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14-year old in Lenox charged with sexual abuse

News

August 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Police in Lenox report a 14-year old male has been charged with 2nd degree sexual abuse, following an investigation into an incident which allegedly occurred on or about August 11th. Officials say they received a call on that date with regard to the alleged sexual abuse of a nine-year old boy. The reporting party intervened in the alleged sex act.

Following an investigation and consultation with juvenile authorities, Lenox Police charged the 14-year old, and his case has been referred to juvenile court. The name of the suspect is not being released, due to his age.

No charges to be filed in Bluffs death

News

August 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber said today (Wednesday), no charges will be filed in connection with an April 13, 2011 shooting death in Council Bluffs. On Tuesday, a Pott County Grand Jury considered charges against 43-year old Robert Keith Hashberger, with regard to the shooting death of 41-year old John Anthony Rodarte.

The jury returned a “No Bill,” which means they have declined to file charges. The No Bill was filed with the Clerk of Court this (Wednesday) morning, and concludes the Pott County Attorney’s Office involvement in the case.

Hasberger shot Rodarte once in the chest using a 9-millimeter handgun at around 7:35-p.m., following a verbal altercation at the Do Rock Inn, in Council Bluffs. Hashberger, who claimed he was acting in self-defense, was initially charged with 1st degree murder. An investigation and deposition of witnesses however, resulted in the Pott County Attorney’s Office dismissing the charge, which was then taken under consideration by the Grand Jury.

Because the Grand Jury proceedings are secret, Wilber said he could not comment further on the evidence they considered, Tuesday.

7AM Newscast 08-24-2011

News, Podcasts

August 24th, 2011 by admin

w/ Ric Hanson

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Heat Burst hits SW IA Tuesday evening

News, Weather

August 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

If you noticed it became unusually, and suddenly hot Tuesday evening here in Atlantic, and in the surrounding area, you weren’t imagining things. The National Weather Service in Des Moines says a rare phenomenon known as a “Heat Burst” affected portions of southwest Iowa. A Heat Burst is characterized by a sudden rise in temperature, a drop in humidity, and strong winds that can approach or exceed severe levels. They are associated with high-based decaying thunderstorms with a substantial dry layer between the base of the storm.

As rain from the thunderstorm falls into the underlying dry air, it cools the air immediately around it, which becomes denser than the surrounding air, and begins to sink. As this air sinks, it dries and compresses, resulting in the hot and dry readings recorded with heat bursts.

Here in Atlantic, at the KJAN studios…the official National Weather Service reporting station…our temperatures from 1-to 6-pm were generally in the mid-80’s. The high here at the station reached 97-degrees.

According to the Automated Weather Observation System located at the airport, just before 7-p.m., the winds began to increase from 15- to 30-miles per hour. By 7:15, were gusting upwards of 40-miles per hour, and the temperature jumped from 88-degrees at 6:55-p.m., to 99-degrees at 7:15. The temp maxed out at 102-degrees, 10-minutes later, and by 7:35 had dropped to 91. The air cooled to the mid 80’s by 8-p.m.

The phenomenon also brought some damaging winds to part of the listening area. Officials with the Weather Service say a Heat Burst-related wind event caused a tree to fall on a power line in Bridgewater, at around 6:50-p.m. At 7:05, a tree was observed down on a power line one-mile south of Brayton. Other tree limbs also fell, as winds of up to 40-miles per hour occurred. The temperature in that area also spiked, from 76- to 96-degrees in just a few minutes. There was also a sharp drop in the humidity. And, a 60-mile per hour gust of wind was recorded in Fontanelle at 7:44-p.m., by an automated system.

Corps: flooding risks along Missouri River remain high as water levels drop

News

August 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

While water levels on the flooded Missouri River are dropping, officials want safety awareness to remain high. This week’s rain prompted flash-flooding in southwest Iowa which led to building collapses, evacuations and daring rescues of trapped residents in the Council Bluffs area. Brigadier General John McMahon, of the U-S Army Corps of Engineers, says the public can’t let down its guard.

