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Union for state troopers, other state law enforcement officials asks for pay boost


November 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The union that represents nearly 600 state law enforcement employees is asking for a four percent pay increase in each of the next two state fiscal years. This month state government managers have begun negotiations with a variety of unions that represent state workers. The State Police Officers Council is the union for Iowa State Troopers, special agents in the Division of Criminal Investigation and the Division of Narcotics Enforcement as well as state fire inspectors, Iowa conservation officers and state park rangers.

Representatives of the union for those workers call their pay hike proposal “very reasonable” because for many years state law enforcement officers did not take pay increases. This union was the only bargaining unit in state government that began paying 20 percent of their health insurance premiums after Governor Branstad took office in 2011 and state law enforcement officials are hoping that is taken into account by Branstad’s negotiators when considering the pay hike request.

On Monday, the union that represents tha largest share of state workers filed its initial contract offer. AFSCME is asking for an eight percent across-the-board pay raise for 18-thousand state workers over the next two years. Negotiations between the unions and Branstad’s top managers will resume in two weeks.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., Nov. 14th 2014


November 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

ALTOONA, Iowa (AP) — A trade group has been given the greenlight to move ahead with plans to keep dog racing alive in Iowa. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved a racetrack license for pari-mutuel wagering yesterday to the Iowa Greyhound Association. It gives the group authority to operate the Dubuque Greyhound Park at Mystique Casino.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Hospital Association says the number of patients without health insurance has plunged, largely because the state has expanded its Medicaid program. Hospital leaders tell the Des Moines Register in the first six months of this year, the number of uninsured people treated in Iowa hospitals has dropped by nearly half compared to same period last year. The association says about 4,500 patients lacking health insurance were hospitalized from January through June of this year. That’s a 46 percent decline from the almost 8,200 uninsured patients treated last year.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A court is upholding a minimum 35-year prison sentence for one of two Iowa men convicted of robbing a bank and shooting two officers during an attempted getaway. The Iowa Court of Appeals rejected 21-year-old William Clayton’s argument yesterday that the punishment was too severe.

JAMESTOWN, N.D. (AP) — Waldorf College in Iowa is joining the Dakotas-based North Star Athletic Association. The Warriors football team was an associate member of the NAIA conference this fall. The other 13 Waldorf sports programs will begin conference play next fall.

Cass Co. Supervisors receive Library Assoc. request


November 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors met earlier this week at the courthouse, in Atlantic. According to Auditor Dale Sunderman, the Cass County Library Association, represented by the librarians from all six city libraries in the county, met with the board to present a report on services provided in FY2014 for each and all libraries. The association requested that the current county funding ($60,600) be
increased by 10.7 percent (cumulated rate of inflation from 2008-2014) plus $500 for each library for FY2016. The request was taken under advisement.

The Board approved a motion to award the contract for bridge replacement project on Jackson Road one-eight of a mile east of 648th St. to Cunningham-Reis Co., in the amount of $565,461.68.  They also approved a motion to approve Federal-aid Agreement for the replacement of a bridge on Akron Road three-tenths of a mile west of 770th St., at an estimated cost $360,000.

In other business, the Board discussed waterproofing the County’s building at 707 Poplar Street, but tabled action on the matter until additional quote(s) were received. They also discussed the VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephone system proposals. Cass County E-911 Director Rob Koppert reported that only one proposal was received. Part of the Request For Proposal (RFP) was that system would provide redundancy telephone system to one brand. At training session it was learned that a VoIP system could not provide same. Therefore, the recommendation was to reject all bids and reissue an RFP and open it to other brands.

A motion was made and approved to reject all bids and reissue an RFP for replacement of a telephone system for the courthouse.

Trumpeter Swan Contest: We have a winner!

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The sponsors of the Cass County Conservation Board’s Trumpeter Swan arrival date contest have announced there is a winner of the contest. The official arrival of the swans was November 11th There was on that day 5 Trumpeter Swans were there and stayed more than twenty-four hours. The winner is Pansie Hoffman.

