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Atlantic Couple Establishes Scholarship Fund


July 24th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials at Iowa Western Community College in Atlantic, say a local couple has stepped forward again this year with plans to continue providing scholarships for educational opportunities for students in Southwest Iowa.

Don and Lois Sonntag

Don and Lois Sonntag

The Don & Lois Sonntag Endowment Fund has donated $2,000 to be utilized for nursing scholarships. The Atlantic couple invite others to join with them in supporting area students who are pursuing the profession of nursing by donating to this scholarship fund.

In addition, the Sonntag’s say they will match additional gifts up to $5000 to benefit students attending Iowa Western Community College. The goal is to appeal for funds to match the challenge and to create  scholarship opportunities for students from the Cass County area who are pursuing a career in nursing, especially those serving patients with cancer.

The scholarship fund will provide financial assistance to those enrolled in nursing prerequisites or the nursing program. Matching funds under this endowment program can be in any amount. All funds shall be submitted to Iowa Western Community College Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax deductible entity.  All donors will be recognized per their request.

Iowa Western Community College will make decisions on all applications according to need and scholarship criteria. The amount awarded to each student will depend on the number of qualified applicants. The scholarships will be for classes starting August 19, 2013, and students from Atlantic and the surrounding area may qualify. All funds from the effort will be used only for students enrolled in the nursing program or prerequisite nursing courses at Iowa Western Community College.

Students who are pursuing the nursing profession, through coursework at Iowa Western, may apply for these scholarship funds by completing and submitting the paperwork to the Cass County Center by August 2.   The scholarship application is available at the Cass County Center, 705 Walnut or on-line at www.iwcc.edu.

For additional information, contact:  Don Sonntag at 712-249-1906 or Ann Pross, Iowa Western Cass County Center Director at 712-243-5527.

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., July 24th 2013


July 24th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 250 people in at least six states including Iowa have come down with a stomach bug that could be linked to foodborne illness. The Centers for Disease Control says 10 people have been hospitalized for the cyclospora infection causing diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms. The illness is usually spread when people ingest food or water contaminated with feces.

HARLAN, Iowa (AP) — A 72-year-old former teacher in western Iowa has been arrested on charges he had sexual contact with a 17-year-old student. The Iowa Department of Public Safety says police charged Lee Nelson, of Harlan, with sexual exploitation by a school employee and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. Nelson is accused of making sexual comments and inappropriately touching the girl while he worked as a band teacher.

ELKTON, Ky. (AP) — Two Iowa men flying home from Florida escaped unharmed when the pilot tried to land the small plane on a southern Kentucky highway and wound up in a field. The crash happened when the plane apparently experienced mechanical problems. Sixty-nine-year-old Roger L. Pointer of Maxwell was piloting the 1946 Aeronca 7AC. Neither he nor 52-year-old passenger Michael D. Callison of Des Moines was hurt. The FAA will investigate.

BOONE, Iowa (AP) — Some buildings at the Central Iowa Expo grounds near Boone were damaged when thunderstorms rumbled through the area. The storm earlier this week caused structural damage to one building and tore a roof off a domed building. Other building at the expo grounds also had roof damage.

Atlantic City Council to hold a Special Meeting Wednesday


July 23rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council will hold a special session Wednesday evening, to act on the third and final reading of an amended ordinance calling for an increase in the rate property owners pay for a Storm Water Equivalent Service Unit (or, ESU). If adopted during the brief, 5:30-p.m. meeting at City Hall, the ESU, which has not changed in over 10-years, would increase 35-cents per month, to $2.85. The proposed rate increase would generate $25,000 in additional revenues, which will be used to cover the net increase in debt service cost of $15,000 for repairs to the Bull Creek Underground drainage system and continued funding for annual repairs to the City’s storm water management system.

During the Council’s regular meeting last Wednesday, an objection to the raising of the fee was raised by Atlantic resident Charles Griffin, who claims the “fee” is actually a tax on property owners, and is not legal, because the citizens of Atlantic were not allowed to vote on it. Griffin urged the Council to repeal the ordinance altogether. Instead, the approved the second reading, setting the stage for action this week. The ordinance needs to be approved, according to City Administrator Doug Harris, in order to meet the August billing deadline.

Snyder and Associates Engineer Pat Hall, one of the creators of the storm water fee system approved by the Council in 2003, said last week, the whole intention of storm water utility is addressed in Chapter 384 of the Code of Iowa, which spells out the City’s responsibility for utilities, and services provided to the citizens of the community. Therefore he said there is a basis for the fee, and it is not a tax.

Hall said by setting up a utility fee, the City provides itself with a certain amount of flexibility, when it comes to payments for capital improvements, such as the Bull Creek storm sewer improvement project. The ESU is based on the amount of square footage on a parcel of property. Those who have more square footage would always pay more than those who have less.

Rep. King’s immigration comments draw criticism


July 23rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa is drawing criticism for comments he made to a news website about people in the country illegally. King last week told the conservative news website Newsmax that he didn’t agree with the suggestion that many youths who aren’t legal citizens are also high-achieving.

King told the website, “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” The comments come as the U.S. House is considering proposals to change the nation’s immigration laws.

