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Atlantic Parks & Rec. Director announces Asst. Director hiring

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors has hired an Assistant Parks and Recreation Dept. Director. Current Parks Director Roger Herring reports Seth Stasshelm was hired following interviews and background checks earlier this week on five finalists for the position. Staashelm is currently the Aquatics Director at the Nishna Valley YMCA, in Atlantic. He’s lived in the community since May, and joined the YMCA in July.

Staashelm is married. His wife teaches high school math in Atlantic. Staashelm has a Bachelor’s Degree from Northwest Missouri State University, with a degree in Parks and Recreation Management and Corporate Recreation Management. He also has a wide variety of experiences in the construction field, personal training, is a multi-sport athlete, certified pool operator, and is qualified in disaster clean-up following catastrophic weather events.  Staashelm will begin his duties as Assistant Director at around Feb. 1st, 2015, once he has completed his program duties at the Nishna Valley YMCA.

Parks Director Roger Herring, whose five-year contract with the Parks and Rec Dept. expires in May 2016, asked the Board in Sept. to begin the search for his replacement. Once Staashelm takes over the Operation duties as Herring’s Assistant, Herring will be able to concentrate more on the grant-application writing process.

Herring said the decision on who to hire was difficult, because there were 30 applications the selection committee had to whittle down to a handful of finalists. “The candidate pool,” he said “was wide and varied, but highly qualified.”  Stuart Dusenberry, Chairperson of the Atlantic Parks and Rec Board, says “We are confident Seth will continue the progressive goals established by the Park Board, Mayor Jones, and the Atlantic City Council.”

Central IA family loses home while they were in Atlantic

News

December 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A central Iowa family visiting relatives in Atlantic lost their home to a fire early Christmas day. KCCI-TV reports firefighters in Des Moines were called to the home at 7005 Southwest 15th Street in Des Moines, at around 3-a.m., after a neighbor saw flames shooting through the roof. Officials say the family had left the home just a couple hours before the fire started to visit relatives in Atlantic.

Three adults and two children under 10 years old live in the home. There were no injuries. The home was a total loss, but firefighter were able to save the family’s Christmas presents. A tarp now covers the collapsed roof. They estimate the damage at more than $130,000. The Red Cross was assisting the family.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation. Since thanksgiving, 50 fires have occurred in the capital city.

Red Oak man arrested Thu. morning

News

December 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A traffic stop Thursday morning in Red Oak resulted in an arrest. According to Red Oak Police, 45-year old Robert Joe Coddington, of Red Oak, was stopped at around 8:40-a.m. in the 700 block of north Broadway Street. He was subsequently taken into custody for Driving While Revoked. Coddington was then released on a citation and given a court date. His car was towed away and held in an impound lot.

(Podcast) 8-a.m. KJAN News, 12/25/2014

News, Podcasts

December 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With Ric Hanson.

Play

Online doctors offering new outlet for rural Iowans

News

December 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Most rural Iowans don’t have the convenience of a nearby urgent care or walk-in clinic when they feel sick, but there’s a new option — using the internet. Live Health Online-dot-com (www.livehealthonline.com) markets itself as putting a doctor at your side 24-seven. Dr. Mia Finkelston is one of dozens of physicians on staff who are just a few clicks away and several of them are in Iowa.  “You would have the ability to speak face-to-face with a board-certified physician of your choosing,” Finkelston says. “Usually, there are multiple doctors available in the state you’re calling from. It’s by no means meant to be a replacement for your doctor.”

All you need to interact is a computer with a web camera or a smart phone. She says they can diagnose and treat a number of ailments, including colds, the flu, allergies, diarrhea, sinus infections and bronchitis. “With the phone feature or a webcam, it’s easy to look at the rashes,” Finkelston says. “Sometimes I ask for assistance or I’ll ask the patient to put a quarter next to that or if they have any change, something to give me a little size indication. We see a lot of questions about allergies in the fall and the spring. We’re hoping to work in addition to your primary care physician, certainly not to replace them.”

She says the service is for non-emergencies. Doctors are allowed to electronically prescribe medication to a nearby pharmacy under Iowa law, and she says these tele-visits are covered by a number of insurance companies.  “We can diagnose, as long as we feel like we got enough information from you and could see the areas and then we can treat,” she says. “It’s generated through the electronic record system through the computer or through the phone. Everything is private and secure and HIPAA-compliant and then we can prescribe to the pharmacy.”

Finkelston encourages patients to print a copy of the prescription and diagnosis and give it to their regular physician. Typically, she says Iowans will video chat with a doctor in Iowa. She says the wait time is usually two minutes and the average visit is about ten minutes. The cost is 49-dollars, not including prescriptions.

