Des Moines County, Iowa News
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Drive-up flu to go

October 30 2005

Click the Pictures to make to biggerA drive-through flu shot clinic Saturday served as an emergency drill for the health, police, fire and sheriff’s departments and provided vaccinations for many area residents.

Drive-up flu shots a hit with Burlington residents.

When the drive-through flu shot clinic opened for business Saturday morning at the Summer Street Fire Station, cars were lined up north and for about nine blocks.
Traffic coming from the south was asked to reroute so all traffic could come from one direction.
"We're not allowing anyone to walk through, mostly because of the safety issues of moving cars," said Abby West, public health communicable diseases specialist. The drive-through Saturday was an emergency drill for the health, police, fire and sheriff's departments. Should a disease pandemic ever occur and emergency vaccinations become necessary, the county will be prepared.
"If we ever had to do this for the entire work best," West said. "If this were a true emergency, we may have to use Summer Street... but we've also talked about using the mall as a site.
"A lot of people can't get out of the car easily," West added, making the drive-through clinic an ideal situation for many. pulling up to the injection station, people would roll down their windows, roll up their sleeves, set their arm on the door and get the shot. After rolling their sleeves back down, they'd exit the station. The whole process, registration to shot, took single car occupants about six minutes and multiple car occupants about 10 minutes - unless it was a carload of children (children were required to get out of the car for their shot). Public health planner Teresa Higginbotham was keeping track to evaluate the emergency preparedness.
"They don't hold still." West said, eyeing a little boy squirming on his mother's lap. Within seconds the boy's arm was stuck, the family was loaded in their van and they were off. Inside the fire station, five injection stations were set up in each of the five bays, One was for children, the other four for adults. Tow nurses were ready to inject patients at each station and two others sat behind them, preparing each vaccination and passing it forward as new patients pulled up.
"We have a lot of retired nurses volunteering," West said. "We only have six nurses and an administrator (at the health department). We couldn't even staff this whole thing without volunteers.
"Giving the flu shot is the easy part." West added. "It's the paperwork that takes longer." Volunteers also were in charge of patient registration. Each person getting a flu shot identified themselves and their insurance provider, when they had their last shot and any allergies they may have. Nurses confirmed the information before sticking their patients. About 60 volunteers donated their time for the emergency drill. Their help allowed things to run smoothly, West said.
"We can give (the shots) as fast as they can pull in here," she said. Those who arrived around 10 a.m. had about a 50 minute wait before entering the fire station parking lot, and most didn't mind.
"It hasn't been too bad," said 68-year-old Carol Kreket of Burlington. "It's nice day. ...A pretty day to look at all the leaves." She and her husband, Bill, 71, decided to come to the drive-through clinic because Carol recently had knee surgery.
"It moved better than we thought it would," Bill said, he said about the line. Those who arrived about noon only had to wait 15 minutes.
"This is the best way to do it," Robert Frick said about the drive-through, though he might have picked a different location.
"You just wait in line and get it over with." Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the health department injected about 1,000 people with the flu vaccine. The department usually gives out 5,000 flu shots in the county each year.

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Firefighter/paramedic Alan Jewel administers a flu shot to Dottie Dobson of Burlington while her husband, Ivan Dobson, gets his at the drive-through vaccination station set up Saturday at the Summer Street Fire Station in Burlington.

Cars filled with people seeking flu shots wait in line enter the drive-through vaccination station at the Summer Street Fire Station.

Group Wants Siren Change*

February 16 2005

Policy should include severe weather, not just tornado warnings as now, says SKYWARN.

A group of local weather watchers wants emergency sirens to sound whenever there's a severe weather warning, not just when there's a threat of a tornado.
Now, sirens in Burlington, West Burlington, Middletown and Yarmouth go off whenever there's a tornado warning, according to Gina Hardin, the county's emergency management coordinator.
Hardin and other SKYWARN volunteers are encouraging leaders in the four Des Moines County communities with emergency sirens to sound warnings when there's a chance of severe hail or severe winds, too, she said.
"We're still in the process of working it all out and making sure it's OK with the cities," Hardin said. "Winds don't have to rotate to create havoc," she said. "We could have straight lined winds and baseball sized hail that's still going to cause damage and possibly injuries that we may need to sound those sirens to get people to take shelter."
During severe weather, SKYWARN volunteers work with the National Weather Service to report wind gusts, hail size, rainfall and cloud formations that could signal a tornado.
The local network also wants to establish a new pattern of sounding the sirens.
Burlington City Councilman Chris King, also a SKYWARN volunteer, said Tuesday the present pattern during a weather emergency is to sound the sirens for three minutes at the beginning of a warning.
The problem with that, he said, is a storm could be nowhere in sight when the first warning is issued, and by the time it finally arrives, much time has passed.
One Iowa community sounded its sirens last year after a tornado warning was issued for that particular region, King said.
"But by the time there was any danger, 30 to 37 minutes passed by," he said.
The SKYWARN group wants sirens sounded for two minutes every five minutes during the time a severe whether warning is in effect, King said.
"People will know there's been an 'all clear' when they stop hearing the sirens," he said.
The group hopes to have the new policies in place sometime in the next couple of months, King said.
Local officials have been working to change the policies of when the emergency sirens are to be sounded since there was a failure to use them during a tornado warning last August.
A new SKYWARN office has been established in the basement of the Burlington Police Department building that, when fully operational later this year, will serve as a place for SKYWARN volunteers to track severe weather in the area.
Should a SKYWARN member determine there's a potential weather threat, he or she would recommend that a police dispatcher sound the sirens, Hardin said.
Anyone interested in becoming a part of the newly formed SKYWARN network must attend a free course in basic spotter training at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Room 121 at Southeastern Community College.
King and Hardin said anybody interested can attend the course, which does not require preregistration.
SKYWARN volunteers will be required to fill out an application, which can be obtained at the Thursday class, King said.

SKYWARN Tornado Test Scheduled March 30*

March 21 2005

Sirens will be activated on new time schedule to test effectiveness.

Des Moines County will activate its SKYWARN system during Iowa Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 28 through April 1, according to Gina Hardin, the Des Moines County homeland security coordinator.
SKYWARN is a group of volunteers that will .help an existing network of law enforcement and firefighters in identifying threatening weather. The group will be the eyes and ears to the operators of the new Weather Emergency Operations Center. aka WOC update 2006.
During the awareness week, Burlington will participate in a severe weather drill. The drill, scheduled for midmorning Wednesday, March 30, will consist of a tornado test "watch" being issued around 10 a.m., followed by a test "warning," and a cancellation of the watch and warning at about 10:30 a.m. If severe weather threatens or the day of the test, the drill will be postponed a day.
The All Hazards Radio net work (formerly known as' the NOAA weather radio network will be activated for both the watch and the warning during the drill. "We are asking the local radio stations and cable system to activate the Emergency Alert System during this drill also, Hardin said.
Hardin said when seven weather threatens, the Weather. WOC will decide when to activate the outdoor warning sirens for Burlington, West Burlington Middletown and Yarmouth. I will base its information from the field and the National Weather Service.
The sirens will be activate when the specific area is experiencing' or will be experiencing life-threatening weather conditions that may include such threats as tornadoes, thunderstorms and large hail. Sirens will be activated for 2 minutes, be for 5 minutes,' on for 2 minutes, off for 5 minutes. The cycle will continue for the duration of I threat or until there is a lost power to the siren.
Hardin wants to have the new system installed in time to tested during the March 30 drill.

