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Atlantic School Board to meet this evening (Tuesday)

News

January 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Community School District’s Board of Education will meet tonight in a regular session at the high school. During their 7:30-p.m. session in the Media Center, the Board will hear from the following: Joanne Sandage, on Talented and Gifted (TAG) Program; Russell Peck, with a Maintenance and Operations Update; Jerry Purdy from Design Alliance, on the Middle School Renovation Project; and, Roger Warne, with an update on the district’s Technology Plan. In other business, the Atlantic School Board will act on approving: certain Contracts/Letters of Assignment and/or resignations; the second reading of a policies pertaining to the use of video cameras on school premises, a school transportation regulation, and Wellness; a fiber optic line installation proposal, and, a Guidance Counselor Evaluation form.

Discussion items on the agenda for this evening include those pertaining to a site for the Hospital School relocation, the Fiscal Year 2013 budget, and a Cass County Assessor’s Board representative.

USDA says it will close 259 offices to save $150M

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will close 259 domestic offices, labs and other facilities as part of an effort to save $150 million per year in its $145 billion budget. The plan announced Monday will affect the agency’s Washington headquarters and operations in 46 states. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says in a statement that his agency must “be better stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars.” He says many of the offices being closed have few employees and are near other offices. It was not clear from the USDA announcement whether employees would be laid off or moved to other offices. The USDA has a broad array of programs, ranging from emergency aid for farms to grants for rural development and the program commonly known as food stamps.

IA Governor Branstad gives “Condition of State” address today

News

January 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Republican Terry Branstad will deliver the 2012 “Condition of the State” message today (Tuesday), an annual tradition for Iowa governors. Branstad is in year two of his fifth term as governor and this will be his 17th “Condition of the State” address. “Seventeen is the number,” Branstad says. “It’s a lucky a number. It’s also my wedding anniversary number. It’s also the day that I was drafted into the Army, so consider 17 to be a very lucky number and I’m excited about it.” Branstad was drafted on September 17th, 1969. He was married on June 17th, 1972 — the same day as the Watergate break-in. Branstad has used “Condition of the State” speeches in the past to unveil new proposals, like a change to the state’s income tax system — which his fellow Republicans ultimately rejected. Branstad says he doesn’t plan to release any “surprise” proposals during his speech today.

Branstad doesn’t intend to speak for much longer than half an hour either. “I’m not going to try to cover the whole waterfront,” Branstad says. “I’m really going to focus on jobs and education.” Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal says the state must do more to recruit, develop and support great teachers. “The simple truth is that one of the best things the Iowa legislature can do to help create jobs in this state is to increase student achievement,” Gronstal says. “I look forward to working with Governor Branstad, with members of the Iowa House and with Iowa’s parents and educators to keep improving Iowa schools.”

Senate President Jack Kibbie, a Democrat from Emmetsburg, says any education reform package should address the shortage of skilled workers in Iowa. “In the Farm Crisis of the ’80s, Iowa lost population because there were no jobs for the unemployed,” Kibbie says. “a substantial investment in job training and re-training and the best way to do that is through our community college system.” House Republican Leader Linda Upmeyer says for too long, legislators simply resorted to giving more money to schools. “Businesses large and small have warned us that in order for them to grow, they need a well-educated and highly-skilled workforce,” Upmeyer says. “…This session we will take a comprehensive look on how we can be more effective in educating our children.”

Last year’s “Condition of the State” message was given by out-going Governor Chet Culver, as Governor Branstad was not yet sworn into office for his fifth term. Branstad did deliver a budget address to legislators at the end of January and surprised them with his call to increase the state tax on casinos, a proposal which legislators rejected.

(O. Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)

Kids Count survey shows drops in economic categories

News

January 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The latest “Iowa Kids Count” survey shows a distinct impact from the economy on the well-being of kids in the state. Iowa Kids County director, Michael Crawford, says the survey looks at 20 categories to determine how well families are faring. The latest survey covers 2010, and provides a comparison over the decade going back to 2000. “The 2010 Iowa Kids Count data book shows that the economic situation for families — particularly low and moderate income families — has shown little improvement over the last few years. Economic indicators such as unemployment, food assistance and child poverty all have continued to increase the past few years, with substantial increases since 2000,” Crawford says. “There is evidence that some improvement did take place in 2011, but we won’t know the final numbers until later this year.”

