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Programs can help flood victims struggling with finances


July 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The flooding along the Missouri River is putting a financial strain on people whose homes or farms are under water, but some help is available.

Officials predict the river will remain high until at least August, so some people who have had to evacuate could be out of their homes or businesses for months.

Iowa officials say homeowners who have been displaced by the flood and are struggling to keep up with their mortgages should call the state mortgage help line at 877-622-4866.

Iowa community halts siren tests during flooding


July 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Council Bluffs has halted testing of its tornado sirens amid Missouri River flooding.

The city’s public information officer, Don Gross, says the sirens were to have been tested July 10 but officials decided to hold off. He says there’s concern residents would think there was a flood-related emergency, such as a levee break or forced evacuations.

The Army Corps of Engineers is releasing massive amounts of water into the river from dams upstream. Those releases will keep the river above flood stage in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska at least into August.

Council Bluffs officials are urging residents to prepare for widespread flooding should a levee fail.



July 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Capt. Matthew Nielson

The Department of Defense regrets to announce the death of Capt. Matthew Gunnar Nielson, 27, a Jefferson, Iowa native serving on active duty in the U.S. Army, who died June 29, in Badrah, Iraq. Nielson was killed during an indirect fire attack by insurgents on Contingency Operating Logistics base Shocker while deployed to Iraq for Operation New Dawn (formerly known as Operation Iraqi Freedom). Also killed in the attack were Capt. David E. Van Camp, 29, of Wheeling, W.Va., and Spc. Robert G. Tenney, Jr., 29, of Warner Robins, Ga. All three Soldiers were assigned to 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, U.S. Army, Fort Hood, Texas. The attack is under investigation.

Nielson was born February 1, 1984 in Omaha, Neb. and raised in Lincoln, Neb., Ogden, Iowa, and Jefferson, Iowa, where he was homeschooled. Nielson worked for the Fareway Store in Jefferson during and after high school, eventually being promoted to produce manager. He attended the University of Northern Iowa, where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 2008 and received a commission into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant (Armor branch) through the UNI Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in May 2008. While at UNI, he received the Gen. George C. Marshall Leadership Award and the American Legion Gold Scholastic Award. Nielson was also a member of the Phi Eta Sigma Academic Honor Society, UNI Ultimate Frisbee Team and the UNI Alumni Association.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with bronze service star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Air Assault Badge, and Combat Action Badge.
Nielson is survived by his mother and father, Christine and Roger Nielson of Jefferson; brothers Nathanael, Jakob, and Luke; and sisters Heather, Kirsten, Teddi, and Emily.
The family of Capt. Matthew Nielson issued the following statement:

“Since Matt was a small boy he loved anything military, so he died doing what he loved best. Serving others was of the utmost importance to him and how he wanted to spend his life. He always gave his all, whatever he was doing. Matthew was a beloved son, brother, friend and Soldier. He’s already home, and we know we’ll be together again someday. Apart, but forever in our hearts. Psalms 11.”
Funeral arrangements are pending and details will be provided as they become available. The Nielson family asks that their privacy be respected at this time.

Atlantic Chamber Board Seeks Applicants


July 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has announced applications are being accepted to fill the position of Executive Director. Board President Brian Church says they “Are looking for a candidate with a B.A., or B.S. Degree, and experience with Chambers or non-profit management.” Experience in public relations or marketing will also be a key element in selecting the right candidate.

A cover letter and resume should be sent via email to on or before Friday, July 15, 2011. The position was made vacant by the announcement this past week current Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ann McCurdy has resigned, effective July 29th.

Weekend Newscast 07-02-2011

News, Podcasts

July 2nd, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Chris Parks


Alcohol related arrests in Stanton


July 2nd, 2011 by Chris Parks

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest of three individuals early Saturday (7/2) morning in Stanton.  At approximately 1:29am a gray Kia Sportage was stopped at the parking lot of the Stanton School for having no headlamps on.  After further investigation arrests were made on alcohol related charges. 

