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(Podcast) 8-a.m. News, 9/5/2014

News, Podcasts

September 5th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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Special school elections to be held Sept. 9th

News

September 5th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Voters in Pottawattamie, Harrison and Mills Counties will head to the polls Tuesday to participate in special school elections. The Daily NonPareil reports the Lewis Central Community School District is asking voters to renew an existing instructional support levy, while the Missouri Valley and East Mills school districts will hold votes on voter-approved physical plant and equipment levies.

Lewis Central voters will choose whether to reauthorize a levy that is a mix of property taxes and an income tax surcharge that is used for textbooks, curriculum materials, Chromebooks, musical instruments and software licenses. Last year, the levy generated about $1.27 million, with $710,000 from income surtaxes and $560,000 from property taxes. The property tax portion of the levy was the equivalent of 54 cents per $1,000 of taxable valuation.

The income tax surcharge portion is 6 percent, which is levied against a taxpayer’s state tax liability, not income. For example, someone who owes $1,000 in state taxes would be charged $60 – that is, 6 percent of $1,000. Lewis Central voters can go to the polls Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Lewis Central Middle School.

Missouri Valley voters are being asked to double its existing physical plant and equipment levy, which pays for infrastructure needs, to a combined $1.34 per $1,000 of taxable valuation. The expanded levy would be offset by expiring bond payments. Even if voters approve the proposal, they would still see a decrease of 86 cents per $1,000 of taxable valuation in property taxes next year.

With voter approval, the levy would generate $2.9 million to help pay for a $7.5 million investment in the district’s campus, connecting all the schools together and making safety and wellness improvements. The remaining $4.6 in funding would come through state sales tax revenue. Missouri Valley voters can head to the polls Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Rand Center.

East Mills voters are being asked for a similar levy of $1.34 per $1,000 of taxable valuation for infrastructure projects. The district has faced a financial crisis, which resulted in the closing of Chantry Elementary School in Malvern this year to control costs. A school bond is on the horizon for next year following the levy vote next week. With voter approval, the levy would generate nearly $4 million over the next decade. How the money would be spent would depend on the fate of the school bond, based on several scenarios developed by Iowa Schoolhouse Construction & Planning Services.

If the bond issue would fall significantly short of passing, the consultant recommended the district consolidate its schools to Nishna Valley, which could be renovated using the levy funds. If the bond vote is close but unsuccessful, the district could try again. A successful bond vote could see all grades consolidated into the existing high school in Malvern.

East Mills voters living in the former Nishna Valley district can vote at Indian Creek Museum, 59256 380th St. in Hastings, from noon to 8 p.m.  Those voters living in the former Malvern district vote at Malvern Public Library, 502 Main St. in Malvern, from noon to 8 p.m.

(Podcast) 7-a.m. News & Funeral report, 09/05/2014

News, Podcasts

September 5th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

Play

Smoking materials blamed for deck fire in Atlantic, Thu.

News

September 5th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Discarded smoking materials are being blamed for a small deck fire Thursday evening, in Atlantic. Firefighter Gene Schmeling told KJAN News the damage to the deck at 806 Locust was minimal. The incident, which was originally dispatched as an overturned grill that landed on a deck and caught it on fire, was reported at around 6:28-p.m.

No other details are currently available.

Police: Iowa woman charged with child endangerment

News

September 5th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) – Storm Lake police have arrested a woman who they say played a game with her children that deprived them of oxygen. The Storm Lake Pilot Tribune reports 31-year-old Jennifer Cordova was charged with two counts of child endangerment on Thursday. Police say she played a “pass out game” with her 13- and 7-year-old sons. They say she pushed on the 13-year-old’s chest until he passed out. The 7-year-old wasn’t injured.

It’s unclear if the older child was hospitalized.  Cordova was released from the Buena Vista County Jail on $2,000 bond.

Keeping an eye on credit and debit accounts should be done all the time

News

September 5th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The latest report of a major retailer being hacked has prompted warnings for customers to keep an eye on their credit and debit card accounts. The spokesman for Iowa’s Attorney General, Geoff Greenwood, says the Home Depot announcement shows why you should make it a habit to track you accounts. “We urge consumers, regardless if there has been a report of data breach, to monitor their bills,” Greenwood says. “That is sometimes not just your best, but your only defense in detecting when someone has compromised your card.”

Greenwood says you can take all the right steps and still have your data stolen. “These are likely eastern European, perhaps Russian hackers who have infiltrated a system according to media reports, and have sold credit cards on the black market, in what they call the Dark Web. And so, you may’ve done everything right and you may’ve been compromised, and the best way to figure that out is to look at your bills, look at your account statements. Keep on top of your accounts,” Greenwood says.

Another way to keep up with your accounts is through a credit report. “Credit reports are available for free. There are three credit reporting agencies, and you are entitled to one free credit report every year and you can get many more if you want to pay for them,” Greenwood says. “What some consumers do, is they will spread it out over several months. They will get a report from one agency and then three or four months later get one from another agency.”

