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Census shows Iowa continues slow population growth

News

December 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Figures released by the U.S. Census bureau show Iowa’s population continues to grow slowly but steadily. The Census Bureau released estimates Tuesday showing Iowa’s population was just over 3.1 million as of July 1. The estimate shows the state’s population grew by a little less than 15,000 in the past year, for a growth rate of about a half percent. It has grown by 2 percent since 2010.

Iowa’s population has seen gradual growth for nearly three decades. However, because other states have grown more quickly, Iowa has lost congressional seats during once-a-decade redistricting, most recently in 2010 when the number of U.S. House seats fell to four.

The state also lost a congressional seat after the 1990 census. Iowa remains 30th in population among the states.

Page County Sheriff reports on Operation Blessing

News

December 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

On Monday, we reported on the success of the Clarinda Police Department’s “Operation Blessing” program. Today (Tuesday), Page County Sheriff Lyle Palmer reports his department’s “Operation Blessing” program was also a big success, thanks to everyone who donated to it this year. The Sheriff says without the support of the individuals, organizations, business’s, and groups who unselfishly gave to this program it would not be possible. Year after year people have continued to support this program some since the beginning in the early 1980’s.

From the money and items donated this year, the Page County Sheriff’s Office provided Christmas gifts to 21 families. That meant that 50 children in Page County received presents for Christmas this year from Page County Sheriff’s Office Operation Blessing program.

Palmer offers a sincere “THANK YOU” from everyone at the Page County Sheriff’s Office for the support shown by the area to make the program a success. He says “We look forward to continuing this program in the years to come.” The Sheriff also wants to thank his staff for the extra work that they put into the program and former Page County Sheriff Mike Williams for all of the time and effort he has put into this program from the beginning.

Some lawmakers want school districts to control start times

News

December 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Some Iowa legislators are unhappy with the Department of Education’s decision to stop letting school districts get automatic waivers allowing them to begin classes earlier in the summer. The Des Moines Register reports lawmakers from both parties say they would support legislation reducing state oversight and letting districts decide when school should begin.

Iowa law says districts must begin school no earlier than the calendar week that includes Sept. 1, but nearly all seek and receive waivers to start earlier. Earlier this month, Education Department Director Brad Buck informed districts that the agency would stop automatically approving waiver requests. The move came after Gov. Terry Branstad complained districts weren’t abiding by the law.

Iowa’s tourism industry and state fair have long complained they were hurt by early school starts.

Small town in Jones County considers disbanding

News

December 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A town in eastern Iowa with just over 100 residents may become the next Iowa city to disappear from the map. Center Junction Mayor Sandy Ricklefs told KCRG-TV that the city council will meet January 5 to vote on a resolution of discontinuance. “It’s just, plainly, that the bills are coming in and we just can’t do it anymore,” Ricklefs said. Center Junction is located in Jones County. According to Ricklefs, tax collections are not keeping up with expenses for law enforcement, library services and emergency management.

“I’ve been mayor for many, many years and it’s been real tight pinching for a while. It’s not that anybody has done anything or anybody has spent any big money because we just don’t do that here,” Ricklefs said.

The administrator of Iowa’s City Development Board, which oversees changes in incorporation, reports — in recent years — Iowa has been averaging the loss of about one town per year. In the case of Center Junction, the city council took an informal poll of residents earlier this month about the possibility of disbanding and nearly everyone favored the move, according to Mayor Ricklefs.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa’s richest man donates $1 million to DMACC, $1 million to Ankeny schools

News

December 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

An Ankeny couple is making two major gifts to support projects in their hometown. Dennis and Susan Albaugh are giving a million dollars to help the Des Moines Area Community College expand its Culinary Institute in Ankeny. Dennis Albaugh, who is considered to be the richest person in Iowa, says he has a long history with the community college dating back to his school days.  “I don’t know if I was one of the first classes, but it was called Area 11 and then it became DMACC and I have watched that grow,” Albaugh says. “I was in the first building out there and now it’s an unbelievable complex.”

