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Midwest flooding update: 3:15-p.m. 3/17/19

News

March 17th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

The flooding Missouri River has damaged dozens of buildings at an Air Force base in Nebraska. The Omaha World-Herald reports that about one-third of the Offutt Air Force Base is under water. A spokeswoman for the base says 60 buildings, mostly on the south end of the base, have been damaged, including about 30 completely inundated with as much as 8 feet of water. Among the buildings badly damaged are the headquarters building and a hangar.

Offutt’s lone runway is expected to remain closed until Tuesday afternoon. Airmen had been filling thousands of sandbags, but the newspaper reports that the sandbagging effort has been halted.

Residents in parts of southwestern Iowa were forced out of their homes Sunday as a torrent of Missouri River water flowed over and through levees. Heavy rainfall and snowmelt have led to dangerously high water in creeks and rivers across several Midwestern states, with the Missouri River hitting record-high levels in many areas. At least two deaths were blamed on flooding, and two other men have been missing for days. While river depths were starting to level off in parts of Nebraska on Sunday, the water is so high in many places that serious flooding is expected to remain for several days. And downstream communities in Kansas and Missouri were bracing for likely flooding.

In Iowa, the Missouri River reached 30.2 feet Sunday in Fremont County in the state’s far southwestern corner, 2 feet above the record set in 2011. People in the towns of Bartlett and Thurman were being evacuated as levees were breached and overtopped.

County Emergency Management Director Mike Crecelius said it wasn’t just the amount of the water, it was the swiftness of the current that created a danger. “This wasn’t a gradual rise,” Crecelius said. “It’s flowing fast and it’s open country — there’s nothing there to slow it down.” Thurman has about 200 residents. About 50 people live in Bartlett.

Lucinda Parker of Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management said nearly 2,000 people have been evacuated at eight Iowa locations since flooding began late last week. Most were staying with friends or family. Seven shelters set up for flood victims held just a couple dozen people Saturday night.

Mills County sandbagging efforts underway

News

March 17th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

Officials in Mills County have put out a call for volunteers to assist with the filling sandbags, this morning. Persons wanting to help out should go to the Al Hughes Auction House, 21929 S 221st Street, in Glenwood.

The task to fill the sand bags began at 9-a.m.

Official RAGBRAI Day 1 route announced

News

March 17th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

Click to enlarge

Officials with the Des Moines Register have announced the pass-through towns in the first leg of this year’s RAGBRAI 17 (The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) which starts July 21st.

Participants will begin their ride with the traditional dipping of their rear bicycle wheels in the Missouri River at Council Bluffs, and head-off to Atlantic for their first night’s rest.

The route encompasses 59.9 miles and 2,825 feet of climb. You can add 20.9 miles (80.8 total miles/4,032 feet of climb total if you ride the Gravel Loop) by riding the 5th annual optional Gravel Loop to McClelland. The Gravel Loop is ridden in honor of the late Steve Hed. The Mile of Silence will take place after Underwood in honor of those cyclists that we have lost.

Route details, day 1 (Subject to change):

  • Council Bluffs to Historic 100 Block of Council Bluffs – 4.0 miles
  • Historic 100 Block of Council Bluffs to Underwood – 15.9 miles
  • Gravel Loop to McClelland – 20.9 miles (optional)
  • Underwood to Neola – 5.5 miles
  • Neola to Minden – 4.5 miles
  • Minden to Avoca (Meeting Town) – 11.0 miles
  • Avoca to Walnut – 5.8 miles
  • Walnut to Marne – 7.6 miles
  • Marne to Atlantic – 5.6 miles 

The participants and their support crews will overnight in Atlantic before pressing on to Winterset. Their trip ends July 27th with the dipping of their front wheels in the Mississippi at Keokuk. For more information: https://ragbrai.com/ragbrai-xlvii-route-sunday-july-21-council-bluffs-to-atlantic/?fbclid=IwAR1YqZrjPPJi283fJROKTcQt3ZfDUPpz9qfwHbHmYGLXTicEEW-PvPbB2jY

Dogs with unique training to help round up rare turtles

News

March 17th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Specially-trained dogs from Montana are coming to Iowa to help round up a rare and threatened turtle species. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that the Bur Oak Land Trust is coordinating the project this spring to help gather the ornate box turtle, Iowa’s only native terrestrial turtle.

