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Des Moines trucker injured in Adair County crash


April 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A truck driver from Des Moines was injured when the semi he was driving rolled over off of Interstate 80 in Adair County, Tuesday afternoon. The Iowa State Patrol says 47-year old Martin Spooner, who was wearing his seat belt,  was transported to Mercy Hospital in Des Moines by Stuart Rescue. A report on his condition was not released.

The accident happened when the 2013 Volvo semi Spooner was driving left eastbound I-80 at around 2:20-p.m.  The semi, registered to Decker Trucking out of Ft. Dodge,  entered the south ditch and rolled over, coming to rest on its top.

The accident remains under investigation.

Atlantic City Council to hold hearing on Amended FY 2014 Budget


April 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A public hearing will be held this evening in Atlantic, with regard to the amending of the Fiscal Year 2014 City Budget. The hearing will take place as part of a regular meeting of the Atlantic City Council that begins at 5:30-p.m. in the Senior Citizen’s Center, next door to the City Hall/Police Department building. City Administrator Doug Harris says the total amendment amounts to $6-million 177-thousand 990-dollars.

Harris says the “Lion’s share of the amendment is due to the multi-year nature of the numerous bond-funded capital improvement projects” the City has undertaken over the past few years. The Amendments include: $134,500 for Public Safety; $6,000 for Public Works; $8,000 for Culture and Recreation; $9,750 for Community and Economic Development; $15,650 for General Government; $3, 937,000 for Capital Projects; $287,000 for Business Type/Enterprise (Storm Water/Wastewater-related); and $1,780,000 for Transfer Outs, which involve the movement of bond funds into the appropriate Capital Improvement Fund.

In other business, the Council will act on approving a Change Order amounting to $48,241, for a contract between Precision Concrete Services (PCS) and the City of Atlantic. The change order adds the reconstruction of 17th Street west of Redwood Drive, and replacement of a sanitary sewer on Maple Street between 9th and 10th Streets. The Council will also act on authorizing the City Administrator and/or Mayor to request bids for Improvements to the Storm Drainage System in the Alley between Linn and Oak Streets, by 3rd Street.

It’s hoped that modifications to the intake and flow of the storm drains in that area will reduce the risk of flooding to the area near the Akin Building Center and Nishna Valley Credit Union on 2nd Street.

A whirlpool forms following heavy rain on April 14th, 2012, near the NVCU on 2nd Street. (Ric Hanson archive photo)

A whirlpool forms following heavy rain on April 14th, 2012, near the NVCU on 2nd Street. (Ric Hanson archive photo)

The Council will also hear a report on a proposed Commercial and Residential Tax Exemption Program.

Report: Gas prices rose 30 cents a gallon in the past 30 days


April 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A report on gasoline prices shows the national average has increased 49 of the past 52 days and it’s been almost that severe in Iowa. Triple-A spokeswoman Gail Weinholzer says pump prices in Iowa and Nebraska have been climbing steadily for several weeks, but they should be topping off fairly soon. “They have been going up in both states although both are still significantly below where they were at this time last year,” Weinholzer says. “In fact, we’re paying the lowest amount (for this date) since 2010.”

The statewide average price in Iowa is three-55 a gallon, the same as the national average. Sioux City has Iowa’s cheapest gas, averaging three-46 a gallon, while it’s most expensive in Waterloo at three-60. Prices have bounded since the start of March. Wienholzer says, “We have seen about a 30-cent increase or so over the last month but we do expect prices to peak out rather shortly and decline as we head into the rest of spring, assuming spring does get here.”

Three key factors are to blame for the price hikes, she says: the switch from winter to summer blends of fuel, refineries shutting down for spring maintenance and rising demand with the warmer weather.

(Radio Iowa)

Public invited to watch prairie chicken courtship

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

KELLERTON, Iowa (AP) – People are invited to Ringgold County on Saturday to watch prairie chickens dance about in a courtship ritual.  The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the Annual Prairie Chicken Festival will start before dawn Saturday at the Grand River Grassland Bird Conservation Area. A wildlife viewing platform is available at the site, just southwest of Kellerton.

The DNR will provide spotting scopes and binoculars as well as coffee for early risers who can watch the birds as they dance and make booming noises. The action will end around 9:30 a.m.   Prairie chickens had been absent from the area since the 1950s but in recent years were reintroduced to the region.

