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State awards money for apprenticeship programs in construction trades

News

January 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Workforce Development has begun handing out some six million dollars from a federal grant to get more people into the apprentice programs in the construction industry. I-W-D spokesperson, Kerry Koonce, says they hope to address a skills gap in what employers are looking for and the skills potential workers possess. “The construction industry has an exceptional need right now for some of the millions of dollars of projects that are going on right now across the state,” Koonce says. She says it can be tough for businesses to take on employees for the positions.

“Registered apprenticeship training is of course one that is usually paid for by the employer. It’s a great benefit for the individual, they get their training and they earn while they learn, but it’s a cost that the employers bare,” Koonce explains. “This will help expand those training programs, allow more individuals to be trained, and the training costs will be paid for by the grant.” It can be expensive to bring new employees up to speed. Koonce says it varies by program, but it usually costs three to four thousand dollars for each worker. The are preparing to send out funds to groups which met the application guidelines.

“We saw proposals come in that were funded from the Associated Builders and Contractors of Iowa — which the represent small construction businesses across the state — Southeastern Community College Center for Business and the Southeast Iowa Electrical Apprenticeship, and also the Iowa Energy Construction Trades, which is 19 affiliate members of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council. So, those are the ones that received the funding,” Koonce says. Koonce says it shouldn’t take long to get the new people in the programs.

“Most of them are ready to go, a lot of them will be beginning here just in February and then throughout the next few months,” Koonce says. ” The grant is dedicated to training 15-hundred new individuals — so these are individuals who are not currently in any apprenticeship program — into a variety of different construction-based careers.” Koonce says they are working on additional components of the grant program that I-W-D will announce in the coming weeks.

(Radio Iowa)

City official in Lenox arrested early Saturday morning

News

January 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police in Lenox arrested a local official on assault charges, early Saturday morning. According to authorities, Lenox City Councilman 34-year-old Floyd Paul Donehoo was taken into custody a little after midnight, after police responded to a reported domestic disturbance at a residence in the 400 block of west Ohio Street.

Following an investigation, Donehoo faces a felony Domestic Abuse Assault by Strangulation charge, and a serious misdemeanor charge of Assault on a Peace Officer. He was being held in the Taylor County Jail on a $5,000 cash only bond.

Iowa early News Headlines: Mon., Jan. 12th 2015

News

January 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — President Barack Obama will visit Iowa on Wednesday to talk about making high speed Internet access more available nationwide. The White House has not said yet where the event will take place in Iowa.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republicans in Iowa have decided to carry on with their presidential straw poll, a political tradition that detractors decry as a meaningless sideshow. Despite criticism from some prominent Republicans, the Republican Party of Iowa’s central committee unanimously voted Saturday to keep the event going. This year’s straw poll will be held in August.

WODEN, Iowa (AP) — A north Iowa woman has died and her husband critically injured after the pair walked away from their vehicle when it became stranded in a blizzard. The Mason City Globe Gazette reports that the body of 76-year-old Lilah Hobbs of rural Woden was found late Thursday or early Friday on the shoulder of a road about a mile from their truck, which was stuck in snow. Her husband, 77-year-old James Hobbs, was found in a field about 150 yards from the road. He remains hospitalized in critical condition.

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) — A Clear Lake man has been arrested and charged with a felony count of neglect or abandonment of a dependent person. The Mason City Globe Gazette reports that 49-year-old Brian McDaid was booked Friday night into the Cerro Gordo County Jail on $10,0000 cash or surety bond.

Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds announce retirement of IWD director Teresa Wahlert

News

January 11th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Sunday (today) announced the retirement of Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) Director Teresa Wahlert. Wahlert formally notified the governor late Friday that she would retire effective today, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015.

In his statement, Branstad thanked Wahlert for her work to help lead initiatives like Skilled Iowa, Home Base Iowa, and the National Career Readiness Certificate. Reynolds said “Under her direction, Iowa Workforce Development was a key partner as 168,700 jobs were created in the past 4 years.”

Branstad appointed Beth Townsend, current executive director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, as acting director of IWD. He appointed Don Grove, former Iowa Civil Rights Commission director and current Iowa Civil Rights Commission employee, the acting executive director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. The governor will appoint a permanent director at a later date. A timeline for naming a permanent director has not been set.

Officials monitor flu outbreaks at Iowa care centers

News

January 11th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Officials say at least 32 care centers in Iowa have had outbreaks of influenza recently, despite safeguards like vaccination and sanitation measures. Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, the state’s top infectious disease expert, says she’s received daily reports of the disease affecting nursing homes, assisted living centers and other care facilities. She says the rate of infection is higher than it’s been in the past.

At the Bishop Drumm Retirement Center in Johnston, every resident and employee was vaccinated. But the virus spread at the center in December. Several residents required hospitalization. Quinlisk tells The Des Moines Register that the flu contributes to hundreds of deaths of the elderly in Iowa during a typical year.

Iowa farmers fret over what crops to plant this spring

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 11th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa farmers are considering some difficult options as they try to determine what crops they’ll plant in the spring, given how 2014 wrapped up poorly for so many growers. Joe Glauber, the chief economist for the U-S Department of Agriculture, says plenty of farmers took a big hit last year after commodity prices dropped. “Large corn crop, large soybean crop, and that came on top of big crops last year and because of that, prices did fall,” Glauber says. “We’ve seen crop receipts off over $20-billion, down from last year.” Glauber says producers need to decide soon what crops will be most profitable to plant this spring. He says many growers were hurt financially by the drop in commodity prices this past year, especially when compared to 2013.

