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Senate debates money for Iowa schools

News

January 30th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Senate has passed three bills which would increase school budgets by tens of millions of dollars and provide about 55 million in property tax relief. One of the bills would increase general state taxpayer support of K-through-12 public schools by 240-dollars per student. Republicans like Senator Joni Ernst of Red Oak objected, saying lawmakers should pass education reform first, then decide how much money schools should get. “Let’s take time. Let’s not be premature,” she said. “Let’s not get the cart ahead of the horse.” Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, responded.

“I don’t, really, quite know what to say,” Quirmback said, just before yelling: “We’re violating the law by a year — and yet you still say we’re premature.” According to state law, the level of general state aid for schools is supposed to be set 18 months before the school year starts. Republican Governor Terry Branstad and Republicans in the legislature last year decided to skirt that law and Iowa schools don’t yet know how much state aid they’ll get for the school year that begins July 1st. Senator Mark Chelgren, a Republican from Chariton, says lawmakers need to focus on more than just the dollars.

“I want to give more money to schools than we did last year, but I want to make sure that they’re accountable for those dollars, that we have a good plan in place,” Chelgren said. “To simply put money there with no expectations that the school systems in Iowa will be improved is irresponsible.” Senator Rob Hogg (Hoh’g), a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, says Iowa’s per-student spending is about a thousand dollars below the national average, and the Democrats’ proposed four percent increase is a “modest” first step.

“If you want world class schools for all of the kids in Iowa, you’ve got to pay for it,” Hogg said. “We’ve got to quit doing this education on the cheap. It doesn’t work.” Democrats and Republicans in the senate also voted for another proposal that would take 55-million out of the state’s “Taxpayer Trust Fund” to ensure property taxes paid to schools don’t go up along with the increase in general state support. However, before a final vote on the measure, Republicans tried unsuccessfully to substitute their own plan to use the state budget surplus to give every Iowa adult who pays income taxes a 375-dollar tax credit.

(Radio Iowa)

Alliant Energy promotes Iowa Pipeline Association awareness training

News

January 30th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Interstate Power and Light Company (IPL), an Alliant Energy company, say the utility is participating in the Iowa Pipeline Association’s 2013 Pipeline Awareness and Education training offered at locations throughout the state. The training informs and instructs emergency responders and public officials about pipeline safety and prevention strategies. The Iowa Pipeline Association will conduct interactive scenarios allowing attendees to practice and apply their emergency response knowledge.

In addition to the scenarios, topics that will be covered include basic pipeline safety, leak recognition, hazard awareness/damage prevention, detailed incident response information, and much more. IPL encourage emergency responders and public officials to attend one of the upcoming sessions offered in your area. The event will begin with a free dinner at 6:00 p.m. with the program following at 6:30 p.m. There is no fee to participate, but attendees are asked to register online at www.iowapipelinesafety.com.

The Iowa Pipeline Association’s 2013 Pipeline Awareness and Education Meetings will be held on the following dates and cities in February : Feb. 12th, in Onawa;  Feb. 13th, in Audubon; Feb. 19th, in Council Bluffs, and Feb. 20th, in Corning .

6 communities named newest Blue Zones

News

January 30th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Six Iowa communities will become Blue Zones as part of a privately funded program designed to reduce obesity. Sioux City, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Muscatine, Oskalooska and Marion were named Blue Zone demonstration sites Wednesday. They join 19 other Iowa cities that are participating in the effort. Under the program, teams will work with the communities for two years to develop healthier food options and create effective public health policy.

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has donated $5 million toward the program each year since it started in 2011. Gov. Terry Branstad says the program is essential to reaching his goal to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation by 2016.

Domestic abuse arrest reported in Atlantic

News

January 30th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Atlantic Police Department report the arrest on Tuesday, of 35-year old Eric Ostrander, of Atlantic. Ostrander was taken into custody on a Cass County warrant charging him with Domestic Abuse Assault. Ostrander was booked into the Cass County Jail.

Nebraska man injured during Mills County crash

News

January 30th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A man from Nebraska was injured Monday, when the semi he was driving left Highway 59 and rolled onto its right side. The Mills County Sheriff’s Office says John McGuire, of Lincoln, NE, was driving a 2013 semi north on Highway 59 at around 1:40-a.m., when the vehicle popped out of gear. When McGuire looked down to shift gears, the semi drifted off the road onto the right shoulder and rolled over. The accident happened about eight-miles south of Emerson.

