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Exira City Council mtg. to be held Wednesday

News

February 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Monday’s meeting of the Exira City Council was postponed to this Wednesday evening, due to a lack of a quorum. City officials say there weren’t enough members of the Council on-hand due to an illness and family obligations. When the Council convenes in their meeting room at 7:30-p.m on Wednesday, they’re scheduled to set the Fire Township meeting for Tues., Feb 17th at 7-p.m., and set the date for a Public Hearing on the Budget as March 9th.

In other business, the Exira City Council will discuss and possibly act on a building permit for 302 S. Cottage Street.

(Podcast) KJAN News, 2/10/2015

News, Podcasts

February 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The 8-a.m. Newscast w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

Play

Smoke inhalation blamed for death of Iowan found in car

News

February 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say smoke inhalation likely killed a Sioux City man who was found dead inside a burning car near a Des Moines church. Firefighters had been sent to the parking of the Abundant Life Church on East Sheridan Avenue around 10 p.m. Sunday. They discovered the body of 51-year-old Patrick Murphy II after opening the driver’s side door.

Medical examiner Gregory Schmunk says Murphy was barely burned. The autopsy didn’t reveal any evidence of trauma or signs of any crime involved in Murphy’s death. A toxicology report is expected within six weeks.

(Podcast) KJAN News & funeral report, 2/10/2015

News, Podcasts

February 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The 7:06-a.m. report w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson

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SW IA man arrested on felony burglary & weapon charges

News

February 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A 25-year-old man from southwest Iowa was arrested Monday morning in a burglary and weapons case in Red Oak. According to the Daily NonPareil, Logan James Chelf of College Springs was arrested around 8 a.m. at Broadway and Market Streets after Red Oak police received a call about a burglary. Red Oak police said Chelf was carrying a loaded 9 mm handgun when he was arrested.

Authorities said Chelf was arrested on suspicion of first-degree burglary, a Class B felony; going armed with intent, a Class D felony; and a weapons violation that is an aggravated misdemeanor. He was being held in the Montgomery County Jail.

Red Oak police said the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office assisted them in their investigation.

Iowa early News Headlines: Tue., Feb. 10 2015

News

February 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is getting a warm welcome from Iowa Republicans in his first campaign appearance since returning from a rocky trade trip to the United Kingdom. Christie appeared at a Monday event sponsored by a county GOP organization held in suburban Des Moines. Seeking to introduce himself to voters in the kickoff caucus state, Christie touted his record as a conservative governor in a Democratic state, citing his efforts to cut taxes and reduce spending.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — University of Iowa President Sally Mason has discussed details of a merger with a Des Moines business college that will become part of the university in 2016. Mason says the AIB College of Business will be gifted to the university instead of technically merging because of accreditation issues. AIB will graduate its last students at the end of June 2016, and the University of Iowa will take over operations the following month. AIB athletes at the meeting later expressed concern about the merger.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources says results from several monitoring stations along the Mississippi River show much of the ethanol that leaked into the water after several train cars derailed has dissolved. DNR spokesman Kevin Baskins says the highest levels of ethanol have been detected nearest the site where 14 cars containing the fuel went off the tracks Wednesday in a remote area north of Dubuque.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Three trial dates have been set for a Davenport man accused of molesting multiple children over several years. And April 27 trial date for the first case was scheduled Friday for 54-year-old Melvin T. Lucier, a registered sex offender. Police say Lucier was charged in 2014 with six counts of second-degree sexual abuse and one count of third-degree sexual abuse after they say they received reports of Lucier fondling at least five young children.

‘Compromise’ could end school start date controversy?

News

February 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic School District Superintendent Mike Amstein received permission from the School Board Monday night, to apply for an early start waiver, with regard to the 2015-2016 school year. The request must be received by the Dept. of Education no later than March 15th. He says without the waiver, Atlantic would be starting its school year on or about Sept. 1st.

The school calendar for next year is currently under development and it’s doubtful it could be approved in-time for the deadline. For that reason, the Board approved filing of a waiver, which can be amended if the calendar shows the district can start on Sept. 1st.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the education committee in the Iowa House believes he’s got a compromise that could end the controversy over when Iowa schools should start classes in August. Representative Ron Jorgensen, a Republican from Sioux City, has drafted a proposal that would require Iowa’s K-through-12 schools to start the fall semester on or after August 23rd. Jorgensen says there’s been of lot of discussion about the issue.

“Just going back and forth and talking to some school district officials on what’s still doable for them and taking into consideration the State Fair issue and the tourism issue and those type of things,” Jorgensen says. Governor Terry Branstad has been a critic of having schools start earlier and earlier in August, complaining it hurts the state’s tourism industry and makes it impossible for families to go to the Iowa State Fair. Two months ago Branstad’s Department of Education put schools on notice that no more automatic waivers would be granted, so schools would have to start in the week in which September 1st falls. Brian Johnson is a lobbyist for the Iowa State Fair, the Iowa Lodging Association and the trade group for Iowa’s restaurant industry. He says August 23rd seems better than August 11th, the date on which some schools started classes last year.

“It’s an issue that the State Fair has worked on for a long time,” Johnson says. “I know not all the tourism people are happy with that date, but it’s one that we believe we can support and hope we can get the issue behind us.” Margaret Buckton is a lobbyist for the Rural School Association of Iowa and the Urban Education Network.

