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Bullying summit registration deadline extended

News

October 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The registration for a Nov. 4 bullying prevention summit in Des Moines has been extended through Wednesday. Gov. Terry Branstad says additional demand for tickets is driving the extension. The original deadline for registration was Friday. The Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit registration is online at: preventbullying.iowa.gov

This year’s theme is “Mission Possible: Stepping Up the Response,” and is a follow-up to last year’s summit which drew about 1,100 people. The summit’s keynote speaker is Emily Bazelon, author of the book “Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy.” The summit will include sessions on how students and adults can make a difference. Participants will explore good legal policy and support schools may need to better deal with bullying.

Iowa businesses are struggling to find skilled workers

News

October 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

As Iowa recovers from the recession, a worker shortage is making it hard to compete with other states, according to north Iowa business consultant Roger Underwood. He’s part of a state panel that tracks economic trends and the likely effect on tax receipts. Underwood says in the last few weeks, he’s heard from several employers who are struggling to find employees, especially skilled workers. “I’ve been working with one business in north Iowa, trying to fill a position and it’s difficult,” Underwood says. “It’s all across the board, manufacturing, service, wholesalers, even some of the retailers are having trouble.”

Iowa’s unemployment rate rose slightly during August to four-point-nine percent, up just one-tenth of a point from July. The September jobless numbers should be out this week. Underwood says Iowa’s employers have been in this situation before, desperate for skilled laborers. Underwood says, “It was difficult 10 to 15 years ago to fill slots and then unemployment went up and there were a lot of people available all of the sudden and now we’re getting back to the unemployment rate that’s almost considered a full employment rate.”

Underwood, who’s from Clear Lake, represents the private sector on the state’s three-member Revenue Estimating Conference.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa reaction to study that finds contamination of breast milk sold online

News

October 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A new study finds breast milk sold online could contain potentially dangerous bacteria and, in some cases, salmonella. Brandi Jorgenson of Omaha is chief organizer for the Iowa and Nebraska chapters of “Eats on Feets” — a service that uses local Facebook pages to connect mothers who donate and receive free breast milk. The Iowa page had 263 “likes” on Monday. “The premise of safe milk sharing and the peer-to-peer sharing is that it’s free,” Jorgenson says. “When you put a price tag on anything, it becomes a commodity, as in people are less likely to be open and honest about…risk factors.”

Jorgenson says the most important thing with the “Eats on Feets” network is that women donate their milk for free and the family that receives the breast milk interviews the donor. “If the mother consumes caffeine or is a smoker or occasionally drinks, the receiving mother might decline that milk and find a different donor,” Jorgenson says. “Some donors prefer to have their milk to go to babise who are sick or who are otherwise struggling in some way.”

A study published in the journal “Pediatrics” found samples purchased through the milk-sharing website www.onlythebreast.com had high rates of bacteria. The Mother’s Milk Bank at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is the only organization in the state that is regulated by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. Its milk donations are pasteurized and distributed by prescription.

(Radio Iowa)

Authorities issue description of Woodbine possible arson suspect

News

October 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Law enforcement agencies in west central Iowa continue to investigate a fire in Woodbine, at the Everything Ellen Flower shop located at 413 Walker Street.  The fire, which occurred Sept. 26th, is believed to have been the result of arson. The scene investigation revealed the fire was likely set to the west wall of the flower shop abutting the alley that runs north to south behind the building.

Investigators have obtained surveillance video from the alley showing a male subject walk up to the back of the building from the south at approximately 3:21 PM. After a short amount of time the subject turns around and walks back down the alley (to the south). The subject of unknown age appears to be a white male, approximately 5’7” to 6’0” tall, wearing a dark colored t-shirt, light colored baggy shorts that extend past their knees (possibly white basketball style short) with a dark stripe down the side, and dark colored shoes. The fire was reported to Harrison County 911 at approximately 3:29 PM.

Investigators are seeking the public’s assistance to identify this person. Investigators are also seeking the public’s help in providing copies of any video or photographs taken of the downtown area within an hour prior to the fire or within the first 30 minutes of the fire call. As with any fire, a reward is offered through the arson reward fund of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for this or any other fire.