Cass Supervisors approve amended FY 2014 budget


April 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors, this week, adopted an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2014 County Budget, including the Secondary Roads Iowa DOT Budget. The move followed a public hearing held on the matter, Monday morning, during which there were no objections.  County Auditor Dale Sunderman noted that appropriations of the amended expenditure amounts (Changes in Budget Authority) was required. They included:

General Basic: increase Sheriff by $6,600 (wages & telephone); increase Medical Examiner by $6,000 (autopsies, etc.); increase Local Health by $51,500 (FY13 assessment paid in FY14); increase non-departmental by $4,000,000 (CDB grant flow-through).

Rural Services: increase Sheriff by $96,055 (added deputy and equipment);

Secondary Roads: increase Roads by $1,085,000 (local projects) & decrease Capitol Projects by $570,000.

Attorney Seized Monies: increase by $23,950 (funds moved to Sheriff Seized Monies).

Capital Projects: increase by $286,810 (707 Poplar St project).

General Basic: increase operating transfer out by $350,000 (to Capital Projects).

Local Option Sales Tax: increase operating transfer out by $25,000 (to Rural Services).

In other business, the Supervisors in Cass County adopted a Resolution to Vacate a County Road. Their action pertained to Road #1 in Benton Township Section 2 and 3. The 40-foot wide road was originally established in 1898. Since it has not been traveled for several years, no public hearing was required.  And, the Board approved the appointment of Joy R. Scanlon to fill a vacancy on the Massena Township Board of Trustees, with her term ending Dec. 31st, 2016.

Shelby Supervisors receive trails update

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Board of Supervisors heard an update on the Shelby County Trails project. In a meeting held Tuesday, Brian Leaders with the National Park Services provided an update on what the Shelby County Trails Committee has been creating over the last several months. Leaders said he has been working with other surrounding counties such as Pottawattamie County to establish a county-wide plan where other counties would link up hiking/biking trails. Since October of 2013, the Shelby County Trail Committee has been working with the public to come up with where they would like to see trails constructed in the county.

Leaders said the highest priority trail the public wanted from the meetings was from Avoca to Harlan and the other was on highway 191. “We have people on railroad highway 191 all the time. They ride from Council Bluffs to Underwood to Neola. They may end turn around and come back or take another route. So that route through Harrison and Shelby County is very popular.” He says the main reason for the trails is to help communities with economic growth. 

“By developing trails to some degree some communities to experience positive economic growth. I will be honest not all of them do. It all depends on the area. Depends on the trail and where it connects to. And depends on the proximity to other communities.” A map was presented to the supervisors as a guiding tool but not a finalization where the maps will actually be placed. Leaders said the process is quite lengthy and will take years to establish and develop.

“It’s a long process. I think I told the group the first time I met with them this could be a 25, 30, 40 year plan. As we know nothing moves quickly and funding isn’t necessarily available for trail projects.” He pointed out the previous county’s Supervisors have approved a resolution to support the county trail committees and help with the process without donating money right away. However, Shelby County Supervisor Steve Kenkel cautioned that motion as he didn’t want the supervisors to be tied to the specific map that was handed out.

Instead, Shelby County Auditor Marsha Carter made a separate motion. “To support the development of trails in Shelby County for the healthy and wellness benefit of its residents and to encourage economic growth and to recognize that the committee has developed a county-wide trail plan.” The motion was approved. Leaders said the next step for the Shelby County Trails Committee is to start applying for grant funding.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Fremont County man sentenced to 17.5 years in prison for Sex-related crimes


April 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa said Tuesday a southwest Iowa man was sentenced March 25th to spend more than 17-years in prison for sex crimes involving minors. U-S District Judge John Jarvey also ordered 46-year old Tony Lee Stogdill, of Imogene, to serve 10-years of supervised release following his 210 month prison term. Stogdill, who was convicted on a charge of Interstate Transportation of a person under the age of 18 for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual activity, must also register on the Sex Offender Registry, pay restitution (in an amount yet to be determined) and pay a $100 special assessment to the Crime Victim Fund. Stogdill remains in the custody of the United States Marshal pending his designation to a Federal Bureau of Prisons facility.

Stogdill pled guilty to the charge on November 7th, 2013. Court records show Stogdill transported a 15 year-old female from Iowa to Nebraska, Missouri, and Illinois, then back to Iowa and during the trip, Stogdill forcibly and against the will of the child, engaged in sexual intercourse with the minor. During the change of plea proceeding, Stogdill admitted he was an over-the-road trucker and from June 4th – 6th, 2009, he took a 15 year-old female with him on a trucking trip and engaged in sex acts with the child. Stogdill admitted his actions were a historical pattern of conduct with the minor female.

