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Snow outlook for Iowa (issued 5:40-a.m. Tue., 12/23)

News, Weather

December 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Light snow is expected to persist in across northern into portions of western Iowa today light accumulations of 1 to 4 inches will be possible with the highest amounts near the Minnesota border. The light precipitation is expected to end across much of Iowa tonight with a slow moderation in temperatures into Christmas Day. Christmas is expected to have good weather with temperatures well above normal along with partly sunny skies. The system on Friday is only expected to affect far northwest Iowa.10325642_751705774907620_32861518843821231_n

Arrests overnight in Montgomery County, including 2 for drugs

News

December 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Three people were arrested overnight Monday-into early Tuesday morning, in Montgomery County, including two people who were taken into custody on drug-related charges.

Today (Tuesday), at around 2:20-a.m., 39-year old Brian Louis Reinhart, of Carroll, was arrested on drug charges, following  a traffic stop at Highway 71 and 250th Street, north of Villisca. As a result of the stop and the use of the Montgomery County K-9 Unit, the Sheriff’s Office seized nearly 12 grams of Methamphetamine. Reinhart was charged with Possession of Meth with the intent to deliver, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $100,000 bond.

At around12:35-a.m. (Tuesday), Police in Red Oak arrested 30-year old Marcus John Josephson, of Red Oak, on charges of Serious Domestic Assault, and Possession of a Controlled Substance/Marijuana. Josephson was booked into the Montgomery County Jail, where he was being held without bond.

Sheriff’s officials say at around 11-p.m. Monday, 30-year old Christopher Allen Lundgren, of Omaha was arrested, following a traffic stop on Highway 34. Lundgren was taken into custody for Driving While Suspended, with 17 withdrawals in effect. He was booked into the Montgomery County Jail and held on $300 bond.

Education Department hands out next round of teacher leadership grants

News

December 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Education has announced another round of school districts chosen to receive funding to launch teacher leadership plans. Department spokesman, Jim Flansburg, says 126 district’s were selected for the next round under the new Teacher Leadership and Compensation System. “There’ve been so many of them there’s going to be 76 in the next year and then another 50 in the following year,” Flansburg says. The program is part of education reform measures passed by the Legislature in 2013 and signed into law by the governor.

“The very essence of the program is that teachers will have mentors, the very talented teachers will have a career path in which they can get out of the classroom to an extent, and help newer teachers become better teachers,” Flansburg explains. “The bottom line is that we create a career path for teachers and make the education system better for children.” There were 39 districts chosen in the first round for the program and Flansburg says the Department has gotten some good feedback already.

“The things that we’ve been hearing have been absolutely tremendous. In fact, in Benton County there’s a school district out there that’s just doing a stupendous job with it. They’ve already seen some very specific evidence that scores are going up,”Flansburg says. Districts that apply to start teacher leadership systems are required to have a set vision and goals for what they plan to accomplish. They also must address meet certain requirements — such as setting a minimum yearly teacher salary of 33-thousand-500 dollars.

“Ultimately we’d like to be able to have all the districts participate if they want. The legislature has allotted the money so there is 50 million dollars a year , and adding another 50 million dollars a year thereafter until all school districts are participating if they want to,”Flansburg says. In the latest group, 76 schools would create plans for the 2015-16 school year and another 50 during the 2016-17 school year.

The selected districts for 2015-16 include (locally): Atlantic; Audubon; Carroll; Glenwood; Lewis Central; Nodaway Valley; Red Oak; and West Monona.

2016-17 districts include (locally):
Adair-Casey (in collaboration with Guthrie Center); Adel-DeSoto-Minburn; CAM; Charter Oak-Ute (in collaboration with Maple Valley-Anthon Oto and Schleswig); East Sac County; Guthrie Center (in collaboration with Adair-Casey); Lenox; Maple Valley-Anthon Oto (in collaboration with Charter Oak-Ute and Schleswig); and Schleswig (in collaboration with Charter Oak-Ute and Maple Valley-Anthon Oto).

Iowa early News Headlines: Tue., 12/23/14

News

December 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Orange City Democrat will run for a heavily Republican northwest Iowa House seat in January. John Buntsma, a former newspaper manager and editor at the Le Mars Daily, the Sioux County Capital-Democrat and the Dayton Review will be the Democrat on the ballot in House District 4, the most heavily populated Republican district in the state. Republicans have chosen John Kooiker, a retired postal service worker and a Sioux County farmer.

SCRANTON, Iowa (AP) — State environmental officials credit quick action by a farmer for preventing environmental damage from a manure spill three miles southwest of Scranton. About 2,000 gallons of manure flowed into a ditch. The driver, Joanne Hunter, and others from the Hunter hog farm quickly dammed the ditch on either side of the spill on Saturday and called a contractor to pump it onto a nearby farm field.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Republican lawmaker will renew an effort to require a waiting period for abortions in Iowa, but it is not clear that he’ll find support to pass a bill in the politically divided state Legislature. Sen. David Johnson, from Ocheyedan, says he has submitted a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would set counseling requirements followed by a 72-hour waiting period before a woman could receive an abortion. It is not clear Johnson will find support for the bill, since Democrats control the Senate and have opposed abortion restrictions in the past.

(Information in the following story is from: Globe Gazette, http://www.globegazette.com/)

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) — Church youth members in northern Iowa have performed a living Nativity scene that featured live animals. Nearly a dozen people congregated Sunday night to watch the children and live animals re-enact the birth of Jesus Christ. They also sang hymns and enjoyed cookies and hot cider.

