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Atlantic Area Chamber Ambassadors Visit Midwest Health Center


February 23rd, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Atlantic, Iowa)C – The Atlantic Chamber Ambassadors were hosted by Doctors Jim & Haley Kickland on Thursday, February 22nd, 2024, to catch up with the Midwest Health Center and learn more about the services they provide.

The Kickland’s have been working side by side for many years, integrating chiropractic care, family medical care, and acupuncture to improve the overall health and wellness of their patients. Dr. Jim Kickland has been in the chiropractic industry for 32 years, and shared the ancient history of acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years by the Chinese. Acupuncture can be used to impact all aspects of a person’s life from headaches to nausea, to chronic pain and even breached babies. Jim shared that his favorite part about his profession is the ability to build relationships with his clients and see them through all stages of life, from two days old until 100 years old.

Ambassador (Left to Right): Lana Westphalen, Elaine Otte, Kathie Hockenberry, Dolly Bergmann, Beth Spieker, Dr. Keith Leonard, Krysta Hanson, Scott Bennett, Alisha Wagner, Tonya Jamesen, DeeDee Kalny, Dorene White, Anne Quist, Rick Mericle, Haley Kickland, Julie Waters, Donnie Drennan, Jim Kickland, Jeremy Butler, Wesley Ansty, Kelsey Beschorner

Dr. Haley Kickland has been in the health industry for 16 years, using her passion for women’s health to connect and treat patients of all ages. Haley works closely with Cass Health and other specialists to make sure her patients get the help they need while staying close to home. Haley has more recently expanded her certifications to include advanced Botox and dermal filling techniques to help her patients look and feel younger.

Midwest Health Center is open Monday- Thursday 7AM-5PM with a Pediatrist seeing patients in the clinic on Fridays. Midwest Health Center is located at 1101 E 7th Street, Atlantic.

To learn more about services, or to schedule an appointment, call 712-243-5790 or visit www.midwesthealthcenter.com


Nunn hosts Opiod informational session in Atlantic


February 23rd, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Atlantic, Iowa) – Iowa 3rd District Republican Congressman Zach Nunn hosted an informational session on Opiods at Cass Health in Atlantic, this (Friday) morning. The event was attended by more than fifty members of the Cass County community. Panelists included Atlantic Police Chief Devin Hogue, Decatur County Sheriff Chris Lane, representatives from the Office of the Iowa Attorney General, Cass County Chief Medical Director Elaine Barry, Atlantic Mayor Grace Garrett, and Deric Kidd, who lost his son to fentanyl.

He was joined by representatives from the law enforcement community, medical professionals, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office and others, in sharing the best practices and develop new approaches to help combat the opiod crisis in rural Iowa.

Nunn said he just returned from the Yuma, Arizona border crossing. He said many of the drugs — such as fentanyl that are made in China – make their way into the U-S through Mexico. He said [the] “Opiod crisis impacts every community. As a parent, as a family member, as a kid, you know, it is the number one leading cause of death…fentanyl… from folks my age down to my daughter’s friends age. And this is a very dangerous thing that is hurting our communities.”

Photo’s courtesy of Zach Nunn’s office

Speaking of developments on the federal level, Nunn said the medical prevention act was passed, so that Naloxone  (Narcan) a nasal spray that helps to reverse the effects of a fentanyl overdose – can be made readily available to families, communities and school districts. More than 70-thousand drug overdose deaths that occurred in 2021, were attributed to synthetic opiods other than methadone – primarily fentanyl, which is the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18-and 45.

Among the panelists who spoke at the event, was Cass Health Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Elaine Berry, who also serves as Cass County Medical Examiner. She’s been with the hospital for more than 35-years. Dr. Berry said most of the overdose deaths are due to stimulants, such as methamphetamine, or fentanyl. What makes fentanyl the greater threat, she said, is that it is cheaper to make compared to other drugs. She said it’s a huge threat for an overdose, because “Very, very tiny amounts are extremely powerful. Just a little tiny crystal of it can cause an overdose,” which can cause a person to stop breathing.

