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Atlantic City Council to hold Public Hearing on Boulders agreement

News

June 14th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Public hearings will be held during the Atlantic City Council meeting Wednesday evening, with regard to a proposed Development and Minimum Assessment Agreement between the City and Boulders Inn and Suites, and a proposed internal advance and loan to fund a $125,000 incentive grant for the company, to be funded through the City‘s Economic Development Fund.

City Administrator Doug Harris will report to the Council Wednesday, that negotiations have been completed, and the Finance Committee has reviewed the package. The Committee will recommend the Council approve both agreements, which have been signed by Boulders’ officials after more than a year’s delay.

Under the agreements, the City would provider Boulders’ developers with a $125,000 up-front grant, and a total of $41,000 in tax rebates, for a total incentive package of $166,000, which is $59,000 less than what was initially offered in May, 2010. Because the City had incurred additional legal costs associated with the agreement, the total price tag comes to $247,464, which is slightly less than what was offered last May, but the Tax Increment Financing savings to the City will be a little more than $48,000.

Harris says Boulders has agreed to a minimum taxable value, which protects the City against a potential State imposed commercial property assessment rollback, until 2022. The tax rebates, according to Harris, will be $41,000, spread over nine-years, rather than $100,000, spread over a period of four-years. He says the City will also capture the incremental increase in the value on the land, which had increased by over $60,000, due to its conversion from agricultural to commercial zoning.

Harris says the changes will enable the City to capture over half the TIF revenues generated from the project, which will enable Atlantic to fund much needed street improvements.

Following the public hearings, Wednesday, the City Council will act on resolutions approving the agreements and internal advance for the incentives package. Their meeting at City Hall, begins at 5:30-p.m.

Bluffs Officials have flood evacuation plan

News

June 14th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials in Council Bluffs say a flood evacuation plan is in-place for about half of Council Bluffs, with a three-tier warning system ready to tell residents when to prepare a bag to flee and when to leave their homes.

At a press conference Monday, officials said they hope the plan, which covers up to 30,000 people, will never be needed, that the levees along the swollen Missouri River will hold for the next two-plus months, and that homes and businesses in western Council Bluffs will remain dry.

Council Bluffs’ three-tier warnings will be sent out through local media outlets and National Weather Service alerts.

A Level 1 Alert means a slowly developing flood event is in the area, and the city recommends residents prepare to leave, including packing a bag.

A Level 2 Alert means a levee is failing and residents are urged to leave.

And, a Level 3 Alert indicated dangerous flooding is on the way. A mandatory evacuation is now in effect. Tornado sirens will sound.

The city has more than 60 buses available to help. People who need transportation are urged to limit their personal belongings to one bag and two pets. Pets must be leashed and in a carrier. Any residents who may need help evacuating in the event of a Level 3 Alert, are urged to call the city at 712-328-4672.

In addition to the media and National Weather Service broadcasts, residents can sign up for automated telephone calls through the city of Council Bluff’s “Code Red” program. Sign-up is available on the city’s website. Those without computers can call 712-328-4672 to register for the calls.

Crews racing floodwaters to build up Iowa levee

News

June 14th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

HAMBURG, Iowa (AP) – Crews are trying to build up a protective wall to keep floodwaters from reaching Hamburg, after the swollen Missouri River punched a massive hole in the main levee.

The river ruptured two levees in northwest Missouri on Monday, sending torrents of water over rural farmland toward Hamburg, and a Missouri resort community.

Water spilling through a nearly 300-foot hole in a levee a few miles from Hamburg is expected to reach the town by Tuesday. Floodwaters could top a secondary levee built to protect the town by Wednesday.

The Army Corps of Engineers says crews are working to increase the wall’s height by 3 feet. If it breaks, parts of Hamburg could be under as much as 10 feet of standing water.

