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Atlantic Parks and Rec Board approves 5-year plan

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors met Monday evening, and approved a 5-year plan for improvements throughout the parks system. Director Roger Herring and Assistant Director Seth Staashelm went through and rated the priorities the Board had discussed during their special meeting October 7th, and as we’ve mentioned previously, the number one priority is the Schildberg Recreation Area.

The Campground project at Schildberg is tops on the list. It includes installation of water and electric loops and hook-ups, as well as a dump station, with restrooms and showers. It’s hoped a Vision Iowa grant will pay for a majority of the costs associated with those improvements. Applications for the Vision Iowa Grant are due in by July 2016 for the Nov. 2016 grant cycle.

Also included among the major projects is: The replacement of a damaged section of trail with concrete, around Lake #3 at Schildberg: Development of the west side of the Rec Area with a restroom, running water and drinkable water access. The plan also includes an ADA compliant boat access ramp for Lake #2. Further down the list of major improvements over the next five-years, according to the plan, is asphalting or paving the gravel road on Iowa Avenue into the Rec Area, and a multi-purpose shelter complete with vending machines, and, a playground area.

Other major projects, not associated with the Schildberg Rec Area, include: the Trail connecting the Bull Creek Pathway and East Ridge Park; A master plan for swimming pool renovations; and Multipurpose Activity Center/Closed All-weather shelter.

In other business, Roger Herring said grading for the Kiddie Korral at Sunnyside Park is complete, as well as installation of piers for the footings needed to support the new shelter, once it’s built, the concrete slab, and a service walkway. Herring said construction of the new shelter structure is expected to begin November 7th, weather permitting. And, progress is finally being made on the boat ramp for the East Nishnabotna River, next the City of Atlantic’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The final pour of the whole ramp is set for this Wednesday, weather permitting. Once it’s cured, the ramp will be slipped into place and anchored. Afterward, landscaping will get underway and a gravel parking lot will be installed. The Iowa DNR is covering half the cost of the cement for the project, or $20,000. And, with regard to the Nishna Valley Connector Trail project, Roger Herring said the bridge and completion of the trail to just west of KJAN, will bring a positive economic impact to the community, especially as it expands eastward through the AMU Well fields.

He says AMU is in the discussion phase of improving their trails system, including the possibility of paving the current, gravel trail around the well heads.

Multiple fire departments battle 2 separate blazes

News

October 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

(Update 4:20-p.m.) Firefighters from Atlantic were called to a reported field fire east of Wickman Chemical Monday afternoon. The blaze was said to be east of Highway 71. The blaze was quickly brought under control.

Elsewhere, fire departments in Shelby and Harrison County kept busy Monday afternoon battling separate, large field fires. The first was reported near 170th and Apple Road in Harrison County, just across the Shelby County line. Crews from Earling, Kirkman, Westphalia, Woodbine, Panama, and Portsmouth were on the scene. The second field fire was occurring between 700th and 800th Street off of Oak Road, in Shelby County. Crews from Harlan, Avoca and Walnut were among those on the scene.

There was no immediate word on what might have caused those blazes. A Red Flag Warning is in effect for extreme fire danger Monday afternoon and evening.

Community college offers transgender student housing program

News

October 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Western Community College is offering a pilot housing program that aims to help transgender students feel more comfortable. The Des Moines Register reports students were given the option this year of joining the program, which assigns them to a roommate based on their gender identity or expression rather than their legal sex.

This housing option appealed to Mikey Fletcher. The 23-year-old student at the college lives in the community with a male roommate. Fletcher says he wishes “other schools would recognize that they would get a larger student base” by becoming more gender-inclusive.

The U.S. Department of Education issued a guidance last year that clarifies that transgender students are protected from discrimination under federal civil rights legislation Title IX.

Jasper County man arrested on a drug charge in Union County

News

October 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Union County say a man from Jasper County was arrested Sunday morning on a drug charge, southeast of Macksburg. 20-year old William Patrick Smalley, of Sully, was arrested just before 6-a.m. at the intersection of 338th Street and Fawn. Smalley was taken into custody for unlawful possession of prescription drugs. He was later released from the Union County Jail on his own recognizance.

UI study examines how parents talk to kids following injury

News

October 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Social science research shows boys are more prone to injury than girls and a new report from the University of Iowa suggests a contributing factor could be the way children are socialized after an injury. Elizabeth O’Nell, a graduate student in the UI department of psychological and brain sciences, says her research found that parents are four times more likely to tell a daughter, than a son, to “be more careful” after a trip to the emergency room. O’Nell says while this advice might be protecting girls, there is also a potential negative side.

