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Elliott man arrested for delivery of Pot

News

June 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

An Elliott man was arrested Thursday morning in Montgomery County, on a drug charge. Sheriff’s officials say 44-year old Shawn Darran Dunkeson faces a charge of delivery of marijuana. Dunkeson was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $50,000 cash bond.

SUV’s collide in Fremont County

News

June 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

No injuries were reported following a collision Thursday afternoon between two SUV’s in Fremont County. The Sheriff’s Office says the accident happened at around 12:10-P.M., just south of Shenandoah.

Officials report a 1999 Chevy SUV pulling a boat, and being driven by Glenn K. Rolf, of Tarkio, MO, was traveling south on Highway 59, when he hit a 2007 Chevy SUV driven by Bobbi Jeanette Johnson, of Jefferson City, MO, as Johnson was turning onto westbound Highway 2, from northbound Highway 59.

Authorities say Johnson was cited for failure to yield the right-of-way.

Harlan accidents reported

News

June 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

No injuries were reported following two separate accidents this week, in Harlan. Both crashes were the result of a driver failing to obey a stop sign. The Harlan Police Department says one of the collisions happened Sunday, at the intersection of Highways 44 and 59. Officials say Sharon Petersen, of Harlan, was cited for Failure to Obey a Stop sign, after her 2003 Cadillac hit a 2004 Ford Mustang, driven by Lori Tarney, of Portsmouth. The damages amounted to $3,400.

The second accident happened Wednesday, at the intersection of Southwest and Industrial Avenues, in Harlan. The H-PD says Cindy Morrison, of Portsmouth, was cited for failure to obey a stop sign, after her 2005 Hyundai was hit by a 2005 Chrysler, driven by Tricia Pearson, of Harlan. The damage amounted to $7,000.

Top USDA official tours Missouri River flooding

News

June 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A top federal official has been touring damage to farms from the flooding along the Missouri River in Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska. Karis (CAR-is) Gutter is the USDA Farm and Foreign Service Acting Deputy Under Secretary. Prior to a meeting with residents of Hamburg on Wednesday, Gutter took an aerial tour of the farmland buried under water. “We saw a fairly new grain bin that was being overrun by water and it turned over right in front of our eyes,” Gutter said. “So, what we saw was some farmer’s livelihood – not floating away on the river, but floating on their farm.” The USDA has compiled preliminary estimates about the extent of damage to crops from the flooding.

“We’ve run quick numbers on the inundation areas and the crop land acres. In Iowa, we’ve got somewhere upwards of 300,000 acres in the impact area,” Gutter said. Another 130,000 acres in Missouri and 120,000 acres in Nebraska are impacted by the floodwaters. Gutter helps oversee two key USDA agencies that can assist with the recovery.

He says federal crop insurance policies will protect farmers who have losses due to the floods.

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)

Sump pump crews busy in western Iowa

News

June 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

With more rain and a bigger release of water from upstream dams, the flooding continues to worsen in parts of western Iowa. Even homes miles from major rivers are seeing basements start to fill with water. Nick Rohe is spokesman for a basement repair company in Omaha/Council Bluffs and says crews are working long hours installing sump pump systems.

“We’ll jackhammer out the concrete along the exterior foundation walls and sometimes in the middle of the basement where you may have water seeping up through floor cracks,” Rohe says. “We’ll also jackhammer out the basement floor where we’re going to put the sump system in and then we put a drainage system around the perimeter and down the middle if it is needed.” If the water problem is from rain, homeowners have some options, but because of conditions this year, he says the problems are often likely from the high ground water level.

“If it’s from rain water, you can keep a positive grade around the house and keep your downspouts clear and stuff like that,” Rohe says, “but if it’s a water table issue, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to prevent that besides have a waterproofing system or a water control system.” Rohe says the high water table level can cause more severe problems than just water seepage — it can do permanent damage to your foundation.

“Over-saturation of footings, which your house rests on, can cause foundation issues,” he says. “Also, just the pressure from the water itself and highly-expansive clay soil, when that gets over-saturated, that can put a lot of pressure on your foundation walls.” Rohe says there are several things to look for to see if the foundation is damaged, including: horizontal or vertical cracks, stair-step cracking on block walls, drywall cracks, doors and windows that don’t function properly and uneven floors. If the foundation is damaged, he says the structure will likely require extensive repair.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

More evacuation orders along Missouri River

News

June 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

More residents along the swollen Missouri River are under a mandatory evacuation order. Mills County Emergency Management spokesperson Shari Bowen says it’s a precautionary measure. “Right now there are no immediate threats from the levee system,” Bowen said. “Our concern is our groundwater that’s seeped up…the drainage water that’s come down into that area isn’t able to pass into the river system through the normal drainage channel.” The order to evacuate affects rural residents living between the river and Interstate 29 from the Fremont County line to just north of Glenwood.

Bowen estimates 80 homes are affected and most have already evacuated. Fremont County evacuated the area between I-29 and the river earlier this week because of concerns with the levee. Bowen says the levee is holding in Mills County, but the rise of interior groundwater is causing problems. “We have various roads in the area that are becoming impassable,” Bowen said.

Residents are being told to leave the area of Mills County before 4 p.m. today (Friday). The Red Cross has set up a shelter in Malvern for anyone who needs a place to stay.

