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Cass Supervisors approve $25,000 for CAT grant application


March 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Thursday) approved a revised request for the commitment of $25,000 from the Local Option Sales Tax in support of an Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s application to Vision Iowa for a Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) grant. The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department had originally sought $40,000 to help secure a $360,000 grant for proposed improvements and further development of the campground at the Schildberg Recreation Area, and the Pellet Wildlife Refuge Park, but Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring removed $15,000 from the request after the decision was made to eliminate the Pellet Park from the plan.

Herring said he might have pushed too hard to have the Pellet Wildlife Refuge included in the plan, when it was obvious not all the parties involved felt it was necessary at this time. Last week, the Board asked Herring to come up with some figures with regard to how proposed improvements to the campground at the Schildberg Recreation Area, would benefit the county as a whole, and not just Atlantic.

He came up with some numbers that the Board liked, including estimates that the proposed campsite improvements at the Schildberg Rec Area would increase the Local Option Sales Tax revenues by a conservative one-percent, or $6,300 per year, based on a six-month, May through October season. He said 20 camping pads fully used at $15 per night, would generate $300 per day over 180 potential days in the season. Overall, if there were overall 90 days with 50-percent usage, that $300 would turn into $27,000 of gross income.

Herring said based on national statistics, where visitors spend $289 per day for food, entertainment, gasoline and so on, while camping, at least $180,000 would be injected into the local economy. The International Convention and Visitor’s Bureau projects that money will roll over in the local economy, 3 ½ times, or $630,000.

During discussion, Supervisors Frank Waters and Mark Wedemeyer, who were previously opposed to committing $40,000 toward securing the CAT Grant, said the new data swayed them enough to allow a $10,000 commitment, but in the end, a motion for $25,000 was approved by a vote of 3-to-2, with Schelling, McFadden and Rieken in favor, Wedemeyer and Waters opposed. Both men said they were NOT opposed to the project, just the amount of financial commitment from the County, in light of a desire to reduce the debt and focus on bridges and roads.

In other business, the Cass County Board of Supervisors set $9.00 per hour as the rate of compensation for precinct election officials. Previously those persons had been paid the ongoing minimum wage of $7.25/hour. Precinct officials typically put in 15-to 18-hour days during the day of elections.

Creston women injured in Wednesday night collision


March 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Two women were transported to the hospital following an accident Wednesday night, in Crston. Authorities say vehicles driven by 59-year old Lavon Schlapia and 18-year old Bailey Rowan, both of Creston, collided at the intersection of Taylor and Maple Streets at around 9:25-p.m. The women suffered unknown/possible injuries and were transported by ambulance to the Greater Regional Medical Center, in Creston.

Officials say Schlapia was traveling east on Taylor Street and making a left turn onto northbound Maple, but didn’t see the car driven by Rowan that was traveling westbound on Taylor. Damage from the collision amounted to $4,500. Schlapia was cited for Failure to Yield upon left turn.

Nebraska sheriff’s deputy arrested in Iowa casino incident


March 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say a Nebraska sheriff’s deputy was arrested after a Council Bluffs casino incident. Court records say 44-year-old Thomas Flynn is charged with public intoxication. Iowa online court records don’t list the name of an attorney who could comment for Flynn. The Omaha World-Herald reports that Flynn is a sheriff’s deputy in Douglas County, which includes Omaha.

A police report says a Council Bluffs officer was sent to help security officers at the Horseshoe Casino on Friday. The report says Flynn was unsteady on his feet and verbally combative. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says Flynn has been placed on desk duty pending an investigation.

Flynn was shot while on duty in 2011. The following year his department named him Deputy of the Year and gave him two medals.

Man charged in fatal Omaha crash now on most wanted list


March 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A man who fled from authorities after being charged in a fatal Omaha crash is now on the federal immigration agency’s most wanted list.  Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse (Sass) announced Wednesday that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has added 19-year-old Eswin Mejia, a Honduras national, to its list of wanted suspects. The agency’s listing says Mejia came to the country illegally in 2013.

Authorities haven’t seen Mejia since he posted bail and was released from jail in February.  Federal officials previously declined requests made by Omaha police to detain Mejia. Mejia was charged with felony motor vehicle homicide and drunken driving after a pickup he was driving crashed into an SUV driven by 21-year-old Sarah Root, of Council Bluffs, who was killed.

Discussion on childcare in Cass County set for April 1st


March 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Area business owners or their representatives, and members of organizations with an interest in the future of childcare in Atlantic and Cass County, should make reservations now to attend a free lunch buffet in Atlantic this Friday, April 1st, to discuss the successes, challenges, and future of childcare in Atlantic and Cass County. The event takes place at the Pizza Ranch in Atlantic from noon until1-p.m., Friday.

During the meeting the Ann W. Wickman Child Development Center Operating Committee will explain the successes that have been achieved in our community around childcare, the current state of childcare in our community, and how our work together can improve the long term impact for current and future families and employees.

If you are an area business owner or organization leader and would like to attend the luncheon, Friday, make your reservation by email at dhaynes@nishnavalleyymca.com or by calling 712-243-3934.

Clarinda’s New Superintendent hails from MN


March 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A Minnesotan will take the reigns of the Clarinda Community School District this summer. The Daily NonPareil reports Deron Stender, superintendent of the Virginia Minnesota Public Schools, accepted an offer late Tuesday made by the Clarinda school board following a day of meeting with stakeholder groups and a job interview with the board.

Contract details are still being negotiated, but Stender is expected to begin work July 1st. He will replace Paul Honnold. Stender was selected over Gregg Cruickshank, shared superintendent of South Page and Sidney, and Vance Dalzin, a superintendent from Fox Point, Wisconsin.

