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48-hour Projected snowfall totals

News, Weather

February 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A strong winter storm is forecast to lift from northeast New Mexico northeastward across the central US later this afternoon into Friday.

48-hour Projected snowfall totals (ending 6-a.m. Sat., Feb. 23rd) – as of 5:30-a.m. Thursday. (NWS/Des Moines)

A band of moderate to heavy snow developing ahead of the low pressure system will spread across the state today into this evening. Snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour can be expected during the late afternoon and evening hours, with much of the expected snowfall expected snowfall to occur in six hours or less. Strong east winds at 15 to 25 mph with higher gusts to around 30 mph are also expected. The winds will combine with the heavy snowfall to create widespread visibility of less than one quarter of a mile by later this afternoon into the evening. Dangerous travel conditions are expected this afternoon through much of tonight. The storms will likely have a significant impact on rush hour traffic.


Sentences issued in Page County livestock neglect and assault cases

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Page County Attorney’s Office reports two sentences were handed down earlier this week in separate cases. In one of the cases, 24-year-old Kiel Mark Brittain, of Clarinda, plead guilty to livestock neglect, in association with a Nov. 2012 investigation into malnourished cows, calves and a bull found on a property in rural Page County. Brittain was sentenced Monday to one-year  in jail, with all but 4 days suspended. He was also placed on unsupervised probation for an unspecified length of time, and ordered to have no livestock during that time of probation. Brittain must also pay a fine of $315, plus related court costs.

And, 54-year-old Michael D. Weaver, of Shenandoah, plead guilty Monday in Page County District Court, to a charge of assault with the intent to commit sexual abuse. He had originally been charged with Enticing away a person under the age of 13, Lascivious Acts with a Child/Solicitation, in association with events that occurred in August of 2011. Weaver was sentenced to two years in prison and fined $625, but both were suspended. He was instead placed on supervised probation for a period of two-years, and ordered to reside at a Residential Correctional Facility.

In addition, the judge ordered Weaver to complete a psychological evaluation, risk assessment, and a Sex Offender Treatment Program. Weaver was also ordered to pay related court costs, restitution to his victims, and he must have no contact with the victims for five years.

Sandhill Cranes drop in on western Iowa by the thousands

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

While a major winter storm is expected to clobber Iowa today (Thursday), a sure sign of spring is already here. The migrating Sandhill Cranes are beginning to appear at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge in the Missouri River valley, straddling the Iowa/Nebraska border. Greg Wagner, a spokesman for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, says many hundreds of the large white-and-grey birds have already landed in the area. All told, perhaps 650-thousand cranes will stop off in the region over the next few weeks.

“This is one of the most unique things that happens around the world with birds and with wildlife,” Wagner says. “This is the largest gathering of cranes in the world, starting about now and all the way into early April.” The cranes are making a pit stop on the way north to breeding grounds in Canada, Alaska and Siberia. The numbers should peak here in mid-March.

“You’ll see the cranes out feeding in the fields,” Wagner says. “Take along a good zoom lens with your camera, a good pair of binoculars. Enjoy the cranes at a distance. Don’t try to approach them. They’ll fly and go elsewhere.” Several hundred eagles and thousands of ducks and geese have already been spotted along the river, too. The Sandhill Cranes draw some 70-thousand visitors from around the world to the region every year, with an economic impact of about 8-million dollars.

(Radio Iowa)

Boil Advisory issued for Stuart


February 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

(Update 8:40-a.m….)

Officials with the Adair-Guthrie County Emergency Management Agency say a BOIL ADVISORY is in effect for the City of Stuart until further notice. Emergency Management Director Bob Kempf says the advisory was issued after a 10-inch water main ruptured below east Front Street in Stuart, between Sherman and Harlan Streets.

Stuart Utilities was able to repair the main, but Kempf says because contaminants may have worked their way into the water supply during the break, residents and persons who get their water from the City of Stuart are urged to boil all water before consumption. You should let it boil for one-minute before letting it cool, or use bottled water, until further notice.

In addition, some areas of the community may not have water, due to the pressure loss. If you have any questions, please call Bob Kempf at 515-523-2915.

Public hearing on the proposed FY 2014 City of Atlantic Budget to be held March 13th


February 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday, set March 13th as the date for a public hearing on the City’s proposed Fiscal Year 2014 budget.

Atlantic City Administrator Doug Harris (Ric Hanson – photo)

City Administrator Doug Harris said there were some changes to the budget since the Council held a work session to try and hash out the numbers. The changes overall reflect a slight decrease in the budget, but it won’t affect the projected rate of $17.68 per thousand dollars taxable valuation, which is an increase of 44-cents. The majority of the increase in the tax rate is due to a 38-cent increase in the Debt Service levy.

In other business, the Atlantic City Council approved a resolution awarding a contract to KWS, Inc., for the 7th Street Traffic Signal Improvement Project, for $139,900. They tabled however, the awarding of a contract for the Sunnyside Tennis Court Re-Construction project until March 20th, based on the recommendation of Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring and the engineer for the project. Only two bids were received, but officials were hoping for more, because crews with the City Street Department worked to remove the asphalt court surface, which saved a good chunk of money. It’s the second time the project had gone out for bidding.

