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Branstad invites Obama to tour flooded western Iowa


June 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, a Republican, attended Democrat President Barack Obama’s speech at the Davenport Alcoa aluminum plant Tuesday. The governor said afterward he felt the president should have addressed regulations and tax barriers that are hurting business growth.

Branstad says he was concerned that Obama didn’t address those issues on the economy and “I think that’s important.” Branstad was asked why he would attend the speech by the president from a different party who is running for re-election. He says he used the visit to talk with the president before his speech.

Branstad says he thinks we always need to appreciate it when the president comes to our state, and said he asked the president to come back and visit western Iowa. The governor says he told Obama he is appreciative of the federal disaster declaration for the counties along the Missouri River, and hopes the president will visit the area.

 “I asked him to come back and view the flood damage himself, and he said ‘we got to do that’ and so hopefully he’ll do that,” Branstad said. White House officials say the trip to Iowa wasn’t political, but Branstad says there were political themes, and the president chose a business that is doing well.

Branstad says he’s been through enough campaigns to know “you choose to go to places where you think you are going to have a positive reception, and this is a great company.” Obama stuck to his economic theme during his short speech and did not mention the flooding trouble in western Iowa.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)

Atlantic School Board welcomes new Middle School Principal


June 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

New Atlantic Middle School Principal Cameron "Cam" Smith

Cam Smith

The Atlantic Board of Education was officially introduced to the new Middle School Principal during their meeting Tuesday night, at the high school. Cameron Smith begins his duties Friday, taking over the position from Todd Roecker, who is retiring at the end of the month.

Board President Phil Hascall asked Smith what his vision was for the Middle School. He said first and foremost, was to make sure the school is taken off the SINA (seen-uh), or School In Need of Assistance, list. He says he wants to ensure students’ Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores are raised, and along with that, he sees the school excelling, academically. He also wants help the students and teachers see the Middle School as its own entity, with home rooms giving the kids a “sense of belonging,” and get past the idea it’s merely a springboard to the high school.

Cam also says he’d like to get as much technology in the building as possible, and making sure the teachers are as up-to-speed on technology as their students are. He also wants to make sure the kids excel in the “upper quadrant level work.“ Smith says bringing the kids’ level of proficiency up sounds like an easy task, but he says it’s actually a “tall task.” He says his ultimate vision is for Atlantic to have a Middle School that other districts look at as a trendsetter in the areas of educational practices and technology.”

When asked why he applied for the position, Smith said it was because he could concentrate on being a Middle School Principal, and not have wear so many hats as he had done at the Garner-Hayfield School District, which was where he last served. He says the community is a perfect fit for him and his family, as well.

Cam and his wife have three children, and one on the way in September. The family has moved to Atlantic and are already exploring all it has to offer.

IA DOT’s Tuesday evening update on flooded road conditions


June 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – June 28, 2011 – 6:15 p.m. – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT)
is providing the following update on road conditions in western Iowa. The department
is also continuing to monitor at-risk areas as flood water levels change. 

Turn Around Dont Drown®
Flooding is a dynamic situation, ever-changing throughout the day. Motorists need to
take extra precautions when traveling in areas where flooding is occurring or
·  Use additional caution when traveling at night when it is difficult to see a
flooded road ahead or water approaching the roadway from the side. 
·  If you must travel on roadways where water is nearby, give your full attention to
the driving task and expect vehicles ahead to slow down or make sudden stops. 
·  Keep your focus on the road ahead, not on the water around you and adjust your
speed for conditions. 

Current road closures/restrictions
·  UPDATED: I-29 Hamilton Boulevard interchange in Woodbury County: The southbound
I-29 interchange ramps at Hamilton Boulevard in Sioux City are closed. The
northbound off-ramp is also closed. An alternative ramp has been constructed from
southbound I-29 to Wesley Parkway/U.S. 77. 
·  I-29 in Pottawattamie County: The south- and northbound lanes of I-29 between
milepost 54B (North 35th Street interchange in Council Bluffs) and the I-29/680
interchange at milepost 71 (near Loveland) are closed. This is expected to be a
longer-term closure.
·  I-29 in Fremont County, Iowa, and Atchison County, Mo: I-29 is closed in both
directions from Iowa 2 (exit 10 in Iowa) to the U.S. 136 interchange in Missouri
(near Rock Port). This is expected to be a longer-term closure.
·  I-29 exit and entrance ramps in Fremont County: All I-29 exit and entrance ramps
at exit 20 near Thurman are closed due to ground water. 
·  I-680 in Omaha area: I-680 is closed from the I-29/680 interchange (exit 61 near
Crescent) in Iowa to North 30th Street in Omaha, Neb. (exit 13). This closure
includes the Mormon Bridge across the Missouri River. This is expected to be a
longer-term closure.
·  Iowa 2 in Fremont County: Iowa 2 is closed from I-29 in Iowa to Nebraska City.
Both east- and westbound lanes are closed. This is expected to be a longer-term
·  UPDATED: Iowa 175 between Onawa and Decatur, Neb.: Flood mitigation work was
underway in this area when it became necessary to close the roadway on Monday.
Serious erosion of the embankment near the east abutment of the Decatur bridge has
occurred, which threatened the integrity of the roadway approach to the bridge. It
is no longer safe for travel. Additional details will be released about this
·  Iowa 333 in Hamburg: Iowa 333 is closed from I-29 into Hamburg. Access to Hamburg
is currently available via U.S. 275 in Iowa. 
·  UPDATED: Iowa 376 northbound (U.S. 75 Business-Lewis Boulevard): The exit ramp to
westbound Gordon Drive is closed. 

