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Corps short on Missouri River levee-repair money


December 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Monday that it has money available so far to fix only 11 of 68 Missouri River levees and is draining extra water from upstream reservoirs to nurse the flood-battered system through 2012. The damaged levees are in Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas, officials announced during a meeting of the Missouri River Flood Task Force in suburban Kansas City. About half are federal levees and the other half are part of a program in which the corps helps pay for flood repairs if the levees pass routine inspections. “The reality is that not all damages can be repaired this year because of funding and time limitations,” said Brig. Gen. John R. McMahon, commander of the corps’ northwestern division office.

The $68 million available is only sufficient to help pay for the 11 most crucial projects. The goal is to fix those levees at least enough to protect against a 25-year flood, although many provided 100-year flood protection previously, said John Leighow, chief of the readiness and contingency operations division in the northwestern division of the corps. It would cost $253 million to make all the Missouri River Basin repairs. That money is part of the more than $2 billion the corps estimates it needs to repair the damage to the nation’s levees, dams and riverbanks caused by this year’s excessive flooding. A supplemental appropriation bill is stalled in Congress, and the corps has been focusing its limited money on fixing levees that protect communities and facilities such as water treatment plants. For now, the corps has been shuffling money around in its existing budget to pay for the levee fixes, Leighow said. “We are trying to be in the best possible position come March 1,” he said.

One step the corps has taken to help is to wait an extra week to drop to lower winter-release levels on the Missouri River, allowing it to empty extra water from the six upstream reservoirs. The corps has been stepping down the releases slowly and plans to hit the target level Wednesday. “We don’t anticipate that we will have a repeat of this year next year,” said Jody Farhat, chief of the corps’ Missouri River Basin Water Management office. “But the system is vulnerable and that is why we are releasing this additional water. The levees aren’t repaired, so having some additional storage … may allow us more flexibility to operate next summer.”

Water levels must be dropped in winter to avoid flood-causing ice jams, but this year’s mild fall weather allowed the corps to delay the reductions. Besides the helpful fall weather, Farhat also found hope in the relatively light snowpack. “It’s still very, very early,” she said. “There is some snow out there, but isn’t as heavy as going into last winter or the winter before it.”

Little Mermaid Trail Committee receives $15k – 1st phase set for completion in June


December 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Efforts to construct recreational trails in Elk Horn and Kimballton received a big boost from local and state officials, last week. Several members of the Little Mermaid Trail Committee were joined last Friday at the offices of Marne Elk Horn Telephone Company (METC) by Rod Rowland, President of Landmands Bank of Kimballton, and Sue Cosner, Vice President of Iowa Area Development Group, in Des Moines, to receive a total of $15,000 in donations for the projects.

Rowland pledged $10,000 over a period of three-years. The funds will be shared by the trail project and the Danish Immigrant Museum’s Jens Jensen Prairie Landscape Park. Cosner presented the Iowa Network Services Ripple Effect check in the amount of $5,000 for the trail project, to be matched by METC.  The group is also receiving an INS Charity grant of $1,000, also to be matched by METC.

L-R Sue Cosner, Glennda Mortenson, Janell Hansen, Terri Johnson, Jill Madsen, Bob Mortenson, Rod Rowland.

The Little Mermaid Trail is designed to be built in phases. Thanks to the mentioned recent gifts and grants, including $75,000 from Iowa Great Places and $25,000 from Lynette Rasmussen/The Rasmussen Group in Des Moines, officials say “Phase One” will be completed by June, 2012.

That means that by summer of next year, there will be a recreational trail ready for use in Kimballton, from the Little Mermaid Statue to just past the ball fields, with further expansion planned, and, in Elk Horn, from College & Union Streets to The Danish Immigrant Museum (currently known as the Atlantic Friends of the Museum Friendship Walk).

Calling all Audubon and Cass County Non-profit groups!


December 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Chairpersons of the Cass and Audubon County Community Foundations are putting out a reminder to non-profit organizations in their respective counties, that $95,000 in grants funds are available in each county separately, through the Cass and Audubon County Community Foundations. Applications are due no later than Feb. 1st, 2012.  Detailed application procedures, fact sheets, and a link to the application form can be obtained online at http://omahafoundation.org/swiowa.  Applications will only be accepted through the online system.

