Des Moines County, Iowa News #3
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Night Maneuvers*

September 22 2012
SE Iowa Air Show 2012 kicks off with first-time action after dark.
The Burlington night skies sparkled with plenty of light and color as the Southeast Iowa Air Show 2012 kicked off Friday night.
This year's air show is different from years past because it's the first time part of the show is taking place after dark.
"A night air show has been featured at a lot of different places," said Bob Christensen, vice president of air operations for the air show. "We decided, 'Why can't we do this in Burlington?' "
Bill Wilkins and his son, David, both of Danville, said having a night show was different, yet pretty neat.
"The night thing is pretty cool," Wilkins said as he was leaving the air show. "When you have the light from the fireworks against the black sky, it's a contrast, and it's easier for kids to see the planes."
David said he enjoyed seeing a skydiving act in the night sky.
"I think it's very unique that they have skydiving at nighttime because people skydive in the day," David said. "It was pretty interesting."
Earlier this week, David Camp, an organizer for the air show, said this year's event is not the kind of show you can watch from your backyard - no matter how close you live to the airport.
He was right.
There was plenty of activity at ground level during the first night of the air show at Southeastern Iowa Regional Airport.
One of the main attractions Friday evening was the Tulsa County Heat Wave, a jet-fueled funny car.
"The fastest I have driven the car is 285 mph," Sam Ives, owner and operator of the Heat Wave, said before his night run. "I have a love for speed."
Ives said the car is powered by a General Electric J-85 jet engine.
"I've been around jet engines all my adult life," said Ives, who was a jet mechanic in the Navy.
Ives said he has grown up around race cars. He said he was drag racing by the age of 14.
He is also a retired pilot, logging more than 23,000 hours in the air.
Ives sits in the middle of the car, and the engine sits behind him.
"Most of the other funny cars, the driver sits beside the engine," Ives said. "I have one of three center-drive cars where the driver sits in the middle of the car."

Ives is also a deputy sheriff in Tulsa County, Okla.
Because of that, the Heat Wave is equipped with LED red and blue lights, which intensified the visual effects during the night run.
It created a very impressive law-enforcement version of shock and awe with a thundering fire and smoke show.
Ives doesn't run his car alone.
His wife, Dixie, is also a big help, and Ives refers to her as the crew chief.
"She gets the engine started, and she runs the power into the car because once I'm strapped in, I can't do anything else," Ives said. "I will pull out into the runway, turn into the wind, hit the burner and go down the track."
Ives planned to drive about 1,000 feet before shutting the engine off.
"There is no sense in me doing 280 mph going down this runway," Ives said. "I'd have a hard time stopping."
Ives said his top speed at the air show is about 180 miles per hour.
Another thing that captured the audience's attention was a 1,000-foot wall of fire.
According to J&M Displays, which is affiliated with High Tech FX, which put on the fire show, a wall of fire is an effect where a number of shells are launched simultaneously and spaced apart.
A shell is the casing that holds the explosives.
With the help of an electronic firing system, the fire wall was instantaneously created once power was supplied from the firing panel.
"I think it's a spectacular show," Christensen said.
Starting at 7:30 a.m. today, the Burlington Kiwanis Club will put on a pancake breakfast at the airport, very much like the one they organize every year for the Snake Alley Criterion.
The ramp will open at 9 a.m., and the air show will resume at noon, featuring a variety of performers piloting everything from a Panzl S-330 to a Pitts S-2B. World War II planes and other acrobatic aircraft will crisscross the sky throughout the day.


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Something Old, Something New*

September 23 2012
Air show offers attendees chance to see state-of-the-art and historic airplanes.
Bob Coon is an ardent bird watcher.
But the 81-year-old Morning Sun resident doesn't need binoculars to spy his favorites, which go by some unusual names, like Sweet Revenge and Big Beautiful Doll.
Coon was one of more than 2,500 people craning his neck toward the big blue sky at Saturday's Southeast Iowa Air Show 2012.
"I'm just an airplane nut," said Coon.
While Coon said he was entertained by the whole show - and expressed disappointment he missed Friday's night show - he was most excited to see the warbirds taking flight.
"I like the warbirds the best, because, like I say, they were made during my era, when I was a teenager," Coon said.
The planes include the B-17, P-51 and F4U Corsair, which were made and manufactured in the 1940s and fought in World War II. But Coon worries the historic planes won't be flying much longer.
Since Coon graduated high school after World War II ended, he did not enlist, but he said lacking sight in one eye kept him from getting involved in the Korean War.
Steve Crowley, who along with his wife, Terri, sponsored the VIP tent on the southern airport grounds, is also kind of an airplane nut. The Burlington attorney has been flying for more than 25 years and said it's a wonderful addiction.
He said the evening show was a treat for Burlington, but like Coon, he became animated talking about the historic airplanes.
"People love to see the airplanes, but these are pieces of history that won us a war," Crowley said. "Anybody who loves aviation can stand with his back to a runway and tell you if a P-51 or an F4U Corsair makes a pass behind them. The sounds are unique and magnificent."
He added an enemy of the allied nations in World War II did not like the sounds nearly as much as Crowley does now.
David Camp, an organizer of the event as president of the Southeast Iowa Aviation Promotion Organization, was pleased with the turnout and the performances.
He estimated about 2,500 to 3,000 people attended the event each day.
The air was a little chilly, as the temperature just barely reached 60 degrees before the show's end. But it did not stop people from coming and staying on the Southeast Iowa Regional Airport grounds for the day's events. They just bundled up with fleece blankets, hooded sweatshirts, and even some mittens and woolen hats.
The 15-mile-per hour winds, with gusts of 20 to 25 miles per hour, did not just impact the attendees, but it also stopped some of the performances, though Camp said it's not likely attendees noticed.
He said there were plans for the planes to release balls of fire, which Camp hyperbolically said would have created a string of fire from south Burlington to Fort Madison, but the wind scrapped that plan. He said some planes flew higher due to the wind and some parachute demonstrations were canceled as well.
"I said, 'Guys, we do not want to take any chances.' Safety is our No. 1 concern,'" said Camp.
Cindy Wachholz, public affairs officer for the Iowa wing of the Civil Air Patrol, said there were more than 20 volunteers from Civil Air Patrol squadrons across the state on hand Saturday to ensure safety. While they were there, they also practiced drills to prepare for emergency scenarios.
Camp said after safety, the most important part of the air show is to entertain and educate children. He said in planning the air show, all those involved said they were attracted to aviation after seeing an air show as a child.
There was a Kid Zone for youth at the south end of the grounds, where kids of all ages could learn about and have fun with aviation. Western Illinois University had people on hand to educate kids about severe weather. Iowa City's Children's Museum had a booth where kids could make a paper rocket or put together aviation goggles. There was a flight simulator, as well.
The area drew kids from the age of 3 to 17 and had steady visitors.
Joe Nuebel, who lives in rural Henry County, manned a station where kids could learn about making a career in aviation. He said there are careers in everything ranging from air traffic control to mechanics to the Air Force to agriculture to the commercial or corporate flight industry.
Nuebel himself got his start in the Air Force, before turning to a career as a flight instructor and charter pilot.
Though he calls himself "kind of retired," he agrees with Crowley that flying is an addiction. He notes, "I go for a flight whenever I have a chance."
Nuebel has been to several air shows over the years and likes anything and everything on display but finds himself drawn to warbirds or older civilian planes. He took a break from his station to peek out the door and catch some of the show, including the jet glider.
"We're all kids at heart. We all like things that fly and make a lot of noise," Crowley said, summing up the day's entertainment.

