State Treasurer proposes creation of “Retirement Savings Iowa”


February 10th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s treasurer is pitching a plan to provide private sector workers with a retirement account, if their employer doesn’t already offer such a savings plan. Michael Fitzgerald says “Retirement Savings Iowa” would be modeled after another program run by his office. “We had such great success 18 years ago when we started College Savings Iowa, we now believe this is a great opportunity to give Iowans the same type of opportunity for saving for retirement,” Fitzgerald said.

The government-run program would provide retirement savings options for small businesses that do not currently offer retirement plans. Fitzgerald cited an A-A-R-P report, indicating a lot of Iowans may not be saving money for their futures. “They say 42-percent of the people who work in the private sector do not have access to an employee-sponsored retirement account,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald believes the legislation should include a mandate for employers to offer the Retirement Savings Iowa to employees. However, it not apply to Iowa businesses that already offer retirement savings plans. Employers would not need to contribute to the program. Senator Janet Petersen, a Democrat from Des Moines who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, is endorsing Fitzgerald’s proposal.

“There are so many Iowans who work in small businesses, and women in particular, who don’t have money saved for retirement,” Petersen said. She calls the idea a “no brainer” and believes lawmakers from both sides of the aisle will support it. “I’m hopeful this will be a bipartisan effort,” Petersen said. Fitzgerald said contributions to the savings plan would come from automatic payroll deductions.

The legislation calls for $1.5 million to establish and manage the Retirement Saving Iowa program. Fitzgerald said, if approved by lawmakers and the governor, he believes the fund could be up and running by July 2017 or possibly July 2018.

(Radio Iowa)

4 injured in single vehicle accident in Atlantic Wed. afternoon (Update 4:45pm)


February 10th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Four people were injured during a single vehicle accident this (Wednesday) afternoon, on Atlantic’s southwest side. Atlantic Police Officer Devon Hogue said an SUV was apparently exiting the parking lot from the Casey’s west store at 911 S.W. 7th Street, when the Ford Expedition entered a deep ditch and crashed into a concrete culvert underneath southwest 7th Street, or Highway 6.  A follow up report from Atlantic Police said the driver was Zachary Dill of Atlantic and stated that he failed to straighten the wheel while attempting to turn south onto Highway 6.

The accident happened at around 1:20-p.m. Four people were in the vehicle, and all were transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  The vehicle sustained $10,000 damage. Atlantic Police were assisted at the scene by the Iowa State Patrol, Cass County Sheriff’s Department and other local agencies.

Photo by KJAN News Director Ric Hanson

HELEN OLIVE HOLLOWAY, 94, of Manilla (2-13-2016)


February 10th, 2016 by Jim Field

HELEN OLIVE HOLLOWAY, 94, of Manilla died Tuesday, February 9th at Myrtue Medical Center in Harlan.  Funeral service for HELEN OLIVE HOLLOWAY will be held on Saturday, February 13th at 11:00 am in the United Methodist Church in Irwin.  Pauley-Jones Funeral Home in Harlan has the arrangements.


Visitation will be Friday from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the funeral home.

Family will greet friends Friday from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the funeral home.

Burial in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Irwin.

HELEN OLIVE HOLLOWAY is survived by:

Son:  Bill (Janis) Holloway of Kirkman.

Daughters:  Sharon (Ken) Crouse of Panora; Pat (Steve) Gawley of Irwin; Sandi (Kent) Richards of Irwin; Becky (Dean) Muhs of Minden.

10 Grandcildren

24 Great-Grandchildren

Iowa State loses WR Montgomery, RB Thomas


February 10th, 2016 by Chris Parks

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State wide receiver D’Vario Montgomery and running back Joshua Thomas won’t return to the team for next season.

The Cyclones say Montgomery has been dismissed for violating team rules. Thomas intends to transfer to another school.

Montgomery was fourth on the team with 27 receptions for 335 yards and three touchdowns last season.

Thomas ran for 295 yards as a freshman. But the rise of Mike Warren, who led all freshmen nationally with 1,339 yards in 2015, likely played a role in Thomas’s decision to leave.


Atlantic BPW offers 4 scholarships


February 10th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Officials with The Atlantic Business and Professional Women (BPW) say the organization is offering four scholarships this year.

