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USDA Funding to 21 Utilities Will Help Create Jobs and Strengthen Rural Businesses


June 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

U.S. Ag Sec. Tom Vilsack

U-S Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday, announced the selection of 21 utilities for loans and grants to help rural businesses expand and create jobs. Six projects are in Iowa. Among the communities receiving loan or grant funds, are the Cities of Atlantic and Manning.

In Atlantic, the Board of Waterworks and Electric Power Plant Trustees received a $300,000 grant to construct a 25,000-square-foot-industrial building for local or new manufacturing businesses.

And in Manning, the city’s Municipal Light Plant received a $250,000 grant to purchase the Manning Hausbarn Heritage Park campus for an attraction, education and conference center.

Ag Secretary Vilsack says “These loans and grants help cooperatives and utilities support local projects that create jobs and improve rural economic conditions.” He said also the “USDA is proud to be a partner in the effort to bolster these cooperatives and help them ‘Win the Future’ by increasing the value and appeal of the products and services they deliver.”

Villisca woman arrested on drug charges


June 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A Villisca woman was arrested on drug-related charges Wednesday afternoon, in Montgomery County. Sheriff’s officials say 32-year old Jill Christine Currin was wanted on an Adams County warrant for Failure to Affix a Drug Tax Stamp, two-counts of Possession of Prescription drugs, and Possession of Hydrocodone. Currin was turned over to Adams County authorities, and was being held on $8,000 bond.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports also…

23-year old Zackary Zane Haley, of Villisca

, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on a magistrate’s warrant for 5th degree theft. His bond was set at $300. And, 40-year old Keith Allan Currin, of Villisca, was arrested on a warrant for violation of his probation. His bond was set at $10,000.

Motorcycle vs. deer accident


June 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A Clarinda man was injured Wednesday evening in Page County, when he swerved to miss a deer on the road, and crashed his motorcycle. Sheriff’s officials say 35-year old Jamie Vandel, of Clarinda, was taken by Clarinda EMS to the Clarinda Regional Health Center for treatment of his injuries.

The accident happened just before 7-p.m., on Redwood Avenue, just north of J-20, near Hepburn. Officials say Vandel was traveling south on Redwood when a deer ran onto the road in front of him. When Vandel swerved to miss the deer, he lost control of the 1997 Harley Davidson he was driving.

Vandel was separated from his cycle, when it toppled onto its side.

Olson Begins Duties as Cass County Extension Program Coordinator


June 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Kate Olson, Cass Co. ISU Extension Pgm. Coordinator

Officials with Iowa State University Extension say Cass County native Kate Olson began her work as the Cass County Program Coordinator last week (June 20th).  Olsen replaces Bill Drey, who has been the shared Program Coordinator for Cass and Montgomery Counties for the past year and a half. Bill is retiring from his work with ISU Extension in Cass County effective July 1st. Olson’s position has fulltime responsibility for Extension programming in Cass County and bringing the resources and research of Iowa State University Extension to the local area.

The extension service says Kate comes to the position with a good background in agriculture and Extension work.  She is a graduate of Iowa State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science. Prior to coming to Cass County, she was employed as the County Program Coordinator in Shelby County. She also has a background in livestock production, communications and training, and is a former Cass County 4-H’er.

Kate, along with her husband Jon and two young children, live on a farm north of Atlantic.

Bellevue bridge temporarily closed


June 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – June 29, 2011 – The Iowa Department of Transportation is reporting that
Iowa 370 from Interstate 29 west to the Missouri River, including the Bellevue,
Neb., bridge, is closed temporarily. 

The closure is necessary for large sandbags to be dropped along the levee system. 

The operations are expected to continue for several more hours. 

Follow detour instructions provided by law enforcement officers on the scene or
avoid the area if possible.

Trooper rescues woman trapped in wrecked car


June 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa State Patrol has released more information about an accident Tuesday afternoon in Montgomery County. As we told you earlier, the accident happened at around 2:10-p.m. on 215th Street, just east of old Highway 71.

The Patrol says 63-year old Karen Sue McCord, of Villisca, suffered leg and neck pain after she lost control of the 1996 Honda Accord she was driving, as she was traveling west on 115th Street. When the car skidded counter-clockwise, and entered the south ditch, its wheels dug into the soft dirt, causing the vehicle to roll over onto its roof.

McCord was able to unbuckle her seat belt to escape the car, but became wedged inside. Trooper Aaron Nordyke, from Council Bluffs, helped the woman out of her vehicle, just as the smell of gasoline from the engine compartment caused concerns the car might erupt into flames.

The Trooper administered first-aid until Griswold Rescue could arrive on the scene and transport her to the Montgomery County Memorial Hospital, in Red Oak. The car sustained $4,000 damage during the crash.

McCord was cited for Failure to Maintain Control.

Roecker says goodbye


June 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Todd Roecker (photo by ahsneedle.com staff)

Departing Atlantic Middle School Principal Todd Roecker issued a statement today (Wednesday), thanking the Atlantic Community School District and the Board of Education, for allowing him to serve the students, staff, parents and the community for the past 14-years. In his letter, Roecker says he has “Truly enjoyed (his) years in the role of school principal.”