Dostel’s Construction in Nebraska bid $259,000, while Midwest Tennis and Track bid $278,000. Dostel’s bid was unchanged from last July, when bids were first requested and later rejected. Both the engineer and Herring felt the lowest bid of $259,000 was still too high. They requested the awarding of the contract be tabled for up to 30-days, because they still hope to come up with financing options necessary to help pay for the project.  Herring said right now though, they don’t have the means come up with another $20-to 30,000 to cover the gap between the engineer’s estimate of cost and the lowest bid. Councilman Steve Livengood asked Herring how they plan to come up with the extra money, since Herring said they don’t have those extra funds in the Parks and Rec Budget. Herring said they will look at all options, including receiving private donations

The Council also approved the second reading, and suspended the rules to pass on the third reading, an amendment to the City’s Zoning Ordinance that allows some lots in the Southern Heights 2nd addition to be reclassified from R-2 (Single family) to R-4 (Multi-family) housing. Developer Don Sonntag said he would likely be coming before the Council at a later date with an application for Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to help make the housing project financially viable.

Atlantic remains “On track” for high speed rail service


February 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

It may take up to 10-years, but Atlantic is on-track to receive high-speed passenger rail service. That was the word from City Administrator Doug Harris, during Wednesday night’s meeting of the Atlantic City Council. Harris said with the first three phases of a study to bring high-speed passenger rail from Chicago to Omaha, and an environmental impact study having been completed, the five routes being considered have been narrowed down to one.  He said the only route being considered now, is the Iowa Interstate Railroad line, which goes through Atlantic. The next phase he is a financial feasibility and cost/benefit analysis.

Harris said transportation officials have approved moving forward with a Chicago-to-Moline route in 2015. Tenative approval has also been given for the next phase, which is from Moline to Iowa City in 2017. The third phase is from Iowa City to Des Moines. No date has been set yet, for that segment. The fourth and final phase is from Des Moines to Omaha. Harris said officials are exploring the possibility of putting a train station in Atlantic. The proposal will be included in a “Station Analysis Report.”

Harris said the key is trying to determine the cost and benefit, and how many people the route will serve. The study projects 31,637 passengers per year would board and depart the train, from Atlantic. The preliminary cost of building a new train station in Atlantic to accommodate those passengers, according to the report, would cost around $3-million. Harris said officials assumed there wouldn’t be an interest in using the existing depot in Atlantic, but Harris asked them to include that as a possible alternative to keep the costs down.

He said if the project moves forward, and a new terminal is built in Atlantic, there is an 80-percent Federal match for the minimal basic cost of providing the station. If the City wanted to do something extra,  anything above the minimal cost, would be at the City’s expense. Harris said the report weighs heavily “Intermodal transportation connections” as a factor in determining the need for a new train station, and he had to point out to officials, that Atlantic has that type of service available through SWITA (the Southwest Iowa Transportation Agency) buses. Harris said officials were excited to hear about that SWITA has buses which cover and eight-count area, and will incorporate that into their decision making process.

He says he hopes to know within the next six-months what the DOT’s timeline is, but there are additional public comment periods remaining, and it may be as much as 10-years before any significant movement on bringing high-speed rail to Atlantic, is realized.

Storm means snow day for much of Legislature


February 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Most legislative action is being cancelled Thursday at the Iowa Capitol because of a snowstorm expected to sweep through the state. The National Weather Service predicts up to 10 inches of snow could pile by Thursday night in Des Moines, and heavy snow is forecast for much of the state. Gusty winds also are expected. The House and Senate will convene Thursday, but no floor action is scheduled and most committee hearings have been cancelled.

Snow Emergency Proclamation for Glenwood, Thursday


February 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Glenwood Mayor Kimberly Clark has proclaimed a snow emergency for the City of Glenwood, to be in effect from 10 am on Thursday the 21st , 2013.  With this proclamation no person shall park, abandon or leave unattended any vehicle on any public street or City-owned parking lot, other than designated overnight parking areas.  The snow emergency parking ban shall continue from its proclamation through the duration of the snow storm and the twenty-four hour period after cessation of such, or until the snow is plowed or removed from such areas.

Marne man arrested on Des Moines P-D warrant


February 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A Cass County man was arrested last week on a felony warrant for Theft in the 1st Degree, issued by the Des Moines Police Department, in association with a July 2010 incident. 48-year old Jeffrey Dean Long, of Marne, was taken into custody Feb. 14th. Long was taken to the Cass County Jail, posted $25,000 bond and was released. His next court appearance is Mon., Feb. 25th.

And last Saturday, Cass County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 48-year old Darlene Kay Hannan, of Griswold, on a charge of Failure to Have Valid Driver’s License. Hannan was taken to the Cass County Jail where she was released later that day on $325 bond.

Atlantic man arrested Monday, on drug charges


February 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s deputies in Cass County arrested an Atlantic man on drug and other charges, Monday. Officials say 41-year old Scott Matthew Haupert, of Atlantic, was taken into custody on charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Driving Under Suspension.

The following day, charges of Burglary 3rd Degree and Theft 2nd Degree were added as the result of an investigation into a burglary that took place in rural Cumberland on or around January 28th, 2013. Haupert remains at the Cass County Jail on $12,500 bond.