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Branstad requests extended timeframe to appeal for Individual Assistance

News

August 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

(DES MOINES) - Gov. Terry E. Branstad has requested an extension of the time period
to appeal FEMA's decision to deny Individual Assistance to five Iowa counties
impacted by Missouri River flooding.

On August 4, 2011, Gov. Branstad received notification that FEMA had denied his
request to make the Individual Assistance Program available to residents of Fremont,
Harrison, Monona, Pottawattamie and Woodbury counties. The State of Iowa has 30 days
to appeal FEMA's denial of the Individual Assistance Program. However, since the
flood water will recede slowly, the Governor is asking FEMA for an extension of the
appeal to November 15, 2011, so it may include damages that surface beyond that
30-day time period.

The appeal of the decision by FEMA will be coordinated by the Iowa Homeland Security
and Emergency Management Division, which will work closely with the local emergency
management agencies to determine additional damages and impacts caused by the
ongoing flooding.

The FEMA Individual Assistance Program is made available to homeowners, renters and
businesses and can include grants and low-interest loans to help pay for temporary
housing, home repairs and other disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance
or other aid programs.

In addition, the Small Business Administration (SBA) today announced that
low-interest federal disaster loans are available to Iowa residents and business
owners affected by the severe storms and flash flooding that occurred July 27 and
28, 2011.

The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in the Iowa counties of
Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson and Jones.

(Press Release - Office of the Governor)

Iowa and Nebraska officials discuss future reopening of Missouri River toll bridge

News

August 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – Aug. 12, 2011 – Officials with the Iowa Department of Transportation 
(DOT), Nebraska Department of Roads, Federal Highway Administration, and Burt County
(Nebraska) Bridge Commission met this week to discuss strategies that will lead to 
the eventual reopening of the toll bridge carrying Iowa 175/Nebraska 51 over the
Missouri River at Decatur, Neb.

The bridge is owned and operated by the Burt County Bridge Commission. It has been
closed since June due the Missouri River flooding, which caused severe embankment
erosion and material loss on the Iowa side of the bridge, as well as deep scouring
around the east bridge abutment and pier. Recognizing the importance of this bridge
to communities in both states, all parties involved are anxious to get the bridge 
reopened to traffic as quickly as possible. With this goal and public safety in mind,
the agencies outlined a plan of action. 

Because the flood waters have not yet started to recede, there remain many unknowns
regarding the condition of the bridge and surrounding area. Thus, the agencies 
outlined a plan with the necessary flexibility to adjust to any new discoveries. 
In addition to discussing what actions can be taken and tentative timing,
participants in the meeting received information about the federal Emergency Relief
funding that may be able to assist with the costs of previous work, as well as the
additional work that will be needed. 
Several problems are readily apparent at the bridge site that will require corrective 
action when the waters recede. Those problems include slope instability, substructure
concerns and major scour around the critical structural elements of the bridge and 
roadway approach. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ current schedule is to reduce the
output of water from Gavins Point Dam to approximately 90,000 cfs by the end of August.
Barring additional rain that would change this schedule, it is possible that the engineers
may able to perform a more detailed analysis of the problems at that time.

Once the analysis is complete, the next step will be to quickly develop a corrective 
action plan and issue emergency contracts to perform the work. The amount of time that
will be required to complete the work hinges on the extent of the damage. Anything that
can be done to expedite the work will be considered. The Iowa DOT will continue to provide 
regular updates regarding this situation as new information becomes available. 

(IA-DOT News Release) 

City Elections will take place on November 8th, 2011

News

August 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman reports persons interested in running for various City offices in Cass County may circulate nomination papers now for those positions,, but your papers must be filed within a specified time period. Sunderman says serving as a city elected official is a challenging job that requires leadership, vision and dedication. An elected city official is entrusted with important responsibilities. The city clerk, the county auditor and Iowa Secretary of State can help candidates with basic information about running for a city office.

Any person who is a citizen of the United States, 18 years of age or older, a resident of the respective city (or city ward, as the case may be) and is eligible to be registered to vote, may become a candidate for city office. Nomination petitions for a city office must be filed with the respective city clerk not more than 71 nor less than 47 days prior to the regular election. (In 2011, the first day to file papers is August 29. The last day to file papers is September 22.) The process for filing nomination petitions is as follows:

Obtain an original nomination petition and candidate’s guide from the city clerk, county auditor or online from the Iowa Secretary of State at www.sos.state.ia.us. You must obtain the nomination signatures of the required number of eligible electors of the city or ward, as the case may be. A person may sign nomination petitions for more than one candidate for the same office. In addition, you will need to attach a notarized affidavit acknowledging the you or your candidate’s eligibility, and file the petition with the city clerk prior to 5 p.m. on September 22nd, 2011. Each candidate who successfully files a completed nomination petition is assured a place on the ballot.

