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More MIP arrests in Harlan

News

June 17th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Police Department reports eight people were cited over the past week for Minor in Possession of Alcohol. Officials say an investigation into a noise complaint on June 9th at 1803 Lincoln Avenue, resulted in the arrest of four male juveniles. 17-year olds Brian Schechinger, Brock Travis, John Prichard and Joshua Carlisle, all from Harlan, were brought to the Harlan Police Department, cited for Minor in Possession, and released to the custody of their parents.

And, on Sunday (June 12th), 18-year olds Bailey McGrath and Jandy Johnston, and 19-year old Jill Haupts, all from Harlan, along with 19-year old Trisha Nowatzke, from Earling, were cited for Possession of Alcohol under the legal age, after a Harlan Police officer observed the teens allegedly in possession of booze when he pulled up next to their vehicle, in the parking lot of a business. All four were cited for the offense and released.

That same day, 21-year old Zachary Culp, from Harlan, was cited for selling alcohol to persons under the legal age, after officers observed him allegedly committing the act at the Harlan Kum and Go Store.

Long trains coming

News

June 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The flooding Missouri River is forcing the railroads to reroute their traffic and make the trains longer than normal. In Atlantic, City Administrator Doug Harris says that means Union Pacific rail traffic through the City will be on the increase, and could affect the length of time you spend waiting at railroad crossings.

Harris told the City Council during their meeting Wednesday night, he’s received word from the Union Pacific Railroad, that they will be routing 8-more trains than normal daily, through Atlantic, because of the Midwestern floods. The U-P says the trains will be more frequent, and longer than those that normally go through the City. 

Railroad officials are asking motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists to use extra caution, when approaching and crossing the tracks.

Missouri River flooding update 12:21-p.m. June 16th

News

June 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management officials have released their latest update on flood information pertaining to the Missouri River:

  • Officials say technical assistance has been requested from the Army Corps of Engineers for all counties along the Missouri River from Woodbury County south. Staging areas for water, sandbags and pumps have been established in Avoca, Onawa, and Denison.
  • A boil was reported Wednesday afternoon on a new levee near the Desoto Bend Wildlife Refuge. The Corps is providing Direct Assistance to address the issue. Should a breach occur, the highest impact would be to US Highway 30. The lowest section of Highway 30 is mile marker 2.1. The DOT will survey to confirm.
  • Northbound I-29 is open between Rock Port, Missouri, and Iowa exit 10 (Iowa 2). However, the Iowa and Missouri departments of transportation are working closely to monitor this very volatile situation. Northbound I-29 will be kept open as long as possible for local and emergency traffic. Other traffic is urged to find an alternate route around the flooding in southwest Iowa and northwest Missouri.
  • The Dept. of Human Services is working with care facilities to make contingency plans, should they have to evacuate.
  • The DNR is providing technical assistance to waste water facilities, water supplies, industry, fuel stations, etc. Conservation officers in Hamburg and Missouri Valley are in place for rescue missions, if needed.
  • The Iowa Department of Corrections has crews in Hamburg, Council Bluffs, and Onawa for helping out with sandbagging efforts.
  • And, at their request, the Iowa Dept. of Public Health is working closely with Monona County Emergency Management and Burgess Medical Center for a potential patient evacuation plan.

Evacuation plan set for northeast Omaha

News

June 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – About 2,700 Omahans would have to evacuate if the Missouri River were to breach a levee on the city’s northeast side. City officials released details of the evacuation plan today (Thursday).

A new map from the U.S. Corps of Engineers shows that any massive levee breach would send water north of downtown, flooding the Qwest convention center and the city’s airport. Assistant Omaha Fire Chief Dan Stolinski says the city’s new home of the College World Series, TD Ameritrade Park, would be spared. Nearby Carter Lake, Iowa, would be underwater. That city has its own evacuation plan.

The river’s Omaha water level on Thursday morning was a little over 33 feet. Flood stage is 29 feet. The corps expects the river at Omaha to crest between 34 and 36 feet.

Atlantic Municipal Utilities to Offer Free Commercial Lighting Efficiency Audits

News

June 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Atlantic Municipal Utilities say they’ve hired an electrical engineering student intern, Derek Schmitz, to help implement a new program to improve the efficiency of lighting in commercial locations. AMU General Manager Allen Bonderman say any commercial customer of AMU can sign up for a free lighting efficiency audit.

The utility has developed a number of rebates related to lighting, based upon the type of lighting being replaced, and the specific new lighting technology installed. The rebates will reduce the cost to the customer of investing in new and more efficient lighting.

AMU staff will come to the business location, and gather information about the existing lighting that is in use. An analysis will determine the most cost-effective lighting technologies to use as replacements. The analysis will also determine an estimated cost for upgrade kits or new fixtures, the cost of labor to install, and any and all AMU rebates that apply. A report will be prepared and delivered to the customer that shows how quickly savings related to each type of light will repay the costs.

Because the amount of time available to perform these audits is somewhat limited, AMU asks that any commercial customer interested in a free lighting audit send or drop off a completed participation form as soon as possible. The form is available at www.amu1.net/2degrees by clicking on “Lighting Audits”, then selecting “Signup Form”. AMU may limit free audits to those who sign up by no later than July 15. 

