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Harlan men arrested on drug charges this week


May 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Police in Harlan report two Harlan men were arrested Wednesday (May 18th), on drug charges. Officials say 25-year old Shane Hill and 18-year old Adam Scheffler were taken into custody following a traffic stop.

Scheffler was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Hill was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and cited for improper tail lamps on his vehicle. Both men were brought to the Shelby County Jail.

Authorities in Harlan report also, 35-year old Shane Gordon Lester, of Council Bluffs, was arrested last Sunday (May 15th), at Myrtue Medical Center in Harlan, after police were called to the facility’s emergency room, where a female was being treated for a broken arm, allegedly caused by Lester, who officials say is the woman’s boyfriend. Shane Lester was charged with Felony Domestic Abuse Assault Causing Bodily Injury, 3rd or subsequent offense. He was taken to the Shelby County Jail, posted a $2,000 bond on Monday, and was scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on June 2nd. He was also ordered not to have contact with the alleged victim.

And, on May 5th, Harlan Police cited 18-year old Dustin Muell, of Panama, for providing tobacco to a person under the age of 18. Muell was cited for the offense, and released.

Drug arrest reported in Atlantic


May 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Police in Atlantic report the arrest today (Thursday), of 20-year old Krystina Hughes, of Atlantic, on a drug charge. Officials say Hughes was taken into custody for Possession of a Controlled substance and Driving While Suspended.

And, 21-year old Jeremy Michael Petersen, of Atlantic, was arrested on a valid Pottawattamie County warrant for Failure to Comply.

Both individuals were brought to the Cass County Jail and held pending a court appearance.

Menard’s, Plumrose USA & Tyson tax incentives from IEDB for western IA projects


May 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Three western Iowa companies were awarded financial incentives packages today (Thursday), from the Iowa Economic Development Board. In all, the IEDB approved awards for projects that officials say will create up to 447 jobs across the state.

The board approved Enterprise Zone tax incentives to Menard’s Incorporated, to expand a warehouse at its distribution center in Shelby County, which will allow for a further expansion of its product lines. The Iowa Department of Economic Development says the company was considering out-of-state locations for the expansion project, which represents an estimated $10.9-million capital investment and is expected to create 28-new jobs. The center opened in 2007.

The IEDB also approved $520,000 in direct financial assistance from the Grow Iowa Values Financial Assistance Program (GIVFAP) and tax incentives, to meat processor Plumrose USA, to build a proposed manufacturing facility in Council Bluffs. If the project becomes a reality, it would represent a $57.8-million capital investment and create 65 new jobs supported by state incentives.

The company, which produced premium bacons, packaged deli meats, deli-counter hams and cooked ribs. They already have a production facility in Council Bluffs. The proposal calls for a 100,000-square foot LEED-certified facility that would house new slicing and packaging operations. The tax incentives approved for the project are though the High Quality Jobs Program.

And, the board today (Thurssday) awarded $800,000 in direct financial assistance from GIVFAP and Enterprise Zone tax incentives to Tyson Prepared Foods, Inc., for a proposed renovation of its Council Bluffs facility. The project involves 53 jobs, and includes an addition of roughly 60,000-square feet, and renovating the cooked meats facility, for a total investment of $48-million. The company employs 9,400 people in Iowa.

ACSD BOE acts on Certified staff contract


May 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Community School District’s Board of Education has approved Contracts and/or Letters of Assignment, along with the 2011-2012 Master Contract with the certified bargaining unit. The action came during a special session held at Noon today (Thursday), in the Middle School Board Room.

Superintendent Mike Amstein (am’stine) said by their calculations, the settlement amounts to a 3.29-percent package increase for the certified staff, although the bargaining unit sees it as a 3.5-percentage increase. In any event, while there are still some parts of the language of the contract which still need to be “tweaked,“ according to Amstein, both sides agreed to the negotiated settlement, and he recommended approval.

The basic settlement, he says, calls for a $400 increase on the base salary, which would establish the base at $27,300. That amount will also be used to generate the Teacher Salary Supplement — or, T-S-S – monies. 95-percent of the T.S.S. money will be distributed throughout the 2011-2012 school year, with 5% set aside to address any changes, with the remainder to be paid out in last check of the contract year.”

The agreement also means a change in the amount the district and certified staff will pay out toward insurance and Tax Sheltered Annuities (TSA’s).The district will increase raise the amount paid to those included in the family plan from 50-to $100 per month, and those with a TSA from 50-to $100 per month, as well.

The package amounts to a $500 increase in cost to the district, per certified employee. He says regardless of what the package percentage amounts to, the numbers involved speak for themselves.

The board established the issuance date for the contracts as May 24th, and the return date as June 14th. Last week, the Atlantic Board of Education approved the 2011-2012 Master Contract with the non-certified staff’s bargaining unit. Superintendent Mike Amstein said the package included a 39-cent per hour raise.

Last week, the Atlantic Board of Education approved the 2011-2012 Master Contract with the non-certified staff’s bargaining unit. Superintendent Mike Amstein said the package includes a 39-cent per hour raise.

Adair County BOS sets date for LOST ordinance vote


May 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Adair County Board of Supervisors, Wednesday, set June 8th as the date for a public hearing on an ordinance pertaining to the voter approved renewal of the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST). Adair County Auditor Mindy Schaefer says the ordinance has to be approved in order for the tax to go into effect in 2012.

Schaefer says they’ll hold the 1st reading of the Ordinance on June 8th, and if no one objects, the 2nd and 3rd readings are likely to be waived, and the Ordinance adopted. It will then become effective on July 1st, 2012.

