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Dept of ed releases State of Education report

News

December 22nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Education released its “Annual Condition of Education” report Wednesday, detailing a wide range of information from student population to test results for the 2010-2011 school year. The report says statewide enrollment has declined by 29-percent since peaking at 711-thousand in the 1972-73 school year. But the chief of the department’s Bureau of Information and Analysis Services, Jay Pennington, says the report also stays with projections that show a turnaround in enrollment. “We’re seeing increased birth rates which ultimately is the supply that hits the education system at some point, so based on those birth records, we project out that we will see a slight increase in enrollment,” Pennington says. The increase is projected at two-point-four percent, and Pennington says it will follow the trends seen in recent Census data.

He says there are increases in the Des Moines metro area and the Iowa City corridor area, mainly the urban areas surrounding the larger cities. The number of school districts dropped last year by two.
Pennington says the last school year saw 359 school districts. “What’s not actually in the report is this current academic year, and there were eight consolidations between the two years, so currently in this academic year, there’s only 351,” Pennington explained. The report says the average salary paid to teachers was 49-thousand-626, up slightly in 2010-11 from the year before. The average age of full-time teachers was 42. You can see much more of the data in the report on the Iowa Department of Education’s website at:educateiowa.gov.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)

Departing Atlantic City Council Members recognized

News

December 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Mayor Dave Jones, Wednesday, read proclamations recognizing two City Council members who will not be returning to City Hall in January as servants to the community.

Councilperson Pat Simmons receives a plaque for her years of service to the Atlantic City Council from Mayor Dave Jones.

First up was 3rd Ward Councilperson Pat Simmons, who Jones said served on the Council from 1992-to 2000, and from 2004 until the end of this year, or a total of 16-years. Jones says she has also attended over 384 meetings of the City Council plus numerous committee meetings as a Council liaison various boards and committees. He said her considerable experience along with her “quiet nature” demonstrated the importance of good listening skills and emphasis, of using a few chosen words to make a point. Simmons jokingly said afterward, she was “Going to miss all those midnight phone calls,” from persons in her Ward.

 

Jones also recognized 1st Ward Councilman Kern Miller, who  served on the City Council since 1999, for a total over 12-years. Miller has attended over 300 meetings of the Council, as well as numerous Council committee meetings, also as a liaison to various boards and committees. The proclamation honoring Miller mentioned his ability to make sure the Council served the citizens of Atlantic as watchdogs for their tax dollars, and made light of his ability to draw attention to the Council proceedings when they were televised on the local cable access channel. He said Miller is “Independent in questioning the nature of, and challenging, the status quo part of fellow council members.” The proclamation said he “Often provided an alternative vision that sparked lively debate, and enriched the positive difficulties that undoubtedly increased the Channel 18 viewing audience.

Councilman Kern Miller receives his plaque from the Mayor.

Afterward, Miller expressed his appreciation to the residents in his Ward for allowing him to serve. Simmons and Miller received a plaque for their years of service. In January, newly sworn-in Councilpersons Ashley Hayes and Chris Jimmerson will take Simmons’ and Millers’ seats, respectively.

 

Alliant electricity bills expected to increase

News

December 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Electricity bills for Alliant Energy customers will increase in February as the utility passes along higher rates it’s paying to a transmission provider. Utility spokesman Scott Drzycimski says the increase in the transmission rates will result in about a one-quarter percent increase to a customer’s overall bill. That amounts to about a $1 a month increase for residential customers. Drzycimski says the increase could be partly offset by falling costs for natural gas to generate electricity.

CAM School Board to hold special meeting Friday

News

December 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The CAM Community School District’s Board of Education will hold a special meeting Friday, December 23rd, at 11-a.m.  The Board will discuss and act on a request for a waiver exemption from the Department of Education.

Superintendent Steve Pelzer said because the administration is not sure if a vocational program offered through “Connections Education” online would satisfy the accreditation requirements of the State, they are requesting a waiver for the January 1st deadline which precedes the school year for which a waiver would be requested, which in this case, would be the 2012-2013 calendar year.

Friday’s meeting will take place in the Media Center at the CAM High School, in Anita, beginning at 11-a.m.

Hunters take fewer deer during 2011 shotgun seasons

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Compared to recent years, fewer deer were taken in Iowa during the recently completed shotgun deer seasons. Dale Garner is the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ wildlife bureau chief. He says hunters harvested just under 69,000 deer, down about 9% from last year and nearly 30% compared to 2006. The DNR has been working to reduce Iowa’s deer population in recent years. Garner said it’s probably frustrating for many hunters. “But, it’s also a good thing for land owners, farmers and motorists because as the (deer) population drops, hopefully traffic accidents and damage to crops goes down as well,” Garner said. Some hunters are concerned the herd reduction efforts have gone too far. Garner said his advice to those hunters is to work with the landowner to see if the deer population is at a desirable level and adjust the local doe harvest accordingly. The DNR will make a recommendation on what direction to take with the deer population next spring.
Antlerless and muzzleloader hunting seasons are scheduled for January. Reductions in the harvest were proposed this year, but were not adopted.