Highway segments at higher risk of being closed due to flooding
·  UPDATED: I-29 (north of Blencoe): Flood barrier walls are being installed in this
area to reduce the risk of flooding. There is a temporary detour in place for I-29
northbound travelers, which is allowing the barriers to be installed. Follow the
detour signs. 
·  UPDATED: I-29 (north of Missouri Valley): Flood barrier walls are being installed
in this area. 
·  NEW: I-29 (north of Modale): This is a levee-protected area. However, if a breach
were to occur, it would be inundated with several feet of flood waters. 
·  NEW: I-29 (north of Whiting): This area is threatened due to a connection between
the Missouri River and a stream that flows under Berry Avenue and through the Badger
Lake State Wildlife Management Area.   
·  UPDATED: U.S. 30 between Missouri Valley and Blair, Neb. This road will close
temporarily beginning at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 29, to permit installation of
flood barrier walls along the south side of the roadway. The road is expected to be
closed for approximately two days. Operations will be performed around-the-clock to
expedite the work. After the road is reopened, flood barrier walls will be installed
on the north side of the road, but work performed using intermittent closures, pilot
vehicles and flagging operations. 
·  I-29/I-680 interchange: This interchange near Loveland was previously closed due
to flooding. Mitigation work including use of sandbags, barrier wall and pumps
allowed the roadway to reopen. Because this area remains vulnerable to increased
water levels, additional mitigation measures will be taken to help control the flood
·  U.S. 34, between I-29 in Iowa and Plattsmouth, Neb.: This roadway is protected by
a levee system, but remains at risk from a levee breach or overtopping. The
mandatory evacuation within Mills County due to rising ground water has not affected
this roadway. U.S. 34 remains open to travel. 

Being monitored 
·  I-29, northbound off-ramp to Dace Avenue in Sioux City (exit 147B or commonly
known as the Downtown/Tyson Events Center): Flood mitigation efforts will be
deployed to try to keep this ramp open.
·  I-29, southbound exit ramp to Nebraska Street (exit 147B) in Sioux City: This
area is dike protected, but would be inundated if the dike is breached or
·  I-29, northbound and southbound lanes in Sioux City at the U.S. 77/Wesley Parkway
underpass (between exits 148 and 149): Flood mitigation efforts will be deployed to
try to prevent this low area from being flooded. 
·  I-29, from the Bellevue, Neb., interchange (milepost 42) to Iowa 2 (milepost 10):
This area is at a lesser risk, but would be inundated if a levee is breached or
·  I-29 exit and entrance ramps at the Bartlett interchange, exit 24: Ground water
has been rising nearby, which threatens the area below I-29.    
·  Iowa 127 near Mondamin: The Iowa DOT is monitoring areas east and west of
Mondamin, near mileposts 0.8 and 1.5, but the risk of flooding is lower because the
road is protected somewhat by a high ridge. 

Key traveler information resources
·  Iowa DOT’s flood information call center 866-452-8510, open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
daily, speak to an operator for travel assistance
·  Road condition information 24 hours a day: visit www.511ia.org, or call 511 (in
Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (outside of the state) for a recorded message of road closures

·  Iowa DOT on Twitter- http://twitter.com/#!/iowadot/ 
·  View the flooded Iowa roads map for road closures, detours and areas at risk of
flooding - http://tinyurl.com/3o2mtlp

1 injured in Montgomery County rollover (updated 10:30-a.m. 6/29)


June 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa State Patrol is investigating a rollover accident which occurred Tuesday afternoon, just southeast of Grant. According to scanner traffic, the accident happened at around 2:15-p.m., near 3111 115th Street. An unidentified woman was trapped in the vehicle, which was on its top when rescuers arrived.

Griswold Rescue transported the woman to the Montgomery County Memorial Hospital, for treatment of minor leg and neck injuries. Additional details are currently unavailable.

Lewis woman arrested on drug & alcohol charges


June 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office says a Lewis woman was arrested today (Tuesday), on alcohol and drug charges. 62-year old Ilene Margaret Rhoads was taken into custody on charges of OWI 1st Offense and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Rhoads was taken to the Cass County Jail, and later  released on her own recognizance.

Suspect in Omaha shooting arrested in Kansas


June 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Omaha police say a suspect in the shooting death of an Omaha man has been arrested in Kansas.

