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Grab for a cup lid causes Crawford Co. accident

News

May 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A woman who became distracted when a lid fell off her cup while driving, ended-up in an accident Thursday afternoon, in Crawford County. The Iowa State Patrol reports 49-year old Michele Renae Ertz, of Manilla, was injured when the 2006 Chevy Cobalt she was driving, rear-ended a 2013 GMC Acadia SUV. Ertz, who was wearing her seat belt, was transported by ambulance to the Crawford County Hospital for treatment of her injuries.

The driver of the SUV, 36-year old Sara Kay Gaul, of Earling, was not hurt. Officials say the accident happened at around 4:15-p.m. at Highway 59 and Crestview Drive. The driver of a non-contact vehicle was waiting for traffic to clear so she could turn. Gaul’s SUV stopped behind the first vehicle. As Ertz was traveling south on Highway 59, she reached down to grab a drink lid and looked up to see the vehicle in front of hers, had stopped. She slammed on the brakes but was unable to stop in-time.

Her car was disabled at the scene, while Gaul managed to move her vehicle onto the shoulder of the road.

Ernst wants to cut perks to former presidents

News

May 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst is touting legislation to reform the system for providing former presidents with certain perks and benefits.”Taxpayers should not be on the hook for subsidizing former presidents’ lives to the tune of millions of dollars,” Ernst said in a conference call with Iowa reporters today (Thursday). The perks for former presidents include office space, staff, and travel expenses. Ernst noted in fiscal year 2015, former U.S. presidents cost taxpayers more than $2.4 million in travel, office space, communications, personnel, and other expenses. The Presidential Allowance Modernization Act would reduce those benefits.

“The bill sets former presidents’ monetary allowance and pension at $200,000 each per year,” Ernst said. “It also places reductions on perks if the former president earns more than $400,000 per year in income.” A similar measure was approved by the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday.

“At a time when we are more than $18 trillion in debt, it is critical that we stop talking and start cutting wasteful spending,” Ernst said. Congress approved benefits for former presidents in 1958. Ernst said there’s nothing in the proposed legislation that would cut the funding of the security or protection of a former president. According to a Congressional Research Service report last year, taxpayers spent over $420,000 on a more than 8,200-square-foot office in Dallas for George W. Bush. Former President Bill Clinton’s office in New York cost taxpayers $415,000.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County men plead guilty to illegal possession of deer remains

News

May 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Two Cass County men have pleaded guilty to illegally harvesting deer. The Daily NonPareil reports 47-year old John Chamberlin Jr., of Atlantic, and his son, 23-year old Sean Chamberlin, pled guilty to one count each of restriction of taking game. Both men originally faced 111 charges of illegal possession of deer remains, with the son facing additional charges, though the rest were dropped in exchange for the guilty plea.

The Cass County Attorney’s Office said both men filed guilty pleas Wednesday and are scheduled for sentencing June 25th. According to Iowa State Code, a person convicted of unlawfully harvesting antlered deer – a simple misdemeanor – must pay a fine of between $2,000 and $20,000 and/or serve a maximum of 80 hours of community service.

On Dec. 29, 2014, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office received a phone call about animal hides that had been dumped on the side of a road outside Atlantic. After investigating the trash, which was identified as four deer hides, a raccoon and a badger carcass, authorities traced the remains to a house in rural Atlantic. Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant of the property on Dec. 30 and said they found piles upon piles of deer antlers.

In and around the home, authorities seized parts from more than 111 deer, including untagged deer. A raccoon and badger carcass were also found at the property.

Kennel club in western Iowa donates pet oxygen mask kits

News

May 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A kennel club in western Iowa has donated pet oxygen mask kits to help cats and dogs in fire emergencies. The Council Bluffs Kennel Club’s seven kits will go to the local fire department. The masks can be used on pets of various sizes.

The Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil reports the donation will allow each station and most fire trucks under the department’s jurisdiction to have masks. Curtis McKeon with the Council Bluffs Fire Marshal’s Office estimates about 80 percent of the roughly 1,000 fire calls received last year involved pets.

 

DNR’s “Derelict Building Grant program awards funds to 20 rural communities

News

May 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said today (Thursday), the DNR’s Derelict Building Grant Program will award grants to 22 small, rural Iowa communities to help deconstruct or renovate abandoned structures, remove asbestos and limit construction and demolition materials going to the landfill.

