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7AM Newscast 01-24-2014

News, Podcasts

January 24th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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Arrest in Red Oak, Thursday

News

January 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Red Oak man was arrested late Thursday night. According to Red Oak Police, 23-year old Devin Alexander Davis was taken into custody at the intersection of west Valley and north Broadway Streets at around 11:35-p.m.  Davis was wanted on a Pottawattamie County warrant for Failure to Appear on a Driving While Revoked charge. He was brought to the Montgomery County Jail and held on $2,000 cash bond.

IRS has early tax filing for some

News

January 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Internal Revenue Service has opened up tax filing early for some individuals. I-R-S spokesman Christopher Miller says those who qualify for free filing can get a jump on the process. “If you make 58-thousand dollars or less, you can sit at your computer and use brand name tax software and get your taxes done early with free file,” Miller explains. Miller says all you have to do is go online at I-R-S-dot-gov (www.irs.gov) to begin the process. “It’s a great program for first-time filers, students, families wanting to save money — even seniors — because it is so fast easy and free,” Miller says. He says they believe not everyone who is eligible is taking advantage of the free filing option.

“Last year in Iowa, around 26-thousand people used free file out of some one-point-four million filers,” according to Miller. “So, a a lot of people used free file in Iowa last year — but a lot more could.” Other filers have to wait until January 31st to send in their returns, but qualified free filers can now do it anytime. “As long as you have your W-2 in hand from your job, you can be in your pajamas and get your taxes done right now. All you need is an internet connection at a computer,” Miller says. Miller says the returns from the free filers will be entered into the system now and will be the first ones processed once that step begins after January 31st.

(Radio Iowa)

Boosting state funding for voluntary preschool an issue in legislature

News

January 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Senate Democrats intend to push for more state spending on preschool programs, but Republicans are expressing concerns about the idea. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says far too many Iowa four-year-olds are not enrolled in preschool. “Some district describe this as they have a waiting list,” Gronstal says. “It’s not a waiting list, it’s an exclusion list because the next year you’re five.” And you start kindergarten. Senate President Pam Jochum, a Democrat from Dubuque, says there are “thousands” of four-year-olds who aren’t in preschool today, but would be if there was an opening in the state-funded programs run by Iowa school districts.

“It has proven itself to be an incredibly successful program in closing that achievement gap, especially among children who are right now living in families that are having a very difficult time just meeting their basic needs,” Jochum said. The legislature’s top Republicans says he “does not anticipate” agreeing to spend more taxpayer dollars on preschool. In 2007, during Democratic Governor Chet Culver’s term in office, the state began sending Iowa public schools the money to finance voluntary preschool programs.

When Republican Governor Terry Branstad took over in 2011, he tried to turn it into a voucher program just for low-income preschool parents, but Democrats objected. Democrats would ultimately like to have mandatory preschool for all four-year-olds. House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, a Republican from Hiawatha, says it’s not an issue Republicans are considering. “To the best of my knowledge, they’re the only ones talking about it,” Paulsen says. “…Nobody’s approached me on it.”

Under current law, state-funded preschool programs are to offer a minimum of 10-hours of instruction per week. Officials estimate about two-thirds of the four-year-olds in Iowa are enrolled in state-funded preschool programs.

(Radio Iowa)

Partisan fight, again, over state funding for schools

News

January 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

It appears there’s another statehouse stand-off ahead over state funding for public schools. Iowa law requires the legislature to set the level of general state aid for each school year about 18 months before classes start. But House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, a Republican from Hiawatha, says Republicans won’t take that vote in 2014. “The expectation would be in 2015 we’ll address it for the ’15/’16 school year and the ’16/’17 school year,” Paulsen says. Republicans passed a two-year state budget plan last year and Paulsen says that’s their intention in 2015.

Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says within two weeks Democrats in the Senate will pass a bill outlining their state spending pledge to schools for the 2015/2016 school year.”We believe it’s important to obey state law,” Gronstal says. Republicans want to repeal the law that requires the state funding decision for schools to be made a year and a half in advance. And Paulsen — the top Republican in the legislature — says there’s another reason Republicans will reject the Democrats’ proposal on school aid.

“Because their proposal actually increases property tax,” Paulsen says. Since the 1970s, the traditional way of calculating general state aid for schools has allowed school districts to collect more local property taxes if state aid increased. Republicans want to make a different calculation, one that would forbid an increase in local property taxes if state support goes up.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa News Headlines: Fri. Jan. 24th 2014

News

January 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

WASHINGTON (AP) — New rules set to be approved by Republican leaders would allow Iowa and New Hampshire to retain their coveted spots atop the presidential primary calendar. South Carolina and Nevada would also secure top spots, as they have in the past, as part of a larger plan that would significantly shorten the GOP’s 2016 presidential selection process. Today’s vote comes as the Republican National Committee works to create an easier path to the White House for its next nominee, roughly a year before campaigning begins in earnest. New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada will vote in February 2016 under the new schedule.

WAUKEE, Iowa (AP) — Officials with the Waukee School District say they planned to begin school late due to subzero temperatures but had to cancel classes in part because many district buses wouldn’t start. KCCI-TV reports the central Iowa district initially was going to start late but then had to cancel school after 17 of its buses wouldn’t start because of the intense cold. Des Moines schools also closed yesterday, but a district spokesman says that was due to student safety, not because of bus problems.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Police say a Des Moines man is recovering at a local hospital after he slipped on ice and accidentally stabbed himself in the chest. KCCI TV reports William Harrison was listed in serious condition at Iowa Methodist Medical Center yesterday morning.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A used car dealership in eastern Iowa has been ordered to refund fees that officials say were improperly collected from customers. Attorney General Tom Miller said in a news release yesterday Urbana Motors Incorporated was accused of collecting improper fees, sidestepping legal protections for consumers behind on payments and not disclosing some costs. They have 90 days to contact affected customers.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — Fire officials say they haven’t determined the cause of an early morning fire that damaged a Mason City bowling alley. The Globe Gazette reported yesterday that the fire department was still investigating the fire, which was reported at The Rose Bowl just after 3 a.m. Wednesday.