Cow and calf stolen in Audubon County

News

June 14th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Audubon County are investigating the theft of a Black Angus cow and calf. The theft took place sometime between June 7th and 12th, from an area in the Oakfield Township, Section 9. The value of the animals was estimated at $2,000.

Anyone with information about the theft or location of the cow and calf, is asked to contact the Audubon County Sheriff’s Department at 712-563-2631, or Audubon County Crimestoppers, at 712-563-2234.

Iowa DOT provides Monday evening update on flooded road conditions

News

June 14th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – June 13, 2011 – 6:45 p.m. – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is reporting additional road closures and updates on conditions in western Iowa. The department is continuing to monitor at-risk areas as flood water levels continue to rise.
Turn Around Don’t Drown®
Flooding is a dynamic situation, ever-changing throughout the day. Motorists need to take extra precautions when traveling in areas where flooding is occurring or predicted.
·  Use additional caution when traveling at night when it is difficult to see a flooded road ahead or water approaching the roadway from the side.
·  If you must travel on roadways where water is nearby, give your full attention to the driving task and expect vehicles ahead to slow down or make sudden stops.
·  Keep your focus on the road ahead, not on the water around you and adjust your speed for conditions.

Current road closures/restrictions
·  I-29 Hamilton Boulevard interchange in Woodbury County: The southbound I-29 interchange ramps at Hamilton Boulevard in Sioux City are closed. The northbound on- and off-ramps remain open. An alternative ramp has been constructed from southbound I-29 to Wesley Parkway/U.S. 77.
·  UPDATED: I-29 in Pottawattamie County: The south- and northbound lanes of I-29 between milepost 55 (North 25th Street in Council Bluffs) and the I-29/U.S.30 interchange at milepost 75 (near Missouri Valley) are closed.
·  UPDATED: I-680 in Omaha area: I-680 is closed from the I-29/680 interchange (exit 61 near Crescent) in Iowa to North 30th Street in Omaha, Nebr. (exit 13). This closure includes the Mormon Bridge across the Missouri River.
·  NEW: I-680 in Loveland area: I-680 is closed from exit 21 (near Beebeetown) to I-29 near Loveland.
·  UPDATED: Iowa 2 in Fremont County: The right lane of eastbound Iowa 2 is closed west of I-29. The westbound lanes remain open. The speed limit has been reduced to assist travelers safely navigate through the area. Flood and ground water levels are expected to rise in the coming days in this area, making a threat of closure of the entire roadway more imminent.
Highway segments at high risk of being closed due to flooding
·  UPDATED: I-29 near Blencoe: Two segments of I-29 are at risk of being impacted by flood waters in this area: (1) near milepost 103.5 south of Blencoe; and (2) near milepost 107 north of Blencoe. The flood waters have slowly creeping closer to the roadway in this area, but there is no immediate threat.
·  UPDATED: I-29 and U.S. 30 near Missouri Valley: Locally sponsored agricultural levees provide some measure of protection for this area. Three highway segments are at most risk in this area: (1) U.S. 30 west of I-29 between mileposts 7 and 8; (2) U.S. 30 east of I-29 between mileposts 9 and 10; and (3) I-29 between mileposts 77 and 78.  The flood waters have been filling more agricultural land in the river basin area and creeping closer to the roadway; however, there is no immediate threat unless the levee fails or is overtopped.
·  UPDATED: I-29 and Iowa 333 at Hamburg in Fremont County: A full breach in the levee in Atchison County, Mo., occurred today. These roadways are expected to become inundated with flood waters in the next 48 hours. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is extending a flood barrier in this area that includes a portion of I-29. The right lane of northbound I-29 is closed for a half-mile section while work on the barrier wall is underway.
·  UPDATED: Iowa 175 near Onawa: The highway segments most at risk of flooding are west of I-29. This route serves as the river crossing between Onawa, Iowa, and Decatur, Nebr. Shoulder strengthening work is underway at two locations to help mitigate damage to the roadway caused by the expected high-velocity flood waters.

