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Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., June 21st 2012


June 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Workers at a Quaker Oats plant sharing a record $241 million Powerball jackpot in Iowa are demanding anonymity following a day of public celebration. The 20 workers say they’ll go to court to get an injunction ensuring their last names aren’t released. It’s believed to be the first time an Iowa lottery winner or group of winners have taken legal action to stay confidential.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded $8.3 million in contracts to restore the navigation channel along a nearly 120-mile stretch of the Missouri River. The corps says the project is to repair a 300-foot-wide by 9-foot-deep channel between Sioux City, Iowa and Rulo, Nebraska damaged by last year’s flooding. Work is set to begin within the week.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Valero Energy has temporarily halted production at its ethanol plant in Albion in eastern Nebraska because shrinking margins, due in part to rising corn prices. A company spokesman says a glut of ethanol also played a role in the decision. Valero is the second Nebraska ethanol plant to temporarily stop production in the past month.

OSAGE, Iowa (AP) — A Minnesota man has been given a suspended 10-year prison sentence for stealing hundreds of hogs in Iowa and Minnesota. Forty-four-year-old John Arndt of Hayfield, Minnesota was sentenced on a theft charge earlier this month in Iowa’s Mitchell County. The thefts happened at hog confinement operations between November 2010 and September 2011.

Atlantic Council to request street/bike lane conversions from I-DOT


June 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday, by a 6-to-1 vote, passed a Resolution requesting the Iowa Department of Transportation, to allow the City to convert 2nd Street from Buck Creek Road to Poplar Street, from a four lane to three-lanes (2 travel lanes, with a center turn lane) and a five-foot bike lane on both sides. The idea is to have a safe route of travel for bicycling enthusiasts to get from downtown Atlantic to the Schildberg Recreation Area, and an eventual connector to the T-Bone Trail.

The original Resolution had called for the conversion to include 2nd Street to Chestnut, but as Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Livengood pointed out, there would be a loss of parking spaces on 2nd Street, between Poplar and Chestnut. Councilman Shaun Shouse said it wouldn’t be possible to include the stretch of 2nd Street between Poplar and Chestnut, because the road is too narrow. Shouse said the cost of re-striping for the bike lanes and adding signage to the proposed route is much lower than trying to pave gravel portions of road on alternate routes, which come through  industrial areas that are also less aesthetically attractive. City Administrator Doug Harris said another reason the Resolution was changed to end the bike lanes at Poplar, was because that’s as far as Highway 83 (which becomes 2nd Street in Atlantic) goes, and the only stretch of the road where permission is needed from the State to add bike lanes or make other such changes.

Councilman Chris Jimerson, who often rides his bike to work, provided the lone nay vote on the Resolution, citing safety concerns. He said he worries about a child, or even an adult, getting onto Buck Creek Road and getting hit by a car, because it is a well traveled Road. During discussion, Councilman Dana Halder wondered if the City wasn’t getting ahead of itself, because there is no clearly defined bike route into Atlantic, and the Schildberg Rec Area, other than along the main highways. He wanted to know if there would eventually be more than one route into Atlantic from the Trail connection to the north.

Nishna Valley Trails group member Myra Kail, who initiated the bike lanes discussion with City Administrator Doug Harris, said her intentions was to find a way to bring the trail into Atlantic, that would ultimately “benefit the community.”  She says as far as she’s concerned, bring bicyclists into Atlantic doesn’t mean they necessarily have to come by way of the Schildberg Quarry. It means “Into the City proper, of Atlantic,” where they can shop, find food, a restroom and things of that nature. ” She says she wanted to “Open the doorway,” for how they would get bicyclists safely from Schildberg, into the City. Kail said “The possibility for there to be on-the-ground visibility of progress” being made on the trail, “Is absolutely huge, to the overall plan.”

City Administrator Doug Harris said he doesn’t yet have an estimate on how much it would cost the City to pay for the striping and signage changes, but Ed Kail, who is also with the Nishna Valley Trails group, said they “Would be willing to put some skin in the game,” as far as helping to pay for the cost of the signs, but no dollar figure will be available until the actual costs become clearer.