CCHS offers health career scholarship

News

January 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The CEO of the Cass County Health System says CCHS  is providing a $1000 health career scholarship again this year.  According to Todd Hudspeth, the award is available for a student studying to become a healthcare professional.  Applicants must be accepted to or currently enrolled in a health career educational program leading to at least a bachelor’s degree.  Applications are available at area high school guidance offices, the human resources office at Cass County Memorial Hospital and on the hospital’s website, www.casshealth.org.

Hudspeth says the scholarship “Is an opportunity for us to give something back to the people of southwest Iowa. “We welcome the opportunity to encourage students from this area in their educational endeavors.”

Applications for the scholarship are due April 1, 2014.  For further information, contact Sara Nelson, CCMH Public Relations Director, at 712-243-7408.

Atlantic School Board to act on $19.9-million bond referendum matters Monday

News

January 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Community School District’s Board of Education will hold a work session Monday evening (Jan. 27th) in the High School Media Center, with regard to the issuance of $19.959-million dollars in bonds for Capital Improvement Projects. The Board will first receive petitions from the Atlantic School Improvement Committee (ASIC), asking for a Bond Referendum, before acting on passing a Resolution setting the date for a Special Election on the issuance of the bonds. The election will likely be held on April 1st. Earlier this week, members of ASIC the Atlantic School Board and others, sat down with members of the local media to answer previously submitted questions with regard to the Bond Election. That information will be forthcoming after the Board makes its decision Monday night on approving the special election.

During the Board’s meeting in December, they chose from two concepts to deal with increased enrollment and what they feel would offer the best opportunities for education. The first would have cost a little more than $8-million. Instead, they chose the second, more costly option, based upon a recommendation from Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein, who said the proposal was based on input from faculty, staff, the administrators, school board discussions, and input from the community.

Among other things, the bonds, if approved, would allow for the construction of: Four new classrooms on the northeast side of the Washington Elementary School, which will provide space for the two Pre-school classes currently in place at the Old Lincoln School building, as well as space for the Special Education classroom; The addition of a new Middle School building (for grades 7 and 8) next to the High School; The construction of eight new classrooms on the west side wings of the High School, and  the expansion and renovation of the Industrial Technology and Agricultural Education Lab; Replacement of 18-year old heat pumps at the high school; Reconfiguration of the Schuler and Middle School buildings, but no new construction other than a possible renovation of the Level 3 Severe and Profound classroom at Schuler or the current Middle School. The Old Lincoln building would house the Cass County Educational Opportunity Center (CCEOC), which was previously housed at that facility.

Other action items during Monday night’s Atlantic School Board Work Session include approval of personnel recommendations, and payment for the Spanish Trip. Discussion items during the work session include: Talks with Design Alliance Architect Jerry Purdy, with regard to the New Junior High Drawings and Model;The Fiscal Year 2015 Budget. and Board Long-term goals.

The meeting begins at 7:30-p.m., Monday.

New CCHS CEO’s 1st week on the job

News

January 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Cass County Health System is spending his first week on the job. Todd Hudspeth began his duties on Monday, January 20th. He was hired to succeed the retiring Pat Markham, whose last day on the job was last Friday. In a Press Release, Hudspeth said “I am thrilled to be selected as the next CEO of CCHS. Pat and her leadership team have done a tremendous job creating an excellent health system and I am excited to work with the board, leadership and the entire hospital team to continue to make CCHS a great place for patients, employees and physicians.”

Todd and Jessica Hudspeth

Todd and Jessica Hudspeth

Ned Brown, Chairman of the CCMH Board of Trustees, said Hudspeth brings over 15 years of success as a CEO in critical access hospitals. He added “We are confident that his expertise and leadership are just what we need to guide our health system through the many challenges facing the healthcare industry today and in the years to come.”  Brown noted there were over 100 applicants for the position.

Hudspeth most recently served as the President and CEO of Jamestown Regional Medical Center, a 25-bed regional hospital in Jamestown, ND.  Prior to Jamestown, he was CEO at Buena Vista Regional Medical Center in Storm Lake, Iowa.  He has also served as CEO at Guthrie County Hospital in Guthrie Center.  Hudspeth recently relocated to Atlantic.

His wife, Jessica, and two of their five sons will move to Atlantic at the end of the school year.  The boys will be in 6th and 4th grades next fall.

Lawmakers working on tougher kidnapping penalties

News

January 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa lawmakers are seeking to enact tougher kidnapping penalties following the kidnapping and killing of a teenage girl last year. The Des Moines Register reports a House subcommittee on Thursday granted preliminary approval to a bill that would increase the punishment for kidnapping if the victim is 15 or younger.

The legislation raises the sentence for such crimes to 25 years and blocks those convicted of certain crimes from the ability to reduce a sentence. The legislation responds to the death of 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard, who is believed to have been killed by registered sex offender Michael Klunder. Klunder’s 41-year prison term was cut in half under Iowa law, which shaves sentences by an additional 1.2 days for every day served. He killed himself after the incident.