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Bluffs man allegedly drunk behind the wheel w/3-yr old in the back seat


March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Pottawattamie County say a Council Bluffs man was arrested on suspicion of a third drunken-driving charge after police pulled him over with his 3-year-old son in the vehicle. Police told the Daily NonPareil 39-year old Scott E. Thomas, of Council Bluffs was arrested around 6:50 p.m. Saturday following a traffic stop in the 2700 block of Avenue A, after an officer observed Thomas driving erratically in a pickup and pulled him over, according to the Council Bluffs Police Department.

Police said Thomas’ 3-year-old son was in the back seat. Thomas refused a blood-alcohol test and was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment, driving while disqualified, operating a vehicle while intoxicated-third offense and a tail- and brake-light violation.

Former Neb. teacher gets prison for sexual assault


March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A former Ralston, NE., elementary school teacher has been sentenced to over 14 years in prison for inappropriately touching young students. A Douglas County, NE., district judge issued the sentence Wednesday to 60-year-old Nicholas Richter. He has more than 100 days of credit for time served, and he must serve about seven years before he is eligible for parole.

Richter was found guilty in December of three counts of sexual assault of a child. His first trial in August ended in a hung jury. Three young boys ranging in age from 10 to 12 testified that Richter groped them during classes. A middle-aged man also testified that Richter groped him three decades ago, when Richter was teaching in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., March 27th 2014


March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — U.S. Representative Bruce Braley is pushing to protect a federal grant program aimed at testing schools and homes for cancer-causing radon. Braley, a Democrat who is running for U.S. Senate, distributed a letter to other lawmakers Wednesday in an effort to maintain the State Indoor Radon Grant Program.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Barge operators say persistent ice in the Mississippi River is delaying traffic along the water by about a month. The National Weather Service says the Mississippi still has ice in a stretch of river that extends from Minneapolis to Clinton in Iowa. The depth of the ice varies from 5 to 10 inches.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities in Council Bluffs are investigating the discovery of a man’s body in a creek. The Council Bluffs Police Department says a resident spotted the unidentified man yesterday afternoon in Mosquito Creek, below an area bridge. The Daily Nonpareil reports officials believe the man was in his late 40s or early 50s. An autopsy has been scheduled.

INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) — Fire crews in central Iowa are battling a blaze that has spread along a three-mile stretch near a highway. Deputy Rob Fisher with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office tells the Des Moines Register the fire began yesterday afternoon west of Interstate 35 near Indianola. It has spread over an area about three miles long and up to a half mile wide. No injuries were reported last night.

CCHS staff certified as marketplace application counselors


March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Two Cass County Health System staff members have recently completed training to become Certified Application Counselors (CAC) for the federal health insurance marketplace.

Nancy Templeman (right) and Melissa Namanny are have been trained to assist individuals with the health insurance marketplace and are now Certified Assistance Counselors. (Photo submitted)

Nancy Templeman (right) and Melissa Namanny are have been trained to assist
individuals with the health insurance marketplace and are now Certified Assistance
Counselors. (Photo submitted)

Melissa Namanny, Accounts Manager at Atlantic Medical Center and Nancy Templeman, Medicare Billing Coordinator at Cass County Memorial Hospital, have both earned the certification. CACs provide assistance to community members as they work through the process of qualifying for and purchasing insurance via the new healthcare insurance marketplace. Services are free and available to all community members.

Steve Lewis, Chief Financial Officer for the Cass County Health System says“We are very pleased to have Melissa and Nancy receive this certification so we can provide this important service to our community. This process can be challenging and confusing, and we want to provide any assistance we can to ensure people can get the insurance coverage they need.”

Melissa and Nancy are able to answer questions about the application process as well as what to do once a person completes the application if they are referred to Medicaid rather than private insurance. They can also direct individuals to local, state and federal resources for additional assistance. While the open enrollment deadline for this year is March 31st, changes insurance status due to things like death, divorce, change in full-time student status, and other personal circumstances may allow individuals to sign up for insurance after open enrollment ends. Melissa and Nancy can help determine application eligibility throughout the year.

