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Pott County man convicted of sexually abusing a child

News

December 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A jury in Pottawattamie County deliberated for more than 10 hours Friday, but ultimately handed down a guilty verdict against a man accused of sexually abusing a child. The trial of 47-year Martin Hiatt, from Carter Lake, lasted only two-days. Hiatt was charged with five counts of second-degree sexual abuse and four counts of indecent contact with a child. He was found guilty on three of the second-degree sexual abuse counts and all four counts of indecent contact with a child. Second-degree sexual abuse is a Class B felony and carries a mandatory prison sentence of 25 years. Because the crime is a forcible felony, 70 percent of the sentence – or 17½ years – must be served before Hiatt will be eligible for parole. Hiatt is scheduled to be sentenced March 7, 2012.

Assistant Pottawattamie County Attorney Dan McGinn said the encounters occurred with the child over a four-year period between 2007 and February 2011. The child — who was not identified because of her age, testified that Hiatt “did bad things” to her, including touching her thigh, breasts and buttocks; the girl said that Hiatt touched her inappropriately on more than 50 occasions.

Bluffs/Omaha Task force nabs 2 men in attempt to find theft suspect – officer nearly run over

News

December 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A fast food restaurant in Council Bluffs became the scene of a fast take down of two suspects wanted by authorities, Friday. Council Bluffs police, Iowa State Patrol troopers and members of the Metro Area Fugitive Task Force all converged on a Burger King restaurant on West Broadway Street just before 1:30-p.m.

According to Council Bluffs Police Capt. Todd Weddum, members of the Metro Area Fugitive Task Force saw a stolen Dodge Ram truck as they were driving around the city looking for wanted subjects. Team members believed a wanted man – Keith Baker – was in the stolen vehicle. As they followed the truck, it turned into the drive-thru at the Burger King. As the driver was ordering, a Council Bluffs police cruiser – driven by Officer R.G. Miller – pulled in front of the truck.

Weddum told the Council Bluffs Daily NonPareil “As the cruiser attempted to block the truck, the driver put it in gear.” Offcier Miller was unable to exit his vehicle before the truck drove onto the hood of the cruiser. Weddum said the passenger side front wheel came to rest inches away from where Miller was sitting, shattering the windshield.

The driver of the truck, 28-year old Roger Madsen, of Council Bluffs, and a passenger in the truck – 27-year old Jeffrey Vosler – left the vehicle and took off running. Weddum said additional officers in the parking lot caught Madsen immediately. Vosler was apprehended a few blocks away.

Ironically, neither of the men was the individual Task Force members were looking for: Keith Baker, but Weddum said Baker and Madsen are “known associates” of the suspect. Madsen had an outstanding warrant for probation violation. He was also arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer, aggravated assault on a peace officer, first-degree theft and possession of meth. Vosler was arrested on suspicion of eluding and interference with official acts.

Officer Miller was checked out by paramedics at the scene, but refused transport to a hospital. Weddum said the man was shaken up, but otherwise OK.  Metro-area officers are still searching for Baker, who is wanted on felony theft charges. He’s described as a white male, 38 years old, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information on Baker’s whereabouts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at (712) 328-STOP. Callers may remain anonymous and might be eligible for a cash reward.

Winter weather creates need for winter driving skills in northern Iowa today

News, Weather

December 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – Dec. 3, 2011 – Along with the hats, mittens and boots, dig out your winter driving skills today as light rain and drizzle is already creating some icy patches on northeast Iowa roadways this morning. Weather conditions are expected to deteriorate in northern Iowa as the day goes on and a wintry mix moves through that part of the state. Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) crews will be monitoring weather conditions throughout the anticipated winter storm. Log on to www.511ia.org for the latest road conditions or http://www.weatherview.dot.state.ia.us for updated weather and travel information.

If you must travel during this winter weather event, please consider the following recommendations….

If you are driving focus your attention on the driving task and slow down. Do not use cruise control. Put your mobile phone away so you are not tempted to talk or text while driving. Keep a safe distance from vehicles in adjacent lanes as strong wind gusts could push a vehicle outside its lane of travel. Put a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead in case sudden driving maneuvers are necessary.

Take extra care if driving a high-profile vehicle such as a truck, van or sports utility vehicle, or when towing a trailer, as these vehicles are more prone to be pushed or even flipped by wind gusts. Your vehicle’s headlights are a valuable asset when driving in winter weather. Turn them on to see and be seen.

