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Legislature votes to create new tax credit for adoptive parents

News

April 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The legislature has voted to establish a new tax credit for Iowa parents who adopt a child. If the governor signs the bill into law, Iowans could claim a credit of up to 25-hundred dollars per child for adoption-related expenses. Representative Chip Baltimore and his wife adopted a daughter and he urged his colleagues to pass the bill.

“I can personally attest due to the situation in my own family that adoption expenses can be very, very high,” Baltimore says. “We spend a lot of time in this chamber talking about human services and providing for families. We spend a lot of time in this chamber talking about the rights of unborn children and I think it behooves all of us as we sit here and we talk about all these other areas to rally behind this bill, to make sure that those children that are born under circumstances which may be less than favorable in a biological or birth family, that we do all we can to provide them with a loving, caring home.”

The bill would allow the credit for expenses like legal fees and the medical bills for the birth mother. “And home studies and all the other things that are out there that we try to do to make sure that children are placed into safe, loving homes — it is oftentimes a very expensive proposition,” Representative Baltimore says. Baltimore’s wife, Diana, was adopted and she founded the National Center for Adoption, a non-profit organization that promotes adoption and helps parents navigate the adoption process. The Baltimore family lives in Boone.

The Iowa Senate voted 48-to-zero on Monday afternoon to approve the new 25-hundred-dollar income tax credit for adoptive parents. The Iowa House approved the bill on a 95-to-one vote on April 15th.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic School Board approves teacher recommendations

News

April 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Community School District’s Board of Education Monday evening, approved recommendations from the District’s Principals for the hiring of new teachers. Superintendent Dr. Mike Amstein presented the names for approval to the board. First up was recommendations from Washington Elementary Principal Stacey Hornung.

She recommended, and the Board approved, the hiring of Jessica Larsen, who currently serves as a teacher for the Exira-EHK Schools, Ellie Hirschner, and Macy Silliman, of Winterset, a Drake University graduate with endorsements in Reading and Elementary Special Education. Hornung said they have not decided where those teachers will be placed within the district until the hiring process is complete. She did says those candidates were told it will be somewhere within the 2nd through 4th grades.

In addition, the Board approved a short list of teacher transfers to different positions within the district. The transfers include: Sheryl Hinzemann, Title I Math; Lisa Krogman, Small Group K-1/ Literacy; Steffani Tarrell, Title I Reading/ K-1; Stacy Johnson, second grade, and Lindsey Benning, third grade.

Atlantic High School Principal Heather McKay recommended, and the Board approved, Morgan Peterman as a new high school teacher. Peterman is a graduate of Northwest Missouri State University. They also approved Brielle Cerven as freshman ELL Support for Student Summer School. She currently serves as ESL Coordinator for the Atlantic School District.

There are still a handful of positions left to fill in the district, which is looking to replace a dozen educators who took advantage of an early retirement incentive designed to save the district nearly $1.8 million over the next five years, with a $385,000 saving the first year alone.

3 Atlantic H.S. Seniors to receive award from ACLU

News

April 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa say three Atlantic High School seniors will share the Robert Mannheimer Student Advocacy Award, for taking a courageous stand, editorializing logically and eloquently in the on-line student newspaper about the district’s lack of transparency after an Atlantic teacher tweeted an inappropriate photo of a hand over a breast.

2014 Mannheimer winners

2014 Mannheimer winners

Allison Berryhill, A-H-S English Teacher and Journalism Advisor, nominated Meghan Plambeck, Lillie Zablocki, and Sierra Smith for the award. The trio, who write for the Atlantic school’s online newspaper, the AHSNeedle.com, “Were called on to use their writing skill and thinking power to research and write an editorial about a tense situation” in the school district,” according to Berryhill, who said “The topic was a volatile one: A questionable Tweet had been posted from a beloved teacher’s account. The students and community wanted explanation. The administration was tight-lipped.”

