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“Future Ready Iowa”: Is Community College the Answer?

News

December 14th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

(Iowa News Service) DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa has a unique problem – it’s the only region in the country where job openings outnumber unemployed job seekers. Advocates of community college say they could help fill that gap if more students considered a two-year degree. The Iowa governor’s “Future Ready Iowa” initiative includes a higher-ed credential for 70 percent of all state residents by 2025, compared to the current 58 percent. Des Moines Area Community College President Rob Denson says too many Iowans still don’t access the educational opportunities in their own backyard. “We think that many students really don’t understand the good opportunities that may even be available in their own hometown,” says Denson. “That they could actually graduate from high school, go to a community college for one or two years and then, pick up a skill that pays extremely well.”

Denson says the most obvious reason that students attend community college is the financial advantage, but they also feature flexibility and smaller classes. Sixty percent of jobs in Iowa require more than a high-school diploma, but no more than a two-year degree. Denson says many jobs listed on the Iowa Workforce Development website require minimal investment of time and financial resources – and federal dollars are often available for tuition. “Information technology – we now have two-year IT graduates in the central Iowa area making $90,000 a year,” says Denson. “Advanced manufacturing, tool-and-die, health care – tremendous demand, so those jobs pay very well.”

Denson says high school counselors need to be ready to talk to students about the advantages of attending community college. “What we need to do is spend more time and more investment in increased counseling for careers in the K-12,” says Denson. “And I talk to many students who have had great counselors, but the counselors have not had time to spend time, to let these students know what their opportunities are.”

The average annual in-state college tuition in Iowa was nearly $20,000 dollars for the last academic year. Iowa’s median income is about $56,000 per year.

Shipping packages? Better get them in the mail before these deadlines

News

December 14th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — For Iowans who are sending off holiday packages to loved ones in far-away locales, you’d be wise to get them wrapped and ready to go this weekend. Kristy Anderson, spokeswoman for the U-S Postal Service, offers a reminder of the upcoming deadlines. “First Class mail is going to be December 19th,” Anderson says, “Priority Mail is December 20th and if you use Priority Mail Express, December 22nd.”

For more information about packaging or postage, visit usps.com/holidaynews.

Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s report (12/14/18)

News

December 14th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office reports an inmate at the jail was served with a warrant Thursday afternoon, for Violation of Probation. 35-year old Richard Jack Franks, of Council Bluffs, who was being held in the jail for violation of a No Contact order, was presented with the warrant and turned back over to jail staff. His bond was set at $5,000 on the Probation Violation warrant. And, a Deputy was dispatched to the intersection of Railroad Highway and Idlewood Road at around 12:20-a.m. today (Friday), for an unknown injury accident. A caller to 9-1-1 reported a vehicle was on its top in the ditch, with a man still inside. The caller also advised there were beer cans in the vehicle, and that the man was hanging by his seat belt. The driver, identified as 28-year old Joseph Michael Greiner, of Underwood, was able to get out of the 1998 Honda Accord by himself, before the deputy arrived. Greiner was arrested for OWI/1st offense. Bond was set at $1,000.

Creston Police report, 12/14/18: Creston woman arrested on Cass Co. warrant

News

December 14th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Creston Police Department reports two arrests took place, Thursday. At around 4:30-a.m., 27-year old Shari L. Lowe, of Creston, was arrested at the Union County Law Enforcement Center, on a Cass County warrant for Violation of Probation. She was later released on $10,000 bond. And, at around 3:10-p.m. Thursday, Tyler J. Hightshoe, of Afton, was arrested on two counts of Theft in the 5th Degree, Possession of a Controlled Substance, and on a Union County warrant for Theft in the 5th Degree. His bond at the Union County Jail, was set at $1,900.

(Podcast) KJAN 8-a.m. News, 12/14/2018

News, Podcasts

December 14th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

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

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(Podcast) KJAN Morning News & Funeral report, 12/14/2018

News, Podcasts

December 14th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The area’s latest and/or top news stories at 7:06-a.m. From KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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Des Moines to vote on local sales tax increase in March

News

December 14th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Des Moines voters will have to decide again in March whether to raise the local sales tax by a penny. The Des Moines Register reports that the City Council will vote Monday on a spending plan for the estimated $37 million the 1-cent tax could generate in its first year. The money would be split evenly between property tax reductions and a handful of quality-of-life initiatives.
The city will set a March 5 referendum date early next year.

