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Bicyclists Roll Along in Ride of Silence in Several Iowa Cities Tonight

News, Sports

May 16th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Hundreds of bicyclists in at least a half-dozen Iowa cities will gather and ride their two-wheelers in a slow line tonight (Wednesday) as part of the Ride of Silence. Scott Sumpter, organizer of the Des Moines ride and founder of BikeIowa.com, says it’s a solemn tribute. “The ride exists so we can ride in honor and pay respect to those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways,” Sumpter says. Since May of last year, five bicyclists have died on Iowa’s roads and 16 were injured. Those 21 names will be added to a list of more than 160 people who’ve been killed or injured while biking in Iowa in recent years. He says it’s an unfortunate fact that cyclists aren’t always respected by careless motorists.

“Every year, we see bicycling grow but we also see a few people get hit and killed,” Sumpter says. “We’re out there to raise awareness that the cyclists have the legal right to ride the roads.” Rides of Silence are being held in more than 300 American cities tonight and in 18 other countries. Sumpter says the bike riders will only be rolling along at maybe 10 or 12 miles an hour, and in many cities, with a police escort. “Every ride is supposed to start at 7 PM,” Sumpter says. “It’s just a silent procession, a really slow ride. It’s almost like a funeral-like procession.” Rides are being held in cities including: Ames, Cedar Falls, Des Moines, Mason City, Woodward and in the Omaha suburb of Bellevue, Nebraska. Most of the rides will only go between four and ten miles in distance. Learn more at: www.rideofsilence.org

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

Burglary investigation in Montgomery County


May 16th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County are investigating an incident of burglary which was reported Tuesday, northeast of Red Oak. Officials say 58-year old Donald Pech, of rural Red Oak said his residence had been broken into and several items removed. There was also damage to the residence from an apparent forced entry, and numerous household items which were damaged.

The Sheriff’s Department is asking anyone with information about the incident to call the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at 712-623-5107, or Crimes Stoppers, at 1-800-432-1001.

Red Oak men arrested on drug charges


May 16th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Red Oak say two men were arrested Tuesday night, on drug charges. According to the Red Oak Police, 18-year old Mason Phillip Roach was arrested on Possession of Marijuana and Drug Paraphernalia charges, and, 25-year old James Harlan Rosencrans was arrested for Possession of Marijuana. Both men are from Red Oak. They were taken into custody in the vicinity of East Grimes and North 6th Streets in Red Oak, at around 11:25-p.m. Tuesday, and were being held in the Montgomery County Jail, on $1,000 cash bond, each.

Atlantic City Council to hold Public hearing on budget amendment


May 16th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A public hearing will be held this evening in Atlantic, with regard to proposed amendments to the Fiscal Year 2012 budget. City Administrator Doug Harris says the amendment includes a $33,000 overage in the Public Works Dept. resulting from some equipment purchases that were budgeted for last year, under the AMU lease-purchase program, that were not expended until the current fiscal year. While the unspent funds were carried over and available, the appropriation authority does not carry forward.

Another reason for the budget amendment, according to Harris, is that Library Director Carol Stanger has informed the City the facility will be spending an additional $15,000 for equipment. The additional funds for purchases will come from a large donation the library received last year, and were placed in their Trust and Agency (T&A) Fund. Also, the budget for Community and Economic Development is increasing $18,500, for the first installment payment for the replacement of faulty Christmas lights. The amount will be funded from the City, AMU, and a $4,661 loan from the Chamber of Commerce. The funds first passed through the Chamber and they in-turn to the City. The 2nd payment of $19,486 will be made this coming Fall. The City will reimburse the Chamber for their contribution in subsequent years.

And finally, the budget needs to be amended by $348,850 on the Business Type/Enterprises line item, according to Harris, because of overruns resulting from various capital projects, the two largest of which pertain to the construction of the new wastewater treatment plant, and the replacement of a sanitary sewer line on Cedar Street. Those two projects alone make up $303,000 of the amendment.

The public hearing, followed by action on a Resolution amending the F.Y. 2012 Budget, and other matters to come before the Atlantic City Council, will take place at City Hall, beginning the 5:30-p.m.

Challenge Grant Grows for Nursing Scholarships


May 16th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Ann Pross, Center Director for Iowa Western Community College in Atlantic has announced that the Don & Lois Sonntag Endowment Fund has received its first contribution towards their $5,000 challenge grant.  The funds will be available to students from the Atlantic area that are pursuing a career in nursing, especially those serving patients with cancer.

