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Harlan officials warn residents about sick raccoons


March 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the City of Harlan are warning the public about sickly raccoons in the area. Kevin Krohn, Harlan City Parks and Animal Control Manager, said the city has recently had four cases of sick raccoons inside city limits. Normally, he says, the animals would not be seen during the day or approachable. However, Krohn said the animals seem rather tame and residents can walk right up to them.

The City of Harlan had the last raccoon sent to Iowa State University to discover the disease these animals are carrying. Krohn said if you see a raccoon that seems tame or is curled up, do not approach it, and contact the city of Harlan.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Cong. King still not ready to commit to running for Senate


March 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Congressman Steve King is still not ready to say whether he’ll run for the U-S Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Tom Harkin in 2014. King, a Republican from Kiron, says he wants to do a little more fact-finding before he’ll commit. “When Tom Harkin announced his retirement here a little over a month ago, it was something I’d been looking at anyway so that accelerated the decision-making process somewhat,” King says. “As things have unfolded, we’ll be going out and doing serious polling here within a short period of time.”

Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, has already said he’ll run for the Senate nomination, while Congressman Tom Latham, a Republican from Clive, says he will NOT seek the seat. King says he is actively looking at launching a campaign. “The nomination path looks pretty good and very positive,” he says. “If we can put together a plan and a campaign that has a reasonable chance to win, then I’d be in a position to say yes.” King says he is confident of winning any possible Republican primary and he adds, “political science is not a science, it’s far more art.”

“Every endeavor I’ve tried, they’ve said was impossible,” King says. “That doesn’t mean I’m invincible by any means, but I do trust my head and my gut and my heart more than I do the counsel sometimes of somebody who don’t have the benefit of the information that we will have.” Governor Terry Branstad, a Republican, said he would support Latham in a Senate bid — before Latham dropped out. Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds has also said she’d consider running for the Senate seat.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic BOE to hold public hearing on Certified Budget


March 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A public hearing will be held Monday evening in Atlantic, with regard to the Certified 2013-2014 Budget for the Atlantic Community School District. Business Manager/Board Secretary Mary Beth Fast tells KJAN News the levy for the district under the Budget is up 10-cents from last year, to $14.51 per thousand dollars of assessed property valuation. The total amount of the budget is a little more than $5.94-million. A hearing on the budget will take place during a meeting of the Atlantic Board of Education. Their session begins at 7:30-p.m. Monday, in the High School Media Center. Later on during the meeting, a vote will be held on approving the budget.

In other business, with the recently announced resignation of Middle School Principal Cam Smith, Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein is expected to recommend the School Board consider and/or act on Administrative Realignment, or how the building administrators are set-up in the district and what their respective responsibilities will be.

The Board will also act on approving the Instructional Support Program, which provides additional funding in the General Fund, and has been in-place for the past 10-years, and is set to expire in June 2014. The Program may be funded by all property tax or a combination of property tax and income surtax. The total Program may not exceed 10% of the district’s regular program district cost.

Mary Beth Fast said most of the school districts in Iowa have an ISP, the funds for which are spent on instruction. That may include books and other educational materials. She says the first time the ISP came into being was the result of a public vote, which put it into effect for 10-years. The district has the option to put the ISP up for a renewal vote, which would keep it in-place for another10-years, or, the Board can opt to vote on the measure, which would keep it in effect for 5-years. Mary Beth says the Board is planning on approving the 5-year option. (For more information on the ISP, surf to: http://educateiowa.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1425&Itemid=2425)

The Atlantic School Board will also discuss and act on: Approving the Early Start Calendar Waiver request for the 2013-2014 school year; School fees (Fast says the only changes are to some reductions in the fees students and/or parents pay); Approval of the change in mascot name for the Atlantic Trojanns to “Trojans,” which was requested by students in the district; and, the make-up of snow days, as required by the district’s contracts.

Marne to Host Storm Spotter Training March 13th

News, Weather

March 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Kennon reports the Marne Fire Department and Cass County Emergency Management Agency will host a Storm Spotter Training Program on Wednesday, March 13th, from 7-to 9-pm., at the Marne Fire Station. Kennon says a meteorologist from the National Weather Service (NWS) in Des Moines will be on-hand to provide participants with information about safely observing and reporting severe weather. The session is FREE, open to the general public, and no registration is required.

Each year, National Weather Service meteorologists from Des Moines travel to many counties they serve, to provide a comprehensive multi-media spotter training presentation. The course contains information about severe weather climatology, severe thunderstorm types, different severe weather threats and how to identify them, how to report severe weather, spotter safety and severe weather communications. Spotter training classes typically last between one and two hours.

Trained Spotters provide an invaluable service for the Weather Service. Real-time observations provide a truly reliable information base for severe weather detection and verification. Timely and accurate observations assist NWS staff members in their warning decisions, enabling the NWS to fulfill its mission of protecting life and property.

The Spotter Training class on March 13th is sponsored by the Cass County Emergency Management Agency. Questions concerning the class should be directed to the Cass County EMA coordinator, Mike Kennon at 712-254-1500.

8AM Newscast 03-08-2013

News, Podcasts

March 8th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


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.