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Atlantic Middle School makes a big effort to help brighten the holiday season for Cass County

News

December 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Students in the Atlantic Middle School recently participated in a monetary fund raiser to help support the Atlantic Police Department and Reserve Department’s “Family Dreams Christmas” and “Shop with a Cop” programs.Officer Devin Hogue said a group of sixth grade students in Mrs. Reilly’s English classes were reading the book “Homecoming” by Cynthia Voight.  In the story there are children that are in great need and students were tasked by their teacher to come up with a project for the school to participate in a benefit for those who are less fortunate.

6th graders who participated in the benefit reading program. (Atl. P-D photo)

6th graders who participated in the benefit reading program. (Atl. P-D photo)

The students in these classes requested that officials with the Atlantic Police Department come and explain how their two programs work. After they were presented with the information they then put together skits, and presentations to give to all the “home bases” in the school. The presentations explained the two programs facilitated by the Police and Reserve Departments. They then challenged the students to see which “home bases” at each grade level could collect the most funds to be donated towards the two programs.

Once the challenge was accepted by the students they were given until December 17th to collect as much as they could for their “Home Base.” On December 18th Officer Devin Hogue went to the school to present certificates to the winning classes. In 6th Grade the winning class was Mrs. Reilly’s class with $92.60. In 7th grade, Mrs. Oglebee’s class with $51.64. In 8th grade, Mrs. Leiferman’s class with $78.98. Another awesome aspect to their fund raiser was that Hy-Vee store manager Amy Jordahl agreed to pay sixth grade students a penny for every minute they logged reading over this time. Between around 60 students they logged a little over 19,000 minutes of reading either in school or at home. This would total out to more than 11 days of reading by the students. This lead to Hy-Vee contributing $191.64 towards the total amount collected by the school. The overall amount collected and donated by the “Home Bases” in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades was $824.38!!

The three winning classes will be treated to a pizza party on Friday January 10th. The pizza will be donated and brought to the school by Pizza Ranch. Officers from the Atlantic Police Department will also attend the party as a way to say thank you and give an overview of how the two programs turned out.

The Atlantic Police and Reserve Departments want to send a very big THANK YOU to all the students in the Atlantic Middle School who helped this project be so successful. Their efforts are greatly appreciated and really goes to show how great and giving the community they are growing up in is.

Iowa DOT urges caution as winter weather system approaches

News, Weather

December 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Snow and a wintery mix is expected for much of Iowa beginning Saturday afternoon into Sunday. The Iowa DOT recommends the following tips for safe winter travel during the impending storm:

Is the trip necessary? Trips during severe winter weather can take three or four times longer than normal. Often, delaying a trip by a few hours can give snow removal crews time to get the roads back to normal winter driving conditions. For traveler information, now available via the web, Twitter, Facebook or on your mobile device, visit www.511ia.org. Or simply call 511 (within Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (nationwide).

Before you go, let someone know when you are leaving, when you expect to arrive and your intended route. Allow extra time to reach your destination. Use your vehicle’s safety equipment . Make sure you and your passengers are wearing their seatbelts or are in a child safety seat. Your vehicle’s headlights are a valuable asset when driving in winter weather. Turn them on to see and be seen.

Use your winter driving skills. Do not use cruise control, it can make it difficult to maintain control if you hit a slick spot. Allow extra stopping distance by keeping distance between your vehicle and the one ahead. Avoid abrupt steering maneuvers. Slow down, accelerate more slowly and apply the brakes in an even, controlled manner. Carry an emergency survival kit and other supplies. Carry a mobile phone for making an emergency call; do not use it while driving.

Use caution when approaching, following or passing a snowplow. Snowplows generally operate at much slower speeds than other traffic. Snowplows can be forced sideways when clearing hard-packed drifts and generate a “snow cloud” that may reduce visibility for nearby vehicles. Remain a safe distance behind the snowplow, pass only when clear and never continue to drive alongside a plow. Allow plenty of space when passing a snowplow because the wing of the plow blade extends out to the side of the truck and the front blade extends well ahead of the truck.

Bluffs bank robbed Friday morning

News

December 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs are looking for a man who allegedly robbed a bank Friday morning. Sgt. Chad Meyers said officers were called to the Bank of the West, located at 531 30th Avenue, at around 11:30-a.m.  Meyers said a white man – who appeared to be in his 30s – entered the bank, approached a the teller counter and demanded money. The suspect left with an undetermined amount of money and fled the bank eastbound on foot toward a nearby Office Max.

Bank robbery suspect. (Photo from surveillance camera, courtesy Council Bluffs P-D)

Bank robbery suspect. (Photo from surveillance camera, courtesy Council Bluffs P-D)

The suspect was described as being as 5-feet 9-inches tall, and about 160 pounds. He had facial hair on his chin, wore a black leather jacket, light blue shirt, light blue pants, a black stocking cap, yellow or tan gloves and dark rimmed glasses. The man did not display a weapon.

Anyone with information about the robbery is urged to call the Council Bluffs Police Department at (712) 328-5737.

