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2 killed, 2 injured when SUV driven by a teenager crashes in Jasper County

News

November 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa State Patrol reports a woman and a teenager died, while two others were injured, during a rollover accident Tuesday afternoon in Jasper County. All of the victims are from Des Moines. Authorities say a 2003 GMC Envoy, driven by 14-year old Bryneisha Watkins was traveling west on I-80 about a mile east of Newton, when the teen lost control the SUV while it was passing a semitrailer. The vehicle ran off the roadway into a roadside ditch, and rolled over.

Two passengers in the vehicle, 13-year old Natasha Watkins and her mother, 30-year old Sabrina Watkins, died in the crash. The driver, and 11-year old Nataija Watkins, were injured and transported to Iowa Methodist in Des Moines.

The accident, which happened at around 12:30-p.m., Tuesday, remains under investigation.

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., 11/18/15

News

November 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Des Moines-based hospital and medical clinic company UnityPoint Health is getting into the health insurance business. The company says it has partnered with Bloomington, Minnesota, health care provider and insurer HealthPartners to create a health insurance company to be called HealthPartners Unity Point Health. The joint venture is seeking licenses from insurance regulators in Iowa and Illinois and plans to begin selling Medicare Advantage policies late next year. Hospitals have increasingly entering such ventures to create their own insurance companies.

CHICAGO (AP) — A U.S. judge has acquitted a Pakistani physician over allegations that he inappropriately touched an Iowa girl next to him on an American Airlines flight from New York to Chicago. The judge returned not guilty verdicts in Muhammad Asif Chaudhry’s case.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Regulators have confirmed a delay in funding earmarked for the University of Iowa’s climate change research center. The Iowa Utilities Board has collected $5.15 million from utilities that is legislatively mandated to support the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research and the Iowa Energy Center at Iowa State University. The board confirmed yesterday that it’s delaying $772,000 earmarked for the center.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Governor Terry Branstad has joined a lawsuit that challenges new federal rules on the oversight of smaller waterways, tributaries and wetlands. Branstad says he has intervened in a case pending in North Dakota against the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The rules are on hold as federal courts consider a number of lawsuits over their implementation.

 

3 injured in Lytton protein processing plant explosion

News

November 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

LYTTON, Iowa (AP) — Three people have been taken to hospitals in serious condition after an explosion at a protein processing plant in northwest Iowa. The Sac County Sheriff’s Office says three people were involved in a welding storage tank when the explosion occurred just before 6 p.m. at the Proliant facility in Lytton.

The Sioux City Journal reports that two people were taken to Loring Hospital in Sac City. A third person was taken to Stewart Memorial Hospital in Lake City and then transferred to an Omaha hospital. Their names have not been released. The State Fire Marshal’s Office and emergency personnel from Lytton, Sac City, Rockwell City and Lake City assisted with the incident.

Lytton is about 83 miles east of Sioux City.

Cruz & King to visit Harlan Friday afternoon

News

November 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz, a Republican Senator from Texas, will travel to Iowa Friday and Saturday. Cruz, who was elected to the U-S Senate in 2012, will start off his tour of Iowa 9:45-a.m. Friday in Sioux City, where he and Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King will hold a Town Hall meeting at Briar Cliff University, Stark Student Center – Clare Room (3303 Rebecca Street).   And, at 1-p.m., Friday, Cruz and King will hold a Town Hall meeting in Harlan. The event takes place at the American Legion Hall (7th and Chabturn Avenue).

Nebraska man convicted in Iowa hit-and-run gets prison

News

November 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Nebraska man convicted in the hit-and-run death of an Iowa man who was trying to help him has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. Twenty-nine-year-old Dustin Suppi was sentenced Tuesday on a vehicular homicide charge in the August death of Troy Ford, of Sioux City. A plea deal with prosecutors dropped a charge of leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

Troy Ford and his wife, Liz Ford, found Suppi on Aug. 8 slumped over the steering wheel of a pickup. As Liz Ford called for help, Suppi woke up and put the pickup into drive. A trailer attached to the vehicle ran over Troy Ford. The Sioux City Journal reports Suppi, of South Sioux City, Nebraska, told Liz Ford during the sentencing hearing he was sorry.

Woman involved in Bluffs SUV-Pedestrian accident won’t be cited for leaving the scene

News

November 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs said this (Tuesday) morning, that a Nebraska woman will not be cited for Leaving the Scene of an accident involving her SUV and a pedestrian that took place Monday morning. Sgt. Jason Bailey says the driver of the 2011 Nissan Versa,  30-year Michaela Williams, of Omaha, called Bluffs police to report she was the driver authorities had been looking for in connection with the accident. Williams told investigators she didn’t see the 17-year old female pedestrian in the crosswalk, until it was too late. While she was not cited for Leaving the Scene, Williams was cited for Failure to Yield the Right-of-Way to a pedestrian.

According to Iowa Law, if she had been cited for Leaving the scene of an accident, Williams could have faced having her driving privileges suspended or revoked, or, her license could have been suspended.

The accident happened at around 7:30-a.m. Monday, at the intersection of 25th and Broadway Streets, in Council Bluffs. In the original report, police said after the SUV struck the pedestrian, the driver stopped and remained on the scene until rescue personnel arrived. She left before a report could be filed with police. The pedestrian was treated for minor injuries at a Council Bluffs hospital, and released.

