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7AM Newscast 07-13-2011

News, Podcasts

July 13th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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Atlantic School Board approves sale of $7.66-m bonds

News

July 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic School Board Tuesday, adopted a resolution directing the sale of 7.66-million dollars in school infrastructure, sales, services and use tax bonds, series 2012.

Hutchinson-Shockey-Erley & Company of Chicago, IL, was the winning bidder for the marketing of the bonds.

HSE had the lowest interest rate of 3.74%, which was about one-half percent lower than what was expected when the district began to look at financing earlier this Spring. Piper Jaffrey’s Travis Squires said that will save the district about $500,000 in interest. The bonds will be used to finance construction and renovation at the Atlantic Middle School.

Squires said there were four bidders for the bonds. In addition to the Illinois firm, the other three were located in Minnesota, Wisconsin and New York. All of the bids were received electronically, through a parity on-line bidding system, which is common practice these days.

Squires had some good news for the board Tuesday night. He said during past month, the company finalized the rating cull for the Standard and Poor’s rating agency. He says the Atlantic Community School District received an “A-plus” bond rating, which, he says, is “very good.”

He says that’s based essentially on the fact the district’s enrollment is fairly stable, and because it has sufficient bond coverage on the existing debt. Squires says the district has almost double the amount of revenues needed to make the bond payments.

Arrest made in connection with vandalism to popular bike destination

News

July 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

High Trestle trail

Spener Michael Sisco

Authorities have arrested a man in connection with the vandalism of a popular new tourist attraction in central Iowa. People have been stealing the expensive L-E-D lights installed on the High Trestle Trail Bridge near Madrid. Sergeant Kenny Kendall, with the Boone County Sheriff’s office, says tips from the public this week led them to 22-year-old Spencer Sisco of Boone.

Sisco admitted taking four of the lights. He’s facing charges of theft and criminal mischief. Kendall says Sisco hasn’t been the only one swiping the lights.
“They cost $420 a piece…I guess it was just kind of a novel thing for him to try and do. We’ve got about 15 of those lights now missing,” Kendall said. Other lights on the bridge have been damaged.

“It’s just one of those things – you have something nice and people don’t respect it,” Kendall said. The High Trestle Bridge opened in late April. It’s a 13 story high, half-mile long structure that spans the Des Moines River. The bridge is part of a $15 million bike trail that runs from Ankeny to Woodward and passes through Slater, Sheldahl and Madrid. Kendall says plans are being made to increase security on the bridge.

“Our office does regularly patrol the area and we’re working with the Boone County Conservation Board in an effort to get some security cameras installed,” Kendall said. “But, unfortunately there again, we have to make sure the cameras aren’t in such a place as they can be vandalized.” The entire 25 mile long bike trail, including the bridge, follows a former railroad line once owned by Union Pacific.

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)

FEMA awards funding for tornado safe rooms in Iowa

News

July 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Three school districts in Iowa are set to receive federal funding for safe rooms in the event of a tornado.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it has approved nearly $3.3 million in funding for projects in Creston, Lenox and West Des Moines over the past three months.

The safe rooms will be designed to withstand winds of 250 miles per hour. They typically shelter an entire building’s population and are often used as gyms, cafeterias and libraries on a daily basis.

5 injured in Montgomery County rollover

News

July 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Five people were injured during a single-vehicle rollover accident Tuesday night, southeast of Red Oak. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office says the driver of a 2008 Ford Fusion, 16-year old Eligah Cole Ryan Newkirk, of Nodaway, and four passengers in the vehicle, were transported to the Montgomery County Hospital for treatment and observation of non-life threatening injuries.

Officials say the car was traveling southbound on J Avenue and approaching the intersection with 230th Street, when a deer appeared on the road. Newkirk told authorities when he swerved to miss the animal, he lost control of the vehicle, which entered the southeast ditch at the intersection, and rolled over before coming to rest on its top.

The accident happened at around 10:10-p.m., Tuesday. The car, registered to 73-year old Goldie Ann Adams, of Red Oak, was a total loss.