The driver of the vehicle, 22-year-old Justin D. Williams of Stanton, was arrested for Operating While Intoxicated First Offense.  The two passengers, 20-year-old Kristopher A. Maley of Stanton and 19-year-old Jordan D. Williams also of Stanton, were arrested for Possession of Alcohol Under 21.  Maley and Jordan Williams were processed and released on citation, while Justin Williams was held on $1,000 bond.  All of the arrests occurred without incident or injury.

Chase ends in Council Bluffs


July 2nd, 2011 by Chris Parks

The Council Bluffs Police department assisted the Omaha Police Department in a vehicle pursuit on Friday evening.  Officers from the Omaha Police department were actively pursuing two armed suspects in what was believed to be a stolen vehicle, when officers from the Council Bluffs Police Department joined the chase at 8:50pm.  During the pursuit the vehicle struck a parked vehicle in the area of South 35th Street and 8th Avenue, but continued to flee. 

Eventually the suspects crashed in the 10th block of South 31st Street and both suspects were taken into custody as the vehicle caught fire as a result of the crash.  Members of the Council Bluffs Fire Department were able to extinguish the blaze and the vehicle was confirmed stolen from Omaha.  The driver of the vehicle was identified as 21-year-old Eric Lozano who was arrested for previous valid warrants and also charged with Theft in the 2nd Degree and Felony Eluding.  The passenger in the vehicle was 18-year-old Aleazar Rodriguez who was charged as a material witness in a felony assault of police officers in Omaha, Theft in the 2nd Degree and Eluding.  Both suspects were held pending a court appearance.

Intentional Levee Breach investigated in Harrison County


July 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The following is a statement issued at 12:50-p.m.,  from Doug Reed, with Pott. Co Emergency Mgmt.:


Pottawattamie County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Theulen received a telephone call at approximately 9:50 a.m. this morning from Harrison County Emergency Management Coordinator Larry Oliver. The purpose of that call was for Mr. Oliver to notify us that the Vanmann #30 Levee near Loveland, may be in the process of being intentionally breached via explosives. The timing of the detonation was alleged to be at 10:00 a.m.

At approximately 10:10 a.m., the Pottawattamie County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) received a complaint call from a private citizen who had apparently witnessed the explosion and wanted to know why “we” were blowing up levees. Pottawattamie County did not participate in this intentional levee breach. It is our understanding that neither the State of Iowa, nor the Army Corps of Engineers, nor any other governmental entity, had anything to do with the detonation.

Multiple calls to the Pottawattamie County EOC from concerned citizens regarding this event have followed. In late May, shortly after the release of the inundation maps by the Army Corps of Engineers, a group of private citizens began work on the Vanmann #30 Levee to raise it to a level which would allow it to withstand the anticipated river flow.

On Saturday, June 25th, this levee was naturally breached in Harrison County near DeSoto Bend. A considerable amount of water flowed south and pooled behind the portion of the Vanmann #30 Levee in question. Pottawattamie County was first notified that a group of citizens wanted to breach this levee on Sunday, June 26th. The purpose of this breach was to lower the Vanmann #30 Levee to the prior level to allow the pooling water to flow back into the Missouri River.

EMA Coordinator Theulen met with the group that evening and informed them that they would likely need the permission of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, before such an activity could take place. These individuals were also cautioned that any activity undertaken by them which affected the flow of water would be at their own risk should the lives and/or property of others be impacted.

On Tuesday, June 28th, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources determined that it did not have authority to regulate the levee in question because it was put into place prior to their statutory authority. The Corps initially indicated that they would not be approving the breaching of the Vanmann #30 Levee. This morning, however, the Army Corps of Engineers indicated that it also had no authority to regulate the levee in question as it is not a federal levee and is outside of federal jurisdiction.

As of this writing, Pottawattamie County is still gathering information about the activities at the Vanmann #30 Levee. We received no advance notification from any individuals involved of with the imminent intention to breach the levee. A member of the Vanmann #30 Levee District was contacted by a representative of the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office late this morning. That individual confirmed that a half mile stretch of the Vanmann #30 Levee (from approximately river mile marker 637 to 637.5) was mechanically excavated. He further confirmed that further lowering of the levee was accomplished via use of explosives.

