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Bachmann to Tea Party: time to draw a line in the sand


July 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is wrapping up a three-day campaign swing through Iowa on this Independence Day. Bachmann’s bus pulled up at the statehouse late Saturday afternoon, as Bachmann was the closer for the three-week-long “Tea Party Bus Tour” that had attracted a handful of the G-O-P presidential candidates. When Bachmann took the stage, nearly all of the folks in the Tea Party crowd got to their feet and never sat back down during her 25-minute speech.

“The Tea Party gets it. It’s not a political party. It’s an idea and it’s an idea that has captured the hearts and minds of the American people and it’s lit a flame all across the United States, so much so that I know without a shadow of a doubt that Barack Obama will be a one-term president,” Bachmann said, the crowd joining in to repeat that last phrase about Obama, which has become a signature line in Bachmann’s campaign speeches. Bachmann, in the midst of her third term in congress, told the crowd she had never voted to raise the debt ceiling and did not intend to do so even if Republican leaders in congress strike a deal with President Obama.

“We’ve got a message not only for Iowa, but for the United States of America. We’ve got a message for all the politicians in Washington, D.C. We’ve got a message for the president of the United States,” Bachmann said of herself and the Tea Party. “Enough is enough. Stop spending more than you take in.” Bachmann, who started the “Tea Party Caucus” on congress, told the Iowa crowd she has been the Tea Party “voice” in Washington, D.C. “And the politicians started waking up in the halls of congress. They know you’re here,” Bachmann said. “They’re listening to you. They’re paying attention to you.” Bachmann said it was time for the Tea Party to help “draw a line in the sand” on a variety of financial issues, from future federal bail-outs of failing industries to greater public scrutiny of the Federal Reserve.
Bachmann is one of two Republican presidential candidates who plan to walk in the Clear Lake 4th of July parade today. Newt Gingrich is the other. And third G-O-P candidate plans to be in three other parades. Rick Santorum will walk in parades in Urbandale, Pella and Iowa Falls today (Monday). During the last Iowa Caucus campaign, Hillary and Bill Clinton walked the 2007 Clear Lake 4th of July parade route together. Republican candidate Mitt Romney was in the same parade.

(O.Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)

Iowa Flood Center studying western Iowa floods


July 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Researchers at the Iowa Flood Center are studying the western Iowa flooding from above to help them in developing floodplain maps for the state. Iowa Flood Center Director Witold (Vee-told) Krajewski says they are working with other University of Iowa researchers to get pictures of the flooding. He says they are taking high-resolution pictures of the river flying on both sides along the edge of the water. Krajewski says the pictures are important as they move ahead with the work they’re doing.

Krajewski says they’ll use the photos as a reference in their numerical model development of the floodplains. He says they can they will use the photos along with the terrain information that’s available to develop the floodplain map.  He says the state has very detailed terrain data from flights commissioned by the state a few years ago. Krajewski says in the case of the western Iowa flooding, they pretty much know how much water is flowing from upstream. Krajewski says they’ll be able to use the photo and terrain data to set the boundaries of the floodwaters and then compare them with existing floodplain maps. They then can update the maps to reflect the new information. The state flood center has been in operation for two years and there is now a proposal for a national flood center. Krajewski thinks it’s a good idea to get all agencies working together on the issue.

Krajewski says the agencies come together when something is happening, but he thinks the most important time to make progress is between the floods. He says the national center could work on this and be ready to apply what they have learned when there is a flood event. The proposal by Representative Tom Latham of Iowa would create a National Flood Research and Education Consortium including many federal, state and local organizations under the leadership of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as a National Flood Center.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)

Programs can help flood victims struggling with finances


July 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The flooding along the Missouri River is putting a financial strain on people whose homes or farms are under water, but some help is available.

Officials predict the river will remain high until at least August, so some people who have had to evacuate could be out of their homes or businesses for months.

Iowa officials say homeowners who have been displaced by the flood and are struggling to keep up with their mortgages should call the state mortgage help line at 877-622-4866.

Iowa community halts siren tests during flooding


July 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Council Bluffs has halted testing of its tornado sirens amid Missouri River flooding.

