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Cass County Zoning Board to hold public hearing on rezoning

News

January 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Zoning Administrator Rich Hansen told the Board of Supervisors during their meeting this (Tuesday) morning, that the Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on February 9th with regard to a request by John Dvorak to rezone a part of his property on the outskirts of Atlantic, from General Ag to Light Industrial. The property is located off Olive Street, across from the Little League Diamonds. Dvorak wants to rezone the 4.5-acre area so he can have a tire repair and car service business. The Zoning Commission will try to iron out some parking issues, and submit its recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for their approval, following the public hearing. The hearing will likely take place at around 7 or 7:30-p.m. on February 9th. The exact time, though, has not yet been set.

Western Iowa school board fires principal

News

January 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

MONDAMIN, Iowa (AP) – A western Iowa school board has fired a principal accused of pulling down the pants of a 15-year-old student. The West Harrison Community School District Board in Mondamin voted unanimously Monday to terminate the contract of Mike Loftin at the end of the school year and immediately ban him from school grounds.  The board members would not say specifically why Loftin was fired. The board directed its attorney to file a complaint about Loftin with state education authorities. 
 
The Harrison County sheriff’s office is investigating, but Loftin has not been charged with a crime. A phone listing for Loftin could not be found.  The girl says Loftin, who coached the girls’ basketball team, pulled down her pants before a game on Jan. 20th. Several other students were nearby.

Hwy 92 Bridge scheduled for replacement west of Massena

News

January 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Engineer Charles Marker said today (Tuesday), a public hearing will be held February 12th, regarding the closure and replacement of the Highway 92 bridge, located just west of Massena. Marker told the Board of Supervisors he’d received an e-mail from the Iowa Department of Transportation, informing him the bridge is in their replacement program for this Summer. Marker says while the bid-letting date for the project has not been set, the public hearing is being held as part of the process required before work can begin. The detour route will take motorists up Cass County Road N-28 to G-43, across G-43 to Highway 148, and back down to Highway 92. 

Marker says the bridge is being replaced because of the damage it sustained during a flood a couple of years ago. Since then, the bridge has been limited to one-lane traffic for trucks and other such heavy vehicles, because of their weight, meaning only one truck can cross at a time. The public hearing will take place at the Massena City Hall, just prior to the beginning of the regular council session.

Speaking of weight limits, Marker said every year, the County approves weight limits on the bridges, following inspections and subsequent recommendations. He says the bridges have weight limits from as low as 3-tons, to as much as 23-tons. Signs must be erected annually, to indicate the current weight restrictions. The Board approved a resolution allowing limits to be set, according to the inspection reports.

Graffiti vandals caught in Atlantic

News

January 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green reports three juveniles have been arrested in connection with a string of vandalisms which occurred over the past several weeks. 14-year old Patrick Ralston, 13-year old Isaiah Lagassie, and 13-year old Austin Boggs, all from Atlantic, were charged with Trespassing, Criminal Mischief in the 2nd degree, and Criminal Gang Participation. Two of the juveniles were transported to the Juvenile Detention Facility in Council Bluffs, while the third has been placed with his parents, pending a hearing. The arrests occurred on Sunday and Monday.

Green says his officers began receiving complaints a few weeks ago, about buildings in both the downtown Atlantic area, and residential areas, being spray painted. In all more than two-dozen buildings sustained damage, but Green doesn’t know the dollar amount of damage just yet, or for that matter, how much restitution the juveniles will be required to make to correct the damage. He says that’s because it’s been difficult to get estimated from the persons and businesses affected. There are costs involved with sandblasting, and in some cases people don’t go through the trouble to take that course of action. 

Over the course of the last week, some specific lettering was discovered, which related to the teens attempting to identify themselves as a gang. The Chief says while the gang situation is being handled seriously, officers would like the public to know that both the age of the offenders and the quick response from law enforcement has prevented a “true gang” from evolving. He says the teens didn’t care if law enforcement knew who they were or not. He says they had a “heads-up” that the police were coming after them, but they continued to act irresponsibly. Green says their mindset was “We’re going to be rebels until the end,” which is an “uncool place to go when you’re 14-years old, because by the time you’re 18, you’re going to be a prime candidate for the (State) Pen.” 

The Chief says officers from virtually every shift formed a team effort to stop the threat from maturing, and to solve the vandalisms that were taking place. He says he’s happy with the efforts of his officers to “Nip the situation in the bud,” and preventing the formation of any ongoing threats. And, while some people might think charges the teens with Criminal Gang Participation is a bit harsh, Green says “We have our reasons.”

