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Gronstal comments on Davenport superintendent’s stand

News

March 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Senate’s Democratic leader says he doesn’t “condone” but does sympathize with the decision an eastern Iowa superintendent has made. Davenport superintendent Art Tate announced this week that rather than cut staff, he will dip deeper into the district’s reserve funds and use more money than allowed by law to make up for a short-fall in state support. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal, of Council Bluffs, commented on the situation Thursday during his weekly news conference.

“I don’t condone lawbreaking, either by local superintendents or by House Republicans with the aid of Governor Branstad,” Gronstal said. “Here’s what Iowans need to know about this situation: this is simply the highest profile example of many discouraging events across our state.” A statement issued by the Iowa Department of Education indicated the superintendent could be charged with a misdemeanor and could lose his job if he follows through on his plan.

Tate argues the long-standing formula for distributing state aid to schools needs to be rewritten, to fix the advantage districts in more affluent areas have over districts like his. Tate has said he’s following the example of Republicans in the legislature who have failed to follow existing state law which requires school funding decisions to be made far in advance. Republicans balked at following the law and did not vote last year to set the amount of general state aid that should be forwarded to districts for the school year that begins in August.

Gronstal says there were NO meetings this week in the statehouse on the school funding subject and it’s time for Iowans to pester Republicans to make a decision. “We need to show school boards like the Davenport School Board and to show students like the Davenport students that the State of Iowa will stop eroding our reputation for great schools,” Gronstal said Thursday. Republicans have proposed a one-and-a-quarter percent increase in general state aid to district for the school year that begins this fall. Democrats propose a four percent increase. That’s a gulf of about 100-million dollars between the two parties.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa Senate OKs bill to let fantasy sports players win

News, Sports

March 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Senate has passed a bill that would allow a person in Iowa to win money in fantasy sports contests. The Senate voted 32-16 to approve the bill Thursday. It now heads to the House, where lawmakers are considering a similar bill. Current law allows people in Iowa to participate in fantasy sports contests, but they can’t win prizes. This bill would allow winnings.

Fantasy sports contests typically let participants build teams online that compete against other user-generated teams. A similar bill failed in the Senate last year. Democratic Sen. Jeff Danielson, chairman of the state government committee, says the bill would align with laws in over 40 other states.

Some lawmakers expressed concern about the out-of-state companies running fantasy sports contests and the amount of money they may collect.

Ames woman named 1st female staff officer in Guard unit

News

March 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A woman from Ames has been promoted to become the first woman in a management position for the Iowa Army National Guard’s unit in Council Bluffs. The Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil reports) Lt. Alishia Bauman was promoted to captain last month, making her the first female primary staff officer in the history of the Council Bluffs unit. Bauman began training earlier this week at Camp Dodge, north of Des Moines.

Maj. James Avrams, the officer in charge of the Council Bluffs armory, says Bauman proved she’s capable of taking on the new role throughout her seven years in the Guard. He says having Bauman in a managerial role “brings a different perspective to an army infantry battalion.” Bauman says the promotion has been both a thrill and an honor.

3 arrested on drug charges in Cass County

News

March 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office says an Atlantic man was arrested last weekend, on drug charges. In their report issued today (Thursday), officials said deputies arrested 50-year old Brian Keith Cable, Saturday, on Sheriff’s Office warrants for Possession with Intent to Deliver, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Cable was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was released later that day on $5000 bond.
On Wednesday (March 11th), deputies in Cass County arrested 23-year old Carly Jean Seddon, of Atlantic,  on charges of OWI 1st Offense and Possession of Marijuana. Seddon was taken to the Cass County Jail where she was released later that day on her own recognizance. Also on Wednesday, 46-year old Carl Daniel Wiechmann,  of Griswold, was on charges of Domestic Abuse Assault 2nd Offense and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Wiechmann was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was released the following day on his own recognizance.And last Friday, March 6th, 37-year old Robert Lee Atkinson, of Adair, was arrested in Cass County, on a charge of Driving While Barred. Atkinson was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was released later that day on $2000 bond.

Glenwood woman arrested for assault

News

March 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police in Glenwood report 35-year old Kerri Thomas, of Glenwood was arrested Wednesday on an Assault charge. Thomas was being held in the Mills County Jail on $300 bond.

Southwest IA couple disappears with their foster care son

News

March 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in southwest and western Iowa are searching for a couple from Prescott, who allegedly abducted their 14-year old son on Tuesday, from a foster care facility, in Council Bluffs.

