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Packed chambers for Atlantic City Council meeting on URP

News

July 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council meeting was held before a large crowd Wednesday evening, most of whom came to discuss a proposed Urban Revitalization Plan (URP) and related tax breaks on both commercial and residential rehabilitation and new construction. While the majority of those who spoke were in favor of passing a URP, there was one written and one spoken objection. Atlantic resident Charles Griffen wrote a letter to the Council, dated June 26th. The letter was read by Mayor Dave Jones, listed the reasons the plan should be rejected as drafted.CC1

Griffen claimed it would benefit a limited number of citizens at the expense of the rest of the citizens, in that “For every dollar that is forgiven for developers, other tax dollars must be raised from taxpayer compensation.” He also argued if passed, the ordinance would allow the City to condemn any property to make way for private development. City Zoning Administrator John Lund said he was caught off-guard by the number of citizens who fear the City would use “Eminent Domain” to acquire properties as part of the URP to rid the area of blight.

He said “The Urban Revitalization Plan has absolutely nothing to do with Eminent Domain. When it comes to the acquisition or condemnation of properties, these are usually abandoned and the public is usually coming to the City begging us to tear these down.” He said also, that when the City is looking to acquire property, it is not looking at those occupied by individuals, and added “We have never had any interest in evicting anyone from their home.”

A Housing Assessment conducted in August 2013 by SWIPCO (The SouthWest Iowa Planning Council), indicated 54.7-percent of the houses in Atlantic were in Fair-to-Poor condition, with most having been built before 1960. The study found that meets the criteria for blight funding. SWIPCO Community Development Team Leader, Courtney Harter, said any tax abatements the City chooses to offer would be for qualified applicants.

In order to be eligible for tax abatement, the increase in the actual assessed value of the property must be at least 10%, and existing electrical must be brought into conformance with current code. All qualified real estate assessed as residential property would be eligible to receive an exemption from taxation on the first $250,000 of actual assessed value added by the improvements, as determined by the Cass County Assessor’s Office.

If approved, URP tax abatements would be retroactive to January 1st, 2014. Multi-residential properties classified as commercial as of Jan. 1st, 2014 would not be included. They will instead be reclassified beginning in January, 2015. The Council took no action on the proposal Wednesday. If 10-percent of the public feels there is a need for more discussion on the matter before the Council approves an Urban Revitalization Plan, they must sign a petition calling for another public hearing within 30-days.

Filing period for General Election begins Aug. 4th

News

July 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman reports the first day for non-party organizations and candidates nominated by petition to file nomination papers for the November 4th General Election, is Monday, August 4th. Nomination papers for county or township offices may be filed with the Auditor’s Office between August 4th and Aug. 27th. Nomination petitions and other election forms are available at the office of the County Auditor, and from the Iowa Secretary of State’s website at sos.iowa.gov.

The number of signatures needed for the various county offices in Cass County, are as follows:

District 2 Supervisor, 20; District 3 Supervisor, 23; Treasurer, Recorder and Attorney, 103 each. Non-partisan positions appearing on the Nov. 4th ballot include: Cass County Soil & Water Conservation District (2 positions); Cass County Agricultural Extension Council (5 positions);  Township Clerk & Trustee – 1 clerk and 2 trustees for each of the Edna & Union Townships; Cass County Hospital Trustee – full-term positions, 2 for the Northwest District, 1 for the Southwest District.

To be eligible for the Northwest District position, a person must reside in the township of Brighton, Pymosa, Washington or Grove (Including the Cities of Marne and Atlantic). To be eligible for the Southwest CCMH Trustee position, a person must live in the Bear Grove, Cass, Noble or Pleasant Townships, including the Cities of Griswold and Lewis.

