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Branstad says he will work with lawmakers on reduced budget


March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad says he will work with legislative leaders in response to lower-than-expected revenue for the upcoming budget, but he didn’t specify what cuts are possible. Branstad said Monday he wants to work with lawmakers to address “the financial realities” of the budget that goes into effect in July.

State budget experts released data recently that determined Iowa is taking in less revenue than expected. A new calculation means there is about $7.3 billion available to spend next fiscal year. Branstad had budgeted for more available funds. He said the new budget would be “extremely tight,” but he did not provide details on potential cuts. Branstad also did not specify whether the new figure would lower how much he recommends the state spend on basic aid for K-12 education.

3 arrests in Mills County


March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports three arrests. On Sunday, deputies arrested 20-year old Maxwell Douglas Manley, of Glenwood, for Driving Under Suspension. His bond was set at $300. On Saturday, 25-year old Calle Vivian Mace, of Emerson, was arrested for Disorderly Conduct, and 23-year old Breeanna Serena Sarratt, of Creston, was arrested for Driving Under Suspension and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. The women were being held in the Mills County Jail on bond amounting to $300 and $600, respectively.

2 accidents in Mills County


March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports one person was injured during an accident Friday evening, southeast of Glenwood. Officials say Annette Harris, a passenger in a 2003 Ford was transported to Jennie Edmundson Hospital by Glenwood Rescue following a collision that happened at around 6:10-p.m. at the intersection of Highway 34 and Kidd Road.

The accident occurred when a 2003 Mazda driven by Micah Brauch, of Glenwood, attempted to cross Highway 34 from northbound Kidd Road, and field to yield to the Ford, which was traveling west on Highway 34. The vehicles collided, causing the Mazda to spin around and stop on the shoulder. The Ford, driven by John Harris, of Red Oak, rolled onto its top and landed back on its wheels in the ditch. Brauch was cited by deputies for Failure to Yield.

And, no serious injuries were reported following an accident that happened at around 6-p.m. Sunday, near 180th and Ingrum Avenue, in Mills County. Authorities say William Tattersall, of Glenwood, was attempted to do a burn out, when his 1978 Ford went out of control and entered the east ditch, where it hit an embankment and rolled onto its top. Tattersall and his passenger suffered minor injuries, but did not require transport to the hospital. Tattersall was cited for Careless Driving and Failure to Maintain Control.

Western IA native living in WI pens a book about Marine sniper


March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A woman who is a native of western Iowa has penned a book detailing the service history of a Wisconsin Marine who served as the top scout/sniper, and expert in hand-to-hand combat in World War Two. Karla Jensen, who grew up in Audubon, started a writers group in Beaver Dam, WI. She met 91-year old Del Schultz at the Beaver Dam Senior Center, where Jensen was participating in a similar group. Jensen said Schultz approached her one day with a story he’d never told anyone before. Not even his family.

Jensen learned he been involved in battles at Iwo Jima, Saipan at the Nagaski, after the atomic bomb was dropped. Schultz was a member of the first sniper-scout school ever assembled. Jensen and Schultz met every other week over a period of 18 months. He had two stipulations with regard to the book. One was that his real name not be used. For the first 15 months, she wrote the story using the surname of Leo, which, not coincidentally, is the name of her now deceased father. He served in the Coast Guard, during World War Two.

He also did not want his four adult children to know that his character was featured in last year’s movie “American Sniper.” Schultz’ wife died 5-years ago from Alzheimer’s Disease. He wanted his story to be held back until he was on his death bed, but eventually agreed to allow his real name to be used in the book, and to tell his children. Jensen called Schultz’ son and told him about his father’s hidden past.

His biography/memoir eventually ended-up being 60-thousand words. Jensen suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) but never let on how much it affected him until after he began telling his story to Jensen. The title of the book is “Nobody’s Hero: The Story of a Marine Scout Sniper.” It was formed after Del’s youngest son said his dad “Is the type of Marine that doesn’t believe he’s a hero and the type of veteran who will not accept any accolades for being a hero.”

Jensen will share his story during visits in southwest Iowa. A book signing will take place 7-p.m. April 7th at the Audubon Public Library. A writing workshop will precede the book discussion from 5-to 6:30-p.m., offering anyone who wants to write about their own family history, information on how to be published. Jensen will be at the Irwin Public Library as well, on April 8th, from 6-until 8-p.m.  Some of the books have been signed by Del Schultz, as well. Her book is available Barnes and Noble.com and Amazon.com.

Non-injury accident Friday afternoon, in Lewis


March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Deputies in Cass County responded to a two-vehicle accident Friday afternoon, in Lewis. The Sheriff’s Office says vehicles driven by 55-year old William Todd Leighton and 64-year old Edna Mae Smith, both of Lewis, collided at the intersection of Minnesota and 1st Streets, at around 2:30-p.m. No injuries were reported.

The accident happened as a 2014 Ford pickup driven by Leighton was southbound on 1st Street, when it was hit by Smith’s northbound 2011 Kia Optima, which was attempting to make a left turn onto Minnesota Street. Damage from the collision amounted to $4,000.

Numerous arrests reported in Cass County over the past week


March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Deputies in Cass County made several arrests over the past week. Last Wednesday, 32-year old Jacob Michael Leary, of Atlantic, was arrested on four warrants for Failure to Appear and a District Court warrant for Probation Violation. Leary was taken to the Cass County Jail where he remains held on $88,000 bond.

