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Semi toppled over on I-80 near Harlan, Wednesday


March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

High winds Wednesday fanned field and grass fires, and made driving difficult for those traveling east or westbound. The Omaha World-Herald reports an overturned semi blocked traffic on Interstate 80 westbound for at least an hour beginning at around 5-pm, between Harlan and Avoca. While authorities didn’t confirm high winds were the cause of the accident, winds had been whipping up to 50-miles per hour at the time. The accident happened at around the 40-mile marker. No injuries were reported.

The same strong winds caused multiple power outages in the Omaha area, according to a spokeswoman for the Omaha Public Power District. Thousands of people and businesses lost power during the extremely strong and sustained wind event.

Fires keep western IA & Nebraska crews very busy


March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Numerous reports of field and/or grass fires fanned by high winds kept firefighters across western Iowa and eastern Nebraska busy Wednesday afternoon and evening. A fire east of Atlantic at 63930 Hamburg Road was reported at around 2:40-p.m. by the property owner, Gerald Kay, who told authorities his outbuilding was on fire. The approximately 20-by-60-feet barn and about 20 acres of grassland were scorched in the blaze.

Photo's courtesy Mike Kennon (Cass Co. EMA)

Photo’s courtesy Mike Kennon (Cass Co. EMA)

photoAtlantic Fire Chief Mark McNees told KJAN News high winds whipping an electrical line appears to have been the cause of the blaze. The line was attached to a yard light just south of the outbuilding. Fire officials observed sparks coming from the line as the winds were whipping it around. Winds fanned the flames into a grassy area and the embers jumped across Highway 71, for a time, forcing authorities to close the road.  McNees said the winds created a tremendous amount of smoke and the fire was “Spreading explosively, very, very quickly.” Crews worked diligently to prevent the fire from spreading into a field across the highway, otherwise McNees said, they’d “Have been fighting it for miles.”

Atlantic firefighters received mutual aid from Marne and Anita Fire and Rescue and Wiota Fire. Deputies with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office along with officers from Atlantic Police Department worked to control traffic in the area. Cass County Emergency Management was also on the scene. Emergency crews were on the scene for a nearly two and a half hours. Crews from Anita stopped a train that had left Anita heading west toward Atlantic, because of the danger of flames coming near the tracks.

A few hours later in Shelby County, firefighters from Irwin, Kirkman, Defiance and Harlan were called to the scene of a large field fire at 1725 Redwood Road, in rural Kirkman. Crews were on the scene battling the wind, flames and smoke for at least couple of hours. As of 7-p.m., the fire was spreading so quickly, authorities were considering evacuating an area north of 1800th Street. In Mills County, a 100-year old barn went up in flames near Pacific Junction at around 2:45-p.m., after a controlled burn that was started Tuesday and thought to be extinguished, flared up and scorched several acres. Authorities say there were two grass fires in Adair County and one in Adams County, as well.

No injuries were reported from any of the fire scenes as of late Wednesday evening. Early Thursday morning (3/27), firefighters from Anita and Wiota were called to the scene of a power pole fire in Audubon County. The call about the pole located near 3486 Quail Avenue, came in at around 3:35-a.m. Crews were on the scene for a little more than an hour.

Stage set for June Primary elections: Cass & Montgomery Co. candidates


March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Wednesday was the last day for candidates interested in running for local government offices to file their nomination papers in advance of the June 3rd Primary Election.

In Cass County, there were no more changes to the list of candidates who are hoping for your vote. Republican Tracey J. Marshall, of Atlantic, is unopposed in her bid for re-election as Treasurer in Cass County. As previously mentioned, there are four Republicans running for the Recorder’s post, including Mary Ward, Jess Ehrman, Shelly Glynn and Delbert Thurman, all from Atlantic. Current County Recorder Joyce Jensen is not running for re-election. There are also two Republicans running for Cass County Attorney, including incumbent Dan Feistner, and his challenger, Attorney David Wiederstein. And, Cass County Republican Supervisors Gaylord Schelling and Mark Wedemeyer are unopposed in their bid for re-election to District 2 and 3, respectively.

In Montgomery County, candidates who have filed papers to run for county office include: Incumbent Republicans – Carleen Bruning, Recorder; Carol Stevens, Treasurer; and Bruce Swanson, County Attorney. In Montgomery County Supervisor District 1, incumbent Steven D. Ratchliff faces a challenge from fellow Republican Steven J. Berendes. In District 2, incumbent Republican Karen Blue faces a challenge from Republican Joshua A. Wiig. And in District 4, Incumbent Republican Supervisor Randall Tye faces a challenge from two men: Republicans Brian Coughlin and Mark L. Peterson.