Anyone with information concerning the fire, or who has video or photos meeting the above requirements are asked to contact the Woodbine Police Department at 712/647-2345, the State Fire Marshal’s Office at 712/308-3977, or the Arson Hotline at 800/532-1459.  The Harrison County Sheriff is also assisting with this investigation.

Iowa early News headlines: Tue., Oct. 22nd 2013

News

October 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The first of what could be several trials in claims brought by black employees and job applicants who allege racial discrimination cost them jobs in Iowa’s executive branch is set to begin with jury selection Tuesday. The cases stem from a class-action lawsuit in which up to 6,000 blacks passed over for state jobs alleged a pattern of discrimination. A judge dismissed the lawsuit last year and the Iowa Supreme Court is considering whether to reinstate it.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A mountain lion sighting has been confirmed in Madison County. The Des Moines Register reports a farmer’s game camera caught an image of the mountain lion Oct. 13, about 10 miles north of Winterset. Department of Natural Resources spokesman Kevin Baskins says the animal appears to be a 2- to 3-year-old male. The DNR says there have been 16 confirmed mountain lion sightings since 1994.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Registration for a Nov. 4 bullying prevention summit in Des Moines has been extended through Wednesday. Gov. Terry Branstad says additional demand for tickets is driving the extension. The original deadline for registration was Friday. The theme for this year’s Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit is “Mission Possible: Stepping Up the Response,” and is a follow-up to last year’s summit which drew about 1,100 people.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa City will hold its annual Halloween Parade and Carnival on Friday. People of all ages are invited to the event, which starts at 6 p.m. Friday at the Weatherdance Fountain in the Pedestrian Mall. Children who attend must be accompanied by an adult. The parade won’t be held if the weather turns scary, but the carnival will go on regardless.

Cass County E-911 Director say his reputation has been damaged by talk of 911 privatization

News

October 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Cass County E-911 Director Rob Koppert told the Public Safety Commission during their meeting Monday evening, recent discussion and media coverage of the County’s decision to pursue the privatization of 911 dispatch services, has damaged his credibility with his peers. Koppert said he’s had several 911 Supervisors from Nebraska who are his counterparts, ask him “What are doing wrong over there, what have you mismanaged?” He says a lot of people have questioned his ability to run a 911 Center. Koppert said his professional reputation “Is on the line because of this,” and he’s not really very happy.

Commissioner Steve Livengood went on record as saying he does not believe the County’s exploration of 911 Center privatization is in anyway a reflection of Koppert’s job performance. Commission Chair Shawn Shouse said reason the issue came up, was because the Commission has failed to find a suitable solution to the space needs, and Supervisor Mark Wedemeyer offered the broader option of privatization.

Livengood said the option seemed logical, and Commissioner Gaylord Schelling reiterated it had nothing to do with Koppert’s job performance. But Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman said a letter Wedemeyer received from officials with Cranston, New Jersey-based iXP indicated the company would perform more of an administrative than operational function. He said it seemed strange to him the letter referred to “Managed Services,” which Sunderman says sounds like the County provides the facilities and iXP will fill the Administrative need, which the Commission says is not what they are looking for, and still doesn’t solve the space problem.

A conference call meeting of various law enforcement, local government officials and others will take place sometime in the near future. The call will include officials with iXP, and likely will answer the question once and for all, whether the County should continue to pursue privatization of 911 dispatch services.

Cass County Public Safety Commission to move on 911 Center site

News

October 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Public Safety Commission, Monday, passed a motion by Commissioner Julie Adams to request a quote from the Cambridge Law Firm, with regard to the purchase price of the building at 707 Poplar Street.

Cass County Public Safety Commission. (Clockwise, L-R: Shawn Shouse, Chair; Gaylord Schelling; Rob Koppert; Tom Harris; Julie Adams;Steve Livengood.)

Cass County Public Safety Commission. (Clockwise, L-R: Shawn Shouse, Chair; Gaylord Schelling; Rob Koppert; Tom Harris; Julie Adams;Steve Livengood.)

Once a quote is obtained and passed on to the Board of Supervisors, the Commission will recommend the County move forward with presenting an offer for the building, which could potentially serve as the site for the Cass County Communications Center. Adams acknowledged there is no guarantee the Supervisors will agree with the recommendation. Commissioner Steve Livengood said the recommendation could be approved, but it may not have the outcome the Commission intended.

