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(Podcast) 8-a.m. KJAN News, 1/12/2015

News, Podcasts

January 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

With Ric Hanson.

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Atlantic School Board to meet tonight (1/12/15)

News

January 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Members of the Atlantic Community School District’s Board of Education will hold their regular, monthly meeting tonight, at the high school. During their 7:30-p.m. session, the Board will receive an Operations/Maintenance update from Russell Peck. They’re also expected to act on approving Early Retirement Applications, Early Resignation Incentives, and a request by the Nishna Valley YMCA for carpeting.

Discussion items on their agenda include a report from Linda Nichols on the Home/School Program, and an Honorary Diploma request.

Arrests and vandalism/theft reported in Creston

News

January 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Creston Police Department reports today (Monday) the arrest on Friday of a Creston man on a warrant out of Texas. 32-year old John Jacob Garcia was taken into custody at around 11:18-a.m. on the warrant for Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Garcia was being held in the Union County Jail on $5,000 bond.

Sunday night, Creston Police arrested 18-year old Briar Dakota Shivers, of Indianola. Shivers was arrested at the Wal-Mart store on a charge of 5th Degree Theft. He was later released on a Citation to Appear later, in court.

And, a Creston resident reported to police Saturday morning, that sometime between 8:30-p.m. Friday and 9-a.m. Saturday, someone threw a beer bottle at her vehicle. The incident didn’t result in damage, but the victim reported someone entered her vehicle and took a key, as well as a bottle of cologne. The loss was estimated at $195.

(Podcast) 7:06-a.m. KJAN News & funeral report, 1/12/2015

News, Podcasts

January 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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Iowans at “high risk” for radon in homes

News

January 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa is believed to have the largest percentage of homes in the U.S. with radon levels above what the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) calls “acceptable.” Mindy Uhle, with the Iowa Department of Public Health, says at least half of the homes in the state have an elevated radon level.
“Iowa’s designated as a ‘zone one,’ which means that we have a high risk for radon in a lot of homes in the state,” Uhle says.     https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Q03BSgAHP5M

Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that causes no immediate health symptoms, but long-term exposures may cause lung cancer. It comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil. Uhle encourages all homeowners to purchase a radon test kit, which typically costs less than $20.  “We would recommend doing that test every couple of years,” Uhle says. “Some people also like to do it after they’ve done major renovations or any kind of work in the home that might affect how air moves through the home.”

Radon gas typically seeps into a house under the home — through cracks in the foundation, floor or walls, and openings around floor drains, pipes and sump pumps. Uhle suggests having a second test done if a first test shows high levels of radon in your home. Repairs to fix the problem are expensive.
“It’s basically a vent pipe and fan system within the home to move the air around,” Uhle says. “It draws from underneath the foundation and then it vents it to outside of the building. That can cost anywhere from $800 up to $2,500, it really just depends how the air is moving under your home and where they’re able to pull from.”

Last week, Governor Branstad signed a proclamation, formally declaring January as “Radon Action Month” in Iowa.

(Radio Iowa)

Burglary/criminal mischief reported in Red Oak

News

January 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak are asking for the public’s help in solving a recent break-in and burglary. Officials said a resident called Police Sunday to report that sometime within the past two weeks, a person or persons unknown entered a residence at 211 E. Park Avenue through a window, which had been damaged in the process.

The victim also reported damage to the west entrance door/window. The preliminary damage estimate was around $300. Anyone with information about the incident(s) is asked to call Red Oak Police at 712-623-6500, or Crimestoppers at 1-800-432-1001.

Legislative preview: gas tax, budget dilemmas on docket

News

January 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The 2015 Iowa legislative session begins today (Monday) and unfinished debates of the past — like whether to raise the state gas tax — are on the agenda. Finding a way to increase the amount of money to improve Iowa’s transportation system has eluded lawmakers for the past several years. Governor Terry Branstad says he hopes legislators make a decision “sooner rather than later.” “It is my goal to put together a whole series of options,” Branstad told reporters last week.

But Branstad doesn’t plan to publicly advocate one approach over another. He says that would give critics something to shoot at because it’s his idea. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says it would be best if the governor were to “exert some leadership” and make a specific proposal. “Iowa used to be the envy of the Midwest when it came to roads and we’re now towards the bottom end of that,” Gronstal says, “and so I think it’s time to do something about it.”

The state fuel tax not only finances work on the Interstates and state highways, part of it goes to cities and counties for local streets and roads. House Speaker Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha, the top-ranking Republican in the legislature, says he’s concerned that officials in more than 30 counties have now borrowed money to fix roads and bridges because they don’t have enough revenue from the fuel tax. “I think the discussion is about as robust as any time I’ve been in the General Assembly,” Paulsen says. “I think there’s also to some degree a consensus that’s it’s time to make a decision.”

The main responsibility of the legislature is passing a budget plan for state government. Paulsen warns there’s not enough state tax revenue to fulfill past promises to spend more on education reform and property tax relief, so over 40-million dollars will have to be cut elsewhere. “We’ve done difficult things before,” Paulsen says. “I’m sure we’ll find a way to work through it.” Gronstal, the legislature’s top-ranking Democrat, agrees that “expectations” are going to have to be “tempered” when it comes to the budget as well as other issues.

“And it’s about figuring out a way to turn off the partisan switch,” Gronstal says. Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix of Shell Rock says legislators should approach the state budget as they would a family’s budget. “We always need to be mindful that it is the taxpayers’ money,” Dix says. Because Iowa’s unemployment rate is lower than most other states, the federal government is reducing the amount of money it will send to Iowa to pay for Iowans who’re getting health care coverage through Medicaid.

House Democratic Leader Mark Smith of Marshalltown says it’s “a challenge” for the state to pay greater share of the Medicaid budget, but he expects a bipartisan solution to emerge. “Our history has been to work on these issues together,” Smith says. “I would expect we would continue to do so.” Other issues on the docket for legislators including finding extra money for the state’s three public universities, to avoid a tuition increase for in-state students, and investigating why the new maximum security prison in Fort Madison hasn’t opened yet.

Formal activity in the Iowa General Assembly will get underway at 10 a.m. today (Monday). In the senate, 25 members who were elected to a four-year term in November will take the oath of office. Senator-elect Mark Costello of Imogene won a special election on December 30th to serve out the remaining two years of Joni Ernst’s term in the state senate and he’ll be sworn in today, too. Costello — the soon-to-be-state-senator — was elected to a seat in the Iowa House on November 4th. His replacement in the House will be chosen in a special election sometime in February.

In addition, there was a special election last week in northwest Iowa, but the results won’t be certified in time for that new House member to be sworn in today. It means 98 members of the House will take the oath of office late this morning.

(Radio Iowa)

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.