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Branstad says schools need to economize

News

July 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad says school administrators who’re complaining about the level of state support for schools should NOT resort to raising local property taxes, but should make the kind of budget choices he’s made. “We in state government have cut the number of state employed by 1500 and are using our resources in a more efficient manner,” Branstad says. Branstad says he’s not calling for teachers to be laid off, however.

“We’re just saying that they need to look at ways they can be more efficient,” Branstad says. “…I would also point out the cost of fuel has gone down, so they need to look at everything that helps economize and make that be more efficient in delivering services.” Branstad took final action on the state budget plan earlier this month, approving a roughly four percent increase in state spending overall. Iowa’s K-through-12 public schools are getting a one-and-a-quarter percent increase in general state aid. Branstad says schools are also getting 100-million dollars for a teacher leadership plan that will pay some teachers more to be mentors and give schools money to hire more teachers in targeted areas.

“It’s not like the old days, you just throw money at it and that didn’t get us the results we wanted,” Branstad says. “Now we’re trying to specifically target our resources.” The state’s education community has been complaining about Branstad’s early July veto of nearly 56 million dollars in ADDITIONAL state support that legislators had approved for schools. Lawmakers specified the extra money was to be used for one-time expenses and many school administrators say they had planned to buy next textbooks, but Branstad says that would have been a misuse of any bonus money.

“Textbooks and materials have to be used every year, so they’re an ongoing expense,” Branstad says. “And what I don’t want schools to do it to make committments based on a false promise that’s not going to be sustained.” Branstad warns the state may be heading into a recession due to “substantial losses” in farm income and state tax revenues may fall. Branstad says that “economic reality” is the main reason he vetoed the extra 56 million for schools. Republican and Democratic lawmakers say the budget plan they sent Branstad was already pared down below the state spending level Branstad had recommended.

(Radio Iowa)

Anhydrous leak at West Central Co-Op in Atlantic

News

July 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

(3-p.m. News)

Atlantic Fire and Rescue, Atlantic Police and the Cass County Sheriff’s Department responded this (Monday) afternoon to an anhydrous ammonia leak at West Central Cooperative.

(Photo courtesy Cass County EMA Director Mike Kennon)

(Photo courtesy Cass County EMA Director Mike Kennon)

The call from 60511 Glacier Road came in at around 1:23-p.m. Second Assistant Fire Chief Tim Cappel said there was an obvious plume of anhydrous showing when they arrived.

Cappel said they noticed one of the nurse tanks was leaking due to a blown seal on a pressure gauge. With the help of West Central employees, another tank was hooked up and the gas transferred. There were no injuries.

Atlantic Police and Sheriff’s Deputies made sure the gas was not drifting toward town. Brisk winds helped to dissipate the fumes. If there had been no dispersion of the fumes Cappel said it could have been a much different situation for people in the area, because of the danger posed by the substance.

He said it can make you quit breathing and burns your lungs, which is why firefighters wore their SCBA’s [Self Contained Breathing Apparatus], and had their turnout gear taped shut to prevent inhaling the gas. Firefighters wrapped up their activities at the scene by around 2:40-p.m.

2 arrested for assault in Glenwood

News

July 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Glenwood Police Department reports two people were arrested on Domestic Abuse Assault charges, Sunday. 20-year old Jessica Harvey and 52-year old Mark Harvey, both of Glenwood, were taken into custody and held without bond in the Mills County Jail, pending an appearance before the magistrate.

Atlantic Ambassadors visit Berg Electric new location

News

July 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Area Ambassadors celebrated Berg Electric’s new location at 60620 Gary Road with a ribbon cutting.