Clarinda officials announced the names of the three finalists after seven candidates were screened last week by the school board. Finalists were named based on interviews, reference checks and application materials. Formal interviews were held Tuesday, along with meetings with various stakeholder groups and a tour of district facilities.

Stender said his first challenge on the job will be making time to interact with students and staff since the superintendent’s office is not in a classroom building. He also wants teachers to have autonomy in the classroom and use technology to support instruction.

Stender has served as superintendent for the Virginia Minnesota Public School District since 2012. The district has about 1,800 students, nearly twice that of Clarinda, with about a $22 million budget, compared to Clarinda’s roughly $17 million budget..

Prior to interviewing in Clarinda, Stender was one of four finalists for the superintendent position in Ottumwa earlier this month. Honnold, the current Clarinda superintendent, is leaving after 35 years of service in the district. He made a surprise announcement in February about his departure at the end of his 21st year as superintendent.

Pott. County Primary features 6 candidates for 2 seats


March 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Six people will seek two open seats on the Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors in this year’s election. Five of the six are Republicans, with one Democrat. The Daily NonPareil says only one person, Melvyn Houser, is running for the county auditor position, while incumbent Jeff Danker will be unchallenged in the election for county sheriff. Houser and Danker are both Republicans.

The six board candidates are Marilyn Jo Drake, incumbent Lynn Grobe, Shala Chevalier, Lynne Branigan and Tim Wichman – all Republicans – and Bartholomew Randolph, a Democrat.

Following the Primary, two of the five Republicans running for the board will move on to the November general election, unless none of the candidates receives at least 35 percent of the vote. If that occurs, the county’s Republican Party will then decide who moves on.

Other races on the June 7 primary will vote those running for U.S. senator, U.S. representative, state senator and state representatives.

Montgomery County Primary election set for June 7th


March 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Montgomery County Auditor Stephanie Burke, Wednesday, released the names of candidates who have submitted certified nomination papers to run for county offices during the June 7th Primary election.  All current Republican incumbent candidates for office are running for re-election, including Auditor Stephanie Burke, Sheriff Joe Sampson, and Donna Robinson – Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, District 5.

The are two Republicans running for the Board of Supervisors District 3 seat in Montgomery County, including incumbent Bryant Amos, and challenger Mike McCunn.


Voters in Montgomery County are reminded that May 27th is the Pre-Election Voter Registration Deadline. There is election day registration, but specific documentation must be provided. Auditor Stephanie Burke says, if possible, register BEFORE election day.


June 3rd is the deadline to request an absentee ballot be mailed to you. Those requesting ballots by mail should do send their requests as soon as possible. And, the Polls in Montgomery County will be open election day, Tuesday, June 7th, from 7-a.m. until 9-p.m. Absentee ballots will be available after April 28th at the Auditor’s Office, to be vottd through Monday, June 6th.


Polling places in Montgomery County include: The Red Oak Gold Fair Building; Red Oak Fire Station; Red Oak 1st Christian Church; Elliott Community Buildng; The Stanton Fire Department; Grant Fire Department, and Villisca Community Building.


The Montgomery County Auditor’s Office is open Monday through Friday, from 8-a.m. until 4:30-p.m.  If you have any questions about voter registration, absentee ballots, or voting, call the Auditor’s Office at 712-623-5127, or visit www.montgomerycountyiowa.com on the web,

Cass County Primary set


March 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The last day of filing for office in Cass County has come and gone, with three new candidates submitting their nomination papers by 5-p.m. Wednesday, for the June 7th Primary Election. The only Democrat to file in any of the contested races, Dana Kunze, from Griswold, filed his papers to be included on the ballot in the Cass County race for the District 4 seat on the Board of Supervisors.

As we mentioned during our newscasts Wednesday afternoon and overnight, two Republicans had also filed papers for the District 4 seat, Wednesday. Rocky Anderson and Ryan Askeland, both of Griswold, bring to six, the number of Republicans vying for the position being vacated by Chuck Rieken, of Griswold. The other candidates, as previously mentioned, include Steve Baier and Barry Moore, of Griswold, Todd Hansen, of Atlantic, and Nick Hensley, of Cumberland.

No other changes have been made to the list of Republican candidates filing for Cass County Supervisor District 1, District 5, Auditor and Sheriff. No Democrats have filed to run for any of those positions. On the ballot for the District 1 seat on the Board of Supervisors in Cass County, is Steve Green (Police Chief in Atlantic), Dave Jones (Mayor of Atlantic), and Dale Retallic. All three men are from Atlantic.

In the Cass County District 5 race for the Board of Supervisors, Republicans, J. Ford Lillard, of Wiota and Bernard Pettinger, of Anita, are challenging incumbent Republican Frank Waters, of Cumberland. Incumbent Cass County Republican Auditor Dale Sunderman will face off against his fellow Republican challenger Wendy Richter to try and retain his seat. And Cass County Republican incumbent Sheriff Darby McLaren, of Atlantic, is unopposed in his bid for re-election.

Branstad signs bill into law on untested rape kits in Iowa


March 30th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has signed a bill into law that will require law enforcement in Iowa to respond to a survey aimed at determining the number of untested rape kits around the state. Branstad signed the bill into law Wednesday. It passed with unanimous support in the House and Senate.

The Iowa attorney general’s office released an electronic survey recently to authorities aimed at understanding the storage and potential backlogs of untested sexual abuse evidence collection kits. They’re using a $2 million federal grant to get the scope of the issue and to test as many kits as possible. The new law will require authorities to respond to the survey.

The federal government pledged at least $40 million last year to deal with backlogs of rape kits around the country.