Atlantic Board of Ed approves SRO agreement & k-9 search

News

July 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Community School District’s Board of Education, Tuesday night, approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the district’s School Resource Officer (SRO), Corey Larsen. Larsen is a K-9 Deputy with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, and this upcoming school year will be his third as SRO.  The only change to his contract was with regard to language that recognizes the reorganized CAM Community School District. The prior agreement had indicated C & M and Anita were separate entities.

During his report to the board, Larsen asked for and received permission to conduct an unannounced search of students’ lockers and other school areas in the high school and Middle School with his K-9 partner Maylo, and one or two other K-9 units. Larsen requested the search because he says, there were some problems this past year with drugs in the high school. He says High School Principal Heather McKay has agreed to the search sometime within the first two-weeks of school.

McKay says the faculty has requested the district take a similar course of action over the past five- or six-years because of the proliferation of drugs and other, illegal activities. Larsen says while a search is conducted, the school is typically on a “lockdown” status. The kids will remain in their classrooms and their book bags left in the hallways during the search. The k-9 unit will search various parts of the school, including the teacher’s lounge, at the administration’s discretion. Larsen said the search can also include the bathrooms, because that’s where a lot of the drug dealing takes place.  A search of vehicles in the parking lot would be conducted separately, and on a different day.

McKay says an attorney she’s spoken with has suggested the district practice a “lockdown” situation, regardless of the scenario, because it familiarizes both the students and faculty on how they should react, and what to expect.  Deputy Larsen says the search typically takes about an hour. McKay says the last time a full search was conducted by a k-9 unit was about 12-years ago, during the 1999-2000 school year.

Larsen says there is a protocol that is followed, if contraband is found by the dogs. He says school officials will search the students’ book bag and the student, not the K-9 officer. That’s because of a Supreme Court decision.  If someone is found to have drugs or other contraband in their possession or on their person, a citation may be issued to the student, or, they may be placed under arrest. The contraband will be seized, and the parents notified.

The student and their belongings will be brought into the Principal’s Office and searched by school officials. That too, is because of an incident in the Harlan Community School District, whereby a Reserve Officer assisted with the search of a student. The judge threw the case out, because that officer was involved in the search.

Larsen reported to the board also, that he will continue to work on  student truancy issues. He says he’s visited two-or three-homes this past year multiple times, because a student missed school.  He says for the upcoming school year, if he has to visit a home more than twice, the parents and student will go to court, rather than receive a citiation for each offense. He says also an anonymous tip line he instituted when he first became the SRO, has resulted in 20 Minor in Possession citations. Larsen says students simply call or text their tip to either himself, or Sheriff Darby McLaren. They typically provide  the names of the persons involved in parties, and information on adults involved, or who may be drinking and driving.

Council Bluffs waives some permit fees

News

July 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFF, Iowa (AP) — Council Bluffs is giving some potential flood victims a break on some permit and inspection fees.

To help ease cleanup costs, the City Council on Monday waived the fees for the re-installation of service-related equipment. According to The Daily Nonpareil, residents are removing furnaces, air conditions, water heaters and other equipment for fear of water damage from flooding on the Missouri River.

Under normal circumstances, if a resident removes and replaces any of those items, there’s a permit fee to cover the cost of a city inspector who determines if the replacement was installed to city code.

Under the change, a permit and an inspection are still needed, but the city is waiving the fee until further notice.

HOMECOMING CEREMONIES SCHEDULED FOR IOWA ARMY NATIONAL GUARD UNITS

News

July 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Community homecoming ceremonies for three Iowa Army National Guard units mobilized as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, will be held on Thursday, July 14 in Cedar Rapids, Boone, and Johnston. Local officials and Iowa National Guard leadership will participate and the public and media are welcome and encouraged to attend these homecoming ceremonies.

Here are the units and details:

Cedar Rapids-11:30 a.m., Prairie Point Middle School gym, 401 76th Ave. SW

Company C, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Iowa Army National Guard (approximately 50 Soldiers)

Johnston-12:30 p.m., Johnston High School gym, 6501 NW 62nd Ave.