Ambassadors Pictured: Jamie Arnold, Desiree Hoye, Megan Roberts, Nedra Perry, Lana Westphalen, Connie Wailes, Dr. Jim Kickland, Pat McCurdy, Diane Gipple , Doreen Ellsbury, Debbie Leisted, Kathie Sweeney, Arlene Drennan, Bill Saluk, Darrell Hockenberry, Lucas Mosier, Dr. Keith Leonard, Carole Schuler, JoAnn Runyan, Dan Mehmen, Tammy Waters, Julie May, Sara Nelson, Dan Rossell, Ed Leisted, Gerald Brink and  Dolly Bergmann.   Front Room: Ouida Wymer, Amanda Berg, Belle Berg, Zane Berg, Nathan Berg, Nick Moore, Jason Mullin, Jeff Green and Mark Jacobsen, Mayor Dave Jones

Ambassadors Pictured: Jamie Arnold, Desiree Hoye, Megan Roberts, Nedra Perry, Lana Westphalen, Connie Wailes, Dr. Jim Kickland, Pat McCurdy, Diane Gipple , Doreen Ellsbury, Debbie Leisted, Kathie Sweeney, Arlene Drennan, Bill Saluk, Darrell Hockenberry, Lucas Mosier, Dr. Keith Leonard, Carole Schuler, JoAnn Runyan, Dan Mehmen, Tammy Waters, Julie May, Sara Nelson, Dan Rossell, Ed Leisted, Gerald Brink and Dolly Bergmann. Front Room: Ouida Wymer, Amanda Berg, Belle Berg, Zane Berg, Nathan Berg, Nick Moore, Jason Mullin, Jeff Green and Mark Jacobsen, Mayor Dave Jones

Nathan Berg, master electrician, has 15 years of experience and started Berg Electric three years ago. Berg Electric covers electrical work ranging from new construction, to remodeling, residential, commercial, agricultural, repair work, underground electrical trenching, electric motor repair and control work, trenching, grain bins and troubleshooting.

Owner Nathan Berg said “We have recently expanded our team to help better serve our customers and to take on bigger jobs.” Electric holds office hours Monday- Friday 8 am – 4 pm, with an on-call phone to handle emergencies 24-7.

Lawsuit filed against Branstad over mental health centers

News

July 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

(Updated 1:45-p.m.)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The head of Iowa’s largest public employees union and 20 lawmakers have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Terry Branstad over the closings of two mental health centers.

Danny Homan, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, announced Monday that he and lawmakers filed the lawsuit in Polk County District Court. The suit names Branstad and Charles Palmer, the director of the state Department of Human Services.

The lawsuit claims the closings this year of facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant were illegal because Iowa law requires the state to operate them.Branstad’s spokesman Jimmy Centers says Homan is resistant to change. He reiterated that the centers were not suited to offer modern mental health care. A DHS spokeswoman says the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

 

Survivor group wants bishops to seek out victims of priest identified as an abuser

News

July 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

An Iowa spokesman for a group that helps survivors of abused by priests says a Catholic priest who was publicly identified in Minnesota as a “credibly accused” child molester also worked in three Iowa towns. Father Paul Kabat worked in Milo from 1995 to 1998, Council Bluffs from 1992 to 1995 and Logan from 1985 to 1992. Steve Thiesen, of Hudson, is the Iowa director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or SNAP.

Thiesen says they would now like the bishops in the parishes to reach out to each of the parishes in Iowa where Kabat was stationed to see if there are other people who were abused. “And have any of them come forward, report it to law enforcement, it’s up to the victim if they want to report it to the diocese,” Thiesen says.

He says the bishops need to work with any victims and “get that victim healed.” Thiesen says the Catholic bishops have agreed to do this. “The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops all agreed to be transparent and to follow the child abuse policies. And not only the diocesan priests, but the religious men and women, the nuns, they need to do the same thing,” Thiesen says. “They need to come out and let people where members of their communities have sexually abuse teens, kids or vulnerable adults, and let these people get a chance to heal and to seek justice.” to seek justice.”

He says there is another step the church can take to help the victims of priest abuse.
“The bishops and the religious men and women need to back and ask for what we call a window. That allows anybody if the statute of limitations has passed — allow a window, say two or three years — for those folks to come forward to be able to file a civil suit…or a criminal charge,” Thiesen says.

The release of information about Kabat was part of a Minnesota lawsuit settlement that also contained information on six other predator priests.

