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Some buildings may be salvaged from Missouri River floodwaters

News

September 22nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

As the flooding Missouri River slowly returns to its normal level, Iowa property owners are beginning to get a look at their homes and businesses — and the challenges they’ll face in restoring them. Bob Arritt owns an environmental, health and safety consulting firm in Omaha-Council Bluffs. Arritt says some people will be able to save the skeleton of the building and not have to start over. “If you just get it opened up and dried out as soon as possible, you can sand and treat the stud walls and the frames and so forth, hopefully keep as much of the building as you can,” he says. “It’s just not an automatic decision.” Unfortunately, Arritt says some buildings will be a complete loss and the only option will be to tear them down. He says it will still be some time before many homeowners and business owners know the extent of water damage.  “We haven’t really seen a lot of the assessments because the water hasn’t come down that far and people aren’t ready yet,” he says. “I don’t think the insurance companies, or anybody, has quite assessed it.” Some homes have sat in floodwater for several months, virtually all summer. Arritt says that doesn’t necessarily mean the property is a total loss.  “Not the whole building itself, but some of the porous materials that are in the building, the drywall, carpets and all of that obviously has gotta’ go,” he says. The river has been below flood stage at Sioux City for a few weeks, but it may not be back to “normal” in Omaha-Council Bluffs until October. Arritt’s company, B-2 Environmental, specializes in industrial clean-ups.

(Radio Iowa)

Braley says Midwest disaster victims now endangered political “pawns”

News

September 22nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley accuses Republicans of using disaster victims as “pawns” in the fight over the federal budget. Fifty Democrats and 10 Republicans in the U.S. Senate have passed a bill that provides the stop-gap spending for the nation’s disaster recovery programs, but the Republican-controlled U.S. House is poised to insist on making deep cuts in a program Democrats support to pay for that disaster relief.  “Flood recovery has, like most things, become a partisan bargaining chip in Washington and will be used as a pawn in the budget negotiations,” Braley says. “There’s even been threats of another government shut-down and this is deplorable.” Congress has not passed a budget for the next federal fiscal year, which begins October 1st.   Braley says federal disaster aide for this summer’s flash-flooding in Dubuque and Jackson Counties as well as the Missouri River flooding is at stake, along with federal funds for disaster-related projects that date back to the flooding in Iowa back in 2008.

“Helping people get back on their feet after a disaster is one of the basic functions of government,” Braley says. “It shouldn’t be a political issue bogged down in Washington politics. It needs to get done and it needs to get done now.” Braley says while most Americans are well aware of the flooding which struck the east coast because of the recent hurricane, few realize Midwesterners who live and work along the Missouri River have been dealing with flood woes since June.

“(It’s) probably the longest-sustained flooding event in the history of the United States,” Braley says. “It shouldn’t be subject to political gamesmanship…and that’s why I’m calling on my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to find a way to get it done and not make it another political football which is why…people in the United States have become so disenchanted with the way things work here in Washinton.” Braley’s Aunt Mary has been out of her home in Percival, Iowa, for three and a half months because of the Missouri River flooding. Braley visited the area on August 31 and posted some photos on Twitter. Braley described Percival as a “ghost town” with “water and mold everywhere.”

(Radio Iowa)

Corps names Mo. River flooding review panel

News

September 22nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has named the four members of an independent panel that will review this year’s flooding on the Missouri River. The corps said Wednesday that the panel members include three hydrologists – Bill Lawrence of the National Weather Service, Darwin Ockerman of the U.S. Geological Survey and Cara McCarthy of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The fourth member is Neil Grigg, a professor at Colorado State University. The corps manages the Missouri’s flow through a series of dams and storage reservoirs and has faced intense criticism over the flooding. The agency says the panel will help determine if anything could have been done to prevent this year’s flood and provide recommendations for improving future operations. Among the issues that will be examined is whether climate change played a role in this year’s record runoff.

Lappe nominated by petition for Cass County Supervisor’s seat

News

September 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman reports three men’s names will be included on the November 8th Special Election for the Cass County Supervisor District 2 seat. The latest addition, is Cass County Sheriff’s Deputy Don Lappe, who has been nominated by petition. Lappe joins Gaylord Schelling, who was nominated by Republican convention, and Jeff. J. Richter, who was nominated by petition, on the ballot. All three men are from Atlantic.

Nomination papers to fill the seat on the Board of Supervisors, which was left vacant by the death of Chuck Kinen, must be filed by no later than 5-p.m. Friday, September 23rd.

