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Petition calls for separating LGBT materials in Iowa library

News

February 21st, 2018 by Ric Hanson

ORANGE CITY, Iowa (AP) — Residents in northwest Iowa are fighting over a petition that calls on the public library to separate material dealing with LGBTQ issues and to request public input before acquiring such material.

Some expressed support for the Orange City Public Library’s integration of LGBTQ materials at a library board meeting Tuesday, the Sioux City Journal reported . Others shared reservations.

The petition was started by Terry Chi, an assistant psychology professor at Northwestern College, a liberal arts school in Orange City. The petition, which gathered more than 340 signatures in nine days, calls for labeling and separating materials involving LGBTQ materials within the library and providing a content rating service to help inform patrons’ decisions.

The petition also asks the library to hold public discussions before new materials are acquired. “We’re not asking for banning because I know that would just sink our ship,” Chi said. “We’re asking for transparency in the process and some public conversation before new materials are acquired.”

Iowa Library Association President-Elect Dan Chibnall said libraries tend to avoid special labels. He said he believes people should have access to as much material as possible. Officials at the Orange City Public Library have been working with the Iowa Library Association on a solution. The library’s board says its policy committee will review public input and analyze its collection development policy.

Preferred route picked for Wisconsin, Iowa transmission line

News

February 21st, 2018 by Ric Hanson

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The three utility companies planning a high-powered transmission line from the Madison area to Iowa have picked a preferred route that runs along existing highway and power line corridors rather than farms and fields. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the proposed 345-kilovolt Cardinal-Hickory Creek line would run along Highway 18-151 from the Cardinal electrical substation in Middleton, go west from Dodgeville to Montfort, head southwest to Cassville and then move south to the Hickory Creek substation near Dubuque, Iowa.

American Transmission Co., ITC Midwest and Dairyland Power Cooperative are working together on the $500 million project. The preferred route is more than 100 miles long, while an alternate route would add 20 miles to the line. Opponents argue that the line and its tall towers would damage important conservation areas.

Exira-EHK rescheduled School Board meeting

News

February 21st, 2018 by Ric Hanson

UPDATE 2/22 1-p.m.: Meeting postponed again due to the weather. It will now be held 6-p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27th.

The Exira-EHK School District’s Board of Education will hold their rescheduled meeting from Monday, on Thursday, beginning at 6-p.m., in the Conference Room at the Elk Horn Building. On their agenda are Public Hearings on Capital Improvement Projects, and the 2018-19 School Calendar. The hearings will be followed later on during the meeting, by a vote on approving bids for General Obligation Bond Projects and the 2018-19 Calendar.

In other matters, the Board will receive information with regard to Coaches vs. Cancer, and act on approving a bid for Audit services, along with personnel hires, transfers and/or resignations.

Iowa congressman failed to disclose internet company

News

February 21st, 2018 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A congressman from Iowa violated House ethics rules by failing to disclose his ownership of a company that uses one of his federal staffers in a false testimonial for its services.
A business filing reviewed by The Associated Press shows Rep. Rod Blum was one of two initial directors of the Tin Moon Corp. when it was incorporated in 2016 as Blum was in his first term. House rules require members to identify all outside corporate positions they hold, but Blum didn’t list his role in his 2016 disclosure.

Tin Moon’s website had listed Blum as its CEO, featuring an official photo showing Blum wearing his congressional pin. The company removed the photo and changed Blum’s title to “majority shareholder” Tuesday after AP raised questions.

Blum told AP he wasn’t involved in the company’s operations.

Senate Republicans propose 30 percent cut in Iowans’ personal income taxes

News

February 21st, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Republicans in the Iowa Senate have unveiled a bill that would cut taxes for individuals and corporations in Iowa by one BILLION dollars.  Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix, of Shell Rock, said “This is just a unique opportunity that we have today to really put Iowans in the drivers seat, especially after the federal tax changes that were made…This just shines that beacon of opportunity on Iowa as a great place to grow.”  Dix spoke exclusively with Radio Iowa this (Wednesday) morning. He says the reductions would be immediate — for tax year 2019 — and INDIVIDUALS would see their income taxes reduced by 30 percent. “The largest decrease in income tax rates in state history,” Dix says.

The bill includes what Dix calls “indexing” that would keep reducing personal income tax rates gradually over time. Over a three year period, CORPORATE income taxes also would be reduced from 12 percent down to seven percent. “It is a bold proposal, a proposal that will bring growth to our state,” Dix says, “new opportunities for Iowans.” Senate Republicans propose phasing out nearly all state tax CREDITS and they would get rid of the state tax DEDUCTION for federal taxes paid. Dix says these moves will “dramatically simplify” the state’s taxes. “It is an exciting day, an exciting day because one of the things that I actually promised voters in my district and the entire Senate Republican Caucus has promised to Iowans is that we would reduce their income tax,” Dix says.

