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2011 Relay For Life to be held Friday in Atlantic

News

June 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The annual Cass County Relay For Life takes place Friday here in Atlantic, from 6-to 11-p.m.,  at the Atlantic High School track. Carole Schuler helped to organize the event, which serves to raise funds for cancer research, promotes awareness, and celebrates those who are cancer survivors. It also acts as a way to remember those who have lost their courageous fight with the disease. 

Carole says the day actually begins at 8-a.m. with a “Relay For Life” Tractor Ride that begins at the Cass County Community Center. Some of the tractors will be at the AHS track, as well that evening. Schuler says there are many activities planned for this evening, and wonderful food for you to enjoy. 

At 6:30-p.m, the group “Sheltered Reality” drumline will perform. At about that same time, there’ll be activities for the kids, including washable tattoos, face painting, and, a smart shop, with information about cancer and persons on-hand to answer questions. There’s also a “car bash,” where for a small donation, you can swing sledge hammer on a donated vehicle and raise funds for cancer research at the same time. 

She says also, you don’t have to be a part of one of the many teams who will gather to raise funds for the cause, in order to participate in the event. Schuler says you can sit in the stands and watch the teams in purple shirts circle the track, enjoy a variety of entertainment, talk a walk around the track yourself, and celebrate those who are celebrating their cancer survival. 

Hy-Vee is sponsoring a free cancer survivor social in the High School Commons, at 4:30-p.m., with registration. Survivors can bring a guest and receive a free, purple, cancer survivor t-shirt. Those same persons can walk the first lap at the Relay For Life, beginning at 6-p.m. 

The evening winds down with a luminary lighting, and a reading of the names of those who have lost their battle with cancer, and those who have survived. If you haven’t already donated to the cause and want to do so, you can contribute on-line at www.relayforlife.org/casscountyia. The website also has more information about the 2011 Cass County Relay For Life.

9AM Newscast 06-23-2011

News, Podcasts

June 23rd, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/News Director Ric Hanson

Play

Dallas County Fatal

News

June 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A Dallas County man died Wednesday afternoon near Perry, when the pickup he was driving went out of control and rolled into a ditch. The Iowa State Patrol says 44-year old Andrew Dean Bock, of Perry died at the scene of the crash in the 14,000 block of H Avenue.

The accident happened at around 2:15-p.m., when Bock failed to negotiate a curve in the road, and his 2003 GMC Sierra rolled into the east ditch. The Patrol says Bock was not wearing a seatbelt.

7AM Newscast 06-23-2011

News, Podcasts

June 23rd, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/News Director Ric Hanson

Play

NWS confirms EF-1 Tornado in Monona County

News, Weather

June 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the National Weather Service in Valley, NE, say an EF-1 Tornado was the cause of damage Monday night, in western Iowa’s Monona County. The twister struck between 8:45- and 8:53-p.m., about 4-miles south of Turin.

The tornado’s path was an average of 300-yards wide, and 7.1-miles long. When it initially touched down, it produced sporadic tree damage near the intersection of County Road E-60 to L-14, in Monona County. The twister moved northeast and hit a farmstead, downed power lines and destroyed a grain bin.

It continued northeast through the Loess Hills, producing varying degrees of tree damage, before crossing County Road E-54 and 277th Street, where it destroyed more trees and a few outbuildings. The twister continued its trek northeast across 258th Street, where it hit another farmstead, tearing-off part of the roof off of a house, destroyed some outbuildings and several more trees.

Before it dissipated, the tornado crossed another road and knocked down power lines. No injuries were reported. Officials say the EF-1 twister produced peak winds of up to 90-miles per hour. An EF-1 tornado typically has wind speeds ranging from 86- to 110-mph.

Bluffs residents warned to clear out basements of all valuables, more sandbag volunteers needed in Omaha

News

June 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

With flooding in many areas of the state and the extended forecast calling for more rain, Iowans who’ve not had wet basements before are having to face unfriendly realities. Art Hill, spokesman for the city of Council Bluffs, is warning homeowners in that southwest Iowa city to take more precautions against the rising Missouri River. 

Hill says, “At this stage, we’re recommending that anybody that has any sort of threat or history of having groundwater coming up into their house, get your valuables out of the basement.” Hill says residents need to be prepared by packing an emergency kit that includes money, important paperwork, medications, baby items and clothing. Also, he says to make a plan that includes where to meet family members in the case of evacuation.