8AM Newscast 01-31-2012

News, Podcasts

January 31st, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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7AM Newscast 01-31-2012

News, Podcasts

January 31st, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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Bluffs Care Center fined over gangrene case

News

January 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Council Bluffs care facility has been fined nearly $62,000 by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, after a resident allegedly contracted gangrene following a fall and broken leg, and died. The Des Moines Register says the Regency Rehab and Skilled Nursing Center was also cited for 23 other violations during the past 12 months, including failing to follow physicians’ orders, but no fines were imposed for those alleged violations.

According to the report, the resident who died at the care facilty, had suffered a broken leg in September. A doctor gave the Regency staff instructions to keep an immobilizing device on the resident’s leg, to allow the bone to heal. He told inspectors that he assumed Regency staff would know to remove the device temporarily, to assess the resident’s skin and bathe the leg, as required.

The staff however, apparently failed to remove the device, and also applied ice to an open wound on the resident’s heel, constricting the blood vessels, and slowing the flow of blood to that area.  In October, the resident was admitted to a hospital, with the foot apparently consumed by gangrene. State records said the foot was nearly black, due to “Negligence/no blood flow.”  The resident died on October 27th.

Other, recent sanctions against Iowa Nursing Homes, include the Friendship Home in Audubon being fined $8,000 by the State, after a resident fell to the floor in a lounge area, and was knocked unconscious. The resident allegedly suffered a fractured hip, facial injuries and bruises to the head. State records say the resident died shortly after undergoing surgery to repair the hip.

Weather records fall by the wayside, Monday as temps soar

News, Weather

January 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Many locations in Iowa and Nebraska broke record high temperatures Monday, including here in Atlantic. The temperature at the KJAN studios (The OFFICIAL National Weather Service reporting station for the community), reached 65-degrees, which shattered the old record of 58, set 24-years ago (1988). Other sites broke records dating back more than 80-years. Lincoln, NE., reached a high of 71, Monday. The old record was 60, in 1931.

In Omaha, the previous record of 60 in 1974, was beat by 9-degrees (69), Monday. Sioux City set a record high temperature for January 30th, when the thermometer reached 65-degrees, breaking the record of 57 set in 1964. And, Des Moines also reached 65, which surpassed the old record high of 57, set in 1988.

Brad Small, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Johnston, says Ottumwa reached 65, breaking the old record of 59. Lamoni saw 63 degrees, knocking off the old record by three degrees. Webster City reached a high of 59, breaking the old record of 53 set in 1931. State climatologist Harry Hillaker says “it’s been a January for the ages.” That’s because Iowa has a 60-degree day in January about once every 10 years. There have been three so far this month, with a chance to hit 60 or higher somewhere in the state today.

The forecast temperature in Atlantic today, is 58. That would tie a record high set on this date, in 1892.  There’s the possibility of snow, by Friday.

New study defends Corps of Engineers actions on 2011 Missouri River flooding

News

January 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An independent review of last year’s prolonged Missouri River flooding says there was little more the U-S Army Corps of Engineers could have done to avoid the widespread, expensive damage. Among those on the review team, Cara McCarthy is senior forecast hydrologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Portland, Oregon. McCarthy says they looked through a mountain of information.She says, “First of all, it’s just finding out about the flooding, looking at the numbers and finding out the extremes and then finding out, not just the water amount, but the damage amounts, talking to people and hearing what happened to them.” McCarthy says members of the Corps of Engineers started to react early in the spring as soon as they saw the massive inflows of snow melt and rain move into the reservoir system.

“By May 1, they recognized that they had a lot of water to get rid of, so they had actually started to get rid of water in the beginning of April,” McCarthy says. “Even if they had released more water in April than they did, they couldn’t have evacuated all that water. It was just a tremendous amount of water that came down.” While she admits it’s difficult to strike a perfect balance, she says the report recommends the Corps find a way to set aside more upstream flood control storage space to avoid a repeat. “That’s really what was needed this year,” McCarthy says. “If you do have that, you have less water in the reservoir so you have less water for recreation and less water for downstream water uses and for irrigation, so this is the problem the whole Missouri River system needs to look at.” Road repairs from the flooding in Iowa alone exceed 50-million dollars. The Corps estimates almost 600-million dollars in damage was done just to levees along the river.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

Atlantic teen cited for assault

News

January 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Police in Atlantic say a 15-year old female was cited last Friday for allegedly assaulting another juvenile. Jordan Nielsen, of Atlantic, was arrested on a charge of Serious Assault. The teen was later released to her parent, and cited into juvenile court.

The Atlantic Police Department reports also, the arrest Sunday, of 26-year old Tyler Gordan Bills, of Atlantic, on a charge of OWI/1st offense. Bills was brought to the Cass County Jail and held pending a court appearance.