Iowa Department of Public Safety Special Agent, in charge of the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Michael Mittan, showed pictures of fake fentanyl (M-33), which looks like candy, and can come in a rainbow color pill, making it attractive to kids, who might mistake it for something good to eat. He said in 2019, Iowa DCI lab cases dealt with 34 grams in 2019. As of 2023, that increased to 9,000 grams. In addition to pills, fentanyl can come in a powdered form, as is the case with the drug which was seized in Council Bluffs. The drug is also being mixed with other substances, such as cocaine or Zylazene (A livestock tranquilizer). Fentanyl deaths, he said, will be treated as as homicide, if the person or persons responsible for its trafficking, can be identified.

Atlantic Police Chief Devin Hogue spoke at the event, about the effects of fentanyl on the local level. He said in Atlantic and neighboring communities, there have been at least two deaths associated with the drug. Five people have been prosecuted and sentenced to federal prison for their roles in the deaths. He said those people sold the drug, “to feed their own habit.”

Decatur County Sheriff Chris Lane explained what he’s noticed over the past two-years: an increase in overdoses and an increase in fatal overdoses. Narcan was administered numerous times over the past couple of years. Meth and Marijuana are also prevalent drugs in his county, with fentanyl cut into the mix. He said pill bottles with opiods are also being found more and more. Sheriff Lane said they have not seen a lot of counterfeit pills in his county, but the DNE recently stopped a vehicle in on Interstate 35 in Decatur County, and seized 30,000 pills. He said the effects of meth mixed-in with fentanyl make people go  “Completely out of their mind for a month, for upwards of a month or longer…we are absolutely convinced that a few people will never return to their normal behavior,” whereas before, with the use of meth alone, they would recover within about a week.

He cited a case in one of the small towns in his county where a man was running through town with a machete and screaming at people who weren’t there. The man stood 6-feet 5-inches tall, and weighed more than 300-pounds. As he cowered on the floorboard of the patrol car, he begged the Sheriff to protect him from the whatever he was seeing and “voices he was hearing.”

Deric Kidd spoke about the loss in July, 2021, of his 17-year-old son Sebastian Alexander Kidd. Sebastian took half a pill before bed he thought was percocet. He was unaware he had actually taken a counterfeit pill laced with a lethal dose of fentanyl. He said “This crisis transcends a mere drug problem. It signifies a deeper societal despair. Our mental health epidemic fueled by grief, trauma and depression, demands urgent dialogue.” He said tearfully, “Two weeks ago, a fellow parent in one of our advocacy groups took her own life. She could no longer bear the loss of her son.” The next victim, he said, “could be someone you love.” The discussion about the risks of fentanyl and other drugs, he added, must be prioritized in our schools and communities, “treating it with the urgency of an epidemic. We cannot afford to revisit this conversation in the future without tangible progress.”

The final speaker at Friday’s event in Atlantic, was William Pearson, Assistant Attorney General in the Consumer Protection Division of the Iowa Attorney General’s Office. One of the areas of focus he covers is opiods. The Iowa Consumer Fraud Act, he said, has allowed the State to reach settlements with prescription (legal) drug major drug manufacturers of opiod painkillers (such as Oxycontin, Oxycodone and Hydrocodone). The settlement also includes the distributors and big chain pharmacies, and amounts to almost $300-million over the next 15-to 18-years into Iowa, for opiod remediation, including: treatment; education; and harm reduction (Including Naloxone).

Congressman Nunn concluded the event by saying more has to be done at the strategic level, to control and push back against the production of synthetic drugs in China and Mexico, because it “Is a true national security threat.”

Cass County (IA) Sheriff’s report., 2/23/24: 7 arrests


February 23rd, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Atlantic, Iowa) – The Cass County Sheriff’s Department reports two people were arrested on separate drug charges between Feb. 10th and the 23rd:

  • On February 10th, Cass County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 48-year-old Samuel Shroyer, of Eagle, CO, on charges of OWI/1st Offense and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.  Shroyer was transported to the Cass County Jail where he was booked and held pending his later release on his own recognizance.
  • On February 16th, 45-year-old Anthony Karns, of Wiota, was arrested on a variety of warrants and new charges which included:  2 counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance, Theft 5th Degree, 3 counts of Burglary 3rd Degree, Theft 2nd Degree and Possession of Marijuana.  Karns was transported to the Cass County Jail where he was booked and held.

