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Exira-EHK Board discuss the future

News

July 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Members of the Exira and Elk Horn-Kimballton Boards of Education held a joint session Monday evening in Elk Horn, to discuss the future of the two districts following voter approved reorganization on June 25th. Exira-EHK Superintendent Dean Schnoes says the discussion was a continuation of preliminary talks which were held prior to the vote.

Schnoes said they’ve taken several steps as far as committees that are in the two districts being used as joint committees. Board policies have been reconciled so they have the same language. Issues that were previously deemed “just in case” the vote was approved, can now be finalized, and, plans are to work with financial experts to prepare one budget early next year instead of two. He says there are still some matters that need to be taken care of before July 2014, though.

The fact reorganization was approved by the voters was a relief to a lot of people, according to Schnoes, because of declining enrollment and the resulting financial stress the districts were facing. He says enrollment is always a concern, because it drives a school districts. When enrollment drops to a certain level, Schnoes says it causes districts to re-evaluate where they need to be, “down the road.”

He said while they can start looking at five- and/or 10-year plans, for now, nothing will change with the facilities or grades. Schnoes said the boards also discussed the re-alignment of a combined Board representation, and other matters during Monday night’s meeting.  He provided the members with information pertaining to when their terms expire. Three members of the EHK board will have the option to file papers for re-election this fall, while two members of the Exira board will be deciding on their future, as well. Once the elections are held, they’ll have to sit down and determine the makeup of the new, combined board prior to July 1st, 2014.

New Market man arrested on a warrant

News

July 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Page County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest Monday morning of a man wanted on local warrants. 39-year old Cory Wade Casteel, of New Market and formally of Shenandoah, was arrested at around 9:45-a.m. at the Page County Courthouse. Casteel appeared before the magistrate and was released on his own recognizance, with orders to appear later in court.

8AM Newscast 07-09-2013

News, Podcasts

July 9th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

7AM Newscast 07-09-2013

News, Podcasts

July 9th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Tax asking in Atlantic School District not as high as 1st thought

News

July 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Property owners in the Atlantic Community School District will get a break on the amount the District will ask for the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year. Last March, the School Board approved a 10-cent increase per thousand dollars taxable valuation for the Certified Budget based on zero-percent allowable growth. The rate was set at $14.41 per thousand. During Monday night’s meeting of the Atlantic School Board however, Superintendent Mike Amstein said there’s some good news. He said the actual tax rate will be $14.25 per thousand dollars valuation, or 16-cents less than what was anticipated.

The decrease is a result of action by the Iowa legislature and Governor Branstad, which approved setting per pupil student aid (also called allowable growth) in a 2-2-4 formula for the next two years. That’s 2 percent added to the base plus a one-time payment equal to 2 percent for next school year and a 4 percent increase in fiscal year 2015.

In other business, Atlantic School Board approved a Technology Plan for 2013-2014, with the stipulation it can be amended and/or adjusted as needed based on financial or other circumstances. Earlier this year, Technology Coordinator Roger Warne presented the Board in a work session, with a preliminary plan for upgrades and renewal of equipment. During last night’s meeting, Warne said he received some good news which will help to reduce his costs.

He said Apple Computer has reduced the price of its laptops and other computers for the districts 1-to-1 computer program. The cost went from $147,000 to $121,000. And that even includes 5 additional computers. Warne said also, a key component of the technology program is the districts wireless system. The revised plan calls for spending $80,000 for all three of the district’s buildings instead of $280,000.

The reduction in cost comes from changes in technology and what the actual prices were as opposed to the initial estimates. Warne said the current Technology budget for 2013-2014 is $182,000 instead of the proposed $215,750. The 2014-2015 budget is expected to come in less than anticipated as well, due to improved technology and moving some projects for that year to the current school year, based on costs.

Iowa insurer’s cash reserve size questioned

News

July 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Two state senators want Iowa to investigate whether the state’s dominant health insurer really needs $1.3 billion in reserves.  Sens. Jack Hatch and Matt McCoy, both Des Moines Democrats, are skeptical about Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield’s reserves because Wellmark has decided against participating next year in the state’s health insurance exchange.  Wellmark did not respond to a request for comment.

