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Hungry for home-grown sweet corn? This is Iowa Farmers Markets Week

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowans who love the taste of farm-fresh sweet corn, tomatoes and other just-picked veggies already know where to go — as this is Iowa Farmers Market Week. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says there are more than 220 farmers markets across the state, and you’re never too far away from one. Northey says, “They’re one or two or sometimes three times a week in a location so you kind of have to pay attention to know where it’s at, but boy, once people get going, it becomes something they always want to get to and see what new products are there, meet and see friends and just get caught up on what’s going on.”

Northey says farmers markets sell more than just produce, but that is the number-one lure. “The produce and the changing of the seasons is certainly one of the things that draws folks there,” Northey says. “When strawberries show up or when sweet corn shows up, we see a surge in traffic but there’s also baked goods and crafts and other kinds of things, depending on what each market has.”

About a year ago, the state ag department launched a free downloadable smart phone app which offers a searchable database of Iowa’s farmers markets. Learn more at: www.agriculture.state.ia.us

(Radio Iowa)

8AM Newscast 08-05-2013

News, Podcasts

August 5th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Guthrie Co. School Board nominees announced

News

August 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Guthrie County Auditor’s Office has released the names of candidates set to appear on the September 10th ballot for School Board elections. In the Guthrie Center School District, Incumbent Melia Vanmeter and Wes Policky are running for two open seats.

In the Panorama School District, Greg Irving is running for a District 1 seat. Three candidates, Deb Douglass, Mindy L. Fear and Kent Muyskens, are running for one seat in District 2. And, Shari Clark and Jon Stetzel are running for one seat in District 4.

In the Coon Rapids-Bayard School District, Kelly Pevestorf and Brenda Schlaatter are competing for one seat in District 1 to fill a vacancy for a two year term. Jason Rosenbeck is running unopposed in District 3 to fill a vacancy for a two year term. Steve Dentlinger and Chad Leighty are competing for the one seat available in District 4.  Incumbent Pat McAlister is unopposed in District 6. And, Incumbent Joel Davis is running unopposed for the CR-B At Large District seat.

Ed Department going slow on new rules for school sharing

News

August 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

An Iowa Department of Education official says the organization is taking a cautious approach in instituting updates to a program that provides school districts with extra state financial help if they share positions to cut costs. Department deputy director, Jeff Berger, says the program had been limited to sharing operational and maintenance positions. But, he says that appears to have changed with the renewal of the program by the Iowa Legislature.

“They did several things that would indicate that they wanted to expand the opportunities to the program. They added several functions that were not there previously and were not — in our opinion– operational,” Berger says. “Things like guidance counselors, librarians, school nurses, social workers, curriculum directors. Those really in my mind are not maintenance and operations, which is fine.”

Berger says the original law ramped down the additional funding by 20-percent over time, but the new version does not do that. The original bill only allowed for sharing between contiguous districts, but the new bill does not have that provision. Berger says the Education Department’s biggest question is if the bill is meant to help districts add new staff as part of a sharing arrangement.

He says they are wrestling over the intent of the statute because it’s lead sentence says it’s designed to “enhance student opportunities. “There are some who would read the enhancing student opportunities to mean this is allowing us to add staff that we didn’t previously to have,” Berger says. Expanding the program to include new positions that can be shared also means expanding the supplemental money given to schools. Berger says the state could spend a minimum of 20-million-dollars to a maximum of 85-million dollars depending on the participation. The program currently spends 13-million dollars.

Thirty-five percent of the program is paid for through property tax, so the expansion would be a hit to taxpayers. Berger says the Department has decided to take a narrow view of the program at this point and only fund sharing for positions that are already in a district’s budget. He cites a superintendent position that’s equivalent to one full time position as an example.

“The superintendent was in a small district a one-point-oh. They decide with some other district to reduce that to point-eight and the other district will pick up the point-two. Because that F-T-E in the first district went from one to point-eight, they qualify for operational sharing,” Berger says. The district would get extra state support based on the amount of state aid the state already pays each district for each pupil. Berger says the department wants to get more input on how far to expand the sharing program and if legislators want to fund that additional cost before they move ahead with it.

“Our approach in interpreting this is that it is much easier for us to be very conservative and go back for a clarification from the legislature and then loosen it up, than to take the broadest interpretation and let the horse out of the barn and then try to rein it back in,” Berger says. The State Board of Education gave initial approval to the conservative rules for the update program at their meeting last week. The issue will now go to a public hearing and then to a legislative review committee.