‘The Shipping 20’ Claim $241 Million Powerball Jackpot


June 20th, 2012 by Jim Field

DES MOINES, Iowa – A group of 20 co-workers from the shipping department at a Cedar Rapids cereal plant stepped forward Wednesday to claim a $241 million Powerball jackpot, the largest lottery prize won to date in Iowa.

The group laughed that they had the worst-kept secret in the state, as word of their win in the June 13 Powerball drawing had spread like wildfire — first through the Quaker Oats Co. plant in downtown Cedar Rapids where they worked and then nearly as quickly through the community.

Al, 61, buys the tickets for the group and said he had just recently planned to tell a neighbor the good news, only to learn that the neighbor already knew.

“So, yeah, it’s the worst-kept secret, I guess,” he said.

The group, which formed a trust calling itself The Shipping 20, chose to receive the jackpot as the lump-sum option of $160.3 million. Members of The Shipping 20 said they have played Powerball together for years, with each person chipping in $5 for tickets, but only when the jackpot was $100 million or higher. Each member of the group – 18 men and two women – each will receive about $8 million ($5.6 million after withholding taxes).

Lawyers for the group stated that the members of The Shipping 20 want their individual names to remain confidential and intend to request an injunction to that effect, which is allowed under Iowa’s Open Records law. The lottery believes the names are public and should be disclosed, but understanding the specifics of the law, the lottery has agreed to give the group 10 business days to seek an injunction.

The group’s winning ticket is the seventh overall in Iowa to win Powerball’s big prize.

Members of the group range in age from 35 to 64 and all live in and around Cedar Rapids. All are long-time employees of the Quaker Oats plant and are members of Local 110 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union/United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. On the job, they ship out boxes of Quaker Oats cereal from the plant. At least 11 members of the group said they would retire after winning the prize.

Al, who bought the group’s tickets, said he has worked at the plant for nearly 30 years and plans to keep working until Sept. 1.

“I feel bad for Quaker. It’s a busy time of year so it’s going to be hard on the guys who are there, so I kind of feel sorry for them,” he said. “I’ll stick around as much as I can.”

Three other group members also shared their plans:

  • Denise, 52, has worked at the plant for nearly 34 years, and said The Shipping 20 has a combined seniority of 686 years at Quaker Oats. “I’m just such in a fog, it’s hard to describe everything,” she said. “I’m shaking. It’s hard to wrap your head around.” Denise said she planned to use her winnings to help her adult children. She said her husband also is a member of the group and his last day at the plant is Friday.
  • Kelly, 54, has worked at the plant for 36 years and said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll retire. He was the group member who first realized they had won. Kelly said he saw the winning numbers on the lottery website the morning after the drawing and then had to check them several more times before he could believe it. Then he started yelling for his co-workers. Kelly said he is thankful that the big win can make a positive difference for Cedar Rapids, which suffered such huge losses in widespread flooding four years ago. “We’re in a position now as a group to work together somehow to make this a positive thing,” he said. “This is positive all around.”
  • Mike, 55, said he initially was deluged with text messages from family and friends. “I just went in shock,” he said. “But I made it through!” He has worked at the plant for nearly 35 years, plans to keep working and will take some time before he makes any big decisions. “I think it makes my kids be debt-free and that was my main goal,” he said.

For this particular drawing, Al bought their tickets at Hy-Vee, 5050 Edgewood Road in Cedar Rapids. One of those tickets beat the odds to win the jackpot.

Hy-Vee will receive a $10,000 bonus from the Iowa Lottery for selling the jackpot-winning ticket and store officials said the money will be shared on that front as well. Store Director Jamie Franck said that because Hy-Vee is an employee-owned company, workers at the store will see some of the store’s bonus in their own bonus checks.

“That money will go back to our employees,” Franck said. “That goes straight to our bottom line, back to their bonus checks. So they’ll reap in those rewards.”

