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Iowa justices plan Sioux City area school stops


March 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Members of the Iowa Supreme Court will meet with students with stops at five high schools and a college in the Sioux City area.  The justices will split up for visits Wednesday at Sioux City North, Sioux City West, Maple Valley in Mapleton, Westwood in Sloan, OA/BCIG High in Ida Grove, and Morningside College in Sioux City. They will talk with students about the role of the courts.

The Judicial Branch says the justices also will hold a special session at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Morningside’s Epply Auditorium, where they will hear arguments in two cases.

RNC chair visits Iowa as part of listening tour


March 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The chairman of the Republican National Committee made a trip to Iowa Thursday, rejecting calls for the G-O-P to moderate its message. Reince Priebus, a Wisconsin Republican, presided over the national party in 2012 and has been elected to stay on for the 2014 elections.  “Listen, I don’t think our platform is the issue,” Priebus told Iowa reporters Thursday afternoon. “I think a lot of times it’s some of these biologically stupid things that people say, you know, that I believe caused a lot of the problems.” Priebus points to controversial comments about abortion from Missouri Republican Todd Akin.

Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King backed Akin in 2012. King may run for the U.S. senate himself in 2014 and G-O-P operative Karl Rove has threatened to run ads against King, so a more moderate Republican candidate could win a primary. Priebus says Rove has a First Amendment right to make the case against King.  “Obviously there’s a lot of groups out there that are picking winners and losers in primaries, right? It’s been for happening a long time,” Priebus says. “…Personally, as an RNC (chair), I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe the party should pick winners and losers in primaries and I think it’s, historically, if you look at it, it’s a bit of a fool’s game because you can’t actually predict some of the things that go on.”

Priebus is on a “listening tour” to visit with Republicans around the country and chart a new course for the party. He says the G-O-P can’t just wait ’til the last four months of a campaign and, instead, must embrace “permanent politics” in order to compete with Democrats.  “It’s something that quite frankly our party has been slow to get to because we really don’t like politics as a vocation, as a party. It’s something that we resist, generally, as a party and it’s something that has to come to an end,” Priebus says. “If we want to compete at a granular, person-to-person, heart-to-heart level — we’ve got to be here all the time.”

Priebus says the “liberty movement” presidential candidate Ron Paul built in Iowa must be “welcomed” because it’s a “big piece” of a growing party. The chairman of the Iowa Republican Party and a majority of members of the state central committee are Ron Paul supporters.

(Radio Iowa)

ISU researchers find differences between urban vs rural prison parolees


March 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Researchers at Iowa State University are using a federal grant to investigate ways to keep Iowa prison inmates from returning to prison once they’re released. ISU sociology professors David Peters and Andy Hochstetler have found treatment programs designed to reduce Iowa’s recidivism rate are working for many former inmates. But, Peters notes the treatment programs in place have proven much more effective for offenders from urban areas of the state. “For parolees sent back to urban areas, the treatment they got both in the prison and outside of the prison in the community really was effective at reducing their liklihood of ending up back in prison,” Peters said. “In fact, it was about a 40 percent reduction in the odds of a (parolee) showing up back in prison.”

But, for rural parolees, the treatment programs had “zero effect,” according to Peters. Both researchers suspect rural parolees face more obstacles to accessing substance abuse treatment and other help, so they may be more likely to relapse and violate the terms of their parole. Hochstetler says drug and alcohol problems clearly increase the risk of recidivism, but time spent in prison doesn’t appear to be much of a factor. “Curiously, we thought the longer you were (in prison), the more difficult time you would have reintegrating. But, we did not find that was an important predictor of either treatment or recidivism,” Hochstetler said.

The second phase of the study will involve visits to all eight community corrections districts across the state and interviews with probation officers. They’re hoping the work will help them identify treatment options that will further reduce the rate of recidivism and provide a cost savings to the state.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., March 8th 2013


March 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

FAIRBANK, Iowa (AP) — A 4-year-old northeast Iowa girl was flown to an Iowa City hospital after she was struck by a pickup. Authorities say Edna Raber of rural Fairbank ran into a street while playing with other children around 4 p.m. Wednesday. The little girl was taken to Mercy Hospital in Oelwein (OHL-wyne) and then flown to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A University of Iowa physician has been accused of drunken driving and lying to officers about her identity. Decontee Fletcher was arrested after police responded to a vehicle crashing early Wednesday into some trees. Fletcher was found sitting in the passenger seat. Fletcher is a clinical assistant professor in the neurology clinic at the University of Iowa.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa says an administrative assistant who is the future son-in-law of Coach Kirk Ferentz will no longer report to the football program to avoid nepotism concerns. Athletic director Gary Barta said yesterday that Tyler Barnes would now be supervised by Rick Klatt, who oversees the department’s marketing and media relations. He said Barnes had been a model employee, but the change in supervision was necessary because Barnes is planning to marry Ferentz’s 25-year-old daughter in July.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Chris Hines scored 16 points and Drake defeated Bradley 81-66 yesterday in the opener of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. The ninth-seeded Bulldogs earned a quarterfinal game against regular-season champion Creighton today in St. Louis.

Iowa Senate committee OKs education reform bill


March 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Senate panel approved a beefed-up version of the governor’s education reform plan that requires increased teacher pay and institutes leadership programs. The Senate Education Committee approved the measure Thursday by a 9 to 6 vote, with all Democrats in support and Republicans opposed.