On February 14th, 26-year-old Chase Holmes, of Griswold, was arrested on several counts of Exhibiting Obscene Material to a Minor.  Holmes was transported to the Cass County Jail where he was booked and held pending his later release on bond.

Two people were arrested on separate assault charges in Cass County:

  • On February 16th, 2024, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office arrested 40-year-old Markku Liukkonen, of Atlantic, on a charge of Domestic Abuse Assault/1st Offense.  Liukkonen turned himself in to the Cass County Jail where he was booked and held pending his later release on bond.
  • On February 11th, 43-year-old Julie Geer, of Griswold, was arrested for Domestic Abuse Assault/1st Offense.  Geer was transported to the Cass County Jail where she was booked and held pending her later release on her own recognizance.

On February 23rd,  County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 34-year-old Joseph White, of Atlantic, on the charge of OWI 1st Offense.  White was transported to the Cass County Jail where he was booked and held pending his later release on his own recognizance.

And, on February 12th, 32-year-old Dalton Cormeny, of Fontanelle, was arrested on a warrant for Violation of Probation.  Cormeny was transported to the Cass County Jail where he was booked and held pending his later transfer to another agency.

Supreme Court rules lawmakers have some immunity from releasing information


February 23rd, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled in the first review of whether state lawmakers have immunity when it comes to releasing information on their discussions. The League of Latin American Citizens of Iowa (LULAC) served subpoenas on several legislators seeking copies of communications they had related to changes in the state voting law. LULAC wants the information for its lawsuit that claims the changes were unconstitutional and meant to discriminate against some voters.

Lawmakers argued they are protected by a legislative privilege under the Iowa Constitution. The Iowa Supreme Court says an individual legislator’s intent is not relevant to LULAC’s claims at this point in the case.

The state Judicial Building.

The Supreme Court says legislators do have a privilege to not reveal the information in this case, but stop short of saying the legislative privilege is absolute.

SWIPCO Adds Five New Members to the Team


February 23rd, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Atlantic, Iowa) – Officials with SWIPCO (the Southwest Iowa Planning Council), report five new members have been added to the SWIPCO/SWITA team.

  • Amy Jones joins the team as a Payroll & Benefits Specialist. Jones has an extended background in accounting and human resources.
  • Brandie McFarland joins SWIPCO as a Human Resource Specialist. She will work alongside Human Resource Coordinator Daurine Petersen to assist with many HR duties including on-boarding new employees, driver training, and compliance.
  • Holly Jackson joins the organization as a Community Development Specialist, Planner. She will work with communities throughout the SWIPCO region on zoning and coding ordinances.
  • Southwest Iowa Transit Agency (SWITA) welcomes Gina Gentile as a Transit Scheduler. Julie will join the team that connects area residents to the transportation they need.
  • Southwest Iowa Transit Agency (SWITA) welcomes Adam Kisner as Maintenance Assistant. Adam will help to keep the SWITA fleet of vehicles clean and maintained along with ensuring offices and facilities are kept in top shape. He will also run routes as a driver and help transport vehicles. SWITA serves eight counties in Southwest Iowa with a fleet of 100 vehicles. Transportation provided includes work routes, student transportation, day habilitation routes for disabled individuals, medical transport, and a range of other services.

Holly Jackson

Gina Gentile

Brandie McFarland

Amy Jones

Adam Kisner

Former state lawmaker presented with USS Iowa Lamberti Service Award


February 23rd, 2024 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa — The 81st birthday of a famous battleship bearing the state’s name was celebrated today (Friday) at the Iowa statehouse with a first-of-its-kind honor.
The award was presented Thursday to Jeff Lamberti, a former state lawmaker. It’s called the USS Iowa Lamberti Service Award, meant to promote ideals of service, preservation of history, and love of Iowa.

