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Atlantic School graduation rate down slightly; dropouts down too

News

April 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Education recently released its figures for graduation and drop-out rates for schools across the State. Atlantic School District Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein said at Monday night’s School Board meeting, Atlantic’s four-year graduation rate was down slightly from last year’s 89.12-percent to 87.40-percent this year. The five-year graduation rate is 89.13-percent, which is down slightly from 2012’s 90-percent.The drop-out rate continues to decline, however. Last year it was 1.54-percent, which Amstein said is below the statewide average.

Atlantic School Board members don new headsets designed to make it easier for persons attending the meetings to hear Board conversations better.

Atlantic School Board members don new headsets designed to make it easier for persons attending the meetings to hear Board conversations better.

This past year (2014), the dropout rate was 1.05-percent, which is also below the state average. Amstein said the district is doing well in preventing dropouts, but needs to work harder on the graduation rate. He said also, the Iowa Assessment data was received last week, but he didn’t have the numbers crunched to provide the board during their meeting Monday evening, but overall he says, “I think we did pretty well.

Atlantic he says, will start the 2015-16 School Year on August 24th, now that Governor Branstad signed the School Calendar Bill last week. And, the district will not have to make up three days missed due to snow earlier this year, prior to the end of the current school year. That’s because the district, which runs on an hourly calendar instead of a daily calendar, more than exceeded the State recommended 1,080 instructional hours of education. Atlantic has had 1,115.76 hours on the books so far this current year.  The district will continue with the hourly calendar in the coming school year, which will also exceed the state recommended hours. Staff members will continue to meet as required for those three days, however, but Amstein said there are plenty of activities planned for those persons.

And, the price for school lunches during the 2015-16 School Year will increase 10-cents across the board. When the year begins, High School lunch will run $2.60, Middle School and Schuler lunches will be $2.55, and lunch at Washington Elementary will cost $2.30. The increases were recommended by Food Service Director DeeAnnSchriener, as she strives to meet the State goal of $2.70 within the next three-years. The lunch prices for Atlantic have traditionally been lower than those of other schools in the Hawkeye 10 conference, according to Amstein.

In other business, the School Board approved a recommended 3.2-percent settlement with the District’s Certified Staff. The move will cost $306,000, and is based on the assumption the district will receive $252,000 (1.25%) in State Supplemental Aid for 2015-16.

Drug Arrest in Corning Monday

News

April 13th, 2015 by Chris Parks

A Corning man was arrested on drug charges after the execution of a search warrant by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office on Monday.  At 10:55am Sheriff’s Officials searched a residence at 720 Benton Avenue in Corning after they received a report of a man giving meth to a person under the age of 18.   27-year-old Clayton Nathaniel Parsons was arrested and charged with Conspiracy to Deliver Meth and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.  Officers discovered meth packaged up for resale during the search.  Parsons is being held on $25,300 bond.

Audubon Police report 4 arrests

News

April 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Audubon Police Chief Matt Starmer reports four recent arrests. Starmer said Monday, that 23 year old Cassandra Preston Burcham-Hoagland, of Audubon, was arrested Sunday for Disorderly Conduct. Burcham-Hoagland was released on promise to appear.

On Saturday, Audubon Police arrested 50 year old Mitchell Lee Thompson,
of Audubon. Thompson was arrested on warrants for Possession of Marijuana/3rd
offense, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. The warrants stemmed from an incident that took place in Audubon on April 6th. The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the arrest.

Last Friday, 21 year old Samantha Christine Schmidt, of Audubon, was arrested for Harassment. Schmidt was processed and released on promise to appear.

And on April 4th, 58 year old Phillip Alan Rustvold, of Audubon, was arrested for Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated. Rustvold was taken to the Audubon County Jail for processing and released.

Egg executives sentenced to 3 months for salmonella outbreak

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Two former egg industry executives have been sentenced to three months in jail for their roles in a major 2010 salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands. Austin “Jack” DeCoster and his son Peter were sentenced Monday on shipping adulterated food charges. They will remain free while appealing the sentence.

The DeCosters wanted to avoid jail, but U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett heeded prosecutors’ calls for a tough punishment because of the widespread harm the outbreak caused. Prosecutors also said the DeCosters knew their Iowa egg facilities were at risk for contamination.

Federal health officials linked 1,939 illnesses to the outbreak but estimate up to 56,000 people may have been sickened. The Quality Egg company paid a $6.8 million fine as part of a plea agreement, and the DeCosters paid $100,000 apiece.

NE woman receives probation in Cass Co. cattle theft case

News

April 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A woman from Nebraska was sentenced today (Monday) to a term of probation for her role in the 2014 thefts of cattle from two farms in Cass County. The Cass County Attorney’s office reports 42-year-old Amy Springer, of Omaha, pled guilty to the a felony charge of Theft in the 2nd degree. Because Springer had no previous record, she was given a deferred judgement and sentenced to two-year’s probation.Springer was released from the Cass County Jail late this (Monday) morning.

