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About 17,000 “English Language Learners” in Iowa’s K-12 schools

News

September 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows a small percentage of students in Iowa’s K-through-12 schools are classified as “English Language Learners.”  More than 476-thousand students were enrolled in Iowa’s public schools last year. According to the latest Census data, about 49-thousand Latino students are enrolled in Iowa schools this year — and about 17-thousand students are “English Language Learners.”

That means about three-and-a-half percent of Iowa K-through-12 students are learning English. On July 1st of 2012, the Census reports almost 14 percent of Iowa’s Latino population was under the age of five. More preschoolers in Iowa are Latino than any other race, including Caucasian.

(Radio Iowa)

AHST & Walnut enter into Whole Grade Sharing negotiations

News

September 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the two area school districts have announced their intentions to enter into  Whole Grade Sharing negotiations. The Walnut Community School District Board of Education voted unanimously during their meeting on Monday, Sept. 16th, to approve a resolution of intent to enter into a Whole Grade Sharing agreement with the AHST Community School District, in Avoca. On Wednesday, the AHST School Board approved a similar resolution.

Currently, AHST and Walnut share all activities for grades seven through 12, and they have a partial academic sharing agreement for grades nine through 12. Walnut High School students currently take a portion of their classes at AHST.

By law, there will be a public hearing 30-days prior to final approval of the Whole Grade Sharing Agreement. The agreement will need to be given final approval by both districts, no later than February 1st, 2014. If approved, the agreement could take effect for the 2014-2015 school year.

Persons with questions about the Whole Grade Sharing process may directed them to the AHST and Walnut Community School District shared Superintendent Jesse Ulrich, at 712-343-6364.

Autopsy results released in connection with Lenox woman’s death

News

September 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Medical Examiner’s Office have released autopsy results in connection with the death of a woman whose body was found in a Taylor County cornfield on August 3rd, 2013. The resulted determined 31 year-old Maggie Weaver, who was found outside of Lenox, died from an accidental overdose caused by acute methamphetamine intoxication.  Since there were no indications  of foul play the investigation into her death is complete.

Weaver was last seen on July 31st at approximately 10:30 PM when she was waiting at a residence for a ride from a friend.  The friend arrived approximately 2 ½ hours later and  Weaver was nowhere to be found.  Her body was eventually found by friends on August 3rd.

Malvern man injured during a crash in Mills County

News

September 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Mills County say one person was injured during an accident Wednesday morning, on Highway 34. Dennis Schroeder, of Malvern, was transported to Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs by Pacific Junction Rescue, after his 2013 Volkswagen crashed in a construction zone.

The Sheriff’s Department says Schroeder was traveling west on Highway 34 near the intersection with 195th Street  at around 11:30-a.m. Wednesday, when his car hit several road construction cones and continued westbound. The car then left the road to the right before hitting a highway sign and post. It also hit a light pole and entered an embankment before coming to rest in the north ditch at the northbound entrance ramp to Interstate 29.

Red Oak man arrested for theft of bicycle

News

September 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak report an arrest has been made in connection with the theft of a mountain bike from a residence on Wednesday. 29-year old Zachariah Michael Holland, of Red Oak, was found to be in possession of the Gary Fisher brand bike, which was valued at $550. Holland faces a Possession of Stolen Property charge. He was transported to the Montgomery County Jail, where his bond was set at $2,000.

Escapee from Bluffs half-way home sentenced to 51 months in prison

News

September 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A former Omaha resident was sentenced Wednesday in Council Bluffs to spend slightly more than four-years in prison for escaping from a federal facility. 25-year old Princeton C. Baker was sentenced by United States District Court Chief Judge James Gritzner to 51 months in prison, plus three years of supervised release when he completes his sentence. Judge Gritzner ordered that the 51 months be served consecutively to the prison time Baker is currently serving for attempted robbery in the State of Iowa.

On July 3rd, 2012, Baker entered a guilty plea to escape from a federal facility. The basis for the charge and plea was that on November 6th, 2012, Baker was transferred to a halfway house in Council Bluffs, to complete a 27 month sentence imposed by the Federal District Court for the District of Nebraska.

On November 7th, 2012, Baker complained of feeling ill and staff from the CH, Inc. halfway house transported Baker to a medical facility. While being transported from the medical facility to a secure facility, Baker jumped from the moving transport vehicle and attempted to take several cars before being apprehended by Council Bluffs Police.

The investigation was conducted by the Council Bluffs Police Department and the United States Marshal’s Service, and was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Iowa governor’s brother fined for EPA violation

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The brother of Gov. Terry Branstad will pay a fine and spend $26,000 to install a wetland area after his cattle farm failed to comply with requirements of his clean water permit.  The Environmental Protection Agency says Branstad Farms near Forest City did not maintain adequate records for the application of manure onto farm land and did not sample the manure and soil as required.