Incumbents for the non-partisan positions include…For the CCMH Trustee, NW District – Nathan Brown and Leanne Pellet, SW District – Jerry Putnam; Soil & Water District Commissioner – Fred Kay & Greg Zellmer; County Agricultural Extension Council – Janet Cappel, Brad Pellett, Kristi Plagman, Jackson Bissell and Todd Weppler. Incumbent township officers are: Edna Township – Trustees Rodney Penton & Travis Erickson, Clerk – Dan Schrier; Union Township – Trustees Brent Paulsen & Daryl Schrier, and Clerk – Cheryl Christensen.

For additional information, contact Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman at 243-4570.

Red Oak man arrested late Wed. night

News

July 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak say a local man was arrested late Wednesday night. 30-year old Aaron Duwayne Childs, of Red Oak, was arrested at around 11-p.m.  on a valid Page County warrant for OWI/1st offense. Childs was being held in the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center on $1,000 bond.

Poison center braces for boost in calls about glow sticks

News

July 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowans who know better than to give very young kids a lighted sparkler might instead hand that child a glow stick, which one expert says is -not- a good alternative. Registered nurse Joan McVoy says those fluorescent glow sticks are made from soft plastic and youngsters love to chew on them. McVoy predicts poison control centers in Iowa and nationwide will be flooded with calls about them over the upcoming holiday weekend. “Fourth of July and Halloween are the two times of the year we get most of these calls,” McVoy says. “We get calls from parents calling because their child’s mouth is glowing with that chemical. It’s got a really strong chemical taste and an odor and it can be irritating to the mouth.”

That liquid can also stain furniture, carpet and clothing. McVoy says the chemical shouldn’t taste good, but it won’t stop kids from swallowing it. She says glow sticks should not be given to kids younger than three or four. “Parents run to the emergency room with these cases and they don’t need to do that,” she says. “They can call the poison center and we can help and tell them exactly what to do and we can save them a trip to the emergency room.” Iowans who went out of state and brought home some contraband fireworks need to be careful where they’re stored, as little hands may get a hold of them.

“There’s a lot of chemicals in these fireworks, things like potasium and phosphorus and barium and arsenic,” McVoy says. “All of these packages are really bright and they’re attractive to small children. If swallowed, these chemicals in the fireworks can make them sick.” With concerns about glow sticks and anything else that might be a hazard, call the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.

(Radio Iowa)

Gasoline thieves target Omaha/Council Bluffs area

News

July 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs say at least 18 vehicles have been damaged since April by gasoline thieves. Sgt. David Dawson told the Daily NonPareil persons have drilled holes in vehicle fuel tanks to make off with the gasoline inside them. Dawson said 10 of the incidents took place in June, alone. The culprits drill the victims’ vehicles’ gas tank, punching a hole in it to steal the gas. Cars, trucks, vans and sport-utility vehicles – both new and old – have been hit, and there’s no pattern or specific area targeted for the incidents.Omaha police reported instances of gas-tank drilling in June as well.

Body shops surveyed in area said it can cost $75-150 to repair a hole in a gas tank, with replacement ranging from $300-$400, or more, depending on the make and model of the vehicle.Dawson encouraged anyone with a garage to use it, and watch out for neighbors who don’t have the option of storing their vehicles inside.

Jerry Nissen, program chairman for automotive technology at Iowa Western Community College says drilling holes in gas tanks to steal fuel is a dangerous way to save money, because with warm weather, gas vapors are more likely to explode, especially when sparks are created by a drill.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., 7/3/2014

News

July 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — More disaster proclamations have been issued for Iowa counties affected by recent severe weather in the state. Governor Terry Branstad yesterday issued proclamations for Clinton, Crawford, Des Moines, Hardin, Lee and Shelby counties. The proclamations mean state resources can be used to respond to flooding and severe weather.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa has placed protective measures around campus in response to potential flooding from the swollen Iowa River. The university placed a 12-foot sand-filled flood barrier around the Mayflower Residence Hall. An interlocking metal wall is also being placed around the Art Building West.

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — A woman has pleaded guilty in connection to the hatchet slaying of a Fort Dodge man last year. Holly Ekstrom entered the pleas yesterday on charges accessory after the fact and operating a motor vehicle without owner’s consent. Ekstrom said she saw Ronald Dilley kill 22-year-old Steven Fisher in July 2013. She admitted to driving Dilley away from the scene and disposing of evidence.

