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Iowa superintendent resigns to save district money

News

March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COON RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A schools superintendent in west-central Iowa says he is resigning in an effort to save his district money. Rich Stoffers, superintendent for the Coon Rapids-Bayard Community School District, says he’s taken an early retirement package in order to save thousands of dollars for the district next year. He called the decision bittersweet.

The Daily Times Herald reports Stoffers says financial challenges have been mounting for the small district, which aims to cut about $400,000 from its general fund budget for the upcoming school year. Stoffers, who is also an elementary school principal, recommends that the district share the superintendent position with another administrator. School board president Joel Davis says he has contacted other superintendents about the option, but it’s too early in the process to comment further on it.

Official questions Council Bluff’s crime data

News

March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A county official in western Iowa is questioning how Council Bluffs police recorded inaccurate crime data in the past. The Council Bluffs Police Department recently announced that crime data for most of 2012 was reported at a higher rate because of a glitch in its records software. Authorities say the problem was resolved late last year.

Pottawattamie County Board member Loren Knauss says he has since reported the issue to state officials out of concern with funding that was issued based on the statistics. The Omaha World-Herald reports Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh questioned Knauss’ actions, since the inquiry may require authorities to return money. Knauss says he has a legal and ethical obligation to report the situation.

Groups object to addition in Iowa casino case

News

March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Multiple parties in a legal fight over casino gambling in Sioux City are objecting to a group’s bid to join a lawsuit. Warrior Entertainment LLC recently filed requests to intervene in a lawsuit by Penn National Gaming Co.

Penn is challenging the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission’s decision last year to award a casino license to the owners of the Hard Rock casino. Warrior Entertainment, a partnership involving Ho-Chunk Inc. and others, also lost a bid.

The Sioux City Journal reports the commission, the Hard Rock developer and Sioux City officials all object to Warrior Entertainment’s petition. The commission argued in a motion Monday that the group is trying to “piggyback” onto the lawsuit. Ho-Chunk President and CEO Lance Morgan says the group has an interest in the proceedings.

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., March 26th 2014

News

March 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lawmakers in the Iowa House have advanced a bill attempting to change the state’s law dealing with drunken drivers. The bill would allow offenders to begin driving more quickly if they install an ignition lock device, which requires drivers to show they haven’t had alcohol before their vehicle ignition will unlock.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An effort to toughen laws against sexual assaults in state military forces and to hold the Iowa National Guard accountable for such abuses has won the Iowa House’s support. The measure would ensure that victims are aware of their right to report assaults and require the Guard to comply with certain reporting standards. It would require the Iowa National Guard to file a report annually to the Legislature detailing sexual abuse allegations. It also would make it illegal for a commander to interfere in a victim’s reporting process.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A county official in western Iowa is questioning how Council Bluffs police recorded inaccurate crime data in the past. The Council Bluffs Police Department recently announced that crime data for most of 2012 was reported at a higher rate because of a glitch in its records software. Authorities say the problem was resolved late last year.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill that previously added pets to domestic abuse protective orders was amended by the Iowa House to also include property of emotional value. The legislation would give judges discretion to include property if a victim is emotionally attached to such items as well.

Now it’s a 4-way race for Cass County Recorder

News

March 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Another name has been thrown into the hat for the Cass County Recorder’s job. Auditor Dale Sunderman reports Delbert Thurman, a Republican from Atlantic, has filed nomination papers for the June 3rd Primary. Thurman, the only male candidate for the Recorder’s position, joins fellow Republican candidates Mary Ward, Jess Ehrman and Shelly Glynn, in the bid to become Recorder. Thurman filed his nomination papers today (Tuesday).

Students to Participate in Capitol Youth Day 2014

News

March 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

High school students from across Iowa will be at the State Capitol in Des Moines for Capitol Youth Day on March 26th and 27th.  Capitol Youth Day celebrates Democracy Day and provides high school students with a non-partisan overview of the importance of civic participation and the electoral process.

Among the students participating on Wednesday, are those from: Adair-Casey; Panorama; Fremont-Mills and East Sac County. On Thursday, students from: Coon Rapids-Bayard Junior High; Glidden-Ralston and Council Bluffs/Thomas Jefferson will be participating in the event.

Democracy Day was started in March of 2011 by Rock the Vote to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the 26th Amendment and a national effort to promote civic education in high schools.

During Capitol Youth Day, students will have the opportunity to meet with members of the state legislature and statewide elected officials; participate in an interactive election activity; tour the Capitol; and participate in a student rally. Capitol Youth Day is sponsored by the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council and the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office.  The Capitol Youth Day lunch is sponsored by Hy-Vee and Anderson Erickson Dairy.

Harlan arrest report

News

March 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Harlan report several people were arrested recently a variety of charges. On Sunday (March 23rd), 21-year old Taimon Wehr, of Harlan, was arrested on an OWI charge following a traffic stop. The previous day (March 22nd), 47-year old Jeffrey Rowland, of Harlan, was arrested following a brief pursuit and traffic stop. Rowland was charged with eluding and operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license.