GOP lawmaker seeks waiting period for abortion

News

December 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Republican lawmaker will renew an effort to require waiting periods for abortions in Iowa, but it is not clear that he’ll find support to pass a bill in the politically divided state Legislature. Sen. David Johnson, a Republican from Ocheyedan, has submitted a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would set counseling requirements followed by a 72-hour waiting period before a woman could receive an abortion.

The Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights think-tank, says a total of 35 states currently require counseling before an abortion, with 26 of those states imposing a waiting period between counseling and the procedure. It is not clear Johnson will find support for the bill, since Democrats control the Senate and have opposed new abortion restrictions in the past.

DNR checks manure spill in Greene County

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says investigated a manure spill about three miles southwest of Scranton in Greene County, Saturday afternoon. Liquid manure spilled after a tractor-tanker got too close to the road edge. The tanker overturned near the Hunter hog finishing facility about 8 a.m. Saturday. Driver and applicator Joanne Hunter estimated 2,000 gallons of manure ended up in the ditch near the top of a hill.

The Hunters quickly dammed the ditch on each side of the spill, checked for tile intakes, and contracted to have manure pumped up and soil in the ditch excavated and land applied. DNR specialist Dan Olson from the Atlantic field office checked the spill area. “The Hunters did a really good job on clean up,” he said. “First they were prepared in case a spill happened, and when one did occur they acted quickly to contain it and clean it up.”

No manure reached a water of the state. Manure spills must be reported to the DNR within six hours by calling the state 24-hour spill line at 515-281-8694 or by calling the DNR field office during office hours.

OWI arrests in Cass County last week

News

December 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest last week of two Minnesota residents. On Dec. 15th, 32-year old Magbeth Contreras-Vazquez, of St. Paul, MN, was arrested on a charge of OWI 1st offense. And, 33-year old Juan Fernandez Polanco, of Burnsville, MN, was arrested on a charge of Open Container as a Passenger. Both men were taken to the Cass County Jail. Contreras-Vazquez was released later that day on $1,000 bond; Fernandez Polanco pled guilty and was released later that day.

On December 17th, deputies in Cass County arrested 70-year old Marlin Eugene Rossell, of Lewis,  on a charge of OWI 1st Offense. Rossell was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was released the following day on his own recognizance.

Historic church destroyed by fire in Harlan (update 10:30-a.m.)

News

December 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Photo courtesy Jim Wolf

In an update to our earlier story, Harlan Fire Chief Roger Bissen, late Monday morning, issued a statement concerning a fire Sunday afternoon that destroyed an historic church. Bissen said the Harlan Fire Dept. and Medivac Ambulance were called to 1612 8th Street (the old St. Michael’s Catholic Church), after a report was received of smoke coming from the building at around 3:50-p.m.

The first crews on the scene observed smoke coming from the windows and roof. Mutual aid was requested from Westphalia Fire and an interior attack began on the flames. Due to rapidly changing fire conditions, firefighters were pulled out of the building and efforts began to fight the flames from the exterior.

Additional calls went out for help to the Denison Fire Department (which sent its ladder truck), as well as the Kirkman, Defiance, Shelby, Avoca and Walnut Fire Departments. Harlan Police, and deputies with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office assisted with traffic and scene control.

From the Harlan Fire and Rescue Facebook page.

From the Harlan Fire and Rescue Facebook page.

The Harlan Pizza Ranch offered to assist by bringing food and drink for the firefighters to the scene, and the wives of several firefighters along with members of the community distributed the food.  The scene was finally secured and cleared at around 10:20-p.m., Sunday. Some crews returned to the scene early this (Monday) morning, to extinguish hot spots.

An investigator with the State Fire Marshal’s Office has been requested to determine a cause of the blaze. The parish built a new church adjacent to its Catholic school in 1964. The structure that burned was built in 1925 for 40-thousand dollars, according to the parish website, and had been vacant for about five-years. No damage estimate is available at this time.

Courtesy Jim Wolf

Courtesy Jim Wolf

Photo courtesy Jim Wolf

Photo courtesy Jim Wolf

Branstad names Iowa State grad to spot on regents

News

December 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad has appointed an Iowa State University graduate from western Iowa to the board that governs public universities. Branstad on Monday named Sherry Ann Bates of Scranton, Iowa to the nine-member Iowa Board of Regents. Bates, 62, replaces Nicole Carroll for a term that runs through April 2017. Carroll resigned from the board last month after moving to Arizona. Like Bates, she is an ISU graduate from western Iowa.

Bates previously was a social worker at the Greene County Medical Center, and is on the Greene County Board of Health, the Scranton Telephone Board and the Greene County Foundation Board. Branstad says Bates’ professional and volunteer work “demonstrates her commitment to public service.” He says her belief in affordable higher education will serve her well as a regent.

“Operation Blessing” deemed a success in Clarinda

News

December 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Clarinda Police Chief Keith Brothers is pleased to report that the Clarinda Police Department’s “Operation Blessing” program was a tremendous success. Christmas gifts were provided to 85 children in Clarinda thanks to the generosity of citizens, civic groups, businesses, church groups, club groups and foundations within the community. The most often requested items this year were clothing and Lego toys.

Retired Clarinda Police Chief Joe Newton and Retired 911 Dispatch Supervisor Diane Newton again worked countless of hours this year, coordinating the program from A-Z. Brothers extends a special thank you to the Newton’s for the work they put into the program each year, all of the members of the community who support the program year in and year out, and the 911 dispatchers at the Clarinda 911 Dispatcher for taking the requests and the area media for helping spread the word about the program.

This year’s program concluded on December 19th.