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Avoca City Council approves new bridge project


October 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A decision made by the City Council in Avoca earlier this week, will make it for some of the City’s residents to get to a local park, which sits on the opposite side of a river. According to the Daily NonPareil, the Avoca City Council on Tuesday, approved a bid of just under $243, 850, for the construction of a pedestrian bridge that will connect East Thomas Street to Edgington Memorial Park by spanning the East Nishnabotna River. The project was originally estimated to cost $342,984. The City has not decided when construction will begin.

City Manager Clint Fichter told the paper the river made it difficult for pedestrians because it separates Edgington Memorial Park from the rest of town. The expected result is to provide a quicker route for those who live on the east side of Avoca.

The bridge will be 120 feet long and 12 feet wide, and will be made from steel and have a wooden deck. In 2012, the City of Avoca was awarded $171,492 from Regional Planning Area 18, for the project.The City  will spend $72,452 on the project, the funds from which will come through a TIF (Tax-Increment Financing)  funding.  Avoca also was awarded a $75,000 resource enhancement and protection grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources that will fund three connecting trails from the bridge to town.

Iowa West Foundation announces $4.1-million in 3rd Qtr. 2013 grants


October 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa West Foundation, headquartered in Council Bluffs, has announced $4.1 million in grants for the third quarter of 2013. The grants will be used to assist 39 nonprofit organizations and governmental entities with funding for area projects. (Below is a list of the recipients, the grant purpose & amount):

ALS in the Heartland Inc., new patient services for “Lou Gehrig’s” disease in southwest Iowa, $7,670

• Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands, community-based mentoring in Mills and Pottawattamie counties, $40,000

• Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands, general operating support for Council Bluffs club, $140,000

Carson, Iowa, Business Club, improvement to the community’s Dreamland Theater, $5,000

Carstens 1880 Farmstead Inc., preservation projects at historic farm site near Shelby, $15,000

• Children’s Imagination Station Daycare & Preschool, motor skill equipment at Denison facility, $3,625

• Children’s Square U.S.A., replacement of windows at Council Bluffs Children’s Center, $32,000

City of Council Bluffs, support of events for 2014 LoessFest at River’s Edge Park, $250,000

• Council Bluffs Community School District, renovation of a site for a collaboration with Heartland Family Service, $407,500

• Council Bluffs Goodfellows, program to assist local families during holiday season, $45,000

• Council Bluffs Trees Forever, plantings along new trail in eastern part of city, $8,220

• Creighton University, expansion of financial education program in Council Bluffs, $70,126

Eckels Memorial Library, additions to the library collection in Oakland, $2,500

• French Icarian Colony Foundation, continued development at site of French Icarian Village near Corning, $20,000

• Grist Mill Fine Arts Council Inc., roof replacement of community fine arts center in Macedonia, $5,000

• Heartland Family Service, substance abuse case management in southwest Iowa, $143,000

• HELP Adult Services, health equipment services in southwest Iowa, $2,000

• Historical Society of Pottawattamie County, restoration of a historic downtown jail and a former train dining car, $26,625

• Humanities Iowa, cultural speaker programs in southwest Iowa, $4,500

• Inclusive Communities, human relations workshops for southwest Iowa youth, $10,000

• Iowa Legal Aid, legal education services for southwest Iowa families and foster care youth, $76,134

• Iowa Newspaper Foundation, newspapers in southwest Iowa school libraries, $18,500

• Iowa West Foundation Streetscape Initiative, city of Council Bluffs streetscape maintenance, $444,000

• Iowa Western Community College, information technology internships in collaboration with local businesses, $101,187

• Joslyn Art Museum, “Museum to the Classroom” program for Pottawattamie County schools, $20,000

• Justice For Out Neighbors-Nebraska, legal consultations in southwest Iowa on immigrant issues, $25,000

• Keep Council Bluffs Beautiful Inc., “CURB” – improvements in local neighborhoods, $60,000

• Macedonia Historical Preservation Society, expansion of Pioneer Trail Museum in Macedonia, $50,000

• Midlands Community Foundation, Honor Flight to Washington D.C. for Korean War veterans of southwest Iowa, $30,000