Florida Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia called King’s comments offensive,” saying they’re “beneath the dignity of this body and this country.”

Former Harlan teacher charged with sexual exploitation by a school employee


July 23rd, 2013 by admin

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest today (Tuesday) of 72-year old Lee Nelson of Harlan on charges of Sexual Exploitation by a School Employee and Assault with Intent to Commit Sexual Abuse. Nelson is a former teacher of the Harlan Community School District.LeeNelson

On May 30, 2013, the 17-year old female victim and her parents contacted police to report that since October 2012, Nelson had been saying rude and inappropriate things to the victim, as well as touching her inappropriately. Considering the involved parties and the severity of the accusations, the Harlan Police Department requested the assistance of the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) on June 3rd, 2013.

Over the last two months DCI Agents and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office interviewed the victim, witnesses, and the alleged suspect which resulted in Nelson’s arrest. Nelson is currently being held in the Shelby County Jail on $7,000 bond.

Nelson was employed with the Harlan Community School District for 35 years, before the school board accepted his resignation on April 22, 2013.

Atlantic CPC awards Business Incentive Grant


July 23rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce reports the City’s Community Promotions Commission,  represented by Heather Link, and Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce President Chip Hansen, have presented Scott Jensen of State Farm Insurance, with $1,000 in matching funds from the Business Incentive Grant Fund.IMG_0183 The Business Incentive Grant Fund is a partnership between the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce and Community Promotion Commission to offer new businesses in the Atlantic city limits matching funds for marketing purposes.

Funds are made available through a portion of the Local Option Sales Tax dollars allocated to the CPC for external marketing of the Atlantic Community. For more information regarding the Business Incentive Program contact the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce.

Mills County Arson arrest


July 23rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A Glenwood man was arrested early this (Tuesday) morning on a felony charge of Arson in the 1st degree in connection with fires discovered at the Mills County Sheriff’s Office. In  addition, 22-year old Adam Houchin faces a felony Possession of an Incendiary device, charge. Houchin was arrested following an investigation into fires set at three locations at the Sheriff’s Office, which were reported at 4:25-a.m. The fires were quickly extinguished, but they were determined to have been intentionally set.

Officials say Houchin and his girlfriend had been involved in a domestic disturbance earlier in the evening, when she was arrested, and was at the jail when the fires were started. Houchin faces up to 35-years in prison if convicted on the charges. He’s being held in the Mills County Jail on $35,000 cash bond.

The State Fire Marshall’s Office and Mills County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident which led to Houchin’s arrest.

Arrests in Atlantic


July 23rd, 2013 by admin

The Atlantic Police Department reports the arrest of 18-year old Nicholas Renner of Atlantic on Monday. Renner was arrested on a Cass County Warrant for Theft in the 4th degree.

The A-PD reports the arrest today (Tuesday) of 50-year old Lawerence William Stuva III of Council Bluffs for OWI 1st Offense.

Both men were transported to the Cass County Jail and booked in.

DNR plans osprey release in 2 Iowa locations

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 23rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it will release nine young ospreys at two spots as part of an effort to build a sustainable population of the birds. The DNR says the 42-day-old birds will be released in the next few weeks at Mud Lake, along the Mississippi River north of Dubuque, and Swan Lake, near Carroll.

The young birds of prey can tear apart fish but aren’t yet able to fly. The DNR says residents of Dubuque and Carroll counties can help by donating fresh fish for the birds. The ospreys will begin flying in a couple weeks and should quickly become self-sufficient.

The osprey release is part of a program to establish the birds in Iowa. Since 1997, 247 ospreys have been released at a dozen sites.

Harlan School Board News


July 23rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Community School District’s Board of Education has approved an election on a revenue purpose statement. In a meeting Monday, the Board approved the resolution approving a revenue purpose statement and ordering an election on the statement as well as authorize expenditures. Superintendent Justin Wagner says the statement deals with the 1 cent or penny tax.

“Basically the revenue statement is the district policy on the order and usage on how we can spend our 1 cent tax. This is pursuant to the wishes of the patrons and district and that is why we are taking it to an election.” He says right now the penny tax is being used to pay off the Primary School Building. “The district is using the proceeds to pay off the general obligation bonds and revenue bonds which are the bonds to pay for the Primary building. Sometimes folks say levees are paying for the building but they are not. It is the statewide penny tax.”

The Harlan Community School District currently has a revenue purpose statement and needs to be renewed every 10 years. Wagner said it is very broad to allow the district to use the money in many different ways. The statement wasn’t due until September 2018, but Wagner says the district is at a good spot financially and called it a good time to renew. The Superintendent went on to say if the statement is not renewed, it would affect the tax payers.

“If the statement is not renewed then the district has violated some of the agreements with the bond holders. We would also have to levee for debt retirement to satisfy the general obligation bonds. Basically instead of using the statewide dollars from the penny tax, we would be using local tax dollars which is what we don’t want to do.”

The election will be held Tuesday, September 10th and will include 7 or 8 questions on what the school board can use the penny tax dollars for and also the school board members who are up for re-election.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)