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Iowa regents to consider scope of tuition freeze

News

December 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — How far should a tuition freeze go? That’s one key question that will face members of the Iowa Board of Regents when they meet by phone this (Wednesday) afternoon. The board is widely expected to adopt a third straight tuition freeze for undergraduate students from Iowa at the state’s three public universities. That would affect roughly 40,000 students.

But it’s unclear whether the board will want to go farther and freeze rates for students from other states as well as graduate and professional students. The board’s staff is recommending a 1.75 percent tuition increase for those students, who number about 38,000. Board members have been studying the issue since October. University presidents are generally against an expansion of the freeze, which would deprive their schools of millions in revenue.

Another candidate joins the race for Senate District 12

News

December 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Another Republican candidate has announced intentions to run for an Iowa Senate seat in District 12, which covers a section of southwest Iowa. Margaret Stoldorf, of Red Oak, will be on the ballot for the December 30th special election. Stoldorf is running for the seat that was held by U.S. Sen.-Elect Joni Ernst, who has formally submitted her resignation from the Iowa Senate.

Stoldorf was a member of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, a corporate executive, a small business owner and served as manager of her family’s farm, in addition to working in law enforcement. She currently serves as the Montgomery County Republican chair, 3rd District Republican Executive Committee chair and is a co-founder and leader of IGOP, a coalition of local Republican organizations.

In addition to Stoldorf, farmer Seth Watkins of Clarinda, Fremont County Supervisor Cara Marker-Morgan and State Rep. Mark Costello are vying for Ernst’s seat.

3 Special school elections held Tuesday w/mixed results

News

December 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Three southwest Iowa school districts held special elections Tuesday, with a reorganization in Fremont County failing by a seven-vote margin while a tax increase was approved in Avoca. The Daily NonPareil reports in Pottawattamie County, voters in Avoca, Hancock, Shelby and Tennant approved a tax increase for school infrastructure projects, including transportation, facility repairs and technology. A total of 450 ballots were cast, with a 273-177 split earning a 60 percent majority.

An expanded physical plant and equipment levy allows the AHST Community School District to collect up to $1 per $1,000 taxable valuation for those specific purposes. The levy will be a combination of property taxes and income sales tax, and the district does not have to collect the full amount each year.

Voters in the Hamburg and Farragut school districts were asked to reorganize their districts into a combined Nishnabotna Community School District. While voters in Farragut overwhelming approved the proposal 372-32, voters in Hamburg narrowly defeated the merger with a 271-264 decision.

Both school districts’ voters had to approve the reorganization by a simple majority. One over vote, with both yes and no selected, and one under vote, with neither choice selected, were recorded, according to results released Tuesday night by the Fremont County Auditor’s Office. Early returns showed Hamburg firmly split 22-22 in absentee ballots. Hamburg residents had bemoaned the decision to create a joint high school in 2012, and the Hamburg School Board decided earlier this year not to renew the contract of a shared superintendent with Farragut, which forced both districts to hire independent leadership.

Dee Owen, the deputy auditor in charge of elections, said a recount would be done if someone officially requests it. She said the ballots were hand-counted Tuesday evening. Turnout was about 35 percent in Farragut and about 45 percent in Hamburg, according to unofficial returns.

Without the reorganization, the Hamburg and Farragut districts have pledged to continue whole-grade sharing. Officials from both districts will go before the School Budget Review Committee in January and the Iowa Department of Education in February to address deficiencies and overspending. Officials have warned that significant cuts may be necessary to address spending in excess of each district’s spending authority. With enrollment under the threshold the state considers viable, Hamburg and Farragut also face the possibility of being dissolved if they cannot address the state’s concerns.

Deal reached in special needs abuse case

News

December 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Council Bluffs man accused of abusing his special needs son has reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors on charges that he committed Social Security fraud. The Daily NonPareil reports 43-year old James Beyer pleaded guilty to Social Security theft, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to court documents.

In April of 2011, Beyer became the payee for Social Security payments to his son. As part of the plea deal, Beyer admitted that he did not use all of the money for the benefit of his son, cheating the 21-year-old out of almost $17,000. Sentencing in the matter is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Jan. 26, 2015, in federal court.

Beyer – along with his wife, Rebecca, and stepson Ryan Smith – were arrested in June of 2013 on suspicion of first-degree kidnapping for alleged abuse against Beyer’s then-20-year-old developmentally delayed son. Rebecca Beyer was also charged with willful injury causing serious injury stemming from the abuse, including charges that she would heat forks and spoons on a stove and burn her stepson. Smith accepted a plea deal in May for an aggravated misdemeanor charge.

James and Rebecca Beyer were both accused of abusing the man, including keeping him chained inside a detached garage at her Avenue C home. James Beyer had been scheduled to face trial on Tuesday for the state charges, but the matter has been continued as prosecutors look to finish both cases at the same time, according to Amy Zacharias with the Pottawattamie County Attorney’s Office.