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Floats of All Shapes & Sizes*

November 25 2012
Lighted Holiday Parade makes Christmas season official.

Six-year-old Marshall McKinney was literally glowing with anticipation as he waited for Burlington's annual Lighted Holiday Parade to begin...

Jenna Chalupa, 8, waves to Santa during the annual Lighted Holiday Parade Saturday in downtown Burlington. More than 60 floats took over Jefferson Street this year.
Julie Gerdes with the Des Moines County Historical Society decorates a 1909 Stanley steam car before the annual Lighted Holiday Parade Saturday in Burlington.

Vetetans memorial revived*

February 22 1996

A local club has resurrected plans for a veterans memorial at Aspen Grove Cemetery, and is working to raise the money needed to complete the project by Veterans Day.
Local Vietnam veterans first proposed the memorial in 1992. The group raised $10,000 for the project before funding dried up.
Since then, a black marble slab and granite columns that make up part of the memorial have been gathering dust in storage.
That's when The Great River CB Club stepped in. The club decided to take on a veterans memorial as a project. Club member Bill Fry stopped by Leyda, Burrus and Metz Monuments, 1500 Osborn St., to inquire about memorial stone and engraving.
"We talked to them about doing a veterans' memorial, and they said one was already started," he said.
Fry and another club member, Betty Scott, contacted the Vietnam veterans group, including Tom Swearingen. Swearingen was among those involved in the original project. The Vietnam veterans agreed to work with the CB club to complete the memorial.
All involved agreed to designate the monument as a memorial to the veterans of all wars and all branches of service. The center panel will be engraved with the images of servicemen from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, and a woman in a nurse's uniform to represent the women who have served. Two end panels will depict battle scenes.
Granite columns on either end will hold flag poles for display of the American Flag and POW/MIA flag.
A ground-level light will illuminate the monument, The plan also calls for two stone benches and some planters for flowers.
Aspen Grove Cemetery has agreed to donate the ground and the concrete slab. Leyda, Burrus and Metz will donate the engraving and installation. Miller's concrete, U.S. 61 South, has donated the planters.
Hawkeye Gun Shop has donated the flags. The center marble panel and the two columns were purchased during the previous fund-raising effort. About $7,000 is needed to complete the project. Fry said the memorial would be the only one of its kind in Burlington. The only other veterans' memorial is a simple monument at Memorial Park Cemetery.
The CB club hopes to the funds raised soon enough to order the remaining material so that the Memorial is completed by Veterans Day Nov. 11.

Click the Pictures to make to biggerA model shows the war memorial replica project that local Vietnam veterans proposed in 1992. Funding stalled the project until The Great River CB Club recently decided to support the effort.
edit by Ryan Smith

The Great River C.B. Club is Taking Donations for The Veterans Memorial Donations Bill & Roxie Fry The Great River C.B. Club

Groups split over Vietnam vets memorial*

August 26 1998

Two Groups that joined forces last year to raise money for a veterans memorial have opted to each build its own after a dispute over the location of the monument, leaving one of the groups holding the bag on its project.
The Great River CB Club picked up the project begun in the early 1990s by members of the Vietnam veterans group, Viet How.
United Auto Workers local 807's veterans committee volunteered its time last year after hearing about the project, but the joint effort collapsed after the groups reached a stalemate over where the memorial should go.
Viet How and the CB club raised money for the memorial built earlier this year Aspen Grove Cemetery.
The UAW veterans committee pulled its support because it wanted the memorial to be a more high profile area, committee chairman Marty Walsh said.
CB club organizer Betty Scott believes the UAW veterans committee betrayed the CB club by using the group's project and the organization's name to raise money for a veterans memorial and using that money to build a different memorial.
She is upset because the CB club has been stuck with a $4,800 balance due on the Aspen Grove Cemetery. In alerter sent to the Burlington City Council, Scott criticized Walsh and the UAW group for misleading contributors.
"Now I see they are putting up their own manorial, using part of the money they collected for our memorial," Scott wrote. "I think this is the lowest thing I have ever heard of." Walsh, whose group has raised more than $15,000, said the UAW group followed the wishes of those who donated money in deciding to put a memorial on the riverfront.
"They can say whatever they want," Walsh said. "When the two groups separated a year ago, we stopped raising money because we did not want to interfere with their project."
Walsh said city police and the Des Moines County attorney's office contacted him after receiving complaints from Scott and the CV club.
The UAW veterans committee's memorial will be located on the north side of Manorial Auditorium. It will be erected in time for a Veterans Day dedication ceremony on Nov. 11, Walsh said.
Scott also attacked Burlington City Councilman Don Henry, claiming he solicited support for the memorial to be included in the city's riverfront improvement plan.
Viet Now club member Tom Swearingen said Henry came to his office last year seeking his support in putting the memorial near the river instead of at Aspen Grove, after plans for the project had been finalized at the cemetery.
Henry did make a pitch to take the project downtown, but nit until he heard from veterans groups that they wanted the memorial to be in a more public place, he said.
Henry, however, said he thinks both memorials should be accepted.
"Nobody has anything against the monument in Aspen Grove, and I don't see where people can't understand (that) the purpose of each monument is appropriate," he said.
Henry said some veterans like the solitude of being able to grieve for lost friends a the memorial in Aspen Grove. But many veterans want a memorial in a public that can be viewed anytime.
City Council approved $2,400 for each project, but otherwise, both projects have been funded through private donations.
Milt Branchini, adjutant quartermaster for Veterans of Foreign Wars post 10102, said he thinks the dispute began when a plan to put veterans memorial near the front entrance of Aspen Grove on Sunnyside Avenue was abandoned and the monument was placed in a remote area of the cemetery.
"I don't think we need two memorials, but where they placed that one, nobody can see it," Branchini said.
Branchini said VFW members were happy with the Aspen Grove monument at the front of the cemetery.
But when the plan was changed, the VFW changed course and supported the UAW project instead.
Aspen Grove general manager Larry Beckham said the cemetery opposed placing the monument at the front of the cemetery because it wouldn't blend in with the surrounding area.
"We also wanted to open up a veterans area, so we thought it would be better to have it in an area where veterans would be interred, so that's why it is there," he said.
The veterans memorial is located in the northwest corner of the cemetery.

