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Multi-vehicle crash closes I-80 WB near Walnut Sunday

News

August 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A multi-vehicle crash closed Interstate 80 in Pottawattamie County for about 2-hours, Sunday night. Details are sketchy at this time, but according to the Iowa D-O-T, the crash happened at around 7-p.m. on I-80 westbound, near the Walnut exit.

The mess was cleaned-up and the road reopened to regular traffic flow just after 9-p.m.

22 rail cars full of coal derail in western Iowa

News

August 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DENISON, Iowa (AP) – Railroads crews are cleaning up after 22 cars of a coal train derailed near Denison Mark Davis, spokesman for Omaha, Neb.-based Union Pacific, says  he 136-car train was headed from Wyoming to Illinois when a section derailed about 6:40 a.m. Sunday. No injuries were reported.

Davis says crews will work into today (Monday) to clear debris and repair about 800 feet of damaged track that stretches over two rail lines. One of the lines was expected to reopen early today. The cause of the derailment is under investigation.

Missing Bluffs juvenile

News

August 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs are asking for the public’s help in locating a missing female juvenile. 17-year old Michaela Renee Allan, of Council Bluffs, was last seen at the Council Bluffs Public Library, at around 4:30-p.m. Sunday.

Michaela stands about 5-feet 6-inches tall, and weighs about 130 pounds. She was last seen wearing a multi-colored hat with lettering on it, a pink shirt, and tight, skinny jeans with high heels.

A witness at the library said the teen left on foot from that location after making several calls on a cell phone. If you have come into contact with her, call the Council Bluffs Police Department at 712-328-4721.

22 rail cars full of coal derail in western Iowa

News

July 31st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DENISON, Iowa (AP) — Railroads crews are cleaning up after 22 cars of a coal train derailed in western Iowa.

Mark Davis, spokesman for Omaha, Neb.-based Union Pacific, says the 136-car train was headed from Wyoming to Illinois when a section derailed about 6:40 a.m. Sunday. No injuries were reported.

Davis says crews will work into Monday to clear debris and repair about 800 feet of damaged track that stretches over two rail lines. One of the lines is expected to reopen early Monday.

The cause of the derailment is under investigation.

Grant Post Office to Close for good

News

July 31st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Post Office in Grant will be closing, soon. KJAN News has been notified officials at the facility will post a closure notice, on Monday. Last February, the citizens of Grant received a letter from the manager of Post Office Operations in Des Moines, indicating the agency was seriously considering closing the post office.

This past week, Rich Watkins, spokesman for the U-S Postal Services’ Hawkeye District, based in Kansas City, Kansas, said his office has been inundated with calls since the USPS announced 178 post office could be closed in Iowa. Last February, Watkins told KJAN News the Grant Post Office has been vacant since last Summer, when the Post Master there retired. An Officer in Charge has been managing operations since then.

Watkins said at the time, that if the Grant Post Office were to close, there would still be pickup and delivery of the mail, along with the sale of stamps and other, traditional services, at what are called “cluster box units,” which are served by a neighboring post office. Customers would still be able to use the Grant, Iowa zip code in their mailing addresses, and retail services will continue to be available 17-miles away, at the Villisca Post Office, or 10-miles away, in Elliott.

Adams County arrests

News

July 31st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Adams County Sheriff’s Department reports two people were arrested on separate charges, Saturday night. At around 9:20-p.m., 42-year old Lyle Kenneth Houtchens, of Malvern, was taken into custody on charges of Public Intoxication and Driving While Intoxicated.

Officials say Houtchens was allegedly driving a Ford truck, which went into a ditch. He walked to a nearby residence, where the occupants called the Sheriff’s Office. When deputies arrived on the scene, they found the man hiding in a ditch. After a witness claimed Houtchins was the driver of the vehicle, he was placed under arrest.

The second arrest occurred about one-half hour later. The Adams County Sheriff’s Office says 38-year old Jermey Bertochi, of Lenox, was arrested on an Adams County warrant for Probation Violation.

Both men were being held in the Adams County Jail.

