KJAN News

KJAN News can be heard:
Monday – Saturday at 6:30 am, 7:05 pm, 8:00 am, 9:00 am, 12:20 pm, 12:40 pm, 3:05 pm & 5:05 pm

Keep up-to-date with Fox News Radio, Radio Iowa,  Brownfield & the Iowa Agribusiness Networks!
Check our Program Schedule Page for times!

Road work to temporarily close Iowa 83 in Avoca beginning Oct. 28

News

October 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation said today (Wednesday), road construction work will cause the closure of Iowa 83 in both directions in Avoca from Friday, October 28th, through Thursday, November 3rd, weather permitting. The closure will be in place between U.S. 59 and Pottawattamie County Road M-47. A detour will be in place. 
The Iowa DOT reminds motorists to drive with caution, obey posted speed limit and other signs in the work area, and be aware that traffic fines for moving violations can more than double in work zones. As in all work zones, drivers should stay alert, allow ample space between vehicles and wear seat belts.

(updated 12:34-p.m.) IA Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Atlantic School District in ACLU case

News

October 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled the Atlantic School District does not have to release records on the discipline of two employees involved in a controversial strip search of students. The court says the information is part of confidential employee records. The alleged strip searches were conducted on five teenage girls during a gym class in August of 2009 after another student reported that 100 dollars had been stolen from her. Atlantic assistant principal/activities director Paul Croghan resigned in November, and was one of the two employees identified by the district as being involved. The other employee was identified as Heather Turpen, but nothing was said about their punishment. Iowa A-C-L-U executive director, Ben Stone, says they will seek further review from the Iowa Supreme Court.

Stone says they are “troubled” by the way the appeals court interpreted the law, as it “makes it likely that school districts and other government entities are gonna have an incentive to keep some employees that are engaged in bad or negligent conduct on staff in order to keep things secret.” He says the interpretation allows employers to hide behind the law protecting confidential employee records.  Stone says if an employee is fired, the public can learn the reasons for the firing throught the open recores law. But, he says if the employee is not fired, then the information does not have to be distributed to the public. Stone says this case is not about an every day review of an employee’s performance.

Stone says they argued that this is a very specific incident where the district has voluntarily identified the people involved and the basic facts. “So this is not like going on a fishing expedition to find out which employees might be doing something that the public doesn’t like, this is a very specific situation,” Stone says. Stone says they believe the specific situation should be weighed against the employee’s rights to determine if the information should be released. Stone says they are looking for a situation “where the public’s right to know is properly balanced.” He says one of the justices on the appeals court agreed with them, so they are encouraged and will try to get the Iowa Supreme Court to take the case. 

Atlantic Superintendent, Mike Amstein, had this to say to KJAN News, about the ruling:  He says he thinks the decision “Affirms the District’s Court’s Decision on the Open Records Issue, and that’s good news for the district to hear,” so it can move on with the “business of educating.” There was one dissenting opinion, but Amstein says the ruling is strong.  He says the decision speaks for itself, that the district court was correct in its findings. Amstein commented on the possible appeal by the A-C-L-U: He says the opportunity is there for them to appeal, but he’s just glad for right now the decision has been affirmed.

The majority ruling of the court said “We acknowledge the public interest in open access to governmental records and the conflict between access and the interest in protecting privacy rights of employees. But we agree with the district court that any expansion of the public’s right to these records is a matter for the legislature to determine.” Justice Amanda Potterfield disagreed with the majority ruling. She said ” While the disciplinary measures may implicitly contain information regarding the job performances of the two individual employees, the privacy interests implicated here, the measures relate most directly to the response of the school district in which the public has a legitimate interest. My analysis of the decisions of the Iowa Supreme Court in cases involving the exemption to our open records law for “personal information in personnel records” leads me to believe disclosure of the narrow piece of information requested by the ACLU should not be categorically denied under the circumstances here.”

(Radio Iowa/KJAN News Dir. Ric Hanson)

8AM Newscast 10-19-2011

News, Podcasts

October 19th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Low-income Iowans reminded to apply for heating bill help

News

October 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Thousands of Iowans who are turning on their furnaces in response to the dip in temperatures this week are wondering how they’ll afford their heating bills this winter. Last winter, more than 95,000 households received help with those bills through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program – or LIHEAP. Jerry McKim oversees the program at the Iowa Department of Human Rights.

“We’re serving about 45-percent of the eligible population. That means there are still a lot of folks out there who, for whatever reason, don’t sign up for the program,” McKim said. Many people believe they’ll be able to handle the heating bills early in the winter season, but then struggle in later months as the costs keep climbing. McKim notes 28-percent of the people served by LIHEAP are older Iowans and 45-percent are disabled.