“I would caution everybody that we have to continue to be very vigilant in so far as the risks associated with this flooding,” General McMahon says. “The water is still high, it’s moving fast and there’s erosion and other effects. We’ve got to be vigilant in terms of how the levees, both the temporary and the permanent ones, are performing. We’re not out of the woods yet.” Releases of water from upriver reservoirs, like Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, South Dakota, are being cut back daily. That process started last Friday and will continue through month’s end. Still, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (DO-guard) warns that significant danger lurks as the release levels drop. He says the next week or so will be crucial.

“If there is going to be a catastrophic failure of any levee, it probably could occur during that time,” Governor Daugaard says. “We want to urge our citizens not to become complacent, which is easy to do, because they see the end in sight, the light at the end of the tunnel.” Daugaard says residents in all states along the Missouri River need to remain at the ready for potential risks.

“We really have to be careful as the subjacent weight of the water draws away, the super-saturated soils that make up those levees could slough,” he says. “It’s very important that we have vigilance on those levees during this next ten-day period and not allow our citizens to become complacent.” Iowa’s Governor Branstad met in Omaha last week with his counterparts from a half-dozen other Missouri River states to discuss avenues to prevent a repeat of the summer-long flooding. While the water has been high more than two months already, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says it could be October before the flooded waterway returns to normal.

“When you have a system this charged, it’s important for the public to know they always need to be careful,” Governor Nixon says. “We’ve lost a National Guardsman coming back from duty, we’ve lost a trooper that we’re still searching for. It’s a very dangerous river. Everybody out there should be well aware of the danger and the power of this much water moving this quickly. No, this is not over, not until it gets back inside its banks and it’s a long way from getting there.”

Releases from Gavins Point topped out around 160-thousand cubic feet per second (CFS) — or around one-point-one million gallons per second. By month’s end, the releases should be down to 90-thousand C-F-S. Those reductions will halt on September 1st, allowing the Corps to inspect the system’s levees and dams.

(Radio Iowa)

Branstad and Reynolds stop in Harlan

News

August 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad was in Harlan Tuesday, touting his administration’s accomplishments on the jobs front, and telling locals what else needs to be done to get more Iowans back to work. His visit was part of Branstad’s “Jobs for Iowa” tour, and are a continuation of the theme he and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds began before they were elected.

Speaking to a crowd of about 50 people at the Petersen Family Wellness Center in Harlan, Tuesday, Branstad said he wants to reduce commercial property taxes. He and Reynolds spelled out their accomplishments since taking office, such as getting a two-year budget passed during the contentious 2011 legislative session. But commercial property taxes were not reduced, and that’s something Branstad long has said he wanted done in order to stimulate economic development.

While the focus of Tuesday’s Town Hall meeting essentially focused on jobs and the economy, when it came time for questions from the audience, the first two pertained to education, and allowed the governor to promote his plans to attract better entry-level teachers and pay the best teachers more. He acknowledged it will cost more, especially in terms of teacher salaries, but Branstad added the state will make it harder to get into the teaching profession.

62-year old Paul Leinen, of Harlan, the former owner of a farm supply store in Portsmouth, asked Branstad about government regulations. Branstad said he had replaced many of the top people in state government departments, such as the Department of Natural Resources, and expects them to work in a more collaborative manner than their predecessors had. Leinen told the Omaha World-Herald afterward, that he was pleased with the governor’s response, because it’s a “Step in the right direction.”

Branstad and Reynolds are scheduled to tour western Iowa through Thursday, with “Jobs for Iowa” public meetings scheduled for today in Rock Rapids, Sibley and Primghar; and tomorrow (Thursday) in Cherokee, Storm Lake, Pocahontas and Rockwell City.

Red Oak woman arrested on warrant

News

August 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A Red Oak woman was arrested this (Wednesday) morning on a warrant for probation revocation. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department says 49-year old Kelly L. Beaver was taken into custody without incident a little after 2-a.m., at her residence in Red Oak.

Beaver was brought to the Montgomery County Jail, where she was being held on $5,000 bond.