Contact any board member for additional information.  Contact Dennis Nissen at 800-794-3458 or dennis@omahafoundation.org or Denise Cardos at denise@omahafoundation.org with grant application-specific questions.  All completed applications will be considered at the March board meeting with notification of results in early April.

Only organizations providing charitable services in Cass or Audubon Counties are eligible.  Each organization must be able to demonstrate broad community/county support and supply a copy of their 501(c)(3) IRS determination letter.  Requests for general operational funds will not be considered.
Local Board members for the Cass County Community Foundation: Chair, Nicholas Hunt of rural Atlantic, 243-5485; Vice Chair, Gary Maas of Anita, 762-3434; Secretary/Treasurer, Roland K. Landsness, Esq. of Atlantic, 243-4154; Royal Bierbaum of Griswold, 778-2586; Beulah Follman of Massena, 779-3457; and Mark D. Kyhnn, CPA of Atlantic, 243-1800.

Local Board members for the Audubon County Community Foundation: Chair, Brett Irlmeier of Audubon, 712-563-2644; Vice Chair, Larry Beckendorf of Exira, 712-268-5331; Secretary/Treasurer, Thomas Nielsen of Audubon, 712-563-2742; Joanie Heuton of Kimballton, 712-773-5291; Jonnie Meislahn of Audubon, 712-563-2009; Jay Nelson of rural Brayton, 712-549-2277; and Daryl Olsen, DVM of Audubon, 712-563-2080.

Atlantic School Board to act on Video Camera policy, Tuesday


December 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Community School District’s Board of Education will meet Tuesday evening in the High School Media Room. On their agenda for the 7:30-p.m. session, is an update or presentation from Jerry Purdy, with the Design Alliance architectural firm. The Board will also act on approving General and Special Education contracts, as well as other, similar contracts and/or letters of assignments, and resignations.

Other matters up for discussion and action, include: approval of allowable growth requests for increased enrollment, Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Instruction beyond 4 years, and a request for exces cost for LEP instruction; the first reading of a policies pertaining to the use of video cameras on school premises and a school transportation regulation; and, approval of a bid for the replacement of doors for the Washington School and the baseball concession stand.

The board will also hold initial discussion with regard to the 2012-2013 Budget.

Perry Bus tour across Iowa: details released


December 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Additional details have been released with regard to Texas Governor and Presidential candidate Rick Perry’s bus tour across Iowa. As we mentioned on KJAN.Com Friday and over the weekend, Perry begins his 48 city tour Wednesday afternoon (Dec. 14), with a 1-p.m. stop in Council Bluffs, for a town hall meeting at Bayliss Park Hall, 530 1st Avenue. At 3:15-p.m., Perry will hold a Main Street walk in Harlan on the town square/Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, at 1101 7th Street. That same evening, at 5, he’ll be in Denison for a meet and greet at Cronk’s Cafe Restaurant.

Perry will be in the KJAN listening area again on Tuesday, December 27th, with a 10:45-a.m. meet and greet event at the Main Street Cafe in Council Bluffs, followed by a similar event at the Glenn Miller Museum in Clarinda, beginning at 1:15-p.m.  From there, Perry moves on to Creston, for a 3:30-p.m. meet and greet at Adams Street Espresso.

Governor Perry will also be in Carroll on January 2nd, for a meet and greet at the Santa Maria Vineyard, beginning at 4-p.m.

Lenox woman cited for supplying alcohol to persons under age


December 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A Lenox woman was cited today (Monday) for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, by allowing an underage person to consume alcohol, and by providing the booze. 48-year old Kristi S. Long received the citation following an investigation into an incident which occurred Saturday.

Lenox Police say they received a called at around 12:05-a.m. on December 10th, about juveniles consuming alcohol in a residence on East Ohio Street. An officer responded and identified a 15 year old female as drinking in the residence and several others who left just prior to the officers arrival. The 15 year old was released to a family member and referred to juvenile court on a charge of possession of alcohol while under the legal age.

License of Bluffs doctor suspended for alleged sexual misconduct and professional incompetency


December 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Board of Medicine announced last week, in a rare emergency order, that they have suspended the license of an anesthesiologist who practices in Council Bluffs. In suspending his license, the Board alleges 47-year old Dr. Michael C. Prescher engaged in “sexual misconduct and professional incompetency while performing injection procedures for pain treatment on two female patients who were under sedation.”