Democrats who’ve been expecting a G-O-P tax cut proposal to emerge this year warn Iowa could wind up with huge state budget deficits like Kansas, where income taxes were cut in 2012. Dix says Kansas policymakers failed to “manage their spending.”  “We’re going to take that very seriously and not overspend,” Dix says.  This past fall, Republicans investigated sales tax exemptions and considered doing away with some of them. The proposal released today (Wednesday) instead seeks to collect state sales taxes on every purchase possible — including from on-line purchases.  “The retailer is the one that is acting as the collector,” Dix says. “One the internet, those companies have not always acted in a manner to collect that tax.This would direct those companies to do so.”

Some retailers, like Amazon, have voluntarily begun submitting sales taxes to the state when Iowans make purchases online. The tax plan Governor Kim Reynolds released last week called for phasing in tax cuts over a six year period — with a trigger that would delay the cuts if the economy worsens. The Senate Republican plan does not include that limitation.

(Radio Iowa)

Creston man injured when vehicle driven by an Atlantic man crashes

News

February 21st, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Union County Sheriff’s Office says one person was injured when a pickup truck went out of control and rolled over Tuesday morning, west of Creston. The accident happened at around 2:37-a.m., as a 1996 Ford Ranger pickup driven by 19-year old Camden Duane McFadden, of Atlantic, was traveling east on 170th Street, in Union County. The vehicle went out of control on the icy road and entered the south ditch, where it ran over a road sign, crashed through a fence and rolled over once, coming to rest on its wheels near the intersection with Summit Park Lane.

A passenger in the pickup, 19-year old Keaton Ashley Wambold, of Creston, suffered suspected, minor injuries, and was transported by EMS to the Creston Hospital. Both men were wearing their seat belts. Damage from the crash amounted to $2,800. No citations were issued.

CAM School Board meeting recap

News

February 21st, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The CAM School District’s Board of Education met Monday evening, at the High School, in Anita. Superintendent Dr. Casey Berlau told KJAN News this (Wednesday) morning, that the Board appointed a replacement for retiring Board Secretary/Treasurer Linda Edwards. Edwards has been with the District for many years. She announced her retirement in January, which is effective at the end of March. The Board hired Lindsey Jahde to step into the position. Berlau acknowledged the District is in the early stages of discussing with the Atlantic School District, the sharing of a Financial Officer. Atlantic Superintendent Steve Barber mentioned the subject during last week’s meeting of the Atlantic School Board. The CAM Board also approved an early retirement incentive for High School Science Teacher Gary Ruderman. The School gives $1,000 to an employee if they notify them by February 19th of their early retirement.

In other business, the CAM School Board discussed the purchase of new computers. He said the District was one of the first to jump on the 1-to-1 laptop initiative. Some of those computers are in the 4th year. The Board opted to order from Apple for MacBook Air computers for around $430,000. They also bought new computers for the Elementary students, which is different from previous practice. In the past the old machines have been passed onto the earlier grades, but because Apple is offering a buy-back program, the Board decided to opt for new laptops. And, Berlau says they discussed and approved some upcoming Capital Improvement Projects. One of the projects was fencing for the softball field. The Board approved a bid of $12,000 for the project. There was also a bid to paint the high school gym interior walls.

Dr. Berlau said they also talked about exploring the replacement of a Middle School Boiler. They also received the CAM Education Association’s (CAMEA) opening offer for negotiations for the 2018-19 Master Contract. He said the teachers asked for an 8% increase on the base wage. The CAM Board has 10-days to respond to the offer. He said also, near the end of their meeting, the CAM School Board held brief discussion on the tragic school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead. Many districts are talking about school safety and how to best prepare for a violent event.

Berlau said the district’s staff has gone through ALICE Active Shooter Response Training (Alice stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate), but he said with new teachers and staff coming on board, it’s a good idea to update yearly, plans to review the information and train new personnel.

Mills County Sheriff’s report (2/21) – Fugitive from Justice arrested

News

February 21st, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office says a woman who was listed as a Fugitive from Justice, was arrested Tuesday afternoon. 31-year old Patricia Ann McGinnis, of Pacific Junction, was being held in the Mills County Jail on a $1,000 bond.

Board seeks licenses of teachers accused of cheating, fraud

News

February 21st, 2018 by Ric Hanson

KEOKUK, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa oversight agency is asking two teachers accused of cheating and fraud to surrender their licenses. The Des Moines Register reports that the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners has scheduled June hearings with an administrative law judge for Ehren Wills and Kay Slusher, who are listed as teachers at Keokuk Middle School in Keokuk.
Wills is accused of submitting Slusher’s work as her own while pursuing a master’s online from Hannibal-LaGrange University in Hannibal, Missouri. Slusher is accused of completing assignments for Wills.
Holding a master’s degree can earn a teacher more money each year.

(Podcast) KJAN 8-a.m. News, 2/21/2018

News, Podcasts

February 21st, 2018 by Ric Hanson

More area and State news from KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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