The city’s public information officer, Don Gross, says the sirens were to have been tested July 10 but officials decided to hold off. He says there’s concern residents would think there was a flood-related emergency, such as a levee break or forced evacuations.

The Army Corps of Engineers is releasing massive amounts of water into the river from dams upstream. Those releases will keep the river above flood stage in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska at least into August.

Council Bluffs officials are urging residents to prepare for widespread flooding should a levee fail.



July 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Capt. Matthew Nielson

The Department of Defense regrets to announce the death of Capt. Matthew Gunnar Nielson, 27, a Jefferson, Iowa native serving on active duty in the U.S. Army, who died June 29, in Badrah, Iraq. Nielson was killed during an indirect fire attack by insurgents on Contingency Operating Logistics base Shocker while deployed to Iraq for Operation New Dawn (formerly known as Operation Iraqi Freedom). Also killed in the attack were Capt. David E. Van Camp, 29, of Wheeling, W.Va., and Spc. Robert G. Tenney, Jr., 29, of Warner Robins, Ga. All three Soldiers were assigned to 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, U.S. Army, Fort Hood, Texas. The attack is under investigation.

Nielson was born February 1, 1984 in Omaha, Neb. and raised in Lincoln, Neb., Ogden, Iowa, and Jefferson, Iowa, where he was homeschooled. Nielson worked for the Fareway Store in Jefferson during and after high school, eventually being promoted to produce manager. He attended the University of Northern Iowa, where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 2008 and received a commission into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant (Armor branch) through the UNI Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in May 2008. While at UNI, he received the Gen. George C. Marshall Leadership Award and the American Legion Gold Scholastic Award. Nielson was also a member of the Phi Eta Sigma Academic Honor Society, UNI Ultimate Frisbee Team and the UNI Alumni Association.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with bronze service star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Air Assault Badge, and Combat Action Badge.
Nielson is survived by his mother and father, Christine and Roger Nielson of Jefferson; brothers Nathanael, Jakob, and Luke; and sisters Heather, Kirsten, Teddi, and Emily.
The family of Capt. Matthew Nielson issued the following statement:

“Since Matt was a small boy he loved anything military, so he died doing what he loved best. Serving others was of the utmost importance to him and how he wanted to spend his life. He always gave his all, whatever he was doing. Matthew was a beloved son, brother, friend and Soldier. He’s already home, and we know we’ll be together again someday. Apart, but forever in our hearts. Psalms 11.”
Funeral arrangements are pending and details will be provided as they become available. The Nielson family asks that their privacy be respected at this time.

Atlantic Chamber Board Seeks Applicants


July 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has announced applications are being accepted to fill the position of Executive Director. Board President Brian Church says they “Are looking for a candidate with a B.A., or B.S. Degree, and experience with Chambers or non-profit management.” Experience in public relations or marketing will also be a key element in selecting the right candidate.

A cover letter and resume should be sent via email to ann@atlanticiowa.com on or before Friday, July 15, 2011. The position was made vacant by the announcement this past week current Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ann McCurdy has resigned, effective July 29th.

Weekend Newscast 07-02-2011

News, Podcasts

July 2nd, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Chris Parks


Alcohol related arrests in Stanton


July 2nd, 2011 by Chris Parks

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest of three individuals early Saturday (7/2) morning in Stanton.  At approximately 1:29am a gray Kia Sportage was stopped at the parking lot of the Stanton School for having no headlamps on.  After further investigation arrests were made on alcohol related charges. 

The driver of the vehicle, 22-year-old Justin D. Williams of Stanton, was arrested for Operating While Intoxicated First Offense.  The two passengers, 20-year-old Kristopher A. Maley of Stanton and 19-year-old Jordan D. Williams also of Stanton, were arrested for Possession of Alcohol Under 21.  Maley and Jordan Williams were processed and released on citation, while Justin Williams was held on $1,000 bond.  All of the arrests occurred without incident or injury.

Chase ends in Council Bluffs


July 2nd, 2011 by Chris Parks

The Council Bluffs Police department assisted the Omaha Police Department in a vehicle pursuit on Friday evening.  Officers from the Omaha Police department were actively pursuing two armed suspects in what was believed to be a stolen vehicle, when officers from the Council Bluffs Police Department joined the chase at 8:50pm.  During the pursuit the vehicle struck a parked vehicle in the area of South 35th Street and 8th Avenue, but continued to flee. 

