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SW IA Superintendent’s pay slightly more than elsewhere in the state


March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Superintendent compensation is slightly higher in southwest Iowa than across the state, on average, based on an analysis of area district’s contracts with school chiefs. The Daily NonPareil cites a report in the Cedar Rapids Gazette which conducted an analysis of superintendent contracts from 314 school districts. The Gazette requested records from Iowa’s 336 school districts, with 93.5 percent responding.

Analysis by The Gazette showed a median salary of $135,000 with four weeks of vacation, on average, and a variety of benefits typical for public school district’s de facto CEOs, who manage multimillion-dollar budgets and employ up to thousands of people. The 271 superintendents’ whose compensation was reviewed are largely new to their districts, with nearly half on the job for fewer than five years and 12 percent finishing their first year at superintendent. Many superintendents are splitting their time between two districts or serve in additional roles, such as a building principal, trends that are mirrored in southwest Iowa as well.

The Nonpareil conducted an analysis, based on The Gazette’s data plus additional reporting, of the 29 public school districts in its coverage area in southwest Iowa, showing superintendent compensation is slightly higher than the average for the rest of the state, although Council Bluffs may throw off the comparison. The analysis shows across southwest Iowa, the average superintendent salary was about $142,000. Council Bluffs Superintendent Martha Bruckner has the largest paycheck, with an annual salary of $215,000, although her district is more than three times the next nearest in terms of student enrollment.

The second through fourth largest districts were also the second through fourth largest in terms of compensation, although Harlan pays about $12,300 more to Justin Wagner than Glenwood pays Devin Embray, even though Glenwood is considerably larger than Harlan. Fifth in terms of enrollment, Atlantic, pays Michael Amstein wages that are more middle-of-the-pack despite being one of the area’s fifth largest school district. All three superintendent – Wagner, Embray and Amstein – took over their school districts in 2010. Bruckner has been at the helm in Council Bluffs since 2007.

On the other end of the salary table is Tony Weers, the outgoing superintendent of Tri-Center, who is paid $122,000, the least in total of any of area’s full-time superintendents. Southwest Iowa is typical for the state in terms of women serving as superintendents: Bruckner, Deidre Drees of Missouri Valley and Kerri Nelson of Shenandoah. The Gazette found statewide the rate was about 15 percent, and it’s about 14 percent in the area. National statistics are either dated or unclear, but the superintendency of public school districts remains a male-dominated field despite education generally being a female-dominated profession.

Creston P-D report, 3/21/16


March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Police in Creston report the arrest Sunday night, of 27-year old Dustin Giles. The Creston man was taken into custody for Criminal Mischief in the 5th Degree. He was being held in the Union County Jail on a $300 bond, and, on two warrants from other counties.

Authorities said also, a resident in the 300 block of W. Montgomery Street, in Creston, reported that sometime between last Thursday and Saturday, someone broke into his truck parked near his residence, and stole a black, 12-gauge shotgun with shell catcher. The loss was estimated at $550.

(Podcast) KJAN Morning News & funeral report, 3/21/2016

News, Podcasts

March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The area’s top news at 7:06-a.m., w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson


Authorities ID man who died at Iowa construction site


March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

SERGEANT BLUFF, Iowa (AP) – Authorities have released the name of a worker who died while working to build a fertilizer plant in northwest Iowa.  The Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as 44-year-old Arturo Castor-Cavanzon, of Tecumseh, Nebraska.

He was one of two men were working inside a tower tank Saturday afternoon when the problem occurred at the CF Industries construction site near Sergeant Bluff. Authorities say Castor-Cavanzon fell unconscious inside the tank and couldn’t be rescued before his death. The second man escaped the tank and was hospitalized in Sioux City. His name hasn’t been released.

The company is nearing the completion of a $2 billion expansion of its Port Neal fertilizer plant. The project includes new ammonia and urea plants.

Boating fatality in Crawford County, Sunday


March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A teenager fishing with friends drowned Sunday afternoon when the boat they were in capsized on a Crawford County pond. The Omaha World-Herald says according to the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, the body of 18-year old Bode Lloyd, of Kiron, was recovered about 6:30 p.m., three hours after rescuers were called to the pond near Dow City.

Authorities said the boat’s two other occupants, Bradley Meeves and Isaac Deveraux, had made several attempts to help Lloyd to the shore.


Severe Weather Awareness Week starts today in Iowa

News, Weather

March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

This is the first full day of spring and it’s also the start of Severe Weather Awareness Week. Meteorologist Kelsey Angle, with the National Weather Service, says each day through Friday, they’ll center on a different topic to help Iowans prepare for the stormy seasons ahead. Angle says today’s (Monday) focus will be on severe thunderstorms.

“Tuesday’s more about preparedness and developing a plan,” Angle says. “On Wednesday, it’s executing that plan with a test tornado drill. On Thursday, we’ll talk more about preparedness and then on Friday, we wrap the week up with flash flooding.” Snow, ice and blizzards should be behind us now, with the months ahead being punctuated by hail, high winds, flash flooding, thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Angle says, “This is the time to really think about in case severe weather strikes your area, and it will at some point during the spring or summer, to have a plan and know where you would go to seek shelter and remain safe.” Learn more at www.weather.gov.

(Radio Iowa)

2 men arrested on meth charges in Adair


March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Adair County Sheriff’s Department reports two area men were arrested on meth charges last Wednesday, in Adair. Sheriff Jeff Vandewater says a vehicle driven by 28-year old Joshua Paul Macias, of Adair, was pulled over late Wednesday night for Driving While Suspended. A deputy asked Macias to exit the vehicle and then proceeded to ask if he had anything on his person the deputy needed to be aware of. Macias told the deputy there was a small bag of methamphetamine in his front pocket. He was then placed under arrest for Possession of a Controlled Substance/1st offense and Driving Under Suspension. Macias was released the next day on $1,000 bond.