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Burlington property maintenance employee Jim Baker wires a Weather siren. The siren was moved from the former Washington Elementary School to its new location across Agency Street.

New System Passes the Test*

April 1 2005

SKYWARN network relieves police.

Members of the new Des Moines County SKYWARN network participated in their first test of the system Thursday.
Burlington Police Chief Dave Wunnenberg said he hopes the new system takes the burden if local officers who, before 'Thursday, were responsible for determining when it was necessary to sound local sirens. Last August,
Wunnenberg came under fire because his department failed to sound the sirens ` after ` the National Weather Service in Davenport issued a tornado warning for the county.
Under the old siren policy, policy and members of local volunteer fire companies served as spotters and alerted a dispatcher when there was a dangerous storm system in their respective, immediate locations, according to Gina Hardin, the county’s emergency management agency coordinator.
Based on the information received, the police shift commander would then determine whether the sirens needed to be sounded, she said.
"The problem with us being responsible for the sirens is it's difficult because we're constantly receiving calls for serve," Wunnenberg said.
Under the new policy, SKYWARN n volunteers, will man a basement office in the police department when severe weather threatens the area and, using data from the weather service Web site and information from spotters in the field, will deter­mine when the sirens need to be sounded, Hardin said.
The SKYWARN volunteer in charge in the office then will alert the police shift commander, who will activate the sirens, she said.
During Thursday's test, which was part of a statewide Severe Weather Awareness Week siren test, things didn't go exactly as planned.
The local sirens started to sound before SKYWARN received the mock tornado warning from the weather service in Davenport.
Wunnenberg told SKYWARN volunteers Chris King and Ron Smith, who were manning the new network office Thursday, that the police department received the thumbs up to sound the sirens from the National Weather Service in Des Moines.
During statewide tests, there's a slight delay between the Des Moines weather service, where the mock drill initiates, and the Davenport office, which has to wait until it receives the go ahead from the weather service headquarters, Hardin said.
When there's a real emergency, there will be. no delay, she said.
At the end of the drill, which started at 10:15 a.m. Thursday and ended at 10:30 a.m., Hardin was pleased with the results.
"I think there was a good number (nine) of volunteers who reported in,” she said “We seem to have a good radio system.”
Wunnenberg said he hopes the new network doesn't dis­band because if it does, then the burden will return to his department.
Wunnenberg plans to meet Wednesday with SKYWARN members and Hardin to review details of how the new system will operate. SKYWARN network relieves police.
Click the Pictures to make to biggerSKYWARN member Chris conducts a tornado drill using the Des Moines County SKYWARN network Thursday morning in the basement of the Burlington Police Department. The network, comprised of 21 storm spotters and seven ham radio operators, was formed to help local authorities determine when the county's emergency sirens should be sounded during severe weather.

Wever siren will save lives

New siren will warn of fires and tornadoes.

WEVER — When residents hear a loud blast of noise ema­nating from the new siren located at the fire department, it means the wind is picking up and a tornado may be right around the corner.
"A lot of residents aren't aware our new siren is used not only for fires but to warn of tornadoes," said Fire Chief J.D. Henshaw.
The new siren set officials back $6,500 and replaces an older model siren damaged by lightning last August.
The siren has been in service since Feb. 22 and can be heard several miles away. "How far you can hear it de­pends on which way the wind blows," Henshaw joked.
The National Weather Service issues tornado warnings when a tornado has been. sighted or indicated by weather radar, advising people to take immediate shelter.
Some emergency management officials say Iowa's network of outdoor warning sirens is intended only to warn people off golf courses and out of. parks, while people inside their homes are better off relying on a weather radio, which picks up warnings broadcast by the weather service.
Henshaw disagrees and said warning sirens are a a valuable tool to keep citizens safe.
"We had big winds hit here in 1998 and it tore everything up. Without a warning siren, it could have been worse," Henshaw said. "Having a siren saves lives."
Since the siren will be used for both fire and emergency warnings, Henshaw said resi­dents need to be familiar with the different tones used.
A fire siren goes up and down while a three minute blast of noise signals an incoming tornado. Currently, the siren has to be turned on man­ually, but soon a switch will be installed so it can be activated automatically.
"It will make it easier for us to warn residents," Henshaw said.

Weather Delays SKYWARN Test*

SKYWARN network takes effect

March 31 2005

Storm network to hold initial testing today.

The inaugural testing of the new Des Moines County SKYWARN network was canceled Wednesday due to possibility of severe weather, but the system was activated anyway, because of storm warnings and a tornado watch.
No local sirens were sounded because none of the area storm systems posed a threat, according to SKYWARN, member and Burlington City Councilman Chris King.
The new SKYWARN network, comprised of 21 storm spotters and seven ham radio operators, was formed I help local authorities determine when the county's emergency sirens should be sounded during severe weather.
The group, which has its headquarters in the basement of the Burlington Police Department, plans to test the sirens between 10:15 and 10:30 a.m. today, King and Des Moines County Emergency Management Coordinator Gina Hardin said.
Some SKYWARN members, including King and Ron Smith, manned the headquarters for the first time Wednesday, receiving reports from area spotters on a storm system that skirted the county.
The storm system never materialized into something dangerous, but lightning did knock out power in Mediapolis.
Whether the local SKYWARN network existed or not, the county would have tested its siren system this we along with the rest of the state,
The National Weather Service in Davenport said warning tests and drills as part of Iowa Severe Weather Awareness Week were postponed Wednesday across the state because severe weather threatened many areas.
Some areas were experiencing severe weather and testing the sirens could have confused residents, Hard said.
A report issued by the weather service early Wednesday indicated a possibility of a severe thunderstorm and hail bigger than golf balls for the county, King said, but the storm never developed.
Mediapolis power outage
Although Wednesday's weather didn't pose enough of a threat to sound local sirens, the city of Mediapolis experienced a power outage just after 1 p.m. that was caused by lightning, according to Scott Drzycimski spokesman for Alliant Energy.
The outage affected more than 1,700 customers, he said.
Also, Mediapolis public school students were sent home early because of the outage, Drzycimski said. Power in Mediapolis was restored by 3 p.m. Crews delayed returning power immediately because a company policy that doesn't allow work on power lines during lightning storms, he said.
King said the sirens in Mediapolis weren't sounded Wednesday. SKYWARN recommends sounding emergency sirens only during tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings.
"Lightning isn't going to cause us to do anything out of the ordinary," he said.
The local SKYWARN network was formed after the Burlington Police Department failed to sound emergency sirens in late August when a tornado warning was issued for the county by the National Weather Service.
During periods of severe weather, residents are encouraged to contact SKYWARN volunteers at (319) 759-3627. SKYWARN members, using information from the weather service and local volunteer spotters, will make recommendations to local law enforcement on sounding the sirens.
During today's test, sirens will be activated in Burlington, West Burlington, Middletown and Yarmouth I two minutes every five minutes beginning at 10:15 a.m. and ending at 10:30 a.m., Hardin said.
Sirens in other county cities, including Danville and Mediapolis, are sounded by their local fire departments, King said.
"Those cities have their own policies on when they sound their sirens," Hardin said.
Des Moines County Iowa is Storm Ready*

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Des Moines County, Iowa. September 2006, from left: Burlington City Council, City of Burlington Mayor Mike Edwards (holding the sign), Des Moines County Emergency Manager Gina Hardin, WCM Donna Dubberke and MIC Steve Kuhl.

