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Clarinda man arrested for violating Sex Offender Registry rules

News

June 25th, 2015 by Chris Parks

Deputies in Montgomery County arrested a Page County man Thursday morning, on a Montgomery County warrant. Authorities say 53-year old Jack Ray Steinspring, of Clarinda, was arrested at around 8:50-a.m., on a felony Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registry warrant. It was the fourth offense for the same offense in past 24-months for Steinspring, and the seventh time since 2007, when his requirement to register, began.  Steinspring was being held in the Montgomery County jail on $5,000 bond.

Red Oak Police Report Burglary Arrest Thursday Afternoon

News

June 25th, 2015 by Chris Parks

An investigation into the unauthorized entrance of a residence in Red Oak Thursday afternoon, led to the arrest of 40-year old Troy Alan Myer, of Red Oak, on a felony charge of Burglary in the 3rd Degree. Red Oak Police say the man allegedly removed a box from the residence. He was taken into custody at around 2-p.m. and brought to the Montgomery County Jail, where Myers’ bond was set at $5,000 bond.

Shelby County EMA issues a statement w/regard to Wednesday’s storm

News, Weather

June 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency, Thursday afternoon issued a statement in response to questions the public may have had with regard to Wednesday night’s storms. Operations Officer Jason Wickizer said “Staff were monitoring weather prior to Tornado Watch being issued. As soon as the Tornado Watch was issued at 6:20-p.m., the Emergency Management Coordinator and Operations Officer were out meeting the storm as it rapidly built just Northwest of Harlan.”

Storm photo from the Shelby County EMA Facebook page

Storm photo from the Shelby County EMA Facebook page

He went on to say “Area Fire Departments were advised by pager of the Tornado Watch by 6:23-p.m. Sheriff’s Deputies were also assisting with monitoring the same Storm Cell. Due to the rapid growth Harlan Police Department assisted local residents by opening shelters, and monitoring the weather. At 6:28-p.m., a Severe Thunderstorm Warning was received.”

Wickizer said also “Spotters from all area Fire Departments were also placed in the field at pre-determined locations to observe the storm as it tracked through the county this was completed by 6:34-p.m. Once observations of the storm cell were made National Weather Service personnel were in touch with Shelby County EMA/911 Dispatchers relaying real time radar interpretations of what they were seeing on radar.”

He added that the “National Weather Service confirmed what field observers were seeing and that was ‘wide area rotation.’ As the Storm Cell continued South – South East it developed a prominent lowering or “Wall Cloud” that was rotating. This was reported to Shelby County EMA/911 Dispatchers at 6:50-p.m. by EMA Operations Officer, with the EMA Coordinator calling for the Sirens to be activated in Harlan.

As the storm continued to track SSE a Deputy reported a brief touchdown of a tornado on Redbud Road at 7:02-p.m. Due to funnel development and history of [the] storm, [the] EMA Coordinator had Shelby County EMA/911 Dispatchers activate the Sirens in Elk Horn. By 7:49-p.m., the storm exited the county [and] personnel returned to normal duties.”

Wickizer said “The Storm Cell in question had more than 4 trained Public Safety Spotters following it across the county keeping it in visual contact at all times. Public Safety Spotters, and Fire Departments were monitoring and relaying information through communications to keep the public warned as early as possible.”

In response to questions from some residents who said they could not hear the sirens in their homes, Wickizer said “Sirens are an outdoor warning signal, not designed to be heard in your home. Inside warnings should come in the form of a NOAA weather radio, Code Red Emergency Communications Network (cell/telephone warning), Radio, and Television Media.”  Another question people have asked is “Why did this storm surprise us, it seems to have developed quickly?”

Wickizer said “The Tornado Watch actually means when weather conditions are favorable for the rapid development of severe thunderstorms that are capable of producing tornadoes. A tornado watch therefore implies that it is also a severe thunderstorm watch. A tornado watch must not be confused with a tornado warning. In most cases, the potential exists for large hail and/or damaging winds in addition to tornadoes. A watch does not mean that the severe weather is actually occurring, only that atmospheric conditions have created a significant risk for it.”