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)

Council Bluff preps for evacuations, though many residents are still clueless

News

June 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Some Iowans are dangerously oblivious to the threat of severe flooding, even in areas where the rushing water is already lapping at levee tops. Council Bluffs Fire Chief Alan Byers (BUY-ers) is busy spreading the word that the city’s residents should prepare to evacuate but he says a survey has found that many people haven’t a clue.  “What we found was a significant number of the population actually wasn’t even aware of the risk level or even the flood event,” Chief Byers says. “We were amazed but over 50% of the people who were interviewed did not recognize the risks that the city is under from the flood event or didn’t even know there was a flood event.” Byers says there is no immediate evacuation order but he’s asking residents to prepare in the same way as other weather-related disasters, like with a Blizzard Warning.

“Although the evacuation of the community is not necessary at this time, just as when we are anticipating a winter storm, we should plan ahead for that possibility,” he says. As a precaution, Byers says Council Bluffs residents should arrange for a place to store their belongings, their pets and, possibly, another place to live.  “While no evacuation order is being issued at this time, the city has upgraded the flood status of Council Bluffs to an Alert Level One and recommends you continue to make preparations to leave the area if the need arises,” Byers says. “You will be notified in the event the situation escalates.”

The Alert Level One was issued as Missouri River water crossed the 34-foot level threshold. Twenty-nine feet is flood stage.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

County Launches Damage Reporting Site to Secure Disaster Assistance

News

June 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA – All citizens of Pottawattamie County, whether they live Council Bluffs, Carter Lake, Crescent or in the unincorporated portions of the county, are encouraged to report flood
damage to private property that has occurred from May 24th to the present. Citizens can report their damage at the County web site, www.pottcounty.com, and click on the “DAMAGE REPORTING TOOL” link. Residents without computer access can call 712-328-4672 to report damage. Phones will be answered during normal business hours, Monday through Friday.

Farmers in Pottawattamie County should only report damage to their residence and personal property at this time. Assessments of Agricultural Damage will be made at a later date.
It is important that citizens who may have sustained damage as a result of the current flood event starting on May 24th report their damage. This damage reporting site is used to collect and analyze data
provided by citizens affected by the Flood of 2011.

Submitting information in no way guarantees that citizens do, or will, qualify for financial assistance programs, but this information is needed in order for State and Federal agencies to approve a Presidential Disaster Declaration that would authorize assistance to citizens from FEMA. Only then can FEMA take applications to determine if individuals qualify for assistance under their Individual Assistance Programs.

Four-way stop to be installed at U.S. 59 and Iowa 2 interchange June 24

News

June 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa DOT District Office in Atlantic say the intersection at US HW 59 and Iowa HWY 2 in Shenandoah will become a four-way stop beginning Friday (June 24th). The change is being implemented as a means of accomodating additional traffic at the intersection, due to the flooding and related road closures in western Iowa.

Jury finds Minn. man guilty in Iowa store slaying

News

June 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

CARROLL, Iowa (AP) — A Minnesota man accused of killing clerks at two Iowa convenience stores in one day last fall was convicted Thursday of first degree-murder in one of the shooting deaths. A Carroll County jury deliberated less than an hour before finding Michael Swanson, 18, of St. Louis Park, Minn., guilty in the Nov. 15 slaying of 61-year-old Shelia Myers at a Kum & Go store in Humboldt. Swanson was 17 when he was charged in Myers’ death. He faces a July trial in the death of Vicky Bowman-Hall, 47, who was shot and killed at a store in Algona the same day.

The defense maintains Swanson was legally insane at the time of the shootings. Michael Taylor, a psychiatrist who testified for the state as a rebuttal witness earlier in the day, said Swanson expressed no remorse for his crimes during an April interview, or in a letter and phone call from jail while awaiting trial. Taylor said Swanson did not have bipolar disorder, and understood his crimes, as well as right from wrong.

“Mr. Swanson is not suffering from any type of diagnosable psychiatric disorder,” Taylor said. “He was fully capable of understanding the nature of his acts and differentiating between right and wrong when he shot and killed Sheila Myers.” Taylor said Swanson told him the slayings had been brewing inside his head since he was 13. Swanson said his original plan was to wait until he was 18 and kill his parents, because those were the first two people he wanted to kill, Taylor said. “I have always been fascinated by death and violence, and it was something I wanted to do – murder, rape and cannibalism,” Taylor said Swanson told him.

Taylor testified that Swanson told the psychiatrist he had explained to his mother that killing someone was like tossing a bucket of water on someone just before they jump in a swimming pool because they were going to get wet anyway. “From Mr. Swanson’s perspective, people are going to die anyway,” Taylor said. “What difference does it make whether they die when they’re 77, or if he shoots them.”

On Wednesday, Kathleen Swanson testified that in 2004 a psychiatrist told her that her son should be removed from society. “Your son needs to be locked up, and there isn’t anything more I can help you with,” she said she was told. Her son was 11 at the time. Kathleen Swanson told jurors her son was a problematic infant and adult, recounting how day care providers wouldn’t care for him because of behavioral problems, how he’d hardly sleep, and how she’d sought professional help for her son.

In a statement released after the jury’s verdict, Swanson’s parents expressed their “sympathies and condolences for the families, extended families, friends, and communities that were affected by this horrible tragedy.” “What happened on November 15th was truly devastating to all of the families involved,” Bob and Kathleen Swanson said in the statement. “As parents, nothing has prepared us for this type of a tragedy. We had previously sought assistance and tried to get help for our son Michael, whom we love and we are heartbroken by these events. We hope the trial will present the desperate realities some families face whose children suffer from mental illness.”

Swanson, who also was found guilty of first-degree robbery, smiled as the verdict was read. He will be sentenced to life in prison without parole at a later date.