NWS StormReady Program, Weather Safety, Disaster,

Council SKYWARN & NWS September 2006

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Storms Growl, Spit Hail, Spout Twisters*

March 13, 2006

Sirens sound as system rolls through area, but little damage reported across region.

Southeast Iowa and west–central Illinois were hotbeds for heavy rains, hail and tornado activity Sunday night, but little destruction was reported.
"We don't have any confirmed tornado touchdowns," said Chris King, Des Moines County SKYWARN net controller at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday.
The National Weather Service in the Quad Cities did see rotation activity in Lee and Des Moines counties on their radars.
"A (weather) spotter indicated rotation near Wever," King said, "and that was at approximately 9:35 p.m."
Two minutes later, after the spotter called SKYWARN, the sirens in Des Moines County went off alerting people of the dangerous weather.
"We had 50 mph wind gusts in Middletown about 9:42," King said. "There was nickel sized hail in Mediapolis about 9:55 p.m., and there was golf ball–sized hail at the Burlington Regional Airport about the same time."
Earlier in the day, at about 7 p.m, Mediapolis had reported nickel–sized hail. And at 7:22 p.m., Yarmouth sounded its tornado sirens after quarter sized hail was reported.
King said Yarmouth lost power during the storm, and later, during the 10 p.m. storm in Des Moines County, a Ford Ranger entered the ditch on Iowa 79 by Harmony Bible Church.
"But there was no significant tree damage, and only minor flooding on Madison Avenue and around Burlington," he said.
"The dynamics today were perfect for severe storm development," King said. "Earlier today, they had a snow advisory in Waterloo and a tornado warning in Clark County, Mo. Anytime there is that differentiation in temperatures, you'll have explosive thunderstorm development."
Because of early predictions by the National Weather Service, SKYWARN volunteers were at the station by 2 p.m., waiting for activity to happen. Others were in the field, at nine points in Des Moines County, continuously reporting the weather conditions.
By 10:30 p.m., King said the severe weather was mostly over, but people would still see moderate to heavy rain and lightning in the sky. However, SKYWARN volunteers were released from their duties at that time.
King also said that while SKYWARN in Burlington doesn't technically cover the weather in Lee or Henry counties, they do keep track of it over ham radios, since Des Moines County weather does come from Lee and Henry counties.
"This is only the second year we've done (SKYWARN)," King said, "and this is our second tornado and it's early in the season."
According to the National Weather Service, today may still bring rain showers, and by night, snow flurries may be falling. Tuesday's forecast, however, has daytime temperatures at 45 degrees, pretty typical weather for March in Iowa.
Still More on The Way*
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Ryan Smith, Burlington, atop a riding mower with a snow blower attachment, and his father Dan, make their way from their home to clear a neighbor's drive Tuesday in the 800 block of Blackhawk Drive. The two were clearing snow from three of their neighbors' homes after removing snow from their home.

February 14, 2007

Weather experts know better than to believe groundhogs.

Phil the famous forecaster, whose big annual job it is to predict a long winter or early spring, emerged from his hole in Punxsutawney, Pa., on Feb. 2 and failed to see his shadow.
Which just goes to tell you something about groundhogs. "Can't trust 'em," said Tom Philip, a not quite so famous forecaster with the National Weather Service in Davenport.
Twelve days post–Groundhog's Day, it was plain to see Tuesday across southeast Iowa and west–central Illinois what with all the blowing and drifting snow that Punxsutawney Phil's prediction of an early spring was way off the mark. Too bad, too, since it was the first time since 1999 that Phil hadn't seen his shadow.
Piling on top of already cold conditions, the storm that drifted across the area Monday and Tuesday dropped several inches of new snow.
Cold conditions will prevail through the rest of the week. And while a warm–up is possible Monday, it is expected to be brief.
Snowfall totals were slow coming into the weather service Tuesday, Philip said. The most recent reports as of Tuesday afternoon showed four inches in Burlington with snow still falling, eight inches in Macomb, Ill., and five inches in Nauvoo, Ill., and in Keosauqua.
Factoring in the blowing and drifting, snow totals were at least somewhat suspect.
"It's tricky to measure with the wind," Philip said.
Tonight and Thursday, dangerously low temperatures and even colder wind chills should keep people indoors. High winds will make for overnight wind chills of about minus 20 degrees with a mercury reading of minus–five degrees for an overnight low. The high Thursday should be in the middle teens.
The next chance for snow is Friday night and into Saturday.
Monday could see temperatures in the 30s, bringing the possibility that some of the snow will melt. But Tuesday and Wednesday is expected to bring another shot of cold air, with another right behind it later in the week, Philip said.
Job Well Done*

March 1, 2007

On behalf of Great River Medical Center, I want to thank the many hospital staff and community volunteers whose efforts this past weekend were nothing less than heroic. Police officers and area firemen braved the ice and downed power lines to shuttle freezing residents from their homes to Great River Medical Center.
Buses were organized to bring people to the hospital in larger groups. By the time I arrived at GRMC at 4:30 Saturday afternoon, area Red Cross, Des Moines County and CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members were already there setting up registration points and organizing volunteer activities. Many of these volunteers worked through the night and well into Sunday. Within hours, GRMC staff were setting up sleep areas, planning meals, obtaining medical and personal supplies and helping to provide comfort services as residents began to arrive.
Throughout the night and into Sunday, GRMC Plant Operations staff shuttled residents back home to get medications or transported families home as their electricity and heat returned. All told, over 150 individuals were assisted over the three day period. Ages of these residents ranged from two weeks to 105 years old. Three people ended up needing medical services in the emergency room.
Throughout the ordeal, the atmosphere was upbeat with the county staff, Red Cross, CERT volunteers and GRMC staff working collectively to ensure that our communities' residents were safe and appropriately cared for.
We appreciate the support of these organizations and the many individuals who came to the hospital or called, willing to volunteer to help in this time of great community need.
I am also very thankful and proud of the tremendous efforts put forth by so many of the GRMC staff. All residents of southeast Iowa can rest assured that when the critical need arises, the volunteers of our community and the employees of Great River Medical Center are up to the challenge. Our thanks to all for a job well done.

Mark D. Richardson

president and chief executive officer

Great River Medical Center

Disaster Preparation

April 1 2007

Practicing Response
Learning experience provided by Middletown drill
MIDDLETOWN — A fake emergency 911 call at about 9a.m. Saturday morning marked the beginning of an emergency drill to test the disaster response procedures of area public safety agencies.