“It’s important for kids to sort of push themselves, a little bit, so that they can develop new skills and by telling girls to be more careful, they may be hampering them,” O’Nell said. Social science research also shows that parents generally expect and encourage boys to take more risks, according to O’Nell. Her research is published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

(Radio Iowa)

San Diego company agrees to stop sending letters to Iowa students

News

October 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A San Diego company that claimed it was helping Iowa students find ways to pay for college has agreed to stop doing business in the state. Assistant Attorney General, Steve St. Clair, says Student Financial Resource Center would send out letters to high school students that were designed to look important. “The solicitations were easily mistaken for some sort of official communication from some sort of governmental or educational authority,” St. Clair says.

He says an Iowa school teacher complained after getting such a letter and paying a fee. “They charge 65 dollars for information that for the most part — a student just going on-line or checking with the high school guidance, or other resources at the school or the college they were interested in — could get for free,” St.Clair says.

He says the letter could easily have been mistaken as being connected to Free Application for Federal Student Aid, know as FAFSA that students fill out to get financial aid. St. Clair says the company would take a few facts from the return letter sent by people and send back some paperwork that had limited personalization for the student. He says the 65 dollars was presented as an official communication and the money was called “a processing fee,” instead of a payment for service.

The company has agreed to stop sending the letters to Iowans. “They also agreed to make refunds to any Iowans who stepped forward and said that they lost money in this manner. And they also agreed to pay 25-thousand dollars the state consumer education fund,” St. Clair says. He says you can get a refund if you answered the letter. St. Clair says you can contact their office, with the easiest way being online at www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov.

You can also call the Consumer Protection Division at 515-281-5926, or toll free at 1-888-777-4590 (outside the Des Moines area).

(Radio Iowa)

Red Flag Warning is posted, farmers beware during harvest

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

October 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A Red Flag Warning is posted statewide today (Monday), for all but a few counties in northwest Iowa. The National Weather Service says the risk of wildfires is high due to strong winds, low humidity and dry vegetation. Farmers need to be especially cautious as they harvest dry crops. Iowa State University Extension ag engineer Kris Kohl says a recent survey found strong winds are the most common cause of combine fires.

File photo (area field fire March 2014)

File photo (area field fire March 2014)

“Wind is the number-one factor, especially when you’re above 25 miles an hour, to having fires,” Kohl says. “If we are harvesting, be very careful about bearings and stuff sitting on it because if we get a fire going, it’ll really take off.” He says farmers might be wise to give their equipment frequent breaks to cool off and for clean up.

“Stop every two or three hours and take a leaf blower and blow all of the chaff off of things,” Kohl says. “Check bearings to make sure nothing is getting hot. Bearings and exhaust are the two things that are prevalent when we have fires from combines.”

Two years ago, there were two major combine fires in northwest Iowa, which prompted the survey. Last week’s windy conditions contributed to several large fires in North and South Dakota. Forecasters say there’s a chance for some showers in Iowa tomorrow (Tuesday) though some areas of the state haven’t had significant moisture in several weeks.

(Radio Iowa)

Audubon man faces a trio of charges

News

October 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

An Audubon man turned himself-in to the Sheriff’s Office Saturday evening. The Sheriff’s Department says 36-year old Nathan Ray Johnson was wanted on a warrant. He faces charges that include Domestic Abuse Assault/3rd offense, False Imprisonment and Child Endangerment. The charges stem from an investigation into an incident that took place in Hamlin, on Oct. 11th. Johnson was released from custody after appearing in front of a magistrate.

Omaha woman arrested on drug charges in Audubon County

News

October 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon County Sheriff’s Dept. reports a woman from Nebraska was arrested on drug charges, early Saturday morning. 29-year old Heather Lee Docken, of Omaha, was taken into custody at around 1-a.m. on Highway 71, near 160th Street. She was transported to the Audubon County Jail and charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance/Marijuana. Docken appeared later in front of a magistrate, and was released. Her preliminary hearing was set for Nov. 5th.

Shelby County Fire Danger Index: Extreme!

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

October 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency is asking local fire departments and businesses in the county who possess “Fire Danger” signs, to place those signs in the “Extreme” category. High wind, low humidity, and significant crop left in the field will make for extreme fire danger this week. Any fires that start will be difficult to control and could spread rapidly. No burning is allowed during this period.

Extreme Fire DangerThe next update will be Thursday Morning.