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The existing veterans memorial at the Aspen Grove Cemetery in Burlington, Lift, was funded by the Great River CB Club and Vlet Now. The one at right is a computer-generated image of the memorial the United Auto Workers veterans committee wants to erect near Memorial Auditorium. The groups divided over location.

Businesses coping with paving delays*

July 4 1999

West Avenue: Rains idle construction plans.
Although weather has slowed the paving project, businesses along one of Burlington's busiest city streets are coping - barely.
The city is spending an estimated $1.3 million to rebuild the pitted road from Westland Avenue to Garfield Avenue.
The work includes a curved intersection ay West and Garfield avenues which replaces a T-intersection there. A turn lane also will be added at Lee brick Street.
The work is being done in seven pieces to minimize disruptions to homeowners and businesses along the minor arterial. Construction began in May.
Crews currently are working on three phases of the total project, which is expected to be completed later this year. Rick Scott, city senior technician for Burlington's engineering department, said the city plans to reopen West Avenue from Starr Avenue east to Garfield July 9. Scott has been at the job site supervising the work being done by Shipley Contracting Co.
"We've been delayed quite a bit because of rain," he said.
Shipley crews had the the main portion of the Garfield and West avenues intersection paved the middle of last week.
The street officially is closed to through traffic from Garfield Avenue to Willow Avenue, but several portions of the route are open to allow access to businesses such as Denny's West Avenue 66, 2400 West Ave.
Denny Hyde is owner of Denny's, one of two remaining full-service gas stations in Burlington.
"This out here really hasn't bothered us," he said of the street's hole in front of the business. "Obviously, it has dampened the gas business, but the garage business is holding up."
Hyde, who has operated the business at that location for 13 years, said the next phase of construction may create more problems.
The station now has two main ways people can get to the business, but the next phase will cut down access to an alley and side street.
"We'll be more remote," he said. Hyde has placed advertising in newspapers to help people navigate to his business.
"There's going to be inconvenience, but we'll deal with it as best we know how," he said.
The street section near Denny's is Scheduled to be reopened July 16, while the area near Easy and Willow streets is scheduled for opening July 14.
Those dates, Scott says, are depended on the weather.
"We've lost a full 25 percent of our working days to weather," he said.
The loss of drive-by traffic also has reduced business at BG's Buy-N-Bye, said an employee who declined to give her name.
"We are tickled to see them start pouring, but then they tear up another section," the convenience store employee said. "I feel sorry for the and parking along side streets."
Business is holding up, however, the woman said.
"We have a lot of faithful customers," she said. "And we have some cheap gas, which has helped."

Click the Pictures to make to biggerRyan Smith of Burlington rides his bicycle down the sidewalk of West Avenue last month, while road construction workers run a trimmer to grind up rock for the new pavement.

Spotters keep an eye on the sky

March 15 1999

Despite its sophisticated equipment and Doppler radar, the National Weather Service in Davenport knows only half of what is going on during a tornado or a thunderstorm.
The rest of the information comes from weather spotters, the volunteers who observe weather conditions as they happen, said Jim Meyer, NWS warning coordination meteorologist.
"These are very special People," Mayer said. "They phone in the information they see during the actual storm, which helps us put the pieces together."
March marks the official beginning of the tornado season and start of NWS meteorologists traveling across the state to give their annual training classes for weather spotters.
"We have 100 volunteers in the 38 county area we cover," Mayer said. "Someone from our staff is out in the road teaching a class every night from now on until about June."
Ed Darrah, a retired insurance claims businessman from Burlington, has been attending the free annual class held at Southeastern Community College for the last three years.
The training classes, Darrah said, are very helpful in teaching all the aspects of severe weather situations.
"They give a beginner's guide on severe weather information," he said.
"All I knew before I went to class was the funnel cloud; the rest I learned during training."
Now the two clouds Darrah knows to watch for during severe weather warnings are the wall cloud and the anvil cloud.
"The anvil has a tail and has a column building up," he said. "The taller its tower, the bigger the trouble."
During the training class, the weather spotters also are given safe locations for spotting in their area.
In the Burlington area, the airport, the junction of Iowa 16 and U.S. 61 near Wever and U.S. 34 west of town are the locations suggested to the weather spotters.
"You have to be careful with the location you pick," Darrah said. "You have to have more than one or two directions you can move so you can get uot of the way."
Weather spotters go out to observe clouds an average of five times during a regular season, and can be identified by the stickers on their vehicles labeled "SKYWARN."
"We have these stickers so when we go out to the country, people don't get worried about strange vehicles sitting out on the road to their house for hours," he said.
Instead of calling the NWS in Davenport, Darrah said he uses an amateur radio for his communicational outlet and takes just a few minutes to set up.
"I have a hand-held radio and a mobile radio in my car," he said. "When everything else fails, they still work." The more people out watching weather conditions the better, Darrah said.
"They want to know about what the weather is doing on location," he said.
"For that there is nothing like having someone on the ground."
The next weather spotters free training class will be conducted Thursday, April 8, at 7p.m., and Friday, April 9, at 9a.m., at Southeastern Community College

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Volunteer storm spotter Ed Darrahm, Burlington, is pictured Sunday in his ham radio-equipped pickup from which helps track storms for the National Weather Service.