(Radio Iowa)

7AM Newscast 08-05-2013

News, Podcasts

August 5th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Five active and three former Iowa National Guard soldiers have committed suicide in last 7 months

News

August 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa National Guard has taken some significant casualties in recent months. Since late last year, eight active or former soldiers have taken their own lives. Major Amy Price oversees the Iowa National Guard’s suicide prevention programs.”We’re having one of our worst years for suicide,” Price says. “Often people relate the suicides in the military to those who have deployed, but what we’re seeing is the majority of suicides have (involved) soldiers that have not deployed.”

Since last December, five active guardsmen ended their lives. They were between the ages of 18 and 25 were said to be facing financial and/or relationship problems.  “One of the biggest things that were doing is just trying to decrease the stigma of asking for help. We have a lot of resources out there for those who are struggling,” Price says. At least one case might have been related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Guard Chaplain Gary Selof  says the losses have been tough on other soldiers.

“I think it’s harder than a combat loss honestly, because it’s something the person intentionally did,” Selof says. “Questions are raised (about) why didn’t we see it coming, couldn’t we have done something to prevent it…sometimes you just don’t see it coming at all and there’s nothing you can do about it.” Chaplain Selof says every soldier is aware of the threat. Suicide awareness is confronted openly, with an emphasis on training, identifying the symptoms, and getting help for those endangered.

(Radio Iowa)

Bluffs man to announce bid for IA Senate

News

August 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A man who serves as the City of Council Bluffs’ Finance Director will announce his intentions this (Monday) morning to make a run for the Iowa Senate. Republican Art Hill will announce his candidacy for the Senate District 11 seat at a press conference set to begin 9:30-a.m. in Meeting Room D, at the Council Bluffs Public Library.

Hill is seeking the seat currently held by fellow Republican Hubert Houser, who is undecided on whether to seek re-election. Houser’s Senate seat is up for election in November 2014. District 11 includes Pottawattamie, Cass, Adams and Union counties.

Hill served as the finance director for Council Bluffs since 2008. He has previously held the position of business manager for the Lewis Central School District.

ConAgra Foods helps raise $110,000 for food bank

News

August 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Food Bank for the Heartland now has $110,000 more to work with to help make sure families in rural parts of Nebraska and Iowa get enough to eat. The money will help feed about 2,000 families in the region over the next year. A unit of ConAgra Foods sponsored a golf event last month that raised the money.

Bill Stoufer, president of ConAgra Mills, says organizing the event gives his team a chance to give back to the community. ConAgra is based in Omaha and makes food brands such as Chef Boyardee, Orville Redenbacher and Marie Callender’s. It is also the largest maker of store-brand products.

Iowa early News Headlines: Mon., Aug. 5th 2013

News

August 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s new policy that the governor must sign off on reimbursement approval for Medicaid-funded abortions remains untested over a month since it was enacted. Tim Albrecht, a spokesman for Governor Terry Branstad, says no reimbursement claims for abortions have been submitted since the rule took effect July 1st. Branstad signed the law, which is thought to be unique to Iowa, in June.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A man is being treated at an Omaha, Nebraska hospital after being shot in a confrontation with Council Bluffs police. Few details were immediately released about yesterday afternoon’s confrontation on the north side of Council Bluffs. Officials said the man was armed with a knife and suffered several gunshot wounds to his chest.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a 31-year-old woman’s body was found a cornfield in southwest Iowa this weekend. The woman’s body was found Saturday night in a field west of Lenox in Taylor County. The woman’s identity and the cause of her death have not been released. An autopsy will be performed early this week.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — No one hit the Powerball jackpot on Saturday, so the money will roll over: A cool $400 million for the next drawing. While hefty, the prize for Wednesday’s drawing is still well below the record $590.5 million jackpot won in May by an 84-year-old Florida woman. The odds of matching all six numbers are 1 in 175.2 million.

Red Oak man arrested on Cass County warrant

News

August 4th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak, Sunday, arrested a former Griswold man who was wanted on a Cass warrant. Officials say 20-year old Joel Alan Gronewold, of Red Oak, was seen riding his bike in the 400 block of East Reed Street at around 1:18-a.m., Sunday. Officers checking his identification found Gronewold was wanted on an active Cass County warrant for Probation Revocation.

The warrant, which was issued in July, stemmed from an original charge of Contempt of Court. Gronewold was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $10,000 bond until he could be picked up by Cass County deputies