If conditions are severe enough to prevent safe driving, postpone your trip; or if en route, identify the nearest safe place to pull off the roadway, such as a rest area, truck stop, motel or other traveler service until the wind subsides and road conditions improve.  Keep your windshield clear of ice. Allow extra travel time.

If the roads are icy, and if your vehicle begins to slide, take your foot off the gas pedal and shift into neutral, or if you have a manual transmission, depress the clutch. While it may be a natural instinct to slam on your brakes, this may cause your vehicle to slide further and result in loss of vehicle control. Tap the brake pedal lightly.  If you have an idea that there may be ice ahead (if you see vehicles ahead of you sliding, for example), downshift to a lower gear before you come onto the ice. The lower gear will force you to drive more slowly and give you better control of your vehicle.

If your vehicle does begin to skid on the ice, turn the wheel in the direction of the skid. This should help to steer your vehicle back on the right track. Stay well behind the vehicle in front of you – this is definitely not the time to tailgate. Even if you feel confident that you know how to drive safely on ice, that does not mean the driver in front of you does. Be prepared in case other vehicles start to slide. Do not think you are invincible just because you drive a four-wheel drive truck or sports utility vehicle. Four-wheel drive vehicles have no advantage over other vehicles when it comes to driving on ice.

Make sure you and your passengers are wearing their seatbelts or other safety restraints.  Winter driving is always unpredictable, so be prepared for the unexpected.

Corps maintains release to increase flood storage

News

December 2nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Army Corps of Engineers is extending the current release from Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota to increase flood control storage heading into the spring runoff season on the Missouri River, which had record flooding this year because of heavy rain and melting snowpack. The corps planned to cut the release on Thursday from 40,000 cubic feet per second to 20,000 cfs. The corps says Friday it will maintain the current release through Dec 7. It will then gradually decrease the rate until it reaches 20,000 cfs.

The corps’ Jody Farhat says the adjustment could provide an additional 500,000 cfs of storage by the start of the runoff season. Farhat says precipitation this fall is below normal over most of the basin, but that could change.

Deter Motor & Chamber accepting ATHENA nominations

News

December 2nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Deter Motor Company and the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce have announced they are currently accepting nominations for the Annual ATHENA Award.

Athena Award

The award has been presented over the past 10-years to women who are an inspiration to other women by demonstrating professional excellence, community service, and assisting women in realizing their true leadership potential. Nominations are due to the Chamber of Commerce by Friday, Dec. 16th at Noon. Former recipients and Deter Motor representatives serve on the selection committee.

The ATHENA Award was first presented in 1982 in Lansing, Michigan and has grown to include presentations to more than 5,000 individuals in hundreds of cities in the United States as well as in Canada, China, Russia and the United Kingdom. The award takes the form of a hand-cast bronze sculpture symbolizing the strength, courage and wisdom of the recipient. The ATHENA Award Program is nationally underwritten by KPMG.

Chamber Executive Director Megan Roberts said other awards will be given in conjunction Chamber Annual Dinner January 21sy, 2012, with the ATHENA being the capstone for the evening. Atlantic is the only Iowa community to partner with ATHENA International to host the program.

For more information contact Megan Roberts, Executive Director of the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce, at 712.243.3017 or email megan@atlanticiowa.com

NW Iowa teen charged with bringing guns to school

News

December 2nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A 17-year-old student at Lawton-Bronson High School in Lawton in morthwest Iowa has been accused of bringing guns to school.   The Woodbury County sheriff’s office says he was arrested on Thursday after authorities received a tip. Officials say a handgun and rifle were found in a vehicle in the parking lot.  The student was charged with possessing a firearm on school property. He was taken to a juvenile detention center, where he remains in custody.

Teens injured in Cass County rollover accident near Anita

News

December 2nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Cass County are investigating two separate, injury accidents. One occurred Thursday evening near Cold Springs State Park. Dispatch reports indicated two people were injured during the single-vehicle accident about one-half mile south of Lewis Lake. The accident happened at around 6:10-p.m. Lewis Fire and Griswold Rescue responded to the scene. One of the victims suffered a shoulder injury, the other a laceration to the head, when the car they were in went off the road and ended-up in a ditch. None of the injuries were believed to have been life threatening. Emergency responders reported the roads in the area, especially on the curves, were “like a skating rink,”  meaning very icy.

