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State high school graduation rates drop slightly


March 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Information released Thursday by the Iowa Department of Education shows the state four-year graduation rate dropped by one-half percent in 2011. Jay Pennington is chief of the department’s Information and Analysis Bureau. “I think it is concerning that it dropped a half percent from this year to last year. This year’s class of 2011 is above the class of 2009. So that’s good, I think it means that we need to, not just as a state, but schools and districts to get as many kids as possible to complete within four years,” Pennington says. The statewide four-year graduation rate is 88-point-three- percent, compared to 88-point-eight-percent in 2010, and 87-point-three-percent in 2009. Locally, Atlantic’s graduation rate was just over 88%; AHST 86%; Anita 100%; Audubon 93%; Exira 83%; Griswold and Nodaway Valley 98%, and Harlan 95%.

“The state Board of Education has a stated goal of 95-percent of students graduating. I think that 95-percent is an ambitious goal, that goal was set several years ago, in the meantime the formula has changed slightly since that formula was set,” Pennington says. He says Iowa still has one of the top graduation rates in the nation. Five of the 10 largest school districts in the state — Sioux City, Waterloo, Iowa City, Council Bluffs and Cedar Rapids — saw an increase in graduation rates.

“Seeing those larger districts with an increase in percentage is good to see, I think we need to dig in a little bit more and see the majority of districts that did see a decline and see what kind of supports are needed there,” Pennington says. Storm Lake has the lowest four-year graduation rate at 57-point-four percent. Sigourney had the next lowest at 63-percent. The state saw virtually no change in the annual dropout rate and an increase in the statewide graduation rate for students who took an extra year to finish high school.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)

See the complete list of graduation rates on this Radio Iowa link:


Red Oak man arrested this morning on drug charges


March 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Red Oak man was arrested early this (Friday) morning on a trio of drug charges. Red Oak Police report 31-year old Luke Daniel Rinehart was taken into custody in the 200 block of Short Street just before 1-a.m., on charges that include Possession of Marijuana, Possession of a Schedule 2 Narcotic and Violation of the State Drug Tax Stamp. Rinehart was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $10,000 bond.

Iowa News Headlines: Friday, March 9 2012


March 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — State regulators say Iowa’s casinos contributed nearly $1billion to the state’s economy in 2011. The Des Moines Register says a report from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission shows the 18-state regulated casinos spent $999 million on payrolls, food, equipment and other expenses. That’s up from $945 million in 2010, which was the lowest in five years as the industry struggled to recover from the nationwide recession.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Davenport man has been arrested in Des Moines, accused of passing counterfeit $100 bills at a bar. Thirty-one-year-old Anthony Cole was arrested early yesterday on a charge of forgery. He remained in Polk County Jail last night.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Polk County jury has found a truck driver not guilty of running a red light in a crash that killed four elderly women in West Des Moines. Forty-four-year-old Kenneth Snow Junior was found not guilty this week after a two-day trial that included conflicting eyewitness testimony over whether Snow failed to obey a traffic control device. Snow and his employer, Panama Transfer Incorporated, still face lawsuits from the families of three of the women who died in the crash.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Sioux City Police have set up a hotline for people to report littering. Officials say the city spent $84,000 to remove litter from public property in 2011. Police are encouraging anyone who sees littering to call (712) 279-6440.

Manilla’s Muhlbauer among House legislators who backs waiving business start-up fees


March 8th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa House has overwhelmingly endorsed the idea of giving Iowa’s Secretary of State the authority to waive or reduce certain business fees during a “Start-Your-Business” month promotion. Representative Pat Grassley, a Republican from New Hartford, says it could save Iowa entrepreneurs between 50 and 100-dollars in fees that are required when filing the paperwork to incorporate a business. “It gives us an opportunity to show that the government’s not standing in the way of small businesses,” Grassley says. “And this would just be for start-ups.” When Republican Matt Schultz campaigned for the job of Secretary of State in 2010, he promised to make the office more “business-friendly” and this is one of the proposals Secretary of State Schultz asked legislators to approve this year.

Representative Mark Lofgren, a Republican from Muscatine who runs an investment firm, supported the proposal. “I work with a lot of small business owners and anything you can do to help them is great,” Lofgren said. “Eighty percent ofthe new job creation is in the small business area.” Representative Dan Muhlbauer, a Democrat from Manilla, backed the concept, too. “It’ll help promote the proper starts of new businesses,” Muhlbauer says. Representative Rick Olson, a Democrat from Des Moines, was among 17 House members who voted against the concept of waiving business fees.
“I think it’s a gimmick bill and that’s all it is,” Olsen says. “…Something tells me that a business is not going to start in the state of Iowa or move to the state of Iowa because they can save $50.”

The bill cleared the House with 71 “yes” votes, but it must win approval from a committee in the Iowa Senate by Friday of next week, or the idea’s dead for the year.

(O. Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)

Two Arrests Reported in Harlan


March 8th, 2012 by admin

The Harlan Police Department reports the arrest of two people this past weekend.

On Saturday (March 3), 31-year-old Randy Stolz of Earling was cited for fifth degree theft when Casey’s Store personnel notified police that Stolz had had taken items he didn’t pay for from the store.  Stolz was cited and released.