“As we are all aware the weather rapidly changed once the watch developed. We encourage all citizens of Shelby County to sign up for Code Red, and remember that coming soon we will be switching from Code Red to the “Alert Iowa” system which is a statewide notification system.”

Wicker mentioned that they will be advertising when signups for “Alert Iowa” are ready to begin, but until that time Code Red, will remain in the Shelby County Emergency Communications Network.

He also mentioned how severe weather has become a “large industry” for “Spotters”, “Chasers”, “Tour Guides” and “Researchers.” Wickizer said they “Are seeing an abundance of people on the roadways during storms that are parking in the roadway, and placing weather monitoring devices in the travel portions of the roadway. We ask the public to be aware of this during storms.”

As an example, he said Wednesday night, while spotting along county road F-58, an Emergency Management employee had to drive around a spotter that parked his car in the middle of the roadway with no lights on filming the storm cell as it crossed the road. An adjacent County Emergency Manager came upon another spotter that deployed an instrument in the travel portion of a roadway.

Wickizer said “Several of these individuals will drive fast, and are not watching the road so please remain cautious if you happen to be driving during a storm.” And, as a final note, he said “Storm spotters in Shelby County are Public Safety Officials – if you are approached by someone claiming to be a “Storm Spotter” they should be in an Official Vehicle, or have Department Identification. If you are approached by someone that does not meet these criteria they are more likely than not a non-affiliated recreational spotter.”

Several videos and additional bits of information about the storm that hit Shelby County are available on the EMA’s Facebook page. (www.facebook.com/pages/Shelby-County-Emergency-Management/118172524867212?fref=ts)

NE woman injured during jump from Vets Memorial Bridge

News

June 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Council Bluffs Police Department say a woman from Omaha was injured when she jumped from the Veterans Memorial Bridge in what was an apparent attempt at suicide, this (Thursday) afternoon. Council Bluffs Police and Fire were dispatched to the 4100 block of Veterans Memorial Bridge just before 1-p.m. reference an injured party possibly being on the bridge ledge.

Upon officers arrival it was determined that a 32 year old female had exited a vehicle on the bridge and jumped off the bridge railing. The woman fell about 10‐to 12-feet to the catwalk on the south side of the bridge.

Omaha Fire and Rescue along with Council Bluffs Fire and Rescue were able to retrieve the woman from the catwalk and tend to her injuries, which included a compound fracture to her right ankle. She was transported to a local hospital
for treatment. Her name is not being released.

HEAVY RAINFALLS SATURATE STORM SEWER, SANITARY SEWER SYSTEMS

News

June 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

WINDSOR HEIGHTS – Reports of wastewater discharges from cities in central Iowa are pouring into the DNR’s south central regional field office following heavy overnight rainfalls. Large parts of the state are experiencing similar discharges following storms dumping upwards of seven inches of rain in some areas over the last 48 hours, according to the National Weather Service.

The following cities reported discharges in the 18-county area served by DNR field
office 5 as of noon Thursday: Chariton, Des Moines, Grinnell, Indianola, Melbourne,
Redfield, Ogden, Waukee and West Des Moines. The field office expects more reports
yet today.

Aside from the dangers of high volume, swiftly moving waters, the DNR recommends
keeping children and pets out of flooded waters for at least 48 hours after a storm.

Iowa West Foundation Awards $7.6 Million in Funding for Cycle 1 of 2015

News

June 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa West Foundation Board of Directors has awarded nearly $8 million in grants and initiatives for the first cycle of 2015. Grants will assist 24 nonprofit organizations and governmental entities with funding for projects and programs that directly impact southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska.

This is the first grants and initiatives funding announcement of the year after the Foundation restructured its grant cycles in late 2014 to be three times per year rather than four. The Letter of Inquiry period for the third cycle is open Oct. 1. Interested organizations should visit the Foundation’s website to learn more about the application process.

Funding for the Foundation’s grants comes from investment earnings and the Iowa West Racing Association (IWRA), which receives contracted license fees from casino operators, Ameristar and Harrah’s. IWRA distributes funds to the Iowa West Foundation, an independent 501(c)3 organization under the IRS Code. The Foundation makes grants throughout southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska.