If you need assistance or more information about the health insurance marketplace, contact Melissa at Atlantic Medical Center, 712-243-2850, or Nancy at Cass County Memorial Hospital, 712-243-3250.

Update: Council Bluffs police investigate body in creek


March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities in Council Bluffs say they do not suspect foul play in the death of a man found floating in a creek. The Council Bluffs Police Department says a resident spotted 47-year-old Joseph A Nacarelli Jr. Wednesday afternoon in Mosquito Creek, below an area bridge. He was in shallow water, facing up.

Sgt. David Dawson with the department’s criminal investigation unit says Nacarelli had no indication of trauma to his body. He guesses Nacarelli may have been in the creek between 1 and 2 days.

An autopsy has been scheduled for Thursday.

Semi toppled over on I-80 near Harlan, Wednesday


March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

High winds Wednesday fanned field and grass fires, and made driving difficult for those traveling east or westbound. The Omaha World-Herald reports an overturned semi blocked traffic on Interstate 80 westbound for at least an hour beginning at around 5-pm, between Harlan and Avoca. While authorities didn’t confirm high winds were the cause of the accident, winds had been whipping up to 50-miles per hour at the time. The accident happened at around the 40-mile marker. No injuries were reported.

The same strong winds caused multiple power outages in the Omaha area, according to a spokeswoman for the Omaha Public Power District. Thousands of people and businesses lost power during the extremely strong and sustained wind event.

Fires keep western IA & Nebraska crews very busy


March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Numerous reports of field and/or grass fires fanned by high winds kept firefighters across western Iowa and eastern Nebraska busy Wednesday afternoon and evening. A fire east of Atlantic at 63930 Hamburg Road was reported at around 2:40-p.m. by the property owner, Gerald Kay, who told authorities his outbuilding was on fire. The approximately 20-by-60-feet barn and about 20 acres of grassland were scorched in the blaze.

Photo's courtesy Mike Kennon (Cass Co. EMA)

Photo’s courtesy Mike Kennon (Cass Co. EMA)

photoAtlantic Fire Chief Mark McNees told KJAN News high winds whipping an electrical line appears to have been the cause of the blaze. The line was attached to a yard light just south of the outbuilding. Fire officials observed sparks coming from the line as the winds were whipping it around. Winds fanned the flames into a grassy area and the embers jumped across Highway 71, for a time, forcing authorities to close the road.  McNees said the winds created a tremendous amount of smoke and the fire was “Spreading explosively, very, very quickly.” Crews worked diligently to prevent the fire from spreading into a field across the highway, otherwise McNees said, they’d “Have been fighting it for miles.”

Atlantic firefighters received mutual aid from Marne and Anita Fire and Rescue and Wiota Fire. Deputies with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office along with officers from Atlantic Police Department worked to control traffic in the area. Cass County Emergency Management was also on the scene. Emergency crews were on the scene for a nearly two and a half hours. Crews from Anita stopped a train that had left Anita heading west toward Atlantic, because of the danger of flames coming near the tracks.

A few hours later in Shelby County, firefighters from Irwin, Kirkman, Defiance and Harlan were called to the scene of a large field fire at 1725 Redwood Road, in rural Kirkman. Crews were on the scene battling the wind, flames and smoke for at least couple of hours. As of 7-p.m., the fire was spreading so quickly, authorities were considering evacuating an area north of 1800th Street. In Mills County, a 100-year old barn went up in flames near Pacific Junction at around 2:45-p.m., after a controlled burn that was started Tuesday and thought to be extinguished, flared up and scorched several acres. Authorities say there were two grass fires in Adair County and one in Adams County, as well.

