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Iowa to continue seeking federal education waiver

News

May 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa’s Education Department director says the state will continue its effort to receive a waiver from the federal government’s No Child Left Behind Act.  U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Tuesday granted exemptions to eight more states, bringing the total to 19 that have been granted waivers.  Iowa Education Director Jason Glass told The Des Moines Register that state laws governing teacher evaluations likely kept Iowa from an exemption.  The federal waiver guidelines say states must adopt teacher evaluation systems that include student achievement data and say districts must rank educators’ performance levels.  Gov. Terry Branstad’s education reform bill included evaluation proposals that would have met the waiver application guidelines. But the Legislature didn’t adopt those proposals this year.

Red Oak man arrested on MO. warrant

News

May 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s Officials in Montgomery County said Wednesday, that a Red Oak manwas arrested that afternoon on a valid warrant out of Missouri. 51-year old James Edward Weise was wanted for resisting arrest, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident, 1st degree property damage, and for numerous traffic and drug violations. Weise was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $20,000 bond, pending extradition to Missouri.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., May 31st 2012

News

May 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) — A man in custody on robbery charges is now charged with killing a man at an adult theater in Ottumwa. Police Chief Jim Clark says 25-year-old Bruce Pollard, of Ottumwa, was charged yesterday with first-degree murder in the death of 74-year-old Kenneth McDaniel. His body was found inside Cinema X on March 13.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — American Indian tribes authorized to triple the amount of time tribal members can spend in jail say they’re challenged by a lack of funding. A U.S. Government Accountability Office report shows that none of the 109 tribes who responded to a survey about increased sentencing were taking advantage of it.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court is letting a suspended county attorney return to his job after receiving assurances that he will spend more time prosecuting cases. The court yesterday lifted a suspension issued to Appanoose County Attorney Richard Scott on May 2.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa City man who owned a trash-hauling business has pleaded guilty to ripping off customers by creating phony landfill receipts to overcharge them. Nicholas Yutzy pleaded guilty Tuesday to mail fraud. He faces up to 20 years in prison but is likely to receive far less.

May 2012 may be among warmest on record

News, Weather

May 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

May has been dry, but not dry enough to set any statewide records. State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says an average of three inches of rain fell in the state this past month. “Basically you had a fairly wet first six days of the month and a few places since then have stayed a bit the wet side, mostly northwestern Iowa,” Hillaker says. “But certainly a lot of Iowa, especially the central and southern sections, have been very dry now for the last three, three-and-a-half weeks or so, but not one for the record books, even in those drier areas.” Temperatures in Iowa for May are about six degrees above normal.  “(That) probably would put us in the top 10 as far as warmest Mays, although we will be cooling things off here just a tiny bit here in the last couple of days of the month, so that might drop the ranking just a little bit,” Hillaker says. “It’s actually been a more unusually warm month than unusually dry at this point.” A large part of the state currently is classified as “abnormally dry” — the lowest level in a nationwide system that measures drought conditions. The west central and north central Iowa are “moderately dry”.

“Right now, nothing is in an especially bad category as far as drought conditions go, but we’re getting to that time of the year when things can change pretty rapidly if we get higher temperatures and higher evaporation rates because of that,” Hillaker says. “If we don’t get rain, you know, things can dry out very, very quickly at this time of the year.” The southern two-thirds of the state has “parched” topsoil that needs some rain, according to Hillaker, and recent windy conditions are exacerbating the problem.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Supervisors to act on resolution honoring 2 fallen troopers

News

May 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors, Thursday (May 31st), are expected to act on a Resolution in support of naming two US Highway 6 bridges to commemorate two ‘fallen’ Iowa state troopers: Lance Dietsch and Stan Gerling. Trooper Pilot Lance Dietsch and Trooper Stanley Gerling were killed in an airplane accident on June 30th, 1989, near Atlantic. The pair had been searching for an elderly man who had wandered off, and were about to call off the search when they troopers located him in a soybean field. They began to circle the area when the plane made a sudden turn and crashed vertically into the ground. Troopers Dietsch and Gerling were the first aircraft fatalities since the addition of the Patrol Airwing in 1956.

Trooper Pilot Lance Dietsch

Trooper Dietsch, who lived in Council Bluffs, had served with the Iowa State Patrol for six years.

Trooper Gerling, who lived in Atlantic,  had served with the Patrol for one-year.

Trooper Stan Gerling

Iowa seeks payment plan options at farmers markets

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Iowa is scrambling to develop a plan for spending federal money to expand payment options at its 200 farmers markets. An appropriations bill provides $4 million in funding to increase farmers markets participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. Iowa is to receive about $161,000. The Gazette in Cedar Rapids says the money has to be obligated by Sept. 30. The funds are to expand the availability of wireless point-of-sale equipment in farmers markets not currently participating in SNAP. Tracy Penick of the Iowa Department of Human Services says the challenge is that vendors use individual devices to run SNAP cards, while the funding is designed to go to farmers markets as a whole.