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., Dec. 3rd 2014

News

December 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Advocates seeking more funding for Iowa’s bridges and roads are launching a new advertising campaign. In a television ad that started airing Monday, a narrator notes the thousands of structurally deficient bridges in Iowa. At the end of the ad, paid for by the Iowa Good Roads Association, the voice of an emergency operator says: “We have a bridge collapse with a bus full of school children.” Gov. Terry Branstad has said he was open to ideas for increasing road construction funding.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered that all flags in Iowa be flown at half-staff in honor of state Rep. Dwayne Alons. U.S. flags and Iowa flags under the state’s control will be lowered and flown at half-staff from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to remember Alons, who died Saturday. The 68-year-old Alons announced in October that he was battling renal cancer. He had represented Iowa House District 4 since 1998. A memorial service for Alons is scheduled Wednesday morning at First Reformed Church in Hull.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — An official says a student at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo has been injured while in the school’s welding lab. College spokeswoman Kathy Flynn says the student is being treated for burns following an incident Tuesday morning. Additional information about the injury or the student’s identity is not available.

GRINNELL, Iowa (AP) — Grinnell College has received a $4 million bequest from a graduate who died last year after a successful career as a tax attorney. The college says 1950 Grinnell graduate Marilyn Walsh had made the gift to establish a scholarship for Iowa residents admitted to the school. Walsh was a native of Woodbine who received a bachelor’s degree in history, then earned law degrees at New York University. The scholarship will be open to students who have lived in Iowa at least five years.

GAME POSTPONED

News, Sports, TV

December 2nd, 2014 by admin

The Griswold versus Bedford Girls/Boys Basketball Doubleheader for tonite (12-2-14) has been postponed to a later date due to an electrical issue.

3 departments respond to Shelby County Fire

News

December 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Firefighters from Kirkman, Irwin and Defiance have been called to the scene of a rural structure fire about five-miles east of Kirkman. The blaze at a shop located at 2204 1500th Street in Shelby County, was reported at around 4:20-p.m. No other details are currently available.

Iowa veterans at the Omaha VA can get free holiday gifts for loved ones

News

December 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa veterans who are being treated at the V-A Medical Center in Omaha this week are able to take part in a holiday tradition that dates back to the 1930s. V-A spokesman Will Ackerman says the American Legion Auxiliary has opened special store at the hospital where veterans can shop for free.   “The holiday gift shop is for hospitalized veterans who are inpatient, going through dialysis, and those in our recovery center,” Ackerman says. “These veterans are able to select up to four free gifts for their loved ones.” The auxiliary also wraps the gifts at no cost to the veteran.

“These veterans otherwise may not be able to get out and get a gift for their loved ones,” Ackerman says. “This is something the American Legion Auxiliary has done for decades in partnership with the VA.” Auxiliary volunteers also have a portable cart which they wheel around to visit rooms of patients who can’t make it to the shop to select their presents.

“They buy all the gifts and they buy all the wrapping paper and they do all the work and we here at the VA provide them a room to do it in,” Ackerman says. “It’s just a great opportunity to give back to the veterans who have given to us.” The gift shop is open at the Omaha hospital through tomorrow (Wednesday).

(Radio Iowa)

Montgomery County Auditor’s Office issues info. on Special Election

News

December 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

On Monday, December 1, Governor Branstad called for a Special Election for State Senate District 12 due to the resignation of State Senator Joni Ernst. State Senate District 12 includes all of Fremont, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Ringgold and Taylor Counties. Montgomery County Auditor Stephanie Burke says the deadline to Pre-Register to vote for this Special Election is by 5:00 P.M. Friday, Dec. 19th. There is Special Election Day registration, but specific documentation must be provided. If possible, register before the Special Election Day.

The deadline to Request an Absentee Ballot to be mailed is by 5:00 P.M. Wed., Dec. 24th. Absentee Request Forms are available on the County Website at montgomerycountyiowa.com or at your County Auditor’s office. Request forms will have to be completed prior to receiving an absentee ballot. Return your request form as soon as possible and the ballots will be mailed as soon as they are ready.

The Montgomery County Auditor’s office will be closed Thursday and Friday, Dec. 25th and 26th, but will be open for Absentee voting on Sat., Dec. 27th, from 7:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M., for Absentee Voting. On Tuesday, Dec. 30th, polls for the Special Election will be open from 7-a.m. until 9-p.m.

Polling Places in Montgomery County include: Red Oak Gold Fair Building, Red Oak Fire Station, Red Oak First Christian Church, Elliott Community Building, Stanton Fire Department, Grant Fire Department and the Villisca Community Building.

The Montgomery County Auditor’s Office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. If anyone has questions about voter registration, absentee ballots, or voting, call the Auditor’s office at 712-623-5127 or visit www.montgomerycountyiowa.com.

 

Branstad orders flags be lowered to honor Alons

News

December 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered that all flags in Iowa be flown at half-staff in honor of state Rep. Dwayne Alons. U.S. flags and Iowa flags under the state’s control will be lowered and flown at half-staff from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to remember Alons, who died Saturday.

The 68-year-old Alons announced in October that he was battling renal cancer. He was a retired farmer and former Iowa Air National Guard brigadier general. He had represented Iowa House District 4 since 1998.

A memorial service for Alons is scheduled Wednesday morning at First Reformed Church in Hull.