A news release Tuesday from Omaha police says 48-year-old Donald Krisor was arrested Monday in Burlington, Kan., on a warrant charging him with second-degree murder and a weapons charge. Krisor is a suspect in the death last week of 31-year-old Blaise Benscoter.

Police say Krisor is awaiting extradition.

Benscoter was found wounded Thursday in an apartment and died a short time later at a hospital.

Three other men have been arrested in Benscoter’s death, including 37-year-old Omar Martinez, who was arrested Monday in a Council Bluffs, Iowa hotel. Police say 38-year-old Donald Bridgeford was arrested Saturday, and 20-year-old Sean Collins turned himself in to police Saturday night.

Iowa DOT to provide flooded road information during holiday weekend


June 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – June 28, 2011 – Throughout the holiday weekend, travel information will continue to be available from the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) regarding flooded road conditions. For travel information during the Fourth of July weekend, call 511 (in Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (from anywhere in the U.S.), or visit http://www.511ia.org/.

Services are free and available any time of the day to keep travelers informed and safe. The Iowa DOT’s temporary, operator-assisted flood hotline will be closed July 2-4. Services will resume Tuesday, July 5, with new hours­­­­­­ – 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. The Iowa DOT’s flood hotline – 866-452-8510 – will remain available through Friday, July 1, from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.



June 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – June 28, 2011 – Schuler Manufacturing, a family-owned business specializing in feed mixer wagons in Griswold, is the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur of the Month award winner. The business was nominated by the Cass County Farm Bureau.

The equipment business was born in 1962 when Dorland Schuler designed and built a custom feed wagon for his own cattle feeding operation. After several area farmers requested similar wagons, Schuler founded the manufacturing business. Today, the company is run by Schuler and his wife and manufactures cattle feed mixers, feed wagons, and other feed mixer equipment for the beef cattle feedlot and dairy industries.

Feed mixer models are available in tractor PTO-driven and towed, truck-mounted and stationary versions. The product line also includes bunk-style feeder wagons and hay feeder wagons. This fall, the company will launch a big hay bale processor line.

The company, which employs up to 40 seasonal workers, now sells to beef cattle and dairy farmers in Iowa and even has international customers in Australia, Russia and Japan.  Even though the wagon line has evolved, the design remains the same. Schuler still has that first wagon and is proud to say that the company’s current grinder wagons carry the same basic design. He is also proud of the business’ family ties. His two sons, a nephew and two grandsons are all involved in the company.

Russ Joyce, executive director of the Cass Atlantic Development Corporation, says the company and its success is a testament to rural Iowans and farmer ingenuity. “Rural Iowa is generally rich in entrepreneurs that have come out of the agricultural industry,” says Joyce.

Renew Rural Iowa (RRI) is an IFBF initiative that supports new and existing businesses through business education, mentoring and financial resources.  In cooperation with five community colleges, RRI is coordinating a series of free, one-day, innovation seminars this summer to introduce Iowa’s key economic development partners and tools.  To register and learn more, go to www.renewruraliowa.com.

Credit card fraud arrest


June 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

An Atlantic woman was arrested Monday on a fraud charge. Atlantic Police say 21-year old Theresa Sutton faces a charge of Unauthorized use of a Credit card/fraud. Sutton has been booked into the Cass County Jail.

And, an Atlantic man was arrested Monday, for Violation of his probation. 21-year old Devin Register has also been booked into the Cass County Jail.

Today (Tuesday), officers with the Atlantic Police Department arrested 23-year old Joseph Fredericksen, and 20-year old Andrew Rice, both of Atlantic, on charges of 5th degree theft. Both men were being held in the Cass County Jail.

RAGBRAI Housing Needed for Some Unique Groups


June 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

It’s less than a month now until Atlantic welcomes RAGBRAI on Sunday, July 24.  Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ann McCurdy says there is still a need for housing, especially for groups of individuals who will be making their way to our community. Here’s a sample of some of the groups who will be coming to town that weekend…

A 13 member Christian Bible study group from West Point, New York, traveling as married couples with one adult child. A flat area for the pop up camper would be ideal for these folks. They also prefer shower/toilet access.

A group of 13 traveling in a 15 passenger van with trailer seeks a bed for one couple, inside camping or yard camping, with shower and toilet access. The group has participated in RAGBRAI for 22 years. One member is the former Chief of Police in Des Moines. Members come from Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.

A family group of 3 first time RAGBAI-ers who prefer yard camping. They are from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and range in age from 21 to 50.

A group of 11 from Lansdale, Pennsylvania, which includes 1 physician assistant, 3 nurses, 1 physical therapist, a French teacher, a financier , a retired computer engineer and a New Yorker. They look forward to getting to know the locals and cherishing the experience of what RAGBRAI is all about.  They will camp but would like shower and toilet access.

McCurdy says more than 1,500 people will be looking for yard space in Atlantic, so that may set up camp, have housing, and a place to wash-up.  If you are interested in housing one of these groups, please call the Chamber at 243.3017.