(Radio Iowa)

Harkin wants Harkin Institute to be clearinghouse of Caucus info

News

December 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Retiring Senator Tom Harkin wants the new “Harkin Institute” at Drake University to help lead the conversation about the future of Iowa’s Caucuses. “Making that center a center of information and expertise on the Iowa Caucus system,” Harkin says. A long-time Drake University political science professor has been awarded the Harkin Institute’s first academic fellowship and his job will be to explain how the Iowa Caucuses work and examine how the media covers the event.

Dennis Goldford has been at Drake for nearly 30 years and Harkin touts Goldford as a “nonpartisan authority on presidential politics.” Harkin has his own list of goals for the enterprise. “Looking at the Caucuses, both Democrat and Republican,” Harkin says. “How did they evolve? What do they do? Why are they good and how do we continue to keep the Iowa Caucus system and keep it viable?” The full name of the center is the Harkin Institute on Public Policy and Citizen Engagement.

“I want that institute to begin reaching out and getting more and more people to think about how they’re involved civically — school boards, boards of supervisors, even volunteering,” Harkin says. “We’ve got to get back to having more people involved locally in their local government.” The documents Harkin amassed over 40 years of service in congress will be transferred to Drake at the end of this month. The letters, notes and other documents are being converted to a digital format and will be posted online for researchers.

(Radio Iowa)

Lottery e-tickets still on hold

News

December 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation is looking into developing a digital driver’s license, and while many other processes are going digital, Iowa Lottery C-E-O Terry Rich says don’t look for digital tickets anytime soon. “We have migrated to a lot of reporting, making sure you have instant access to all of the data on almost everything with the lottery, except purchasing a ticket,” Rich says. He says the Iowa Lottery is waiting to get direction from state leaders before moving ahead.

“We have the authority for many of our tickets to do it. We are working with our elected officials and want to work with other gaming entities to decide when and where is the proper time to be able to do that,” he explains. Information Rich talked about during a recent Iowa Lottery Board meeting shows the average age of a lottery customer is 47, which could explain why there’s no great rush to digital tickets. Rich says it’s a matter of what the public wants and will accept.

“At this point we don’t have any plans, but technologically it’s ready to go,” Rich says. “We would be able to do that we believe with many of our products, but we are holding off until we hear either demand from the customers and the consumers, the players through the legislature.” The demand so far this fiscal year from customers has been for the old fashioned paper scratch tickets. The Iowa Lottery reported sales of those tickets saw near-record sales numbers in July, August, September, October and November.

(Radio Iowa)

(Podcast) 7-a.m. KJAN News & Funeral report, 12/25/2014

News, Podcasts

December 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

Play

Research shows benefits of volunteering, 1 in 3 Iowans volunteered in 2013

News

December 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A report released this month ranks Iowa 7th in the country for the percentage of residents who spend time volunteering. Those efforts not only benefit those in critical need, but the head of the federal agency in charge of volunteering and service says it also benefits the volunteers themselves. Wendy Spencer is CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. She says they’ve conducted research about the impact of volunteering on those who donate their time and energy.

“Here’s what we’ve found, especially with our seniors and older volunteers, it’s good for your health,” Spencer said. “You live longer, you have a reduced sense of isolation, you’re happier, and you’re connecting with friends. So, there’s a personal benefit.” People who are unemployed can also find reward in volunteer work. “We also have research that tells us if you volunteer — and you’re unemployed and looking for work — that you increase the likelihood of getting a job by 27-percent,” Spencer said. “If you live in a rural community, that likelihood jumps up to 55-percent. So, there are some benefits to get a job as well.”

The report states slightly more than 1 in 3 Iowans (34.7%) volunteered in 2013. Spencer notes the people who volunteer the most are working mothers. “Which is really interesting because they’re the busiest people I know,” Spencer said. “But, they’re very connected to their community and schools. College students are actually volunteering at a higher rate than the national average as well. That’s encouraging for our young people.”

Nationally, one in four Americans volunteered last year. Utah ranked as the top state for volunteerism. Idaho, Minnesota, Kansas, Wisconsin and Nebraska round out the top six, followed by Iowa. The report found those between the ages of 35-44 had the highest volunteer rate, while those over the age of 65 spent the most time volunteering.

(Radio Iowa)

Judge orders evaluations of ‘dangerous’ western Iowa teen

News

December 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

LOGAN, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa judge has ordered more evaluations of an 18-year-old found not guilty of killing his foster brother. The Des Moines Register reports that in her order earlier this month, Judge Kathleen Kilnoski said Cody Metzker-Madsen remains “dangerous to himself and others.” In November Metzker-Madsen was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the death of 5-year-old Dominic Elkins. The Atlantic boy was attacked in August 2013 while the two played on their foster parents’ rural property in western Iowa.

Kilnoski says Metzker-Madsen must remain for now at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville. After the trial, a psychiatrist there diagnosed him as having an unspecified psychotic disorder and with oppositional defiant disorder and intermittent explosive disorder. Experts say the disorders can cause violent tantrums and aggression.