provide education for their members or the public. To ensure the money is helping a wide variety of community organizations, groups who were funded by 2012 and 2013 grants will not be eligible to apply in 2014. Each grant has a maximum value of $300. The application must also include plans for teamwork and sustainability. Consideration for the environment is also an important selection factor.

Applications must be received by Thursday, April 10th for consideration. They may be submitted by mail or email. Grant recipients will be informed of their selection by the end of April. More information, and a grant application, is available on the Cass County Extension website, www.extension.iastate.edu/cass or by calling the Cass County Extension office at 712-243-1132, emailing keolson@iastate.edu, or stopping by the Extension Office at 805 W. 10th St in Atlantic. You may also contact committee members Judy Kennedy, LaVon Eblen, Connie Jones or Carolyn Hartmann for more information.

The Master Gardener program trains volunteers to develop their knowledge and skills in horticulture. These volunteers then give back to their communities through gardening service and education. The program is available in all 50 states and Canada through land grant university Extension programs such as Iowa State University. Education courses are available throughout Iowa on a regular basis. Contact Cass County Extension Program Coordinator Kate Olson, at 712-243-1132 or keolson@iastate.edu for more information.

2 accidents in Cass County, Sunday


March 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Cass County say one person was injured during one of two separate accidents Sunday morning. The first happened just before 5-a.m. on White Pole Road, in Wiota. Authorities say a 2005 Jaguar owned and driven by 19-year old Bryson Thomas West, of Atlantic, was eastbound on White Pole Road when the car hit a large snow drift in the road and went out of control before running through a fence. West was transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital by Medivac ambulance. Damage to the vehicle is estimated at $3,500, while damage to the fence was estimated at $500.

The second accident happened at 7:50 a.m. on 710th Street. Officials say a 2004 Ford F150 pickup owned and driven by 22-year old Joshua Brian Behnken, of Massena, was southbound on 710th Street when the driver lost control. The vehicle rolled once into the east ditch and landed on its wheels. No injuries were reported. Damage to the vehicle is estimated at $7,000. Behnken was cited for Failure to Maintain Control.

2 men arrested on theft charges in Cass County, Sunday


March 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports two people were arrested Sunday on Theft and other charges, following a traffic stop on a vehicle reported stolen out of Pottawattamie County. 43-year old Joseph K. Pardew, of Omaha, was charged with Theft in the 2nd Degree, and 31-year old Benjamin Lee Foote, of Crescent, was charged with Theft in the 2nd Degree, Driving While Barred, and Driving Under Suspension. Both men were taken to the Cass County Jail, where Pardew was being held on $5000 bond, and Foote’s was  held on $7000 bond.

The Sheriff’s Office reports also the arrest last Thursday, of 37-year old Aimee Jo Nicholson, of Des Moines. Nicholson was taken into custody on a District Court warrant for Ongoing Criminal Conduct. She was brought to the Cass County Jail, and subsequently transported to Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Oakdale.

And on Saturday, deputies in Cass County arrested 23-year old Sinead Lea Edwards, of Oakland, on a charge of OWI 1st Offense. Edwards was taken to the Cass County Jail where she was released later that day on her own recognizance.

Ehrman announces candidacy for Cass Co. Recorder


March 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic resident Jess Ehrman, today (Monday) announced she’s running for Cass County Recorder.  Ehrman currently serves as the Guidance Secretary for the Atlantic High School. She is also serving her third year as secretary for Atlantic Junior Sports Association and is also on the Atlantic Booster Club Board.

Jess Ehrman

Jess Ehrman

In announcing her candidacy, Ehrman said “The reason I have decided to run for office is because I enjoy working with the public and I know with my experience and my educational background, I am very capable of this position of Cass County Recorder.”

Ehrman grew up in the Anita area where she graduated from CAM High School. She attended AIB College of Business where she received an Associate’s degree in Accounting and Financial Services and currently is working for a double major in Accounting and Business Administration which will be completed at the end of June. Ehrman has 10 years of accounting and bookkeeping experience. She lives in Atlantic with her three sons, Chase, Steele and Garrett.