March 2 2000

The transmitter will send massages directly from the National Weather Service in Davenport to homes that have receivers.
"The thing with NOAA radio is it will wake you up in the middle of the night when there is a watch or warning issued," Hardin said. Because the signal can be transmitted only to homes where a NOAA radio is located, it still leave some people unprotected.
"Unfortunately, we will always have that situation," Hardin said. But the installation of NOAA radio will provide a service to a part of the state that otherwise was not covered. in the meantime, Hardin and the county's emergency management commission are reviewing possible alternatives to the existing siren system.
One possible system would be a reverse 911 system in which local authorities would call a company to actuate a warning to a specific area.
Hardin said the company then would automatically dial homes in the area, such as a particular neighborhood or town, and the phone would or town, and the phone would ring. When answered, a warning message would be played over the phone, Hardin said.
She said the county's 911 board will be approached about the possibility of paying for the system. Another option is changing the sires from phone is changing the sirens from phone line activated you radio controlled, which would cost about $1,500 a siren, Hardin said.
There are currently seven sirens in Burlington and two in West Burlington, she said.
Sirens in Mediapolis and Danville rely on their fire sirens, which are activated locally. There is no warning system in Middletown, Hardin said. US West spokesman Curt Stamp said the company has been working with Des Moines County officials to try to help with the transition to a new warning system.
The company has said it will no longer operate the phone lines because they are old and replacement parts are no longer available.
Stamp said US West will not discontinue operation without notifying local officials.
"I don't know if I can say that 100 percent, if they should fail, I don't know if we could get them operating again because parts are not available. But are we going to turn them off April 1? No. But the sooner they get something in place to replace it the better," Stamp said.

Click the Pictures to make to biggerSean Durgin, Lisbon, an employee of Trigon of Marion, adjust a template to drill a hole in a transmitter shed Wednesday at the Iowa Department of Transportation radio tower in West Burlington. Trigon has been installing repeater antennas for the National Weather Service in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, so those concerned about the weather can better hear NWS frequencies.

System guards as you sleep

March 13 2000

Weather radio: New system will pay tone when severe storm warnings are issued.

Next time a severe thunderstorm rolls into the area overnight, if you have a weather radio, you can be assured that a warning tone will awaken you telling you of any severe weather watches or warnings that have been issued for your area.
The NOAA weather radio transmitter was installed Friday on the public safety tower behind the Iowa Department of Transportation building on Beaverdale Road and beginning immediately, anyone wanting to receive the latest in severe weather announcements from the National Weather Service can receive the massages on a weather radio in their home.
Des Moines County Emergency Management Coordinator Gina Hardin said the installation of the transmitter ends the long-time blackout of weather radio signals in southeast Iowa.
"Before, we had no way of alerting homeowners to severe weather information unless they had their TV or radio on," she said. "now when a watch or warning is issued, a signal will be sent to homes that have a weather radio and it will notify them of what is happening."
She said while most severe weather occurs between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., the weather radios will be especially useful in the middle of the night when people are asleep and otherwise helpless if severe weather strikes.
Hardin said the system is operable but that the National Weather Service will still be conducting tests during a 30-day test period.
Still, weather radio is only effective if people have them in their homes, Hardin said.
The cost of a receiver for the weather radio ranges from about $10 to $70. The difference is cost is the more expensive units have more features, such as an LCD screen that spells out whether the message is a warning or watch.
Hardin said officials recommend that people buy a weather radio with SAME technology, cr the ability to program the radio to only receive particular watches or warning for a specific county.
"If you only want tornado watches and warnings for Des Moines County, but don't want the flash flood watches and warnings, then you can program it that way," she said.
But if you want all the weather watches and warnings for a greater area, you can also program the radio to receive those signals too, she said.
Only Radio Shack at Westland Mall in West Burlington and Electronic Engineering in Mount Pleasant sell weather radio receives messages at the moment the watch or weaning is issued by the weather service.
Advancements in technology have decreased the amount of time between when a watch or warning is issued and when it is broadcast over TV or commercial radio.
Andrew Ervin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Davenport, said the time difference between signals broadcast over the TV and the weather radio are negligible.
"Our job at the weather service is to get the warnings out to people as soon as possible and we like people to pay attention to both," he said.
"The biggest advantage, far and above, in having the weather radio is for the overnight hours. We look at weather radio as being like a smoke detector for the weather. If you are asleep the weather radio is always there and it will turn on when a watch or warning is issued. The TV won't. The weather radio will get you up and into the basement and hopefully save your life."

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Dick Clement, communications officer for Emergency Management from Des Moines, checks the information for the 300 watt transmitter on the NOAA radio tower Friday in West Burlington. The new tower will be tested for the next 30 days before it is fully operational. The local weather is broadcast at a 162.525 MHz frequency.

Ice storm swinging through*

December 11 2007

Weather service warns against travel in region.