On March 20th, 32-year old Devin Mahoney, of Harlan, was arrested on an assault charge, after officers were called to a disturbance in the 1300 block of Hawkeye Avenue. On March 17th, 22-year old Shawn Mosher, of Harlan, was arrested on Burglary in the 2nd degree, Public Intoxication and Possession of a Controlled Substance, charges. His arrest took place after police were called to an alleged attempted burglary at Cyclone Seed & Chemical.

And, on March 12th, 20-year old Cody Schwery, of Harlan, and 19-year old Austin Hess were arrested after officers were called to the 900 block of Farnam, to investigate suspicious persons. Schwery was charged with Public Intoxication and Interference with Official Acts, while Hess received a citation for being a person under the legal age in Possession of Alcohol. Hess was subsequently released.

Traffic stops lead to drug-related arrests in Harlan

News

March 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Police Department reports three people were recently arrested following separate traffic stops. Each of the individuals was facing drug-related charges. On March 20th, 18-year old Shantel Ayers, of Harlan, was arrested on a Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charge.  On March 17th, 18-year old Alexander McLaughlin, of Harlan, was arrested on Possession of a controlled substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charges, and on March 14th, 17-year old Kelsie Kleffman, of Harlan, was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Kleffman was cited for the alleged offense and released to the custody of her parent(s). Charges were subsequently filed with juvenile court.

In a separate incident, three Harlan teens: Elias Shaeffer, Wil Beach and Jacob Preister, were arrested March 14th after officers were called to the Harlan High School, following a report of students being in possession of prescription drugs. The teens were cited and released to their parents, with charges filed in Juvenile Court.

HCSD Senior wants to help kids in Afghanistan

News

March 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Harlan Community High School Senior is attempting to receive his Eagle Scout badge by sending supplies to kids in Afghanistan. Dallon Bendorf is collecting the donations of clothes, shoes, coats, blankets, toys and school supplies to send to needy children in Afghanistan. Bendorf’s aunt and uncle are currently deployed to Camp Phoenix in Kabul. Dallon  says the original idea was to send the troops care packages.

“I was thinking for my Eagle project I was going to send stuff over to my aunt and uncle. But I was talking to my aunt about what to send over and she said we get plenty of packages and almost too much. So I got to thinking what could I do to benefit someone that really needs it? I thought I could do some good by collecting these items and send over so that’s what I decided to do.”

Donation boxes have been established at the Harlan Hy-Vee store in the entryway along with a donation box at the Harlan Community High School and Primary School building. Bendorf’s Eagle project is for one week and the final shipment of supplies will be sent on March 31st.

Bendorf has partnered with Operation Outreach Afghanistan which is a group of individuals and service members who volunteer their time and resources to help the children in the country. You can find more information about the organization online at www.opoutreach.org or on Facebook searching “Operation Outreach Afghanistan.”

If you have questions on the Eagle Project or what to donate, contact the Bendorf family at 712-579-6586.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Harlan School Board approves FY 2015 budget

News

March 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Community District’s Board of Education has approved their Fiscal Year 2015 budget. In a meeting held Monday, Director of Finances Brian Gubbels gave the presentation during the public hearing. Superintendent Justin Wagner pointed out several positive takeaways from the projected budget. “The levy is going to drop from $11.74 to projected 11.59. The unspent authority is at $8.2 million which is the highest in the Hawkeye 10 and one of the highest in the state will drop. This budget is built to where it will tick down at a slow controlled rate. The allowable growth percent is set for next year at 4 percent which is good news. And then what we call miscellaneous things always go into the budget. We have eight early retirements. Sometimes we can hire folks for less money and sometimes we can’t. If there are cost savings, we have operational sharing dollars that are committed to us. That’s kind of the last take away from the miscellaneous moving targets.”

The district’s general fund levy rate will see a decrease in taxable valuation from $9.84 per $1,000 to $9.62 for Fiscal Year 2015. The Management Fund levy will increase 7 cents to $0.97 per $1,000 and the PPEL fund levy stays the same at $1.00 per $1,000. Gubbels told the board the district is not levying a cash reserve levy for Fiscal Year 2015, however at some point in the future, the district will have to levy cash reserves. In other business, the school board approved a tentative agreement with the Harlan Education Association or HEA for a total package increase of 4.26 percent.

This is a base salary increase of $1,150. The district will also pick up the health insurance increase of a little over 4 percent this year.” Wagner said getting the agreement done early shows the district takes care of their staff. “The real benefit to approving this is settling early which means we appreciate staff and settling slightly higher than the state average. It will be high 3’s or low 4’s. This will be a tick higher and shows we really appreciate people.”

(Joel McCall/KNOD)