Santorum to visit Atlantic

News

July 31st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Presidential candidate, and former Republican Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, will be in Atlantic Tuesday, for a Town Hall meeting. Santorum and his family’s stop in Atlantic, is part of his 18-day, 50 city tour of the state, leading up to the Ames Straw Poll.

The meeting will take place from 6-to 7-p.m., August 2nd, at the Allen House Assisted Living Activities Center, at 1406 East 19th Street.

Iowa woman realizes dream of becoming an engineer

News

July 31st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Little boys aren’t the only ones who dream of being engineers when they grow up. Eileen Galiher did, too, and became the first female engineer at Union Pacific Railroad’s Council Bluffs yard. “I was the first one in Council Bluffs, but I have no idea how many there were everywhere else,” she said.

In Portsmouth, where she was born, her grandpa was a section foreman for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad Co., which was known as The Milwaukee Road, and lived in a section foreman’s house by the tracks, she said. She had several uncles – and, later, cousins – who also worked for the Milwaukee. Her family moved to Council Bluffs when she was 8, and her dad worked for Union Pacific as a mechanic. She graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School and did civil service work for seven years before landing a secretarial job at Union Pacific headquarters. She had two sisters who also started out as secretaries for the railroad.

“My dad worked there, too, at the same time,” she said. “I have many relatives that worked for the railroad, so it’s kind of in your blood. None of them were engineers.” After almost 10 years as a secretary, Galiher started training as an engineer in January 1979. “I had always wanted to be an engineer,” she said. “I had inquired about it several years.”

She trained for a year, with UP providing all the training. Then she had to meet quality standards. Galiher’s first work as an engineer was hostling, or moving engines, she said. She started in the Council Bluffs rail yard, then worked in Grand Island and Columbus in Nebraska “until I could hold a job back in Council Bluffs,” she said.

“I was stuck on the switch engine for about 16 months in Council Bluffs; and I had regular hours, but that’s the only thing I had – regular hours,” she said. “Then I got on the Extras Board in Council Bluffs” and worked as an on-call engineer, she said. “I chose to work the Extras Board and the road to make more money.” That meant having an unpredictable schedule, “It’s tough, but it gave me a good retirement,” she said.

Galiher, now of Honey Creek, worked for Union Pacific Railroad for 34 1/2 years, including about 25 years as an engineer, before she retired May 1, 2003. She still has a son-in-law who works for the railroad. Galiher now spends some of her time volunteering at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum.

“I have various hobbies,” she said. “My biggest one right now is quilting.” Galiher is also in the Red Hat Society and a card group. She has two daughters – one in Council Bluffs and one in Salt Lake – five grandchildren (including two in Council Bluffs) and one great-grandchild, also in Council Bluffs.

Neb. woman extradited to Iowa in shooting death

News

July 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

SAC CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Nebraska woman has been extradited to Iowa in a 2001 shooting death.

KITV-TV reports 45-year-old Tracey Richter-Roberts, of Omaha, Neb., is being held without bail in the Sac County jail. She’s due in court next week.

Richter-Roberts was arrested Tuesday in Omaha. She’s charged with first-degree murder in the 2001 shooting death of 20-year-old Dustin Wehde.

Richter-Roberts shot Wehde – a family friend – multiple times in her home on Dec. 13, 2001. She had told authorities at the time that she and her three children were in the home when Wehde and another man broke in and attacked her.

No charges were brought against Richter-Roberts at the time but the investigation was reopened in 2009.

Harlan man sentenced to 5 years over alcohol that killed teen

News

July 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

HARLAN, Iowa (AP) — A 27-year-old man has been sentenced to up to five years in prison for taking alcohol to a Harlan party where a teenager drank it and later died.

Dustin Thomas, of Crescent, pleaded guilty earlier this month to supplying alcohol to someone under legal age, resulting in death. The Omaha World-Herald reports he was sentenced Friday in Shelby County District Court.

Seventeen-year-old Julio Caceres was found unconscious at a party in Harlan last October and died two days later at a hospital. An autopsy showed he choked on vomit.

Court records say Thomas told investigators he took a bottle of whiskey to the party. The complaint says several witnesses reported that Caceres drank a large amount from the bottle.