Stogdill’s wife, Jennifer, in an agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office, pled guilty in the Iowa District Court for Fremont County to compounding a felony regarding her “cover-up” of Tony Stogdill’s sexual abuse of a minor child in late 2009. Jennifer Stogdill was sentenced by the state court to a term of probation.

Tony Stogdill had been convicted of sex related crimes twice, prior to the instant offense. Stogdill was convicted on March 13, 1989, in Fremont County, Iowa, of false imprisonment and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. Stogdill was also convicted in Fremont County, Iowa, on October 21, 1991, of third degree sexual abuse.

The criminal investigation was carried out by the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, the Fremont County Attorney’s Office, the South West Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, the Council Bluffs, Iowa, Police Department, the Omaha, Nebraska, Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., April 2nd 2014


April 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Senate is considering legislation intended to halt the last transfer of state tax credits to a fertilizer plant in southeastern Iowa. The bill is meant to prevent Orascom, an Egyptian multinational corporation, from requesting a final $25 million tax credit installment. In 2012, Gov. Terry Branstad promised the company $100 million in investment tax credits, in addition to other federal, state and local incentives, in exchange for the creation of 165 permanent jobs in Iowa.

CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) – Authorities have identified the body of a man found after a fire damaged a four-unit apartment in the northern Iowa community of Charles City. The Charles City Police Department says the body of 27-year-old Joshua Nelson was found inside one of the apartment units following a fire reported Monday afternoon. He lived in the building.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Lawmakers in the Iowa Senate have taken a new route to address distracted driving across the state. The Senate approved an appropriation bill for Iowa’s Department of Transportation that would include $200,000 to go toward an educational campaign about the risks associated with distracted driving. The bill now goes to the House.

GARNER, Iowa (AP) – An elementary school employee in northern Iowa faces formal charges in connection to alleged fraudulent Medicaid payments. Court records show 30-year-old Brooke Banse will be arraigned April 8 on two charges of first-degree fraudulent practice and tampering with records. Banse is accused of receiving federal Medicaid payments in excess of $10,000 for services she did not provide.

KIB Awards announced


April 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Diamond Vogel Paint and “Keep Iowa Beautiful,” have announced the grant awards for the 2014 “Paint Iowa Beautiful” program. The program provides free paint to a wide variety of public service projects throughout Iowa. The program is administered through Keep Iowa Beautiful with the paint provided by the Diamond Vogel Paint Company.

Award winners include: The Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, for its Main Street buildings; The Glen Miller Birthplace Society in Clarinda, for painting of Miller’s home; The Farragut Hometown Pride Committee, for the painting of two homes, softball bleachers and Freedom Corner; The Sidney/Fremont County Fair Board, for painting of Fair Grounds buildings, rodeo arena and bleachers; The Hamburg Hometown Pride Committee, for downtown and City Park projects; Missouri Valley Health & Promotion Strategies, for three store-front facades; The City of Orient’s Public Works Dept., for work on the Legion Hall, meal site and information booth, and, the City of Shelby, for “Paint Shelby Beautiful,” the Senior Center garage/storage and City Hall.

Governor Branstad has signed a proclamation designating April as Keep Iowa Beautiful month. Diamond Vogel Vice-President Doug Vogel said the company is pleased to do its part by awarding paint to 63 community projects in Iowa. Gerald Schnepf, Executive Director of Keep Iowa Beautiful said “The Paint Iowa Beautiful program helps us increase our assistance to neighborhoods, communities, historic projects and other public service organizations in improving the attractiveness and beauty of our home areas. These projects definitely improve the beauty of Iowa, its countryside and its communities.”

Keep Iowa Beautiful is a non-profit organization affiliated with Keep America Beautiful. Program efforts include litter reduction, public nuisance abatement and beautification programs.

Atlantic Fire asks residents not to burn & be careful with smoking material

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

April 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Atlantic Fire Department put out a plea on their social media website, asking residents not to do any open burning “Of any type, or discard of any smoking material. This includes burning trash!!”  No OpenRecent and continuing high, sustained winds and dry conditions have contributed to many fires across southwest Iowa. The AFVD says they hope that by spreading the word on open burning and being safe in discarding smoking materials, and will voluntary compliance, authorities will not have to issue a Burn Ban.