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Decision on a Western IA School name could come soon

News

March 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A decision on what to call a school district in western Iowa facing reorganization, could come later this month. The AHST and Walnut community school districts have been discussing what to name a reorganized school district, as Walnut students prepare to vacate Walnut Community School next year. Jesse Ulrich, the shared superintendent of both districts, told the Daily NonPareil, the school boards are weighing three approaches to naming a merged district: Avoca Community, AHSTW or choosing a neutral name not naming specific cities.

All three approaches are used across the state. For example, Malvern and Nishna Valley came together to form East Mills, while Glenwood and Harlan both emphasize “Community” after their high school names. A joint school board meeting will be held March 17, which Ulrich said could see a decision made on the name. The choice carried political consequences, with voters needing to approve the proposed merger.

Ulrich said a vote is being targeted for Sept. 8, the last date in the year approved for school special elections. He said the districts have missed the deadline to have a vote scheduled in June. While the Walnut school district might exist as a stand-alone entity next year, he said the expectation is students will be attending AHSTW’s school in Avoca. That plan has already been communicated to the Walnut community.

Once voters approve the reorganization, the districts will come together, which will solve a looming problem for Walnut where the school district would eventually be spending too much according to state regulations. Plans are already underway for what happens following a reorganization, which includes a discussion between the Walnut school board and the City of Walnut about possible uses for the Walnut Community School building. Ulrich said no commitments have been made, but the ultimate decision will be made by Walnut officials alone, not by anyone from Avoca or elsewhere.

Carroll County to be named “Home Base Iowa Community”

News

March 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today (Wednesday) announced that they will travel to Fort Dodge on Friday, March 6, 2015 to recognize five new Home Base Iowa Communities and three new Home Base Iowa Certified Higher Academic Military Partner (CHAMPs).

Among the communities to be announced as Home Base Iowa Communities this Friday, is Carroll County. The communities will join Union County, Mitchell County, Dubuque County, Greene County, Howard County, Clarke County, Floyd County and the City of Marion as current Home Base Iowa Communities.

The Governor says “The Home Base Iowa initiative aims to ensure that members of the military leaving the service are met with an abundance of career and academic opportunities right here in Iowa.” Branstad said he and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds “Continue to be impressed by the outpouring of support for the Home Base Iowa initiative through the Home Base Iowa Community and Home Base Iowa CHAMPs programs.”

Reynolds said  “With thirteen Home Base Iowa Communities and twelve Home Base Iowa CHAMPs institutions, it is clear that Iowans are ready to welcome veterans and their families to our great state. I encourage all Iowa communities and higher education institutions to consider joining our Home Base Iowa initiative.”

The Home Base Iowa initiative does the following:

· Fully exempts military pensions from state income tax.

· Gives veterans, their spouses and dependents in-state tuition at Iowa’s colleges and universities.

· Allows Iowa’s licensing boards to adopt rules allowing credit for military training and experience in the licensing process.

· Allows private-sector companies to follow the public sector’s lead by allowing a preference in hiring and promoting veterans.

· Eliminates the special plate issuance fees charged for plates associated with military service.

· Expands eligibility for the Military Homeownership Assistance Program, which provides $5,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance. Additional funding for the program is provided in a separate appropriations bill.

Public hearing Thu. in Walnut on FY 2015-16 budget

News

March 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A Public Hearing will be held tomorrow evening (Thursday) in Walnut, with regard to the Fiscal Year 2015-16 Budget. Following the hearing, the Council will discuss the budget and act on a Resolution to adopt it.

In other business, the Council will continue with discussions on the possible acquisition of the Walnut School Building. Last month, the City was offered the chance by Walnut Superintendent Jesse Ulrich to acquire the building, which is owned by the Walnut School District. City Clerk Terri Abell said Ulrich wanted to give the City the first opportunity to do something with the building. The decision was then made to form a committee comprised of the Mayor and two Council people, School Board members, and members of the public, to decide what they want the facility to become. They also discussed the possibility of hiring a consultant or an architect to conduct a feasibility study and facility study on the building.

The Walnut City Council will also discuss a proposed Community Garden, the 2016 Walnut Antique show and other, regular business matters. The meeting begins at 5-p.m., Thursday.

Creston woman arrested on a theft charge

News

March 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Creston report the arrest Tuesday afternoon of 56-year old Mary Acker, of Creston. Acker was charged with Theft in the 5th degree and then released on a promise to appear later in court.