Company B, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Iowa Army National Guard (approximately 50 Soldiers)

Boone-1 p.m., Boone High School gym, 500 7th St.

Selected Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Iowa Army National Guard (approximately 85 Soldiers). Additional Soldiers from this company will return later in July-date and time to be determined.

These units are part of the approximately 2,900 members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division deployed to Afghanistan. These Iowa Soldiers reported to their mobilization station at Camp Shelby, Miss. in Aug. 2010 for additional training and preparation before departing for the Afghanistan theater of operations.

The units arrived in Afghanistan in November 2010, where the Soldiers provided full-spectrum operations in a combat theater, including lethal and non-lethal capabilities, support to Afghan National Army and Police units, and assistance to humanitarian relief initiative.

(Press Release/IANG)

Draining Prairie Rose Lake Next Step for restoration

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Praire Rose lake

HARLAN – The process of draining Prairie Rose Lake ahead of the $3 million restoration project will begin early next week.  Once the water control gate is opened, the water level will fall about three feet per week, until the lake is completely drained sometime after Labor Day.  Boat ramps will likely not be usable after August 1.

Bryan Hayes, fisheries biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for Prairie Rose Lake, said the next two years of the project include modifying the spillway to prevent carp from entering the lake, fixing the gate valve, placing riprap along shore to prevent shoreline erosion, and installing fish habitat and fishing jetties.

“The project has been going on since 2008 but most of the work has done behind the scenes,” Hayes said.  “Beginning next week, the progress will be much more visible.”

“Our goal is to minimize the time that the lake is down, so the plan calls for mechanical dredging while the lake is down then switch to hydraulic dredging in future years. We will hopefully be putting water in early next summer,” he said.  “One important piece of the puzzle is to put more storage capacity in the wetland east of the highway so it will function as a sediment and nutrient trap, as intended.”

The DNR is partnering with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Shelby County Soil and Water District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service on the watershed portion of the project.  David Brand serves as the Prairie Rose water quality project coordinator.  The renovation plan is based on a 2008 lake study and recommendations from Iowa State University.

“We have worked with landowners in the watershed to install 40 miles of terraces, install grassed waterways, and to better manage nutrients on the land,” Hayes said.  “We purchased a containment site last year where the dredge material will be deposited, hopefully beginning in late fall.”

The lake protection features installed in the watershed should extend the benefits of the in lake work far into the future. “Our goal is to improve the water quality that will get Prairie Rose off the impaired waters list and have a sustainable, healthy lake system,” Hayes said.

Prairie Rose Lake is in one of Iowa’s more popular state parks of the same name. The lake has an annual economic impact of $3.37 million and the campground hosts more than 21,000 camper nights per year. The campground and other park facilities will remain open during the project.

“I know it’s no fun to give up fishing your favorite lake but it is necessary to get the lake on the right track.  We have a number of examples at nearby parks, of what benefits anglers and park visitors will see after the work is done.  Lake Anita and Viking Lake are both experiencing excellent fishing and improved water quality since the projects were completed,” Hayes said.

“We are excited to get this project to the next step, now we will need some cooperation from Mother Nature to keep us on schedule,” he said.

The lake will refill in 2012 and be stocked with largemouth bass, bluegills, crappies and channel catfish. Hayes said they are collecting adult bass from Prairie Rose this week that they will hold until next summer to encourage reproduction early on.  He said they will also stock larger fingerling bass and catfish to jump start the fishery.

(DNR Press Release)

Work begins on flood-mitigation project south of Blencoe on I-29

News

July 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – July 12, 2011 – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is reporting that work will be starting Wednesday, July 13, on a flood-mitigation project located south of Blencoe on Interstate 29.
 
The southbound lanes of I-29 will be closed because the roadway is being elevated approximately 1 foot to prevent flood waters from inundating the highway.
 
I-29 southbound will be closed between exit 95 (Harrison County Road F-20) and exit 105 (Monona County Road E-60). The I-29 southbound ramp at the Blencoe interchange will also be closed.
 
The project is expected to be completed by July 22.