• Montgomery County Family YMCA, wellness equipment at the Red Oak facility, $32,500

• New Community Development Corporation, construction job training programs at community college in Council Bluffs, $140,000

• Omaha Children’s Museum, student field trips from local schools, $45,000

• Omaha Zoological Society, multi-purpose preschool classrooms at Henry Doorly Zoo, $100,000

• Pottawattamie County Community Foundation, support for donor outreach and foundation operations, $175,000

• Pottawattamie County Conservation Board, acquisition of natural area in eastern part of county, $210,000

• Pottawattamie County Development Corporation, support for Council Bluffs downtown revitalization fund, $800,000

• Pottawattamie County Firefighters Association, equipment upgrade fund for volunteer fire and rescue departments, $175,000

• R.E.S.P.E.C.T.2, theater programs in southwest Iowa schools on healthy relationships, $8,500

• Tabor Historical Society, preservation of the historic Rev. John Todd House in Tabor, $35,000

• United Way of the Midlands, human services programs in Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area, $360,000

Iowa News Headlines: Fri., Oct. 11th 2013


October 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Farmers in many states are surprised at the abundance of corn coming from their fields, and record harvests are likely in many states. In southeastern Nebraska, farmer Ben Steffen says his first field brought in 168 bushels an acre, above the average of 140. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates this year’s harvest will break the 2009 record of 13.1 billion bushels.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa National Guard has laid off 100 state employees and canceled more training due to the ongoing partial government shutdown. The state Department of Public Defense employees received notice yesterday afternoon that they would be temporarily laid off for up to 60 days beginning today. Officials say this immediate action is in lieu of a 30-day temporary layoff that was scheduled to begin on October 18th.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A Catholic college in Dubuque has launched a campaign to pay its professors better. Cedar Rapids television station KCRG reports Loras College in Dubuque kicked off the campaign yesterday to raise $75 million.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — About 200 families from the Des Moines area received food and household supplies thanks to the Salvation Army of Des Moines and an Oklahoma City-based organization. A truck loaded with groceries and household supplies was unloaded yesterday afternoon at a Salvation Army center, where the items were given to pre-selected families.

Cass County Supervisors to discuss privatizing emergency/public communications


October 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

On the heels of a Public Safety Commission meeting held Sept 23rd,  the Cass County Board of Supervisors next Wednesday will discuss the possibility of privatizing Emergency/Public Safety Communications. When informed by KJAN News about the Board’s agenda item, Cass County 9-1-1 Director Rob Koppert said he wasn’t aware it would be brought up at next week’s meeting, and as far as he knew, neither was anyone on the Commission. The topic was brought up at the September meeting by Supervisors Board Chair Mark Wedemeyer, who also sits on the Public Safety Communications Commission.

Koppert said at that meeting that he wasn’t aware of any firms in Iowa or around the region that would handle 9-1-1 calls in the private sector. In fact, there are very few instances across the country, where emergency dispatch services have been turned over from County-run operations to a private provider. One such case is Lawrence Township, in Mercer County, NJ., which in January, 2013, agreed to hired iXP Corporation out of Cranbury, NJ, to handle its 9-1-1 dispatches.  iXP was awarded a two-year, $719,400 contract to run police dispatch for the community, whose population as of the 2010 Census was nearly 33,500. It was estimated the move would save the county $1.1-million over a period of 5-years.

Another is Sandy Springs, GA, an incorporated suburb of Atlanta with 94,000 residents, which has its 9-1-1 dispatch center also operated by iXP. The theory behind privatizing the service is to save a County money, but there are many questions that remain, including: A private firm’s hiring practices – would current dispatchers with knowledge of the county be utilized?; Where would the facility be located?; Will the service be as efficient as the current system? And more.

Koppert said he will find out along with the rest of us, what next Wednesday’s discussion will cover, and to what extent the County will pursue the privatization of emergency/public communications.

Avoca receives $75k REAP grant for Nishnabotna Trail

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The City of Avoca has been awarded an Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources REAP (Resource Enhancement and Protection)  grant amounting to $75,000 . City Manager Clint Fichter says the grant money will be used for the construction of a 1 mile segment of the Nishnabotna Trail, which will connect the community to the new pedestrian bridge to Edgington Memorial Park. The $243,850 bridge will soon be constructed with the assistance of an additional $171,392 grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation.

