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Atlantic Chamber Director: City sees an increase in young families, but needs more & better housing


October 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce Director Megan Roberts says the City’s “Young Professionals” group has seen a period of “extraordinary growth,” recently, with more than 25 people attending each event…up from just a handful at this same time last year. She told the Atlantic City Council Wednesday, that the growth demonstrates an increase in young families coming to Atlantic and becoming involved in the community. They include new teachers, accountants, retail managers, and specialists in other fields. Roberts said while the influx of new and younger residents is great to see, it also points out the dire need for affordable housing in the community.

Roberts said the Chamber has had “Lots of requests” for housing, and it’s one of the biggest struggles young people wanting to move into the community, have. She says the situation isn’t going to improve anytime soon, but there are groups such as the Cass-Atlantic Development Corporation (CADCO), who are working to tackle the problem. Roberts said she hopes the Council continues to support those efforts.

CADCO Housing Committee Chairman Pat McCurdy agreed with Roberts that there is a shortage of “All kinds of housing in this town.” He said there are two ways to improve the situation, one is by making the City more attractive so homes can sell. McCurdy commended the Council and City for approving and enforcing the “Minimum Maintenance Code,” which improves the value of a home and makes the City a more attractive place to live. Toward that end, McCurdy says local youth from eight different church groups are getting involved with CADCO to paint three houses this Saturday, owned by poor or eldery residents. All the materials and paint have been donated.

Another way the City can improve its housing situation, according to McCurdy, is to come up with a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Plan, that is applicable to new housing developments. He said local developer Don Sonntag and others want to build more homes, but “He needs some help,” in the form of a TIF. He said individuals have a hard time to build affordable housing and “Make it cash flow,” without some sort of help, because the rent in Atlantic is not high enough. He said without housing, the young professionals, some of whom work in other, nearby towns, and want to live in Atlantic, cannot afford to live here and raise their families.

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday, tabled action on a TIF plan, at the request of Councilman Shawn Shouse, head of a Committee tasked with creating a draft, fair plan for the Council to approve. Shouse requested the delay in discussion because he was made aware of information based on legislation passed earlier this Summer in Iowa, that will need to be incorporated into any policy the City develops. The Council will discuss further, but not take action on the matter, during their meeting on October 17th.

Grant will help provide mental health services to drug courts


October 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Department of Justice is sending Iowa a three-year 810-thousand dollar grant to help pay for mental health services in Iowa’s drug courts. Dale Woolery is the spokesperson for the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy. “Mental health services are a growing need. They are something that is not always provided,” Woolery says. “Especially in a lot of drug courts where you have offenders who may have a dual diagnosis where they need mental health services as well as drug treatment, they may not be getting the mental health piece of that right now. This grant will help provide those services in those drug courts.” The money will be spread across the state.

“Nine drug courts throughout the state of Iowa, which is most of them…will be benefiting from this grant. These are the drug courts because of that way that they are set up will be benefiting from these grants,” Woolery says. The courts are in Black Hawk, Dubuque, Pottawattamie, Linn, Johnson, Scott, Des Moines, and Wapello counties. The idea behind the courts is to treat the problem to help prevent more problems down the road. “Drug courts generally speaking in Iowa have been showed to be effective in reducing the rate of re-arrest, the rate of relapse, or people who go back to using drugs. And they have shown to be a less costly proposition compared to incarceration,” according to Woolery. “In in general, it looks to be a more efficient way, a more effective way to deal with a lot of drug-addicted offenders.”

Woolery says not everyone who goes to a drug court ends up on the straight an narrow. “But for a lot of drug offenders — especially those who may have a mental health illness as well — it may be a better alternative. We’re hoping that with this grant we’ll learn that if by adding mental health services to drug courts, if they can be an even better investment for Iowa taxpayers,” Woolery says. Iowa Corrections Department director, John Baldwin, estimates about 318 offenders with chemical dependency and mental illness will receive treatment services with the help of the grant.

(Radio Iowa)

Search On for Heroes for Iowa/Nebraska Game

News, Sports

October 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowans are encouraged to nominate their hometown heroes for an award, and as a bonus, prime tickets for a college football duel. American Red Cross chapters across Iowa and Nebraska are planning a presentation for two stand-out citizens next month, one from each state. Tina Lebellarte, CEO of the Red Cross chapter based in Omaha, says they’re looking for our towns’ unsung leaders and volunteers. “People who perform an extraordinary act of courage or perhaps have dedicated many hours to special causes,” Lebellarte says. “These are really the unselfish people in our community.” The two winners will be recognized during an on-field ceremony prior to the start of the Iowa-Nebraska football game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on November 23rd.

Labellarte says Iowans should nominate someone they really admire who deserves a big pat on the back. She says, “Many people know of someone in their family, someone they work with, perhaps someone from their faith community that they might want to bring to our attention.” She says this honor that will be presented before the Hawkeyes-versus-Huskers game will be a momentous occasion for the winners.