In Cass County, Iowa the following offices will appear on the ballots for the respective cities on November 8, 2011:

Anita

Mayor (4 yr term) – Incumbent: Mitch Holmes

Two At Large Council seats (4 yr terms) – Incumbents: Linda Firebaugh and Marcia Hockenberry

Atlantic

Council Ward 1 (4 yr term) – Incumbent: Kern Miller

Council Ward 3 (4 yr term) – Incumbent: Pat Simmons

Council Ward 4 (4 yr term) – Incumbent: Linda Hartkopf

Council At Large (4 yr term) – Incumbent: Dana Halder

Parks & Recreation Board (6 yr term – term begins November 16) – Incumbent: Mary Strong and Nancy Fredrickson

Cumberland

Mayor (2 yr term) – Incumbent: Virginia Coughlin

Two At Large Council (4 yr term) – Incumbents: Lela Mae Lank and Steve Porter

Griswold

Mayor (4 yr term) – Incumbent: Jerry Putnam

Three At Large Council (4 yr term) – Incumbents: Gary Bergstrom; Kevin Carlisle; and Philip Rink

Lewis

Mayor (4 yr term) – Incumbent: Don Cohrs

Three At Large Council (4 yr term) – Incumbents: Scott Anderson; Jon Mosier; and Traci Tyson-Steyer

Marne

Mayor (2 yr term) – Incumbent: Randall I. Baxter

Five At Large Council (2 yr term) – Incumbents: James Hoffman; Dennis Preister; Lanny Kite; Mark Opbroek and Angela Redler

Massena

Mayor (2 yr term) – Incumbent: Mike Cormack

Three At Large Council (4 yr term) – Incumbents: Lindsay Blaine; Bill Holaday; and Linda Reineke

Wiota

Mayor (2 yr term) – Incumbent: Ross Havens

Three At Large Council (4 yr term) – Incumbents: Kenneth Bishop and Lamar Spies

Bluffs Man Sentenced to 200 months in prison

News

August 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa reports a Council Bluffs man was sentenced Thursday to more than 16-years in prison for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine.  44-year old Scott Wendell Dilley, of Council Bluffs received the 200 month sentence from Judge John A. Jarvey, who also ordered Dilley to serve 10-years  in prison for being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm. The terms will be served concurrently. In addition, Dilley will have to serve a five-year term of supervised release following his incarceration.

U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt says on March 3rd, 2011, Dilley entered guilty pleas to the two counts based on evidence that he was distributing methamphetamine, along with four other people, in the Council Bluffs area. On March 1st, 2010, law enforcement searched Dilley’s residence finding distribution quantities of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and a loaded Colt .45 caliber pistol. Prior to March 1st, 2010, Dilley had been convicted of a felony drug offense.

The investigation which led to his arrest, was conducted by the Southwest Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement and the Pottawattamie County Attorney’s Office.

Court orders trial for injured inmate

News

August 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A trial has been ordered in a lawsuit filed by an inmate who claims the state didn’t protect him from being assaulted by another prisoner. The Iowa Supreme Court today (Friday) rejected the state’s request to have the lawsuit filed by Kevin Walker dismissed. Walker was knocked unconscious and his jaw broken during an assault at the Clarinda Correctional facility in 2005.

He claims prison staff knew of threats against him and violated prison rules by not taking action to protect him. Walker’s attorney says his client suffered severe depression and post traumatic stress because of the assault.

Sentinel Chickens test positive for West Nile virus in Council Bluffs

News

August 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Flooding along the Missouri River in western Iowa has created another problem. Officials with the Council Bluffs Health Department today (Friday) say tests on their sentinel chicken flocks have come up positive for the West Nile Virus. The virus is spread by mosquitoes, which typically breed in stagnant or slowly moving water.

In a report issued Thursday, the Iowa Department of Public Health said the virus was detected in four sentinel chickens located in Pottawattamie County. The State Hygienic Lab tests the blood drawn from chickens on a weekly basis, to determine whether they have been infected with the West Nile virus or other arboviruses.

Human cases of West Nile have been reported in Iowa every year, since 2002. Mosquitoes can get West Nile virus when feeding on infected birds. Mosquitoes can then spread the virus to people through a bite. West Nile virus cannot be spread by person-to-person contact such as kissing, touching, or caring for an infected person. West Nile virus can also rarely be transmitted to humans who receive infected organs by transplantation or who receive transfusions of infected blood or blood products.