EPA documents show Monroe Branstad, the governor’s brother, operates the farm. The EPA says the farm will pay a $5,100 civil penalty and spend the additional money to install a wetlands restoration area, the first agreement of its type in the EPA region covering Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.  The governor’s spokesman says he will not comment.

Cass Supervisors approve 28-E agreement for Law Enforcement Services

News

September 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Thursday), approved a 28-E agreement for Cooperative Law Enforcement services with the Cities of Anita and Griswold. The agreement means a Deputy from Cass County will provide coverage to each respective community, at a cost for both cities $60,000 each. The hours each deputy will work remains the same in both communities. The Board also approved an increase in the number of deputy sheriff positions from seven to eight, in order to cover the County’s commitment in providing law enforcement protection. The Fiscal Year 2014 budget will be amended later to fund the position through June 30th, 2014. Receipts from the cities will be used to fund the deputies’ salaries and vehicle costs.

In other business, the Board received an update from County Engineer Charles Marker, with regard to various, on-going Secondary Road and Bridge projects. Marker also addressed complaints and comments he’s received from residents in the County, with regard to why more rock isn’t being applied to the gravel roads which are in need of work following the drastic changes in the weather. He said some of the calls he’s received are from people wondering why their property tax dollars aren’t getting things done sooner.

His answer is that there are 650-miles of rock road in Cass County. Property taxes provide the department with slightly more than $1.55-million dollars. The County pays $10.60 per ton for rock at the quarry. The minimum amount applied to a given road is 300 tons per mile. Marker said he would need $2-million property tax dollars to rock all the roads in the County each year. That figure does not include snow removal, salaries for the employees, hauling and blading.

He said the County can only afford to put rock on the gravel roads once every seven-years, he acknowledged, that more needs to be done more often, but there’s not enough money. Marker said that’s why people are seeing a gradual deterioration of rock roads. It’s because they can’t put on enough rock on the roads given the funds available. He said he’s lucky to be able to rock the roads every three-years, with a minimum coating of rock.

He said his district road crew foremen are keeping an eye on the roads in their area, and are working to repair and maintain the worst roads as they become problems, as best as possible.

Cass County Board votes to contribute to Freedom Rock Project

News

September 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Thursday) voted to approve a $5,000 contribution to the City of Lewis towards its efforts to have a Freedom Rock painted. The Board voted four-to-one in favor of the contribution, with Board Chair Mark Wedemeyer voting against it. Wedemeyer proposed having the County contribute $2,500, and he wanted to see more effort made by the City of Lewis to raise funds for the project before additional funding is granted. The County’s contribution will come from the Local Option Sales Tax proceeds.

Individuals representing the City of Lewis’ Economic Development group asked for the contribution, after explaining the costs involved and what’s been accomplished so far. Ray “Bubba” Sorensen and his family from Greenfield, are traveling the State of Iowa to put paintings uniquely individual to each location, on rocks acquired by various cities. Sorensen is of course, famous for his Freedom Rock painting in northern Adair County, as well as for the many murals he has painted on buildings throughout the State.

Matt Klein said they have received a 15,000-pound boulder, which was donated for the project, and put in-place on the northeast corner of the East Park, in Lewis. Klein said the project, which will represent the entire County, will cost an estimated $8,000 altogether. He said the Board of Tourism is excited by the project, which is expected to bring visitors not only to Lewis, but other communities in Cass County as well.

Klein said the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce has already had inquires about where the rock is located, even though it hasn’t been painted yet. The City of Lewis has made a down payment to Sorensen in the amount of $1,000. A concrete pad for the rock will be poured to support the 8-foot tall, 4 ½-foot wide boulder. Klein said while the City is on a waiting list to have the rock painted, having the County’s support behind the project could bump the project up on the list, in front of other Counties who want the work done, but have yet to find a boulder.

Klein said a final design for the painting has not yet been selected by Sorensen, but he has the final say in what will best represent the County. He said Sorensen will hold a town hall meeting to gather input from the communities before he comes up with the design.

No timetable has been established for when the rock will be painted, as fund raising efforts are in the planning stages, and there are several communities on the list who are ready to have their rocks painted. Shelby, Adair, Adams and Ringgold Counties already have their rocks painted. Sorensen will be touring the State over the next few Summers, working on the commissioned projects. For more information about the locations and counties that have applied for a Freedom Rock painting, go to http://www.thefreedomrock.com/tour/.

Non-injury accident in Atlantic, Wednesday

News

September 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department says no injuries were reported following an accident Wednesday afternoon at 7th and Plum Streets. Officials say vehicles driven by Amanda Gustafson, of Elk Horn, and David Dressler, of Anita, collided at around 4:35-p.m., as both vehicles were headed west on 7th Street and approaching Plum. The accident occurred when Dressler slowed for traffic in front him after going through the stop light, and Gustafson hit him from behind. Dressler was cited for Failure to Obey a Traffic Signal. Damage from the accident amounted to $2,000.