McGuire was transported by Emerson Rescue to the hospital in Red Oak.

Lenox man arrested on Meth charge in Mills County

News

January 30th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Mills County say a Taylor County man was arrested last Friday (Jan. 25th) on a drug charge, following a traffic stop. In their report issued today (Wednesday), authorities said 48-year old Joey Lane Moses, of Lenox, was arrested on Interstate 29 at around 10:45-p.m.  Moses was taken into custody for Operating a motor vehicle While under the Intoxicated (OWI), and Possession of a Controlled Substance/Methamphetamine. Moses posted a $2,000 bond Monday. His preliminary hearing on the charges is set for February 19th.

The following day, 22-year old Thomas Scott Ware, of Council Bluffs, was arrested on an OWI/2nd offense charge. He posted a $2,000 bond and is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 5th.    And, on Sunday, 44-year old Donald Raymond Livingstom, of Silver City, was arrested in Glenwood, on a charge of OWI/1st offense. His bond was set at $1,000.

Snowfall total across the State of Iowa (weather graphic)

News, Weather

January 30th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is a weather graphic displaying the general snowfall totals from across Iowa for the storm spanning Jan. 29th-30th, 2013:

Iowa DOT reaches out to truckers for Tweets about snowstorm

News, Weather

January 30th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

“Breaker-breaker-one-nine” was how truck drivers used to communicate on the citizen’s band radio, but technology has changed. The Iowa Department of Transportation is reaching out to truckers during this latest snowstorm, hoping they’ll send Tweets, pictures and video about the messes they’re encountering. Bob Younie is the D-O-T’s state maintenance engineer.  “We think it would be very useful for professional drivers and other motorists to let us know what they see,” Younie says. “We can’t be in every part of the system all the time, although we’re continually plowing snow. We think the use of social media will help us understand what people are seeing and experiencing.” The snowstorm that hit December 19th and 20th dropped nearly 14 inches of snow on parts of central Iowa. Younie says situations arose during that storm that were teachable moments where a quick note via Twitter or Facebook would have gone a long ways to helping overcome winter travel obstacles.

“People experience a condition that sometimes we don’t see, for example, a slow-down in traffic or people being unable to move or people being stranded,” Younie says. “We had some comments about that during the blizzard.  Those are the kinds of information that’s valuable to us. We want to know things we can take action on.” Today’s snowstorm is much less ferrocious than the late December blizzard, but parts of Iowa may still get six to eight inches of snow from this blast. Plus, the winds are whipping up the snow and causing white-out conditions in some areas.

Younie says, “There’s snow on the roads, snow’s blowing and people need to be concerned with their own personal safety by slowing down, giving a little extra space around them, and let’s just all travel safely.” The Iowa DOT is using the following hashtag — #iatraffic — during this event and recommends other Twitter users do the same to find relevant tweets using that key phrase. If you’re sending pictures or video, use the “geotag” function, so your location can be pinpointed. Keep up on conditions by calling 511 or visit “511ia.org”.

(Radio Iowa)

9AM Newscast 01-30-2013

News, Podcasts

January 30th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

(updated 9:22-a.m.) Bluffs woman dies in Adair County crash Tuesday

News

January 30th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

In an update to our story posted early this (Wednesday) morning on KJAN.com, the Iowa State Patrol says a Council Bluffs woman injured in an accident on Interstate 8o in Adair County Tuesday night, has succumbed to her injuries. Officials say41-year old Heather Ann Roberts, of Council Bluffs, died at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. Roberts was traveling west on I-80 at around 10:30-p.m., when her full-sized Chevy pickup went out of control.

The pickup crossed the median and entered the eastbound lanes of traffic, where it was hit on the passenger side by a 2006 Volvo semi.  Both vehicles then came to rest in the east ditch off of eastbound I-80. Roberts, who was wearing a seat belt, was transported to the hospital in Des Moines, by Stuart Rescue. The driver of the semi, 49-year old Michael P. Cole, of Oswego, IL., was not injured.