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Website to send bullying reports to Iowa schools

News

December 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Some people, advocacy groups and Iowa school districts have been seeking innovative ways to battle bullying of students. A website being launched this month, http://ReportBullyingIowa.com, will take reports from students and parents and forward the reports to school districts. The website is run by the Eychaner Foundation, a Des Moines nonprofit group that says it wants to promote tolerance and nondiscrimination.

Iowa law requires school districts to report bullying cases to the Iowa Department of Education. But last year, more than half of Iowa school districts didn’t report any bullying. Foundation executive director Michael Bowser told The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/tVCWsa ) there are many reasons for why reports aren’t being made, but he says the website could make it easier to report bullying.

Christmas Day fire destroys western Iowa home

News

December 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Friends, family, neighbors and strangers have been helping members of a western Iowa family who lost their home to a fire on Christmas Day. The family of Mary Pierson and her husband had been celebrating Sunday morning when they noticed a smoky smell. They soon found the attached garage was in flames. The family members fled the house safely. They turned to watch as flames consumed it, their possessions and their new presents inside.

Pierson told Omaha, Neb., television station KETV that she wanted someone to slap her and tell her it was a bad dream. But soon, people began stopping by with offers of money, clothing, replacement presents and other help. The fire cause is being investigated.

Study: Neb., Iowa towns among most secure cities

News

December 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Several cities in Nebraska and Iowa made Farmers Insurance’s lists of the safer and most secure places to live in the country. The insurer ranked cities of different sizes based on crime rates, natural disaster risks, environmental hazards, car accidents, unemployment, housing depreciation and other factors. In the category for cities with at least 500,000 residents, the Omaha-Council Bluffs, Iowa, metro area ranked eighth, and Des Moines, Iowa, ranked 19th.

Among cities with between 150,000 and 500,000 residents, Lincoln, NE, ranked eighth. Among smaller cities with fewer than 150,000 people, Iowa City, Iowa, ranked 19th and Sioux City, Iowa, came in 20th.

Got the munchies? Hold on til the Girl Scout cookies come out 2 1/2 weeks!

News

December 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa (GSGI) say persons wanting to order and receive a wide variety of Girl Scout cookies won’t have to wait much longer, especially with the advent of a new ordering system. According to the GSGI, from the very first day of the program, girls will have packages of cookies ON HAND to sell door to door, at Cookie Booths, and to family and friends. Girl scouts will exchange cookies and payments in one easy step! No more taking orders, waiting weeks, and then returning for the delivery and collecting money.  The “Cookies Now!” program condenses all that work into one simple step. The Cookie Program will run January 13th through March 4th, 2012, in both Iowa and Nebraska.

In years past, the Scouts took orders, ordered the cookies from the supplier, then handed out cookies and collected payment about three to five weeks later. Officials say since the Girl Scouts, along with their parents and troop leaders, develop their sales plans, the direct sales also allow the girls to cultivate skills they can use: goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics. They will have to decide whether to go door-to-door or set up cookie booths at public locations such as grocery stores. They will have to keep track of their sales and the money collected.

Mid-America Council Scouts have sold a LOT of popcorn

News

December 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the The Boy Scouts of America, Mid-America Council say the  6,375 Boy Scouts in the M-A-C sold nearly $3.5 million worth of popcorn during a recent fundraiser. Of that total, $1.2 million benefited individual Scouts, helping send them to camp, buy supplies for Scouting and participate in activities. The Mid-America Council netted more than $1 million that will be used to help offset the cost of operating camps, and to provide training for Scouts and leaders. This year’s campaign also contributed more than $122,000 worth of popcorn in support of local military families. And, the popcorn campaign is helping send 192 Mid-America Council Scouts to college through a scholarship program.

The Mid-America Council serves 33,701 youth in 58 counties in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. It’s supported by 9,585 volunteers, is headquartered in Omaha, with a satellite service center in Sioux City, Iowa.