“We want everyone to be prepared as we look at the rain that’s going to be coming over the next several days and the situation we have,” he says. Hill also suggests taking the time to inspect your basement walls and the foundation. Just across the Missouri River, Omaha leaders are renewing the call for volunteers to help fill sandbags. Two weeks ago, the city’s Levi Carter Park was converted into a massive sandbag-filling factory. Melinda Pearson, Omaha’s director of Parks and Recreation, says the 100-thousand sandbags that were just filled are already spoken for and many more are needed.

“We’d like anywhere between 100- and 200-thousand sitting without being taken to somewhere else,” Pearson says. “Right now, the ones that were created at Levi Carter are mostly gone. They have been moved.” Pearson says hundreds of volunteers are being recruited through companies, individuals and families. She says many sandbag fillers are burning the candle at both ends.

“We’re asking the city to continue be helpful,” Pearson says. “We do want to come into a little bit more manageable schedule so our people don’t get burned out and our volunteers don’t get burned out.” Sandbagging operations will run until 8 o’clock tonight (Thursday), Friday and Saturday at Levi Carter Park.

State monitors impact of flow increase on the Missouri River

News

June 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

State officials are preparing for the impact of increased water flow on the Missouri River from the Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota. Emergency Management and Homeland Security director, Derek Hill, says the increase is expected to raise the water levee in Sioux City from one half to one foot, while in Council Bluffs and points south, it will go up only inches. Hill says they do expect other impacts from the rise in water. 

He says the increase flow will create more backup in the tributaries, as there has already been some backup. Hill says it is particularly a concern if there is more rain. Hill says the increase flow also increases the pressure on, and water flow around structures that they are already monitoring. 

Hill says the most obvious concern are the levees as the increased flow and pressure could cause boils to form. He says they will continue with patrols looking boils on the levee. Hill says that’s not the only concern. 

Hill says they are also watching to see how the increased flow impacts the embankments against the bridges and the culverts and the roads that have gone under water. Hill was asked which tributaries that flow west cause the most concern.

He says “basically all of them” as he says the Nishnabotna floods periodically anyway and it backs up for several miles, the Floyd River, the Big Sioux and Perry Creek which flows into Sioux City. Hill says residents around those rivers should be prepared for possible flooding. 

Hill says their advice for people on the tributaries or areas that could be inundated with heavy rain, is they should be prepared for flooding. He says people living near levees should also be alert to the changing conditions. The Fremont County emergency manager ordered mandatory evacuations Wednesday for resident who live west of Interstate 29. Hill says that’s a precaution mainly because the levee there is new. 

Hill says the dirt was settled the best it could be, but he says it has not like an older levee where the earth as had the opportunity to naturally compact. Hill says they are monitoring all the levees in the area and do not have a particular concern about one over the other. Hill says the impact of the increased Gavins Point output will be less downstream of Sioux City as the water has gone down some there and that will be offset by the increase flow. Hill made his comments during an update Wednesday afternoon.

Emergency call centers face deadline for upgrading

News

June 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s emergency call centers are facing a deadline to upgrade their equipment, or pay big federal fines, but their major source of the money for the upgrades has been disappearing. Phone users are required to pay a 9-1-1 surcharge, but the surcharge paid on cellphones is less than that paid on land lines, and more and more people are no longer using land lines. Bob Sievert is emergency management director in Shelby county, and he heads an association of similar officials.

“Sixty-five of Iowa’s 99 counties are experiencing a decrease in revenue because of the migration of people from traditional wire line phones in their homes to either wireless technology, a cellphone or and I-P based phone,” Sievert says. Sievert explains that most Iowans pay a one dollar 9-1-1 surcharge on their land line phones every month which all goes to counties to pay for the service.

A cellphone bill has a monthly 9-1-1 surcharge of 65 cents, and only 25 cents of that goes back to local governments. The F-C-C is cutting in half the bandwidth public safety radio systems use and that will require all new equipment by December 31 2012. Sievert says it’s not likely federal officials will change the deadline.

He says the F-C-C mandate has been pushed back many times, and they have now “drawn a line in the sand” and said the change has to be made by the end of 2012. Senator Tom Hancock, a Democrat from Epworth in Dubuque County, tried to get the legislature to raise the mandatory surcharge on cellphone bills to the dollar most landline users pay. The extra 35 cents would go to local governments to let them make the mandated upgrade, but Hancock says cellphone companies fought the bill.