“For us, school boards being able to set when school starts is a core belief,” Buckton says. “And it’s one that, frankly, we wouldn’t compromise on because we think the priority of children trumps all other things.” Schools say they need to start early in order to conclude the fall semester before the long holiday break, plus many high school students take community college courses and community colleges start earlier than the last week of August, too. The House Education Committee’s chairman says setting August 23rd as the start date accommodates those two concerns from schools. Republicans and Democrats on the committee met privately for about an hour yesterday to discuss Jorgensen’s compromise. A committee vote on the idea could come Wednesday.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic Parks and Rec Board approves preliminary Kiddie Korral site plan

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors, Monday, discussed the preliminary site plan prepared by Snyder and Associates Engineers, for the Kiddie Korral shelter, at Sunnyside Park. Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring said once they started tossing about ideas, Herring’s main concern was the location of the new shelter.

Site plan for Kiddie Korral

Site plan for Kiddie Korral

He feels it needs to be moved 10 to 15-feet south of the current location, and change the orientation of the building to a more southwesterly direction. Herring said the building also needs to be handicapped accessible, and there needs to be some kind of a service road.)

Other plans call for replacing the current fire pit with one similar to that which was recently installed at the Camblin Addition Shelter, a walkway to the shelter and other features for the surrounding area. The Board gave Herring the go-ahead to pursue the purchase of a pre-fabricated arch-beamed, metal roofed 30-by-50-foot shelter, that simply needs to be assembled on a concrete pad.

Snapshot of the proposal shelter for the Kiddie Korral at Sunnyside Park.

Snapshot of the proposal shelter for the Kiddie Korral at Sunnyside Park.

The shelter’s pad and electrical systems are not included in the $30,000 cost of the building, which will likely be paid for through the Local Option Sales Tax. A commitment from the Kiwanis and other sources of fundraising will help to defer the remainder of the costs.

In other business, the Atlantic Parks and Rec Board approve the filing of an application for a TAP (Transportation Alternatives Program) grant for the Schildberg Recreation Area Lake number 2 Trail.  There is a little more than $300,000 available for the grant period ending Feb. 27th. Herring says they hope to get $153,000, with a 20-percent local match, which he intends to seek during the next meeting of the Atlantic City Council.

The Nishna Valley Trails group is seeking funds from the City, County and other entities as well as through grants, to bring build a connector trail from the Rec Area to the Atlantic Municipal Utilities’ well heads near the Atlantic Little League Diamonds across from KJAN.

Proposed additional trail around Lake #2 at the Schildberg Rec Area.

Proposed additional trail around Lake #2 at the Schildberg Rec Area.

Herring said the Lake #2 trail is critical to fulfilling the goal of bringing in hikers and bicyclists to the Rec Area, which can be a destination focal point for outdoor enthusiasts and bring more traffic into downtown Atlantic.

Stanton man arrested for Driving While Revoked

News

February 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak made an arrest following a traffic stop Monday afternoon. Officials say 31-year old Aaron Duwayne Childs, of Stanton, was arrested for Driving While Revoked. Childs was being held in the Montgomery County Jail Monday evening, on a $1,000 cash bond.

Atlantic School Board approves nearly $1-million in cuts for FY 2015-16

News

February 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Community School District’s Board of Education Monday night approved nearly $1-million in cuts for the 2015-16 School Year.

A large crowd packs the Atlantic High School Media Center.

A large crowd packs the Atlantic High School Media Center.

Their action came before a large crowd who gathered in the High School Media Center to learn where the previously announced but unspecified cuts would be made. Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein said the Board gave the administrative team a target of $650,000 to make in the form of cuts from the budget. The amount he recommended was $682,616, but Amstein said there were some additional items they are looking at.

The other factors include: Utilizing breakdown insurance to lower the liability to the General Fund; Considering the addition of a Public Education and Recreation Levy (PERL) for playground equipment and other activities (from a voter approved 13.5-cents per thousand dollars valuation); Reducing a full-time TAG (Talented and Gifted) program teaching position, and the reduction of one Special Education Teacher’s position and condensing Special Education Loads.

Recommended budget cuts for the 2015-16 School Year.

Recommended budget cuts for the 2015-16 School Year.

Amstein said on top the proposed cuts, there is already announced elimination of the Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) Planning positions, which amounts to $305,256, for a total of $987,872. He said that amount is above the targeted amount because it’s the amount they’d have to cut out of the budget if it stayed exactly the same as it was for the 2014-2015 school year.

Amstein said there are still some inherent, unknown costs of business that will affect the budget, such as allowable growth from the Iowa Legislature, which is now called “State Supplemental Aid,” that officials are guessing may amount to1.25-percent. He says at 1.25, with a three-percent increase in the district’s cost of operations – $350,00 – they would have about $21,000 less than they would have if the amount were higher. There also have not yet been contract settlements with the certified and non-certified staff, and potential insurance increases for the upcoming year.

Amstein said they recently received their insurance increase for the upcoming year from the districts current vendor, which amounts to 19-percent, which he says means an increase of about $200,000. The biggest cuts in the budget include $100,000 from the High School Curricular Learning Teams, $92,056 through Teacher Attrition (including a Washington Elementary Phys. Ed position with transfer), and Sharing with the High School an FCS (Family and Consumer Science) position for two periods, which amounts to a savings of $73,602. In addition, reducing the substitute budget by limiting the number of conferences and training session during the school day, results in a savings of $50,000. Amstein confirmed the Head Dance Team Coaches position would be eliminated, which essentially also means the elimination of the Dance Team.