On Thursday, 32-year old Matthew Wayne Echternach, of Atlantic, turned himself in at the Cass County Sheriff’s Office on a Sheriff’s Office warrant for Possession Marijuana 2nd Offense (Aggravated) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Echternach was booked at the Cass County Jail and released later that day on $2,000 bond. Also arrested Thursday, was 54-year old Brian Eugene Fahrenkrug, of Griswold, who was charged with Domestic Abuse (Serious). Fahrenkrug was taken to the Cass County Jail and released Friday on $1,000 bond.

On Saturday, Cass County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 46-year old Timothy A. Newton, of Lamoni, on a Clarke County warrant for OWI 3rd Offense and Driving while Revoked. Newton was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was released later that day on $5,000 bond. And, 68-year old Ronnie Loyd Erickson, of Cumberland, was arrested Saturday on charges of Possession of Marijuana (54 grams) (D Felony); Sponsoring a Gathering (D Felony); Prohibited Acts (Aggravated); Possession of Cannabidiol 1st Offense (Serious); and Possession of Methamphetamine (Serious). Erickson was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was released Sunday on $12,000 bond.

On Sunday, Cass County Deputies arrested 54-year old David Allen Crum, of Atlantic, on two charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd/Subsequent (D Felonies). Crum was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was released later that day on $10,000 bond.

Shelby County Fire Danger risk remains “High”

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Bob Seivert, Emergency Management Coordinator in Shelby County, reports the field and grass fire danger category will remain “High” this week. Drying conditions, with minimal precipitation in the forecast, along with increasing daytime winds, means the risk for controlled/planned burns, could quickly spread beyond the intended area. Therefore, any outdoor burns should be conducted during the early morning and late evening hours.

Fire stations and businesses in Shelby County should leave their  Fire Danger” signs in the “High” category, through at least Thursday, when the next update on burning conditions will be provided. High Fire Danger

The Shelby County EMA says you should remember to call your controlled burns in to the EMA Communications center at (712) – 755-2124, and, contact your local Fire Chief before igniting any outdoor burns.

French Icarian Colonies in Adams County the topic of a meeting this Thursday


March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Saundra Clem Leininger, Executive Director of the French Icarian Society, located in Corning, will present a program for the Cass County Genealogical Society’s monthly meeting this week, with regard to the six Icarian Colonies in America, and the French Icarian Village, near Corning.  The village was the longest-living Icarian community.

The 34-acre settlement features a restored cemetery, one-room school house and communal dining hall. A meeting about the Icarians will take place 1-p.m. Thursday, March 24th,  in the meeting room at the Atlantic Public Library.  The program is free, and open to the public.

Historians say the colonies were part of a social experiment began in France in the 1840s. Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, Missouri and Iowa were locations for the non-religious communal experiment. The Iowa Icarian Colony located 3 miles east of Corning was established in 1852 and disbanded in 1898. Many descendants live in the area.

Everyone is invited to learn more about the remarkable Icarian story during this Thursday’s meeting, in Atlantic.

(Podcast) KJAN 8-a.m. News, 3/21/2016

News, Podcasts

March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

More area and State news from KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.


SW IA Superintendent’s pay slightly more than elsewhere in the state


March 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Superintendent compensation is slightly higher in southwest Iowa than across the state, on average, based on an analysis of area district’s contracts with school chiefs. The Daily NonPareil cites a report in the Cedar Rapids Gazette which conducted an analysis of superintendent contracts from 314 school districts. The Gazette requested records from Iowa’s 336 school districts, with 93.5 percent responding.

Analysis by The Gazette showed a median salary of $135,000 with four weeks of vacation, on average, and a variety of benefits typical for public school district’s de facto CEOs, who manage multimillion-dollar budgets and employ up to thousands of people. The 271 superintendents’ whose compensation was reviewed are largely new to their districts, with nearly half on the job for fewer than five years and 12 percent finishing their first year at superintendent. Many superintendents are splitting their time between two districts or serve in additional roles, such as a building principal, trends that are mirrored in southwest Iowa as well.

The Nonpareil conducted an analysis, based on The Gazette’s data plus additional reporting, of the 29 public school districts in its coverage area in southwest Iowa, showing superintendent compensation is slightly higher than the average for the rest of the state, although Council Bluffs may throw off the comparison. The analysis shows across southwest Iowa, the average superintendent salary was about $142,000. Council Bluffs Superintendent Martha Bruckner has the largest paycheck, with an annual salary of $215,000, although her district is more than three times the next nearest in terms of student enrollment.

The second through fourth largest districts were also the second through fourth largest in terms of compensation, although Harlan pays about $12,300 more to Justin Wagner than Glenwood pays Devin Embray, even though Glenwood is considerably larger than Harlan. Fifth in terms of enrollment, Atlantic, pays Michael Amstein wages that are more middle-of-the-pack despite being one of the area’s fifth largest school district. All three superintendent – Wagner, Embray and Amstein – took over their school districts in 2010. Bruckner has been at the helm in Council Bluffs since 2007.

On the other end of the salary table is Tony Weers, the outgoing superintendent of Tri-Center, who is paid $122,000, the least in total of any of area’s full-time superintendents. Southwest Iowa is typical for the state in terms of women serving as superintendents: Bruckner, Deidre Drees of Missouri Valley and Kerri Nelson of Shenandoah. The Gazette found statewide the rate was about 15 percent, and it’s about 14 percent in the area. National statistics are either dated or unclear, but the superintendency of public school districts remains a male-dominated field despite education generally being a female-dominated profession.