Undergoing further evaluation or being monitored

·  I-29 northbound off-ramp to Dace Avenue in Sioux City (exit 147B or commonly known as the Downtown/Tyson Events Center): Flood mitigation efforts will be deployed to try to keep this ramp open.
·  I-29 northbound and southbound lanes in Sioux City at the U.S. 77/Wesley Parkway underpass (between exits 148 and 149): Flood mitigation efforts will be deployed to try to prevent this low area from being flooded.
·  I-29, from south of Bellevue (milepost 39) to Hamburg (milepost 1): This area is at a lesser risk, but would be inundated if the levee is breached or overtopped.

·  RISK REDUCED: Iowa 127 near Mondamin: The Iowa DOT is monitoring areas east  and west of Mondamin, near mileposts 0.8 and 1.5, but the risk of flooding has been reduced.
·  Iowa 376 (U.S. 75 Business): The roadway from Gordon Drive to Third Street in Sioux City may be closed if current pumping efforts are not sustainable.

Missouri River crossings

UPDATED: The Iowa DOT is expecting the Missouri River crossings at the following locations to remain open during the flooding:
·  Sioux City: U.S. 77/U.S.20 to South Sioux City, Nebr.; U.S. 75/U.S. 20/I-129 to Nebraska; and I-29 over the Big Sioux River into South Dakota.
·  Council Bluffs/Omaha: I-80 to Omaha; I-480 to downtown Omaha; and U.S. 275 to south Omaha.

HSEMD, State Agencies and Private Partners Assist Army Corps of Engineers with Raising Levee Near Hamburg

News

June 14th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Des Moines–The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division (HSEMD) is working with multiple state agencies and private companies to procure and transport materials to build up the secondary levee being constructed near Hamburg, Iowa.

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District notified HSEMD this afternoon that based on new data, the Missouri River levels at Hamburg will be higher. The Army Corps said the secondary levee needs to be built up an additional three feet, which will be accomplished through the placement of 14,000 linear feet, or roughly three miles, of HESCO barrier within the next 48 hours.

Ten-thousand tons of material from Hallett Materials in Shenandoah and Schildberg  Construction in Atlantic and Malvern  will be used to fill the HESCO barriers. HSEMD has procured the materials and is coordinating transportation through the Iowa Department of Transportation, the Iowa National Guard, JMT Trucking and Schildberg Construction. At its peak, transportation of these materials will involve 64 trucks, transporting more than 500 loads.

The Iowa National Guard will be placing the HESCO barriers on the levee and the Army Corps of Engineers will fill the barriers with the trucked-in materials. The Corps has been working to construct this secondary levee to protect Hamburg for the past several days.

For more information on Army Corps’ efforts on the secondary levee at Hamburg, visit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District website at http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/ and click on the “Spring 2011 Flood Response Information” icon.

Flood barrier installed along I-29 near Hamburg

News

June 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – June 13, 2011 – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is reporting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is extending a temporary flood barrier around the south side of Hamburg to include a portion of Interstate 29. 

An approximate half-mile stretch of flood barrier will be placed on the shoulder of northbound I-29 between mileposts 0.4 and 0.9. This will require closure of the right lane of northbound I-29 at this location as the barrier is installed. The USACE will be using temporary barrier devices not commonly seen in Iowa. They were last used in the state during the 2008 floods in eastern Iowa. The devices are called Concertainers, produced by HESCO Bastion USA in Hammond, La. A Concertainer© is a galvanized, welded mesh (cage-like) container lined with heavy-duty fabric that is filled with locally available material such as sand, gravel or soil using a front-end loader.

These units expedite flood-protection work by eliminating the labor-intensive and time-consuming process of filling individual sandbags. When filled and connected, the Concertainer units create a sturdy barrier wall. Earlier today, the USACE levee located in Atchison County, Mo., breached and flood waters are expected to impact I-29 and Iowa 333 within the next 48 hours. There is no immediate threat to the roads.