Atlantic resident, Pat McCurdy contributed the first $1,000 to the Don & Lois Sonntag Endowment Fund.  It will be matched by Don and Lois Sonntag who have family members that have been challenged with cancer.  The career of nursing is tender to their hearts.
In making his donation, McCurdy said he’s “Seen first-hand what a wonderful profession nursing is.” He says his “…Late wife Linda had a 15 year battle with cancer.  Her care from all the nurses over those years was outstanding.  If this scholarship helps one person become a nurse it is money well spent.”

The Don & Lois Sonntag Endowment Fund is offering up to a $5,000 challenge grant for matching funds to benefit students attending Iowa Western Community College. They have already committed $2,500 to nursing scholarships and the gift from Pat McCurdy brings the current scholarship total to $3,500. The goal will be to appeal for funds to match the $5,000 challenge and have $10,000 available for area students who are pursuing a career in nursing.

Pross said “It is particularly meaningful to have families pledge a gift to the effort of educating our next generation of nurses,” and she hopes that others will join in the scholarship campaign “So that they can maximize the generous challenge from Don & Lois Sonntag.” Pross said also that the scholarship opportunity will provide much-needed financial assistance to those enrolled in nursing prerequisites or the nursing program.

Matching funds under the endowment program can be in any amount.  All funds will be submitted to Iowa Western Community College Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax deductible entity, and all donors will be recognized per their request. Iowa Western Community College will make decisions on all applications according to need and scholarship criteria.  The amount awarded to each student will depend on the number of qualified applicants.  The scholarships will be for classes starting August 20th, 2012, and students from Atlantic and surrounding area area eligible to apply.  All funds from the effort will be used only for students enrolled in nursing prerequisite courses or the nursing program.

For additional information, contact:  Don Sonntag at 712-249-1906 or Ann Pross, Iowa Western Cass County Center Director at 712-243-5527.

ANRC receives Bronze Award for Outstanding Quality Care


May 16th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Nursing and Rehab Center in Atlantic has been recognized as a 2012 recipient of the Bronze – Commitment to Quality award for its dedication to improving quality care.

Commitment to Quality Award

The award is one of three distinctions possible through the National Quality Award program, presented by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL). The program honors facilities across the nation that have demonstrated their commitment to the quality improvement journey.

Governor Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL said “Each one of the award recipients has proven its dedication to improving lives through quality care.”  Implemented by AHCA/NCAL in 1996, the National Quality Award Program is centered on the core values and criteria of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. The program assists providers of long term and post-acute care services in achieving their performance excellence goals.

The program has three levels: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Facilities begin the quality improvement process at the Bronze level, where they develop an organizational profile with essential performance elements such as vision and mission statements and an assessment of customers’ expectations. Bronze applicants must demonstrate their ability to implement a performance improvement system. A team of trained Examiners reviews each Bronze application to determine if the facility has met the demands of the criteria.

As a recipient of the Bronze – Commitment to Quality award, Atlantic Nursing and Rehab Center may now move forward in developing approaches and achieving performance levels that meet the criteria required for the Silver -Achievement in Quality award. The Atlantic Nursing and Rehab Center was one of 12 IHCA member facilities to receive the Bronze level award, which will be presented during AHCA/NCAL’s 63 Annual Convention and Exposition, October 7th through the 10th, in Tampa, FL.

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., May 16th 2012


May 16th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Grocery distributor Nash Finch Company says its subsidiary U Save Foods Incorporated has agreed to buy Omaha-based No Frills Supermarkets. The deal adds 18 stores to the Nash Finch company. Fourteen are located in Nebraska, 12 of which are in the Omaha market. Four stores are located in western Iowa.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — No injuries have been reported from an explosion at a biodiesel plant in Mason City. The Globe Gazette in Mason City reports the explosion happened late yesterday afternoon at the Soy Energy plant on the city’s southwest side. The explosion was reported about 6 p.m. yesterday.

ELKADER, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa teenager accused of killing his grandparents at their home in Manchester has been formally charged with two counts of first-degree murder. 17-year old Isaiah Sweet made his initial court appearance on Tuesday in Clayton County District Court in Elkader. He’s charged in the deaths of Richard and Janet Sweet. Their bodies were found Sunday afternoon when relatives arrived for a Mother’s Day gathering.

PEOSTA, Iowa (AP) — Workers at a printing company may have to return to college for a spelling refresher. Because of an error, hundreds of Northeast Iowa Community College diploma covers featured a misspelling — the state was spelled “Ioma.” Tracy Kruse, the college’s director of external relations, said the error wasn’t noticed until shortly before last week’s ceremonies at the Peosta and Calmar campuses. About 300 graduates saw the misspellings.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a former employee has been charged with stealing over $13,000 worth of artifacts from the Cedar Falls Historical Society museum. Police say 58-year-old David Arnold of Waterloo, was arrested yesterday for first-degree theft. He was taken to the Black Hawk County jail. The museum reported the theft on April 25th.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — The hiring of a new Sioux City West High School boys and girls track coach based on tenure has raised complaints that the district may have overlooked better qualified candidates. Bruce Lear, director of the teachers union, says the district had to hire Rochelle Babcock in accordance with the union’s contract language on tenure and the district should have never suggested others would be interviewed.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An environmental research center at the University of Iowa has received a $7.9 million grant to help support research of rural health issues. The Iowa City Press Citizen reports that the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center is getting a five-year grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The center has 65 faculty researchers and was founded in 1990.