Ag Sec Vilsack approves closing of FSA office in Union County

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

John R. Whitaker, Iowa State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency (FSA), today (Wednesday),  announced that USDA Secretary Thomas A. Vilsack has approved the closure of three FSA county offices in Iowa, including those in Union County, Decatur and Appanoose Counties. The process will begin immediately.  After the required notifications have been provided to producers, FSA employees and office landlords, closure dates will be established and made publically available.  

FSA Administrator, Bruce Nelson said in a Press Release, “FSA places the utmost priority on ensuring that our services to producers remain strong as this consolidation process begins.”  The agency will provide farmers and ranchers affected by closures an opportunity to choose the most convenient neighboring county office with which to conduct their future business with the agency.  In addition, all employees in the closing office will be provided in opportunity to continue to work with FSA.  

Officials say as a federal agency, FSA has been affected by widespread budget reductions made by Congress.  Since 2011, the Agency has lost 1,230 permanent employees through voluntary early separation and normal retirement.  In addition, FSA has been forced to reduce discretionary administrative expense by over 30 percent in the last fiscal year alone. For a complete list of FSA county offices affected by the decision, go to:  http://www.fsa.usda.gov/officeconsolidations

Drought concerns emerge

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

May 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Warm, windy weather — and a lack of rain — are raising drought concerns in Iowa. The latest U-S-D-A report indicates about half of Iowa farm fields are short or very short of topsoil moisture. Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey says it’s worrysome. “Ironically northwest Iowa was probably our driest area going into spring and they’ve gotten rains,” Northey says. “But the balance of the state is really short of moisture and normally we don’t expect that dry weather until later in the season.” Dry conditions in late May and early June put a “unique kind of stress” on crops, according to Northey.

Corn, for example, is showing inadequate root growth.”When the crop is so short of moisture in that top soil, it actually is hard for those roots to find moisture and, therefore, to grow,” Northey says. “You would think normally…dry weather will cause those roots to go down and try to find moisture, but in some of our areas it’s so dry, if it’s not finding moisture, it actually stops those roots from growing.” While corn in some areas has weak root systems, some soybeans are just sitting in the ground and haven’t sprouted. “We do plant soybeans shallower. We plant them later and if you do a little bit of tillage, it dries out the top, especially since some of our areas of the state haven’t had rain for three weeks or at least any sizable rain and some very dry weather in the last three or four weeks as well.” The other problem is the soybean sprouts, but then dies because of lack of moisture.

Fifty-one percent of Iowa farm fields are “short” or “very short” of topsoil moisture according to the latest U-S-D-A report. The rating for subsoil moisture is 42 percent “short” or “very short.” The driest section of the state is south central Iowa, where 83 percent of the topsoil is “short” or “very short” of moisture.

Link to the U-S Drought Monitor website: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

(O. Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)

Cass Co. Sheriff to be honored, Thursday

News

May 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Sheriff Darby McClaren will receive a certificate Thursday morning at the Courthouse in Atlantic, in honor of his nomination for the prestigious 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.  The certificate will be presented at 11:30 a.m.  Thursday, May 31st, at the Sheriff’s Office, by Jerry Hansen, chairman of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) agency for our area. 

The Freedom Award is the Department of Defense’s highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of Guard and Reserve employees.  A review board comprised of military and civilian leaders has received 3,236 nominations received earlier this year from Guard and Reserve service members, or family members acting on their behalf. Only 160 employers have received the Freedom Award since it was established in 1996. Employers named as finalists for the award distinguish themselves not only for adhering to the employment and reemployment rights of Guard and Reserve members, but for actively creating opportunities to assist and support the service of both Guard and Reserve employees and their families. 

Everyone isl invited to the event honoring Sheriff McClaren, for his support of our military.

Car hits hydrant & tree in Kimballton, Tuesday

News

May 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

One person was injured when the vehicle they were driving hit a fire hydrant and tree Tuesday afternoon, in Kimballton. The Audubon County Sheriff’s Department reports 61-year old Marcia Louise Nelson, of Kimballton, was traveling north on South Main Street at around 4:15-p.m., when she fell asleep at the wheel of her 2009 Chevy Impala. The car crossed the centerline of the road and hit a fire hydrant before colliding with a large tree. Nelson was transported by Elk Horn Rescue to Myrtue Memorial Hospital in Harlan, for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. She was cited for Failure to Maintain Control. Nelson’s car sustained $15,000 damage during the accident.