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Trial for MN teen charged in IA slayings to begin in Carroll


June 18th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The first of two trials for a Minnesota teenager charged in the slayings of two Iowa convenience store clerks is scheduled to begin Monday in Carroll County. Michael Swanson, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the Nov. 15, 2010, shooting deaths of clerks in Algona and Humboldt. If convicted in either of the slayings, the 18-year-old from St. Louis Park, Minn., would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

The first trial is on charges in the death of Sheila Myers, who was working at a Humboldt Kum & Go store when she was killed. The trial was moved from Humboldt County to Carroll County because of pre-trial publicity.

Swanson’s trial in the Algona slaying is scheduled for July 27 in Lyon County.

2 crashes reported Friday evening


June 18th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

One person was injured during a single-vehicle accident this (Friday) evening, near Massena. Dispatch reports from the Cass County Communications Center indicated a 23-year old female suffered head injuries during the crash, which occurred at around 7:42-p.m., about two-miles west of 72737 Quincy Road.

Massena Rescue was called to the scene. No other details were available late Friday night.

A second accident, involving a motorcycle, was reported in Pottawattamie County, at around 8:35-p.m. That crash happened at the intersection of County Road L-34 and Mahogany Road. Underwood Rescue responded to the scene.

No other details were available late Friday evening.

Iowa DOT provides Friday evening update on flooded road conditions


June 18th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – June 17, 2011 – 7:15 p.m. – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is providing the following update on road conditions in western Iowa. The department is continuing to monitor at-risk areas as flood water levels change. 

Current road closures/restrictions…
· I-29 Hamilton Boulevard interchange in Woodbury County: The southbound I-29 interchange ramps at Hamilton Boulevard in Sioux City are closed. The northbound on- and off-ramps remain open. An alternative ramp has been constructed from southbound I-29 to Wesley Parkway/U.S. 77.
· UPDATE: I-29 in Pottawattamie County: The south- and northbound lanes of I-29 between milepost 55 (North 25th Street in Council Bluffs) and the I-29/680 interchange at milepost 71 (near Loveland) are closed. This is expected to be a longer-term closure.
· I-29 in Fremont County, Iowa, and Atchison County, Mo: I-29 is closed in both directions from Iowa 2 (exit 10 in Iowa) to the U.S. 136 interchange in Missouri (near Rock Port).
· NEW: I-29 exit ramp in Fremont County: The I-29 southbound exit ramp (exit 20) to Fremont County Road J-24 near Thurman is closed.
· I-680 in Omaha area: I-680 is closed from the I-29/680 interchange (exit 61 near Crescent) in Iowa to North 30th Street in Omaha, Nebr. (exit 13). This closure includes the Mormon Bridge across the Missouri River. This is expected to be a longer-term closure.
· UPDATE: Iowa 2 in Fremont County: This Missouri River crossing extends between I-29 in Iowa and Nebraska City, Neb. Travel is restricted in both west- and eastbound directions. Surface water is covering the travel lanes at some locations. Traffic cones are in place to designate the safe travel path. The speed limit is reduced and pilot vehicles are assisting motorists through the area. For the safety of all travelers, please do not use this road for sightseeing.
· Iowa 333 in Hamburg: Iowa 333 is closed from I-29 into Hamburg. Access to Hamburg is currently available via U.S. 275 in Iowa.
Highway segments at higher risk of being closed due to flooding…
· I-29 near Blencoe: Two segments of I-29 remain at risk of being impacted by flood waters in this area: (1) near milepost 103.5 south of Blencoe; and (2) near milepost 107 north of Blencoe.
· UPDATE: I-29 and U.S. 30 near Missouri Valley: Locally sponsored agricultural levees provide some measure of protection for this area. Flooding is contingent on the integrity of the levee system, rising ground water and the impact of tributary water flow from a local creek. Three highway segments are at most risk in this area: (1) U.S. 30 west of I-29 between mileposts 7 and 8; (2) U.S. 30 east of I-29 between mileposts 9 and 10; and (3) I-29 between mileposts 77 and 78.
· NEW: U.S. 34: U.S. 34 between I-29 in Iowa and Plattsmouth, Neb.
· Iowa 175 near Onawa: The highway segments most at risk of flooding are west of I-29. This route serves as the river crossing between Onawa, Iowa, and Decatur, Neb.
Being monitored …
· I-29 northbound off-ramp to Dace Avenue in Sioux City (exit 147B or commonly known as the Downtown/Tyson Events Center): Flood mitigation efforts will be deployed to try to keep this ramp open.
· I-29 northbound and southbound lanes in Sioux City at the U.S. 77/Wesley Parkway underpass (between exits 148 and 149): Flood mitigation efforts will be deployed to try to prevent this low area from being flooded.
· I-29, from south of Bellevue (milepost 39) to Hamburg (milepost 1): This area is at a lesser risk, but would be inundated if the levee is breached or overtopped.
· Iowa 127 near Mondamin: The Iowa DOT is monitoring areas east and west of Mondamin, near mileposts 0.8 and 1.5, but the risk of flooding has been reduced.
· Iowa 376 (U.S. 75 Business): The roadway from Gordon Drive to Third Street in Sioux City may be closed if current pumping efforts are not sustainable.
Missouri River crossings…
The Iowa DOT is expecting the Missouri River crossings at the following locations to remain open during the flooding:
· Sioux City: U.S. 77/U.S.20 to South Sioux City, Neb.; U.S. 75/U.S. 20/I-129 to Nebraska; and I-29 over the Big Sioux River into South Dakota
· Council Bluffs/Omaha: I-80 to Omaha; I-480 to downtown Omaha; and U.S. 275 to south Omaha
· NEW: Bellevue: Iowa 370 (weight restriction in place)