(Radio Iowa)

Former Denison Fire Chief Charged with Misconduct and Theft

News

December 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Public Safety said today (Wednesday) a complaint was filed in Crawford County charging 41-year old Michael McKinnon with Theft in the First Degree, a Class C Felony, and Felonious Misconduct in Office, a Class D Felony.  McKinnon, is a former Chief of the Denison Fire Department. The criminal charges are the result of a lengthy investigation conducted by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the State Auditor’s Office.  McKinnon is scheduled for an initial appearance on Friday, December 30, 2011 in Crawford County.  The Iowa Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case.

McKinnon served as Chief of the Denison Fire Department from January 18, 1999 to January 3, 2010.  He left his employment as fire chief amid questionable purchases made by him and questionable payments made to him for training and equipment.  It was then that the DCI was contacted to conduct an investigation. McKinnon currently resides in the state of New Mexico.

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To view the Criminal Complaint filed against McKinnon, click on the following link:

Criminal Complaint

Oakland & Greenfield women named to Live Healthy Iowa “Dream Team”

News

December 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Two southwest Iowa women are among 10 people selected to be on the Live Healthy Iowa (LHI) “Dream Team.” The team was formed with the hopes of gaining an inside perspective into the 100 Day Wellness Challenge. The Dream Team was chosen through an application process. Live Healthy Iowa will track the Dream Team’s journey, from their highs and lows, to their successes, struggles and pitfalls, and everything in between.  Among those chosen for the Live Healthy Iowa Dream Team, was Natalie Karas of Oakland, and Sandy Booker, of Greenfield.  To follow the Dream Team through their journey, like LHI’s Facebook page and follow LHI on Twitter. 

LHI Officials say with an overwhelming amount of applications received, it was difficult to narrow the field to just one team. And, another opportunity has been sent to applicants who weren’t chosen, in hopes that they can continue participating in the 100 Day Wellness Challenge with other applicants who weren’t chosen.  

Live Healthy Iowa, formerly Lighten Up Iowa, was created in 2001 by the Iowa Sports Foundation as a strategic health initiative to address the state’s growing obesity problem. Live Healthy Iowa brings together friends, families, businesses and communities in team-based wellness challenges designed to promote positive lifestyle change. In 2011, more than 152,000 adult and youth Iowans took part in a Live Healthy Iowa program.

To find out more information about the 100 Day Wellness Challenge, visit www.livehealthyiowa.org.

Shenandoah man arrested on warrant

News

December 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department reports a Shenandoah man was arrested early this (Wednesday) morning, on a warrant for Probation Violation. 20-year old Shilo Romick was taken into custody by Shenandoah Police at around 3:20-a.m.. Romick was being held in the Montgomery County Jail, pending a court appearance.

No action on Indigent burial policy in Cass County….yet

News

December 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors will have to wait until next week to approve revisions to the County’s Indigent Burial Policy. The Supervisors today (Wednesday) were set to approve recommend changes set in a final draft of the policy, but discussion revolving around the burial of an indigent persons’ cremains resulted in additional revisions to the policy. County General Relief Coordinator Teresa Kanning and VA Director Mitch Holmes were on hand for the discussion, as were two area funeral home directors. Prior to tweaking the policy for final approval during the Board’s meeting next week in Atlantic, Kanning read the policy as currently written.

It says the County will pay up to $2,000 for a burial or $1,500 for a cremation, which includes the mandatory Medical Examiner’s fee. In addition, up to $550 will be provided for the opening and closing of grave. A revision to the policy was made with regard to the disposition of cremains, whereby a maximum of $200 will be allowed for the burial or other disposition of the cremains, if the family chooses to go that route. 

Work on revising the policy has taken place over the past several weeks. A review of the final policy will be conducted at the end of 2012, to determine if changes need to be made for the years 2013 and beyond.

Cass Co. Salavation Army Bell Ringing efforts tops last year

News

December 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Co-chair of the Cass County Salvation Army’s Bell Ringing campaign announced today (Wednesday), that donations so far this year have exceeded last year by more than $1,000. Teresa Kanning told the Board of Supervisors during her report this morning, that the campaign has raised $7,813, and there are still a couple of more days to go before the campaign concludes for the year.

Last year’s campaign raised $5,300. Kanning, and Campaign Chair Duane McFadden remind you there are still opportunities for you to volunteer a couple of hours to help raise funds, by ringing the bell at the Atlantic Hy-Vee, Fareway and Wal-Mart stores. To sign-up for a shift, please call Duane McFadden at 712-249-0939. Saturday will be your last chance to ring the bell, and help the local chapter of the Salvation Army. The funds raised by the campaign stay in Cass County. 

Over the course of past year, the funds were made available for such programs as “Shop with a Cop,” providing gift cards to local schools to assist students in meeting various needs, assisting stranded motorists and transient individuals,  fans for distribution by West Central Community Action Center, and, back packs to be distributed by the administrative staff.

This year the Cass County Salvation Army unit also partnered with the Parents as Teachers Program, to purchase car seats for the program’s use.