The Cass County Recorders position became open when current Recorder Joyce Jensen announced in December, her plans to retired at the end of her term in office.

Boyer Valley hires new Superintendent/Secondary Principal


March 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Boyer Valley School Board of Educators have voted to hire a new Superintendent/Secondary Principal. In a press release today (Monday), the board says it hired Douglas Gee from the Adel-Desot0-Minburn (ADM) School District on Friday, after an interview process. Currently, Superintendent Thomas Vint was shared between the Boyer Valley School District and Woodbine School District. Vint submitted his retirement, and secondary Principal of Boyer Valley Chad Straight has accepted a position to Belle Plaine, IA.

The Boyer Valley School District hired former Harlan Community Superintendent Bob Broomfield to conduct the hiring process. Broomfield filtered through over twenty applicants for the position. Several community and Boyer Valley Staff members were selected as a committee team to help during the interview process with the final three applicants.

Board President Kenneth “Bud” Dunham said in the press release, “We are confident in our decision to hire Mr. Gee. He will bring enthusiasm and fresh ideas to Boyer Valley, taking education to the next level.” Mrs. Linda McQueen, a teacher at Boyer Valley served on the committee team and said, “Mr. Gee was extremely energetic and passionate toward education during his interview.” Douglas Gee is currently the Assistant Principal and Activities Director at ADM. Mr. Gee will start at the Boyer Valley School District on July 1st, 2014.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

National Veteran Artist Coming to Kimballton, Iowa


March 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

New Century Art Guild, Inc. (NCAG) today (Monday), announced that they have awarded their 2014 Veteran Artist Grant to Mario Lopez from Bandera, Texas. The grant includes a four day visit to the Midwest. On Saturday, March 22nd NCAG will host an art exhibition of Mario’s work and “Meet the Artist” dinner reception at their gallery in Kimballton. Lopez will share his inspirational journey as a soldier, family-man, minister and artist.  In a press release, Lopez said he is a wounded warrior but let doesn’t let his injuries define him. He said he likes that he can help people by “Showing them that even though life throws obstacles our way, there is no reason to give up because life is always worth living.”

One of Lopez' works of art. (from his website)

One of Lopez’ works of art. (from his website)

U.S. Army Sgt. Mario Lopez served in Iraq in 2006-7 and Afghanistan in 2008. In August of 2008, Mario was severely injured while on duty with a combat engineering unit in Afghanistan. As part of a routine convoy, Lopez was strapped into his MRAP Vehicle on his way to his next mission when a 300-pound roadside bomb exploded, creating a blast that sent the MRAP’s door hurtling into him and pinning him inside the burning vehicle. As a result of the blast, he sustained burns on more than 40 percent of his body and lost his right arm, right ear, right eye and most of the fingers on his left hand.

The New Century Art Guild is a non-profit arts organization co-founded by veterans and artists. Its mission is to promote the career development of emerging and established artists, especially those of military veterans that seek new careers in the creative arts. For more information on Lopez, go to www.paintingsbymariolopez.com.

Mario said, “While recovering in 2011, I picked up a paint brush with my remaining left fingers and began to experiment! Initially I was painting just for myself, but friends and family started to inquire about my art. Before I knew it, I was getting attention and requests from people I had never even met!”

Public Intox arrest and an accident, in Atlantic


March 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports the arrest of a local man Saturday. 38-year old Mario Diaz Meras, of Atlantic, was taken into custody on a charge of Public Intoxication. Diaz-Meras was booked into the Cass County Jail and held, pending an appearance in front of the magistrate.

And, no injuries were reported following an accident Sunday morning, in Atlantic. Officials say a vehicle driven by Alec Guttenfelder, of Atlantic, was traveling west on 7th Street at around 10-a.m., and had stopped at the red light with Hospital Drive. A vehicle driven by Carol Nelson, of Atlantic, was traveling west and failed to stop at the light, striking the Guttenfelder vehicle on the rear bumper. The damage amounted to $4,000. Nelson was cited for Failure to Maintain Control/Reduce Speed.