“If you’re a crop producer and you locked in for some high cash rents, you had a tough year and 2015 could be a tough year,” he says. “You’re looking around at what to plant. Unfortunately, corn prices have come down and so have soybean prices.” Glauber says some producers may find themselves between that proverbial rock and hard place as they decide what to plant this spring. He notes, they also need to decide which new Farm Bill Risk Management Program to select for the upcoming year.

(Radio Iowa)

Another Atlantic business hit by vandalism

News

January 11th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Nearly two weeks after a window and doors at business in downtown Atlantic were damaged by vandalism, another, nearby business was hit. Lt. Dave Erickson with the Atlantic Police Department told KJAN News the Designer Portraits by Ann studio at 406 Chestnut sustained damage by someone throwing three field rocks through the business’ windows and doors. The incident happened sometime between 5-p.m. Friday (Jan. 9th) and 9-a.m. Saturday (Jan. 10th). The damage was estimated at $2,200.

During the late night incident on Dec. 29th at Aunt B’s (at 408 Chestnut), a witness reported hearing glass breaking and  saw a short male suspect wearing a black coat, pants and stocking cap, run north in the 400 block of Chestnut and turn east on 4th Street. The culprit had thrown a piece of black asphalt, measuring 5-by 7-inches in diameter through the front, 8-foot by 8-foot plate glass window. The front glass door of the business was also smashed.Damage from that incident amounted to about $1,500.

Designer Portraits is located just north of Aunt B’s. Erickson said there’s no known motive for either incident, other than someone just messing around, probably looking for “something to do.”  Anyone with information about either incident is asked to call the Atlantic Police Dept. at 243-3512.

Snow packed road causes accident in Audubon County; 2 arrests Saturday in Audubon County

News

January 11th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

An icy road contributed to an accident Friday morning, about 5-miles west of Audubon. The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday (today), a vehicle driven by 47-year old Marcia Lynette Christensen, of Audubon, was traveling north on Dove Avenue at around 9-a.m.  When she attempted to turn east at the T-intersection with 200th Street, Christensen’s car slid off the road and landed in a ditch on the north side of 200th, coming to rest against the embankment. Christensen was transported to the Audubon County Memorial Hospital by Audubon Rescue.

In other news, the Sheriff’s Office reports two men were arrested Saturday on separate charges. 40-year old David James Elliott, of Guthrie Center, was arrested at around 5-p.m. by authorities in Guthrie County on an outstanding Audubon County warrant for Revocation of Probation. Elliott was transported to the Audubon County Jail and held on $2,500 bond. He’s scheduled to appear in Court Monday afternoon.

And at around 11-p.m., Saturday, a trooper with the Iowa State Patrol arrested 46-year old Jeffrey Robert Albert, of Kimballton, on a charge of OWI/1st offense. The charge was the result of a traffic stop on Highway 173, south of Kimballton. Albert was brought to the Audubon County Jail and later released after appearing before a magistrate. The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office assisted in conducting the arrest.

Treynor sexual exploitation cases to be consolidated

News

January 11th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A pair of cases involving a Treynor teacher and coach have been consolidated. The Daily NonPareil  reports court records show 45-year Michael Travis, faces four counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee. Fourth District Court Judge Mark Eveloff granted a motion to consolidate the cases. Travis was charged in May with two counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee for alleged inappropriate touching of two softball players during separate incidents in 2002 and 2006. The women are now ages 21 and 27.

Two more alleged victims later came forward with accusations against the Treynor man. Travis has pleaded not guilty to the initial charges and is scheduled to stand trial on Jan. 27. Sexual exploitation by a school employee is a Class D felony and carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years on each charge.

Travis has been on administrative leave from the district since April.

Audubon Community Banquet held Saturday night

News

January 11th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon Chamber of Commerce held its annual “Audubon Community Banquet” Saturday night. During the event, officials presented the “2014 Citizen of Year” award to 93-year old William P. Roth, who has lived in Audubon most of his life. Roth served in the National Guard, and was held prisoner more than 800 days during World War Two. He’s shared those experiences with school children, clubs and adults, is a published author, and has served the community through many organizations, including the local fire department, American Legion, the Audubon County Conservation Board, Isaac Walton League and Boy Scouts. Roth and his wife Dorothy have three children and two grandchildren.

The Chamber presented Bradley Nissen with its “2014 Junior Citizen of the Year” award, Saturday. Nissen is the son of Mark and Sandy Nissen. He’s been very active in the school system and throughout the community, is an athlete, a past National Honor Society Vice-President, Senior Class President, and Class Officer all four-years at the high school. Upon graduation from high school, will pursue an education with an emphasis on Architecture. He’s been accepted at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA., and at ISU in Ames.  Bradley has two sisters, Amy and Ashley.

And, the Audubon Chamber of Commerce presented the “2014 Community Service Award” to members of the “Firehouse Flames,” for their outstanding commitment and contributions to the citizens of Audubon County. The group was organized in Sept., 2009, and is comprised of 22 women who are the wives or girlfriends of firefighters.  They hold monthly meeting and yearly election of officers.

Some of their activities over the past year include: Monthly bingo for all ages; Garage sale tailgater suppers and bake sales; Babysitter courses for 5th graders; Games at the Audubon County Fair for kids; A Children’s Christmas Carnival, in December; working at some funeral luncheons and other events; and holding the Fire Prevention open house.

The group has donated funds raised from their activities to local fire victims, Caring and Sharing and at least 19 other programs and/or services.