Absentee ballots will be available after April 24th at the Auditor’s Office. Friday, May 30th is the last day to request an Absentee Ballot be mailed to you. On Election day, the polls will be open from 7-a.m. to 9-p.m.  If you have any question about where to vote, contact your County Auditor or go to the Iowa Secretary of State’s website at http://sos.iowa.gov/, and click on the “Find my polling place” link.

Colorado man sentenced in Pott. County on money laundering & firearm charges


March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa reports a Colorado man was sentenced Tuesday in Pottawattamie County to spend a little more than 5-years in prison on a couple of charges. 31-year old Matthew Corey Cummings of Aurora, CO., was sentenced by United States District Court Judge John Jarvey to 63 months in prison for money laundering and for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The Judge also ordered Cummings to serve two years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment. On November 1st, 2013, Cummings pled guilty to both charges as a result of an investigation being conducted by the Southwest Iowa Narcotics Task Force into the distribution of controlled substances being distributed in Pottawattamie County from Colorado.

Money from the sale of these controlled substances was being returned to Colorado through a bank account which was set up for that purpose. In addition, when arrested while transporting marijuana into Pottawattamie County, Cummings was found to have a handgun in his possession.

The investigation was conducted by the Southwest Iowa Narcotics Task Force, Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office, Aurora Colorado Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Malvern man sentenced to 11-years in prison for manufacturing Meth


March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Mills County man was sentenced Tuesday to spend 11-years in prison following his conviction on a drug charge. 31-year old Jesse R. Salmons-Rice, of Malvern was sentenced by United States District Court Judge John Jarvey to 132 months in prison for manufacturing methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school. Rice was also ordered to serve eight-years of supervised release following the period of imprisonment.

On September 4tg, 2013, Salmons-Rice pled guilty to the charge. The guilty plea was the result of an investigation by law enforcement into the manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine in and around Mills County. He was found to have been manufacturing methamphetamine on or about November 6th, 2012, in the loft of his garage which was located within 28-feet of an elementary school in Malvern.

The investigation was conducted by the Southwest Iowa Narcotics Task Force, the Mills County Sheriff’s Office, the Iowa State Patrol, and the Iowa Division of Narcotic Enforcement. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Body found in a Council Bluffs creek


March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding a a body found floating in a creek near the east edge of Council Bluffs, Wednesday afternoon. According to the Omaha World-Herald, the body of a man in his 50’s was found in Mosquito Creek. The 9-1-1 call to Pottawattamie County Dispatch came in at around 12:25-p.m.

The body, which was found face down, remained in the creek under the Madison Avenue overpass an hour or so after it was found. Police said it appeared that the body had not been in the water long. The location is near Valley View Road and Madison Avenue just east of the Mall of the Bluffs and Interstate 80.

No other information was available late Wed. afternoon.

Iowa Senate gives civil containment bill last OK


March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate granted final approval of a bill meant to stop the release of sexually violent predators. Lawmakers unanimously approved the measure Wednesday, sending it to Gov. Terry Branstad.

The bill allows those convicted of a violent sexual offense as a juvenile to be sent to a civil containment unit for sexually violent predators upon release from prison. Officials now don’t consider such juvenile convictions when making adult release decisions.

Cedar Rapids Sen. Robert Hogg says those who commit sex offenses as juveniles could be dangerous as adults. He says this was true in the case of Kathlynn Shepard, who authorities say was abducted and killed last year by Michael Klunder. Under the proposal, Klunder could have been kept in civil containment for past offenses instead of being freed.

Dangerous fire conditions this afternoon

News, Weather

March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson




Iowa House OKs bill to support veterans


March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Veterans would receive various tax and job benefits under a bill overwhelmingly approved by the Iowa House. In a 94-2 vote Wednesday, the House passed a measure that combines several of Gov. Terry Branstad’s initiatives intended to attract veterans to Iowa and to support those already in the state. The legislation now goes to the Senate.

The bill exempts military pensions from state income tax, permits companies to offer preferential treatment to veterans in hiring decisions, and gives veterans credit for military experience when obtaining an occupational license. All provisions had been considered separately at the committee level.

Republican Rep. Matt Windschitl, of Missouri Valley, says moving forward with these efforts is a small step to better support those who have served the country.

Rollover accident in Atlantic Wed. afternoon


March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

(Updated 7-p.m.)

An Atlantic teen suffered minor injuries during an accident Wednesday afternoon just south of the intersection of 10th and Chestnut Streets.

Ric Hanson photos

Ric Hanson photos

Atlantic Police said 16-year old Caleb Kelly lost control of the 2 door Saturn his was driving at around 2:18-p.m. The accident happened as he was traveling south on Chestnut. A medical condition is thought to have been the cause of the crash.

The vehicle hit a telephone pole guy wire before flipping onto its top, coming to rest facing west on Chestnut. Kelly, who managed to crawl out of the car on his own, was transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital by Medivac Ambulance, to be checked out.IMG_20140326_144342_007