The vote to renew the penny sales tax was approved by the voters during a special election held May 3rd. Only the communities of Casey and Stuart failed to approve the Tax, but a requested re-vote will be held in those communities on August 2nd. By failing to renew the local option tax earlier this month, the City of Casey stands to lose about $650 in annual revenue for street repairs and improvements, while Stuart would be out about $42,000. The money would have gone toward the City’s General Fund.

Each City in the County designates what the money from the penny tax will be used for. Most of the cities will used the monies for capital improvements, such as street and other infrastructure repairs.

Schaefer says the Adair County Supervisor’s Wednesday, also approved a contract for Child Support Recovery. She says there are seven or eight counties included in the agreement, which needed to be updated. Cass County is the control county for the agreement.

Atlantic City Council tables Boulder’s Development Agreement & other business


May 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council Wednesday tabled until their next meeting, approval of a resolution for a Development Agreement with Boulders Inn and Suites and the authorizing of Tax Increment payments for the project, until the City’s Finance Committee could review a proposal from Boulders with regard to a $100,000 tax rebate and other, related matters.

The $1.5-million dollar upscale hotel and suites officially opened May 13th. An open house for the public will be held on Sunday, May 22nd, from 1-to 4-p.m. Officials report the business is already completely booked for the Ragbrai, during the weekend of July 24th.

In other business, the Council unanimously passed a $510,500 budget amendment to the Fiscal Year 2011 budget.

They also passed the second reading, and adopted on the third-reading, an amendment to the wastewater fee schedule, to help pay for the new $15-million wastewater treatment project, which is currently under construction.

And, the Council authorized Mayor Dave Jones to enter into an agreement with the Nishna Valley YMCA, for the operation and oversight of the City Swimming Pool and other, recreational programs. The agreement will be for a one-year, trial period.

Atlantic City Council approves Capital Improvement Projects


May 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council Wednesday evening, approved five 2011 Capital Improvement Projects totaling nearly $2.7-million, and which are set to get underway soon. Following the receipt of bids, and upon recommendation by Snyder and Associates’ Engineer Dave Sturm, the Council awarded the Portland Cement Concrete (P.C.C.) Paving and Storm Sewer Improvements to Godberson-Smith Construction, from Ida Grove.

Sturm said their bid of just over $1.499-million was less than the Engineer’s estimate of $1.6-million. A Hot Melt Asphalt (H.M.A) Paving and Storm Sewer Improvement project was awarded to Carley Construction, of Treynor, who had the low bid of just over $709, 900.

The Sunnyside Park road resurfacing and parking improvement project was awarded to Western Engineering, whose bid of $365,583 was the lowest received and less than the engineer’s estimate of $426,877.

The Bull Creek Pathway widening and resurfacing project was awarded to Henningsen Construction, of Atlantic, for just over $78,000. And, the City Park sidewalk repair project was awarded to Betts and Beer Construction of Adair, for $27,697.

The projects, which were voted on individually, passed on a 6-to-1 vote, with Councilman Kern Miller providing the lone “nay” each vote in each case.

Jesup Avenue exit on I-29 near Pacific Junction closed until early August for bridge construction


May 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – May 18, 2011 – Bridge construction work will require closing Jesup Avenue under Interstate 29 at exit 35 approximately one-half mile west of Pacific Junction until Mid-August, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Council Bluffs construction office.

The Iowa DOT reminds motorists to drive with caution, obey posted speed limits and other signs in the work area, and be aware that traffic fines for moving violations are at least double in work zones. As in all work zones, drivers should stay alert, allow ample space between vehicles and wear seat belts.

The OTHER Congressman King won’t rule out run for president


May 18th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Congressman Peter King, (R), NY

Congressman Steve King, (R), IA

The OTHER U.S. Congressman King isn’t ruling out the idea he could be persuaded to run for president. Congressman PETER King — a Republican from Long Island, New York — sent an email to constituents, saying some of his supporters think he should run for president. King told C-N-N he’s not going to say “no” to the idea, which he says came from Nassau County, New York Republicans.

“It’s the most powerful Republican organization in the country,” King said of the Long Island-based group. “If they want to pursue it and see what happens. I don’t expect it to lead it anywhere, but I’ll leave that up to them.” So-called “draft” movements are often formed as a prelude to a candidate announcing he or she is running for office, but the New Yorker says he’s “focused” on running for reelection to the U.S. House.

“Right now I have no plans to go to Iowa or New Hampshire,” King said during an interview on CNN. Iowa Congressman Steve King publicly toyed with the idea of running for president over the past couple of years, but has seemed to settle on the role of King-maker this year. King hosted a forum in February for five potential G-O-P candidates.

(Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)

Outstanding Teachers receive awards


May 18th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Two southwest Iowa teachers are the 2011 recipients of the Charles E. Lakin Outstanding Teacher Award.

This year’s recipients were announced in special ceremonies at their respective schools, Tuesday. The 2011 recipients are Kelly Sutherland, third grade teacher in the Treynor School District, and Rhonda Sheldon, a 6th-through 12th grade life sciences instructor in the Sidney School District. Each instructor will receive $10,000, while their school districts receive $2,500 each.

Named after a well-known philanthropist, the award goes out to teacher and counselors in 25 Iowa school districts within 40 miles of Emerson, Lakin’s hometown. Lakin created the award in 2008 as a way to give back to teachers, who were a big influence on his life. His mission is to reward teachers who entice students to come to school each day, and to emphasize the vital role of teachers in rural communities.

Teachers and counselors eligible must be employed full-time, with a minimum of three years experience in the same school. Previous winners are ineligible, and only one award per school year is available. Teachers from accredited private and public schools were eligible, but home schools were excluded. Teachers in large urban communities such as Council Bluffs and Lewis Central were also excluded from the award.