Residents of southeast Iowa and west-central Illinois with the urge to make a run to the grocery store today may want to consider some advice from the National Weather Service - don't.
The Weather service Monday issued an ice storm warning for the region lasting until midnight today. The warning began about midnight Monday for Burlington and areas to the north and east. For areas south and west of Burlington, the advisory began at 6 p.p. Monday.
"It's not going to be a good situation anywhere in the area, and we don't recommend traveling at all," said Quad Cities-based meteorologist Andy Ervin of the weather service.
The storm is part of a large system that wreaked havoc across the central United States Monday, blacking out more than 600,000 homes and businesses.
At least 17 deaths in Oklahoma and Missouri were blamed on the conditions, with 15 people killed on slick highways. Both states have declared states of emergency.
If going anywhere today, take an emergency kit, Ervin said.
The ice storm is expected to spread through the area, dropping a wide swath of freezing rain across the Mississippi Valley and causing ice accumulations of a half inch or more.
The hardest hit areas will be a 30 mile-wide stretch between Princeton, Ill., Burlington and Keosauqua, according to meteorologist Mike McClure of the weather service.
By this afternoon officials expect the storm to turn to snow as it moves southeast, bringing it mover southeast, bringing colder air into the area, McClure said.
Local officials are planning for the worst and anticipate the possibility of widespread power outages.
Recent icy and snowy weather over the last week has made trees and power lines more vulnerable to damage during the storm today, McClure said.
Emergency management personnel and service agencies spent much of the day Monday meeting and preparing for the possibility of a repeat of the storm system that ripped through the area last February, leaving 250,000 Iowans without power, some for more than a week.
Today's storm could rival the one last Federacy in the amount of ice expected. But, it will differ regarding one important factor. There will be much less wind.
The February storm produced wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour. Today's winds will range from 10 to 20 miles per hour, McClure said.
Preparations for warming stations have been made, in case of an extended outage. The locations of the stations will be released if and when they are needed, said Gina Hardin, Des Moines County Emergency Management coordinator. She made the comments Monday during a press conference with local media, police and fire officials.
Officials are urging residents to use caution, stay home and prepare for the worst.
In case of downed power lines, officials urge people to stay indoors and call emergency personnel.
In case of a power outage, officials urge residents to check on friends, family and neighbors. Only call 911 in case of an actual emergency in which medical, fire or police assistance is required. In response to the threat of power out, residents Monday scrambled to purchase heaters and power generators.
Farm King sold its entire stock of 20 generators within tow hours of opening Monday and its entire stock of kerosene heaters by 3 p.m., said assistant manager Tom Newberry Sr.
The store is expecting another shipment of generators this afternoon and has a waiting list of people expecting them, Newberry said.
However, generators should never be used to power an entire home unless properly installed by a trained licensed electrician, said Alliant regional director of operations Scott Smith.
Plugging a generator directly into a house's electrical system creates a potentially deadly "backfeeding" hazard for utility rear crews, Smith said.
"That is one of our biggest worries right now because they have to be properly installed," he said. "If they are correctly installed, they are great."
All homes with generators must inform their power company of that fact, Smith said. "It's all about safety. If someone gets hurt, it's not worth it."
Residents can simply plug appliances directly into the generator using an extension cord.
However, generators should never be run in doors, because they produce carbon monoxide, a potentially deadly gas.
Burlington Fire Chief Tom Clements urged residents to not use white gas heaters, charcoal or kerosene heaters indoors.
"They will kill you . They put off a lot of carbon monoxide," Clements said. "The houses built today are a lot tighter they originally released them (kerosene and gas-powered heaters) to the market, so they are dangerous."
Clements also warned residents not to use gas stoves, which also release carbon monoxide, to heat their homes.

If the power goes out...
Alliant Energy offers these tips for people who lose electrical power:
  • A portable generator used as a source of electricity for the home should be installed by a licensed contractor. Generator users also should call the utility (1-800-255-4268), so customer service can advise utility personnel working in your area. Due to improper installation, portable generators often back-feed into the distribution for crews working on the electric lines.
  • Never try to heat a room using a gas stove, oven, fireplace or charcoal or propane grill.
  • Improper use of a natural gas, propane or oil-fired appliance can produce harmful carbon monoxide fumes.
  • Portable heaters can provide warmth, but also pose significant safety hazards. prior to using, carefully read the manufacturer's directions.
  • If using a wood-burning fireplace, crack open a window on the opposite side of the room to allow for adequate air circulation.
  • Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer door. Refrigerated food will stay cold up to six hours: frozen food will keep for about two days if the door to the freezer isn't opened.
  • When electric service is resorted, use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the food - if it's less than 40 degrees, it's safe to keep. If frozen foods still have ice crystals, they can safely be refrozen.
  • Avoid downed power lines and poles. Do not attempt to move nearby tree debris, as it could be entangled with a downed electric line.

Burlington police mourn loss of leader in 2007

December 30 2007

The year began on a high note for the Burlington Police Department.
Chief Dave Wunnenberg had begun to implement a variety of initiatives intended to reduce the city's crime rate, but the 34 year veteran policeman would not live to see his goal realized.
Wunnenberg's life was cut short April 18 after being trapped for more than four hours in an excavator that sank in 15 feet of water at Bluff Harbor Marina in Burlington.
Wunnenberg, who managed the marina and co-owned a dredge that was operating at the marina, drove the excavator onto a flat-bottom barge.
The barge suddenly shifted, and the 18,000 pound machine slid into the Mississippi River.
Burlington police received a call at 6:30 p.m. for a water rescue at the marina. Police blocked access to the marina allowing only emergency personnel to approach the pier where a dredge barge had overturned.
Stunned city leaders and Burlington police officers arrived at the marina and waited alongside grief-stricken family members.
As the crowd grew, emergency personnel worked frantically to free Wunnenberg from the excavator. Four hours later, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
In offices, restaurants and shops throughout Burlington, heads hung low and eyes grew red as the news of the tragic death spread throughout the community.
"We are all stunned by this loss. He was a friend and a mentor," said Burlington police Sgt. Adam Schaeffer at an impromptu press briefing shortly after Wunnenberg was pronounced dead.
Days later, a sea of blue and brown police uniforms merged with mourners dressed in black, all paying their respects to the man described as a "cop's cop."
As Burlington police mourned, officers looked to Wunnenberg's second-in-command for leadership. Major Dan Luttenegger, Groomed to be Wunnenberg's successor, was appointed to fill his former boss' shoes.
"Dan was the right man for the job," City Manager Bruce Slagle said. "He has done a great job for us." Since becoming chief, Luttenegger has continued Wunnenberg's crusade against crime by remaining focused on problem areas of the city and by stepping up patrols in order to reduce repeat offenders.
In a March interview, Wunnenberg said the crime rate had remained steady in Burlington for 2006, and he expected the trend to continue for 2007. While the actual crime rate didn't rise, the number of criminals collared by Burlington police increased substantially.
To better use department resources, Wunnenberg shuffled patrol officers this year to create four-person squads to work an eight-hour shift during peak times. Those patrol officers remain assigned to specific problem areas, including the Greenway apartment complex in Burlington.
According to Luttenegger, Wunnenberg's legacy will live on through the people he met and the live he touched.
"Dave has set example for us that we continue to follow," he said. "We will continue to follow has lead."

