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Iowa principal won’t punish girls who hired male stripper


April 14th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Des Moines principal has decided not to punish the girls who arranged for a male stripper to perform at their school’s synchronized swimming club banquet. Officials say the girls employed the stripper as a joke and say the stripper didn’t totally disrobe at Friday evening’s event at the Des Moines Social Club. A Social Club employee interrupted the performance and asked the stripper to leave.

Roosevelt High School Principal Kevin Biggs said Wednesday the girls apparently didn’t do anything illegal and didn’t violate the district’s conduct code.  The club has been operating outside of direct school supervision, with members raising all the money for its support. But Biggs says the district plans to place the club and its finances under the control of Roosevelt High’s activities department.

Atlantic School Board approves resignations


April 14th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic School Board, Wednesday, approved the resignation of Assistant Varsity Football Coach Paul McKay, and contracts for Alan Jenkins as Head Freshman Football Coach, along with Justin Williams, as Head Junior Varsity Football Coach.

They also approved an Operational Sharing Agreement with the Griswold Community School District, to jointly share the services of a Transportation Director for the 2016-17 Fiscal Year. The total cost to Griswold of which amounts to $13,776 per year. And, an agreement with Griswold for the sharing of services provided by Atlantic’s Human Resources Specialist, which will cost Griswold $6,576 per year. In both cases, the individuals will work four days per week on matters related to the Atlantic District, and one day per week for the Griswold District.

The Board also approved: the purchase from School Bus Sales, of three, 65-passenger propane-powered Blue Bird school buses for $90,788 each, along with a Blue Bird lift bus for $109,542, and a propane filling station from Olsen’s Fuel Supply, for $18,352.

They also approved: A bid of $63,762 from R-L Craft for work on the Washington Elementary School Roof; A bid of $81, 636 from National Playground for playground equipment and safety surfaces at Washington, and, a bid of $175,626 from Camblin Mechanical, for the replacement of heat pumps at the Atlantic High School.

Atlantic School Board discusses Special election dates


April 14th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic School Board still wants to bring an income surtax vote back before patrons of district. Board Secretary/District Business Manager Mary Beth Fast said the earliest the surtax could be placed before patrons of the district, is a special election on Sept. 13th. The Board would need to have a ballot request submitted to County Election Commissioner Dale Sunderman by no later than July 29th. The next dates for Special Elections are in December, February and April, 2017.

You may recall, last September, voters rejected a public measure to add an income tax surcharge component to the district’s Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL). The final tally was 452 No votes to 443 Yes votes, or, 49.5-percent approval. The measure needed a majority vote in order to pass. This past February, the Board revisited the matter.

Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein said during the Board’s Feb. 10th meeting, that the surtax needs to come before the voters again, because, he said, as it stands right now, the only source of revenue for the PPEL is property taxes. An income surtax would give the Board the ability to have more flexibility with what it can do with the tax levy.

Board member Ali Bruckner suggested Wednesday, that they hold a work session to discuss their plan to move forward. Bruckner said the purpose of the work session would be to schedule community forums to educate the public about why they need the surtax. The bottom-line she said, is “It’s for the kids.”

Board member Dr. Keith Swanson has said the last Surtax asking was “Sold so poorly to the public,” he couldn’t believe it…meaning, it wasn’t explained well at all. Mary Beth Fast agreed the voters need to understand the surtax would reduce the property tax asking. Superintendent Mike Amstein said the surtax “Makes such a huge difference in your property tax.” Fast said at the February meeting, that the maximum surtax the District could impose, if approved, is 10-percent. Even if the District requested a nine-percent surtax, that would generate $300,000 and make for 67-cents difference in property tax relief.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thursday, April 14th 2016


April 14th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Republican-controlled House has passed legislation that would add state oversight to boarding schools in Iowa, though the bill could face future opposition over exemption language. The House voted 74-24 Wednesday for the bill, which now goes to the Democratic-majority Senate.

SIBLEY, Iowa (AP) — Sibley leaders are studying the city’s options after owners of a processing plant didn’t meet a deadline to provide $50,000 to help reduce odors coming from the facility. The Sioux City Journal reports that Iowa Drying and Processing had until Monday turn in the money.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Dubuque police are investigating an apparent cross burning and are treating the incident as a possible hate crime. Police say Dubuque dispatchers received a report early Wednesday of burning items at the intersection of 22nd and Washington streets, but authorities did not initially find anything in the area. Police were notified again around 9:30 a.m. of burned objects in the same area. They found what appeared to be two crosses damaged by fire. More information will be provided Thursday.

LACONA, Iowa (AP) — The family of an Iowa woman who was fatally shot is trying to obtain a 911 call to include in their wrongful death lawsuit against the woman’s son. Sixty-eight-year-old Shirley Carter was found shot to death in June at her Lacona home. KCCI-TV reports the woman’s husband, Bill Carter, wants to obtain the 911 call from that night. No charges have been filed in the case.

Atlantic School District Superintendent announces retirement


April 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic School District Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein has announced he will be retiring at the end of the 2016-17 school year. The announcement came during Wednesday evening’s regular meeting of the Atlantic School Board.

Amstein, who has served the Atlantic School District since April, 2010, said when he concludes his service here, he will have “been on one side of the desk or the other side of the desk for 53-years. My wife tells me it’s about time to ‘come to the house.'”

Atlantic Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein (Ric Hanson, photo)

Atlantic Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein (Ric Hanson, photo)

He said “You get a point in your life where you know it’s time to take a look at something else.” Amstein says he has some ideas of what he might do upon retirement, but “It probably won’t be in education….I want to do something that normal people do.”