Stomach ailment reported in 5 Iowa counties

News

December 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Public Health has received reports of eight medium to large outbreaks of probable norovirus in at least five counties. Symptoms of norovirus include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. The illness usually begins 24 to 48 hours after exposure and lasts one to two days. The IDPH says three groups of people became ill after eating at a restaurant where several food handlers had also been sick. Outbreaks were also associated with events like holiday parties and holiday potlucks. Medical director Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says if a person has had any stomach illness, he or she should not prepare food of any kind for others until 48 hours have passed since his or her recovery.

The IDPH did not identify the five counties where the probable norovirus outbreaks occurred.

Bluffs man seriously injured fleeing from authorities

News

December 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A  western Iowa man was flown to an Omaha hospital after the vehicle he was driving went out of control and rolled over two-separate times Sunday near Underwood, in Pottawattamie County. The Iowa State Patrol says 33-year old Justin D. Alstadt, of Council Bluffs, was attempting to flee from officers, when the 1999 Chevy Silverado pickup he was driving left the road near 270th Street and Pinoak Road at around 9:10-p.m., Sunday. The truck rolled over once before coming to rest on its wheels. Alstadt was flown to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where he was treated for minor injuries. Officials say he was not wearing a seat belt.

Alstadt was being pulled over on suspicion of having a broken taillight and driving 20 mph over the 30 mph speed limit on Highway 191, in Neola. The trooper who tried to stop him didn’t know at the time, that the Council Bluffs Police Department had issued a warrant for Alstadt’s arrest in connection with a domestic incident which allegedly took place earlier that day.  When Alstadt sped away from the trooper, his pickup reached speeds of 70 mph, sometimes on gravel roads. At one point, officials say the Chevy rolled over, but then landed on its wheels. Amazingly enough, Alstadt took off again, but the chase came to an end when the pickup went out of control and rolled over for a second, and final time.

Officials say alcohol was likely a factor in the crash, as troopers reportedly detected an odor of booze in the the vehicle Alstadt was driving. Charges are currently pending.

Man wanted on 2 warrants arrested Sunday in Shenandoah

News

December 25th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A man wanted on a warrant for eluding authorities was arrested Sunday morning in Shenandoah, following a foot pursuit. According to the Shenandoah Police Department, 30-year old Alfred Mutchler, Junior, of Shenandoah, was taken into custody in the 1300 block of West Lowell, early Sunday morning. Mutchler was wanted on a Page County warrant for eluding, which carries a $10,000 bond, and, on a Montgomery County warrant for a violation of probation, which carries a $5,000 bond. Authorities say Officer Brandon Allen was on routine patrol when he spotted Mutchler in the 1300 block of West Sheridan. When the Officer tried  to approach Mutchler, the man took off on foot. Sergeant Steve Mather of the Shenandoah Police Department joined in on the foot pursuit, until Mutchler was captured and placed under arrest. Mutchler was unable to post bond and was taken to the Page County jail in Clarinda for holding until he could make an appearance before the magistrate.

Council Bluffs airport revenues increase 50 percent

News

December 25th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — An audit shows the Council Bluffs Airport Authority revenues increasing 50 percent the last fiscal year and expenditures decreasing 12 percent. Total revenues were just over $2.9 million for the fiscal year ending June 30. Property taxes accounted for more than $575,000, rental income $145,000 and federal grants more than $2 million. There was an increase in federal grants for airport improvement projects. Expenses were almost $1.4 million. Those expenses included $189,000 for employee salaries, $738,000 for depreciation and $142,000 for interest expense. Certified public accountant Mike Massman said the airport is run “efficiently” and that it is a “real asset to the community.”

Wildlife refuges announce Neb., Ia. deer hunts

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

December 25th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Boyer Chute and DeSoto National Wildlife Refuges are holding a January muzzleloader deer hunt for Iowa and Nebraska hunters. The hunt will run from Jan. 11 through Jan. 18, and will apply to antlerless deer only. Nebraska hunters need a Season Choice Area 21 permit for the hunt. Iowa hunters will need a January antlerless deer license, but they can use similar permits from Harrison or Pottawattamie counties. Boyer Chute Refuge is open to Nebraska hunters only. DeSoto has land in both the states of Iowa and Nebraska, and hunters from both states may hunt.