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County Launches Damage Reporting Site to Secure Disaster Assistance


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


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


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.

Iowa helicopter lands in Neb. after problem


June 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Authorities say no one was hurt when a helicopter operated by an Iowa company made a forced landing while surveying transmission lines in Nebraska. The Omaha Public Power District says the helicopter, operated by P&N of Marion, Iowa, made an unplanned landing just before 1 p.m. on Thursday due to a reported mechanical problem.

It happened about 1 1/2 miles from the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant, which is about 20 miles north of Omaha. OPPD spokesman Jeff Hanson says the pilot and a utility company employee were on the helicopter. Neither was injured.

Hanson says the power company and other utilities are surveying the lines to look for weaknesses due to flooding on the Missouri River. Local authorities and Federal Aviation Administration have been notified.

Area near Missouri River in SW Iowa evacuated


June 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

GLENWOOD, Iowa (AP) — More residents of southwest Iowa who live in a rural area near the swollen Missouri River are being evacuated as a precaution.

Mills County officials ordered everyone who lives between Interstate 29 and the river to evacuate an area from north of Glenwood south to Fremont County. Earlier this week, Fremont County evacuated the area between I-29 and the river because of concern that the levee may be overtopped.

Mills County officials say there is no immediate threat of a levee breach Thursday, but seeping groundwater had risen behind the levee and blocked some roads.

Residents are being urged to leave the area before 4 p.m. Friday. The Red Cross set up a shelter in Malvern for anyone who needs somewhere to stay.

Audubon Farmer Hosts Field Day July 9th


June 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Audubon, IOWA – Join Vic and Cindy Madsen, Audubon, and professional fence builder Jason Schmidt, Battle Creek, as he leads participants in erecting a new high-tensile fence on the Madsens’ farm. Practical Farmers of Iowa invites you to this hands-on workshop, where you will gain the knowledge and skills to install similar fencing on your farm. Also learn more about rotational grazing systems from NRCS Grasslands Specialist Rick Sprague at the field day, which is to be held Saturday, July 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and ending with supper.  

The event, Hands-on Fantastic Fencing for Great Grazing, will be held at the Madsen farm, located at 2186 Goldfinch Ave., Audubon, IA 50025. If you plan to attend, please contact Kevin Dietzel, Practical Farmers of Iowa, 515.232.5661 or email Kevin at kevin@practicalfarmers.org by 7/7/11.  “Hopefully everyone who attends will pick up a fencing or grazing tip that will be a help to them on their farms,” says field day host Vic Madsen. 

The Madsens have a 275-acre mixed-crop and livestock farm that is approximately 65 percent organic and 35 percent conventional. Their livestock are raised without antibiotics or hormones. They market some of their livestock directly to customers. A small aronia berry planting was put in 2008 to diversify income. 

Directions to the farm:

From Hwy. 71 in Audubon, go 2 blocks west at the West Central Co-op bin site. Take a left by the east side of the hospital and go 1/2 mile south. The road curves west, continue west for 2-1/2 miles to the end of the pavement. Then turn left on Goldfinch and go 3/4 mile south on gravel. The farm is on the left. 

Practical Farmers of Iowa and its members will be hosting more than 30 field days in 2011. Most field days are free, and everybody is welcome to all of them. For a copy of the 2011 Field Day Guide, you can call the PFI office at 515.232.5661 or down load a printable PDF at http://practicalfarmers.org/events/field-days.html.  

It takes many sponsors to make these field days possible. Practical Farmers of Iowa recognizes the following sustaining sponsors: Albert Lea Seedhouse, American Natural Soy, Iowa Farmers Union, ISU Extension, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), Seed Savers,  USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, in addition to the following major sponsors: Iowa Forage and Grassland Council, Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA), CROPP Cooperative of Organic Valley/Organic Prairie Family of Farms and Iowa State University Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture. 

Founded in 1985, Practical Farmers of Iowa is an open, supportive and diverse organization of farmers and friends of farmers, advancing profitable, ecologically sound and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture through farmer-to-farmer networking, farmer-led investigation and information sharing. Farmers in our network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. For additional information, call 515.232.5661 or visit www.practicalfarmers.org

(PFI Press Release)

Manning resident arrested on theft charge


June 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Audubon County say a Manning resident was arrested recently on a theft charge. 44-year old Mark Anthony Stanley, of Manning, faces a 4th Degree Theft charge, following an investigation into the theft of property from the 1000 block of Crane Avenue.

Authorities say he allegedly took possession of property belonging to someone else, and then destroyed it by taking the property to a scrap yard. Stanley appeared before the magistrate today (Thursday), and was released from custody.

His preliminary hearing was set for July 11th.

Defense rests in trial of MN man in Iowa killing


June 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

CARROLL, Iowa (AP) – The defense has rested its case in the first-degree murder trial of a Minnesota man charged with killing a convenience store clerk in northern Iowa. Michael Swanson, of St. Louis Park, Minn., was 17 when he was charged with killing Sheila Myers on Nov. 15, 2010 in Humboldt – one of two store clerks he’s accused of killing that day.

The defense rested this morning during the trial in Carroll, after calling Swanson’s mother, Kathleen, as a witness on Wednesday. The state today called rebuttal witnesses, including a psychiatrist. Michael Taylor says Swanson understood his crimes, as well as right from wrong.

Taylor says Swanson told him the slayings were brewing inside his head since he was 13, and his original plan was to wait until he was 18 and kill his parents.

2011 Relay For Life to be held Friday in Atlantic


June 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The annual Cass County Relay For Life takes place Friday here in Atlantic, from 6-to 11-p.m.,  at the Atlantic High School track. Carole Schuler helped to organize the event, which serves to raise funds for cancer research, promotes awareness, and celebrates those who are cancer survivors. It also acts as a way to remember those who have lost their courageous fight with the disease. 

Carole says the day actually begins at 8-a.m. with a “Relay For Life” Tractor Ride that begins at the Cass County Community Center. Some of the tractors will be at the AHS track, as well that evening. Schuler says there are many activities planned for this evening, and wonderful food for you to enjoy. 

At 6:30-p.m, the group “Sheltered Reality” drumline will perform. At about that same time, there’ll be activities for the kids, including washable tattoos, face painting, and, a smart shop, with information about cancer and persons on-hand to answer questions. There’s also a “car bash,” where for a small donation, you can swing sledge hammer on a donated vehicle and raise funds for cancer research at the same time. 

She says also, you don’t have to be a part of one of the many teams who will gather to raise funds for the cause, in order to participate in the event. Schuler says you can sit in the stands and watch the teams in purple shirts circle the track, enjoy a variety of entertainment, talk a walk around the track yourself, and celebrate those who are celebrating their cancer survival. 

Hy-Vee is sponsoring a free cancer survivor social in the High School Commons, at 4:30-p.m., with registration. Survivors can bring a guest and receive a free, purple, cancer survivor t-shirt. Those same persons can walk the first lap at the Relay For Life, beginning at 6-p.m. 

The evening winds down with a luminary lighting, and a reading of the names of those who have lost their battle with cancer, and those who have survived. If you haven’t already donated to the cause and want to do so, you can contribute on-line at www.relayforlife.org/casscountyia. The website also has more information about the 2011 Cass County Relay For Life.

9AM Newscast 06-23-2011

News, Podcasts

June 23rd, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/News Director Ric Hanson