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The funeral for Burlington Police Chief Dave Wunnenberg was April 23 at St. John the Baptist Church, followed by a luncheon at Memorial Auditorium. Wunnenberg was killed April 18 after an excavator with him in it fell from a flat-bottom barge at Bluff Harbor Marina on the Mississippi River.

Radio, cigar store are combined

August 3 1997

Radio and smoke signals rise out of a newly remodeled building in Burlington's downtown,
Chip Giannettino believes he made a good move combining the operations of his KCPS-AM radio station with his growing business of selling cigars, pipes and assortments.
The cigar shop three years ago started out as a hobby, located in a booth inside the Jefferson Street Cafe
"It turned into more than a hobby," he said.
The volume of business improved so much, Giannettino decided to move his radio station from Main Street and combine the office with a tobacco shop.
Building owner Steve Hoth, Giannettino and his wife, Val, decided to remodel the building. The cost for their half of the structure was around $100.000, he said.
Giannettino said Hoth also remodeled the other half of the building to move elsewhere.
That section of Main Street use to be a busy place. Many buildings are vacate now, he said.
Giannettino decided moving onto the growing Jefferson Street was the thing to do.
"There are a whole lot of things happening in this block," he said.
Both streets, he said, are going through cycles of progress.
The station, as wall as other places on Main Street, use to be open 24 hours. Now those places are gone, waiting for construction of a possible parking ramp, convenience store and hotel.
Giannettino said his section of Jefferson Street slowly died with the pedestrian mall. Now that the road is open, the area has been revitalized, he said.
Giannettino's 25-by-125-foot area on the ground floor gives employees more room than the radio station's previous spot.
The old place was crowded with two studios and eight employees in 900 square feet.
"We were elbow-to-elbow and ready to kill each other," he said. "Now we have room to burn."
The front of the new store features the cigar shop. It offers Swisher Sweets - the cigar world's version of ripple wine - along with Don Diego Grandes, Arturo Fuente and other imports.
The tobacco blends include brand names and Giannettino's own mix under the names of Snake Alley Sweet, Blackhawk Blend and Shoquoquon Sun.
Burlington use to be a major manufacturer of cigars, especially the Blackhawk Cigar Co. that rolled out thousands of cigars each week.
"I'm happy to bring back part of the history to the city," he said.
Giannettino started the radio station on Main Street in 1965. It was easy to attach satellite receivers and other antennas to the roof. When that station moved, the building didn't have enough roof room for all the gadgets.
"We've got dishes all over the block," he said. "It was quite an engineering feat." The radio station has become more high-tech, now using digital equipment instead of miles of tape - reel-to-reel and cassettes.
Many ads now come to the station via telephone, instead of the sometimes untrustworthy delivery services.
"It was the greatest thing to happen in the business," he said of the improved electronics. The new equipment in the studio features a digital sound effects machine that replaces racks and racks or tapes.
"It's made life a breeze," Giannettino said of the new system. The radio station has been successful, he said. Although it's been busy, the station has been broadcasting live Burlington Bees games.
"We've done 140 games. That's a staggering amount of programming," he said.

Click the Pictures to make to biggerChip Giannettino, owner of KCPS radio station and Jefferson Street Cigar Shoppe, 208 Jefferson St., relaxes in front of the station's

KCPS enjoying its new home

October 28 2007

AM station's broadcasting improves with better line-of-sight to tower.

West Burlington - Freed and Seven have more punch in their words.
The early morning talk duo on KCPS AM make their quips, barbs and jibes with a stronger signal since the station has moved here from downtown.
A better line of sight to the tower north of them provides a clearer broadcast signal, which now can pierce steel and concrete structures. The satellite receivers also no longer have to breach buildings and other obstacles in the downtown's skyline.
The station's move also meant owner Chip Giannettino had to remodel 2,500 square feet of a former truck transfer station for offices and studios. The building has 10,000 square feet with office space on two floors, where he hopes to attract other tenants.
In the station's move to 205 S. Gear Ave., Giannettino double-walled the interior and added insulation to decrease utility costs and outside noise. The added cushion, however, doesn't quite stop the noise of train whistles, which seen louder at the nearby Gear Avenue crossing than downtown, he said.
Since he and his wife, Val, became owners of KCPS, the station has moved three times. It first was on Main Street in a building built in 1870, where they painted a large mural on the outside brick wall. The second was a spot on Jefferson Street, shared by a tobacco shop that Giannettino also owned.
He didn't own either building. Having control of building is another advantage of the move, Giannettino said.
More importantly, though, was the boost in the digital signals going to and from the station. The station didn't lose a second of signal several weeks ago during the transfer of broadcast spots.
"The instant we turned it on here, it was like wow!" he said of the improved quality.
KCPS, which is found at 1150 on the AM dial, is the community's only locally owned station.
Giannettino said he has declined buyout offers from several corporate consolidating radio stations. "It's a dream realized," he said of becoming owner of a radio station in 1987. "I'm still having fun. I really enjoy doing this."
The station with a talk-show format, both local and national commentators, also broadcasts Chicago Bears and Cubs games, as wall as NASCAR races.
"We were the first to bring the concept of syndicated programs to Burlington, when others didn't," he said. "Twenty years later, everyone is doing that."
The locally produced "Big Show," which usually starts at 6 a.m. is a time to talk about area issues, make fun of people or things. Public officials and especially The Hawk Eye often are the target of wisecracks and occasional compliments.
"We talk about anything. We like to have a good time, even at our attempts at jokes," said Giannettino, who reluctantly admitted he is "Fred." He declined to say who is Seven, wishing to keep his real identity a secret.
Listeners are encouraged to call in and they do But sometimes the pair have to hang up on them.
"We have had our share of crack pots," Giannettino said.
None of their commentary is meant to be mean-spirited, he said, bit some listeners might not believe him.
No matter, the local crackpottery usually lasts three hours. Lately, though, the program has lasted two hours, because Giannettino has been working with wring and other tasks to fine-tune the station's inner working. The show should return to three hour next month.
KCPS began in 1965 as KYMD. The station's call letters evolved in KYED and KKUZ before it began broadcasting as KCPS-standing for Country Pleasing Sounds. Since the format has changed, Giannettino said the letters now stand for Kilo Cycles Per Second-a radio transmitting term. Giannettino said he and his 10 employer miss downtown and its atmosphere.
But the new studio has a large window. A after 20 years in windowless workplaces, Giannettino said he enjoys watching sunrises while having fun on the airwaves.