In making their decision, the board alleged that Prescher provided pain treatment to the women after hours in his office when no other health-care provider or staff person was present; that he didn’t charge them for the service; that the level of sedation reportedly provided for their respective procedures was unnecessary; and that he didn’t maintain medical records for the women. The board says the alleged incidents took place in 2009 and 2010.  They didn’t provide details on just how those incidents came to light.

Under terms of the emergency adjudicative order, Prescher is prohibited from practicing medicine until the matter is resolved, the board said. A hearing on the matter will take place January 12th.

On Friday, after officials at Jennie Edmundson Hospital in the Bluffs learned of the license suspension, Prescher’s clinical and admitting privileges immediately were suspended. Hospital officials said that means he will no longer be able to admit, treat, operate, or perform other such functions at the facility.

KJAN Sales Job Available

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports, Weather

December 12th, 2011 by Jim Field

Radio Sales Executive

KJAN Radio in Atlantic, IA is looking for a self-motivated, well-organized team player to join our sales staff.  If you enjoy a flexible environment that allows you to meet people, listen to their needs, help them find solutions and make your own paycheck then this job is for you!  Do not apply if you think sales means sitting in the office answering phone calls!

This is a full-time, commissioned sales position with an established territory and room to grow.  KJAN also offers a benefit plan to the successful applicant.  Sales experience is welcomed but we are willing to train the person who best fits this opportunity.

Interested applicants should apply no later than December 31, 2011 by sending a resume and any other applicable information to:
Jim Field
General Manager
KJAN Radio
PO Box 389
Atlantic, IA 50022



December 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa said today (Monday), two southwest Iowa men were sentenced Friday in U-S District Court, to a combined 21 ½ years in prison for their participation in a conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeld says 45-year old Robert Gene Ott, Jr., of rural Imogene, and 24-year old Christopher Nicholas Smith, of rural Glenwood, received their sentences from Senior United States District Court Judge Ronald E. Longstaff.  Robert Ott, Jr. was sentenced to 168 months imprisonment, plus five (5) years of supervised release following his imprisonment, and ordered to pay $100 to the Crime Victim Fund. The Judge sentenced Christopher Smith to 90 months imprisonment, plus 3 years of supervised release following his imprisonment, and also ordered him to $100 to the Crime Victim Fund. Both men were ordered to remain in the custody of the United States Marshal pending designation of the Federal Bureau of Prison facility at which each will serve his sentence. 

On April 28th, 2011, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Ott, Smith and four other persons with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and associated charges in what has been referred to as “the Fisher Farm Case”. Each of the defendants had previously appeared in Federal Court in Council Bluffs and pled guilty to their respective role in the conspiracy. The “Fisher Farm” is an acreage located in rural Mills County where an estimated 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds) of pure methamphetamine was manufactured by several people from at least February of 2003, to May of 2011.  

Persons involved in the conspiracy were responsible for the theft of substantial quantities of anhydrous ammonia in southwest Iowa and for the purchase of pseudoephedrine from several stores in Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri, all of which were used to manufacture methamphetamine. In sentencing Christopher Smith, the Judge noted that under the federal sentencing guidelines, Smith was eligible for what is referred to as a “safety valve” reduction in his advisory sentence due to his lack of criminal history and the presence of other factors contained in the federal sentencing guidelines. 

Others previously sentenced in connection with the case were: Kirk Jason Hardman, Trent James Fischer, Jennifer Mae Biggerstaff, Timothy Earl Bendt, and Paul Leon Foster. Another person, Andru Alan Fisher is awaiting sentencing in the case.

Branstad: Workforce Development veto will prevail


December 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says he’s confident the Iowa Supreme Court will support his right to veto funding for Iowa Workforce Development offices, calling it a key test of gubernatorial authority.Branstad used his line item veto power to reject $3 million to pay for running Workforce Development offices around the state. Instead, the state has installed computer terminals at libraries and other spots where people can access employment services. A lawsuit charged that Branstad exceeded his authority, and last week a Polk County judge agreed.Speaking at his weekly news conference Monday, Branstad expressed confidence, saying he’ll seek an expedited Iowa Supreme Court review of the decision. Branstad says it’s an important marker for deciding how far the governor can go to control spending.