Among the area cities whose projects are sharing slightly less than $400,000 in the form of reimbursement grants, is:

  • The City of Adair — Which is receiving $20,000, to complete mothball and renovation activities on abandoned commercial building, including roof and floor stabilization, exterior tuck-pointing and installation of temporary internal air ventilation to prevent further moisture damage inside the building. These measures will provide time for the city to decide what to do with building in the future by securing the building envelope and preventing environmental deterioration.
  • The City of Bedford — Will receive $49,750, to abate asbestos and deconstruct two abandoned commercial buildings. The city plans to market the vacated sites to interested commercial entities.
  • The City of Coon Rapids — is getting $500, to complete asbestos inspection at an abandoned commercial building. The city plans to prepare site for expansion of neighboring business.
  • The City of Imogene— is receiving $25,000, to renovate an abandoned commercial building by completing tuck-pointing and stabilization measures. The city plans to sell building to an interested buyer who wishes to locate their business in Imogene.
  • The City of Mapleton — will receive $20,000, to renovate an abandoned commercial property by completing external tuck-pointing and repair/replacement of roof. The city plans to sell the renovated building to local business interests.
  • The City of Mount Ayr — $5,000 to abate asbestos from the abandoned water treatment building. City plans to remove the building and develop the site into a camping/park development.
  • The City of Randolph — $6,800 to inspect and abate asbestos from an abandoned commercial building. The city plans on removing the building and pairing the site to the neighboring community center.
  • The City of Sac City— $11,500 to inspect and abate asbestos from two connected abandoned commercial buildings. The city plans to remove the buildings and develop the site for community development.
  • The City of Sidney — $21,750 to remove asbestos and deconstruct an abandoned church building. The city plans to build a new fire station on site which will feature living quarters and a community room. This will allow for 24-hour fire and rescue support to the city and its neighboring communities.

The DNR Derelict Building Grant Program was instituted by statute to help rural communities with populations of 5,000 or less. Funding is awarded annually on a competitive basis with cash matches required. Applications for the next funding round will be due in the spring of 2016. For more information about the grant program, application forms and resources, visit: www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/LandStewardship/WasteManagement/DerelictBuildingProgram.aspx.

Omaha mayor orders flags at half-staff for slain officer

News

May 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert has ordered flags in city to be lowered to half-staff in honor of Officer Kerrie Orozco, who was killed Wednesday in the line of duty.  Stothert says flags should remain at half-staff until dusk Monday on Memorial Day. Stothert said Thursday the move is a sign of respect for Orozco and her service to the city.

The city also plans to turn lights at the Heartland of America Fountain and on the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge blue beginning tonight (Thursday night) through Memorial Day. Stothert is in Florida for her son’s wedding on Friday. She will return to Omaha on Sunday, ahead of schedule, to participate in services for Orozco.

Atlantic Rotary honors teacher of the year

News

May 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Atlantic Rotary Club and employees with the Atlantic Community School District gathered Thursday afternoon at the High School, to learn who the Rotary had selected to receive the “Outstanding Teacher of the Year” award.

Rotary President-Elect Ted Robinson

Rotary President-Elect Ted Robinson

Ted Robinson, Rotary Club President Elect and Chairman of the Outstanding Teacher Award Committee, said the person selected demonstrates the Rotary’s motto of “Service above Self, and through their continuous dedication to students, parents and the larger community, as well as the art and practice of education.”

Rotary member Jennifer Plumb, with the Cambridge Law Firm, read from some of the letters nominating Thursday’s award recipient. One has a middle son who struggles and has many challenges when it comes to school, but that soon changed when he met this special teacher.

DeLana Harris (Center) receives her Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award

DeLana Harris (Center) receives her Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award

The nominator said the teacher communicated with the parents and their son on a regular basis, gave them ideas and explained how she would like to deal with their sons’ concerns and struggles with his school work. The boy soon showed an interest in school and his test scores improved. Another nominator said the teacher has “Fresh ideas on broadening the kids’ horizons and making them think outside the box.” A co-worker described Schuler 5th Grade Teacher DeLana Harris, as “A leader to her peers and a role model to her students.”