Governor Branstad issues proclamation providing relief to vehicle dealers and recyclers

News

June 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – June 13, 2011 – Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad has issued a
proclamation of disaster emergency to assist Iowa motor vehicle and travel trailer
dealers, and vehicle recyclers whose businesses are directly impacted by the
Missouri River flooding. 

Various Iowa Code provisions and fees pertaining to the principle place of business
and additional lots for the sale of new and used motor vehicles and travel trailers,
and for performing vehicle recycling in Iowa have been temporarily suspended due to
the Missouri River flooding.  
Complete details are outlined in the proclamation. 

This 30-day suspension will allow businesses to move vehicles and establish lots
away from their principle place of business when affected by flooding. Disaster
counties include Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie and Woodbury. 

Affected dealers and recyclers should contact the Iowa Department of
Transportation’s Office of Vehicle Services at 515-237-3110, Monday through Friday 8
a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or visit http://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/ovs/misc.htm, for information
on how to obtain a temporary extension lot license.

A copy of the proclamation and answers to the most commonly asked questions about
its provisions can be found at:
http://www.iowadot.gov/emergencyProclamation2011.html

Threat of Iowa 2 closure becomes more imminent

News

June 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa - June 13, 2011; 4:30 p.m. – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT)
is reporting that flood waters are creeping farther onto the eastbound lanes of Iowa
2 in Fremont County and high winds are causing considerable movement of the waters
nearby. 

Iowa 2 serves as the connection between Iowa and Nebraska City, Nebr. The right
eastbound lane is already closed; the westbound lanes are still open. 

Flood and ground water levels are expected to rise in the area in the coming days.
Rain is also forecast on and off through Thursday. The combination of these
conditions makes the eventual road closure more imminent. 

Recognizing the importance of this highway to the region, the Iowa DOT will keep the
road open just as long as it is safe to do so. The public will be notified when it
is necessary to close the road. 

Traveler safety 
For public safety, the speed limit on the roadway is being reduced. Travelers should
keep their attention focused on the driving task and exercise additional caution at
night when it is more difficult to see a water-covered roadway. Look at the road
ahead instead of nearby flooding, and be on the alert for drivers who may slow down
or stop.       

Key traveler information resources:
·         Iowa DOT’s flood information call center 866-452-8510, open from 7 a.m. to
9 p.m. daily, speak to an operator for travel assistance
·         Road condition information 24 hours a day: visit www.511ia.org, or call
511 (in Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (outside of the state) for a recorded message of road
closures

Snowpack is the culprit for part of the Missouri River flooding

News

June 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Part of the cause of the Missouri River flooding in western Iowa is the deep snow pack in the Rocky Mountains. John Lawson is the Wyoming Area Manager for the Great Plains Region of the U-S Bureau of Reclamation. The office manages reservoirs and dams far upriver from the Missouri and Lawson says the scene for the current flooding was set months ago. “We started getting a snow pack building way above average early on, even as early as February and it continued on until we finally got to record heights of snow pack,” he says. Snow pack refers to the amount of water contained in the snow, and while the bureau’s records on snow pack only date back to the early 1980s, Lawson says people have been measuring river flows for much longer.

He says, “We are forecasting inflows into our reservoir system that you would have to go back to somewhere around 1917 to find the kind of flows that we’re talking about and that we’re predicting that we’re going to get over the next 30 to 45 days.” While Iowa’s already seen temperatures topping off in the 90s and even above 100-degrees, Lawson says the record snow pack in Wyoming hasn’t melted much yet.

“We’re about 327% above average with regard to water content in the snow,” Lawson says. “We are dealing with a very unusual situation. Actually, it’s a situation we have no records of to judge by.” Lawson says the bureau has been releasing water from reservoirs upstream in anticipation of the melting snow. Iowans along the Missouri River are being warned the flooding could last for many weeks, even months.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)