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Atlantic & Cass County financial reports available


March 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A local accounting firm reports financial statements for both the City of Atlantic and Cass County have been completed. The reports, compiled by Gronewold, Bell, Kyhnn & Company, P.C., are for the Fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014. Copies of the report are available at the Atlantic City Clerk’s office and office of the Cass County Auditor, respectively. The reports are also available from the State Auditor’s Office.

The City of Atlantic Financial report can be found here: http://auditor.iowa.gov/reports/1420-0128-C00F.pdf

The Cass County Financial report can be found here: http://auditor.iowa.gov/reports/1410-0015-C00F.pdf  Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman summarizes the County report as follows:

The County had local tax revenue of $25,969,742 for the year ended June 30, 2014, which included $1,230,203 in tax credits from the state. The County forwarded $19,029,316 of the local tax revenue to the townships, school districts, cities and other taxing bodies in the County. The County retained $6,940,426 of the local tax revenue to finance County operations, a 0.7 percent increase from the prior year.

Other revenues included $6,088,828 from the state, including indirect federal funding of $2,467,736, charges for service of $351,156, and $191,376 for the use of money and property. Expenditures for County operations totaled $14,468,301, a 21.2 percent increase from the prior year.

Expenses included $4,958,282 for roads and transportation, $1,092,156 for mental health, $2,359,152 for public safety and legal services, $813,009 for capital projects, the flow thru of indirect federal funding and $1,222,405 for administrative services.

Two men charged in Audubon County drug investigation


March 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Two men wanted on outstanding warrants related to drug activity in Audubon County have turned themselves in. Audubon County Sheriff Todd Johnson reports 21-year old Reece Joseph Blohm, of Audubon, turned himself in this (Monday) morning. He was charged with Possession of Marijuana/2nd offense, and Gathering Where Controlled Substances are used. 21-year old Robert Paul Joens, of Exira, also turned himself in to the Sheriff’s Office this (Monday) morning. He was wanted on a Gathering Where Controlled Substances are used, charge.

Blohm appeared before the magistrate and was released from custody. A preliminary hearing for both men will be held April 16th. An extensive investigation into their alleged activities began in November, 2013, and remains ongoing.

Questions raised in Iowa about spending of seized drug cash


March 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Questions are being raised about some purchases by Iowa law enforcement agencies using money seized under state and federal civil forfeiture laws passed to help fight the scourge of illicit drugs. The Des Moines Register reports that the money is supposed to be spent on enhancing law enforcement and crime fighting capabilities, not on items that normally would be covered by departmental budgets.

Among the purchases reported by the Register: scented candles, mulch and tropical fish; sewer and water bills; a $27,000 sport utility vehicle for a county prosecutor; respirators for firefighters. Former Cass County Attorney Daniel Feistner says his office used forfeiture money to buy the scented candles in 2013. He says the candles helped mask unpleasant body odors from some people visiting the office.

2014-15 Annual Atlantic FFA Banquet

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 30th, 2015 by Jim Field

2015-16 FFA OfficcersThe 77th Annual FFA Member-Parent Banquet was held in the Atlantic High School commons on March 24, 2015. President Marshal McDermott gave a short welcome and Lexi Freund gave an invocation. After the invocation, the officers and guests ate dinner first, followed by the other members. Before the meal, the banquet had two guest speakers present. Iowa FFA Alumni Representative Steve Dolch, as well as Atlantic FFA Alumni President Dave York spoke to the banquet.

After the meal officer reports were given. The secretary’s report, which was given by Savannah Sorensen. The treasurer’s report was then given by Clayton Saeugling. The FFA also had a third guest speaker, Mike McDermott. Following the speakers, Haley Carlson and Cale Pellett gave the Annual Report of Activities, such as results from the Cass County Fair, National FFA Convention, and multiple FFA events throughout the year.

Adam Freund Star Ag BusinessThe next portion of the FFA banquet was dedicated to chapter awards. FFA Advisor, Eric Miller, gave out the Chapter awards. The first award was the Academic Achievement Award. This is given to FFA members that have a 3.50 GPA or above at the end of the first semester and has been an FFA member for at least 3 years. Senior Adam Freund received the award this year. There were three Star awards that members received. Freshmen Emily Saeugling received the Star Greenhand, senior Savannah Sorensen received the Star Chapter Farmer, and senior Adam Freund earned the Star of Agriculture Business award.

Honorary Chapter Farmers Amber J and Steve JThe Atlantic FFA Chapter chose two people to receive the Honorary Chapter Farmer Award this year. This included Amber Jipsen and Steve Jorgensen, of Farm Service Co-op. The Atlantic FFA Leadership Award is given to a senior who has a superior record of scholarship, leadership, and agricultural work experience; President Marshal McDermott received this award. Following the awards, 19 members of the Atlantic FFA received their Greenhand FFA Degrees while 17 members got their Chapter FFA Degrees. Adam Freund and Savannah Sorensen both received their Iowa FFA Degrees as well, this year. The Emily S Star GreenhandSavannah S Star Farmerannual FFA banquet ended with the 2015-16 officers.

