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Elevated Fire Danger across western IA today

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNTIES: SAC-CRAWFORD-CARROLL-GREENE-AUDUBON-GUTHRIE-DALLAS-CASS-
ADAIR-MADISON-ADAMS-UNION-TAYLOR-RINGGOLD-
611 AM CDT WED MAY 7 2014

ELEVATED FIRE DANGER EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON IN PORTIONS OF WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST IOWA.

WINDS ARE FORECAST TO INCREASE TODAY FROM THE SOUTH AND SHOULD BE SUSTAINED AT 15 TO 20 MPH BY THIS AFTERNOON WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 MPH. AS THE WINDS INCREASE…DRIER AIR IS EXPECTED TO EDGE INTO WESTERN PORTIONS OF THE STATE WITH RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES DROPPING BELOW 30 PERCENT DURING THE AFTERNOON.

THE COMBINATION OF THE WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES WILL LEAD TO AN ELEVATED FIRE
POTENTIAL THIS AFTERNOON UNTIL THE WINDS RELAX AND HUMIDITY VALUES CLIMB THIS EVENING. ANY OUTDOOR FIRES ACROSS THIS AREA WILL HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO SPREAD RAPIDLY THIS AFTERNOON AND BURNING IS DISCOURAGED.

Student drug and alcohol reduction/prevention discussions continue in Harlan

News

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Community School District’s Board of Education this week received an update on recently held meetings of the district’s Drug and Alcohol Committee. Superintendent Justin Wagner said fifteen community members gathered on five separate occasions to discuss the issue of drugs and alcohol within the school district. Wagner says the first thing the committee wanted was to create a mission statement.

“That mission statement was ‘to reduce or deter underage drinking and drug use in the Harlan Community School district,’ According to Wagner, who said “We really wanted to focus on the things we can control We felt we do a lot of good things right now. This started back at the survey we sent out to the staff, community and students and they said we would like to see you do more.”

Wagner said the committee discussed at length topics including extending extra curricular activities, mentoring programs, peer pressure, accountability for students, uniforms, parent accountability, attendance and drug testing. “Sometimes when you talk about drug testing, it’s really kind of a tricky conversation because I think there are some well intentions out there, “ Wagner said. He added “We have gotten a lot of support on the drug testing side of it. And it’s not because they want to play gotcha with kids. I think the community and folks want the kids to be safe. We want the kids to know we are saying drugs are not good for you… The way the law reads now, students have to agree to be drug tested. Some people agree or disagree but it boils down to if the student says no I don’t want to be drug tested, then it is unconstitutional and illegal.”

The Drug and Alcohol Community Committee decided on four recommendations: working with the Harlan Police Department on attendance if a child misses five days unexcused absences, extend extra curricular activities, establish a Drug and Alcohol informative class for Middle School students and continue to get information to the media and community regarding drugs and alcohol. No board action was necessary with the recommendations. Wagner said the recommendations are being implemented at this time and most of them will tie into the school district’s handbook for the upcoming school year in the fall.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Harlan Board of Ed approves 1:1 initiative upgrades

News

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Community School District’s Board of Education has approved several 1 to 1 initiative upgrades. During the Board’s meeting on Monday, Technology Director Lisa Swanson said that over a three year period, the school has had to replace about 60 percent of the bags each year due to the damage being done over the course of the school year. Currently, students are carrying their laptops in a messenger type bag with the one strap over the shoulder. However, Swanson said High school students take their bag with them everywhere and normally overstuff them with books and other materials which have caused the wear and tear.

Swanson recommended the board approve the purchase of new Airtech backpacks with a logo for all High School students totaling 550 bags at a cost of $33,000. The new backpacks will allow students to put everything from textbooks, papers and their laptop without causing damage. In addition, the backpacks have an air-pocket on the bottom to help protect the computer. The school district will also be replacing the current messenger bags for Middle School students with a more rugged carrying case. The total cost for the middle school replace bags was $16,800. Swanson said both bag purchases were under budget and planned for every year. The school board approved both recommendations as well as the purchase of 37 new laptops for teachers at a cost of $26,145.31 and 60 laptops for students for $28,901.40.

