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Striking painters delays rebuilding of tornado damaged hospital in Creston

News

May 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The rebuilding of a hospital damaged by a tornado was delayed a bit this month by striking painters. Around 200 members with the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 246 went on strike at midnight on April 30. Union business manager Bob Gilmore says one of the facilities impacted by the strike is the Greater Regional Medical Center in Creston.”Unfortunately, one of the contractors that had the work is one of our employers,” Gilmore said. “When we’re withholding service from our employers, that means they don’t have people to paint and the project can get delayed.” 

Gilmore noted that union members who’d been working on the Creston hospital prior to the strike offered to volunteer their time and finish the job. The contractor and the union, however, agreed to pay a handful of painters while the others remain on strike. The union and its employers are scheduled to meet today (Wednesday) to negotiate new contract terms. “In our industry, this is one of the ways, unfortunately, that disagreements are resolved between the employers and the (union) members,” Gilmore said. 

The tornado that damaged the hospital in Creston on April 14 was categorized as an EF2 with wind speeds of 130 miles per hour. Six people were injured in the storm in Creston, one critically.

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)

Atlantic man arrested on drug charge

News

May 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports the arrest Tuesday, of 18-year old Michael W. Armstrong. Armstrong, of Atlantic, was taken into custody on a Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charge. He was being held in the Cass County Jail pending an appearance before the magistrate.

Cass Supervisors authorize purchase of new motor grader

News

May 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

After a lengthy period of discussion about weight, steering options and trade-in value (among other issues), the Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Wednesday) voted 3-to 2, in favor of purchasing a new Motor Grader for the Secondary Roads Department. The John Deere model 770-G grader will be purchased from Murphy Tractor out of Omaha, for $216,756.

John Deere Model 770-G (image from deere.com)

An older model grader currently in the County’s fleet, will be sold to Iron Planet for $86,500. 

A bid of $247,541 was received for a Caterpiller Model 12-M2 from Ziegler, and $229,950 for Scott Van Keppel, who offered a Volvo G-930-B. The difference in price ($30,785), wasn’t enough to sway Supervisors Waters and Rieken. Rieken said the Cat’s have served the County well, and seem to offer a better trade-in value. He was also in favor of buying that brand because the service would be local. 

Engineer Charles Marker said the County currently has one John Deere Motor Grader in the County’s fleet, and several Caterpiller models. He said they have eight motor graders which covers eight full-time districts, and one spare. There are two motor graders per shop.

8AM Newscast 05-09-2012

News, Podcasts

May 9th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Pilot who saved 184 in Sioux City crash dies at 69

News

May 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

ST. CHARLES, Ill. (AP) – The pilot who helped save 184 people during a plane crash in Sioux City, Iowa, has died at the age of 69. Dennis Fitch of St. Charles, IL, died Monday after suffering from brain cancer.  In July 1989, Fitch was a United pilot and flight instructor who happened to be a passenger on United Flight 232 when it lost all hydraulic power while flying from Denver to Chicago.  

 The DC-10 crash-landed, killing 111 people. Fitch and 184 others survived, due largely to his troubleshooting from the cockpit floor where he and the crew struggled to control the plunging jet.  United pilot Mike Hamilton says what happened that day has become “a case study in how a crew could work together in an emergency.”

Two Atlantic Seniors awarded Frederickson Scholarships

News

May 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic High School Class Night was held last week for graduating Seniors. Following recognition ceremonies, two of the 2012 graduating Seniors were asked to stay on the stage a little longer.

Barry and McNees receive their scholarship awards May 2nd

Taylor Barry and Ian McNees learned they were both being rewarded with this year’s Trevor Frederickson Memorial Fund Scholarships worth $750 each, and, they were notified $250 will be gifted in their names to each of their charities of choice.
 
A question on the scholarship application asked graduating Seniors, “If you could financially support any charity which would it be and why?” While Barry specifically noted Toys for Tots, Playground Builders was selected by the Fund on behalf of McNees’ wish to see playgrounds built in Iraq. Fund representative Melanie Petty said “The donations are something we added to our scholarship last year,” and “We’re hoping this encourages our recipients to continue to support the things that are meaningful to them.”
 
The Trevor Frederickson Memorial Fund has given back over $35,000 to the community using proceeds from the annual T-Fred Memorial Golf Tournament. This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, August 11, at Nishna Hills Golf Club in Atlantic. 