This year’s Atlantic FFA President is junior Clayton Saeugling. After being elected to office, he said, “(Being elected as President) really meant a lot to me. I’ve done so much through FFA and this will be another way for me to be involved with the chapter greatly.” He also commented saying, “I’d like to get more kids to participate in contests.” Vice President is junior Garrett Schwanke, Secretary is junior Haley Carlson, Treasurer is sophomore Lexi Freund, Reporter is freshman Cale Pellett, Sentinel is junior Emily McDermott, and the Student Advisor is sophomore Alexis Boes. The meeting was officially adjourned by newly installed President, Clayton Saeugling, at 8:40 p.m.

Shelby County Fire Danger: “Extreme” now through Thursday

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency are requesting participating businesses and fire departments in the County, to place their local “Fire Danger” indicator signs in the EXTREME category, now through Thursday.Extreme Fire Danger

The western half of Iowa is under a Red Flag Warning this afternoon, and officials say they expect the same dangerous conditions to be present for the next days. High wind and low humidity will cause any fires that start to quickly grow out of control.

Extreme conditions mean, absolutely no outdoor burning. Permits need to be completed and signed by a Fire Chief before any controlled burns are executed during extreme conditions. There is a chance of rain Wednesday afternoon, and a better chance Wednesday night, but until rain puts a dent in the dangerous conditions, outdoor burning is prohibited. 

The Atlantic FFA Wall of Fame

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 30th, 2015 by Jim Field

By Haley Carlson
Atlantic FFA Reporter

FFA Wall of FameWith 165 names, the Atlantic FFA Wall of Fame is not complete, but officially up to date. The Wall of Fame is located in the Atlantic High School Ag Room, on the north wall. It has every Atlantic FFA member that has received an Iowa Degree or an American Degree. Iowa Degree blocks are painted blue with the member’s name and the year they received their degree. America Degree blocks are painted yellow, with the member’s name and two years: the Iowa Degree year and American Degree year. This year the Atlantic FFA has two seniors, Adam Freund and Savannah Sorenson, receiving their Iowa Degree in April. Also the four 2014 graduates, Kristin Johnk, Chancey Richards, Wyatt Saeugling, and Tucker Sager, received Iowa Degree and are now working to receive their American Degrees in November.

The project began in early 2014 with Advisor, Eric Miller and senior officers, Kristin Johnk, Wyatt Saeugling, and Tucker Sager beginning the wall project. They started by finding the records all of the degree recipients. The north wall of the ag room was painted completely blue and names and years were attached to each brick. Those who had earned an American Degree had their brick repainted yellow. Saeugling and Sager then took a pencil to create a straight line reference for each name. Johnk along with current members, Haley Carlson, Emily McDermott, Marshal McDermott, Garrett Schwanke, Tyler Petty and non-member Erin Olsen continued the project by stenciling in names during their free time. Over the summer members continued by filling in the stenciling with paint; blue bricks had yellow lettering and yellow bricks had blue lettering. Members, Haley Carlson, Emily McDermott, Aubrey Schwarte, Gabby Jordahl, and Mariah Cook all have been working hard on the wall in the 2014-15 school year. Over spring break, Haley Carlson along with her sister, Hannah, and sophomore Gabby Jordahl completed the painting and removal of pencil lines from the wall. The Atlantic FFA Wall of Fame looks fantastic and the chapter is very thankful to all of those who have dedicated their volunteer time to this project. This wall will continue and impact the lives of Atlantic FFA members for years to come.

Freshman, Blake Pelzer gave his thoughts about being on the wall of fame, “I do want to have my name on the wall because having that is a big accomplishment. I think it (the wall) is good because it makes you feel noticed.”

Emily McDermott said, “The project was fun and it took a lot of time, but the wall is finally complete and it looks great!”

Junior, Erin Olsen is not a current FFA member but a part of Mr. Miller’s home room class. Olsen said, “I just did it cause I wanted to help out and it was something that looked fun to do in my free time.”

Kristin Johnk commented, “It took a lot of patience to work on it but in the end, it is a great way to honor those who have put hard work and dedication into their SAEs in order to get these degrees as well as those who still support this great organization (FFA). It is a great feeling to have my name among those who have achieved their Iowa Degree and hopefully be one of the elite members of the chapter to get my American Degree as well!”

Dale M BrickDale Myers is the very first name on the wall of fame. He received his Iowa Degree in 1952. Dale commented that while in FFA they were not as involved as the chapters are now a days. He worked with cattle and hogs while he was in FFA. Dale had four years of vocational ag instruction with two different advisors during his time in the FFA organization.

To earn a spot on the Wall of Fame you must first earn the Iowa FFA Degree.

Iowa Degree requirements include: received the Chapter FFA Degree, been an active FFA member for at least two years, have completed at least two years of Agriculture Education classes of above the ninth grade level, which includes a supervised agricultural experience program, earned and productively invested at least $1,000, or worked at least 300 hours in excess of scheduled class time, or a combination, in a supervised agricultural experience program, participated in at least 25 hours of community service activities in two different community service activities, performed ten procedures of parliamentary law, given a six-minute speech on a topic relating to agriculture or the FFA, served as an officer, committee chairperson, or a participating member of a chapter committee, have a satisfactory scholastic record, participated in the planning and completion of chapter Program of Activities, and participated in at least five approved FFA activities above the chapter level.