On Sunday (March 4), 39-year-old Nathaniel Coles of Chicago, IL was arrested for trying to elude police after police observed him speeding.  Coles was taken into custody and transported to the Shelby County Jail where he was charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, felony eluding, three counts of failure to obey a stop sign, speeding, and reckless driving.

Harlan Police also report that on Monday morning (March 6) St. Michael’s Catholic Church reported to police the church van was missing.  The van was recovered the following day by the Omaha Police Department.  The case remains under investigation.

Man shot in Onawa shot again near Mapleton


March 8th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — State investigators say a man who was shot in Onawa during a burglary that authorities say was fabricated has been shot again. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says 32-year-old Darren Hieber was shot this (Thursday) morning near Mapleton. Agent Terry Klooster says Hieber suffered a non-life-threatening injury. Klooster says the parties involved in the incident are being interviewed.

Last month, Hieber told police he was shot in the leg while interrupting a burglary at his business. Police say Hieber devised a scheme to have an employee, Barry Chapman, shoot him to garner sympathy from his estranged wife. Hieber was arrested this week on firearm and conspiracy charges for that alleged incident. Chapman also was charged.

Lenox woman arrested on drug charges


March 8th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Police in Lenox say one person was taken into custody early Wednesday morning on drug charges. Chief Jon Huggins says at around 1-a.m., officers were checking a residence on West Nebraska street for an individual wanted on an arrest warrant. While searching the home, offciers discovered a small  amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Huggins says 18-year old Anastasia Imsland, of Lenox, faces a Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charge. She was subsequently released on a citation to appear to court.

Shot fired as Sharpsburg man struggles with authorities during raid


March 8th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Lenox Police Department says no one was injured when a Sharpsburg man struggled with authorities Thursday, as they were executing a search warrant. Police Chief Jon Huggins says at around 8:30-a.m., Lenox Police, along with deputies with the Adams, Taylor and Ringgold County Sheriffs offices, the Tri-County drug Task Force and the State Patrol, served a search warrant at 707 West Nebraska Street.

The warrant was the result of a drug investigation, and an attempt to locate a convicted sex offender believed living at that address, who was in violation of registration requirements. As Officers entered the residence a man identified as 31-year old Aric Alan Clayton, of Sharpsburg, fought with an officer and allegedly attempted to take the officers’ service weapon. During the struggle the weapon discharged, sending one round into a wall.

After a Taser was deployed, Clayton was taken into custody on felony charges of Interference with official acts, Assault on a Police Officer, and Disarming a Police Officer. He was transported to the Taylor County Jail and held on $20,000 bond.

“Trees Please!” grants awarded by MidAmerican Energy


March 8th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with MidAmerican Energy today (Thursday) announced they are distributing a total of $239,000 in grants to 97 cities and community organizations in Iowa, in support of the utilities’ “Trees Please! Program. The funds are distributed each year to promote energy efficiency and environmental beautification, through the planting of trees.

Each of the 97 communities has been awarded at least $1,000. Among them is: Avoca; Bedford; Carson; Defiance; Earlham; Glenwood; Hancock; Kimballton; Red Oak and Shelby. The City of Council Bluffs received a $20,000 grant from the “Trees Please!” program.

The grants are based entirely on the individual merits of the project, benefit to the community, and the ability to obtain matching funds. Each of the 97 communities were notified in December, 2011, that they would be receiving a grant, and the checks are in the process of being delivered.

Drake Seeking Re-Election to Iowa House


March 8th, 2012 by Jim Field

(DES MOINES) – This week Rep. Jack Drake (R-Griswold) filed nomination petitions with the Secretary of State’s office to seek re-election to the Iowa House in the newly-formed district 21.  After redistricting, district 21 is comprised of portions of Cass County (including Atlantic and Griswold), portions of Pottawattamie County (including Walnut), and all of Adams and Union Counties.

Drake was born and raised in district 21 as he attended country school in rural Pottawattamie County and graduated from Atlantic High School.  After he attended the University of Iowa, Drake returned home to farm.

Jack and his wife, Shirley, have four children and eleven grandchildren.  The family attends the Griswold United Methodist Church where Jack has been very active as a Sunday school teacher, chair of the finance committee and chair of the endowment committee.

Rep. Drake has served as a leader in the Iowa House, particularly in the area of agriculture.  He is currently the Chair of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget subcommittee where he has worked to adequately fund the budget while keeping a watchful eye on taxpayer dollars.  He also serves on the Agriculture, Appropriations and State Government Committees.

Drake will continue his focus on job creation, limited government spending, and strengthening Iowa agriculture.

“Generations of Iowans have created the rich farming history that represents our great state.  We must do all that we can to continue that tradition as it passes down to new generations,” said Drake.  “I will continue to work to fund the priorities of Iowans while also protecting the hardworking taxpayers of Iowa.”

In his community, Drake currently serves on the Walnut Telephone Company Board of Directors.  Additionally, he is a member of:  the Corn Growers Association, Soybean Association, National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Farm Bureau.  He has served as the Past-President of both the East Pottawattamie County Extension Council and the East Pottawattamie County Farm Bureau.  He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Iowa Farm Bureau.

“Rep. Drake is a caucus leader and true public servant, one who listens and is respectful of the will of his constituents,” said House Speaker Kraig Paulsen.  “There is not a more dependable, honest legislator than Rep. Drake.”