Jeff Lamberti

In 2007, Lamberti spearheaded efforts to save the USS Iowa. He helped secure donors and galvanized lawmakers to spend money on continuing its legacy. Lamberti is the owner and president of the indoor football team Iowa Barnstormers.

The USS Iowa, which is now a museum in Los Angeles, is the city’s fourth most visited museum, according to pacificbattleship.com.

USS Iowa (BB-61) port-side view (Pacificbattleship.com)

Iowa’s drought improves slightly in past month

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

February 23rd, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Iowa Capital Dispatch) – Iowa’s long-running drought has eased since a month ago but is still by far the worst it’s been leading into the growing season in the past three years, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The area of the state that is suffering from extreme drought — the second-worst classification of the Drought Monitor — is about half what it was in December but still encompasses a vast area of northeast Iowa. That includes some or all of more than two dozen counties.

About three-quarters of the state has some measure of drought. The exceptions are a wide area of northwest Iowa and parts of far southern and far eastern Iowa. Drought conditions have persisted in the state since July 2020 — the longest stretch since the 1950s, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The dryness peaked in September 2023.

Many Iowa rivers have very low flow, according to U.S. Geological Survey data. In Osceola, residents have been urged to conserve water as the town’s water supply — West Lake — has dwindled. But the city reported early this month that the lake’s level had stabilized.

The area of extreme drought in Iowa has shrunk considerably in the past month. (Courtesy of U.S. Drought Monitor)

Year-round sales of E15 delayed until next year

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 23rd, 2024 by Ric Hanson

Year-round sales of E15 at the gas pump are delayed until 2025. The EPA published its order Thursday. It follows a request from eight Midwest governors, including Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, to expand sales of the higher ethanol blend beginning this summer.

E15 is currently restricted in the warmer months over smog concerns. The biofuel industry says those concerns are unfounded. Governor Reynolds says she’s not giving up her fight to permit sales this summer and says she is pursuing a waiver.

This is the Iowa Day of Kindness, so be nice!


February 23rd, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa)- The governor has proclaimed this (Friday) as the Day of Kindness in Iowa, as residents are encouraged to intentionally do something nice for someone, even if it’s a small act. Kara Matheson, a vice president at the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, says they launched this project a few years ago as a way to make a positive impact on the community and it’s grown into a statewide event. The chamber’s holding what it’s calling the Socks of Love campaign. “We call upon the community, businesses, schools, families, and everyone in between to come out to the West Des Moines Chamber and bring any amount of new socks that they would like to donate,” Matheson says, “and then we are going to pass them along to West Des Moines Human Services to be distributed from there.”

While most Iowans can’t make the drive to West Des Moines today to donate socks, they -can- hop online and make a donation of as little as ten dollars to have several pairs of socks delivered to the effort. Last year was the debut year for the socks campaign. “We were hoping for around 100 pairs of socks in our first year, and the community really showed up and we actually ended up with 865 pairs of socks,” Matheson says, “which was incredible.” Matheson is hoping people will take this day to heart and try to do something more than pay for the hot beverage of the person behind you in the drive-through lane.

Several members of the West Des Moines Chamber with the 2023 haul of socks

“The sole purpose of Day of Kindness is to encourage the public to do any simple act of kindness,” Matheson says. “You hear of those Pay It Forward lines at coffee, but any act, even writing a kind note, giving a nice compliment to a stranger, these little acts of kindness truly go a long ways.” She says studies show acts of kindness benefit not only the receiver, but also the giver.

Creston woman arrested Thu. night for OWI/1st offense


February 23rd, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Creston, Iowa) – Creston Police report the arrest at around 9:30-p.m. Thursday, of 28-year-old Chelsey Mae Madison, of Creston. Madison was taken into custody at the Creston/Union County Law Enforcement Center on a charge of Operating While Under the Influence1st offense.  She was taken to the Union County Jail and later posted a $1,000 cash or approved surety bond, before being released.