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Atlantic Board of Ed approves purchase of 2 buses and changes last day of school


March 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic School Board, Tuesday, approved the purchase of a diesel-powered 84-passenger bus, and a propane-powered 64-passenger bus. Transportation Director Dave Eckles had recommended the purchases, because the current 84-passenger bus is on its last legs. Superintendent Mike Amstein quipped “Every time we send it out, we pray for divine intervention that we’ll see it come back again, and it’s not in behind a wrecker.” He said a current 64-passenger bus is going to “nickel-and-dime” the district “to death,” if they don’t do something about it.  Amstein said also, the new 84-passenger bus would have a larger under carriage carrying capacity. Using a small, propane powered bus he says, would save the district money, in the long run. Amstein says the problems experienced years ago with propane powered engines has not cropped up in recent years, according to other districts he’s spoken with.  The buses are not likely to be delivered to the district until sometime in July. 

In other business, the Atlantic School Board amended the 2011-2012 District Calendar, to make May 18th as the last day of school this year. Amstein says the extra day will make up for a February 15th dismissal, when students and staff were allowed time-off to attend the State Wrestling Tournament. The Board also approved an increase in the price of school lunch prices. Last year, the district increased prices by a nickel, but the State says that should have been 13-cents. An Iowa Department of Education consultant told the district it should increase the cost by a minimum of 4.18% for the upcoming year, especially considering the increase in the cost of fruits and vegetables for the National School Lunch Program. The School Board tabled action on changing the Driver’s Education fee for this summer, until its next regular meeting, when more specific information is available on the cost.

7AM Newscast 03-14-2012

News, Podcasts

March 14th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


Atlantic Board of Education approves FY 2012-2013 Budget


March 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Board of Education held a public hearing Tuesday night on the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Budget, which begins July 1st. Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein said the budget reflects a 2% allowable growth, and will reduce the total tax levy by 60-cents per thousand dollars property valuation. The levy drops from $14.75 per thousand in FY 2011-2012 to $14.15 for FY 2012-2013. Amstein says the administration believes it’s a “responsible budget, and will meet the needs of the students and employees of the district.” Amstein said the certified budget, which was approved Tuesday night by the School Board, is not what the district actually intends to spend. Instead it’s for the maximum it is allowed to spend under standards set by the State. The certified budget amounts to just under $30.95-million. 

During a public hearing on the budget at the start of the school board’s meeting, Atlantic resident Paul Lundquist questioned how the money was being spent, including for certified staff salaries. Amstein said the maximum the district can spend on salaries is $15-million. Lundquist asked if that included insurance and IPERS. Amstein said it doesn’t. He said it represents an increase in additional staff. The teachers union had requested a 6.9% increase in their salary and benefits package, but Amstein said the actual amount of increase is still under negotiation. Lundquist questioned how the School Board justify a substantial increase in teacher salaries without some sort of local standards for teaching and learning, that would make them accountable for their students’ performance. He also questioned how the board could pass a Certified Budget, without having the salary increase figures in place. Amstein says the State requires them to pass a Certified Budget now, but the timeline for settling with teacher’s unions is different. He said the District could easily still be in negotiations through late April. The district is allowed to conduct negotiations through late April or early May before talks go to arbitration, if that becomes necessary.

Record High Temps expected again today

News, Weather

March 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A new record High temperature was set in Atlantic, Tuesday, when we reached 79-degrees here at KJAN, the official National Weather Service record-keeping and reporting site for the community. The old record was 76, set as recently as 2007. Prior to that, the record was 73, in 1933.  The Weather Service says we can expect to see a new record high temperature set today, and near record highs for Thursday and Friday. The record high for March 14th in Atlantic was 72 degrees in 1908. We expect to blow that away today, as the Weather Service is calling for a high of 80.  

53-years ago on this date, a major Winter storm hit Iowa, and lasted for three-days.  The precipitation began as rain in the southwest part of the State, and left a total of 8-to 10-inches on the ground.

