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Memorial remembers homeless people who died in Bluffs Tim Ro
Tue Jan 30, 2018 08:10
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Memorial remembers homeless people who died in Bluffs
Tim Rohwer
trohwer@nonpareilonline.com Dec 22, 2017 0
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MICAH House Shelter Coordinator Crystal Wenninghoff, right, and Clarrissa Newman, campus coordinator for the Charles E. Lakin Human Services Campus, participate in a candlelit memorial service Dec. 21 remembering the more than 100 homeless people that died in the metro area in 2017.

New Visions Homeless Services Case Manager Stephanie Wallar, right, and Shelter Director Dalton Messer Smith recite the names of the more than 100 homeless people that died in the metro area in 2017 during a memorial service before dinner at MOHM's Place on Thursday, Dec. 21.

Staff photo/Joe Shearer

To be homeless can be fatal.

That was the sad reality for approximately 107 homeless people in the Council Bluffs/Omaha area this past year. Some died from exposure to the elements, others from substance abuse or lack of health care. Tragically, some died from foul play.

Just as sad is that the plight of the homeless is often overlooked by society.

Memorial services were held on Thursday in both cities to remember those who died without a home, perhaps without anyone caring. It was part of the National Homeless Memorial Service event sponsored locally by the Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless and annually held on December 21, the longest night of the year. More than 150 cities nationwide participated in this remembrance.

Council Bluffs held services at New Visions Homeless Services and at the MICAH House.

“For a lot of (homeless) individuals, this is all they get,” said Stephanie Wallar, a case manager for New Visions. “Many don’t have a real service, and this is to show we care and recognize them.”

The service at New Visions involved a prayer, candle lighting and the reading of the names of homeless individuals who died this past year. It was held inside MOHM’s Place as dozens of homeless and needy people watched the ceremony prior to dinner. Sadly, Wallar said she knew of 20 of those victims who sought services at New Visions over the years.

The service at the MICAH House was held outdoors, and the icy weather kept the crowd to less than a dozen. There, a prayer was said, and a candle was lit.

The number of homeless individuals who died in the metro area increased this year.

“It was at least 20 more than last year,” said Clarrissa Newman, Lakin Campus coordinator.

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Authorities identify truck driver killed in sand pit accident
By Krystal Sidzyik
Ksidzyik@nonpareilonline.com Jan 26, 2018 Updated Jan 26, 2018 0

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Quarry 6
Rescue workers from Harrison and Crawford County work to pull a submerged construction vehicle from a water-sand hole at Hallett Materials quarry near Dunlap Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018.

Courtesy Denison Volunteer Fire Department via BH News Service - Denison Bulletin & Review
Quarry 8
Rescue workers from Harrison and Crawford County work to pull a submerged construction vehicle from a water-sand hole at Hallett Materials quarry near Dunlap Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018.

Courtesy Denison Volunteer Fire Department via BH News Service - Denison Bulletin & Review
Quarry 9
Rescue workers from Harrison and Crawford County work to pull a submerged construction vehicle from a water-sand hole at Hallett Materials quarry near Dunlap Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018.

Courtesy Denison Volunteer Fire Department via BH News Service - Denison Bulletin & Review

Authorities have recovered a body from the truck found submerged in a sand pit near Dunlap on Thursday.

The driver was identified as Christopher McMullen, 38, from Madeila, Minnesota. He died in the truck after it entered an icy sandpit.

Authorities were called to the scene at Hallett Materials, located 2 miles south southwest of Dunlap on the east side of U.S. Highway 30, at 5:11 a.m., after a dump truck reportedly had gone into a pond. Employees of the company found the truck.

The truck was northbound on a private road and was to turn east at the dump site. The truck failed to make the turn, driving over a dirt berm, down an embankment and then submerged into a sand pit — which also had water and ice in it, officials said.

Hallett Materials produces aggregate materials, such as sand, pea gravel, river rock and road gravel. Those materials are loaded into dump trucks and then moved to a different location, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The truck was loaded and weighed more than 166,000 pounds.

Authorities said their recovery efforts were hampered by thick ice and the large size of the truck. The truck was removed from the pit around 4:15 p.m. Thursday, with McMullen’s body in the cab, the Sheriff’s Office said.

An autopsy has been ordered.

— Jay Withrow of the BH News Service contributed to this report.

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