Carolyn Cook

Carolyn Cook

James Strohman

James Strohman

According to WOI-TV in Ames, 47-year-old Carolyn Cook and 55-year-old James Strohman went to visit Cook’s 14-year-old son Dakota, who was living at Children’s Square USA, a foster care unit in Council Bluffs. Dakota had been removed from Cook’s care by the DHS.

Cook also had her 14-year-old daughter Cheyenne with them during the visit, who still lives with her mother. Cook and Strohman were allowed to visit Dakota at 7:15-a.m., Tuesday, and was supposed to return him by 8:30-a.m., but they never returned.

Cheyenne

Cheyenne

Dakota

Dakota

Authorities in Adams and Pottawattamie County are looking at surveillance video from Children’s Square USA, Walmart and gas stations because they’re unsure what model and color of car the couple is driving. Officials also have not identified a license plate number.

Both law enforcement agencies are asking the public to be watchful for the couple and the teens. While they don’t believe the teens are in danger, but are concerned, because they claim the couple isn’t fit to care for them.

Clarinda Police Make Drug Arrest

News

March 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A Page County man was arrested early this (Thursday) morning, on drug and alcohol charges. According to Clarinda Police Chief Keith Brothers, 43-year old Mark Andrew Devine, of College Springs, was taken into custody at around 1:50-a.m., a traffic stop in the 1100 block of South 16th Street, in Clarinda. Devine was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance/Marijuana, and OWI/drugged or alcohol related.

He was booked into the Page County Jail and held on $1,000 bond, pending an appearance before a Page County Magistrate.

Urgent: Shelby County Fire Danger EXTREME until further notice

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency/911 is asking all Fire Departments in the County to immediately place the Fire Danger Rating Boards in the EXTREME category. The Increase in Fire Danger is due to No expected precipitation in next four days, large volume of dead plant material, low humidity’s, increased temperature’s, predicted gusting winds to 29MPH, and limited field access due to thawing conditions.Extreme Fire Danger

Fire Behavior predictions in these conditions are as follows: fire spread between 7 to 10 MPH, with flame lengths approximately 30’ in length at the front of the fire. Fires that start in these conditions can easily overtake and trap you. Firefighters are at a high risk also due to traction issues off road.

Shelby County Ordinance NO. 2012-1 Local Burning Ban Ordinance allows citations to be issued during these conditions. A violation of this ordinance is punishable by a minimum fine of $100 for an individual or $500 for an organization, not to exceed $1000. The violator may also be liable for additional reasonable restitution.

Cass County Residents Urged to Use Caution When Burning

News

March 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Emergency Management, local fire departments and law enforcement are urging all citizens to use caution when burning outdoors. A combination of warm temperatures, low humidity and breezy conditions has created a high fire hazard potential for Cass County. Crop residue, grasses and brush may also provide plenty of fuel for widespread fires.Cass County EMA logo

Anyone conducting a controlled burn is encouraged to report that burn to the Cass County Communications Center at 712-243-2204 and their local fire chief. Reporting controlled burns helps avoid dispatching fire departments and law enforcement unnecessarily. False calls are an inconvenience for volunteer responders and puts personnel and equipment at risk.

Public Hearing Monday night on ACSD’s 2015-16 Certified Budget

News

March 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A public hearing will be held Monday night (March 16th) in Atlantic, with regard to the proposed 2015-16 Certified Budget for the Atlantic Community School District. The District’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget, which amounts to $6,512,112, is $226,089 more than last year’s (FY2015) budget (of $6,286,023). The school district’s levy will increase from $14.91-per thousand dollars valuation in FY2015 to $15.22-per thousand, for FY 2016.

During the hearing, which begins at 7:30-p.m. in the High School Media Center, the School Board will allow patrons of the district to speak briefly for or against the budget. Later on in the meeting, the Board will take action on approving the FY 2016 budget, along with: the first readings of a couple of Board Polices; the 2015-16 Fee Schedule; and Summer 2015 Capital Projects.

In other business, the Atlantic School Board will act on approving Volunteer Coaches, any resignations to come before them, and ratifying the Non-Certified Employees’ 2015-16 Tentative Agreement.

Prior to adjourning for the evening, the Board will hold a closed session to perform an informal evaluation of Superintendent, Dr. Michael Amstein.