Passing traffic slowed in concern while rolling past the flashing ambulance and fire truck lights at the intersection of Iowa 79 and U.S. 34. Des Moines County sheriff personal were there to in form them it was a drill and directed rubber-neckers around the would-be catastrophe A member of the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant fire department.
The scenario was simple. A SEIBUS had collided with a van, resulting in 12 injured passengers. Once the call went out, the Danville Fire Department was released from behind Casey's General Store.
The average response time for Danville Fire Department is seven minutes.
"In a real incident, law enforcement would have been there first," Des Moines County emergency management coordinator Gina Hardin said. “There are certain artificial factors in an exercise like this.”
After mutual aid was called in, an incident command system and triage center were established. It was soon discovered the van was carrying a radiological isotope (medical waste) that had been released, and the Des Moines County and IAAP Hazmat teams began to arrive.
Clad in white Tyvek protective suits, orange gloves and boots, the team quickly quarantined the area around the van. Meanwhile, ambulance and fire services from Burlington, West Burlington, Superior, IAAP and Great River Medical Health Care emergency arrived on scene to treat the in jured.
“The Hazmat team didn't wear their level A moon suits," Hardin said. "Just basic barrier protection. They were monitoring to see how far the radiation had spread."
Hardin said the isotope would not be overly harmful to humans and couldn't penetrate clothing. But the bus crash certainly did. Decked out in fake blood and exposed rubber intestines, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other volunteers staggered around the bus clutching their painted in juries.
One 12-year-old Scout, Bryton Seberg, was waiting to be treated for a burn to his arm while the more seriously injured victims were being loaded onto ambulances. He as a little bored waiting around. but was practical about the matter.
"It's an easy way to get service hours," he said. His friend, 13-year-old Shaffer, wasn't so sure about that. He was suffering from a similar burn.
"I could be playing football right now," he said. Those who couldn't walk were gently strapped to gurneys after the Hazmat team inspected both the patients ad the EMTs for radiation.
"The ambulance crews could have been contaminated because they came a little' closer than they should have," Hardin said. Evaluator Francis Bohlken had applied the fake stage blood to the victims earlier in morning and was taking notes on the performance of the emergency personnel. As retired nurse, member of CERT (community emergency response team) and the Red Cross, she's had more than a little experience with emergencies.
"I was the head of the nursing unit back when it was Burlington Medical Center," she said. While the EMTs had their backs turned, evaluators would sneak orange Coleman lantern' mantles under the gurney pillows. This gave a slight gamma radiation reading which could be detected. Middletown city officials, Danville city officials, CERT members from Henry and Des Moines County and the Great River Medical Center explorer post also were involved in the exercise.
"I think things went really well, Hardin said. "One of the big things we've done over the years is come to a point where our departments work really will together. We know a lot about instant structure and how the response well be set up." After the injured were carted off to GRMC and the area was quarantined, the state Hazmat team would have then been called in to clean up the medical waste. Although Hardin was pleased with the overall performance, she said there were areas that could use improvement.
"One of the big things we need to do is recognize potential hazard at any scene and how to approach it without getting too close," she said.
"We need to be able to paint a scene for people coming in so everyone can be as clear as they can about the situation." In the end, she said, it was a great learning experience that identified areas that require Practice. "We need to work on some smaller issues before larger drills such as this, like having the IAAP Hazmat team working with the Des Moines County Hazmat team.” She said.

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Volunteers Amber Neff, 16, left, and Morgan Lipper, 16, both of  Burlington, put the finishing touches on their makeup Saturday before taking part in a disaster exercise on Iowa 79 and U.S. 43 in Middletown.

A member of Iowa Army Ammunition Plant Fire department tests for radiation Saturday during a disaster exercise in Middletown.

Alden Braddock, 16, Danville, is checked with a geiger counter Saturday during a disaster exercise in Middletown.

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Burlington Police Chief Dies at Marina

April 19, 2007

Accident at Bluff Harbor turned fatal for Dave Wunnenberg, 54, head of Burlington department since 1998.

Police Chief Dave Wunnenberg died Wednesday evening after falling from a barge at Bluff Harbor Marina.
"This was a freak accident," Sgt. Adam Schaeffer said late Wednesday night. "We are all stunned by this loss. He was getting ready to retire. This is a sad day for the police department."
Wunnenberg, 54, of Burlington was pronounced dead at 10:45 p.m. by emergency personnel at the scene. He had served with the Burlington police department for more than 30 years.
Burlington police received a call at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday for a water rescue at the marina, where Wunnenberg lived and worked part time as manager. Police blocked access to the marina allowing only emergency personnel to approach the pier where a dredge barge had overturned.
There, divers from McDonough County, Ill., and Des Moines County took turns probing the water.
Wunnenberg, who with Marc Zaiser co–owned a dredge that was operating in the marina, drove an excavator onto a flat bottom barge, police said. The barge suddenly shifted and the 18,000–pound machine fell into the Mississippi River.
"He was trapped inside the cab in about 14 or 15 feet of water. There was no way he could of got out," Schaeffer said.
Early attempts to remove the excavator from the water were unsuccessful.
"They keep trying to get the track hoe out of the water but its been breaking the straps," Mayor Mike Edwards said during the rescue effort.
City leaders and Burlington police waited with family members through the evening, bonded by concern and love, all watched helplessly for news.
Blankets and chairs were offered family members who were huddled against a brisk breeze. Walking past the police barricade, a young boy openly wept as his mother escorted him past a man pacing nervously near an officer.
The man, who didn't wish to give his name, said he was there to see how is friend Dave Wunnenberg was doing. When questioned further, the man declined to comment.
Burlington City Manager Bruce Slagle named Wunnenberg chief in 1998, succeeding Stan Rowe, who had retired. He was 46 at the time and a 24–year veteran of the department.
Expecting to retire later this year, Wunnenberg became manager of Bluff Harbor Marina last year.
He was considered a "cop's cop," according to Tim Scott, mayor when Wunnenberg became chief. Given the choice to wear a suit and a tie or a uniform, Wunnenberg chose to wear the department's navy dress uniform.
He added marina manager to his list of duties Jan. 1, 2006, working 15 to 20 hours a week at the business where he expected to work upon his retirement, which he had penciled in later this summer.
Wunnenberg, an avid outdoorsman who also referred to himself as a workaholic, was accustomed to working a second job.
From 1981 until 1993, he owned Midwest Outfitters, a Main Street business that sold outdoor hunting accessories and bow and arrow equipment. He sold it in 1993.
From 1995 to 1998, Wunnenberg co–owned a local manufacturing firm, DRD Inc., which operated from the former recycling building on Agency Street.
Funeral arrangements are pending.

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Dave Wunnenberg
Police Chief

10/7/1952 - 4/18/2007

Dave Wunnenberg, Burlington Police Chief, died Wednesday evening, April 18, after falling from a flat bottom barge at Bluff Harbor Marina.

"This was a freak accident," Sgt. Adam Schaeffer said. "We are all stunned by this loss. He was getting ready to retire. This is a sad day for everyone who knew and admired the chief." Wunnenberg, 54, of Burlington was pronounced dead at 10:45 p.m. by emergency personnel at the scene. He had served with the Burlington police department for more than 30 years.

Burlington police received a call at 6:30 p.m. for a water rescue at the marina, where Wunnenberg lived and worked part time as manager. Police blocked access to the marina allowing only emergency personnel to approach the pier where the barge overturned.

There, drivers from McDonough County, Ill., and Des Moines County took turns probing the water.

