Iowa early News Headlines: Mon., April 23rd 2012

News

April 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Teachers from Nebraska and Iowa will be among those honored this week by President Barack Obama. The 2012 National Teacher of the Year and state finalists will attend a Monday reception with Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, at the U.S. Naval Observatory. The national award is given to a state Teacher of the Year. Iowa’s finalist is Charity Campbell, a physical education teacher at Norwalk Middle School.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Some 220 members of the Iowa National Guard have returned home from Afghanistan. The 132nd Fighter Wing arrived in Des Moines late Saturday, after several flight delays. Fifty members of the unit were sent to Afghanistan in November. The rest deployed in February. The 1,000-member unit has flown more than 8,000 combat missions.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — After decades of failed attempts, lawmakers say this could be the session they succeed in at least beginning to overhaul Iowa’s property tax system. With hopes of adjourning this week, legislators are running out of time. But they express optimism that Republicans and Democrats will reach a deal. Lawmakers have considered changing Iowa’s property tax system for at least 30 years, but the issue is a nightmare for politicians because in Iowa, farmland, businesses and residential property are all taxed differently. To tinker with one means shifting the burden onto the others. This year, though, veteran legislators have reached a bipartisan agreement to address the matter.

THURMAN, Iowa (AP) — Most of the storm debris and downed trees have been cleared from tornado-ravaged Thurman. Volunteers have been working since last weekend’s storm to help the town of 229 get back to normal. The tornado ripped through the town, damaging most homes but causing only a few minor injuries. Mayor Rod Umphreys Junior says most roads were clear and most debris removed after a hundred volunteers turned out Saturday. The town has been inundated with volunteers since the storm, some coming from as far as Wisconsin and Montana.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Board of Regents has asked the court to throw out a lawsuit seeking to stop the closure of a laboratory school run by the University of Northern Iowa. The lawsuit was filed by more than a dozen parents, teachers and citizens who say Iowa statute gives the board authority to operate and govern the Malcolm Price Laboratory School but not close it. The board voted in February to close the pre-kindergarten-through-12th-grade school because of budget cuts.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa newspaper has devoted the entire front page of its Sunday edition to an anti-bullying editorial after a teen in its community committed suicide. The move by the Sioux City Journal is highly unusual. Editor Mitch Pugh says the newspaper has run front-page editorials before but has never devoted the entire page to one. The opinion piece calls on the community to be pro-active in stopping bullying. The editorial cites the death last week of Kenneth Weishuhn Junior, a freshman at South O’Brien High School in Paullina whose family says he was bullied for being gay. Pugh says the newspaper has a responsibility to be a strong community advocate, and Weishuhn’s death and the opening of the movie “Bully,” which features a Sioux City school, provided an opportunity.

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — A Burlington woman and her adult daughter have pleaded guilty to theft in an abuse case involving a mentally handicapped man. 54-year-old Cindy Dameron and 35-year-old Jodi Dameron entered their pleas last Monday in exchange for the promise of probation over jail time. Charges of abuse of a dependent adult were also dismissed under the deal. The Damerons were executors for Robert Luth, an elderly man who is mentally handicapped, from 2006 to 2010. Authorities say they stole more than $50,000 from him for their own use. Luth told authorities that he was given little cash, often ran out of food and had his cable and telephone shut off for unpaid bills. The Damerons will be sentenced June 4th in Des Moines County court.