In other business, Superintendent Justin Wagner told the board about the upcoming, new Summer School Program for students. Wagner said with government funding, students can attend classes, eat breakfast and lunch for free before being released over the noon hour. The new program will be spread out throughout the summer months between High school, Middle School and Elementary students. High school students will begin classes on June 2nd through 22nd, Elementary from June 10th-18th and Middle School from the end of July to Early August. Parents will be getting more information regarding the summer school program from their child in the near future.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Iowa board tables $100,000 settlement with worker

News

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The State Appeal Board is delaying the approval of a proposed $100,000 settlement with a former Glenwood Resource Center employee who claimed she faced retaliation. The board tabled the state’s settlement Monday with Cecilia Carman, who alleged officials violated the Iowa Civil Rights Act when they failed to rehire her. Board members said they wanted more details before approving the payments for lost wages, emotional distress and legal fees for Carman.

The board’s executive secretary, Joe Barry, said Tuesday that members wanted more information about the details, including whether actions have been taken to prevent similar problems in the future. He says it is expected to be considered at the board’s June 2 meeting, if not earlier.

The settlement came as the case was scheduled for trial last month.

Bluffs man sentenced to 3 life terms for murder

News

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Council Bluffs man found guilty in connection with the July 2012 execution-style shootings of a reputed methamphetamine dealer and his two sons, will spend the rest of his life in prison. The Daily NonPareil reports District Judge Kimberly Miller Pankonin handed down the sentence Tuesday against Anthony “Pookie” Davis. The 35-year old Davis was sentenced in Douglas County District Court to three consecutive life terms for three counts of first-degree murder. He and co-defendant Timothy “Mont” Britt were found guilty pf shooting 44-year old Miguel Avalos, and his sons 18-year old Miguel Jr., and 16-year old Jose.

Judge Pankonin said Davis avoided a potential death sentence because the jury found no aggravating circumstances to the murders. Davis, who was also found guilty of three counts of using a weapon to commit a felony, declined to speak. His attorney, Kelly Steenbock, said only that she sincerely believed the shooting deaths were not intentional.

During the March trial, prosecutors said Davis and Britt planned to rob Avalos, but the robbery went horribly wrong, ending with the execution-style shootings of Avalos and his sons. The father was shot five times in the head. Davis and Britt each was charged with first-degree murder under the felony murder rule, which holds accomplices accountable if someone dies in the commission of a felony such as robbery.

At his April trial, Britt was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of using a weapon to commit a felony and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He will be sentenced May 29th.

Glenwood aquatic center/pool bond issue fails

News

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A proposed $4.75 million bond issue in Glenwood for the construction of an outdoor swimming pool and aquatic center failed to meet the required 60-percent margin of approval during a vote held Tuesday. The Daily NonPareil says project would have increased property taxes 1.5 percent.  Of the 970 votes, 465 voted against the facility, while 505 voters supported it. There are 3,320 registered voters in Glenwood. The bond issue needed a 60 percent supermajority in order to pass. Glenwood has been without an outdoor pool since the previous facility closed in 2005.

City Administrator Brian Kissel said the facility included lap lanes, a lazy river feature and a zero-depth entry. Plans for water slides, which were part of a project alternate estimated at $5.1 million, weren’t included.According to a survey, more than 90 percent of Glenwood residents said they would support a swimming pool and aquatic center to replace the former municipal pool. City officials held town meetings to answer questions about the project.

If the bond had passed, the next step would have been for the Glenwood City Council and the Glenwood Community School District Board of Education to vote and sign a shared-property agreement. City officials were looking at a local option sales tax fund to help operate the facility.

Polk County approves $125,000 for Korean War veterans’ honor flight

News

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Plans are in the works to send 130 Korean War veterans from Iowa to Washington, D.C. to see monuments built in their honor. The Polk County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday awarded a $125,000 community development grant to the Central and Western Iowa Honor Flight organization, led by Jeff Ballenger,of Council Bluffs. “We’ve been taking flights since 2007 and have taken roughly 2,300 mainly World War Two veterans (to Washington, D.C.) from central and western Iowa,” Ballenger said. The honor flight for Korean War vets is scheduled to take place on September 30, with a pre-flight dinner on September 29 at Veterans Memorial Auditorium (Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center) in Des Moines.