Wunnenberg, who co­owned a dredge operation, drove an excavator onto a dredge barge when the barge shifted and the 18,000 pound machine fell into the Mississippi River.

Early attempts to remove an excavator from the water were unsuccessful. "He was trapped inside the cab in about 14 or 15 feet of water. There was no way he could of got out," Schaeffer said.

Wunnenberg had managed the marina since last year. He planned to retire from the police department later this year and work full time at the marina.

April 19, 2007

Details Emerge of Fatal Accident

April 20, 2007

Funeral planned Monday at St. John's Catholic Church.

In offices, restaurants and shops Thursday, heads hung low and eyes grew red as news of Burlington Police Chief Dave Wunnenberg's death spread through a grieving community.
Wunnenberg, 54, of Burlington died after being trapped for more than four hours in an excavator that sank in 15 feet of water at Bluff Harbor Marina in Burlington.
The 31–year veteran police officer became marina manager last year.
"A lot of people were praying for a miracle, but it wasn't to be," Mayor Mike Edwards said. "I still can't fully accept it. Something like that is not suppose to happen. We lost a good and decent man who loved and cared for his community."
During a Thursday morning press conference, acting police chief Major Dan Luttenegger, the department's second in command, called Wunnenberg a "cop's cop" and said his death was a great loss to the department and the community.
City Manager Bruce Slagle echoed Luttenegger's sentiments.
"I consider him a very good friend. I don't think the loss to the community can yet be measured," Slagle said fighting back tears. "It was very tough to see him like that."
Luttenegger recounted the events that led to Wunnenberg's death during the briefing.
At about 6:30 p.m., Wunnenberg was loading a track hoe on a flat–bottom barge at the deep water dock/lift station at Bluff Harbor Marina.
As the track hoe began to roll onto the barge, its weight shifted causing the barge to overturn, and the 18,000–pound machine slid into the water.
The track hoe laid on its side with the door side down in about 15 feet of water with Wunnenberg trapped inside. The barge came to rest on top of the sunken excavator.
Randy Kershner, a part–time marina employee who police say may have been helping Wunnenberg load the excavator onto the barge, called 911. Minutes later, emergency personnel arrived at the marina.
The barge was moved from the dock. Divers from McDonough County, Ill., and Des Moines County took turns probing the 50–degree water but were unable to free Wunnenberg.
"The divers did the best they could. Visibility in the water was zero," Des Moines County Sheriff Mike Johnstone said. "They couldn't see their hands in front of their face."
Mike Campbell, of Campbell's Body Shop and Towing, Inc. in Burlington, arrived at the marina before 7 p.m. with a semi tow truck. Racing against time, divers secured 12–ton lift straps to the excavator and the tow truck.
Initial attempts to pull the excavator from the water were unsuccessful.
"The nylon straps kept snapping," Campbell said. "I think they may have been getting caught on the sharp edges of the track hoe."
A final attempt was made, which lifted the excavator out of the water, but quickly sent it crashing to the bottom. This time, however, the machine came to rest on its tracks, and divers were able to extract Wunnenberg's body.
People began arriving at the marina as news of the accident spread through word of mouth. Later, city leaders and concerned citizens rushed to the scene to offer support to family members and assistance to rescuers.
"It was a long, cold walk last night up to the marina. I counted about 40 people all there because of their concern and love for this man," Des Moines County Attorney Pat Jackson said.
As the evening dragged on, off–duty law enforcement officials mingled with police officers who kept curious bystanders at bay. Pacing nervously, two officers manning a police barricade tried to keep their spirits up as the evening wore on without any news.
At one point, the officers became silent as they listened to a radio update.
A half a block away, family members huddled in blankets as they prayed for a miracle. At 10:45 p.m., sadness swept over the crowd as Wunnenberg was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency personnel.
"My heart just sank when I heard the news," Councilman Tim Scott said. "I couldn't believe this was happening."
Burlington police continue to review the accident and interview witnesses, according to Luttenegger. He said it was unclear whether the barge was secured to the dock at the time of the accident.
Marc Zaiser, who co–owned a dredge with Wunnenberg, said his partner was not loading the excavator onto the barge as part of their business venture.
"He was not going dredging for our business. He might of been working for the marina," Zaiser said.
Tim Roberts of Burlington, co–owner of the marina, said he was unaware of the facts surrounding Wunnenberg's death.
"I don't know what Dave was doing. I haven't talked to anyone who can tell me," he said.
Wunnenberg, who planned to retire this fall, had an illustrious career with the Burlington police.
He joined the department in 1975 and served in the patrol division. In 1979, he became a motorcycle officer. Two years later, he joined the criminal investigation division.
Wunnenberg was promoted to lieutenant in 1987. He also served as CID commander and deputy police chief.
Slagle named Wunnenberg chief in 1998, succeeding Stan Rowe, who retired suddenly. He was 46 at the time and a 24–year veteran of the department.
He was eligible for full retirement benefits in October.
He added marina manager to his list of duties working 15 to 20 hours a week at the business where he expected to work upon his retirement.
Wunnenberg was a graduate of Mediapolis High School and received his associate degree at Southeast Community College in West Burlington.
In addition, he served with the military police while in the Army.
He was an avid outdoorsman, according to friend and former colleague Joe Stewart.
"He was a man's man," Stewart said. "I remember him going up to Canada with a homemade bow and arrow to hunt bears."
From 1981 until 1993, he owned Midwest Outfitters, a Main Street business that sold outdoor hunting accessories and bow and arrow equipment. He sold it in 1993.
From 1995 to 1998, Wunnenberg co–owned a local manufacturing firm, DRD Inc., which operated from the former recycling building on Agency Street.
Visitation for Wunnenberg will be from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Burlington.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials have been established for Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome Foundation and Burlington Area Crime Stoppers.

Luttenegger Placed in Charge of Department

April 20, 2007

Burlington City Manager Bruce Slagle named Maj. Dan Luttenegger acting police chief in the wake of the death of Police Chief Dave Wunnenberg. Wunnenberg, 54, of Burlington died Wednesday after being trapped in an excavator that became submerged in water at Bluff Harbor Marina in Burlington. During a press conference Thursday, Slagle said Luttenegger, the department's second in command, would serve as the department's leader until a permanent replacement is named. "We haven't discussed this yet. I would expect a decision would be made within the next few months," Slagle said. "I have full confidence that Dan can move in and do an excellent job." Wunnenberg planned to retire in October. In the interim, a city official said Thursday, Wunnenberg was training Luttenegger to take over his duties.

The Hawk Eye

Friends Recall Chief's Characteristics

 April 20, 2007

He was a "cop's cop."