Click the Pictures to make to biggerChip Giannettino, owner and general manager of KCPS-AM. sits in a studio at the station's new location, 205 South Gear Ave., West Burlington.

Training to fight fires

October 14 2007
West Burlington Wapello firefighters tackle two-story blazing simulator.

West Burlington - She's lean. She's mean. And she's a firefightin' machine.
Actually, describing the Interior Fire Attack Simulator parked outside the former West Burlington Middle School as a fire-fighting device is bit inaccurate. The pull-behind trailer makes the best use of modern technology to set itself on fire, giving firefighters a chance to practice their trade without the dangers of a burning house.
Eight firefighters from the West Burlington Fire Department and one firefighter from Wapello got the chance to engage in some hands-on training with the device Saturday, performing multiple drills and practicing techniques under the pressure of a burning blaze.
Reaching two stories high with a small stainless steel room sitting at the peak, the state-owned fire attack simulator is the only one of its kind in Iowa. Russ Grossman, field program coordinator for the fire service training division of the Iowa State Fire Marshal's Office, spends almost every weekend hauling the trailer to different fire stations across Iowa.
"Learning by going into buildings set fire is over," Grossman said. We don't go in there and melt equipment anymore."
Instead, the fire created by the simulator is released by five burners set up at different locations around the structure. Since the entire trailer is comprised of stainless steel and aluminum, there are no flammable surfaces that will allow the fire to spread. The fire can appear at different places, though, since the interior walls of the trailer can be moved around to simulate different environments.
The entire trailer also fills with smoke during an exercise, making it as life-like as possible. The only difference is that the trailer cleared of smoke in 10 seconds. This safety feature allows a struggling fireman to be evacuated immediately.
"It 99.999 percent safe," Grossman said. "It's not 100 percent safe because we're dealing with real fire."
The exercise is continually monitored from a control room in the trailer, where an instructor controls the level of the burners with different pressure valves. Grossman said the temperature is usually kept about 300 to 350 degrees, bur it's possible to crank the temperature up to 1,300 degrees.
"We are only using this up to about five or 10 percent of it's ability," said Lenny Sanders, second assistant fire chief for the West Burlington Fire Department. "It's invaluable training. I'd rather have firefighters learn their skills here than in a real house fire."
According to Grossman, the fire attack simulator cost $290,000 when it was built seven years ago and would cost about $1 million if it were built today.
Firefighters using the structure Saturday were simulating a response to a basement fire, which is one of the most dangerous types of fires to extinguish. Not only did the firefighters have to cool the ceiling as they entered the building, bur they also had to locate and extinguish the source of the blaze.
"You basically have to come down a chimney in a basement fire," Sanders said. The heat blasts up when you open the door, and you have to bump down the stairs on your butt to get under the heat."
Sanders estimated the firefighters would go through about 300 pounds of propane by the time the day was done. Most of his man had already trained with the simulator at previous opportunities, with the exception of there firefighters who were experiencing it for the first time.
"We've got a good crew," Sanders said during a break. "The guys are doing really well." Although many firefighters take advantage of the simulator, using the trailer is voluntary. Grossman said that may change in the future, but for now, each fire department (both paid and volunteer) is responsible for how it trains its firefighters.
"It's hard to believe more people don't take advantage of the training," Grossman said.
West Burlington Fire Department provided three fire trucks for the training Saturday afternoon, and Great River Medical Center provided an ambulance to simulate the entire emergency response action. Classes with the fire simulator will continue from 8 a.m. to noon today and from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday. Grossman said that firefighters from the Burlington Fire Department are scheduled to take part in the training at the later times.

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Firefighter wait their turn to enter the Fire Service Training Bureau's Interior Fire Attack Simulator Saturday at the former West Burlington Middle School. Firefighter from West Burlington and Wapello attended a classroom session before battling a simulated basement fire in the unit. Area firefighters also will train with the simulator this morning and Monday evening.Firefighters learn ropes

Area firefighter honed their skills in hands-on training with a simulator that duplicated the dangers of a burning house Saturday.

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West Burlington firefighter Pam Hall talks with fellow West Burlington firefighter, from left, Skylar Limkemann, Mike Trickler and Tom Canfield, about their experience in the Fire Service Training Bureau's Interior Fire Attack Simulator Saturday at the former West Burlington Middle School. Firefighters from West Burlington and Wapello attended a classroom session before battling a simulated basement fire in the unit. Hall was part of the second group going into the simulator.

Job is always preparing for the worst

November 23 2008

Emergency management coordinator's Jobs vary throughout area.