Obviously, we will be monitoring this situation very closely – both in terms of observing the effect that this breach has on water flow and river levels, and in terms of tracking potential damage to critical infrastructure and private property elsewhere downstream. Furthermore, we are very disappointed in the decision to go forward with the breaching of the Vanmann #30 Levee without notifying any authorities in Pottawattamie County.

There are tens of thousands of citizens on both sides of the river who are affected by the flooding on the Missouri River and private activities such as this which have the potential to affect those lives should not be undertaken without a full consideration of the consequences.

Finally, we are presuming that the explosives detonation on the Vanmann #30 Levee was accomplished by a properly licensed and permitted commercial user of explosives who was using the explosives in accordance with the conditions of that permit. Any use outside the legally mandated process would be a Class C Felony under Iowa law, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. A full investigation of these activities will be accomplished as soon as possible.

Grassley staffers to visit western IA next week


July 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Because the U-S Senate will remain in-session during the week of July 4th, Iowa Senator Charles Grassley is unable to attend previously planned town hall meetings in the state. The Senate will continue negotiations over how to achieve $2.4-trillion in savings in the federal budget, in order to offset an increase in the amount of debt the government can legal borrow. The deadline for an agreement on raising the debt ceiling is August 2nd.

And, while Grassley will be attending to business in Washington, D-C, two members of his staff will represent him at the 12 town meetings in Iowa Grassley had planned to hold.

In his Grassley’s place, Regional Director Donna Barry and Legislative Aide Sherry Kuntz will conduct town meetings in Adams, Audubon, Carroll, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie, Shelby and Taylor counties.

Grassley’s scheduled appearances at the Atlantic and Denison Rotary meetings on July 5 and July 7 have been postponed. Grassley said he will reschedule constituent meetings in all of these counties. Meetings with Grassley staffers will take place:

On Tuesday, July 5th

From 8 – 9 a.m. at the New Hope Village, Activity Center Gymnasium, in Carroll.

From 10:15 – 11:15 a.m. at the Audubon County Economic Development (ACED), Community Room, in Audubon.

From 2:15 – 3:15 p.m. at the Corning Community Building, in Corning.

And, from 4:15 – 5:15 p.m. at the Taylor County Farm Bureau‘s meeting Room, in Bedford.

On Wednesday, July 6th

From 8 – 9 a.m. at the Shenandoah Medical Center, in Shenandoah.

From 10 – 11 a.m. at The Gathering Place, Corner of Cass and Ohio Streets, in Sidney.

From Noon – 1 p.m. at the Glenwood Senior Center, in Glenwood.

From 2 – 3 p.m. at the Montgomery County Family YMCA, in Red Oak.

And, from 4 – 5 p.m. at the Oakland Community Building, in Oakland.

And, on Thursday, July 7th

From 7 – 8 a.m. at the United Western Coop, in Missouri Valley.

9:45 – 10:45 a.m. at the Onawa Community Center, 320 in Onawa.

And, from 2 – 3 p.m. at the Harlan Public Library, in Harlan.

Statewide holiday traffic enforcement project underway


July 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A beefed up law enforcement effort is underway around the state for the Independence Day weekend. Iowa State Patrol Trooper Mark Domino says they’ll be looking for speeders, drunk drivers and those who are texting while driving. He’s also reminding motorists to buckle-up, but he’s noticed most Iowans are obeying the seat belt law.

“I believe we’re up to 93-percent (compliance). I travel the interstates and the four-lanes a lot and to try and find somebody not wearing their seat belt is really tough,” Domino said. The Iowa Department of Public Safety reports 214 agencies participated in the Fourth of July traffic enforcement project last year and officers stopped 4,592 drivers for speeding. Domino, who’s based in Mason City, says his patrol post has enlisted the help of an aircraft to catch speeders this year.

“He’s going to be on the four lanes probably, but he could be on the two lanes, we never know when we get assigned to the aircraft,” Domino said. “We’re going to be using the LIDAR, which is a laser type radar…so we’re going to use the tools which the state has given us.”

During last year’s holiday enforcement project, officers had contact with 353 impaired drivers, over 1,000 seat belt violators and apprehended 107 wanted persons. Five fatalities were recorded in Iowa during the 2010 Fourth of July weekend.

(Bob Fisher/Radio Iowa)