The ACLU says the students rightly called out the administration, saying that it was holding students and teachers to different standards in sharing and using questionable social media. In a jointly authored editorial last September, they wrote, “It is important that authorities maintain transparency in how they are addressing the situation, especially in a case where the issue is widespread public knowledge.”

Berryhill said in her nomination that “the maturity of the writing and clarity of purpose resulted in an editorial that was praised by the community, including teachers and even school board members. As local and state news outlets picked up the story, the district superintendent ultimately provided the community with at least acknowledgement of the situation and assurance that the matter had been addressed.”

A copy of the student’s editorial can be found by going to www.aclu-ia.org. ACLU of Iowa Executive Director Ben Stone said he was pleased that the award recognizes three young journalists upholding basic First Amendment principles of free speech and expression. The ability to question authority is a cornerstone of democracy. Stone said it’s especially appropriate that the ACLU of Iowa give the award to students since it has a long history of defending student First Amendment rights, including the landmark “black armband” case of Tinker v. the Des Moines Schools in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The three students will be formally named the winners of the Mannheimer Award at the ACLU of Iowa’s annual dinner in Iowa City on Saturday, May 3.

IA Republican Congressional Candidate Forum this Sat. in Red Oak

News

April 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Montgomery County Republican Party say candidates seeking the Republican nomination for United States House of Representatives, Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, will gather in Red Oak at the Red Oak High School Auditorium this Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 6:00 p.m., to answer questions in a forum setting. While there is no charge for admission to the Forum, non-perishable food items will be accepted for food pantries.

A reception to meet the candidates will precede the Forum at 5:00 pm in the High School Cafeteria; light refreshments will be served with free-will donations gratefully accepted.

Six Republican candidates are seeking the Congressional seat being vacated by Congressman Tom Latham; the nominee will be decided in the Primary Election on June 3, 2014. The candidates are: Matt Schultz, Brad Zaun, Robert Cramer, Monte Shaw, David Young, and Joe Grandanette. The Republican Nominee will face the Democratic challenger in the General Election on November 4, 2014.

The Forum and Reception will give voters from Southwest Iowa an opportunity to meet the Candidates and listen to them answer a variety of questions with importance and interest to people in the southwestern part of the state.

The event is sponsored by the Republican Party Central Committees from: Adams, Fremont, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie, and Taylor Counties, plus the Montgomery County Republican Women. The sponsoring counties are among those Western Iowa County Republican Parties in the network, iGOP. More information on iGOP can be found at www.igop-ia.com.

Council Bluffs police charge man with arson

News

April 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Council Bluffs police have charged a man in connection with a deliberately set fire that destroyed his mother’s house. Police Sgt. Chad Meyers says officer arrested 29-year-old Daniel Kennedy, of Council Bluffs, on Saturday on a warrant for suspicion of second-degree arson in connection with the Jan. 28 fire. The Daily Nonpareil reports the home, which was vacant, was owned by Kennedy’s mother, Susan Graves Kennedy.

Officers arrested Kennedy after responding to a report of a disturbance and finding him yelling at his mother. They checked his name for warrants and then made the arrest. The January fire destroyed the house. Crews demolished it a few days later.

Daniel Kennedy was held in the Pottawattamie County Jail on $12,000 bond.

Iowa early News Headlines: Tue., April 29th 2014

News

April 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The floor manager of school anti-bullying bill in the Iowa Senate says the bill is unlikely to make it through this legislative session. Democratic Sen. Rob Hogg says changes made in the Republican-led House on parental notification are unacceptable. Hogg says one of the primary changes made would remove the ability of school administrators to handle incidents of bullying off school grounds.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A bill meant to support veterans already in Iowa and attract others to the state has won the final approval of the Iowa House. The bill headed to Gov. Terry Branstad would exempt military pensions from state income tax, and surviving spouses are included in the exemption. It allows companies to give preference to veterans in hiring decisions and offers credit to veterans with occupational licensing.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Council Bluffs police have charged a man in connection with a deliberately set fire that destroyed his mother’s house. Twenty-nine-year-old Daniel Kennedy, of Council Bluffs, was arrested Saturday on a warrant for suspicion of second-degree arson in connection with the Jan. 28 fire. The home, which was vacant, was owned by Kennedy’s mother.