She will receive a Trumpeter Swan 8×10 print from the Cass County Conservation Board. Cass County Conservation thanks to all who participated in the contest, which was open to Cass County residents only.

Plea bargain reached in Slauson case


November 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

There will be no trial for an Atlantic mom accused of lying about her 5-year-old daughter’s cancer. Cass County Attorney Daniel Feistner told KETV in Omaha that both sides have agreed to keep the details of the agreement private until a court hearing Monday. A similar announcement was received at KJAN from Feistner.

All Feistner would say is that the deal will settle the case and there will be no trial. The 30-year old Slauson, was scheduled to go to trial Tuesday in Mills County on 20 charges, ranging from felony child endangerment to first-degree theft.

Measurable snow expected over much of Iowa this weekend

News, Weather

November 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Scattered flurries are flying across much of the state, but no accumulation of snow is expected. A more significant snow event is coming over the weekend, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Craig Cogill.  “As we move into Saturday and Saturday night, we are going to see a system move through the Midwest producing snow across the entire state of Iowa, generally 1 to 3 inches,” Cogill said. “The good thing is there will be very little wind with the snowfall, so it shouldn’t have too big of an impact.” The weekend snowfall will likely stick around for a while, as temperatures are not expected to climb above freezing anytime too soon.

“We are going to see the cold weather stick around into next week, really little relief seen in any way of warming up,” Cogill said. Prior to Saturday’s snow, the forecast calls for mostly clear conditions tonight (Thursday), with lows across the state ranging from zero to the mid-teens. Friday will be sunny with highs in the 20s to low 30s.

(Radio Iowa)

Mills County Community Foundation grows to $2.5-million


November 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Community betterment projects in the Malvern area stand to receive a huge financial boost thanks to the generosity of a local man. Allen Hall, Chair of the Mills County Community Foundation, says through the estate of William L. Costello, a foundation was created that has grown to $2.5 million. “Bill” Costello was a fourth generation insurance agent in the Costello Insurance Agency established in 1912. He passed away at age 65 in October of 2012.

As a native of Malvern, Bill Costello’s roots ran deep in the community. He graduated from Malvern High School in 1965 and received his Bachelor of Science degree from Northwest Missouri State University in 1971 while also serving in the Army National Guard. He finished his National Guard service with the Glenwood unit. Through his years owning and operating the Costello Agency, his commitment deepened to his clients, the residents of the community, and for community service and betterment projects. He began elements of his foundation in 2003 with the Mills County Community Foundation by starting the William L. Costello Endowed Fund stating on numerous occasions.

In 2007 he created the William L. Costello NWMSU Endowed Scholarship Fund for local graduating high school seniors. He then began honing his estate plans and the grant making details for his foundation which emphasized community betterment projects that would dovetail with the Mills County Community Foundation. He determined that plans for utilizing Costello funds for the betterment of the Malvern area community must be submitted annually by nonprofit groups by September 1st to the Mills County Community Foundation for consideration by the board.

The announcement of the William L. Costello Foundation is timed with National Community Foundation Week and the Mills County Community Foundation fall grant distribution of $94,400 to Mills County nonprofit agencies. This total includes $63,600 from the William L. Costello Endowed Fund. Next year the Costello fund will have approximately $113,000 to grant to Malvern area nonprofit projects.

Mills County Community Foundation has distributed over $2.8 million in grants and scholarships over the last 14 years and is affiliated with eight other countywide community foundations collectively known as the Community Foundations of Southwest Iowa and the Omaha Community Foundation. For information about donating or establishing an individual foundation/fund, please contact any of the Board Members, or call Dennis Nissen, Iowa Foundations Director, at 800-794-3458.

Gaming commission OKs license for Iowa dog racing


November 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

ALTOONA, Iowa (AP) – A trade group has been given the greenlight to move ahead with plans to keep dog racing alive in Iowa. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved a racetrack license for pari-mutuel wagering on Thursday to the Iowa Greyhound Association. It gives the group authority to operate the Dubuque Greyhound Park at Mystique Casino.