The turtles are listed as “threatened” in Iowa, and the trust wants to preserve a small population in Johnson County. “It’s shocking to see the decline in their habitat in Eastern Iowa over the decades,” said Jason Taylor, property stewardship specialist for the trust. “One of the problems is that sandy prairie is also a good place to build a house.”

Removing the threatened turtles from the wild is illegal in Iowa, but poaching them to sell as pets is another factor in the decline. The trust is bringing in John Rucker, a Montana dog trainer and turtle expert, along with his Boykin spaniels. Rucker, now in his 70s, was training bird dogs decades ago when one brought back a turtle instead, then another and another, all gently gripped in his mouth.
Rucker used the scent in box turtle shells to train other dogs and he soon became a popular contact for researchers.

In Iowa, when the dogs find a box turtle, they will bring it unharmed to the researchers for weighing, shell measuring and photos. The data is important for tracking the health and location of the species, along with managing habitat to improve survival rates. The survey and management project are funded by an Iowa DNR Habitat Management grant.

How successful are the dogs? In an Illinois study, Rucker’s canines found 85 turtles during a 10-day period, compared to 12 for human hunters. The spaniels pick up a scent trail as the turtles move through the grass. “The turtles are very camouflaged and not easy to find,” said Taylor. “If we can find 10 this spring with the dogs, I’ll be through the roof.”

Area School Board meetings set for Monday

News

March 17th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

A few area school district Board of Education meetings are set to take place Monday evening…

The Griswold School Board meets at 5:30-p.m. in the Central Office, Middle/School High School Building. On their agenda is: a facilities update from KPE Architects/Estes Construction (as available), as well as approval of change orders; the first or second reading of various Board Policies; approval of…the 2019-2020 Budget, Mowing Bids, and Driver’s Ed fees. The Griswold School Board will also Discuss the purchase of a Driver’s Ed car, and decide what to do with regard to Snow Make-up days.

The Exira-Elk Horn-Kimballton School Board meeting will be held 6-p.m. Monday, in the Conference Room at the Elk Horn building. On their agenda is discussion/possible action, with regard to: The Wrestling Program and Sharing; Administration for the 2019-2020 School Year; Adoption of Multi-Jurisdictional Mitigation; A Budget Guarantee Resolution to Levy Property Tax for FY 2019-20 for the regular program budget adjustment; Approval of the 2019-20 Budget and action on setting a Public Hearing for 6-p.m. April 8th on the proposed 2019-20 Budget; discussion/action on a Personnel matter with regard to a Probationary Teacher, and other personnel matters.

In Anita, the CAM School Board will start their meeting in the High School Media Center, at 6:30-p.m., Monday. Among the discussion and/or action items on their agenda, is: The CAM Education Association’s (CAMEA) opening offer in Collective Bargaining; Approval of the 2019-2020 School Calendar; Consideration of bids for mowing, repair/replace of the gutters on the Massena building, and bids for a new school vehicle; as well as discussion with regard to the renewal of sharing agreements between the CAM and Nodaway Valley School Districts.

The Audubon School Board will meet 7-p.m. Monday in the Boardroom at the High School. On their agenda is a Special Session with regard to an Initial Bargaining Proposal from the Audubon Education Association, followed by regular business that includes: Action on the Initial Bargaining Proposal from the Audubon School Board; End of FY 2019 School/Snow Make-up days; Setting the date and time for a Public Hearing on the FY 2020 Budget as the April 10th Board meeting; and approve the sharing of a Transportation Director. The Board will also discuss an Emergency Management Plan, and hold an exempt session after the conclusion of regular business, for collective bargaining strategy.