REAP invests in projects that enhance and protect the Iowa’s natural and cultural resources. 15% of REAP is set aside for grants to cities for projects that help establish natural areas, encourage outdoor recreation, and resource management.

This fall, REAP is hosting local meetings across the state. These meetings places for public and private organizations, as well as individuals, to plan REAP projects. The full schedule and more information REAP can be found at:



More than $1 million in Grants Awarded to Iowa Communities

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Vision Iowa Board has awarded nearly $1.1-million in grants to a public garden in Jefferson, community centers in Templeton and Emmetsburg, a backcountry trail in Coon Rapids and an amphitheater in Waverly. The grants were approved Wednesday by the Vision Iowa Board at their meeting in Des Moines.

A $400,000 Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) grant was awarded for the “Opening Whiterock: Iowa’s Backcountry Trail Attraction,” in Coon Rapids. The organization had requested $404, 785 toward the total Project Cost just over $4.22-million.  The award is contingent upon completion of fundraising within 60 days.

This project includes the construction of 35 miles of state-of-the-art “soft trails” through a seven-square-mile landscape at Whiterock Conservancy, remodeling of the Visitors Center and trail signage.

Western Iowa woman dies in skid loader accident


October 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

SCHALLER, Iowa (AP) — The Sac County Sheriff’s Office says a Schaller woman has died in a skid loader accident at her home. The sheriff’s office says in a news release Thursday that a friend found 53-year-old Karen Jeanne Terry on Wednesday. She was pinned beneath a skid loader and a boom arm.

Friends had become concerned after being unable to reach Terry on Wednesday, prompting someone to visit her home. The friend called 911. Terry was pronounced dead at the scene. The Sac County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.

Cross Country meet affects school bus parking in Atlantic

News, Sports

October 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Police remind the public that the Atlantic High School Cross Country meet takes place this (Thursday) afternoon (3:30-p.m.), at the Atlantic Golf and Country Club, and not Nishna Hills.

With the change, bus parking will be on Chestnut Street between 29th and 22nd Streets. Spectator parking will be on 22nd Streets, west of Palm St., as well as 29th St., west of Chestnut Street.

Residents should plan for increased traffic and pedestrians in the area.

Harlan School District deals with reduction in allowable growth


October 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Community School District saw another reduction in their allowable growth aid for special education students. In a board meeting Monday, the board approved the balance of $56,512.56 for the allowable growth and supplement aid for negative special education. The District in the past three years has seen a reduction totaling $300,000 in their special education debt. Harlan Community Superintendent Justin Wagner says the reduction deals with more federal dollars to the district.

He said “The primary reason is because we were able to find some loopholes in the Medicaid funding and what that does is bring in federal dollars to the district. Huge kudos to the staff but in the long run it is a huge win for tax payers. ” He says the district hopes to have a surplus in special education by next year.

“We have a goal for that next year and now we have a surplus from the federal government instead of local funds. I am really proud of. We keep hitting our local folks up and it’s good to have an outside funding source for this.”

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

3 arrested on probation-related charges


October 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports three men were arrested this week on probation-related charges. All three were taken into custody Wednesday. 28-year old Brett Allen Coyle, of Glenwood, was arrested at around Noon on Wednesday at the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office, on a Mills County warrant for Violation of his probation. Coyle’s bond was set at $5,000. 20-year old Tyler L. Gene Coddington, of Red Oak, was also arrested at the Pott. County Jail, Wednesday, on a Mills County warrant for Violation of his probation. His bond was set at $10,000. And, 18-year old Dominque James Schlup, of Hastings, was arrested Wednesday at the Mills County Jail, on a warrant for Revocation of his probation. Bond was set at $5,000.

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports also the arrest on Wednesday of 33-year old Timothy Eugene Truhlick, of Pacific Junction, who was taken into custody at the Mills County Jail at around 3:40-p.m, on a warrant for Harassment. His bond was set at $2,000.