Report card issued on Teacher Leadership plan

News

November 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds touted the Teacher Leadership and Compensation plan Monday. The plan takes experienced teachers and makes them mentors and coaches for less experienced teachers. The plan is in its second year and Reynolds says all districts will have a plan in place in the next school year. “When fully phased in in the 2016 and 2017 school year, Iowa’s Teacher Leadership system will invest 150 million dollars a year. And this is a critical investment and one that we are really proud to be making,” Reynolds says. The Department of Education released information today (Tuesday) on the first 39 districts to take part in the program, and those numbers show the other 299 schools had better overall improvement than the first ones in the program. Education Department director, Ryan Wise, says it’s because the first districts to implement the plans are large urban districts.

“Those districts have higher levels of students qualifying for free and reduced price lunch — a higher need population of students. And so, to see growth across all measures is a positive trend,” Wise says. “I would also add, at the same time we see growth, this is also a big transition for districts.” The schools with the T-L-C program saw an increase of three tenths of a percent in reading scores, and two-tenths of a percent in math. The schools without the program saw a one-point-one percent increase in reading and three-tenths of a percent in math. Wise says there is an adjustment period for the new system.

“Those teachers taking on these leadership roles are doing so for the first time. And are being trained up and skilled in how to really work effectively with adults,” Wise explains, “and now it is a transition to have the same impact on adults. So, we expect those results to only grow over time.” Wise says he has heard good things about the program from the districts involved. The Council Bluffs School District was one of the first to implement the plan, and Superintendent Martha Bruckner, says they’ve been pleased with their results.

“Our Iowa assessments in 2014, the district showed increased achievement in 16 of 20 grade level tests in math and reading,” Bruckner says. Bruckner says other surveys also found improvement in district performance, and there was an increase in morale among teachers. Council Bluffs teacher, Samantha Adams talked about her experience with the program. She says it helped to have someone else review her teaching and help her.

“I didn’t even realize changes were needed. We began with weekly discussions about the instruction I was doing and the student data I was seeing,” Adams says. “She asked me questions I had never thought of — some of which revealed that there were things about my teaching that could be vastly improved.” Adams says it helped to have an outside look at her work.

“Our discussion and reflection made me realize I was teaching to the majority — rather than ensuring that each student was challenged to go further and do better. The discussions forced me to reflect on things that I could do in my instruction that would increase all students’ achievement,” according to Adams. “I am not going to lie and say that that was easy to begin seriously reflecting on my current practices and collaborating on ways to get better and improve student achievement. It was seriously challenging work, and I could not have done it alone.”

The state approved three-point-five million dollars in planning grants in the 2014 fiscal year for all Iowa school districts and then 50 million dollars for the 2015 fiscal year for the actual plans. An additional 50 million dollars was approved for the 2016 fiscal year schools to implement programs, and another 50 million dollars will be added in the 2017 fiscal year.
(Radio Iowa)

Audubon School Board notified of football classification change

News

November 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon School Board, Monday evening, was notified of a change in classification of their football program from Class A to an 8-player team. Superintendent Brett Gibbs told KJAN News “We will be small enough to play 8-player football, starting next year.” He said “There’s been some talk around town about whether we were or we weren’t so we just wanted to make sure the Board was well aware of where we were at. Our coaches came [to the meeting], and their recommendation is that we do 8-player football. ”

Audubon School District Superintendent Brett Gibbs

Audubon School District Superintendent Brett Gibbs

Gibbs said “It looks to me like that at least for sure the next two-years we’ll be small enough. The next time they count [enrollment] the number’s 115…we’ll be right around that number in grades nine through 11. Things might change, but it looks like we could be an 8-player school now, going forward.”  He said also the Board approved a change in a cooperative sharing agreement for swimming, from Carroll to Atlantic, beginning with the 2016-17 school year. The move really only affects one or two students.

And, Gibbs said the Audubon School Board discussed a preliminary three-year building and grounds plan. The District he says, just wrapped-up its current 3-year building and grounds plan, which involved remodeling the elementary school, upgraded the football and track facilities. The Building and Grounds Committee met and drafted a list of priorities for future projects and presented that to the Board, which will act on finalizing the plans during their meeting in December, depending on [legislative] funding.

Gibbs said hopefully the legislature can stop handling the issue of Supplemental Aid like a political football and set the rate and get that information to school districts as quickly as possible, so school boards can set their budget.

Underwood man sentenced on sex abuse and gun charges

News

November 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

An Underwood man was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison on sexual abuse and gun charges. The Daily NonPareil reports as part of a plea agreement, 50-year old Michael Weiss pleaded guilty to two amended counts of third-degree sexual abuse.

A third charge of second-degree sexual abuse was dismissed by Fourth Judicial District Chief Judge Jeffrey Larson. Weiss was also facing charges of owning a firearm as a felon. Larson sentenced Weiss to five years in prison for the gun charge, but it will run concurrent with the sexual abuse sentence, so Weiss will not receive additional time behind bars.

Weiss was arrested July 6th on a weapons charge, after he allegedly pulled out a handgun and fired three rounds, none of which struck a 37-year-old man, during a dispute over the storage of property. Weiss also pleaded guilty to weapon charges in 2006.  Weiss had been out on bond when he was arrested Aug. 13th on the sex abuse charges.

When he’s released from prison, Weiss will remain on parole for the rest of his life and will have to register as sex offender for the rest of his life.

Iowan imprisoned for not protecting daughter from sex abuse

News

November 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A Council Bluffs woman has been given 20 years in prison for aiding and abetting the sexual abuse of her daughter. The Daily Nonpareil reports that 37-year old Catherine Provancha also had pleaded guilty to lascivious acts. Prosecutors modified one of the charges and dropped two other counts in exchange for her pleas.  The woman’s former boyfriend has been charged with several felony sex abuse counts.

Police say Provancha told investigators that she saw the boyfriend sexually abuse her daughter over several years, starting when the girl was younger than 10. The woman told police she witnessed the abuse as many as seven times and never reported it or protected her daughter.