Parents express concern Atlantic may change ELO program at AMS

News

May 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Some parents and students who attended the Atlantic Board of Education’s meeting Tuesday night at the High School, expressed their concerns over the possible closure of the ELO (Extended Learning Opportunities) program, for advanced students, at the Middle School. Lydia Rothfusz and her son Aaron were among those who spoke. Rothfuz has three students in the school system, one each in the 2nd, 6th and 8th grades. She said it was her understanding the program will be disbanded this coming Fall, in favor of a more integrated approach to education, in which advanced students would be attending classes with remedial students who are at an average level. Rothfusz said she strongly opposes the change, because in the current program, advanced students are working together in a peer-group setting, with like abilities. She said those students are challenged as a group by their instructors and course material, and also by their peer group. 

She said the current setting gives those students the feeling they can excel based on their own ability level. Rothfusz said she’s concerned that those students who are currently “The cream of the crop” educationally, are going to feel like they need to “Dumb down their abilities,” in order to fit into a different classroom setting. She said if they’re not challenged, they’ll be more prone to “acting up,” because they’ll be bored and distracted.” She said she thinks it’s unreasonable to expect one teacher in a classroom of 15- to 25-students to teach to such a varied level of abilities, and educational opportunities. Her son Aaron, who would be affected by the change, if it’s approved, said the ELO program is designed to help kids excel, and putting everyone together in one setting would create more stress for teachers and students. Another student who is in the ELO program, said she didn’t feel she was being challenged as much as she should have been, prior to entering the program. She said since she’s been in the ELO program, she feels like she feels like she’s being challenged to do better than she was before. 

Board President Kristy Pellett said they will take the comments under advisement.

7AM Newscast 05-09-2012

News, Podcasts

May 9th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Iowa Senate rejects bill on election law exception

News

May 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Senate has rejected a bill that would have let results from an errant vote stand in the town of Adel.  The Des Moines Register reports that Adel voters approved the 1-cent local sales tax in August 2010. But then officials learned the election was improperly conducted. Iowa law says that unless a town has at least 50 percent of a county’s population, then the vote must include other areas of the county, even though it would apply only to a specific jurisdiction.  City officials say that even if the vote had been taken countywide, the measure would have passed.  City leaders asked the Legislature to approve a legislative exception so the Adel vote could stand.  The House approved the bill. On Tuesday the Senate didn’t.

Education reform package clears legislature, headed to governor’s desk

News

May 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An education reform plan has cleared the legislature. Crafters of the compromise suggest the bill’s focus on literacy in the early elementary grades is the hallmark of the package. Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, was the senate’s lead negotiator. “Under the bill we will annually be assessing the reading proficiency of kindergarteners, first graders, second graders and third graders, so that if any kid is falling behind in reading proficiency, we will find out about that as soon as possible,” Quirmbach says. Republican Governor Terry Branstad recommended that all third graders who cannot read at grade level be required to repeat the grade. Legislators have voted instead to give parents two options if their child completes third grade, but cannot read at a third grade level.

“Either the child goes through an intensive summer reading program that summer after third grade or they repeat third grade,” Quirmbach says. “The parent must make that decision.” The threat of having poor readers repeating third grade won’t kick in until the 2016/2017 school year, however. Representative Royd Chambers, a Republican from Sheldon, was the lead negotiator for the House. “It’s not as strong of a reform bill as I would like, but this is what we could come up with,” Chambers says. “But I still believe it’s a very substantive bill.” The bill limits enrollment in the two Iowa school districts that are conducting all classes on the Internet and calls for a study of such on-line academies. It means CAM Schools in Anita and Clayton Ridge in Guttenberg will have no more than nine-hundred students. Representative Mary Mascher, a Democrat from Iowa City, says it gives state policymakers time to review how on-line academies are working, or having difficulties, in other states.

“I am glad we’re putting some limits on on-line learning,” Mascher says. “I was extremely concerned about opening this up in a way that would have allowed many, many students to participate without have the quality control in place.” Legislators also decided against having all 11th graders take the A-C-T and rejected the governor’s call to require all college students seeking a teaching degree maintain a three-point grade average. Republican-led efforts to end the “last hired, first fired” aspect of schoolhouse layoffs were unsuccessful. Governor Branstad has said he wants the 2013 Iowa legislature to tackle teacher pay issues and consider other education reform ideas.

(O. Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)