Three injured in Page County accident


June 18th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Three people were injured during a two-vehicle collision Friday morning in Page County. Sheriff’s officials say the accident happened just after 11:15-a.m. on Highway 2, at O Avenue.

Authorities say a late model gold colored Dodge Durango with an unknown Maryland license plate was traveling west on Highway 2, when it made a sudden u-turn, in the middle of the road and headed east. A second vehicle, owned by Barker’s Implement and driven by 24-year old Justin Fuller, of New Market, was forced to stop suddenly, and in the process, was rear-ended by a 2003 Toyota Camry owned by Jon Bix, of Coin, driven by 15-year old Noah Bix, of Coin.

Both drivers, and a passenger in the Camry, 13-year old Elijah Bix, suffered possible, unknown injuries, and transported to the Clarinda Regional Health Care Center by Clarinda E-M-S. Sheriff’s officials say the Noah Bix was driving on a school permit and was coming from an open gym basketball event in Clarinda, when the accident occurred.

The Durango, which was last seen headed north on O Avenue, was never found, despite efforts by Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputies to locate the vehicle. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of a gold-colored Dodge Durango with Maryland license plates, should call the Page County Sheriff’s office at 712-542-5193, or your local law enforcement agency.

State officials says no major problems from high floodwaters so far


June 18th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

State emergency management officials say there have been relatively few concerns pop up today (Friday) as the floodwaters rose in western Iowa. Spokesperson Lucinda Robertson says there was a problem with the levee near Hamburg. Robertson says Fremont County requested bentonite to repair a small area in the northeast corner of the secondary levee, and they were able to obtain this material from Mills County and make the repair. Robertson says there have been no other concerns with any of the levees today. She did say there is some concern about people not being safe around the floodwaters.

Robertson says people who have been touring various areas have seen people walking or people playing in the floodwaters, which she says is “very dangerous.” She says the public should stay out of the floodwaters because of a variety of things that could happen to them. Robertson says mental health teams have been visiting the flood areas, and in some cases residents have seemed to be oblivious to the disaster around them.

She says the crisis counselors visiting Council Bluffs estimated that people in half the homes they visited were unaware that there was the potential for flooding in their neighborhood. Robertson made her comments during a daily update from the state Homeland Security Emergency Management Division.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)

Critical I-29/680 interchange in Iowa reopens to traffic


June 18th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – June 17, 2011: 6 p.m. – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is
reporting the following sections of Interstate 29 and 680 have been reopened to
traffic as a result of flood mitigation efforts.

Highway segments reopened
· I-680 from milepost 21 (near Beebeetown) to I-29
· I-29 from milepost 71 (near Loveland) to mile post 75 (Missouri Valley)

A major, multiday effort between the Iowa DOT and Department of Corrections to place
sandbags and barrier wall along the highways, and use pumps to divert some of the
flood/ground waters, has allowed the interchange to reopen.

Both directions of traffic are being allowed through the area. This reestablishes a
critical link between north- and southbound I-29 traffic. 
The continued success and duration of this mitigation effort is entirely dependent
on the extent of rising flood and ground water levels. 