Last March, a majority of the city’s voters approved a 1-cent increase, but the measure failed after a majority of suburban voters rejected it. But in May, the Iowa Legislature canceled a state rule that required cities with contiguous borders to vote together on local option sales tax issues.

Iowa families seek more action to address rotting hog smell

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 14th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

ESTHERVILLE, Iowa (AP) — Eight northwest Iowa families are fighting a company they blame for not doing enough to address the smell of dead, rotting hogs from a nearby rendering plant. The Des Moines Register reports that an attorney for the Estherville families filed a motion this week pushing for Emmet County leaders to take stronger action against Central Bi-Products, a Minnesota-based company.
The families say the county isn’t doing enough to ensure the problem gets fixed after three years of “extremely noxious, highly objectionable odors.”

The families’ attorney filed a motion to intervene in an Emmet County petition that seeks $4,750 from Farmers Union Industries, the parent of Central Bi-Products, for violating its conditional-use permit. The plant’s owner has said it’s making improvements that should reduce the odor.

State tax revenue growth pegged at 1.8 percent for next budgeting year

News

December 14th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — The three members of a state forecasting board agree state tax receipts will grow, but not by much in the next 18 months. Holly Lyons of the Legislative Services Agency, a member of the State Revenue Estimating Conference, said “In the eight weeks since we met last, little has changed economically. The underlying fundamentals of the national and state economy remain sound. The economy continues to be in mid-expansion, with nothing on the immediate horizon that suggests a serious downturn or recession.”

The group predicts tax payments to the State of Iowa will remain steady, growing by about one-point-eight percent in the next state budgeting year. Legislators will use that estimate as the basis for building a spending plan for the state budget year that begins July 1st. Department of Management director Dave Roederer is another member of the state’s Revenue Estimating Conference. “We are at least reading the tea leaves all the same,” Roederer says, “whether they’re all right or all wrong, but we’re at least seeing the economy the same way.” Many state agencies have presented Governor Reynolds with “status quo” budget plans. Roederer suggests there won’t be a lot of extra money to spend next year. “We believe there will be enough funding to do the essentials of what government is supposed to do,” Roederer says.

Unlike the past two years, Roederer does NOT anticipate mid-year budget cuts in the remaining months of the current state fiscal year. State tax revenue is projected to grow nearly five percent in THIS budgeting year. David Underwood, a businessman from Clear Lake, is the third member of the state Revenue Estimating Conference. He says “headline fears” are causing people to “under appreciate” great corporate earnings reports.”I believe our most prudent course of action is to remain patient and disciplined in what we do as well as conservative, watchful for the signs of the recession that will come,” Underwood said, pausing before adding the last word, “someday.”

Underwood and the other two members of the Revenue Estimating Conference all cited concern about the ag economy, particularly commodity prices that have slumped during recent trade disputes.

Tussle in Trump Administration over second wave of farm subsidies

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 14th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — A top U-S-D-A official suggests President Trump will have to referee a dispute within his administration about federal payments to partially cover farm losses due to the trade war. U-S Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky was in Iowa yesterday (Thursday), meeting with commodity group representatives. A SECOND round of direct payments to farmers was discussed. “We have been having a little bit of a disagreement with a few others, our budget office within the government — our Office of Management and the Budget,” he said. “Of course, their job is to control spending and to say, ‘No.’ We’re saying that the need is there. The circumstances haven’t changed and so Secretary Perdue plans on visiting and taking the issue to the president.”

This summer, the Trump Administration announced 12 billion dollars in federal aid would compensate farmers who Censky says have been “at the tip of the spear” when it comes to retaliatory tariffs. This fall, four-point-seven billion dollars’ worth of checks were sent to eligible farmers who had completed their harvest. Censky says trade disputes are still causing financial harm on the farm and it’s time to release another six BILLION in payments. “We know that farmers are going to be starting to visit with their bankers to talk about financing for next year coming up either now or right after the first of the year,” Censky said, “and so the time is now to make that announcement and get those payments made.”

China purchased a million ton of U.S. soybeans this week, but Censky is making it clear the U-S-D-A does not consider that the end of trade woes for farmers. “That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 30 to 35 tons that we regularly export to them and so even if we see some very much robust purchases well beyond the million tons, farmers have still been impacted,” Censky says. Censky grew up on a corn and soybean farm in Minnesota and served two decades as C-E-O of the American Soybean Association. He delivered the keynote address Thursday, at the Iowa Soybean Association’s annual policy conference.