“Almost 94-percent households assisted by this program are not on welfare,” McKim said. “So what we’re seeing, particularly over the last few years with the recession, is first time applicants…because of job loss or something like that.” In some cases, LIHEAP recipients also qualify for a weatherizing program that helps improve the energy efficiency of their home. Applications for LIHEAP are accepted from November 1st through the end of next April. McKim says some households can apply now.

Those would include eligible households with an older or disabled person. Low-income residents facing a utility shutoff are also encouraged to apply now. A family of four would likely qualify for LIHEAP if the household family income is below $33,525.

To receive a LIHEAP application on-line, surf to www.dcaa.ia.gov.

(Radio Iowa)

September homes sales up across the state

News

October 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The president of the Iowa Association of Realtors, Kurt Schade, says the numbers from the September statewide sales survey show good signs. He says September sales were up 20-point-nine percent in the month with pending sales up eight-point-three percent up from the previous years as well. Schade says the record low interest rates are part of the reason for the bump.

Schade says homeowners are recognizing that if they have the ability to buy, it is a great time to buy a home. The average sales price dropped, and he says people are also capitalizing on that. The average sales price was down one-point-seven percent. Schade says the loan process is still taking some time for buyers to complete the sale. He says the average number of days a home is on the market is up and he says that’s because of new appraisal rules that began in September, and lenders are taking a long look at loans before approving them. Schade says the uptick in September sales is encouraging as home-buying naturally falls off as we head from fall into winter.

Schade says real estate is season in Iowa because of the weather, and the pool of buyers goes down as people can’t see as much of a home when there is snow on the ground. He says some sellers take their homes off the market in the winter to wait for better spring weather. The report showed that 36 of the 44 local boards and reporting sites across Iowa reported increases in the number of sales and 23 boards reported increases in average sale price from September 2010. Fourteen boards showed a decrease in the average number of days on the market.

(Radio Iowa)

7AM Newscast 10-19-2011

News, Podcasts

October 19th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Iowa DOT to remove temporary traffic control devices in Mills and Fremont counties

News

October 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Transportation said today (Wednesday), that with the recent reopening of Interstate 29 in Fremont and Mills counties, it’s time to remove the temporary traffic control devices put in place on the state highways in western Iowa during the Missouri River flooding.  The DOT says the stop conditions at the New Street and Orange Street intersections with U.S. 275 in Tabor, will be removed and traffic will resume its previous operation, on Nov. 7th.  

And, the stop signs on U.S. 59 at the U.S. 59/Iowa 2 intersection near Shenandoah will be removed Nov. 7th. Normal traffic operations will resume at that time. The stop signs on Iowa 2 at this intersection will remain in place as they existed prior to the flooding. 

Motorists are encouraged to exercise additional caution at these locations as traffic adjusts to the changes.

Vehicle repair shop in Corning damaged by fire

News

October 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

It appears a malfunctioning hose on an acetylene (cutting) torch is to blame for a fire Tuesday afternoon, at an automobile repair shop, in Corning. According to Corning Fire Chief Donnie Willet, the blaze broke out at R-and-S Auto on Davis Street. The fire occurred as a torch was being used under a vehicle which was on a hoist.

A mechanic reportedly told Willet that acetylene started burning. The Fire Chief said it appears a hose malfunctioned, causing the fire, which caused some structural and smoke damage to the building. No injuries were reported. Firefighters from Corning, Lenox and Prescott were on the scene, for about 3-hours.

Willet estimated it would be several days before employees will be able to go back to work at the shop.

Remains of missing Brazilian boy found in Mo. River near Council Bluffs

News

October 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Officials say the skeletal remains of a 7-year-old Brazilian boy missing for nearly two years and believed to have been killed with his parents in Nebraska has been pulled from the Iowa side of the Missouri River, just south of Council Bluffs. Omaha Police Chief Alex Hayes and Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine announced the discovery Tuesday. A dive team pulled Christopher Szczepanik’s remains from the river last Thursday, but it wasn’t until Monday DNA tests confirmed the boys’ identity.

Three men were charged with murder in the family’s deaths, although the bodies hadn’t been found. The parents’ bodies still haven’t been recovered. Investigators say the men worked for the Szczepaniks. The family was living in Omaha while the father worked renovating a former school. They were last heard from in December 2009.

No Headstart Program Today, in Atlantic (Oct. 19th)

News

October 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Due to problems with the water supply/flow, there will be no Atlantic Headstart classes or programs today (Wednesday, Oct. 19th),