Albaugh, a DMACC grad and long-time supporter of the school, says the idea to direct his gift to DMACC’s  Culinary Institute came from DMACC president Rob Denson. “I swear, when you give DMACC a dollar, they get $1.25 in value out of it, so I didn’t specifically say which project,” Albaugh says. “Rob and I met for coffee one morning and he said, “Well I’ve got a project and this would make it happen.” The school expects to break ground on the project in April. The total cost of expanding the Culinary Institute is five-point-six million dollars. The Albaughs are also giving a million dollars to the Ankeny School District for renovation of Ankeny Stadium.

Albaugh got into the fertilizer and seed business after graduating from DMACC and eventually started his own fertilizer company that made and sold the primary ingredient in Round-Up. He sold his company in 2010 for one-point-three billion dollars. At the time of the sale, Albaugh employed over three-thousand workers at 30 herbicide production plants in Mexico and Argentina, along with one plant in Missouri.

(Radio Iowa)

Grassley Nominates Iowa Students to the U.S. Service Academies

News

December 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Senator Chuck Grassley has nominated 37 outstanding Iowa students for consideration for appointments to the U.S. service academies. Grassley says “Young Iowans who want to enter the academies and serve our country are remarkable for their accomplishments and leadership. These candidates are an impressive reflection on our state and signal continued excellence in the U.S. armed forces.”

Grassley’s area nominees for the 2015-2016 school year include:
U.S. Air Force Academy
Adrianna Hines, Missouri Valley
U.S. Military Academy at West Point
Alexander Jones, Council Bluffs
Tobey Yates, Underwood
U.S. Naval Academy
Dane Livengood, Treynor

Grassley said he will make announcements as appointments to the academies are offered to Iowans. Each year, the Senator has the opportunity as a U.S. senator to nominate either current or future Iowa high school graduates for a select few service academy placements. Grassley said he encourages Iowa students to consider applying to more than one service academy due to the highly competitive nature of admissions.
Students interested in academy appointments should begin the application process in the spring of their junior year of high school. The academies select students based on the number of vacancies available for the next school year. Iowa Representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives also make nominations in addition to both of Iowa’s U.S. Senators. Traditionally, the high quality of Iowa nominees results in several Iowa students being selected to attend each of the service academies.

Truck hits cow southeast of Creston

News

December 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A box truck struck a cow Monday evening about 5-miles southeast of Creston, but the driver of the vehicle wasn’t injured. Union County Sheriff’s officials say 24-year old Jacob Cave, of Redfield, was traveling east in the 1700 block of 230th Street at around 6:50-p.m., when the 2007 Freightliner box truck he was driving hit a black cow on the road. The semi sustained $1,000 damage. The cow, owned by David Travis, of Creston, was valued at $3,000.

Report advises Iowa to wait on drone regulation

News

December 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A report from the Iowa Department of Public Safety says lawmakers should take a wait-and-see approach toward regulating unmanned aerial vehicles because of their huge potential to help business and government. The report, requested by lawmakers in May, says a consensus has developed that drones will greatly benefit agriculture and other industries, police work and government services.ag drone

Many lawmakers are also concerned about their privacy implications. The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa is proposing legislation banning the use of weaponized drones, requiring oversight of how police agencies acquire the technology, and directing agencies to delete surveillance information that isn’t necessary for an investigation.

The report cautions against broad regulation, saying problems could be narrowly addressed later when lawmakers “have the full picture” as to the benefits that drones produce.

(Podcast) 8-a.m. KJAN News, 12/23/2014

News, Podcasts

December 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

State and area news with Ric Hanson.

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Report gives Iowa good marks for disease outbreak preparation

News

December 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A new report gives Iowa good marks for preparing for a potential outbreak of infectious disease. Rich Hamburg, is deputy director of the Trust for America’s Health. He says it’s an annual report on outbreaks and emergency preparedness for everything from Ebola, the flu to antibiotics resistance. He says Iowa had a pretty good showing.Hamburg says Iowa met six of its ten indicators, which puts it in the upper half of the states.

“One that is critically important for any kind of all hazard preparedness effort is funding. This was two years running that Iowa did increase the amount of state-level funding for public health,” Hamburg explains. Hamburg says Iowa only had 48-point-six percent of residents who got a flu shot. The highest state was 57 percent, and he says to pass the indicator the state needed to have 50 percent immunized.

You can see the full report at:www.healthyamericans.org.

(Radio Iowa)