The winning numbers in the June 13 Powerball drawing were: 7-10-14-33-57 and Powerball 18. The Shipping 20’s ticket matched all six numbers drawn to win the jackpot.

Powerball jackpot winners can choose to receive the big prize in annuitized payments over time or as a one-time, lump-sum payment. The $241 million prize is the 15th-largest Powerball jackpot won to date.

Iowa Lottery players now have won seven Powerball jackpots. The six previous winners are:

  • Tim and Kellie Guderian of Fort Dodge, who were Iowa’s biggest lottery winners when they claimed a $200.8 million jackpot in October 2006.
  • Hugh Hawkins of Des Moines, who won a $113.2 million jackpot in December 2005.
  • Jacquelyn Moore of Omaha, Neb., who won a $14.4 million jackpot in October 2004 (she bought her ticket at a convenience store in Carter Lake in western Iowa).
  • The Larry Hasken family of Sabula, who claimed a $31.8 million jackpot in January 2000.
  • Tim Schultz of Des Moines, who won a $28 million jackpot in February 1999.
  • Ed Brown of Washington, who split a $10.4 million jackpot with a Missouri woman in December 1992.

Attempted Break-in at Montgomery County Emergency Mgmt Office


June 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Red Oak are investigating an attempted break-in at the Montgomery County Emergency Management Office. Emergency Management Coordinator Brian Hamman told KJAN News the incident happened at his new office located in the basement of the County Highland Annex Building in Red Oak, sometime between 5-p.m. Monday and 8-a.m. Tuesday. Hamman said the Red Oak Police Chief told him it looks like a large crow bar may have been used. The person or persons responsible were nearly able to break through two panes of glass, and they were determined to try and gain entry, as there were shards of glass both inside and outside the office.

He says it’s the first time he’s aware of someone has tried to break into the EMA Office. Hamman wouldn’t comment on what it is they were after, but there are various pieces of electronic equipment typically used for communications and data, that were of value.  He says it’s ridiculous that things like this happen. Hamman says “It’s frustrating that people can’t mind their own business, and leave other peoples’ things alone.” He said on top of the attempted break-in at his office, someone hacked into the I-Tunes account on his cell phone. An investigation into the break-in, continues.

Diocese of Des Moines to launch new Catholic Foundation of SW Iowa


June 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Diocese of Des Moines plan to launch a new Catholic Foundation of Southwest Iowa on July 1st, and fold its endowments into the foundation as a means of providing cost savings, better professional management and investment opportunities for supporters. In his monthly column in The Catholic Mirror, Bishop Richard Pates said “This new development, I am confident, will serve well the charitable, organizational, and fiscal structure of the Catholic community in the 23 counties of southwest Iowa.”

Anticipated benefits of having the foundation include:

• Better Professional Management. The consolidated foundations will be served by a board with expertise and strong credentials in the investment arena.

• Benefits for Supporters. A variety of options for Catholics in the Diocese of Des Moines will be available. The Endow Iowa 25 percent tax credits also will be a possibility for those who are able to take advantage of this tax consideration. Other personal opportunities such as “Donor Advised Funds” will be incorporated into the new foundation.

Initially, the Catholic Foundation of Southwest Iowa will include funds from the Diocese of Des Moines. Over time, parishes and schools may take advantages of the foundation benefits by investing endowment funds in the foundation. Each parish entity will retain ownership of funds and will be accounted as such for future parish use. The Foundation will be a vehicle to raise resources for parishes, institutions and the diocese through legacy giving and planned giving. The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines will provide office support. The Diocese of Des Moines includes 81 parishes in 23 counties in central and southwest Iowa.

Atlantic man arrested for harassment


June 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports the arrest Tuesday of a local man on a harassment charge. 44-year old Ronald Jeray, of Atlantic, was taken into custody on a Cass County warrant for Harassment by Communication. Jeray was brought to the Cass County Jail and held pending a court appearance.