(Radio Iowa)

Data shows increase in binge drinking among most Iowa women

News

July 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An analysis of county data shows that the rates of binge drinking among most Iowa women have increased faster than those of men between 2002 and 2012. The Des Moines Register reports that prevention specialists say the shift has occurred amid an increasingly normalized drinking culture, where the beer tent is the mainstay of town celebrations.

According to the analysis released this spring of Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data, the largest increase in binge drinking rates in Iowa was in Dickinson County. The county saw a 50 percent increase among females in binge drinking. More than 1 in 4 women in the county were binge drinkers in 2012.

Branstad says special legislative session will not happen

News

July 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad says a Democratic effort to hold a special legislative session to override his budget vetoes will not succeed. Democratic leaders in the Iowa Senate announced Monday that they were formally reaching out to members to see if they will support a special session. Branstad vetoed several key budget compromises, including nearly $56 million in one-time funding for education.

But Branstad said Monday that lawmakers will not be able to get the necessary support from two-thirds of members for such a session. He said Republicans would not want to come back for a fight on education funding. Branstad said he was exercising fiscal restraint and that the state was making other education investments. He also said schools will have to look at ways to be more efficient.

Hot muggy day ahead, multiple heat advisories/warnings issued

News, Weather

July 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

This is expected to be Iowa’s hottest day of the year so far.

Counties in orange are included in a Heat Advisory, while those in purple are in an Excessive Heat Warning.

Counties in orange are included in a Heat Advisory, while those in purple are in an Excessive Heat Warning.

Forecasters have posted a Heat Advisory for most of Iowa’s southern half in addition to an Excessive Heat Warning for 11 counties in south-central Iowa. Those are in place from noon through 7 o’clock tonight (Monday). Meteorologist Mindy Beerends, at the National Weather Service, says if you thought Sunday was hot and muggy, today will be even worse.

“We have those heat advisories and excessive heat warnings out,” Beerends says. “We’re expecting heat index values to be around 105 to 110 in the advisory areas and they could be in excess of 110 degrees this afternoon into the early evening in the area under the excessive heat warning, primarily in south-central Iowa.” For Iowans who will be doing work outdoors today, she has some recommendations.

“Take frequent breaks and try to get into the shade or air conditioning throughout the break,” Beerends says. “Try to stay hydrated. Wear light, loose clothing to combat the heat as best you can. If you feel the heat is starting to affect you, take the proper precautions and seek medical attention.”

While Sioux City had the state’s hot spot on Sunday with 94 degrees, Beerends was asked what parts of Iowa will be the hottest today. “At this point in time, it looks like it could be down in southwestern Iowa,” Beerends says. “They’re looking at highs around 98 degrees with other portions of southern Iowa maybe reaching 93 to 97.” Most of Iowa won’t be seeing much of a break from the hot, muggy weather for at least several days.

“We’ll continue to see warmer conditions into the rest of the week,” Beerends says. “We still have 90 degrees forecast across the southern half of Iowa into Tuesday. The dew points will drop a little bit so those heat indices could drop somewhat, but still remain sticky throughout the rest of the week.”

Many Iowa communities are opening emergency cooling centers today in places like shopping malls, churches and libraries for people who don’t have air conditioners.

(Radio Iowa)

Massena City Council to meet this evening (7/13)

News

July 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The City Council in Massena will hold a regular session this (Monday) evening, at City Hall. Prior to the start of the 7-p.m. meeting: a Veteran’s Park meeting will be held (at 5:45-p.m.); followed by a Revitalization Workshop (at 6-p.m.); a Nuisance Hearing (Re: Jeanette Schroeder) at 6:15-p.m; a Public Hearing at 6:30-p.m., with regard to the Sale of City Property; a Public Hearing at 6:45-p.m. with regard to the Urban Renewal Plan Amendment, and a review of the bills to be paid.

At 7-p.m., during the regular session, the Massena City Council will act on: A Resolution of Necessity; A Resolution approving an Urban Renewal Plan Amendment for the Massena Urban Renewal Area; A Resolution authorizing an internal advance of funds for an Urban Renewal Project, and other matters. The evening will conclude with reports from various City department heads and the Mayor.