Charge Filed in Potential Case of Voter Fraud in Pottawattamie County

News

December 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

An election misconduct charge was filed today (Friday) by Pottawattamie County Attorney Matthew Wilber in a potential case of voter fraud. A charge of election misconduct in the 1st degree was filed against Margarita Abrego, of Denison, on December 20, 2013. Abrego is accused of registering to vote and voting in the December 4, 2012 special election regarding a bond issue for Iowa Western Community College while being a non-citizen.

Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz said “I want to thank County Attorney Wilber for taking election integrity seriously. Every vote cast by ineligible voters cancels out the legitimate vote of eligible Iowans. Each vote can make a big difference and Iowans expect nothing less than fair and honest elections.”

The Iowa Secretary of State’s office referred the potential voter fraud cases to Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to investigate. After the investigation, DCI then referred the potential voter fraud cases to Wilber for prosecution.

Affinity casino company warns of data breaches at Lakeside Casino in Osceola

News

December 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Las Vegas company that owns casinos in four states including Iowa, says a data breach has compromised customer credit and debit card information. Affinity Gaming said Friday that its system was infected with malware that compromised card data from customers at its 11 casinos, including five in Nevada, three in Colorado, two in Missouri and the Lakeside Casino in Osceola, Iowa.

The company recommends that customers who visited the casinos between March 14 and Oct. 16 check their card statements for suspicious activity and put a fraud alert on their accounts. Affinity also announced a separate breach at Primm Center Gas Station, located in Primm, Nev., near the California state line. Company officials say skimmers that read card data were placed on three gas pumps on an unknown date. The situation was cleared Nov. 29.

2 men die, another injured in western Iowa crash

News

December 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

EARLY, Iowa (AP) — Two men died and another was injured when the minivan they were riding in crashed near the western Iowa city of Early. The Sac County Sheriff’s Office says the crashed happened just before 5 a.m. Friday on U.S. Highway 20 west of Early when the driver of a minivan lost control. The vehicle entered the median and then started to roll.

The driver and a backseat passenger were killed. A front seat passenger was taken to a Storm Lake Hospital and was in critical condition Friday. The sheriff’s office didn’t release the names of those involved until relatives could be notified.

Slick roads don’t appear to have been a factor in the crash.

Malvern man arrested Thursday

News

December 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Mills County report the arrest Thursday evening of a Malvern man. 34-year old Justin Andrew Hooker was arrested on Main Street in Malvern at around 5:30-p.m. He was charged with Public Intoxication and Interference with Official Acts. Hooker was being held in the Mills County Jail on $600 bond.

Jury sides with jailers in excessive force case

News

December 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A jury has cleared four Woodbury County jailers of a charge that they used excessive force after an inmate refused to change into jail-issued clothing. The Sioux City Journal reports the verdict Thursday was surprising because jurors had earlier sent a note to U.S. District Judge Mark W. Bennett, asking about the upper limit of monetary judgments. After the jury sided with the jailers, Bennett  exclaimed, “Wow, what a surprise.”

Shannon Peters had claimed officers Jonathon Hatfield, Michelle Risdal, Lee Blanchard and Carlos Lucero used excessive force in retaliation for her refusal to remove her clothing and change into a jail jumpsuit. That prompted officers to forcefully remove her clothes. Peters claims officers slammed her head against a concrete bunk but the jailers say they used proper force.

Supreme Court intervenes in Sioux City casino case

News

December 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa Supreme Court justice has temporarily blocked a district court judge’s ruling that suspended the gambling license of a casino under construction in Sioux City.    The Sioux City Journal reports that Justice Brent Appel on Thursday granted an emergency stay of Polk County District Court Judge Robert Hanson’s Dec. 10 ruling suspending the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino license.  The company building the casino has spent $44 million on construction and says stopping it now amounts to an unconstitutional taking of property.

Argosy riverboat casino owners sued the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission after the commission licensed the Hard Rock casino in April instead one proposed by Argosy’s owners.  Attorneys in the case must file arguments by noon Tuesday and the Supreme Court with further review the case.

Atlantic man arrested in connection with thefts from Atlantic Schools

News

December 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green reports the arrest of a local man on numerous charges connected with an investigation into thefts from the Atlantic School District. 61-year old Samuel Miller, of Atlantic, faces 17 charges, including: Possession of stolen property; Burglary in the 3rd degree; A drug tax stamp violation; 3 counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance (PCS)/2nd offense; Possession of a Controlled Substance/Marijuana, 2nd offense; PCS/Methamphetamine (2nd offense), and 8 counts of unlawful possession of a prescription pill. Miller was being held in the Cass County Jail.

Chief Green says the incident which led to Miller’s arrest was reported Wednesday to the Police Department. Video evidence resulted in the execution of a search warrant at Miller’s home at 611 West 6th Street, Apt. 4, in Atlantic. During the search, evidence in the theft report was recovered, along with numerous narcotics and items believed to have been taken during previous thefts. Quantities of both new and used copper wire believed to have been stolen were also found in the apartment.

Police are in the process of contacting persons and contractors with regard to the recovered items. Any person or entity who have had any items stolen from the Atlantic School District, are encouraged to contact the A-PD to make additional theft reports.

Green says to his knowledge, Miller was an independent contractor handling painting jobs for the School District over the past several years. Superintendent Mike Amstein was unavailable for comment about that, Friday morning.