Eventually the suspects crashed in the 10th block of South 31st Street and both suspects were taken into custody as the vehicle caught fire as a result of the crash.  Members of the Council Bluffs Fire Department were able to extinguish the blaze and the vehicle was confirmed stolen from Omaha.  The driver of the vehicle was identified as 21-year-old Eric Lozano who was arrested for previous valid warrants and also charged with Theft in the 2nd Degree and Felony Eluding.  The passenger in the vehicle was 18-year-old Aleazar Rodriguez who was charged as a material witness in a felony assault of police officers in Omaha, Theft in the 2nd Degree and Eluding.  Both suspects were held pending a court appearance.

Intentional Levee Breach investigated in Harrison County


July 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The following is a statement issued at 12:50-p.m.,  from Doug Reed, with Pott. Co Emergency Mgmt.:


Pottawattamie County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Theulen received a telephone call at approximately 9:50 a.m. this morning from Harrison County Emergency Management Coordinator Larry Oliver. The purpose of that call was for Mr. Oliver to notify us that the Vanmann #30 Levee near Loveland, may be in the process of being intentionally breached via explosives. The timing of the detonation was alleged to be at 10:00 a.m.

At approximately 10:10 a.m., the Pottawattamie County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) received a complaint call from a private citizen who had apparently witnessed the explosion and wanted to know why “we” were blowing up levees. Pottawattamie County did not participate in this intentional levee breach. It is our understanding that neither the State of Iowa, nor the Army Corps of Engineers, nor any other governmental entity, had anything to do with the detonation.

Multiple calls to the Pottawattamie County EOC from concerned citizens regarding this event have followed. In late May, shortly after the release of the inundation maps by the Army Corps of Engineers, a group of private citizens began work on the Vanmann #30 Levee to raise it to a level which would allow it to withstand the anticipated river flow.

On Saturday, June 25th, this levee was naturally breached in Harrison County near DeSoto Bend. A considerable amount of water flowed south and pooled behind the portion of the Vanmann #30 Levee in question. Pottawattamie County was first notified that a group of citizens wanted to breach this levee on Sunday, June 26th. The purpose of this breach was to lower the Vanmann #30 Levee to the prior level to allow the pooling water to flow back into the Missouri River.

EMA Coordinator Theulen met with the group that evening and informed them that they would likely need the permission of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, before such an activity could take place. These individuals were also cautioned that any activity undertaken by them which affected the flow of water would be at their own risk should the lives and/or property of others be impacted.

On Tuesday, June 28th, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources determined that it did not have authority to regulate the levee in question because it was put into place prior to their statutory authority. The Corps initially indicated that they would not be approving the breaching of the Vanmann #30 Levee. This morning, however, the Army Corps of Engineers indicated that it also had no authority to regulate the levee in question as it is not a federal levee and is outside of federal jurisdiction.

As of this writing, Pottawattamie County is still gathering information about the activities at the Vanmann #30 Levee. We received no advance notification from any individuals involved of with the imminent intention to breach the levee. A member of the Vanmann #30 Levee District was contacted by a representative of the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office late this morning. That individual confirmed that a half mile stretch of the Vanmann #30 Levee (from approximately river mile marker 637 to 637.5) was mechanically excavated. He further confirmed that further lowering of the levee was accomplished via use of explosives.

Obviously, we will be monitoring this situation very closely – both in terms of observing the effect that this breach has on water flow and river levels, and in terms of tracking potential damage to critical infrastructure and private property elsewhere downstream. Furthermore, we are very disappointed in the decision to go forward with the breaching of the Vanmann #30 Levee without notifying any authorities in Pottawattamie County.

There are tens of thousands of citizens on both sides of the river who are affected by the flooding on the Missouri River and private activities such as this which have the potential to affect those lives should not be undertaken without a full consideration of the consequences.

Finally, we are presuming that the explosives detonation on the Vanmann #30 Levee was accomplished by a properly licensed and permitted commercial user of explosives who was using the explosives in accordance with the conditions of that permit. Any use outside the legally mandated process would be a Class C Felony under Iowa law, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. A full investigation of these activities will be accomplished as soon as possible.