 “You call it what you like, a user fee, a tax increase, it was considered a tax increase and I think that’s why it didn’t get a bunt in the Iowa Senate,” Hancock says. Hancock is a retired firefighter, and is worried about how local agencies, especially volunteer fire departments can raise the money.

 He says there are only so many bake sales and pancake breakfasts you can have to pay for things. Cellphone companies are urging lawmakers to help counties out with infrastructure funds instead of raising the surcharge. Hancock says local governments may have to raise taxes to pay for the upgrades. Or in a kind of ironic twist, voters have the option of raising the monthly surcharge on land lines to two-dollars-and-50 cents ($2.50). Linn county voters rejected that. Shelby county voters approved it.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)

Residents Impacted by Missouri River Flooding Urged to Report Damages

News

June 22nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

(DES MOINES) - The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division is
asking residents and businesses in counties along the Missouri River to begin
estimating the amount of flood damage to their property. Damage information may be
used to assist in the preparation of a request for federal disaster aid.

Flood-impacted residents in Woodbury, Monona, Harrison, Pottawattamie, Mills and
Fremont counties, are asked to contact the Iowa Concern Hotline at 1-800-447-1985.
Calls will be taken 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Callers to the Iowa Concern Hotline should be prepared to provide information and
answers to the following questions:

*         Name

*         Current address and phone number

*         Address of flood-affected home or business

*         Is this a rental property?

*         Is this a primary or vacation home?

*         Is the business currently open or closed due to flooding?

*         Have you lost your job because of flooding?

*         Do you have flood insurance?

*         How many floors are flooded, including the basement?

*         How deep is the water on the topmost floor that is flooded?

Flood damage to farm residences may be reported to the Iowa Concern Hotline. Damage
to other agricultural buildings, equipment and property should be reported to the
local office of the Farm Service Agency.

REPORTING OF DAMAGE INFORMATION IS NOT AN APPLICATION FOR ASSISTANCE. Information
provided to the Iowa Concern Hotline will be kept confidential.
For more information, visit http://www.governor.iowa.gov


Iowa DOT to deploy Missouri Valley area flood mitigation efforts

News

June 22nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – June 22, 2011 – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) will be deploying flood mitigation strategies for Interstate 29 and U.S. 30 near Missouri Valley. The effort is to address a specific flood inundation scenario. The work is expected to begin this week. Meanwhile, some limited sandbagging was performed today to prevent water from reaching the travel lanes of U.S. 30.

The Iowa DOT recognizes that U.S. 30, I-29 and the Missouri River crossing between Missouri Valley, Iowa, and Blair, Nebr., are important to personal mobility and commerce. They serve as a critical transportation lifeline for citizens living, working and conducting business in this area between the two states, as well as other parts along the I-29 corridor.

The Iowa DOT has examined the unique characteristics and challenges associated with this area, including the location of the levees, roadway elevations, hydraulics,railroad, and area creeks and streams, to determine what, if any, mitigation strategies could be deployed to keep the roadway open. Based on the assessment, it was determined there are two most plausible scenarios that would cause an inundation of the roadways in this area.

The first scenario involves a breach or overtopping of the levee upstream from U.S. 30. For this scenario, there are no emergency mitigation efforts that would prevent the roadways from being inundated due to the volume of water and characteristics of the area.

The second scenario involves a breach or overtopping of the levee downstream from U.S. 30.  For this scenario, the Iowa DOT has developed a plan that would help mitigate the flooding of U.S. 30 west of Missouri Valley and I-29 north of the I-29/U.S. 30 interchange.

The mitigation plan includes two strategies:

·        On I-29, north of Missouri Valley, the Iowa DOT will place a TrapBag® flood barrier wall on both the inside and outside shoulders of the north- and southbound lanes. The wall will be approximately a half-mile in length. Pumping of flood waters will also be performed in the median.
·        On U.S. 30, the Iowa DOT will place a TrapBag flood barrier wall on both sides of the roadway in a location approximately 2 miles east of the Missouri River crossing where the roadway is the lowest.

Reiterating, these mitigation measures will not prevent U.S. 30 or I-29 from being inundated with flood waters if a breach occurs upstream from U.S. 30.
Due to the complexity of the flooding situation, vulnerability of the levee systems and increased water levels, there are also other unanticipated scenarios that could occur that would result in road closures.

(IA-DOT Press Release, 5:04-p.m.)