That is how friends and colleagues described Burlington Police Chief David Wunnenberg, who was killed Wednesday after being trapped in an excavator that sank in 15 feet of water at Bluff Harbor Marina in Burlington.
On Thursday, those who knew and respected Wunnenberg took time to remember the 31–year veteran of the Burlington Police Department.
Des Moines County Sheriff Mike Johnstone said Wunnenberg was a man of honor and integrity whose love of life touched everyone around him.
"He was someone I looked up to," Johnstone said. "He was a sincere and genuine person who I admired not only as a top–notch police officer but as a friend. That is why this hurts so bad."
Johnstone and Wunnenberg grew up together in Mediapolis.
As police chief, Wunnenberg worked hard to reduce crime and to reinvigorate the department's image, according to Councilman Tim Scott.
"There has never been a finer police chief in this city. I have never known the morale to be as good as it was under his leadership," Scott said.
Scott, who served as a reserve police officer, recalled poker games in which Wunnenberg often would come out on top.
"We always would play poker, and Dave was a good player. He or his buddy would always come up with the winning hand," Scott said. "That is how I want to remember him."
According to Johnstone, Wunnenberg strengthened the professional bond between the police department and sheriff's office.
"The relationship between the Burlington police and the sheriff's office has never been better. That's a tribute to Dave's philosophy that all of us in law enforcement are on the same team," he said.
Char Blodgett, YWCA Domestic Violence Shelter director, characterized Wunnenberg as a tireless advocate for domestic and sexual abuse victims.
Wunnenberg was scheduled to speak Sunday at a candlelight vigil as part of sexual assault awareness month. The event was canceled as organizer coped with the loss of an ally.
"I was devastated when I heard the news. I still cry when I think about it," Blodgett said. "We worked very well together and I will really miss him."
Councilman Bill Ell was Burlington's fire chief when Wunnenberg was named the city's police chief. He called Wunnenberg's death a "great loss for the city."
Friend and former peer Joe Stewart remembered Wunnenberg as a "nuts and bolts kind of guy." Stewart said Wunnenberg worked hard to create positive change within the department.
"He was honest, trustworthy, sincere and considerate," Stewart said. Mentally, there was never any down time. He was always working to make things better."
City Manager Bruce Slagle said the fruits of Wunnenberg's hard work can be seen in the professional conduct of his staff.
"I think his legacy is in the quality of staff that he has left behind. It's a tribute to how well he served Burlington as police chief," Slagle said.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at St. John the Baptist Church in Burlington.
The Iowa State Patrol, West Burlington police and the Des Moines County Sheriff's office will cover for Burlington police officers and staff so they can attend the service.
In addition, Monday's court service day has been moved to Tuesday.
"We wanted to make it so officers wouldn't have to testify during services," Des Moines County Attorney Pat Jackson said.
Wunnenberg is survived by his wife, Renee, and four daughters, Mecca Riley of Burlington, Carrie Brokaw of Gardner, Kan., Therese Haemer of Saegertown, Pa., and Shayla Minard of Willard, Mo.
He had seven grandchildren.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family," Slagle said. "Dave will be greatly missed."

Wunnenberg Services Set

April 22, 2007

Friends, family members, colleagues and admirers will gather today to celebrate the life of Burlington Police Chief Dave Wunnenberg.
Wunnenberg, 54, of Burlington died last week after being trapped for more than four hours in an excavator that sank in 15 feet of water at Bluff Harbor Marina in Burlington.
The 33 year veteran police officer became marina manager last year. He was expected to retire from the police department in October.
"This is not only a loss for the police department. It's a loss to everyone who knew and admired him," Mayor Mike Edwards said.
A public visitation is scheduled from 2 to 6 p.m. today at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Burlington. At 10:30 a.m. Monday, a funeral Mass will be celebrated at the church.
Division Street, between Sixth Street and Central Avenue, will be closed from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday to accommodate funeral traffic.
City officials anticipate a large number of police officers from around the state to attend Monday's service.
County law enforcement agencies will cover for Burlington police officers and staff so they can pay final respects to Wunnenberg, who was appointed police chief in 1998.
Some city offices will be closed during the funeral. In addition, cases slated to be heard Monday in Des Moines County District Court have been shuffled to allow court employees to attend. Flags throughout the city will fly at half–staff until sunset Wednesday

David Arthur Wunnenberg

April 22, 2007

David Arthur Wunnenberg, 54, of Bluff Harbor Marina, Burlington, Iowa, died Wednesday, April 18, 2007, at Bluff Harbor Marina in Burlington.
Born October 7, 1952 in Burlington, he was the son of Arthur and Joan Fullenkamp Wunnenberg. On December 26, 1970, he married Renée Heckenberg in Burlington.
Mr. Wunnenberg was a graduate of Mediapolis High School, received his associates degree at Southeast Community College and FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia Session 163 in 1990. Mr. Wunnenberg joined the Burlington Police Department February 1, 1975 and served for 33 years. He began his career in the Patrol Division, Motorcycle Officer from 1979 until 1981, and Criminal Investigation until late 1983. He was appointed Departmental Range master in 1983, Patrol Lieutenant in October 1987, Criminal Investigation Commander (Captain) in 1991, Deputy Chief August 1, 1992, and Chief of Police November 16, 1998. He also was the manager of Bluff Harbor Marina.
He was a member of SS. John and Paul Catholic Church, Iowa Association of Chiefs of Police and Police Officers, International Association of Chiefs of Police, and Iowa Police Executive Forum and Flint River Bow Club. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Burlington/West Burlington Area United Way and Chairperson of Law Enforcement Career Scholarship Fund. He enjoyed the outdoors, bow hunting and had a true passion for the Canadian wilderness.
Mr. Wunnenberg was an Army Veteran serving with the Military Police.
Survivors include his wife, Renée Wunnenberg of Burlington; four daughters, Mecca (Chad) Riley of Burlington, Carrie (Doug) Brokaw of Gardner, Kansas, Therese (Carl) Haemer of Saegertown, Pennsylvania and Shayla (Chris) Minard of Willard, Missouri; seven grandchildren, Matthew, Ali, Grant and Jack Riley, Nicholas and Jacob Brokaw, and Peyton Minard; his parents, Arthur and Joan Wunnenberg of Mediapolis; one sister, Deanne (David) Keefer of Huntington Beach, California; and one brother, Doug (Elaine) Wunnenberg of Burlington.
His brother, Darrin Wunnenberg, and his grandparents preceded him in death.
Friends may call today from 9:00 a.m. until noon in Lunning Chapel.
The family will receive friends today from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday, April 23rd, at 10:30 a.m. in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. The Rev. Patrick Hilgendorf will be the celebrant. Inurnment will be at a later date in St. Mary's Cemetery at Kingston, Iowa.
In lieu of flowers, memorials have been established for Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome Foundation and Burlington Area Crime Stoppers.

HyperLinkA Spirit Soars - Slideshow - 4/23/07

Wunnenberg Quotes

April 24, 2007

"My grandpa always made me laugh. I miss him."

Ali Riley, daughter of Chad and Mecca Riley of Burlington

"I respected the chief with every beat of my heart."

The Rev. Patrick Hilgendorf, pastor of SS. John and Paul parishes

"He made everybody feel special. He made you feel like you mattered."

Char Blodgett, YWCA Domestic Violence Shelter director

"City leaders call him a good and decent man."

Gov. Chet Culver

"He was a public servant at the highest level. People should be really proud of that."

Mike Johnstone, Des Moines County sheriff

"He was a textbook example of how a police chief should be."

Joe Stewart, former Burlington police lieutenant

Farewell to The Chief

April 24, 2007

Officers from around the region among 800 who attend funeral for Dave Wunnenberg.