Hastings man wanted in Adams Co., arrested in eastern IA Monday night


March 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Adams County Sheriff’s Department reports this (Wednesday) morning, a Hastings man was arrested Monday night in Cedar Rapids for Failure to Appear in Adams County, on an original charge of Circumventing an ignition interlock device, which is designed to prevent an individual from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. 22-year old Seth Everett White was arrested in Cedar Rapids at around 7:40-p.m. Monday, and transported back to Adams County, where he was being held without bond.

Iowa News Headlines: Wed., March 14 2012


March 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Senate committee has passed a bill that allows MidAmerican Energy to seek permission from regulators to move forward with a nuclear power plant. The measure allows MidAmerican to ask the Iowa Utilities Board for a rate increase from the company’s customers to fund the cost of permitting, licensing, and building a plant.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Senate has passed a measure that would allow existing casinos and racetracks to offer Internet poker. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission would be in charge of the poker games, which projections show could generate between $3 million and $13 million in state tax revenue. The measure moves to the House.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says state law allows online schools as long as the curriculum is taught by a licensed teacher and students are supervised. The CAM and Clayton Ridge school districts have said they plan to launch online-only programs run by for-profit companies next school year.

LOGAN, Iowa (AP) — A former high school principal accused of pulling down the pants of a female student on January 20 has pleaded not guilty to a simple assault charge. Mike Loftin was fired from his position at West Harrison Community School District in Mondamin. Loftin had also coached the girls’ basketball team and allegedly pulled down a girl’s warm-up pants before a game.

Elderly Kansas City Couple injured in Fremont County Accident


March 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

(updated 3/15/12 – ISP corrected the couples’ ages)

The Iowa State Patrol says an elderly couple from Kansas City, KS were injured during a single vehicle accident Tuesday evening, in Fremont County. The driver of the car, 88-year old Charles Best, and his passenger, 99-year old Marie Best, were transported to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where they were listed in “Fair” condition. 

The Patrol says the Bests’ 2004 Toyota Highlander was traveling north on Interstate 29 at around 6:45-p.m.,  when for reasons unknown, the SUV left the road, traveled into a ditch, a field and a creek before coming to rest in a field. Neither of the Bests’ were wearing their seat belts. The accident remains under investigation.

Iowa House to finish school reform Wednesday


March 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa House delayed action an education reform plan after a drafting error was discovered at the end of a long day of debate, forcing the lawmakers to postpone the final vote until today (Wednesday). The bill gives the state more control over how student progress is measured and how teachers and administrators are evaluated. Those are among just a few aspects of education traditionally handled by local districts but passed on to state officials in the Republican-backed bill. Under the measure the Iowa Department of Education would establish new procedures to evaluate teachers and administrators annually. High school students would have to take new tests to determine if they’re prepared for college or a career and third graders not reading at grade level would be held back from fourth grade.

Iowa attorney general says online schools OK


March 13th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says online schools are allowed under state law. Miller issued an opinion on Tuesday. It was in response to a request by a state senator after two districts, CAM and Clayton Ridge, said they plan to launch online-only programs run by for-profit companies next school year. Miller says online courses are permitted, as long as the curriculum is taught by a licensed teacher and that students enrolled in the course are supervised. Critics argue the schools are illegal under a clause in the Iowa Code that says school districts are only allowed to do what is expressly stated in law. Miller disputes that claim, but says education officials should monitor the emergence of online-only programs in Iowa.

Guthrie County Extension welcomes new Office Coordinator

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 13th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A native of Guthrie Center has returned home to become the new Office Coordinator at the Guthrie County Extension Office. Vicki Frohling (formerly Vicki Hansen) started working at the Extension office on March 5th.

Vicki Frohling

As Office Coordinator, Vicki has the responsibility of coordinating the office needs in Guthrie County, delivered by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

She brings to the position a background in health care administration,  and most recently served as the Executive Director of the Russell, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce. Frohling graduated from Guthrie Center High School and attended Northwest Missouri State University. She and her husband Wyatt recently moved back to Iowa from Kansas, and live on an acreage three miles west of Guthrie Center.  The couple has two adult children who live in Kansas.

Frohling says she’s “Excited to be living back in Guthrie Center and working for the extension office,” and the she looks forward to becoming an active part of the community. ISU Extension invites you to stop by the Guthrie County Extension Office at 212 State Street in Guthrie Center and welcome Vicki back to Guthrie Center and to her new position.