A passenger in the car, 26-year old Adam Magill, of Casey, was arrested for Possession of Methamphetamine/3rd or subsequent offense, after a plastic container with several small bags of meth were found near his seat in the vehicle. Magill admitted the container was his, and that he knew it was his third offense, for which he would be sent to prison. Magill was being held in the Adair County Jail on $5,000 bond.

Also arrested last week in Adair County, was 40-year old Scott William Funke, of Greenfield, who was taken into custody Wednesday by Greenfield Police under the authority of a warrant. Funke was later released on $2,000 bond. And, 29-year old Stephen Wallace Jones, of Stuart, was arrested last Thursday on a charge of Domestic Abuse/Simple Assault, after allegedly grabbing his girlfriends’ hair and face. He was later released on $300 bond.

Iowa early News Headlines: Mon., March 21st, 2016


March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

SERGEANT BLUFF, Iowa (AP) — One worker died and another was hospitalized while working to build a massive fertilizer plant in northwest Iowa. The Sioux City Journal reports the two men were working inside a tower tank Saturday afternoon when the problem occurred at the CF Industries construction site near Sergeant Bluff.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa suspended its inspections of egg farms last year during the bird flu outbreak, and the state still hasn’t resumed the routine checks. The Des Moines Register reports state officials followed the lead of federal investigators in stopping inspections to help limit the spread of bird flu, which prompted the slaughter of 48 million birds nationwide.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — One of the nation’s largest egg farms, which lost millions of hens in last year’s bird flu outbreak, is defending itself against legal action by the state over a wastewater spill that killed 163,000 fish. The Environmental Protection Commission has referred Sunrise Farms to the attorney general for enforcement of violations of state laws and administrative regulations regarding the contamination of about 18 miles of Stoney Creek.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Alex Caruso scored 25 points as Texas A and M overcame a 10-point deficit with less than 30 seconds remaining in regulation to come back for a 92-88 double overtime victory over Northern Iowa in the NCAA Tournament Sunday night. Jeremy Morgan had career highs of 36 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Panthers in Oklahoma City.

Area School Board meetings set for Monday evening


March 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Four area school district Boards of Education will hold their separate meetings this (Monday) evening.

The Griswold School Board meeting begins at 5:30-p.m. with a Public Hearing on the 2016-17 School Year Budget, followed by approval of the budget during the “New Business” portion of the agenda, which also includes action on: The Driver’s Education Fee; Operational Sharing; Activity Conference; a target for budget cut reductions; the process for future facility plan, and the process for filling the Superintendent vacancy. The Griswold School Board will also hold a closed session prior to adjournment, with regard to an evaluation of the Board Secretary.

In Anita, the CAM School Board will meet at 6:30-p.m. Action items on their agenda include: Consideration of a request from the CAM Shooting Sports Club; The presentation of an opening offer to CAMEA (the CAM Education Association); and, Setting the time and dates for public hearings on the 2016-17 school calendar and budget. The CAM School Board will also discuss Capital projects before moving into an exempt session with regard to negotiations.

In Elk Horn, the Exira-EHK School Board meets at 7-p.m., Monday. They’ll recognize a donation to the school library, and act on contracts for: David Thompson – Assistant High School Softball Coach; Jeff Van Ert – Special Ed Driver; Christine Madsen – Chaperone for the Special Ed vehicle; Brenda Hansen – Library Aide for 2016-17, and Barb Paulsen – Middle School Para educator. The Board will also act on approving a Budget Guarantee Resolution to levy property tax for F.Y. 2016-17 for the regular program budget adjustment, as allowed under the Code of Iowa. They’ll also act on: approving a trip to Washington, D-C for April 7-10, 2017; Approving additional spectator restrooms for the football field in Exira, a two-phase process; and, setting April 11th at 5-p.m. as the date/time for public hearings on the 2016-17 Exira-EHK Budget and School Calendar.

And, in the Audubon School District, the Board of Education will meet at 7-p.m. to set the publication and hearing date for a Budget Plan, as well as act on: Approving a sharing agreement with Coon Rapids-Bayard; Early Retirement; a 1:1 Technology upgrade; Quotes for a School Security project; A change in Driver’s Ed; and a FY 2017 Budget Reduction. The Audubon School Board will also receive an update and/or discuss: Summer projects; Iowa Testing Data, and the Superintendent Evaluation Process. Prior to concluding their meeting, the Board will move into an exempt session for discussion of strategy with regard to negotiations with a collective bargaining unit.

(Update) 2 transported to CCMH following Sun. afternoon accident


March 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

(Update to our earlier post) – The Iowa State Patrol says a Michigan couple was transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic Sunday afternoon, following an accident on Interstate 80 that took place at around 12:06-p.m. Authorities say 70-year old Joseph Stachowski, Jr., of Westland, MI., was driving a 32-foot long 2008 Peterbilt motorhome westbound in the left lane of I-80 between the Atlantic and Elk Horn exits, when he lost control of the r-v as he was passing a semi.

The motor home, and the SUV it was towing, left the road and entered the median, where it struck a high spot, became airborne and when it landed, hit a concrete culvert before coming to rest, upright in the median. Stachowski, and his 66-year old passenger, Judy Kaye Stochowski, also from Westland, MI., and both of whom were wearing their seat belts, were transported to CCMH by Medivac ambulance. Judy Stachowski was complaining of lower back pain, but otherwise appeared uninjured, according to dispatch reports.

Atlantic and Marne Fire and Rescue personnel along with Medivac Ambulance, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office and Iowa State Patrol responded to the scene.