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Google addresses concerns over fill dirt issues


March 26th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Internet giant Google earlier this week suspended digging at an excavation site in southwest Iowa after locals complained that truckloads of dirt being hauled away for use by the company were creating problems for residents. The Omaha World-Herald reports company officials said in a written statement Tuesday evening “In the past few days, we have been contacted by members of the community concerning a borrow pit in Mills County that has been used to supply dirt to our facility. We take these concerns seriously and have ceased all transportation of fill until we have had a chance to review the situation.”

In its statement, Google did not specify how it planned to use the dirt. The Mountain View, California-based company opened its first data center in Iowa on 200 acres of land in the Lake Manawa area in 2009. The company then opened a second Bluffs data center on a 975-acre site about a mile east of the MidAmerican Energy plant that it is continuing to develop.

The complaints center on a tract of land west of Mineola, in northern Mills County, owned by Cory Leick, where the company has gotten dirt in the past. The complaints came to Google’s attention as Leick applied to the Mills County Zoning Board of Adjustment for a proposal to excavate a different site, a nearly 40-acre parcel roughly a half-mile southeast of the current dig. Four of the five members voted Tuesday to approve Leick’s proposal. The fifth member was Leick, who recused himself.

Leick said in an interview after the vote that Google was only one of many clients getting dirt from the first site. Others included the Iowa Department of Transportation, which used some of his dirt on various projects in western Iowa. Locals say trucks hauling tons of dirt from that site are often uncovered, leading to dust and rocks flying about on Barrus Road, a primary route out of town.

About 45 people attended the board meeting Tuesday evening. Several people spoke in opposition to granting Leick the permit, citing the performance standards laid out for special use permits, which do not allow projects that would lead to, among other things, “objectionable” noise and “discernible” vibration. Leick said he would work to meet performance standards.


Boil water advisory in Tabor


March 26th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Authorities on Wednesday asked residents of Tabor, in Fremont County, to boil their water until until further notice. The Omaha World-Herald says repairs to a leaking water line lowered pressure temporarily, City officials said water tests to ensure safety could take 48 hours.

7 middle school students from Treynor honored for their efforts following school bus rollover


March 26th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Seven Treynor Middle School students were honored for their roles in keeping other students calm and safe following a school bus rollover accident March 13th. The bus was taking about 20 students home from school when it slipped off the edge of the road and toppled onto its side near 290th Street. The Daily Non Pareil reports Warren Rolf, Nathan Nelson, Alora Nowlin, Chloe Mass, Amanda Stephens, Claire Rolf and Max Hayes were given service awards for their efforts to keep children calm, help them out of the bus and in seeking help.

Before the first rescue crews were even on the scene of the accident, the children were already out of the bus and acting calmly. Only two children suffered minor injuries.

Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker addresses the 7 students at an assembly Wednesday, who helped their classmates after a bus rollover accident. (Photo from Pott. Co. S/O Facebook page)

Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker addresses the 7 students at an assembly Wednesday, who helped their classmates after a bus rollover accident. (Photo from Pott. Co. S/O Facebook page)

On Wednesday, Rolf and the others were escorted to the gym and greeted with a standing ovation from their peers, parents, teachers, the Treynor Fire Department and the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Jeff Danker handed the awards to each student followed by a firm handshake and a thank-you. He said the students should feel proud of their actions.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., March 26th 2015


March 26th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The House has passed legislation that would require some elected public officials in Iowa to have more contact information published online in a timely manner. The House voted unanimously for the bill, which would require an entity with a website to post a telephone number and an email for an elected public official. Public officials are defined in the bill as lawmakers, county board supervisors, city council members and board members of a school district.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa’s top health care official is expected to briefly serve as the school’s interim president later this year. Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter said Wednesday that he would recommend that UI vice president for medical affairs Jean Robillard fill in when President Sally Mason retires July 31st.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — A suspect has been charged after a northern Iowa couple allegedly saw a man toss a duffel bag into a river Saturday that they later found contained a live cat. The Mason City Globe Gazette reports the adult calico remained in quarantine Tuesday at Mason City Animal Control. She’s been named Winnie — short for the Winnebago River from which she was rescued. Police say 69-year-old William Hill was charged Wednesday with misdemeanor animal torture.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says quarterback Jake Rudock, a two-year starter for the Hawkeyes, will transfer to another school. The move ends the competition between Rudock and C.J. Beathard.

IA State Parks Featured in America’s Top Family fishing and Boating Spots Sweepstakes

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources say the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) is searching for the top 100 family fishing and boating spots across the nation, and several Iowa state parks are among those being considered. Iowans participating in the vote can ensure their favorite places to boat and fish are recognized nationally.