The Des Moines Register reports that Hatch delivered a letter Monday to Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart, asking for the investigation. Hatch says state regulations require the insurer to have reserves of only $350 million. Gerhart said last month he might investigate Wellmark’s need for the large reserve if the company didn’t take the risk of entering the exchange.

Officials to keep conserving Missouri River water

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The recent rains along the upper Missouri River won’t change the plan to conserve water in the river’s reservoirs but they will help improve navigation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Monday the river basin is still recovering from last year’s drought.

In June, the rain that fell north of Sioux City was slightly above normal. But officials predict the amount of runoff flowing into the river this year will still be only about 88 percent of normal. So the amount of water being released from the Gavins Point dam on the South Dakota-Nebraska border will remain around 21,000 cubic feet per second. But the Corps now expects to be able to provide enough water for a full navigation season on the river.

Iowa crops improve as hot, humid conditions arrive

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

July 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The heat and humidity typical of Iowa summers has arrived and the state is drying out from the wet spring. Statewide average rainfall for the week ending Sunday was less than a tenth of an inch, far below the 1-inch normal.

Monday’s USDA weekly progress report says crops appeared to advance with reports of corn beginning to tassel in scattered fields. Corn in good to excellent condition increased to 58 percent, up 1 percentage point from the previous week. Corn is 12 percent very poor or poor and 30 percent fair.

Ninety-five percent of the soybean crop has emerged; 3 percentage points behind average. Soybeans are 11 percent very poor or poor, 33 percent fair and 56 percent good or excellent. Some farmers say crops will need some moisture soon.

Iowa early News Headlines: Tues., July 9th 2013

News

July 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Sioux City man has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for robbing a bank. The Sioux City Journal reports 27-year-old Johnnie Hawkins Jr. was sentenced Monday on one count of bank robbery. Hawkins pleaded guilty in March as part of a deal that dropped several firearms charges.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new health care cooperative says it is working to offer Iowans two insurance plans that rely on a specific hospital network. CoOportunity Health says Monday that they have partnered with the University of Iowa Health Alliance to create the plans.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Police say a home invasion suspect killed by officers during the July Fourth weekend was shot multiple times. The Des Moines Register reports 57-year-old Larry Hawkins died of multiple gunshot wounds early Friday morning. The two officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The heat and humidity typical of Iowa summers has arrived and the state is drying out from the wet spring. Statewide average rainfall for the week ending Sunday was less than a tenth of an inch, far below the 1-inch normal. Monday’s USDA weekly progress report says crops appeared to advance with reports of corn beginning to tassel in scattered fields.

Heat Advisory issued for SW IA Tuesday afternoon

News, Weather

July 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

COUNTIES: AUDUBON-GUTHRIE-CASS-ADAIR-ADAMS-UNION-TAYLOR-RINGGOLD-HARRISON-SHELBY-POTTAWATTAMIE-MILLS-MONTGOMERY-FREMONT & PAGE…

HEAT AND HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE ON TUESDAY AFTERNOON TO PRODUCE THE HIGHEST HEAT INDEX VALUES SEEN SO FAR THIS YEAR FOR MUCH OF THE REGION. ACTUAL AIR TEMPERATURES ARE FORECAST TO REACH THE MIDDLE 90S. DEW POINT TEMPERATURES ARE FORECAST TO REACH THE MIDDLE 70S. THE RESULTING HEAT INDEX VALUES WILL BE AS HIGH AS 105 TO 110 DEGREES.

…HEAT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM NOON TO 7 PM CDT TUESDAY…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DES MOINES HAS ISSUED A HEAT ADVISORY…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TO 7 PM CDT TUESDAY.

* TEMPERATURE…WILL CLIMB INTO THE MIDDLE 90S. WHEN FACTORING IN THE EFFECTS OF HUMIDITY…HEAT INDEX VALUES WILL BE AS AS HIGH AS THE 105 TO 110 DEGREE RANGE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS

A HEAT ADVISORY MEANS THAT A PERIOD OF HOT TEMPERATURES IS EXPECTED. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE POSSIBLE. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS…STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM…STAY OUT OF THE SUN…AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS.

TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS…IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN POSSIBLE…RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT STROKE. WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.

TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR WORK...THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS SCHEDULING FREQUENT REST BREAKS IN SHADED OR AIR CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENTS. ANYONE OVERCOME BY HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION. HEAT STROKE IS AN EMERGENCY…CALL 9 1 1.