No injuries were reported from any of the fire scenes as of late Wednesday evening. Early Thursday morning (3/27), firefighters from Anita and Wiota were called to the scene of a power pole fire in Audubon County. The call about the pole located near 3486 Quail Avenue, came in at around 3:35-a.m. Crews were on the scene for a little more than an hour.

Stage set for June Primary elections: Cass & Montgomery Co. candidates


March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Wednesday was the last day for candidates interested in running for local government offices to file their nomination papers in advance of the June 3rd Primary Election.

In Cass County, there were no more changes to the list of candidates who are hoping for your vote. Republican Tracey J. Marshall, of Atlantic, is unopposed in her bid for re-election as Treasurer in Cass County. As previously mentioned, there are four Republicans running for the Recorder’s post, including Mary Ward, Jess Ehrman, Shelly Glynn and Delbert Thurman, all from Atlantic. Current County Recorder Joyce Jensen is not running for re-election. There are also two Republicans running for Cass County Attorney, including incumbent Dan Feistner, and his challenger, Attorney David Wiederstein. And, Cass County Republican Supervisors Gaylord Schelling and Mark Wedemeyer are unopposed in their bid for re-election to District 2 and 3, respectively.

In Montgomery County, candidates who have filed papers to run for county office include: Incumbent Republicans – Carleen Bruning, Recorder; Carol Stevens, Treasurer; and Bruce Swanson, County Attorney. In Montgomery County Supervisor District 1, incumbent Steven D. Ratchliff faces a challenge from fellow Republican Steven J. Berendes. In District 2, incumbent Republican Karen Blue faces a challenge from Republican Joshua A. Wiig. And in District 4, Incumbent Republican Supervisor Randall Tye faces a challenge from two men: Republicans Brian Coughlin and Mark L. Peterson.

Absentee ballots will be available after April 24th at the Auditor’s Office. Friday, May 30th is the last day to request an Absentee Ballot be mailed to you. On Election day, the polls will be open from 7-a.m. to 9-p.m.  If you have any question about where to vote, contact your County Auditor or go to the Iowa Secretary of State’s website at http://sos.iowa.gov/, and click on the “Find my polling place” link.

Colorado man sentenced in Pott. County on money laundering & firearm charges


March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa reports a Colorado man was sentenced Tuesday in Pottawattamie County to spend a little more than 5-years in prison on a couple of charges. 31-year old Matthew Corey Cummings of Aurora, CO., was sentenced by United States District Court Judge John Jarvey to 63 months in prison for money laundering and for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The Judge also ordered Cummings to serve two years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment. On November 1st, 2013, Cummings pled guilty to both charges as a result of an investigation being conducted by the Southwest Iowa Narcotics Task Force into the distribution of controlled substances being distributed in Pottawattamie County from Colorado.

Money from the sale of these controlled substances was being returned to Colorado through a bank account which was set up for that purpose. In addition, when arrested while transporting marijuana into Pottawattamie County, Cummings was found to have a handgun in his possession.

The investigation was conducted by the Southwest Iowa Narcotics Task Force, Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office, Aurora Colorado Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Malvern man sentenced to 11-years in prison for manufacturing Meth


March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Mills County man was sentenced Tuesday to spend 11-years in prison following his conviction on a drug charge. 31-year old Jesse R. Salmons-Rice, of Malvern was sentenced by United States District Court Judge John Jarvey to 132 months in prison for manufacturing methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school. Rice was also ordered to serve eight-years of supervised release following the period of imprisonment.

On September 4tg, 2013, Salmons-Rice pled guilty to the charge. The guilty plea was the result of an investigation by law enforcement into the manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine in and around Mills County. He was found to have been manufacturing methamphetamine on or about November 6th, 2012, in the loft of his garage which was located within 28-feet of an elementary school in Malvern.

The investigation was conducted by the Southwest Iowa Narcotics Task Force, the Mills County Sheriff’s Office, the Iowa State Patrol, and the Iowa Division of Narcotic Enforcement. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.