“Often, we find that the heroes who are nominated didn’t even know about it,” Labellarte says, “so they get that exciting phone call.” Nomination forms are available at any Hy-Vee grocery store in the state and at any Red Cross office. The deadline to nominate someone is October 21st.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., Oct. 4th 2012


October 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

OSAGE, Iowa (AP) — A judge says a 14-year-old Osage boy suspected of killing his mother will be classified as a youthful offender. The judge yesterday waived the boy’s case to district court under the youthful offender status. The boy was 13 when he allegedly shot his mother to death in March.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Coralville woman charged in a house fire that killed a 14-year-old relative wants her trial moved out of Johnson County. Fifty-year-old Lillie Williams is charged in the September 2011 fire that killed Raymone Bryant. A hearing is set for tomorrow.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Murder charges have been filed against a 33-year-old man in the shooting death of a woman in Sioux City. Fernando Jaimes-Martinez is accused of firing a gun into a crowd and killing 27-year-old Karla Gonzalez last month. Police say a large fight erupted outside Jaimes-Martinez’s house, and he allegedly fired a gun into a group of people retreating from the home.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A 24-year-old man is accused of choking a patient who was in an Iowa City hospital bed. Officials say Lucas Cooper of Grundy Center was arrested on Tuesday after he allegedly choked a patient at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Cooper is being held in the Johnson County jail on $15,000 bond.

Walnut City Council to consider ID theft prevention program


October 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Walnut City Council will meet Thursday evening. During their 5-p.m. session at the Walnut City Hall, the Council will consider the possible adoption of a Resolution calling for the adoption of an updated Walnut Municipal Utility Identity Theft Prevention Program. In other business, the Council is expected to: Set the date for Trick-or-Treating; Approve a 3-year Sign Lease agreement with D&B Farms Partnership; Act on  a possible motion to execute an agreement with a contractor for the residential hauling of solid waste, and discuss matters pertaining to Peace Haven, as well as a possible Streetscape Enhancement Project.

Teens connected to thefts from vehicles in Lenox


October 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Lenox Police Department reports two teenaged boys face charges in connection with the theft of items from several vehicles over the past two-or three-weeks. Officials say the boys were questioned after authorities received a report at around 5:45-p.m. Tuesday, about two male juveniles rummaging through a vehicle in the 400 block of west Nebraska Street, in Lenox.

The caller detained the boys until the officer arrived. Afterward, the 14 and 15-year old youth were transported to the police department and their parents contacted. Following questioning, the boys were connected to a series of thefts from vehicles. A third male juvenile was also implicated.

Several hundred dollars in items stolen from vehicles were recovered from two of the boys homes. The investigation continues with multiple charges of burglary from a motor vehicle pending.

$11-million in funding announced for Iowa Community Foundations


October 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and officials from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, along with the Iowa Council of Foundations (ICoF) have announced the funding of the 2012 County Endowment Fund Program.  Approximately $11 million in funding will be distributed to 85 community foundations across the state. Among them are those foundations or endowment funds located in: Adair, Adams, Carroll, Cass Crawford, Fremont, Guthrie, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Ringgold, Sac, Shelby, Taylor and Union Counties.

Each of the 85 community foundations participating in the program will receive approximately $126,000; the organizations will then grant 75 percent of those funds to charitable projects and programs in their counties.  The remaining 25 percent will be used to grow a permanent, unrestricted endowment fund intended to attract additional donations and provide a source of permanent funding for charitable projects in the county.

The source of funding for the program is eight-tenths of one percent of the state’s gambling revenues. The program distributes an equal allocation to a community foundation located in counties without a state gaming license. Fourteen counties were not eligible for the funding because state-licensed gaming facilities are located in those counties.

5 arrests reported in Mills County


October 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Mills County say five people were arrested over the past week, on unrelated charges. On Friday, 36-year old Brent Lee Burgoin, of Silver City, was arrested for OWI/1st Offense. And, on Saturday, 25-year old Scott Michael Williams, of Council Bluffs, was arrested on a similar charge. Both men were held in the Mills County Jail in Glenwood, on $1,000 bond each.

20-year old Christopher Lynn Young, of Glenwood, and 24-year old Robert Joseph Burns, of Council Bluffs, were arrested over the weekend, for allegedly violating the terms of their probation. The men were being held on $5,000 bond each.

And, 24-year old Curtis Lee Farmer, of Glenwood, was arrested Monday morning, on a charge of Public Intoxication. Farmer was being held in the Mills County Jail, on $300 bond.

One injury reported following Mills Co. rollover accident over the weekend


October 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday (Today), one person was injured during a rollover accident early Saturday morning. Officials say Erica Gray, a passenger in a vehicle driven by 21-year old Larry Joseph Tyler West, of Randolph, was transported by Tabor Rescue to Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs. The accident happened just east of Tabor on Waubonsie Avenue, about one-half mile east of Highway 275 at around 12:15-a.m.

Authorities say West and Gray were traveling east on Waubonsie Avenue, when West tried to avoid a rough gravel section of the road. The 2002 Chevy he was driving fishtailed, and entered a ditch before rolling over. West was arrested on a charge of OWI/1st Offense. He was also cited for Failure to Maintain Control. West was being held in the Mills County Jail on $1,000 bond.

Cass Co. Republicans to hold grand opening for their HQ, Friday


October 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Republican Party Chair David Wiederstein says a grand opening event for the newly-established county headquarters will be held this Friday, October 5th, from 3:30 until 4:30 p.m. The event will take place at the headquarters located at 319 Chestnut St. in downtown Atlantic (formerly the U.S. Army Recruiting Office). The Keynote speaker for the event is Congressman Tom Latham.

Also attending, is State Representative Jack Drake, State Senator Hubert Houser, and Cass County’s numerous other elected officials. Refreshments will be provided. The public is invited to attend this event as it will be a great opportunity to learn more about the Republican candidates for elected office.