Closures in the Council Bluffs/Omaha area expected to remain in effect for a
considerable duration
· I-29 is closed from milepost 55 (25th Street in Council Bluffs) north to milepost
71 (near Loveland)
· I-680 is closed from the I-29/680 interchange (exit 61 near Crescent) in Iowa to
North 30th Street in Omaha (exit 13). This closure includes the Mormon 
Bridge across the Missouri River.

Updated I-29 detour route for Council Bluffs/Omaha area
· Detour starts at the I-29/680 interchange near Loveland, continues east on I-680,
then southwest on I-80 into Council Bluffs
· I-80 east- and westbound remains open through Council Bluffs/Omaha

Thursday accident in Atlantic


June 17th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

No injuries were reported following an accident Thursday afternoon in a Cass County Memorial Hospital parking lot. Atlantic Police say a vehicle driven by Arlen Rainey, of Atlantic, was turning west onto East 10th Street from Hospital Drive, as a vehicle driven by Michael Tomkins, of Clearmont, MO, was backing into the lot to unload cargo.

Tomkins didn’t see Rainey’s vehicle. The resulting collision caused $2,500 damage to Rainey’s vehicle, but there was no discernable damage to the truck driven by Tomkins. No citations were issued following the mishap, which happened at around 1:10-p.m. Thursday.

Raids lead to drug arrests in Montgomery County


June 17th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Montgomery County say eight people were arrested this week in Red Oak on drug charges. On Wednesday, the execution of a search warrant at 301 West 5th Street in Red Oak resulted in the recovery of a sizeable amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, along with the arrest of 30-year olds John Tallman and Tiffany Marts, both of Red Oak. Tallman was charged with two-counts of delivery of marijuana, 1 count of delivery of Methamphetamine, Possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver, and violation of the drug tax stamp. His bond was set at $50,000. Marts was charged with Possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver, and a drug tax stamp violation. Her bond was set at $5,000.

On Thursday, authorities raided a home at 608 East Grimes Street in Red Oak, and seized meth along with other drug-related items. 28-year old Kyle Archer, of Red Oak, was charged with 3 counts of delivery of Methamphetamine. He was being held in the Union County Jail on an unrelated matter, and will be brought to Montgomery County when his sentences has been served in Union County.

Today (Friday), search warrants were executed at 4:30-a.m. at 1109 Miller Avenue and 1600 East Summit Street, unit 214, both in Red Oak. Officials say a small amount of narcotics were seized along with drug paraphernalia. Taken into custody, was 26-year old Natosha Cralley, of Red Oak, who was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and, 32-year old Leonard Wright, of Red Oak, who was charged with 3 counts of delivery of Methamphetamine. Cralley was cited and released, while Wright was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $50,000 bond. Also arrested this (Friday) morning, was 18-year old Timothy Humphrey, who was wanted on a Douglas County, Nebraska warrant for Dangerous Drugs. He was being held without bond for Douglas County authorities.

Three other Red Oak residents were arrested this (Friday) morning on drug charges, as well. 29-year old Brice Reed was charged with 2-counts of delivery of marijuana. 25-year old Joshua Hughes, and 33-year old Jeremy Joel Binns, were charged with delivery of Methamphetamine. Reed was being held in jail on $5,000 bond, while Hughes’ Binns’ bonds were set at $50,000 each.

Child found in Carter Lake pool last week has died


June 17th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

An official with Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha says a toddler who was unresponsive after being pulled from a pool last week in Carter Lake, has died. Cherie Lytle, media relations liaison for the hospital says 16-month-old Kaialani Fujii, of Council Bluffs had died, but she couldn’t release information as to date of death.

The toddler had been listed in critical condition after falling into a pool at 1509 Ave. Q in Carter Lake. According to police reports, the child was pulled out of the pool by a family member at around 8-p.m. June 10th. Law enforcement and medical personnel found the child unresponsive upon arrival.

The Iowa Department of Criminal Investigations and Carter Lake police initially said the incident appears to have been an accident, but it remains under investigation.

Crews fix leak in levee protecting Hamburg from MO River floodwaters


June 17th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

HAMBURG, Iowa (AP) – Officials say a leak in a levee protecting the town of Hamburg from the flooding Missouri River has been fixed. The seepage began yesterday evening in an area around a farm drainage pipe.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers district construction chief Robert Michaels says the leak has been fixed and crews were reinforcing the sandy ground on the levee’s northern edge. Michaels says the corps will build a 50-foot long berm along the levees edge to reinforce it against any water pushing under the levee.

Corps spokeswoman Sarah Gross says work on the levee was substantially done by this (Friday) morning. Michaels says the corps will continue to monitor and strengthen the levee until the water recedes.