Commission administrator Brian J. Ohorilko says the approved license is based on several conditions, including issues of security and financing. IGA will need to update the commission on them before they’re operational on Jan. 1.

The approval for a license follows a state law this year that will cease dog racing in Council Bluffs at the end of 2015. The racetrack in Dubuque will eventually be the sole location for live dog racing in the state.

Salvation Army Bell ringing volunteers needed in Cass County


November 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Chapter of the Salvation Army is kicking-off its annual “Red Kettle” campaign. Steve Livengood, of Atlantic, is serving his first year as chair of the event, which is being run differently this year, from years past. Livengood says volunteers will be out at various locations in Atlantic on Saturday’s only, instead of Saturday and Sunday. He says 90-percent of what is collected here stays in Cass County. Last year, $7,443 was raised, but that was over both days.

The kettles will be in place on Saturday’s, beginning November 29th . The other dates include December 6th, 13th, and 20th. For those who want to serve as volunteer bell ringers, Livengood says you won’t have to stand out in the cold nearly as long this year. The shifts will be 90 minutes long instead of two-hours. The first shift starts at 10-a.m. They’ll end at 4-p.m., and be positioned at four locations in Atlantic. They include both main entrances to the Wal-Mart Store, at Hy-Vee, and at Fareway.

Livengood says they need help at Wal-Mart and Fareway, because the Hy-Vee site is already covered by the Atlantic Kiwanis and others. The bell ringers will take donations in the form of cash, checks and loose change. Livengood said the money raised is for children and families in the County who are in need.

If you’d like to volunteer as a Salvation Army Bell Ringer, call Steve Livengood at 712-243-5445. Leave your name, phone number and the time most convenient for you to work a shift. Be sure to dress warmly and bring a smile. The bell and kettle will be waiting for you. You can even bring a friend to help out.

First Grade Students Tour Cass County Health System


November 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

During September and October, the footsteps and giggles of students could be heard up and down the halls of Cass County Health System. 186 first grade students from the Atlantic, Griswold, and CAM school districts visited the hospital and clinics to learn more about healthcare.

First-grader Lauren Comes pretends to get ready for a tonsillectomy under the direction of Jena Waters, R.N.(Photo submitted)

First-grader Lauren Comes pretends to get ready for a tonsillectomy under the direction of Jena Waters, R.N.(Photo submitted)

Britney Weirich, Human Resources Office and Wellness Assistant for Cass County Health System, organizes the field trips, which have been a tradition for decades. “The students love seeing the hospital in action,” says Weirich. “We want them to feel assured that we are here to take care of them, and we hope to reduce their anxiety about hospitals by giving them a fun, positive experience with our caring staff.”

With the assistance of the Cass County Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, the first graders are taken on a tour that highlights areas such as the Atlantic Medical Center, Emergency Department, cafeteria, laboratory, and the nursery. The classes visit one at a time, which also allows the kids a chance to stop by and see family members who work at CCHS.

During the tour, the students also participate in a mock tonsillectomy. Jena Waters, R.N. and Quality Specialist, guides them through the steps of preparing for surgery and recovery. She shows the students x-rays, and explains what kinds of medical equipment they might see as a patient. During the mock tonsillectomy, the kids get involved by playing different roles including admissions clerk, doctor, nurse, patient, parents, or lab technician.

No tonsillectomy—real or mock—would be complete without a cold treat. The kids all enjoy a little ice cream, and take home a bag of goodies including a band-aid, pencil, hospital-themed coloring book, medical gloves, bar of soap, and a surgical cap. “During the tour and skit, the students are learning that we’re here to help them, but they’re also being exposed to a number of healthcare careers, which could inspire them to pursue an education in healthcare,” says Weirich. “We’re very thankful for our Auxiliary’s help, and that the schools make this a priority each year.”

(Press Release)