He said in the meantime, he looks forward to the upcoming year, and that he will do whatever is necessary in the upcoming year to help in the transition to a new Superintendent, next year.

In a prepared statement, Dr. Amstein said “I am grateful to the Atlantic Community for making me feel so welcome into the community. My wife and I have been fortunate that we have been able in the short time that we have lived here, to have developed some life-long friendships that we will cherish and hope to continue.”

He said he’s proud “Of the fact the district’s test scores have improved steadily over the past six-years, the graduation rate has improved, while the district’s dropout rate has dropped to below the state average. None of these things could have been accomplished without the hard work and dedication of our teachers, support staff, administrators and school board members.”

Amstein joins a list of Superintendents from around southwest and western Iowa who have announced their resignations or retirements since the beginning of the 2015-16 school year. The most recent being Griswold’s Dana Kunze and Riverside’s Jim Sutton. Superintendents at Exira-Elk Horn/Kimballton and Farragut School Districts all announced their plans to leave this past fall and winter. Farragut’s Tom Hinrichs’ decision was immediate, after the State Board of Education stripped away the district’s local control.

Sioux City schools locked down after robo threat


April 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The entire Sioux City Community School District was placed on lockdown this (Wednesday) morning after a threatening call was received around 8:20 a-m at the administration building. Sergeant Brad Bollinger of the Sioux City Police says the call claimed that explosive devices had been placed at each school in the district, and that the schools would be attacked with rifles within a half hour.

He says it was a robotic voice that said a bomb would go off at all schools. “These calls have been going around the country recently, and numerous school districts have received them in the past. In fact, this is the second time that the Sioux City School District has received them,” Bollinger says. Officers were dispatched to the buildings and the call proved to be a hoax. Bishop Heelan High School Principal Chris Bork says the city parochial schools did not receive the call, but police notified them of the threat and they also briefly went on lockdown.

He says they went outside and made sure the students were safely moving across campus. Bork says started talking with a police officer about the best way to handle things, and during that meeting the public schools lifted their lockdown. The lockdown was canceled at 9:15. Sergeant Bollinger says the F-B-I has been notified of the threat and the investigation is continuing.

(Radio Iowa)

Tuition could rise at Iowa universities, community colleges


April 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Legislature’s proposed higher education budget target could hike tuition at the state’s three public universities and 15 community colleges this fall. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that lawmakers have agreed to give a nearly $4.9 million increase for public higher education in the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year budget. But the proposed target is more than $3 million less than the minimum that the Iowa Board of Regents says it needs to keep resident undergraduate tuition the same at the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University.

The University of Iowa’s base tuition will already increase by $100 per semester starting in the fall, but the budget target could mean another increase.

3 arrests in Cass County, Tuesday


April 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports three people were arrested Tuesday. 35-year old Lisa Mae Harper,  of Atlantic, and 36-year old Joshua Michael Lillard, of Atlantic, were arrested on one charge each of Possession of Methamphetamine 3rd/Subsequent Offense (D Felony). Both were taken to the Cass County Jail where they remain held on $5,000 bond each.

56-year old Barry Dean Schmidt, of Massena, was arrested Tuesday on a District Court Warrant for Probation Violation. Schmidt was also charged with Felon in Possession of Ammunition (D Felony), Possession of Methamphetamine 2nd Offense (Aggravated), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Schmidt was taken to the Cass County Jail where he remains held on $12,300 bond.

And, Tuesday night, deputies in Montgomery County arrested 25-year old Timothy Alan Brown, of Elliott, on a Cass County District Court warrant for Failure to Appear on original charges of Carrying Weapons and on two-counts of Assault while displaying a dangerous weapons. Brown was brought to the Cass County Jail, where he remains held on $2,000 bond.

(12:40-p.m. News)

Iowa district unamused by girls’ joke: Hiring male stripper


April 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Des Moines school district spokesman has confirmed that ninth-grade girls hired a male stripper to perform at their school’s synchronized swimming club’s annual banquet. On Wednesday district spokesman Phil Roeder told The Des Moines Register that the Roosevelt High School principal will decide whether the girls violated school policies and punishment is merited.

Graham Gillette’s daughter is a member of the swimming club and says the girls employed the stripper as a joke. Gillette says the stripper appeared but didn’t totally disrobe at Friday evening’s event at the Des Moines Social Club. Roeder says a Social Club employee asked the stripper to leave, deeming the appearance inappropriate for the students.

The Sharks synchronized swimming club is run and funded by students in grades nine through 12.

NW IA man sentenced for transmitting info. about a minor


April 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the U-S Department of Justice said today (Wednesday), a man from northwest Iowa was sentenced to prison Monday after being convicted for Use of Interstate Facilities to Transmit Information about a Minor. 30-year old Lance Eugene Hunter, of Little Rock, IA, was sentenced to 18 months in custody, 5 years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Hunter was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 2, 2015.  He pled guilty on January 26th, 2016.  Hunter was ordered to self-surrender on May 2nd, 2016.

Authorities say Hunter responded to an advertisement on the Internet website of Backpage.com that was posted as part of a law enforcement undercover operation.  Using his cell phone to send text messages, Hunter agreed to meet at a location in Sioux Falls to have sex with a fictitious 15 year-old girl.  Law enforcement officers arrested Hunter after he attempted to leave the scene.  They found the cell phone used for text messages as well as $100 in cash.

The case was investigated by the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.