Among the economic factors in the report released today (Tuesday), it shows that unemployment increased by just over 137-percent in the last decade, food assistance eligibility has increased almost 168-percent, free or reduced-price lunch eligibility in schools has increased over 39-percent and child poverty has increased by 44-point-five-percent. Crawford says there are positive signs in the data for health and education. “Teen births have decreased, as has a majority of the child mortality indicators. Educationally, high school graduation and grade level test scores have shown modest increases,” Crawford says. Child deaths were down 38-percent in the last decade, infant mortality dropped 23-percent, teen births were down over 16-percent. On the education front, the high school graduation rate was up seven-tenths of a percent in the decade, eight grade math proficiency was up almost seven percent and fourth grade reading proficiency was up two-point-seven percent.

Crawford says the economic factors that have hit Iowa kids in the last decade are part of the national trend. “We are in the same boat as everybody else, we’re trying to create jobs for individuals, put people who’re unemployed back to work and I think that’s obviously the biggest goal of legislators and policymakers this year,” according to Crawford. While Iowa has seen some drops in the numbers of the last 10 years, Crawford says Iowa ranks in the top 10 when it comes to a comparison with other states in the national Kids Count data book. But, he says a high national ranking is not a reason to stop trying to improve. “As I say, I like to compare Iowa to Iowa, where we were 10 years ago and where we are now and improve on what we need to improve on,” Crawford says. The state’s unemployment rate has gone down recently and Crawford says that is one factor that is positive and there may be others as the data is put together for 2011.

The survey is made available through the Child and Family Policy Center and you can see the complete report at: www.cfpciowa.org.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)

Fatal accident in Ringgold County

News

January 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A southern Iowa man was killed Saturday during a crash in southwest Iowa’s Ringgold County. The Iowa State Patrol says 55-year old Larry Jackson, of Lamoni, died when pickup he was driving went out of control, entered a ditch and rolled over before coming to rest on the driver’s side. The accident happened southwest of Mount Ayr at around 3-a.m. Saturday, as Jackson was traveling north on Ringgold County Road J-45, just south of 240th Street. Officials say Jackson, who was not wearing a seatbelt, died at the scene.

Shenandoah man arrested following rollover accident Sunday

News

January 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Page County Sheriff’s Office reports a Shenandoah man was cited for Failure to Maintain Control, and arrested for OWI/1st Offense, following a rollover accident early Sunday morning about half-way between Clarinda and Shenandoah. Sheriff Lyle Palmer says 37-year old Jason Howard Dickerson was being held in the Page County Jail. Dickerson was arrested after deputies were dispatched to the scene of the accident on Highway 2, near J Avenue, about 7-miles west of Clarinda, or 8-miles east of Shenandoah. When they arrived on the scene, officials found Dickerson’s 1997 Ford Explorer in the ditch near the vehicle, and Dickerson nearby.

After an investigation, it was determined that Dickerson had been travelling west on HWY 2 when he lost control of the SUV, which entered the south ditch,  and rolled onto its top.

Additional details on Cass County accident, and recent arrests

News

January 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Additional details were released this (Monday) afternoon concerning a rollover accident we first told you about Sunday night, here in KJAN. The accident happened Sunday afternoon, just south of Interstate 80, in Cass County.  The Cass County Sheriff’s Office says a 2002 Saturn owned and driven by 35-year old Donathon Eugene Ebrecht, of Adair, was traveling north on 690th Street at around 3:50-p.m., Sunday, when the car entered a ditch and rolled over. The Sheriff’s Office say a passenger in the car was transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic, by Anita Rescue. Ebrecht was cited for failure to maintain control, and for having no insurance. The incident remains under investigation. Damage to the car was estimated at $2,500.