Like taxes and death, disasters area a fact of life. Tornadoes, flood, ice storms, chemical spills - they can happen any time and anywhere.
And it's the job of local emergency management coordinators to prepare for the worst.
They're the man and woman on the found helping with recovery, applying for grants, encouraging local businesses, people, care centers, hospitals and government agencies developing plans and much more.
However, the specific duties, focus, philosophy, pay rate and even hours worked by individual emergency coordinators vary greatly and have evolved with the specific needs and resources of each county.
While the majority of funding for emergency management agencies comes from local taxpayers, federal Emergency Management Performance Grant also provides a chunk of change. The amount of EMPG funding counties receive each year varies depending on a variety of issues including the amount of funds appropriated by the U.S. Congress for the grant.
Federal funding for the grant likely will stay the same or increase slightly for the next federal fiscal year under an appropriations bill passed by Congress and signed by President George Bush last month that included $315 million for the Emergency Management Performance Grant program, according to the National Association of Counties.
The grant funds are given to each state, which then allocates funds to counties. To receive the grant funds, each county must meet the specifications set forth in the states' administrative rules.
Iowa code 29C establishes the creation of local emergency management commission.
In Iowa, each county commission is comprised of a representative of the board of supervisors, sheriff and each incorporated city in the county.
The commission is tasked with Des Moines County is the only county in southeast Iowa with both a full-time coordinator and a full-time assistant coordinator.
Emergency Management Coordinators Gina Hardin and her full-time assistant Tom Colthurst work from a nicely decorated two-room office in a building they share with the Sheriff's Department at 512 N. Main St.
One of the rooms is a work area, the walls lined with desks, computers and file cabinets. The other room is Hardin's office, which she has painted entirely pink. She calls it her "Pepto-Bismol room."
A former Louisa County emergency management coordinator, Colthurst switched jobs in August.
"Des Moines County, with all the initiatives we have going on, you really need two full-time people," Hardin said.
Those initiatives include SKYWARN, a volunteer network that works to spot severe weather and coordinate response and Community Emergency Response Team, a volunteer group that provides assistance with a variety of local events from parade security to flu clinic assistance.
Hardin and Colthurst also spend time networking.
"We spend a lot of time at meetings and networking. I think that is a huge role we play in the county, getting to know the individuals whether from private industry, emergency response, or Great River (Medical Center). So that in a true emergency...we can bring them together with who they need to be in contact with," said Hardin.
Hardin has worked as county coordinator for 13 years. Above and beyond her required duties, Hardin said she focuses on encouraging residents, businesses, nonprofits, schools and government entities to prepare for an emergency.
This fiscal year, Hardin has a budget of $208,000, which includes $48,000 for Haz-mat operations, Hardin's $49,915 annual salary, $29,120 to pay Colthurst, $26,000 for carryover reserve and about $7,000 in pass-through grants, she said.
Colthurst's salary will in crease to $31,000 raise after six months.
About $25,000 of the budget is paid for by federal EMPG funds. Up until the fiscal year beginning in 2004, emergency management was paid for with a per capita charge based on the 2000 U.S. census assessed to both incorporated cities and the county. However, city officials balked saying their residents were being charged twice, once by the city and once by the county. In 2003, the county emergency management commission voted to switch to a uniform supplemental levy format. The board of supervisors initially resisted the change, but now all of the local contribution to emergency management comes from the county general budget, said Auditor Carol Copeland. Hardin also server as the county's designated Region V Homeland Security Board representative. The group meets once a month to talk about grants for the 17-county region, the best way to spend those funds and region wide initiatives.
Hardin also is working with county officials to implement a public calling system called Code Red.

Click the Pictures to make to biggerIowa Gov. Chet Culver talks with Gina Hardin, the Des Moines County Emergency Management coordinators, following his visit to Burlington June 16.

3 members of family charged in sex case

February 26 2014

20-year-old turns himself into police, implicates his parents.

Three members of a Burlington family are in Des Moines County jail accused of various types of child abuse. Andrew Keith Walls, 20, was charged Tuesday in Des Moines County District Court with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, an aggravated misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison.
His parents, Brian Wells, 49, and Janelle Wells, 39, were arrested for child endangerment Tuesday afternoon at the family home at 532 Summer St.
The arrests are the result of an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct at the family's home. The investigation began Monday and continues, said Lt. Jeff Klein, commander of Burlington's criminal investigations division, noting 10 home-schooled children lived at the home.
Klein said the parents allegedly were aware of ongoing sexual occurrences in the home, yet failed to protect the minors even though they were asked to help stop the assaults.
District Associate Judge Mark Kruse set Andrew Wells' bond at $100,000 during a court appearance Tuesday morning.  Bonds for Brian and Janelle Wells, who are scheduled to make their first court appearance at 8:30a.m. today before District Associate Judge Michael Dieterich, have been set at $40,000 cash only.
Burlington detectives began investigating after Andrew Wells walked into the police department Monday evening and admitted molesting several children and possessing hundreds of items of child pornography.
His parents were arrested about 4:30p.m. Tuesday.
"Those charges are just the beginning," Klein said Tuesday. "We expect multiple additional charges being filed, including several felonies."
Klein did not say why Wells' voluntarily went to the police department. However, he said police learned Andrew Wells "got into an altercation at home with other family members Monday night."
During his court appearance, Wells admitted he feared for his safety. When Kruse told him he wouldn't be able to return to his home where he lives with his parents, Wells responded: "I do not want to return for their (the children's) safety and my own safety. I think I can stay at my grandparents' house."
Kruse accepted a request from assistant Des Moines County Attorney Jennifer Bailey to set a higher than normal bond because of the nature of the charges. She told Kruse investigators believe Wells posed a great danger to the community if released.
Wells sought a low bond, saying he wouldn't molest another child.
"I would say if I was released, I would never harm another child in my life," he told Kruse.
Kruse denied his request and set bond at $50,000 on each charge.
Wells is one of several men charged in Des Moines District Court in the past two months on child pornography charges, At least three other men remain in the Des Moines County jail in lieu of bonds in excess of $100,000 on unrelated charges.
Wells was charged with "knowingly purchasing or possessing visual depictions of minors engaging in prohibited sexual acts or the simulation of prohibited sexual acts."
According to Des Moines County District Court records, Wells walked into the police department and told officers he had been "engaged in inappropriate behavior with his siblings for years. ..Wells admitted to the inappropriate behavior, describing the incidents in detail."
Wells also admitted to having child pornography on two media devices he downloaded from his laptop computer. Police subsequently recovered several computers from Wells.
"Detectives located several hundred photos and numerous video of obvious juvenile males and females, ranging in age from 5 to 15 .. engaging in explicit sexual acts with other children, as wall as adult males," court records said.
Kruse appointed the public defender's office to represent Wells. He also ordered Wells to appear in court at 2p.m. March 6.
"Those charges are just the beginning. We expect multiple additional charges being filed, including several felonies."
Lt. Jeff Klein

andy hoffman

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Andrew Wells
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Brian Wells
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Janelle Wells
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