Ag/Outdoor, News

May 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The 36th Annual Loess Hills Prairie Seminar will be held at the Loess Hills Wildlife Management Area, near Onawa, and at West Monona High School, in Onawa, on the evening of June 1s through noon on June 3rd. Registration is due May 25. The seminar is for families, educators, and students of all ages to foster recognition, appreciation and the educational use of natural wonders found in our communities. 

A brochure outlining the sessions and programs is available on the Northwest Area Education Agency website at: http://www.nwaea.k12.ia.us/en/programs_and_services/loess_hills_prairie_seminar/.

Fees are reduced for students, educators, families, and first-time attendees. Educators can earn credit if they pre-register through Northwest AEA. This is offered at a special reduced rate and the seminar registration fee is waived. Special programs for children allow parents to fully participate in the field sessions and indoor evening programs. Field sessions are at the campground, involve a walk, hike or drive. This year there will also be three boat tours of the Missouri River to explore the ecological effect of the flood of 2011. 

Field sessions will focus on native flora and fauna, photography, cultural history, Native Americans, geology, environmental writing, prairie restoration and management, and the Missouri River. Evening programs at the high school offer topics for adults and children separately, and are followed at the campground/seminar site with campfire programs. A special pre-seminar program, Loess Hills Ecology and Geology, presented at the high school on Friday 5:45 p.m., will provide background information about the Loess Hills. 

The event is sponsored by the Northwest Area Education Agency (AEA), the Monona County Conservation Board and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, with major support from the Iowa Living Roadway Trust Fund, the Iowa Prairie Network, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy in Iowa, with additional support from a variety of educational institutions, organizations and volunteers. 

For more information, contact Gloria Kistner at Northwest AEA at 712-222-6080, 800-352-9040, extension 6080, or gkistner@nwaea.org, or contact Dianne Blankenship at bennaid@hotmail.com.

Western IA woman pleads not guilty in son’s drowning


May 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

ONAWA, Iowa (AP) – A western Iowa woman charged with drowning her 15-month-old son has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.  Twenty-four-year-old Ashley Cameron, of Onawa, entered the plea on Monday in Monona County District Court. Her trial is set for July 31st. 

Cameron is charged in the Feb. 11th death of Markis Dahms. Police say she held her son under a running faucet in the bathtub in their home until he drowned. The boy was found after officers responded to an emergency call about a child who wasn’t breathing.

Free Summer Gardening Web Series to Focus on Vegetable Gardening

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County ISU Extension Office say the Iowa Master Gardener program is once again offering a series of summer webinars free to all local residents with an interest in gardening. The 2012 series is titled “Garden Goodness,” and will be hosted by Iowa State University Extension county offices on the fourth Tuesday of the month, May through August. The Cass County Extension Office is a local host site. Each session will provide information about vegetable gardening, but from a variety of perspectives. “Garden Goodness” is the theme for the 2012 series because of the current public interest in growing food, according to Jennifer Bousselot, Iowa Master Gardener and webinar series coordinator.

The first presentation in the series is scheduled for Tuesday, May 22nd, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. ISU Extension horticulture specialist Ajay Nair will cover the basics of Growing Vegetables. Participants will watch the presentation live from campus, projected onto a large screen, and have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the topic with the presenter. Upcoming Master Gardner topics will cover: “Food Gardening and Health,” & Glenwood’s Giving Garden; “The Peoples Garden Project and Working with Youth,” and  “Edible Ornamentals,” and the final session on August 28th, will cover the “Top Ten Sustainable Gardening Tips from Turtle Farm,” (an organic farm near Granger).

The series, in its third year, is offered by Iowa Master Gardener program in response to requests for more Iowa gardening educational opportunities. The sessions are open to all interested gardeners; participants are not required to have completed Master Gardener training to attend, however the session will fulfill Master Gardener continuing education requirements.

There is no charge to attend the classes, and no requirements to attend the entire series. Interested local gardeners are encouraged to attend any session that catches their interest. Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required, to allow local staff to plan for appropriate accommodations. For more information, or to register, call the Cass County Extension Office at 712-243-1132, email keolson@iastate.edu, or stop by the Extension Office at 805 W. 10th St in Atlantic.