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board to meet Monday

News

March 17th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic’s Parks and Recreation Department Board of Directors will hold their monthly meeting 5:15-p.m. Monday (March 18th) at City Hall. On their agenda is approval of the Park Director’s Job Description, and updates on: The Schildberg Development Project (including West Playground and Restroom, and Campground Bathhouse; East Ridge Park washout repair; Mollett Park Community Gardens; and the Sunnyside Ice Rink. They will also discuss a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nishna Valley YMCA, and a Special meeting for the Schldberg Shelter House on April 1st.

Interim Parks Director Bryant Rasmussen is expected to report also, that the Schildberg Campground area will open April 21st. He’ll also report on Summer Staffing and Program Planning, as well as a Schildberg flooding update.

Residents in Thurman asked to evacuate this (Sunday) morning!

News

March 17th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office says the City of Thurman is asking residents to evacuate the area due to swiftly approaching flood waters from the west. If you live in the town of Thurman, it is recommended that you evacuate as soon as possible for your own safety.

Montgomery County Sheriff’s & Red Oak Police reports (3/16-17/19)

News

March 17th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports an investigation was conducted early this (Sunday) morning involving alcohol in the area of U Avenue and High Street, in Villisca. As a result, Deputies cited 22-year old Blake Michael Haidsiak-Riggle, of Villisca, for Open Container of Alcohol in a motor vehicle/passenger, and, 19-year old Trenton Maverick Drake, of Nodaway, for Possession of Alcohol Under Age. Both were later released from the scene.

Red Oak Police, Saturday afternoon, arrested 21-year old Carley Marie Jean Hunter, of Red Oak. She was taken into custody for Operating a Motor Vehicle without the owner’s consent, and Criminal Mischief in the 4th Degree. Hunter was brought to the Montgomery County Jail and held on a $2,000 cash bond.

Flood warnings continue for the Missouri River (3/17)

News, Weather

March 17th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

A Flood Warning continues for the following Counties in IA:

  • The Missouri River affecting Fremont County.
  • The Missouri River affecting Monona County.
  • The Missouri River affecting Harrison County.
  • The Missouri River affecting Pottawattamie County.
  • The Missouri River affecting Mills County.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

Do not drive cars through areas where water covers the road. The water depth may be too great to allow your vehicle to pass safely. Turn around…don`t drown!

Midwest flooding (Update 5-a.m. 3/17/19)

News

March 17th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Authorities were using boats and large vehicles on Saturday to rescue and evacuate residents in parts of the Midwest where a recent deluge of rainwater and snowmelt was sent pouring over frozen ground, overwhelming creeks and rivers, and killing at least one person. The scramble to move people out of harm’s way was expected to subside going into the new week, as rivers and creeks in flooded eastern Nebraska and western Iowa were expected to crest Saturday and Sunday. That left officials downstream looking to prepare for likely flooding.

A man rescued from his stalled and flooded vehicle in western Iowa, Saturday, was flown to a hospital in Omaha. According to reports, the man called for help shortly before 7 a.m. Saturday and told emergency dispatchers he was stranded in a truck that was taking on water in Pacific Junction. Officials say it was almost an hour before rescue crews could reach him. He was flown to the hospital around an hour later. His name and medical condition have not been released.

The National Weather Service said the Missouri River at St. Joseph reached nearly 26 feet on Saturday, about a foot below what’s considered major flooding at the northwest Missouri city. But it’s expected to crest Wednesday or Thursday at 29.3 feet — more than two feet above major flooding level.

Evacuation efforts in eastern Nebraska and some spots in western Iowa on Saturday were hampered by reports of levee breaches and washouts of bridges and roads. In Mills County, authorities ordered people in some rural areas to evacuate after the Missouri River overtopped levees. Officials in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska were urging people not to drive unless necessary.