Syngenta sues grain elevator over biotech corn ban

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Seed maker Syngenta is suing a grain elevator operator that has banned the company’s biotech corn. Bunge North America, which operates grain elevators across North America, including one in Council Bluffs, recently posted notices that it would not accept corn planted with Syngenta’s Agrisure Viptera seed. In the lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Sioux City, St. Louis-based Bunge said the seed has not been approved for export to China.

“We are surprised and disappointed that Syngenta has taken an action which could put at risk a major export market for U.S. corn producers,” St. Louis-based Bunge said in a statement Tuesday. Minnesota-based Syngenta claims Bunge violated federal and state laws and that the seed has been approved for shipment to other international markets, including Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico and Korea.

Syngenta spokesman Chuck Lee said only 1 percent of the nation’s corn crop will be exported to China this year. Bunge said it will accept Syngenta’s Agrisure Viptera seed once it is approved by China.

“Until this approval occurs, we must protect the integrity of our export supply chain by not accepting Agrisure Viptera and other varieties that do not have major export market approval,” the company said in its statement. “Our obligation to our farmers is to provide access to the global marketplace and the price benefits of that access. Syngenta’s decision to commercialize Agrisure Viptera should not foreclose our ability to sell to a major market – China,” the company said.

China is currently the seventh largest importer of U.S. corn, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Basement collapses from flooding reported in Council Bluffs

News

August 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Monday morning’s storm that dumped 4 to 7 inches of rain across western Iowa is causing more trouble for residents of Council Bluffs. Public Information Officer Don Gross says several homes are not livable right now due to collapsed basements. “As of today (Tuesday) , seven homes have had basement collapses that have been severe enough that they have had to evacuate their homes,” Gross said. All of the affected homes are on the west side of Council Bluffs, which was hit the hardest by the flash flooding. The city is also dealing with a collapsed sanitary sewer, which could take up to two weeks to repair. There is some good news – most of the streets that were closed by the flooding are back open.

“There are a few spots that still have a little bit of water on them, but most of the water has receded,” Gross said. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin toured the flood stricken area of Council Bluffs Tuesday. The Council Bluffs recycling center is accepting tree debris free of charge to city residents until further notice.

(Radio Iowa)

Citizens voice their concerns over CCMH Behavioral Health Center’s Future

News

August 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A handful of people requested to speak before the Cass County Memorial Hospital’s Board of Trustees during the meeting today (Tuesday), in Atlantic. Before the board discussed for nearly two-hours, their options for keeping the Behavioral Health Unit open or closing the unit entirely, they heard from individuals who’ve dealt with mental health issues in their families, educators, and health care professionals. One of those who spoke was Chuck Smith, who said the hospital has met, and should continue to meet, both the physical and mental health needs of the community. He says to stop providing behavioral health services in Cass County would be a “step backwards.”

Atlantic Parks and Recreation Director Roger Herring, who served as Principal of the Atlantic High School for 20-years, said he always tried to promote the community to prospective teachers, doctors and others who were considering locating here with their families. One of the selling points, is the fact Atlantic has a full, comprehensive medical facility. Herring says if the BHU were to be eliminated, there would be a void in the programs that we are able to offer. He says we need to be able to provide both physical, and mental health. Herring said the BHU, and other psychiatric services offered to students at CCMH, the Link Center and Behavioral Health Department, have saved the lives of some of his former students. He says it’s the hospital’s business to save lives, whether it’s teen suicide or families who are in crisis, they need to have somewhere to turn to. Herrings says sending them 60-miles away to Des Moines or Omaha, or further, could mean people’s lives will be lost.

Patty Koontz, a Behavior Disorder Teacher, says 106 students had their mental health needs met at the facility, last year. She says no other school district in Iowa has a Board Certified Psychiatrist on-call, available, like the Atlantic School District does. She says sending students elsewhere, would result in a disruption in the “continuity of care” the students currently receive.

The CCMH Board of Trustees Chair Steve Sisler said regardless of what happens to the BHU, they will find a way to provide mental health services to students. The question remains however, whether it will be on the CCMH campus, or elsewhere.