He says there are some specific instructions for Home Depot customers. “Any customer who used a credit card or debit card at Home Depot in the last six months should act accordingly and look at their account activity,” according to Greenwood. You can go to the Attorney General’s website to find out more. He says there is information on the website about what you can do. Right now you can call Home Depot directly if you have more questions, as Greenwood says Home Depot has not released specific information yet on the time frame involved in the hacking.

The latest retailer hack comes after Target reported having its data stolen near the end of last year.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa officials say heroin deaths spike in 2013

News

September 5th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa officials say the number of fatal heroin overdoses more than doubled in the state last year. The Des Moines Register reports the Iowa Department of Public Health says 20 people died in 2013. That’s up from eight in 2012. There were about one to four heroin deaths a year prior to 2008.

An Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement director says Iowa’s heroin problem seems to be worse in the eastern part of the state. He says those areas are closer to Chicago suppliers. The department didn’t say who the victims were or where they died.

An addiction-treatment specialist says the national increase in heroin use correlates to a rise in the abuse of prescription painkillers.

Settlement reached in Iowa suit over food bidding

News

September 5th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A food distribution company has agreed to pay $1.9 million to settle a lawsuit that claims it conspired with others over several years to restrain the bidding process for selling food at schools across Iowa. The lawsuit says Martin Brothers Distributing Company conspired with Iowa Educators Corporation and its successor, the Iowa Association for Educational Purchasing, to monopolize the business of food distribution at hundreds of schools over a 14-year period.

Martin Brothers and the others deny they did anything wrong. They say the process was fair, and the agreement was reached to avoid litigation costs. An eligible individual can file a claim to receive up to $3.50 per student per year, for a maximum of $50 per student.

For a list of school districts, years covered by the settlement, and a claim form, go to: http://iowaschoolfoodsettlement.com/

Boston doctor who contracted Ebola in Africa being flown to Omaha hospital for treatment

News

September 5th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

(Updated 6-a.m.) A-P/Radio Iowa

A doctor who became infected with Ebola while working in Liberia has arrived at a Nebraska hospital for treatment. Dr. Rick Sacra (SAY-kruh) was driven by ambulance to the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha after landing a little after 6 a.m. Friday at Offutt Air Force Base just south of Omaha. His ambulance went into a hospital receiving bay and vanished from public view at around 6:40-a.. He will begin treatment in the hospital’s 10-bed special isolation unit. Dr. Mark Rupp is medical director of infectious control at the hospital in Omaha where Dr. Rick Sacra will be treated. “I am very confident that we can care for this patient safely,” Rupp said during a news conference in Omaha on Thursday. “This is a specially designed unit. It’s locked. It’s secured. It’s separated physically.”

Dr. Sacra, the patient, is a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He went on a mission trip to Liberia in August to work in a hospital there and was diagnosed with Ebola early this week. He will be treated in what’s called the “Biocontainment Patient Care Unit” at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Jeffery Gold, the chancellor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, says the unit is one of the few in the country that’s equipped to deal with a patient suffering from an infectious disease like Ebola.

“We have been preparing for this type of event for a very long time,” Gold said during a Thursday news conference. “This is not a surprise that we’re being called to serve in this way.” Gold says not only will Sacra receive “world-class care” but all other patients, staff, faculty and visitors at the hospital will be “completely protected and safe.” Sacra’s wife told reporters in Boston yesterday (Thursday) that her husband is very ill, but was able to walk onto the plane that carried him out of Africa.

A U.S. doctor and an American nurse who contracted Ebola while on mission trips to Africa were flown to Emory University’s hospital in Atlanta last month for treatment. Dr. Sacra, the third American to be diagnosed with the disease, is a 51-year-old family doctor who has made many trips to Liberia in the past 20 years. He was not treating Ebola patients during his most recent trip, but was working in another part of the hospital. He got a fever last Friday and put himself in isolation while tests were done to confirm the Ebola diagnosis.

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., Sept. 5th 2014

News

September 5th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa has expelled a second student for sexual misconduct as part of a campus crackdown on perpetrators. UI President Sally Mason said yesterday the student was expelled during the summer term. No other details were immediately released Thursday.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Dubuque officials are making homeowners liable for most cases in which people are injured on sidewalks. The Dubuque City Council has approved an amendment to a city ordinance, allowing officials to delegate financial responsibility for sidewalk repairs to property owners. The Telegraph Herald reports the move is aimed at encouraging homeowners to keep sidewalks in better condition.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A federal agency is reviewing whether it would be appropriate for Iowa City to use $1 million in affordable housing funds to buy five condominiums at a luxury high-rise development. The Department of Housing and Urban Development confirmed the review in a letter to Senator Chuck Grassley, who raised questions about the arrangement.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A food distribution company has agreed to pay $1.9 million to settle a lawsuit that claims it conspired with others over several years to restrain the bidding process for selling food at schools across Iowa. The lawsuit says Martin Brothers Distributing Company conspired with Iowa Educators Corporation and its successor, the Iowa Association for Educational Purchasing, to monopolize the business of food distribution at hundreds of schools over a 14-year period. Martin Brothers and the other defendants deny any wrongdoing.