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Advocates for the Blind in Iowa not happy with Regent plan for special schools

News

February 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The National Federation of the Blind (NFBI) in Iowa has issued a position statement saying the organizations is not in favor of the proposal by the Board of Regents to combine the services given to blind and deaf students. The Board of Regents voted on February sixth to give preliminary approval to the recommendation of a study committee to create five regional centers to serve both blind and deaf students. N-F-B-I president, Michael Barber, says advocates for the blind have several issues with the proposal. “The first concern of course is, whenever programs for the blind — no matter what they are for adults or for children — get merged with anything else, it’s been our experience that programs for the blind take a back seat to the other programs. And that’s just been a longstanding experience,” Barber says.

The regional proposal would keep the School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs and school for the blind in Vinton as two of the regional centers while adding three new centers. Barber says N-F-B-I is concerned that Patrick Clancy who oversaw the school for the blind, was also named superintendent of the school for the deaf and the merger of services proceeded. “I guess we’re just concerned about the way that this was done,” Barber says. “We just kind of thought that the Board of Regents had already made up their mind that this was going to be merged, and that was the way it was gonna be, and that was the way it looked to us.”

Barber acknowledges the N-F-B-I had a representative on the committee during the five-month process that led to selecting recommendation for the regional service concept. Barber says the group did not get on the agenda for the February sixth Regent’s meeting and then were denied an opportunity to speak before the board voted to move ahead with the pilot for the proposal. “Keep in mind that this is an open meeting, it was a public meeting, and yet we consumers were not allowed to make public comment. We take umbrage with at that, we’re not happy with that, we think it’s a very questionable practice. We are going to be looking into that, because we do not think consumers should be treated this way by a public body.” He says the N-F-B-I would like to see the issue go in a whole new direction.

“We want the education of blind students to be taken away from the Board of Regents and given to the Department of Education. We feel that they are the ones who would really would be better suited for this. The Board of Regents, they do a great job with higher education. They are not experts in programs for the blind,or for the deaf for that matter.” Barber says his organization will pursue the plan to move the oversight of blind students. “We’ve already talked to the governor and told him what are intentions are. And I’m not saying that we have his full support right now, because I can’t say that. But he knows that we’re dissatisfied and he knows what our plans are. I have talked to the governor about this,” Barber says.

The Regents directed Superintendent Clancy to proceed with setting up a pilot program to test the regional concept for service to blind and deaf students and gave him a deadline of no later than September. The committee reports the regional plan would eventually save money in providing services for blind and deaf students in the state.

Board of Regents Executive Director Robert Donley issued this statement in reply to N-F-B-I’s concerns: “The Board of Regents appreciated the thoughtful comments made by Michael Barber on behalf the Iowa chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. The Board approved the recommendations of the Regents Feasibility Study and Planning Committee which represented all key stakeholders from the deaf and hard of hearing, and vision-impaired and blind communities. The Committee gathered information from public hearings throughout the state, as well as respected national experts. The Board unanimously approved the recommendations from the study and is very proud of the advances we have made in the services that benefit these two communities under the leadership of Superintendent Patrick Clancy.”

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa official expects some mandatory water cuts

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

February 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Mandatory water cutbacks may be employed this summer in some parts of Iowa if the drought lingers.  Tim Hall is bureau chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ geology and water survey staff and he told a legislative panel on Thursday that the situation was worst in northwest Iowa.

The state has the power to prioritize water use based on a system developed in the 1950s. Hall says the system has never been used and won’t be used this summer either. He says conservation decisions are best left to local communities because situations vary so widely from one county or part of the state to the next.

The National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln says nearly a quarter of Iowa remains in severe or extreme drought.

Villisca man arrested for OWI

News

February 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A Villisca man was arrested Thursday night in Montgomery County, on an OWI charge. Sheriff’s officials say 44-year old Ronald L. Borem was arrested as a deputy responded to an “unknown situation” call at Borem’s residence. Borem was brought to the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center and held on $1,000 bond.

Sebelius appoints Kansan to head HHS region which includes Iowa

News

February 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A registered nurse and former congressional candidate from northeastern Kansas has been chosen to head a four-state region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Department Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the appointment of Stephene Moore as director of HHS Region 7 on Thursday. The region covers Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska.

Moore, of Lenexa, KS,has been a senior adviser at HHS for the past year. She is the wife of Dennis Moore, a Democrat who spent six terms in the U.S. House representing Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District. Stephene Moore won the Democratic nomination to succeed her husband in 2010 but lost the general election to Republican Kevin Yoder.

Iowa early News Headlines: Friday, Feb. 15th 2013

News

February 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Senate Democrats are proposing a plan for reducing commercial property taxes that they say would help small businesses more than Governor Terry Branstad’s tax proposal. Under the legislation unveiled yesterday, commercial property owners would gradually get a tax credit that’s the equivalent of a 40 percent tax cut on their first $324,000 in assessed property value.