The Sheriff’s Office said also, 26-year old Derek Allen McDermott, of Atlantic, was arrested last week on a charge of Possession with the Intent to Deliver/Methamphetamine. McDermott taken into custody last Thursday, and was seen by the magistrate on Friday, He is currently being held in the Cass County Jail on $10,000 bond. McDemott had been in the Cass County Jail since October 11, 2011, when he was arrested and charged with Possession of More than 5 Grams of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession With Intent to Deliver Scheduled Substance (2 counts), Possession with Intent to Deliver (2 counts), and Failure to Affix Drug Tax Stamp (2 counts). His bond on all charges was set at $136,325. His trial on the earlier charges is set to take place February 21st.

Last Wednesday, Cass County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 52-year old Diane Lucille Borkowski,  of Atlantic,  on a charge of OWI 1st Offense. Borkowski was cited into magistrate’s court the following day.

 

Iowa, Neb., awarded Missouri River repair funds

News

January 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Federal Highway Administration has begun reimbursing Iowa and Nebraska for repairs made to highways damaged by last summer’s Missouri River flooding. The funds from the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program were announced Monday. Iowa will receive $37.4 million and Nebraska will receive about $4.6 million. Iowa Department of Transportation spokeswoman Dena Gray-Fisher says the funds reimburse Iowa for repairs made to Interstate 29, Interstate 680 and Iowa Highway 2. In Nebraska, transportation spokeswoman Mary Jo Oie (Oy) says the funds appear to be a partial payment for repairs made to state and federal roads, including U.S. Highway 75 along the Missouri River and U.S. 30 along the Platte River. The funds are part of nearly $1.6 billion awarded nationally to repair roads damaged by natural disasters last year.

Lewis Fire Station Dedication Ceremony to be held Tuesday

News

January 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A dedication ceremony for the new Fire Station in Lewis will be held tomorrow (Tuesday), beginning at 10-a.m., with former Governor Chet Culver in attendance. Lewis Fire Chief Terry Erickson says the new building was made possible in-part, due to a grant from the State of Iowa in the amount of  $280,950, and local fundraising efforts, which began in July 2001. He says the new building will give them much more room, faster response time because there because each vehicle will have its own exit from the building, a meeting and training rooms, and kitchen. The new building measures 130-by 50-feet, which is much larger than the old building, which was only 40-by 60-feet, with three overhead doors.

Erickson says there are 14 members of the Lewis Fire Department, including seven Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s), which were incorporated into the department in 1993. He says while the new building is a great addition to the Lewis Fire Department, donations are always welcomed to purchase needed extra and/or replacement equipment, and finishing inside construction on the building. Erickson says any donations are greatly appreciated. They’ll be used for finishing the kitchen area, meeting room, rest room, and utility room. Part of the fundraising efforts for those projects include the sale of Memorial bricks.

Erickson says a memorial wall will be dedicated to donors’ loved ones or family members, and there are three levels of donations: $100 buys a 4-by 8-inch brick, $200 buys an 8-inch square brick, and a $500 donation will result in a 12-inch square brick being dedicated on the wall. Anyone can purchase a brick. Contact any Lewis Firefighter for details or to purchase a memorial brick. A good time to do that, if you are so inclined, according to Erickson, would be at Tuesday’s Fire Station dedication ceremony, during which refreshments will be served. The fire station – a big red building with 5 overhead doors – is located on Main Street, in Lewis.

NE man run over by vehicle in Fremont County

News

January 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A southeast Nebraska man suffered non-life threatening injuries after being run over by a vehicle Saturday evening, in Fremont County. According to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, 30-year old William E. Snyder, of Auburn, NE, was transported to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha by LifeNet helicopter, following the accident which occurred at around 8:20-p.m., Saturday, in Sidney. Snyder was treated for his injuries and released from the facility. Officials say they received a 9-1-1 call about a car-versus-pedestrian accident at the intersection of Illinois and Clay Streets in Sidney. Upon arrival, the first responders determined Snyder had been run over by a vehicle being driven by 31-year old Kimberly Dyke, also of Auburn, NE. No charges have been filed, but the incident remains under investigation by the Sidney Police Department.