He says also “The faculty and staff of ACSD do a great job in working with our students, and they should be commended for their passion and dedication to teach our youth, and to meet the diverse needs of all of our students.”

Roecker said the Middle School staff have “All worked very hard this past school year to promote student achievement. Our AMS students showed tremendous growth on student achievement scores….(and) we are very proud of our accomplishments from this past school year, as we surpassed our goals for student achievement for the year.”

Roecker has worked in the field of education for 33-years, 26-of those were as a principal, including his 14-years here in Atlantic. His retirement is effective this Thursday, June 30th.

Two Amtrak Routes Disrupted in the Western U.S. Empire Builder & California Zephyr


June 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Amtrak say service on two routes in the Western U.S. are being affected by flooding, and passengers with travel plans on the Empire Builder & California Zephyr routes are urged to call 800-USA-RAIL, for additional information.

Empire Builder (Trains 7/27 & 8/28)

Amtrak Empire Builder service is temporarily suspended between St. Paul, Minn., and Havre, Mont., with no alternate transportation available between those points, until further notice. For those passengers traveling from Seattle and Portland, a combination of trains and chartered motorcoaches will provide service to Spokane, Wash., with the Empire Builder trains continuing east into Idaho and serving all Montana stops for Glacier National Park (including Whitefish, East and West Glacier and Essex), continuing east to terminate at Havre each afternoon. The trains will originate there to operate back west to Seattle/Portland.

For those passengers traveling west from Chicago, the Empire Builder trains will serve all their Wisconsin stops (including Wisconsin Dells), continuing west to terminate at St. Paul each evening. Each morning, the trains will originate there to operate back east to Chicago.

No other Amtrak service is available for these days in Minnesota (except Winona, Red Wing & St. Paul), in North Dakota and in Eastern Montana.

California Zephyr (Trains 5 & 6)

Amtrak California Zephyr service is temporarily suspended between Denver and Chicago for one day in each direction, affecting only the origination from Emeryville, Calif., (Train 6, eastbound) on June 29 and the scheduled origination from Chicago (Train 5, westbound) on June 30. This is due to railcar and train crew availability following Omaha area flooding.

Limited space is available for passengers via Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches at Denver, and connections to the Amtrak Southwest Chief at La Junta, Colo. Daily Amtrak service is being maintained by other trains between Chicago and Galesburg, Ill.

Audubon County Injury accident


June 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

One person was injured during a single-vehicle rollover accident early this (Wednesday) morning, about six-miles east/southeast of Hamlin, in Audubon County. The Sheriff’s Department says 16-year old Joanna Camden, of Exira, was transported from the scene to the Audubon County Memorial Hospital by private vehicle.

Camden was a passenger in the 1999 Ford Ranger pickup, driven by 19-year old Benjamin Dale Dressler, of Anita. Officials say the pair were traveling north on Quail Avenue near 250th Street at around 7-a.m., when the speeding pickup began to fishtail on the gravel road. The vehicle ended-up sliding sideways into a ditch and rolling onto its side.

By the time authorities arrived on the scene, the pickup had been up-righted and driven away. Damage to the pickup was estimated at $1,000.

Dressler was charged with Failure to Maintain Control.

State parks filling up for busiest holiday of the year


June 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Nearly all of the campsites with electricity at Iowa state parks are now occupied or reserved for the busiest weekend of the summer. Kevin Szcodronski, state parks bureau chief with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says lodges and campgrounds should be in good condition. But, he warns other areas of state parks may be in a bit of disrepair because of state budget cuts. 

“We’re doing the best we can with the time and resources available, but we know we’re going to disappoint some park visitors on the condition of the park they’re visiting. We’re disappointed, but I’ll assure everybody that we’re doing our best to have them ready for the Fourth of July,” Szcodronski said. 

The number of seasonal workers at state parks has been cut by around two-thirds. “We typically have put on, over the years, as many as 300 to 350 summer workers. Those are the ones that keep the facilities clean and mow the grass. Because of budget challenges, we’ve had to cut that back and we now only have around 80 out there,” Szcodronski said. 

The Iowa DNR has also trimmed the number of park rangers in the state from 80 to 59. Szcodronski told legislators earlier this month that “deferred maintenance” at state parks is “nonexistent.” So, park staff  are focused primarily on emergency repairs like fixing leaky pipes – rather than painting, caulking or re-shingling buildings. Several state park campsites are closed right now because of the flooding Missouri River. Szcodronski says the popular Lewis and Clark State Park in Onawa is closed even though floodwaters have yet to reach the park. 

He says the forecast calls for the park to buried under four to five feet of water. “That hasn’t happened yet, but we have the park postured and it would be kind of tough to open it up…we really don’t want to do that, to get it all back opened up to find out a week or so later it’s going to be covered and destroy everything that we did,” Szcodronski said. 

The Lake Manawa and Wilson Island State Park campgrounds are also closed in western Iowa. A couple of state parks are closed for construction: Lake Darling in southeast Iowa’s Washington County and Union Grove State Park near Marshalltown. 

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)