1. A $1000 scholarship to a resident of Cass County, Iowa, giving financial aid to a man or woman needing education to either re-enter the work force, gain additional education for a career, meet educational requirements for employment, or to continue education interrupted for family or other reason. Application must be submitted by April 1.
2. A $500 Collen Scholarship, available to a female resident of Cass, Shelby, or Audubon County in Iowa, who is pursuing a degree in Computer Science, Management Information Systems, Computer Systems Management, Chemistry, or Engineering. The student may be of any age and attend school full or part time. Application must be submitted by April 1.
3. The $1000 Bev Mendenhall nursing scholarship, available to a female resident of Cass County, Iowa who wants to re-enter the work force, gain additional education for a career, meet educational requirements for employment, or to continue education interrupted for family or other reason. Application must be submitted by April 1..
4. BPW Iowa is awarding several $1000 Scholarships to a man or woman, who is a resident of Iowa.
The applicant must be a non-traditional student who:
a. Is a United States Citizen
b. Has been out of the work force and wants or needs to go back to work but needs additional education
c. Has completed High School five or more years ago and now wants to start or resume their college education.
d. Demonstrates financial need, scholastic ability, leadership skills and career goals.
Application must be postmarked by March 23.

You may contact Jolene Roecker, BPW Scholarship chairman, at 712-249-7700 or email for an application.

Atlantic Specialty Care Announces Change to Easter Hunt This Year


February 10th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Atlantic Specialty Care have announced that the annual Easter Egg Hunt held at the facility will not be held this year due to the Early Easter and the late snow. As occasionally happens Easter is coming early this year: March 27th. Due to the late snow systems that have been arriving in the area, the facility has made the decision to do a Easter Coloring contest thru the school system.

Kellie Jimerson, Administrator at Atlantic Specialty Care, says “This happened to us six years ago. Sometimes we have to make a decision very early before donations are requested and so forth. Usually the problem only occurs on that one year where Easter is in March.”

Jimerson said also, “In an effort to keep from having all of the eggs filled and all of the community supporters giving donations to something that may or may not occur, the facility made the decision to instead do an Easter Egg Coloring Contest thru the Atlantic School District.” She says “We will plan to come back next year with the annual Easter Egg hunt and look forward to seeing you all then. Until then – stay warm.”

Senator Ernst introduces bill to help military sexual assault victims, talks integration


February 10th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, has introduced legislation to help members of the military that have been sexually assaulted. Ernst says he Military Sexual Assault Victims Empowerment or SAVE act has several goals. “Including changing military culture and the overall prevention of sexual assault to stop this crime in the first place,” Ernst explains. “In addition, we must also ensure that strong support is in place for survivors of sexual assault in the military.”

Senators from both parties have signed onto the bill, which Ernst says will also help victims get access to the treatment they need. Ernst says the bill amends the current law to allow veterans who are military sexual assault survivors to use health care services outside the Veterans Administration regardless of the military requirements. She says giving veterans flexibility in where they get their treatment is particularly important for rural states where veterans may have to travel a long way to get to V-A treatment centers.

Ernst says women are the fastest growing segment of military veterans in the U-S, with an estimated 10 percent of veterans now being women. Ernst, who is a combat veteran who recently retired from the Iowa National Guard, has been working on another issue involving active military members. Ernst has talked with military leaders about the plan to integrate women into combat positions. She has also talked with men and women soldiers about the plan.

“There are many women who are concerned they will be forced into these military occupational specialties which could hurt their careers. So there is a lot of concern out there,” Ernst says. “I think the administration has been in a rush to get this through. We need to slow down a bit to make sure we are not hurting our combat capabilities.” Ernst says she does not want to see standards lowered for women, and the female soldiers she has talked to also do not want that.

She says physical requirement are often used in placing soldiers in particular specialties, and women can score lower because they don’t have the same strength as men. Ernst says there needs to be a plan in place so women are not held back from moving up the command chain because of those differences. “We’ve always had men in those roles, now we are opening to women, so understanding the physiological differences between men and women, what women are able to achieve. It is going to be very different from what they are able to achieve as young infantrymen or artillerymen,” according to Ernst.

She says she wants to ensure that the women are not being set up for failure. Ernst says leadership plays a big role in changing the culture of the military and integrating women into the combat roles. “And fostering respect within the teams or the squads — really encouraging a climate of dignity and respect — that’s what your leadership needs to focus on. And you will see that men and women will be able to work side-by-side and protecting (each other) whether it be your brother or their sister. They are going to be one part of one team,” Ernst says.

Ernst, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says she will continue following the integration issue to ensure all soldiers are given an equal opportunity.