(Podcast) KJAN News, 3/4/2015

News, Podcasts

March 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The 8-a.m. Newscast w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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Judge kills religious bias suit against church school system

News

March 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A religious discrimination lawsuit filed against Sioux City’s Bishop Heelan Catholic school system has been dismissed. The Sioux City Journal reports that in a ruling filed last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jon Scoles said David Newbrough couldn’t proceed on his claim that the system fired him because he wasn’t Roman Catholic. Newbrough was the system’s chief financial officer.

The lawsuit also said he was relieved of his duties as a volunteer basketball scorekeeper at Heelan High School in retaliation for filing a claim with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. The judge says the system’s actions were protected under a federal law exemption that lets religious organizations discriminate on religious grounds in their employment practices.

Doctor says now is the time to prepare for spring allergies

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Most Iowans are anxious for spring to start in a few weeks, but others don’t look forward to the sneezing, stuffy noses and watery eyes that come with allergies. As many as four in every ten Iowans suffer from seasonal allergies. Doctor Jill Poole, an allergist in Omaha/Council Bluffs, says if you have allergies, you need to prepare. “They should start getting their medications out, get on board before they get behind the eight ball on their allergy symptoms,” Dr. Poole says. “If they need refills, contact their doctor and try to be proactive about keeping on top of their medication supplies and start taking them.”

It may sound hard to believe, especially as cold as it’s been, but some trees in Iowa are already pollinating. “March and April is when the tree pollen gets to be its highest counts,” Poole says. “This year, we’ve seen tree pollen counts a little bit early, even in January, but we still expect it to continue into April and even into May.”

She says allergies are the body’s immune system reacting to a normally-harmless substance. Over-the-counter medications work well for many people but Poole says there are some who need more help.  “Be tested so they know what they’re allergic to,” Poole says. “Maybe they can change things in their environment or there’s prescription medications they can take. Ultimately, there’s allergy desensitization programs.”

Those programs involve exposing patients with low doses of allergens, then increasing the dosage over time to make the symptoms less severe. Other tips include keeping doors and windows closed and to shower or wash your hands and face after being outdoors. Poole is an associate professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

(Radio Iowa)

(Podcast) KJAN News & funeral report, 3/4/2015

News, Podcasts

March 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The 7:06-a.m. report w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson

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Iowa officials still unsure why drug dog leaped into traffic

News

March 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Officials with the Iowa Department of Transportation say they’re still unsure why the agency’s first drug-sniffing dog jumped out of a truck window on Interstate 80 in October, and fled into traffic. Earlier this week, the Iowa Appeal Board approved a $1,323 payout for damages to the owners of the vehicle that struck and killed the 2-year-old Belgian Malinois named Sara. The Oct. 8 incident was ruled an accident.

David Lorenzen, chief of the department’s motor vehicle enforcement division, says Sara had been added to the department about a year before her death following a rigorous selection process. He says she was trained not to jump and may have done so out of fear. The department has since replaced Sara with another Belgian Malinois named Storm.

A Vocabulary of Respect: Spread the Word to End the Word

News

March 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa – Residents across Iowa and the nation are being asked to take time today to stop and think about how their words may disparage others – whether that is the intent or not. This is “Spread the Word to End the Word” day, when people are asked to remove the word “retarded” from their vocabulary.

“When we use the word, we disparage those who do have an intellectual disability,” said Rik Shannon, public policy manager for the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council. “What we really would like to see people do is select language that’s more respectful and inclusive.”

While today is focused on getting everyday people to stop using the “R-word,” Shannon said, on a
higher level, the state of Iowa has stopped using the term in health, eduction and labor policy, following the lead of the federal government.

“In 2010, President Obama signed what’s called Rosa’s Law, which removed the terms ‘mental retardation’ and ‘mentally retarded’ from federal code language,” he said, “and replaced it with terms such as an ‘individual with an intellectual disability,’ or simply ‘intellectual disability.’ ” In Iowa, Shannon said, there are nearly 50,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities and their family, friends, neighbors and coworkers, all of whom deserve the same respect as everyone else.

Details about the observance are online at r-word.org. The text of Rosa’s Law is at govtrack.us and Iowa resources are at idaction.org.

(Iowa News Service)