Springer, along with 57-year old Ervin J. Jacob, of Omaha, was charged in connection with the theft of cattle from Freund Brothers Farms near Lewis. The stolen cattle were unloaded to unsuspecting buyers at various Iowa and Nebraska sale barns.

Jacob faces charges that include Ongoing Criminal conduct and three counts of Theft in the 2nd Degree.  His Pre-trial conference is set for May 11th, with trial scheduled for May 27th.

A third person allegedly connected to the crime, 49-year old James Michael Brunzo, Jr., also of Omaha, was being held without bond in the Pottawattamie County Jail on charges of Theft in the 1st Degree and Burglary in the 3rd Degree.  Both men have entered pleas of Not Guilty to the charges.

Iowa officials search for person who dumped dead puppies

News

April 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIBLEY, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say they’re searching for the person who dumped a bag of dead puppies near a northwestern Iowa bridge. The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office says the bag was located near a bridge north of Sibley, Iowa on Northwest Boulevard. The sheriff’s office received a report of the puppies April 6.

The Sioux City Journal reports that the puppies have been described as medium or large breed dogs. Officials say they were seemingly left near the bridge sometime in the winter. The case remains under investigation.

Iowa man’s bank robbery case goes to federal grand jury

News

April 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The case of an Urbandale man accused of robbing a central Iowa bank at gunpoint has been sent to a federal grand jury.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa says 35-year-old Hussam Fayiz Abusharkh appeared in federal court Friday on a criminal complaint. He is accused of robbing the Farmers and Merchants State Bank in St. Charles on March 25, when Madison County deputies responded to reports of a man with a handgun ordering employees to fill a bag with money.

Abusharkh turned himself in to authorities Thursday on a state first-degree robbery charge. A judge ordered that Abusharkh remain detained pending the grand jury’s review of his case.

6 arrested after sex trafficking probe in Sioux Falls

News

April 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – Six people have been arrested after an investigation into sex trafficking in Sioux Falls. Attorney General Marty Jackley, Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead and Sioux Falls Police Chief Doug Barthel announced the arrests on Monday. Jackley says they resulted from a probe by the state Division of Criminal Investigation and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

The suspects are from South Dakota, Iowa and Guatemala. They include 29-year-old Scott Robert Larson and 25-year-old Benjamin Lyle Iverson of Sioux Falls; 27-year-old Nathanuel Walter Downs of Sioux City; 29-year-old Lance Eugene Hunter of Little Rock, IA; 35-year-old Andrew Richard Krogman of Doon, IA; and 26-year-old Jose Joaquin Oxlaj of Guatemala.

They all face a felony charge of solicitation of a minor that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. One suspect also is accused of assault on a police officer and could face another 25 years if convicted.

Plans continue in Atlantic, for “Produce in the Park”

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A planning meeting for “Produce in the Park” will be held this Thursday, April 16th, beginning at 4:30-p.m. in the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce’ meeting room. Anyone interested in being a vendor, assisting with activities or having questions is invited to attend. The market will open June 4th in the Atlantic City Park. The hours will be 4:30- to 6:30-p.m.Produce in the Park logo

Fresh produce, locally made baked goods and hand crafted items will high light the market. Entertainment, children’s activities, food demonstrations and tasting, and educational exhibits are being planned. Atlantic businesses are assisting with marketing.

Applications for vendors are now available. A vendor fee of $60 is charged for the entire season. For more information contact Emily Krengel, LaVon Eblen, Susan Retz or the Atlantic Chamber or Commerce.

Atlantic City Council to act on Ash Street Housing plans

News

April 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday, will act on accepting the site plans for the Ash Street Single-Family Housing Development Project. Boose Building Construction, L.C. has proposed the nearly $1.26-million dollar project, which would be constructed between 1405 and 1503 Ash Street. The City’s Planning and Zoning Commission approved the site plan during their meeting last week.

Boose is requesting a grant from the City in the amount of $80,000 in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to aid in making the project a reality. The first payment of $40,000 would be paid when public improvements (grading, street, water, sanitary and storm sewer) are installed. Construction of the first house is slated to begin this year, with two more houses next year, and three houses to follow. The second TIF payment of $40,000 would be paid when the third foundation is in place. Boose says the last two houses they completed in past two years sold before they were completed, which is indicative of the need for more, single family homes, according to the company.

In other business, the Atlantic City Council, Wednesday, will act on accepting the site plans for a 6,813-square foot addition to the Heritage House at 1200 Brookridge Circle. The plans were approved 5-1 during the P&Z Commission meeting, with the dissenting vote only having concerns dealing with storm water, but otherwise was strongly in support of the project. A representative of Wesley Life will be on-hand at the meeting to address any such concerns.

And, the Atlantic City Council will act on approving a Resolution approving the contract and bonds for the 2015 Street Improvement Project. Their meeting in the Council’s Chambers at City Hall, begins at 5:30-p.m., Wednesday.