Adams said if the Supervisors vote it down, the Commission could go back to the table. Livengood asked what would happen if the Board decided to purchase the building, but instead of moving the Comm. Center to the alternate location, instead moved the County Assessor and Engineers offices to the site. Adams said there’s nothing the Commission can do about that.

If that were the case, moving the Assessor and Engineer’s offices to the Cambridge Building would open up the additional needed space in the Courthouse for the 911 Center, Emergency Management Director and 9-1-1 Director need. But Commissioner Gaylord Schelling said that would mean a reassessment of those spaces.
Schelling said the cost is a big factor to him, and revamping the lower floors to accommodate the Comm. Center would be costly. E-911 Director Rob Koppert said it would cost more money to reconstruct the lower level of the courthouse – once the Assessor and Engineer’s offices are moved – than it would to make the Cambridge Building fit the needs of the 911 Center. Schelling said if that’s the case, the Carlson, West and Povondra Architectural firm in Omaha could reassess the feasibility of using those spaces, and if it isn’t workable, that option would be tossed out.

In his report to the Board of Supervisors this past April, Al Povandra said any changes to the courthouse would cost “Big Bucks,” and it’s something that is not easily done. The options he gave included moving the Cass County Communications Center to the 3rd floor of the courthouse, expanding and making Security upgrades to the County Attorney’s Offices on the 3rd floor of the courthouse, or expanding the courthouse to the north to make room for the Communications Center. Depending on the option selected, it would cost anywhere from $800,000 to as much as $3-million dollars to make the necessary improvements.

Discussions on how to handle the space needs of the Cass County 911 Center, along with new equipment necessary for Next Generation 911 services, has been ongoing for more than two-years.

DNR confirms Iowa mountain lion sighting in Madison County

News

October 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Department of Natural Resources has confirmed a mountain lion sighting in Madison County. The Des Moines Register reports a farmer’s game camera caught an image of the mountain lion Oct. 13, about 10 miles north of Winterset. DNR spokesman Kevin Baskins says the animal appears to be a 2- to 3-year-old male.

It’s the first confirmed sighting of a mountain lion in Iowa since last October, when Des Moines police killed one in a city neighborhood. The DNR says there have been 16 confirmed mountain lion sightings since 1994. Those sightings will likely become even less common in the future because South Dakota, where many mountain lions apparently originate, is issuing more hunting permits to reduce the population of the animals.

Limited tickets still available for Simon Estes concert in Atlantic

News

October 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Memorial Hospital Foundation will be hosting a Simon Estes “Roots to Wings” concert on Sunday, October 27, at 3:00 p.m. in the Atlantic High School Auditorium. Tickets are $20 each and seating is limited, so get yours today at one of the following Cass County businesses:

Atlantic: Gade Insurance, Meyer & Gross Real Estate Company, Rex Pharmacy, and the CCMH Switchboard; Anita: Mailander Law Office, Rusty Razor, and Vicki’s Cut and Curl; Cumberland:  Houghton State Bank; Griswold: Gade Insurance; Massena: First National Bank and Massena Public Library; Lewis:  Public Library.

The Foundation says tickets are going fast. Tickets may also be purchased by calling Dawn Marnin, Foundation Director at 712-243-7409 or contacting any CCMH Foundation Board member.

The concert will feature Simon Estes performing familiar selections from Broadway, gospel, folk, spiritual and patriotic songs.  The concert will also include performances by the Atlantic, CAM & Griswold choirs.  The program will be followed by an informal meet and greet, where guests will have the opportunity to purchase CDs and books by Mr. Estes and have them personally signed by the artist.

On Monday, October 28, 2013, Mr. Estes will present an informal program to Cass County High School students, sharing his own unique story, the obstacles he overcame, and what qualities and characteristics are needed to become successful.

Lewis man arrested for interference w/official acts

News

October 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A Lewis man was arrested Saturday on a charge of Interference with Official Acts. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office says 47-year old Philip Reed Thompson was taken to the Cass County Jail where he pled guilty and was released the following day.