"The wind in my face; The smell of the pine; I soar in sun and rain; It is all divine. When the rain comes; It brings blessing and woes; I only ask of you this; Remember me when the wind blows." — from the poem "The Raven"
Mourners gathered Thursday to mark the passing of a public servant who served Burlington selflessly for more than three decades.
Police Chief Dave Wunnenberg, 54, of Burlington died April 18 after being trapped in an excavator that sank in 15 feet of water at Bluff Harbor Marina in Burlington.
People began arriving at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Burlington at 9:30 a.m. Monday to share a final moment with Wunnenberg. Inside the church, a sea of blue and brown police uniforms merged with mourners dressed in black.
About 800 people, including 250 police officers and their families, stood in hallways, packed pews and crowded in the back of the church.
The Rev. Patrick Hilgendorf, one of three priests officiating at the Roman Catholic funeral Mass, spoke of his friendship with "the chief." Hilgendorf described Wunnenberg as a friend, a colleague, a mentor, a father and a public servant.
"It's so difficult to put into words what each of us our feeling. He was with each of us in a unique way," said Hilgendorf, pastor of SS. John and Paul parishes. "He wasn't a man of flash and show. He did whatever needed to be done. He did it willingly and lovingly as a leader.
"He was a 'cop's cop,' 'a man's man,' and a loving father to four beautiful daughters," Hilgendorf added.
Burlington police Lt. Darren Grimshaw read a letter from Gov. Chet Culver expressing his condolences to the Wunnenberg family.
Then he read a statement from Herb Pugmire, owner of Wine Lake Camp in Ontario, Canada, where Wunnenberg hunted bears.
At the camp, Wunnenberg earned the nickname, "The Raven," which Pugmire said symbolizes an intelligent, mystical creature in Native American culture.
"Dave Wunnenberg lived life to the fullest and tackled impossible feats," Pugmire said. "Dave Wunnenberg was a boy from Iowa. But the borders of the state could not contain his soul."
Therese Haemer of Saegertown, Pa., described her father as a loving protector.
"He was the invincible rock and it seemed like there was nothing he couldn't do," she said. "I was always proud to say my name was Wunnenberg because he was my dad."
Flanked by a five–person police honor guard, Wunnenberg was given the rites of Christian burial.
Outside of the church, politicians, police officers and citizens consoled one another. At the corner of Division and Sixth streets, a group of people paid silent tribute to Wunnenberg as the hearse carrying his body passed.
"It's overwhelming, Des Moines County Supervisor Tim Hoschek said, "the number of people that Dave impacted."
More than a dozen law enforcement agencies took part in the funeral procession, which stretched for blocks as it slowly made its way to Memorial Auditorium.
Represented were Burlington, West Burlington, Waterloo, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Washington, Keokuk, Fort Madison police departments and Des Moines, Blackhawk, Scott, Lee and Henry counties sheriff's offices.
In addition, representatives from the St. Louis, Mo., County Sheriff's office the Illinois State Police, the Iowa State Patrol and the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation were in attendance.
"They knew what kind of man he was. You can see what he meant to law enforcement, not just in Burlington," Mayor Mike Edwards said. "This is a great tribute to Dave."
At the auditorium, friends, family members and peers gathered for lunch.
Lined neatly on tables were awards and honors Wunnenberg earned over his 34–year law enforcement career. Nearby, photographs told the story of Wunnenberg's life.
He was a graduate of Mediapolis High School and received his associate's degree at Southeastern Community College in West Burlington.
He joined the department in 1975 and served in the patrol division. In 1998, he was named police chief. He was 46 at the time and a 24–year veteran of the department.
He married Renee Heckenberg in 1970. The couple raised four daughters and had seven grandchildren.
Wunnenberg added marina manager to his list of duties working 15 to 20 hours a week. He was expected to work at the marina when he retired in October.
"He loved the outdoors," Grimshaw said. "He was an extremely avid hunter. I enjoyed our annual hunting trips together. He was like an older brother to me."
Peyton Minard, 10, said her grandfather passed on his love of the outdoors.
"We went fishing together. He helped me to shoot a bow and arrow," she said. "I will miss you, grandpa."
Wunnenberg was pronounced dead at 10:45 p.m. April 18.
Hours earlier, he was loading a track hoe on a flat–bottom barge at the deep water dock/lift station at the marina.
As the excavator began to roll onto the barge, its weight shifted, causing the barge to overturn, and the 18,000–pound machine slid into the water.
The excavator laid on its side with the door side down in about 15 feet of water with Wunnenberg trapped inside. The barge came to rest on top of the sunken excavator.
He later was extricated from the machine.
Flags throughout the city will fly at half–staff until sunset Wednesday.
Maj. Dan Luttenegger has been tapped as acting police chief until a permanent replacement is named.
Luttenegger said the department has been shaken by the death of its leader.
"It's been difficult for all us," he said. "We continue to move forward. That's what Dave would have wanted."

Drill Tests Crisis Action*

October 4 2007

Police, Fire Departments Respond to Mock Hostage Call at Airport.

Someone is in the airport with a gun, holding 11 people -- employees, passengers and security personnel -- hostage.

One person has been shot to death in a nearby office. The hostage taker is demanding money and a getaway plane. Anxiety is high as authorities weigh the possibility of other casualties.
What to do?
Law enforcement agencies across the nation train their ranks for a variety of emergency situations, and answering that tough question is always under consideration.
In a mock hostage situation conducted by Burlington Police and Fire departments at the Southeast Iowa Regional Airport Thursday, area first responders and emergency medical personnel got a taste of what could happen during a real crisis.
Simulating a real-life scenario, organizers believed it was necessary to use a building that included normal business being conducted inside.
"This is not a political drill where we pat ourselves on the back," Deputy Fire Chief Gene Wilkerson said before the exercise started. "I want to know what goes wrong."
The mock hostage situation involved a disgruntled former airport employee who was recently terminated. She returned to the airport with a gun to settle a score, hold several people captive and demand money, $5 million in ones.
Within seconds of the simulated call from dispatchers, the airport grounds were filled with police officers and sheriff's deputies with their guns drawn. They shut down the air field.
Emergency medical personnel and firefighters waited for the go-ahead from law enforcement to come in.
One of the hostages escaped from a side door and was met by a waiting officer. Valuable information about the suspect, the type of weapon and the number of hostages was relayed to police by the escapee.
In a nearby building, the body of a man shot to death was recovered as a team of four officers barged in and secured the building.
Meanwhile, a hostage negotiator was called in and a contact with the hostage taker was established.
"Get out of here," said Deedra Warner, who played the crazed suspect. "You're too close. Get out of here or I'm going to kill everybody."
Within minutes, police barged in the airport lounge and discovered that the suspect had shot herself. Several hostages were shot by the suspect, another was killed.
As soon as the perimeter was secured, EMS personnel wasted no time and went to work, treating the worst patients first. All the ambulances, loaded with patients, left the scene just as quickly as they arrived.
For the most part, the exercise went well, according to authorities. But the exercise revealed some flaws.
"There are things that happened that should not have happened," Wilkerson said during a briefing after the drill.
Authorities agreed they needed better communication. A single command center would have allowed better coordination of the entire operation.
Also, talks between the negotiator and the suspect needed improvement.
During the drill, the negotiator used an officer's cell phone and left that phone with the officer. In real life, that would have ceased contact with the suspect, and everyone agreed a dedicated line between the negotiator and a gunman would have been nice.
One concern that was raised by BPD Maj. Doug Beaird was the ability to know who was in each response team.
"The response was great," he said. "But we need to account for each guy that goes in."
The major said the officers displayed the utmost patience during the drill, a key ingredient in crisis situations.
"This is as close to real life as you can get," said Gina Hardin, Des Moines County emergency management coordinator.
Hardin said although there is a presence of federal personnel in an airport setting, the lead in similar operations falls to the local jurisdiction.
"They (federal officials) would act as support," she said.
Hardin said the drill presented a way for agencies to hone their skills and work together in a crisis situation.
"It's a tool for law enforcement to make sure that their tactics work," said Lt. Dennis Kramer. "It's a great food for thought for officers, and they need to be thinking about that."
For the spring, area law enforcement are planning another mock drill involving a shooter at a local school.
Meanwhile, it is back to the drawing board to fine tune items they might have missed Thursday.