The second accident happened sometime early this (Friday) morning. The Sheriff’s Department says they received a call from the Emergency Room at the Cass County Memorial Hospital just after 2-a.m., indicating several teenagers had been in a vehicle which rolled over northeast of Anita, at about 760th and Boone Road. Officials say early reports were, that 2 teens were flown to Creighton University Hospital in Omaha, just after 3:30-a.m., while another was transported to a hospital in Des Moines. It appears at least 7 people were in the vehicle when it crashed.

Both accidents remain under investigation, and there are currently NO other details available.

Forecasted wintery mix could affect your weekend travel plans

News, Weather

December 2nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – Dec. 2, 2011 – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is closely monitoring the forecast and precipitation models as the agency prepares for a wintery mix of rain/freezing rain/snow across the state. Snow, and perhaps a period of freezing rain, is expected across portions of the state tonight into Saturday as a storm system lifts through the Central Plains. There remains some uncertainty regarding the track of this system, but it appears that most of the southern and eastern parts of Iowa will be warm enough to see rain, while areas in the north and west will receive snow. An average of 5 to 6 inches of snow is possible in a diagonal swath across the state that extends from Decorah to Mason City, Fort Dodge, Carroll and Council Bluffs.

Late Saturday and Saturday night, cold air will begin filtering in on the backside of the system, changing the rain to snow from west to east as the system departs the state Saturday night. Some gusty winds Saturday night into Sunday morning may cause some blowing and drifting snow.

Travelers are advised to check out the latest road conditions before making their trips by visiting www.511ia.org or call 511 (in Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (nationwide).

The Iowa DOT will continue to have a presence on all state-maintained highways, as necessary. The department’s goal is to keep all roads passable around-the-clock. The exceptions would be those limited instances when it becomes necessary to close a road for the safety of the traveling public or when snowplows are removed from the roadways because conditions are so severe that it compromises the safety of maintenance personnel. If any of these situations were to occur, the public will be informed.  

Motorists may observe snowplow trucks performing a process called anti-icing prior to a storm, when no snow or ice is present. Applying the salt water brine to the roads makes it easier and quicker to remove snow/ice during and after a storm.

Sanding/deicing/plowing will be performed during and after the storm as needed, with the goal of keeping one lane in each direction passable and providing intermittently bare pavement surface in the main driving lane as soon as possible. Remaining travel lanes and shoulders will be cleared as quickly as possible, as staffing and equipment permit.

(DOT Press Release)

Winter Storm Watch extended to parts of SW IA

News, Weather

December 2nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The National Weather Service has extended the number of counties it has included in a Winter Storm Watch, which will be in effect from Saturday morning through Saturday evening. The Watch now includes the following counties: Crawford, Carroll, Monona, Harrison, Shelby, and Pottawattamie.

The Weather Service says rain will change to snow during the day, Saturday, and end before daybreak on Sunday. Snowfall amounts in the Watch area may range from 4-to 7-inches, with the highest amounts of 6-to 7-inches expected to fall along and north of Interstate 80. Winds are forecast to become N-NW at 15-20 mph.

A Winter Storm Watch mean there is a potential for significant snow…sleet..or ice accumulations that may impact travel.

Bald isn’t “Beautiful,” when it comes to your tires

News

December 2nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A study finds about one in ten cars on Iowa’s roads is riding on at least one bald tire, creating a potentially-dangerous hazard when wintery weather arrives. Kim Webber, spokeswoman for the Rubber Manufacturers Association, says Iowans should closely inspect their tires for two things — wear and proper inflation.

“Check your tire pressure once a month and before every long trip and don’t forget the spare tire,” Webber says. “Check your tires when they’re cold. To determine how much air should be in the tires, look in the owner’s manual.” There may also be a white sticker on the driver’s side door jam, detailing proper inflation levels. Webber says tires that are out of alignment can wear unevenly and she says you should have your tires rotated by a professional.

“By regularly rotating your tires, we recommend every five- to eight-thousand miles or whatever your owner’s manual says,” Webber says. “By rotating your tires, you will maintain that even tread wear on all four of those tires.” Webber says use a penny to check your tires’ tread. Put the penny in the tire groove head-first and if you can see all of President Lincoln’s profile, it’s time to replace the tire. While replacing worn tires may not be in the budget, Webber says you need to put safety first.

“Bald tires are not being replaced most likely due to the vehicle owner putting off tire replacement due to tough economic times and, in turn, creating more dangers on the road,” she says. An on-line survey shows 64-percent of car owners didn’t know how to check tread depth, while nine-percent never checked their tread depth.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)