Iowa locations include Lake Macbride (Solon), Lake Pahoja (west of Larchwood),
Little River Watershed Lake (west of Leon) and Green Valley Lake (northwest of
Creston). Entrants can vote daily until April 12, 2015 for the three parks they
feel offer the best experience based on family amenities, location and the
likeliness to catch a fish or enjoy a day on the water. The parks with the most
votes will be placed on 2015 America’s Top 100 Family Fishing and Boating Spots

To learn more about the sweepstakes and to vote for your favorite parks, got to
www.takemefishing.org and click on the link to America’s Top Family Fishing and Boating Spots Sweepstakes. Visit the Iowa DNR web site at www.iowadnr.gov for more information about each Iowa location including amenities, popular fish species and fish stocking information.

Cass County Comm./9-1-1 open for business


March 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A process that began in 2011 to update the Cass County Communications/9-1-1 Center has reached full circle, with the facility coming online this week. It’s not been an easy road, with countless discussions held over whether the County should farm out dispatcher services, whether the center should be expanded and relocated in the courthouse to prepare for the Next Generation of communications equipment, or whether a separate facility was in order.Cass Co 9-11

The Board of Supervisors, Public Safety and 9-1-1 Commission ultimately decided to purchase a building across the street from the courthouse and renovate the lower level to accommodate the dispatchers, equipment and the Emergency Management Director and 9-1-1 Director.

Cass County 9-1-1 Director Rob Koppert told the Board of Supervisors during their meeting this (Wednesday) morning, that the process was well worth the time and effort it took to bring it to fruition. Koppert thanked the Board of Supervisors for “Allowing us to have a nice place to work in, and the room to actually [be able to] stand up and stretch [without hitting another dispatcher]. We could have spent a million more to have a Taj Mahal, but we got a really great center for what you guys gave us, and I really thank you guys for that.”

Koppert said the County got its money worth out of the project. He said “We’ve got the County a very fiscally responsible 9-1-1 Center that is functional, and truly something to be proud of.”

Woman serving a life sentence for western IA kidnapping has died


March 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A western Iowa woman who was convicted last year in a disturbing kidnapping and torture case has died in prison. Rebecca Beyer of Council Bluffs was sentenced to life in prison last July after being convicted of abusing her developmentally impaired stepson. The 47-year-old Beyer died on Monday of natural causes from a form of skin cancer, according to the Iowa Department of Corrections.

Beyer was arrested in 2013 after the 20-year-old victim told police he’d be kept locked inside a garage, attached to a wall with a dog leash and burned with forks, spoons and an iron that had been heated on a stove. The victim’s father and stepbrother, James Beyer and Ryan Smith, were also arrested in the case. Smith accepted a plea deal and was sentenced to two years probation. The Pottawattamie County Attorney’s office reports the case against James Beyer is still pending.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass Supervisors proclaim April as “Child Abuse Prevention Month”


March 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Wednesday), signed a proclamation recognizing April as “Child Abuse Prevention Month,” in Cass County. The request to do so came from the County Child Abuse Prevention Council. Wendy Richter, Co-Chair of the Council along with Kate Olson, said there are several things they’re doing to bring awareness of Child Abuse and Prevention to the public eye.

Kate Olson holds one of the "Pinwheels for prevention," bringing awareness to child abuse & prevention.

Kate Olson holds one of the “Pinwheels for prevention,” bringing awareness to child abuse & prevention.

That includes the sale and display of “Pinwheels for Prevention,” a banner to be placed near the entrance to the Courthouse, and the planting of pinwheels outside the courthouse. Richter said funds raised from the sale of pinwheels will be used for the various projects geared toward prevention. The organization is also working with libraries in Cass County to get resources on good manners for kids, and parenting resources. They will also provide libraries with a list of recommended resources.

Kate Olson said there will also be a coloring contest during the first part of April in all the local schools. The libraries have agreed to post the pictures created during the month of April. After the presentation by Richter and Olson, Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman read the proclamation later signed by each Supervisor.

In other business, the Cass County Supervisors approved a 5-year contract with Medivac Ambulance. The County will share the cost of services with the City of Atlantic, 60/40, with the City picking up the largest portion of the cost. For the next year, the total cost amounts to $84,000, which is the same as it has been for the past 5-years. Afterward, from July 1st 2016 through June 30th 2020, the annual rate shared by the City and County is $92,000. And again, the City will pickup up 60-percent of the cost.

Montgomery County Burn ban lifted

News, Weather

March 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency reports a ban on open burning which had been in effect since March 16th, has been lifted.  The ban was rescinded due to the current wet conditions.

Council seeks ways to protect Iowa town from ‘gentle giant’


March 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

ONAWA, Iowa (AP) – The Onawa City Council has put off a decision on what to do about a St. Bernard that’s called a “gentle giant” by its owner and a potential menace by some other residents of the western Iowa community. Sioux City television station KCAU reports that dozens of people packed the council meeting Tuesday to learn Zhivago’s fate. The 3-year-old, 200-pounder has gotten loose twice but hasn’t bitten anyone. Police say he’s a dangerous animal who should be seized. Owner Billy Parker says Zhivago is a “gentle giant” and a therapy animal who poses no threat.

Council members discussed changing city ordinances so that a tall fence could be installed to help keep the dog in his yard. The members delayed a final decision until their April 14 meeting.