2015 Cycle 1 Grants and Initiatives include, but are not limited to:

• Audubon County Early Childhood Organization: Programmatic support for the Children’s Nest Daycare Center, $40,000
• City of Griswold: Improvements to the Griswold Community Building, $10,000
• Eckels Memorial Library 2015 collection development in library located in Oakland (IA) $2,000
• Harlan Friends of Downtown LED lighting and updated sound system in historic downtown Harlan, $7,500.
• Riverside Community School District, Support for Pottawattamie Promise program delivery, $76,344
• Stanton Historical Society, Repair and repainting of the Swedish coffeepot water tower, $5,000
• West Pottawattamie County Agricultural Extension District, Support for the West Pottawattamie County 4-H youth programming administration, $57,700.

Man reaching for his cell phone while driving hits parked SUV

News

June 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

An accident in Creston this (Thursday) morning occurred when the driver of a vehicle dropped his cell phone and reached down to pick it up. The Union County Sheriff’s Office says 25-year old Joshua Winebrenner, of Afton,  was driving east on Howard Street in Creston, when his 1998 Chevy Cavalier hit the rear of a parked 2001 Ford Escape. The accident happened at around 7:10-a.m.

Winebrenner was cited for Failure to Maintain Control. Damage from the collision amounted to $3,500.

TRAFFIC ALERT/ROAD CLOSURE

News

June 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation reports the right lane of westbound I-80 at the 112 mile marker (Racoon River near Van Meter/Desoto) has been closed by the Iowa State Patrol. Troopers continue to monitor the rising waters in that area and will make further closures if need be. Drivers need to use caution in that area or plan an alternative route.

Mother of alleged child sexual assault victim arrested in Council Bluffs

News

June 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

As Council Bluffs Police search for the suspect in sexual assault of a child, they have arrested the victim’s mother. The Daily NonPareil reports 42-year old Marta Zaporowska was arrested Wednesday morning for neglect of a dependent person, a class C felony. She remains in custody at the Pottawattamie County Jail on $10,000 bond.

According to court documents, Zaporowska’s daughter, who is under the age of 12, was allegedly sexually assaulted by Zaporowska’s boyfriend, Charles McNeal. Despite issuance of an arrest warrant charging four counts of second-degree sexual abuse, McNeal remains at large.

On May 15, the daughter told an Omaha-based child protection agency that McNeal, for more than a year, sexually assaulted her at several locations, including the Featherstone Apartments in Council Bluffs and at a residence in Anderson in Fremont County. The alleged assaults started when the girl was in third grade and living at the Indian Hills Terrace Apartments in Omaha.

On June 12, authorities told Zaporowska that McNeal could have no contact with the victim. When Council Bluffs police learned Zaporowska left the victim with McNeal, court documents said, Zaporowska told police she had nowhere else to leave her two children when she went to work. Police informed McNeal on June 17th that he was named in an arrest warrant charging four counts of second-degree sexual assault.

He allegedly told police at that time that he was not moving and that they could come and arrest him, though he has yet to be arrested on the charges. Court documents indicated McNeal had mentioned a relocation to Kansas City in previous conversations with child protection and law enforcement officials.

McNeal, who denied the sexual assault claims, also told authorities that he has cancer and takes a lot of medication to control the illness. He uses marijuana to help with his appetite, he said. According to court documents, he told authorities that if he tried to assault the victim, she would hit him because she was a strong girl.

Police say McNeal originally agreed to take a polygraph test but has since backed off as he looks to hire a lawyer. According to court documents, McNeal said he believes the victim may be lying to avoid relocation to Sidney.

After investigation, Iowa State Patrol official gets new job

News

June 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – One of three veteran Iowa State Patrol officials who were on leave during an internal investigation has been transferred to a new job. The Iowa Department of Public Safety says Maj. Todd Misel is no longer in charge of field operations for the patrol. Instead, he has been moved into a position in the commissioner’s office overseeing the department’s compliance with national law enforcement accreditation standards.

Misel and two other patrol officials were placed on paid leave in April while the department investigated whether they mishandled a state contract to purchase handguns. The department announced earlier this month they had returned to work without discipline. The department has refused to release the findings of multiple investigations but says the three didn’t commit any crimes or violate any policies.