If commercial customers have questions about the program, call Derek Schmitz at 243-1395.

Flood preparations include effort to save remains of sunken steamboat

News

June 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

One of the more unusual stories of the Missouri River flooding is the effort to keep a sunken riverboat from being damaged by floodwaters. That’s what’s happening at the Desoto National Wildlife Refuge visitor center on the Iowa/Nebraska border north of Council Bluffs near Blair, Nebraska. Visitor center spokesperson, Ashley Berkler says the visitor center is home to a lot of wildlife exhibits, but they are really known for the Steamboat Bertrand collection, which is 500-thousand artifacts recovered the boat with sank 1865. The Bertrand sank after hitting a sunken log, and remained lost until it was discovered at the refuge and excavated in 1968. Now Berkler says they’re trying to protect the remains of the Bertrand from becoming a victim of the Missouri River a second time. Berkler says the exhibit includes a lot of different kinds of items like clothing, metal and wood and those items need very specific humidity and temperature controls to prevent them from rotting or getting moldy. She says they are concerned they may lose utilities to the visitor center from the flooding and don’t want to lose their ability to control the climate for the exhibit.

Berkler says lots of people have chipped in to help move the Bertrand items to a secure storage facility. She says they have staff and volunteers, other Fish and Wildlife Service workers from the region, as well as volunteers from Pottawattamie County, the Iowa D-N-R, the Washington County Historical Society, and Blair Nebraska teachers. Berkler says they aren’t sure what the water will do to the refuge at this point.

Berkler says they have a temporary levy that is providing some relief and extra time to evacuate to them as the waters of the Missouri River rises. She says a portion of their road has already been closed by flooding and they have closed the visitor center for any public use. There is a lot of wildlife in and around the refuge, but Berkler doesn’t anticipate any problems for the animals.

Berkler says the animals usually have a pretty good sense of what is going on and are able to move to higher ground, so they haven’t seen any impact on the animals from the flooding. She says the refuge is in a flood plain area, so the animals have adapted to handle such situations.

For more information and the latest updates on refuge operations you can check the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge website at:

www.fws.gov/midwest/desoto(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)

Public Intox arrest

News

June 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

An Atlantic man was arrested Wednesday on a charge of Public Intoxication. Atlantic Police report 54-year old Roy Milczarek was taken to the Cass County Jail and held, pending an appearance before the magistrate.

Lake Manawa update

News

June 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources have clarified a statement issued earlier this week, with regard to Lake Manawa State Park near Council Bluffs. The DNR says the park remains open for day use, and only the campground has been closed.

Kevin Szcodronski, chief of State Parks for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says “The park will remain open for day use until there is direct evidence that the levee standing between the Missouri River and the park will not hold.” He says “There has been some confusion from our park visitors and (the DNR) have received a lot of calls at the park asking if the park was open.”

The DNR closed the Lake Manawa State Park campground on Monday due to safety concerns that the levee holding the Missouri River back will not withstand the pressure over the expected six to eight weeks of flooding. The campground closure is expected to last through August.

Boating Ban on MO. River Includes all Waters Connected to the River

News

June 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

In case you had any thoughts about boating on the Missouri River and its associated backwaters, you’d better think again. The Iowa DNR says recreational boating privileges on the “Mighty Mo” and all waters connected to it, have been suspended indefinitely, while flooding is underway.

Robert Garrison, chief of the law enforcement bureau for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says “This is an extremely dangerous situation, not only for recreational boaters, but for rescuers if a problem should occur on the water.”

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, violation of the order establishing the suspension of recreational boating in the designated area can result in a maximum civil penalty of $40,000 for each violation.

A “willful and knowing” violation of the no-boating order can also result in a felony charge punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or a prison sentence from five to 10 years.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources closed boat ramps at Blue Lake, Browns Lake and Snyder’s Bend because of the flooding occurring on the Missouri River.

The DNR closed all state run boat ramps on the Missouri River on June 2nd.

AMTRAK service update (10:45-a.m. Thu., June 16th)

News

June 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with AMTRAK report full service in the Western U.S. has been restored on two routes, while one service is detouring using an alternative routing.

Because of temporary levees built over BNSF Railway Co. tracks to help protect the cities of Omaha and Bellevue, Neb., the Amtrak California Zephyr (trains 5 & 6) will detour between Lincoln, Neb., and Creston, Iowa. and will not directly serve Omaha. Alternate transportation will be provided between Lincoln and Omaha (eastbound from the San Francisco Bay, Train 6) and between Creston and Omaha (westbound from Chicago, Train 5).

Daily Amtrak Southwest Chief service between Chicago and Los Angeles (trains 3 & 4) has returned to the full route following the restoration of BNSF Railway Co. tracks in New Mexico. Also resuming service are Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach Routes 8603 & 8604 between Raton and Denver and the Lamy (N.M.) Shuttle. Daily Amtrak Empire Builder service (trains 7/27 & 8/28) between Chicago and Seattle/Portland resumed over the full route earlier this week.

Information is subject to change as conditions warrant. Passengers are encouraged to call 800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak.com for schedule information and train status updates. Amtrak officials say they regret any inconvenience to their passengers.