(Radio Iowa)

Victim’s family: Teen charged in Omaha fatal crash may be in US illegally


February 10th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Questions are being raised about the immigration status of a teenager who was at the wheel of a car that was involved in a crash in Omaha last month that killed an Iowa woman. Prosecutors say 19-year-old Eswin Mejia was drunk and street racing on January 31st when he rear-ended an S-U-V, killing the driver, 21-year-old Sarah Root of Council Bluffs. Mejia’s lawyer Tom Niklitchek says whether his client is in the country legally isn’t important.

“I have not gotten into the details of any immigration status,” Niklitchek says. “Technically, as far as the case is concerned, it’s irrelevant and a jury would never even hear that asked.” He says this is a criminal case and Mejia’s legal status isn’t going to be a factor as he’s charged with motor vehicle homicide. Niklitchek isn’t sure if Mejia can speak English. “I speak to him in Spanish, largely, I’m fluent in Spanish,” Niklitchek says. “Honestly, I haven’t spoken to him in English. I provide service to my clients in Spanish. It just makes communication a whole lot easier.”

Douglas County prosecutors say Mejia’s blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit and he was driving on a suspended license when he hit Root’s vehicle. Mejia also had several warrants issued for his arrest for previous traffic violations and failure to appear in court. “The bigger issue here, if the evidence is such, is alcohol,” Niklitchek says. “I think sometimes we get caught up on issues that perhaps we shouldn’t. In my legal opinion and as a member of the community, the larger issue here is alcohol. Whether he’s legal or not, alcohol doesn’t care.”

Mejia posted 10% of the $50,000 bond and he was released from jail. His next court date is later this month. If convicted, Mejia faces up to 20 years in prison. The victim’s family has expressed concern he will flee the state, if not the country, before going to trial.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa West Foundation Awards $6.4 Million in Grant and Initiative Funding


February 10th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

(Council Bluffs, IA) The Iowa West Foundation Board of Directors recently approved $6.4 million in grants and initiatives funding to 21 nonprofit organizations and government entities with projects and programs that directly impact southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska. For the first time ever, the Foundation awarded multi-year funding to seven nonprofit organizations in Pottawattamie County.

The multi-year funding program is designed to provide essential general operating funds over a three year period to organizations who fulfill the most critical roles in Pottawattamie County.

IA West Foundation logo

IA West Foundation logo

Among the selected organizations is: The Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands ($85,000); FAMILY, Inc. ($120,000) for Birth-Three Parent Education programming; Green Hills AEA, ($1.1-million) for Pott. County Preschool; Heartland Family Service  ($330,000) for Iowa Family Works, Homeless Link & Substance Abuse Prevention; Justice For Our Neighbors, ($65,000) for legal assistance to low income immigrants in southwest Iowa; Lutheran Family Services ($35,000) for the Pott. County Center for Healthy Families & RSafe Program, and the MICAH House ($70,000).

The level of support awarded to each organization over the three year period is based on due diligence findings, with consideration to recent funding levels. The sole restriction for the general operating funds is that it must be used to support the organization’s operations in southwest Iowa. At the conclusion of the three year period, based-on ongoing community need and additional due diligence, organizations may be recommended for renewal of multi-year funding.

The Foundation also announced $500,000 in funding for its most recent initiative, which brings together five local community development organizations in Council Bluffs to focus on proactive “placemaking.” Placemaking includes real estate development, neighborhood engagement, design and activation of public spaces. The organizations merging to form the coalition include Bluffs Downtown, Live Well Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County Development Corporation, which will work in alignment with the Council Bluffs Housing Trust Fund and Habitat for Humanity of Council Bluffs. The yet-to-be-named nonprofit is currently in the process of hiring a CEO.

The City of Council Bluffs was another major recipient of funding. The City received $175,000 for the fourth annual Loessfest to be held over the Memorial Day weekend as well as an additional $1,515,000 for a landing park at the Riverfront, bringing the total IWF funding amount for Phase II of the park to $3.5 million. Located off the foot of the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge on the dry side of the levy and just east of Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park’s Great Lawn, the landing park will be a crowned jewel for Council Bluffs.

Pending City Council approval, construction is slated to begin in early spring, with projected completion in summer of 2017.

State Wrestling Team Dual Pairings for Class 1A and 2A


February 10th, 2016 by Chris Parks

After the completion of Regional Team Dual competition on Tuesday for Class 1A and 2A wrestling squads, the State Dual Team pairings were released.

1A State Dual Team Bracket

2A State Dual Team Bracket