Harris has been with the District for a little more than 10-years. She taught preschool in Atlantic for two years and worked under the Universal Preschool Grant as a 4 year-old preschool teacher at Little Lambs. She later transferred to the 5th grade classroom, and says she has enjoyed every moment of her experiences.

Staff photo of Delana Harris from the Atlantic School District website

Staff photo of Delana Harris from the Atlantic School District website

Harris was humble in accepting the award. She said “I just do what I love to do every single day, and what I say to my kids is…and it’s weird, but I call them my kids…[because] they became a part of your family…my biggest thing is, as long as they are excited to come into my room every single day, and are excited to learn, then I feel like I’ve done my job.” In referring to her colleagues, Harris said “Great teachers are made because of everybody out there, it’s not just one person. It takes a community, it takes all of us.”

Harris graduated from Central College in Pella, and received her Masters of Education from Viterbo University in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

Nishna Valley Credit Union Sets Up Fund for Family of Slain Police Officer

News

May 21st, 2015 by Jim Field

The Nishna Valley Credit Union in Atlantic has set up a account to help the family of 29-year old Kerrie Orozco, a gang unit officer with the Omaha Police Metro Area Fugitive Task Force, who died after being shot in the line of duty on Wednesday.  Kerrie (Holtz) Orozco is the daughter of Ellen and the late Kevin Holtz of Walnut. Kerrie is a 2004 graduate of Walnut High School.

NVCU Chief Executive Officer Tim Marcsisak says that people can make donations to the account in a number of ways.  They will accept donations in person, by mail or at the drive-thru.  Donations may be made with personal messages or they may be anonymous.  All proceeds will go toward the family.  Kerrie’s mother, Ellen, is a long-time employee at the Nishna Valley Credit Union.

Congressman King ponders federal insurance for poultry industry

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Congressman Steve King says he’s concerned by the push to get Iowa landfills to accept the dead birds from poultry operations that have been hit by avian flu. He says “My level of enthusiasm for going to landfills has been relatively low…I have long thought that we needed to maintain the birds on the location. That should be the ideal.” King says turkeys can be composted and chickens can be burned on the property — or the poultry barns can be super-heated after they’re “shrink wrapped” to destroy the virus, then the barns can be cleaned out.

“I think we need to put together more of an industrial approach to this and bring the technology to bear so that the next time there’s a disaster like this, we have developed a model in northwest Iowa,” King says, “to meet a disaster of this scope anywhere in the country.” King says since he’s a member of the ag committee in the U.S. House, he’s been kept up to date daily on the situation. He’s concerned that investigators haven’t yet determined exactly how the bird flu is being spread.

“There are four or five theories, any one of which could work and could be the real reason,” King says. “But we have to figure out as best we can how it got in, especially to the laying houses, and what carried it. And if we can’t figure that out, then we can’t raise the biosecurity to a level that we’ll have enough confidence to repopulate these buildings.”

King says he’s working with others to figure out some sort of federally-financed “risk management tool”– like federal crop insurance – for poultry producers, perhaps something like “business interruption” insurance. “But it’s not coming together with enough clarity that I can predict the shape of things to come,” he says.

Iowa is the number one egg producing state in the nation and this bird flu outbreak has hit hardest in King’s northwest Iowa district.

(Radio Iowa)

(Update) Narcotics investigation tied to accident results in arrest in Shelby Co.

News

May 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office says a narcotics investigation tied to a traffic accident investigation has resulted in an arrest. 49-year old Chadwick Sachau, of Denison, faces a felony Possession of Methamphetamine with the Intent to Deliver, charge. If convicted, he faces up to 10-years in prison.

The charge stems from a hit-and-run accident that occurred at around 6:30-a.m. Wednesday, on Highway 59, where a car driven by Sachau crossed the center line of the road and collided with a Chevy Suburban, driven by Efrain Chavez-Mendoza, of Denison. After his car hit the other vehicle, Sachau continued north on Highway 59, and when his car became disabled, attempted to flee on foot.

Sachau was arrested a short time later and brought to the Shelby County Jail, where he was being held on $100,000 bond. Sachau and Chavez-Mendoza were not injured in the collision, but a passenger in the Suburban, 21-year old Andy Armondo-Casanova, of Denison, suffered minor injuries, and was treated at Myrtue Memorial Hospital, in Harlan.