Ballenger has been on 12 honor flights and says the veterans greatly appreciate their time in the nation’s capital.  “I’ve actually been to some funerals of our World War Two veterans who’ve passed away and some of them have been buried in their shirts from the honor flight, so that’s what this program means,” Ballenger said.

The veterans who travel to Washington, D.C. on September 30 will visit Arlington Cemetery as well as memorials to the Korean War, Vietnam, and World War Two.

(Radio Iowa)

Turn off the electronics and enjoy each other

News

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Everyone has been asked to turn off the T-V, computer, apps and video games as part of “Screen-Free Week.” Sara Adelmann, spokeswoman for Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, says one study estimates that school-age children spend more time with screen media than in any other activity except sleeping. Adelmann says, “What we ask during Screen-Free Week is for children and adults to give up digital entertainment for seven days and to spend that extra time reading, playing, daydreaming, enjoying the outdoors and reconnecting with family and friends and participating in other offline fun.”

A recent survey found that just in the past two years, the time children spend on media devices has tripled. While visiting the organization’s website will demand the use of a computer screen, she’s hoping you’ll get some ideas at screen-free-dot-org and then switch off the computer. “We have a list of 101 activities that you can do screen-free, for example: write a story, read a book, write a letter, write to your favorite author, draw with chalk outside, make playdough, host a potluck,” Adelmann says. “There are a lot of activities you can do that don’t involve screens and most of them don’t cost a whole lot.”

Excessive screen time can be linked to poor school performance, childhood obesity, attention problems and poor sleep time, while it’s becoming more of an issue as tablets and smart phones become more common. Sometimes, though, it’s impossible to give up screentime. “What we ask during Screen-Free Week is that you give up digital entertainment,” Adelmann says. “We absolutely understand that people can’t give up screen use for work or homework. We’re really asking people to try to figure out ways to have fun and spend your extra time involved in offline activities.”

Two Iowa communities are taking a very active role this week, including Alleman in central Iowa and Muscatine in eastern Iowa. Events include an old-time fishing event, a mother-daughter spa day and a father-son dodgeball night, along with family activities at bowling alleys, batting cages and libraries.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., May 7th 2014

News

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

STANTON, Iowa (AP) — A human chain of more than 400 people in western Iowa has helped move books from an old library to a new one. People in the small community of Stanton lined the streets Tuesday to pass the books from the old library in the downtown area to a new community building. People moved about 3,000 books in about an hour and a half. The new library is expected to open this month.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A suspect in a homicide case in Chicago has been captured in central Iowa. The U.S. Marshals Services says the Southern Iowa Fugitive Task Force arrested 20-year-old Daryl D. Lee on Monday afternoon in Des Moines. The Chicago Police Department says Lee is a suspect in the January shooting death of 16-year-old Marquise Harris. Lee remains at the Polk County Jail awaiting extradition back to Chicago.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The editor of the Newton Daily News has been fired a week after he posted in a personal blog a message that said gay organizations are trying to reword the Bible “to make their sinful nature ‘right with God.’ ” Bob Eschliman had worked at the newspaper since June 2012. The 4,000-circulation newspaper delivered five days a week announced in a news story and an editorial in Tuesday’s edition that Eschliman was no longer its editor.

READLYN, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say the death of a man found dead inside a northeast Iowa home that was damaged by fire has been ruled an accident. The Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner says 64-year-old Richard Michael Elliot died Sunday at his residence in Readlyn (REED’-lihn). The cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning due to smoke inhalation.

Human chain links libraries in western Iowa

News

May 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

STANTON, Iowa (AP) — A human chain of more than 400 people in western Iowa has helped move books from an old library to a new one. People in the small community of Stanton lined the streets Tuesday to pass the books from the old library in the downtown area to a new community building.

The Omaha World-Herald reports people moved about 3,000 books in about an hour and a half. About another 3,000 books were moved prior to Tuesday’s event because they were either too big or too delicate for the human chain. Another 2,000 books will be transported a different way.

The new library is expected to open this month.