MASONVILLE, Iowa (AP) — Officials in northeast Iowa are figuring out how to replace an emergency warning siren that was struck by lightning. Leaders in Masonville say they’re considering their options after recent severe weather broke the siren. In the meantime, authorities will alert Masonville residents of severe weather by blowing sirens on their trucks.

Shelby & Crawford Counties included in Disaster Proclamation

News

July 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — More disaster proclamations have been issued for Iowa counties affected by recent severe weather in the state. Gov. Terry Branstad on Wednesday issued proclamations for Clinton, Crawford, Des Moines, Hardin, Lee and Shelby counties.

The proclamations mean state resources can be used to respond to flooding and severe weather. The proclamation for Clinton, Des Moines, Hardin, and Lee counties is in response to weather that began June 26. The proclamation for Crawford and Shelby counties is for weather that began June 13.

Several counties under proclamations will also be able to utilize the state’s individual assistance program. That offers grants of up to $5,000 to certain low-income households. Branstad has issued proclamations since Monday for other counties around the state.

Medical condition causes accident n. of Exira Tue. afternoon

News

July 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

An medical condition caused an accident Tuesday afternoon in Audubon County that sent a Cass County man to the hospital. The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office says the accident happened at around 4:40-p.m. Tuesday on Highway 71, about two miles north of Exira. Officials say 59-year old Danny Ray Green, of Lake City, was traveling north on Highway 71, while 31-year old Michael David Updike, of Atlantic, was traveling southbound.

When Updike fainted, his 2004 Ford Explorer crossed the center line of the road and struck the rear tandem tires of the 2004 Freightliner semi driven by Green and registered to Randy’s of Carroll. Updike was transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital by Exira Fire and Rescue. He’s been charged with Failure to Maintain Control.

Damage from the accident amounted to $11,000.

Shelby County Fair Queen candidates

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Twelve young ladies from Shelby County will be competing for the queen crown at this year’s 2014 Shelby County Fair. After a vigorous task, the Shelby County Fair Queen candidates were nominated at the annual luncheon held last Saturday.Queen Contestants

The candidates include: Macy Bartley daughter of Lance and Shannon of Harlan; Mackenzie Goshorn daughter of Darren and Kaylee of Harlan; Chantel Schmidt daughter of Mike and Donna of Harlan; Carley McConnell daughter of Kevin and Shirley of rural Manilla; Marea Ferry daughter of Darin and Jill of Portsmouth; Liz Blum daughter of Brad Blum and Kim Johannsen of Shelby; Danielle Wingert daughter of Dan and Laura of Panama; Chelsea Assmann daughter of Larry and Chris of Panama; Lydia Madsen daughter of Todd and Angie of Harlan; Teresa Arkfeld daughter of Bill and Brenda of Portsmouth; Emily Pattee daughter of Cindy and Kurt of Harlan, and Lindsey Kaufmann, daughter of Leland and Lorene, of Harlan.

Each of the girls represent a 4-H club or FFA chapter. The candidates will walk on stage the evening of Thursday, July 10th to answer questions, with the winner being announced during the 2014 Shelby County Fair Queen contest.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Harlan CC approves trail work

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan City Council, Tuesday, approved work on the Pioneer Park walking trail. During their regular meeting, the council held a public hearing on the reconstruction project. Once the hearing was closed, the council adopted two Resolutions pertaining to the plans, specifications and form of contract for, the Pioneer Park walking trail.

The project calls for the current trail to be torn out and replaced with a 10’ concrete trail in the same length. Howrey Construction Inc. of Rockwell City, Iowa was the lowest bid at slightly more than $281,039. The plan moving forward includes tearing out the current concrete in mid- to late-August, pouring the new pathway, and completing all work by early September.

Howrey Construction has completed other such projects in Lake City and Denison.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)