Neb. woman in Iowa shooting faces federal charge

News

September 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – An Omaha woman once believed to be the victim of a home invasion and now charged with first-degree murder in the 2001 shooting in her western Iowa home faces a new federal charge of passport fraud. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Omaha says 45-year-old Tracey Ann Richter – also known to authorities as Tracey Richter-Roberts – made false statements in early 2009 in an application for a passport, which she intended “for her own use or the use of another.” In an affidavit, a U.S. State Department special agent said Richter applied for the passport in Omaha claiming her name was Sophie Corrina Terese Edwards. The federal indictment was unsealed Wednesday. In July, Iowa authorities charged Richter with first-degree murder in the 2001 shooting death of 20-year-old Dustin Wehde.

Crews rush to repair flood-damaged Iowa roads

News

September 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Crews are assessing damage to Iowa highways and beginning repairs now that the Missouri River has dropped to lower levels after a summer of flooding. Sections of the Interstates 29 and 680 are largely rubble, leaving workers with a daunting number of repairs and little time as winter approaches. Officials say they’ll fix as many roads as possible this fall and hope to have at least single lanes open on damaged stretches of interstate by December, but some work will have to wait until next year. Iowa Department of Transportation spokeswoman Dena Gray-Fisher says in some spots, “there isn’t any road left. You’ve got to start from scratch.” Gray-Fisher says a contract for bids will go out Friday to rebuild a badly damaged three-mile stretch of I-680.

Man and women arrested after pursuit in Council Bluffs

News

September 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Council Bluffs say two people were arrested Tuesday morning following a pursuit that led officers into Omaha and back into Council Bluffs. Council Bluffs Police Sgt. Mark Galvan said when an officer tried to stop a suspicious, black SUV shortly after 9- a.m., the driver of a white Dodge truck tried to strike the officer’s vehicle.

Galvan said after the officer took evasive action to avoid the truck, he began to pursue both vehicles into Omaha. The Dodge truck, which was later determined to have been stolen, was able to elude authorities, but later found to have been abandoned.

When Police later learned the black SUV returned to Council Bluffs, they were able to locate it in an area known as Malmore Acres. Following a brief foot pursuit, a man and a woman were taken into custody. Their names were not immediately released. The woman, who was driving the SUV, was charged with eluding, reckless driving, and driving while disqualified. She was also arrested on warrants for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, driving while barred and possession of prescription drugs.

The man in the SUV was arrested on a warrant for possession of a controlled substance. He also faces a charge of eluding.

Lincoln, NE pair marry in Council Bluffs, as military ends ban on gay

News

September 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – A Nebraska couple has marked the end of the U.S. military’s ban on gay service by tying the knot. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that 48-year-old Gregory Smith, a full-time member of the Nebraska Army National Guard, married 39-year-old John Burns on Tuesday in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The wedding occurred just hours after the military ended its so-called “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The couple had originally planned to marry next spring, but Smith told family members he wanted to marry on the first day he could serve openly as a gay man in the military. Burns told the newspaper that if the ban had not been lifted, he and Smith probably would not have married until Smith finished his military service.

Cass County Board of Supervisors approve redistricting plan & to save the flowers

News

September 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors met this (Wednesday) morning in Atlantic. The Board, following the second and final reading, approved and adopted an ordinance striking old language from the redistricting plan and added new language to reflect a change in Supervisor Districts resulting from a shift in population as determined by the 2010 census. The ordinance goes into effect January 15th, 2012.

The board also heard from the City of Atlantic’s Park and Recreation Director, with regard to a request for the County to reconsider its decision to remove a flower bed leading up to the Civil War Memorial, in the Atlantic City Park. The County owns a portion of the sidewalks that are being replaced due to age and damage from heavy equipment. Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring made the request on behalf of the Parks Board.

Herring acknowledged the flower beds have become an eyesore over the years, because no one has stepped forward to take care of them. That matter has been resolved, with an announcement today (Wednesday) that the Trevor Fredericksen Foundation will provide for the planting and care of the flower beds. Herring says the foundation will fund and commit to the maintenance of the flower beds if the County decided to retain them.

Board Chair Duane McFadden also read a letter from Atlantic resident Charles Griffin, who, in the past has been instrumental in taking care of flowers and shrubs at the various City Parks in Atlantic. Griffin, who, despite his ailing health, has also vowed to do what he can to help maintain the flower beds in the City Park.

After considering the request, the Board voted unanimously to revert back to their original plan for the sidewalk removal, which leaves the flower beds intact, as long as the Fredericksen Foundation will manage, monitor and maintain the area. Construction on the City of Atlantic’s portion of the sidewalk project is underway, and should not be affected by the County’s decision to make a change order in its portion of the project.

8AM Newscast 09-21-2011

News, Podcasts

September 21st, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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