ROCKWELL CITY, Iowa (AP) – A 115-year-old railroad freight house has been moved from a farm back to its original location adjacent to the Rockwell City depot. The freight house was moved about 20 years ago to a nearby farm. It was donated back to a group that oversees the Rockwell City Depot in October 2013. The group Landmark Depot Preservation raised $4,000 to move the freight house.

Seizure causes single-vehicle accident on I-29

News

April 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A woman who experienced a medical condition crashed her vehicle Sunday morning in Harrison County. The Iowa State Patrol says 35-year old Athena Clayborne was traveling north on Interstate 29 at around 10:07-a.m., Sunday, when she experienced an epileptic seizure. The woman lost control of her vehicle, which entered the median and struck a cable guard rail on the east side of I-29 southbound.

Clayborne was transported by Mondamin Rescue to Burgess Hospital in Onawa. She told authorities that she had forgotten to take her epileptic medication prior to getting behind the wheel.

2 arrests in Atlantic Saturday

News

April 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Atlantic report two arrests over the weekend. Both took place Saturday. Officials say 21-year old Jason T. Smith, of LeMars was arrested for 5th Degree Theft. And, 32-year old Joshua Larsen, of Atlantic, was arrested on a Cass County warrant for Failure to Appear on a Driving While Suspended charge. Both men were booked into the Cass County Jail.

4 industrial development sites in Iowa certified

News

April 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Four Iowa cities have had economic development sites certified under a new state program designed to have land project-ready for industrial development. Gov. Terry Branstad says the first four Iowa Certified Site Program properties are in Dexter, Fort Dodge, Iowa Falls, and Van Meter.

The program run by the Iowa Economic Development Authority is an effort to address the lack of project-ready industrial sites. IEDA Director Debi Durham says the state has lost projects because sites weren’t ready for immediate development. The department has spent about $244,000 to hire a consultant to help complete air permits, archaeological sampling, and ensure no wetlands are present. The certification process took two years to complete

Site certification is a growing trend. Branstad says certification allows Iowa to better compete for large-scale projects.

This is Nat.’l Infant Immunization Week

News

April 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

This week (April 26th through May 3rd), is National Infant Immunization Week. Officials with the Cass County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) report the Atlantic Medical Center (AMC) will be giving a $5 gift certificate to the CCMH Treasure Cove Gift Shop to parents who get their infant child (under 1 year of age) immunized this week. The AMC immunization room is open 8:30 – 11:30 am Monday – Saturday and 1:30 – 4:00 pm Monday – Friday. No appointment is necessary. Most infant vaccines are covered by private health insurance policies. The AMC immunization staff can help families who meet program guidelines access free or low-cost vaccine.

National Infant Immunization Week is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities. Babies under the age of 6 months are more likely to develop certain infectious diseases than older children.

Babies less than 6 months of age are too young to have received all the doses of vaccine that are needed to protect them from pertussis (whooping cough), flu (influenza) and other dangerous diseases that infants die from every year. It is important for the child to receive ALL of the doses required in a vaccine series to be FULLY protected. If children don’t receive recommended vaccines, there may be an increase in diseases for which there are vaccines even though they are no longer common in the U.S.

Normal vaccines a baby/toddler receives in the first two years of life are as follows:
Dtap (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), HIB (Haemophilus Influenzae Type B), Polio, Hepatitis B, Pneumococcal, Rotavirus, Hepatitis A, MMR (measles, mumps, reubella), and Varicella (chickenpox).
Babies and children can receive up to 6 vaccinations at one time.

There is a lot of information available on vaccines. Please contact your family physician or the Atlantic Medical Center Immunization staff at 712-243-2850 with any questions or concerns you may have about vaccinations.