And, the A-PD says there were no injuries during an accident Tuesday evening at 10th and Cherry Streets. Officials say a vehicle driven by Bernice Meurer, of Atlantic, was traveling west on 10th Street at around 5:20-p.m., when it hit a legally parked trailer owned by Kevin Petersen, of Walnut. The damage amounted to $2,450. Meuer was given a warning following the incident, for Failure to Maintain Control.

Property damage accident and arrest reported in Clarinda


June 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Police officers in Clarinda say no injuries were reported following a property damage accident Monday afternoon, at the intersection of 16th and Wells Streets. The accident happened at around 1:45 p.m.   Officials say 78-year old Albert Ascherl, Jr., of Clarinda was traveling north on 16th Street and had slowed in traffic for a vehicle that was turning left at the intersection, when his 2011 Chevrolet was hit from behind by a 1988 Pontiac Sunfire. The other vehicle was  driven by 16-year old Stephanie Renae Marsh, of Clarinda. Marsh was cited for failure to stop with an assured clear distance ahead. Damage from the crash amounted to $3,000.

Authorities in Clarinda report also the arrest Tuesday afternoon, of 36-year old William Ray Phillips, of Clarinda. Phillips was taken into custody for violating a domestic protection order. He was brought to the Page County Jail and held without bail, pending an appearance before a Page County Magistrate.

Arrest reported following an assault in Clarinda


June 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

One person was arrested early this (Wednesday) morning following an assault in Clarinda. According to Clarinda Police Chief Keith Brothers, at around 2:30 a.m., officers arrested 19-year old Joseph Ray Williams-Azevedo, on a charge of serious assault. The arrest occurred after authorities received a report from an unidentified 18-year old male alleging that Williams-Azevedo had struck the victim in his head with a closed fist, during a verbal altercation. The incident allegedly happened in the area of 13th & Stuart, in Clarinda.

The alleged victim of the assault suffered minor injuries, but did not require medical attention. Williams-Azevedo was taken to the Page County Jail on $1,000 bail pending an appearance before a Page County Magistrate.

(Update) Fire reported at Northern Natural Gas near Oakland


June 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Firefighters from Oakland and Carson were called to a fire in a building at the Northern Natural Gas plant, near Oakland, but there was never any danger to the public. Mike Loeffler, Media Specialist with the gas company, in Omaha, told KJAN News the fire — which happened at around 10:15-a.m. — was not actually in the building, as had first been reported. He said a contractor was conducting maintenance on a Hydro-Vac at the Oakland Compressor Station. A fire ignited in the cab of the contractor’s truck. As of 10:45-a.m., the fire was extinguished. There were no injuries, and no damage to the Compressor station itself.

Cass County Supervisors adopt Illegal Dumping Ordinance


June 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Wednesday) adopted an Illegal Dumping Ordinance, followed a second public hearing on the matter, during which there were no comments received, and the second reading of the Ordinance. It was adopted after the third reading was waived. Supervisor Chuck Rieken said there’s still apparently some confusion out there about what areas of the County the Ordinance applies to, as evidenced by a conversation he recently had with a resident in Griswold.

Rieken said a gentleman stopped to ask him about a piano that was dumped behind a business in Griswold. The man had read about the ordinance, and wanted to know if the County had jurisdiction over the matter. Rieken informed him that is a matter for the City of Griswold, which can use the County’s Ordinance on Illegal Dumping as a template if it needs to, to control items disposed of within the City limits.

The Ordinance only applies to the Unincorporated areas of Cass County, not the individual Communities, some of which already have rules in place to deal with Illegal Dumping. The Ordinance also does not apply to controlled uses of broken-up concrete the County applies, as rip-rap along banks and streams for erosion control. County Engineer Charles Marker says a rural property owner can use broken up concrete for use as rip-rap along their banks and streams for erosion control, so long as it does not contain asphalt or oil-based materials. Most property owners will get the “safe” type of  concrete from the County, anyway.