Click the Pictures to make to bigger

Des Moines County Sheriff's Sgt. Chad McCune, Burlington police officer Tyler Carroll and deputy Doug Ervine search for victims and a suspected shooter Thursday during a emergency response training exercise at the Southeast Iowa Regional Airport in Burlington.

 

 

 

 

 

By John Mangalonzo

jmangalonzo@thehawkeye.com

Help By: Des Moines County Iowa Community Emergency Response Team
Des Moines County Sheriff's
Burlington Police Departments
Southeast Iowa Regional Airport in Burlington
Burlington Fire Departments
Des Moines County Emergency Management

Drive-Through Flu Shot Clinic*

November 17 2007
At Westland Mall (West Burlington) and
Derry Brothers (West Burlington)
Help By: Des Moines County Iowa Community Emergency Response Team
West Burlington Police Departments
Des Moines County Emergency Management
Des Moines County Sheriff's
Des Moines County Public Health
Holiday Parade Lights Faces*

November 24 2007

Excited parade goers kicked off the holiday season Saturday as they braved the evening chill to watch the 2007 Lighted Holiday Parade in downtown Burlington.

Carrying blankets and lawn chairs, people lined up early Saturday for the annual Lighted Holiday Parade. Unlike last year, when parade goers left their coats at home, temperatures were just cold enough to set teeth chattering and start noses running.
But that didn't stop about 10,000 people from cramming together along Jefferson Street to watch fire trucks, floats and horse-drawn wagons all decked out in twinkling lights.
In the middle of the 600 block of Jefferson, Dwight and Jan Strassheim of Sperry huddled under a red fleece blanket with their granddaughters, 9-year-old Brenna and 5-year-old Abby Kinsley, both of Wapello.
"It's kind of like ice fishing," Dwight said with a smile.
The family had staked out their spot 30 minutes before the start of the parade and sat watching their breath fog the air.
"We wanted to make sure we got a seat where they could see," Dwight said.
Both the girls seemed discouraged by the cold, but the minute they heard police sirens and saw the red flashing lights of a Burlington Police Department car signaling the beginning of the parade, they perked up. Brenna's and Abby's eyes began to shine, they sat up a little straighter and a smile graced their rosy-cheeked faces as Police Chief Dan Luttenegger drove by in the first vehicle.
As Luttenegger waved to the crowd, a giant elf in green pants, Shawn Gregory of Des Moines, walked by swinging a Texas fly swatter.
Excited, Brenna pulled out a plastic grocery bag, ready for candy.
But much to the disappointment of children trained to expect candy at parades, sugary treats were sparse.
For safety reasons, handing out candy is not allowed at the Lighted Parade, according to Val Giannettino of Downtown Partners.
"It's a real safety issue at this point," Giannettino said of throwing candy at parades. "Kids have been killed during parades."
Despite the ban, a few rebels handed out candy. However, they usually did not throw it. Instead, they walked up to children and placed the sweets directly in their hands.
The lack of candy didn't prevent 9-year-olds Laurel Kelly and Yasmeene Tish and 10-year-old Cynthia Acton from having a good time. The three girls from West Burlington marched with Girl Scout Troop 9006 in the parade.
Both Acton and Kelly walked the parade dressed as presents -- Acton with snowman wrapping paper and Kelly with silver and gold wrapping paper, as well as a flashing red nose and reindeer antlers.
They both said they had fun.
"It was pretty cool," Kelly said.
Both she and Tish said they like every part of the parade, but Acton preferred the horses.
"I like all animals," she said. "I really liked the part with the horses."
The beasts of burden were not the parade entries that had parade judges buzzing, though. The trio of judges,
Remy Billups, Mitty Billups and Molly Smith, had to judge the floats. Remy and Mitty said they were impressed by Notre Dame's Nativity Scene float, First United Methodist's model of the downtown church building that burned earlier this year and Great River Health Systems float inspired by the movie "A Christmas Story," complete with leg-lamp.
However, Remy said all the parade participants were great.

By Nicholas Bergin

nbergin@thehawkeye.com

Click the Pictures to make to bigger

Click the Pictures to make to bigger

An American Veteran parade float makes its way east on Jefferson Street during the 2007 Lighted Holiday Parade Saturday in Burlington.

Matt Ryerson/The Hawk Eye

Cindy Buckles holds her 4-year-old nephew Keygen, both of Burlington, as they watch parade floats make their way east on Jefferson Street during the Lighted Holiday Parade.

Making Spirits Bright*

December 9 2007

Holiday Lights Smith home

edit by Ryan Smith http://youtu.be/CgtgwC0QDOU

Donna Rae Smith & Danny Lee Smith

Danny & Donna Smith, 824 Parkway Dr., Burlington, Iowa

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," sung by the Notre Dame High School and Holy Trinity Catholic High School Choirs," from the CD Sing We Now of Christmas, produced by Kurtz Kraft, Washington (800-821-8639).

To purchase a copy of the CD—and help the students fund a school trip to Rome—contact Notre Dame High School in Burlington.

A herd of deer are making their nightly appearance near Crapo Park. The deer are of the lighted variety—which seem to be particularly popular holiday decor this season. The deer, and a few more bright Christmas embellishments, belong to Danny and Donna Smith, whose decked out property is situated just north of the west side of Crapo Park. Danny and Donna explained this is the 18th season they've decorated their Burlington residence, and every year they add another Christmas piece to their collection. This year Danny noted it took about 50 cords to get the presentation powered. The display is also set to music; Danny said they purchased a musical sound machine, which programs the lights to flash in sync with the beats of the Christmas music emanating from it. According to the Smiths, they especially like the deer decorations, and they also call the large snowflake in their yard one of their favorites. This year Danny said it took him about 10 days to decorate their property, 4 of which were spent in the garage checking and changing bulbs. "It took 8 hours to rewire the big snowflake," Danny added. Among their most cherished decorations are the colorful stars that adorn their front porch window. "Those were a gift we received 25 years ago from Mom," Donna said. To find out how to submit your holiday light display and share your holiday traditions (and be eligible to win free food and stuff from Martini's Grille), visit thehawkeye.com/specials/2007/holidaylights/

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