Bill sponsor Sen. Herman Quirmbach of Ames says the Senate’s version would cost $190 million. That’s more expensive than Republican Gov. Terry Branstad’s plan. The measure increases minimum teacher salaries to $35,000 and offers options to school districts for leadership programs. The Senate plan includes a 4 percent funding increase to school districts in coming two fiscal years.

Republicans opposed the bill, saying it removes experienced teachers from the classroom to mentor other educators. The House has approved a bill limiting raises and making reforms voluntary.

Bills die as Iowa Legislature faces deadline


March 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Some of the hundreds of bills introduced in the Legislature will die this week as lawmakers run up against a self-imposed deadline. Most high-profile measures dealing with issues like property tax changes and education reform are moving through the process, but others dealing with gay marriage, abortion and gun control won’t survive the Friday deadline. Under the Legislature’s rules, bills die if they haven’t been approved by a committee by Friday, though they can be eligible in the session next year. Lawmakers won’t return to work until Monday. The Legislative Services Agency says 478 bills were introduced in the House this year and 354 in the Senate. Last year, 640 House and 478 Senate bills were introduced.

Bills that failed to meet an Iowa Legislature deadline include:

— Gay marriage: Measure would begin process of amending state constitution to prohibit gay marriage.

— Mandatory safety helmets: Minors would be required to wear a safety helmet while riding a mo-ped.

— Abolishing Education Department: The Department of Education would be eliminated and replaced by a state board of education.

— Guns on school grounds: People with a permit to carry a weapon could do so on school grounds.

— Medical marijuana: People with chronic illnesses and severe pain could get 2 ounce of legal marijuana from a nonprofit dispensary.

— Internet poker: Internet poker games would be legal in homes, casinos and racetracks but regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

— Webcam abortions: Doctors would be prohibited from prescribing abortion medication via a webcam consultation.

— Traffic cameras: Municipalities wanting to place a new traffic camera would apply for a permit from the Department of Transportation. Local governments would also need to justify existing cameras.

— Death penalty: People convicted of first-degree murder in which a victim was kidnapped or sexually abused or if the victim was a child could be sentenced to death.

— No-fault divorce: Parents of minor children would be prohibited from divorce unless one partner committed adultery, a felony and sent to prison, sexually abused the children or spouse or had abandoned the family for at least a year.

Hastings Man Arrested on Two Warrants


March 7th, 2013 by admin

Sheriff’s Officials in Montgomery County report the arrest Thursday afternoon of a Hastings man. 52-year old John Michael Hudson was taken into custody on warrants for Contempt of Court/Failure to Pay Child Support.  Hudson was brought to the Montgomery County Jail and held on $2,000 bond.

Lenox man arrested in connection with ongoing ID Theft investigation; AK-47 & pot seized


March 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Police in Lenox report an additional arrest has been made in connection with an ongoing investigation into the activities surrounding 45-year old Rosario Rivera. Rivera was arrested Tuesday on felony Identity Theft and Forgery charges. On Wednesday, another man, 28-year old Ruben Serrano Rivera, of Lenox,

Ruben Serrano Rivera (Lenox P.D. photo)

was arrested on a charge of Possession with the Intent to Distribute a schedule I drug within 1000 feet of a school, and while in possession of a firearm. He was also charged with forgery, identity theft and failure to affix a drug tax stamp. Each of the charges are Class D felonies.

Ruben Serrano was taken into custody at 601 South Walnut Street in Lenox, after a search warrant was executed at the home at around 7:30-p.m., Wednesday. The search, which was conducted by officers with the Lenox Police Department, the Taylor County Sheriffs office and the Ringgold county K-9 unit, resulted in numerous documents and 2 lap top computers being located and seized.  Also seized during the search, was 1.3 pounds of marijuana, several firearms including an AK-47 and a 9-mm handgun.

Ruben Serrano Rivera, was transported to the Ringgold County Jail. The investigation continues and additional charges are expected against other suspects.

FAA mulls flight control cuts at Des Moines, Omaha


March 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Airport control towers in Des Moines and Omaha could go dark during overnight hours if the federal government follows through with a plan to eliminate midnight air traffic controller shifts. It’s because of the government’s automatic spending cuts.

Executives at Des Moines and Omaha airports expect no disruption since commercial flight schedules end before midnight. Planes could still land and takeoff without controllers since all pilots are trained to use electronic Instrument Landing System equipment.

The FAA says it may eliminate overnight shifts at 72 airports beginning early April including Eppley Airfield in Omaha and Des Moines International.   Control towers at 238 smaller airports including Waterloo, Dubuque, and Sioux City in Iowa and Grand Island, Neb., could be completely closed.  The FAA is expected to decide by next week.

Atlantic Community Dev. Committee to discuss TIF request, Monday


March 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic’s Community Development Committee will meet Monday evening in the Mayor’s Office at City Hall, to review and discuss a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) assistance application from Sonntag Development. The meeting is set to begin at 6-p.m. (This is a change from Thursday’s announcement). The Atlantic City Council had referred the matter to the CDC during its meeting, on March 6th.

Project developer Don Sonntag is asking the City for a $250,000 TIF grant for the construction of the Southern Heights II subdivision. The project will include a private road with a cul-de-sac and 10 condominium duplexes. Sonntag has indicated that four of the larger units would be for sale, while the remaining 16 units would be for rent.

After review, the Committee will forward its recommendation to the full Council for further action.