DECORAH, Iowa (AP) — An attorney for a northern Iowa man accused of shooting at several people plans to say his client was intoxicated by drugs. Mark Anderson filed notice in Winneshiek County District Court of his intentions to rely on an “intoxication by drugs” defense for his 23-year-old client, Daniel Wildman. A trial is scheduled to begin February 27th.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say an unloaded handgun and ammunition were found in a carry-on bag at an airport in Des Moines. The Transportation Security Administration says the gun was detected at a screening checkpoint Wednesday at Des Moines International Airport. Thirty-three-year-old Army Captain John Thompson told authorities he didn’t know the items were in his bag.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — For three hectic days in Des Moines, Iowans will too busy celebrating their love of wrestling to worry much about its Olympic future. Roughly 10,000 fans packed Wells Fargo Arena yesterday morning for the opening session of the Iowa individual wrestling tournament — a 72-hour spectacle that will pack local freeways, restaurants and hotels and draw as many as 80,000 fans to the state capital.

Vehicle stolen from Cass County recovered in Adams County

News

February 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Adams County say a car reported stolen from an undisclosed location in Cass County on February 2nd, was recovered Tuesday morning in a ditch west of Prescott. The vehicle was found near the intersection of  150th and Orange Streets. The 4-door Mercury has since has been returned to the owner.  Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call the Adams County Sheriff’s Office at 641-322-4444.

Jail officials: Iowa man commits suicide in Pottawattamie County cell

News

February 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a Council Bluffs man has committed suicide in his county jail cell. Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker says Shawnessey McKnight cut his neck with a razor Wednesday night at the county jail. Danker says McKnight also did pushups before and after in an effort to pump his blood out faster. The staff had given the 43-year-old McKnight a razor for shaving. Inmates have the razors for 15 minutes before guards collect them.

Another inmate in the cell noticed McKnight’s condition and alerted staff. Danker says McKnight fought off staff who tried to treat him, and he had to be handcuffed and shackled before being sent to a nearby hospital where he later died. McKnight was being held on federal charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and counterfeiting.

Iowa evening News Headlines: Feb. 14th 2013

News

February 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

BOONE, Iowa (AP) — Authorities in central Iowa are investigating a series of fires they say could be arson. Television station KCCI reports the Boone County Sheriff’s Office and Story County Sheriff’s Office are investigating between 20 and 30 recent fires.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a Council Bluffs man has committed suicide in his county jail cell. Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker says Shawnessey McKnight cut his neck with a razor last night at the county jail. Danker says McKnight also did pushups before and after slashing himself in an effort to bleed out faster. The staff had given the 43-year-old McKnight a razor for shaving.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A registered nurse and former congressional candidate from northeastern Kansas has been chosen to head a four-state region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Department Secretary and former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius announced the appointment of Stephene (STEH’-fa-nee) Moore as director of HHS Region 7 today. The region covers Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa has hired former Colorado assistant Bobby Kennedy as its wide receivers coach, added Jim Reid as a defensive assistant. The Hawkeyes also announced the departure of running backs coach Lester Erb today. No specific reason was given for Erb’s departure.

Mills County arrest report

News

February 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports two recent arrests.On Wednesday, Feb. 13th, 30-year old Keith Alan Wilson II, of Glenwood, was arrested in Glenwood, on a warrant for Probation Violation. Wilson was being held in the Mills County Jail on $5,000 bond. And, on Tuesday, deputies in Mills County arrested 56-year old Steven Craig Severin, of  Glenwood,  for Driving while Barred. Severin’s bond was set at $1,000.

Atlantic, Creston & Carroll to receive 4G LTE cell service

News

February 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

U.S. Cellular, in conjunction with its partner King Street Wireless, has announced that additional parts of Iowa will receive high-speed 4G LTE services by the end of 2013. Some cities in the 4G LTE addition include Atlantic, Carroll, Centerville, Creston, Emmetsburg, Estherville, Spencer, Spirit Lake and Storm Lake.   The company says more Iowans will enjoy access to 4G LTE speeds that are up to 10 times faster than 3G and similar to a cable Internet connection.

4G LTE speeds provide an enhanced wireless experience with fast web browsing, smooth video streaming, video chatting with no buffering and speedy app downloads. U.S. Cellular currently offers 10 4G LTE devices that include smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S III and Samsung Galaxy Note II, in addition to a tablet, hotspots and a wireless modem.

By the end of 2013, U.S. Cellular says its customers in more than 3,800 additional cities and towns will have access to 4G LTE speeds. Currently, 61 percent of U.S. Cellular customers have access to 4G LTE speeds and 87 percent are expected to be covered by the end of the year.