The chance of a human getting infected with the virus if bitten by a mosquito is low. Even in areas where the virus is circulating, very few mosquitoes are infected with the virus and not all mosquitoes can successfully transmit the virus. Most people who become infected with West Nile virus following a mosquito bite do not develop any symptoms.

Most people who are infected with West Nile virus either have no symptoms or experience mild illness such as fever, headache, and body aches before fully recovering. Some persons may develop a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. In <1% of infections, particularly in those persons over age 50, West Nile virus can cause serious disease, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). These conditions may result in permanent brain damage, or on rare occasions, can be fatal. Symptoms of severe disease can include severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, confusion, loss of consciousness, tremors, muscle weakness, and paralysis.

For more information on the West Nile Virus and precautions you can take go to: http://www.idph.state.ia.us/Cade/WNV.aspx

Shoplifting arrests

News

August 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Police in Atlantic report two residents were arrested Thursday on shoplifting charges. 34-year old Shauna Johnson and 32-year old David Hemmingsen were each charged with 5th degree theft.

Johnson and Hemmingsen were booked into the Cass County Jail and held pending a court appearance.

I-29 damaged by Mo. River flood (updated 4:54-p.m.)

News

August 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Missouri River has yet to recede across Interstate 29 in southwest Iowa, and the full extent of the damage is uncertain, but one thing is known: the road is in worse shape than officials had hoped. Bob Younie, head of maintenance for the Iowa Department of Transportation said in a briefing Thursday, that an 11-foot deep hole has been scoured beneath I-29 where it goes up an embankment to an overpass, near Hamburg. The hole, he says, is getting bigger. Younie called the situation a “Setback…in the recovery from the flooding.”

That section of interstate he described was closed in June because of the Missouri River flooding. There are four Interstate bridges in that area. Younie said the worst case scenario would be for all four bridges to get washed out by flooding, but so far that, hasn’t happened. He said the best case scenario, which is no longer possible, would have been if the bridges and their approaches would escape without major damage.

Younies says so far, one bridge approach has seen significant scouring, and a parallel bridge is threatened by scouring. The only way to know for sure how much damage the bridges and roadway have sustained, is after the water recedes, and an assessment gets underway. The water may linger in the area for at least another month, but even that’s not a given.

Here’s the DOT Press Release issued today (Friday), at 3:41-pm

AMES, Iowa – Aug. 12, 2011 - The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is
reporting that the Missouri River flooding has undermined the south bridge
approaches of dual Interstate 29 bridges at mile post 1.4 in Fremont County and is
threatening the bridges. The seriousness of the damage will undoubtedly prolong
flood recovery efforts aimed at eventual reopening of the interstate when the waters
recede. 

The dual set of bridges were constructed in 1972, are 40 feet wide and 179 feet
long, and located in the northbound and southbound lanes of I-29. The bridges take
I-29 traffic over Drainage Ditch Number 6.

The full extent of the damage to the bridges, roadway approaches and embankment are
not known at this time due to the high-velocity flood waters that are still rushing
under the bridge. But there is damage readily apparent at the site, including
collapsing of the pavement, loss of material and scouring at least 11 feet deep. 

Mitigation efforts are underway to attempt to reduce further loss of the soil under
the bridge approach pavement. But the efforts have had little success as the rushing
flood waters continue to wash away the large rock placed at the site. 

It is too soon to determine what corrective actions will be necessary, but stability
and safety of the structure is threatened primarily due to the extent of the scour.
The piling that support the bridge are 35 feet long and have been partially exposed
(no longer embedded in the river bottom) due to the scouring action of the flood
water.

Due to an earlier levee breach, flood waters from the Missouri River are flowing
inland, affecting I-29 and area tributaries and streams. 

The Iowa DOT will continue to provide the public with regular updates on the damages
caused by the flooding, as well as recovery efforts when the waters begin to recede
later this month. 

This is an unsafe area for the public to enter due to the possibility of undermined
pavement.

Due to these types of safety hazards, never enter a closed roadway, even after the
flood waters recede.

7AM Newscast 08-12-2011

News, Podcasts

August 12th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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Stong winds barrel through Atlantic this morning

News

August 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Winds gusting up to 53mph blew through Atlantic this morning, causing minor damage. The NWS in Des Moines reports a 53mph gust was recorded at the Atlantic Airport, at 4:25-a.m. Sustained winds around 40-mph were recorded through 5:05-a.m. Damage included tree down near 5th & Linn, a community church billboard on N. Olive Street destroyed, and scattered other incidents., including a large piece of drywall flying across 7th Street, across from a construction site at IWCC (IA Western Community College) at 4:25-a.m.