American Degree requirements are: to earn at least $10,000 and invested $7,500 or have earned and invested at least $2,000 and have worked 2,250 unpaid hours outside of the classroom, have outstanding leadership skills, have completed at the minimum, 50 community service hours in three different service activities, and maintained a “C” average grade or better in school. Atlantic FFA Advisor Eric Miller commented, “The Wall of Fame is a unique way to recognize the hard work of past FFA members. It is also a motivation for our current members. They see friends and family on the wall and want to achieve this honor.”

The Atlantic FFA will hold their annual banquet on Tuesday, March 24, at the Atlantic High School. The banquet will include a meal along with a review of all activities during the year, awards and degrees, and the installation of the new officer team.

In a final note this will be my last article serving as the 2014-15 Atlantic FFA Reporter. It has been a lot of fun writing about our chapter and seeing the involvement grow. I have loved hearing the community respond to my articles and I can’t wait to see what the new reporter does for our chapter. -Haley Carlson, Atlantic FFA Reporter.

3 Harlan teens injured during Shelby County rollover accident Sat. Night


March 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Three teenagers from Harlan were hurt when the pickup they were in rolled over Saturday night. The Sheriff’s Office says 16-year old John Carroll was driving a 2002 Chevy Silverado westbound on 1400 Street at around 9:30-p.m., when the pickup went out of control and traveled into the north ditch, where it came to rest on its top near the intersection with Knotty Loop.

One passenger in the truck, 15-year old Samuel Klein, was ejected. Carroll, Klein and another passenger in the vehicle, 14-year old Tara Hansen, were transported to Myrtue Memorial Hospital in Harlan. Hansen was later flown by LifeNet helicopter to a hospital in Omaha for additional treatment.

Carroll and Klein were treated at the hospital and released. Authorities cited John Carroll for Failure to Maintain Control. Shelby County Deputies were assisted at the scene by Medivac Ambulance, along with Earling and Westphalia Fire and Rescue crews.

Atlantic City Council to act on various contracts & agreements


March 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday (April 1st), will act on approving various contracts and agreements with area construction and other companies. First off during their 5:30-p.m. session at City Hall, the Council will hear from Annette Renaud, with Alliant Energy. Afterward, the Council will vote on approving the lease of land at 106 State Street (the former City operated, truck parking lot), for the purpose of a concrete recycling operation, as well as landscape stone product sales.  Duane Murphy, President of Murphy Contracting has proposed leasing the site, which is expected to produce $7,200 (paid in two installments of $3,600 per year) in annual revenue for the City on land that is currently unprofitable.

In other business, the Council will act on approving a retainer agreement with Otto, Lawrence and Wiederstein, of Atlantic, for legal services, and they’ll act on approving a 5-year contract with Medivac Ambulance Service. The cost of the service will be shared with Cass County, with the Board of Supervisors having approved their portion of the agreement last Wednesday. The City’s cost amounts to $50,400 for FY 2015-16, and $55,200 for FY 2016-2020, and 9.52% increase. The current rate for ambulance service has not changed in 5-years.

The Atlantic City Council is also expected to act on approving a Resolution approving the contract and bonds for the 2015 Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Project, and a Resolution calling for a loan agreement as well as the issuance of General Obligation Corporate Purpose Bonds and levying of taxes to pay for the bonds, the issuance of which amounts to $1.55-million. In addition, the Council will act on approving a Resolution for a loan agreement and issuance of $405,000 in Taxable G.O. Economic Development Grant Bonds. The Council authorized the processing of both bonds during their meeting on March 18th.

And, at the end of regular business, the Council will enter into a closed session for the purpose of discussing Collective Bargaining Strategy.

(Podcast) KJAN News, 3/30/2015

News, Podcasts

March 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The 8-a.m. Newscast w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

Study Finds Four-Year Degrees Key to Iowa Employment


March 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

College graduates searching for jobs in Iowa have an easier time than in most states, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce that takes an in-depth look at online job postings across the country. Iowa is listed as 11th best, and the most employment opportunities are for college grads with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.

Tony Carnevale, the report’s lead author and the center’s director, says the national trend is a higher demand for college graduates. “The texture of what employers are looking for is changing, in the sense that they’re much more focused on specialization and degree specialization,” he explains. “They care what you majored in in college, as much as they care whether or not you went.”

The report assessed jobs requiring four year college degrees, and concludes that overall, the sheer number of jobs posted shows that the economy has recovered. Government-listed positions were not part of the report. Carnevale notes another trend is in sales jobs, which traditionally have not required a four-year college degree. Now, two-thirds of sales jobs require a college degree. “And a fair share of them – half, roughly – are selling medical or industrial technology and equipment,” he says. “You’re selling to experts, you’ve got to be one.”

The best states for college graduate jobs are Massachusetts, Delaware and Washington. The worst are South Carolina, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

(Iowa News Service)