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All Iowa school districts to implement ‘teacher leadership’ program this fall

News

April 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

One-quarter of Iowa’s school teachers will be instructional coaches or mentors to other teachers in their district during the next school year. All 333 Iowa school districts will be splitting 150-million dollars in additional state funding for this teacher leadership initiative. Mike Sherwood, superintendent of the Webster City and Northeast Hamilton School Districts, says putting the focus on instruction is important.

“It is at the classroom level and directly supports the work teachers do at the classroom,” Sherwood says. “It provides another layer of support as teachers move from isolated teaching environments to collaborative environments.” Governor Branstad invited Sherwood to speak about the program Tuesday morning, during Branstad’s weekly news conference. Sherwood is using the extra state funding to pay teachers on staff extra to be mentor teachers, plus he’s hiring an expert in the latest digital technology.

“It will be somebody that will work directly with classroom teachers on integrating that directly into their lessons,” Sherwood says. Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds says Iowa will have “the most extensive teacher leadership system” in the country next fall when all 333 districts are participating in the program. “With higher expectations for all students today, Iowa is better at supporting the work that teachers must do,” Reynolds says. Governor Terry Branstad says rewarding teachers who take on more responsibility will hopefully keep some teachers from leaving the profession. And Branstad says measuring student achievement is part of the process.

“We want to make sure that we’re preparing Iowa students and the future Iowa workforce for quality careers and jobs in the future,” Branstad says. Branstad convened the “Future Ready Summit” yesterday (Tuesday), in Des Moines. More than 750 teachers and administrators as well as business and labor leaders attended, to discuss ways to equip students with the right skills.

(Radio Iowa)

Proposed new deer hunting season will have few changes

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

April 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Natural Resources Commission has given preliminary approval for the 2016-2017 deer hunting seasons. D-N-R spokesman, Kevin Baskins, says the proposed season will look much like this year’s. “We really are not seeing any changes, we’re looking at a status quo type season compared to last year. And I think that reflects that we have a herd population that is stabilizing over a great part of the state,” Baskins says.

While he says the population is stabilizing, it’s not uniform across the state. “We still have parts of the state that have an abundance of deer, and the antlerless quotas we have that we have reflect that,” Baskins says. “We still see an area of northwest Iowa where we’ve probably gone a little too far in terms of reducing deer. Up there we still have some buck only restrictions for some of those counties during the early muzzle loader season and the first shotgun season.” Baskins says the D-N-R has a variety of different ways to keep track of the deer population.

“We do it through surveying our hunters, through looking at road kills, and also right now we are still kind of wrapping up some of our spotlight surveys where we go out at night and run some routes to determine what we are seeing out on the countryside,” Baskins says. He says they also talk with landowners about any damage that may be done to crops by deer. Baskins says they have a deer task force that helps set up the hunting

“That includes people who are deer hunters, obviously the agricultural production groups, and also insurance companies,” Baskins says. “And one of the goals that was established by that task force was to get kind of to where we were in the 1990s when everything seemed to be in balance in terms of not having too many complaints from any of those three groups.”

There is a hearing on the proposed seasons on June 1st. You can send written comments to the Department of Natural Resources, Dale Garner, Wildlife Bureau Chief, Wallace State Office Building, 502 E. 9th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0034; by e-mail at Dale.Garner@dnr.iowa.gov or by Fax at 515-725-8201. You can see the full proposal on the Iowa D-N-R’s website at: www.iowadnr.gov/hunting.

Here are the proposed dates for the deer hunting seasons.
DEER SEASONS
Regular Gun 1 Dec. 3-7
Regular Gun 2 Dec. 10-18
Bow Oct. 1-Dec. 2 and Dec. 19-Jan. 10, 2017
Early Muzzleloader Oct. 15-23
Muzzleloader Dec. 19-Jan. 10, 2017
Youth Sept. 17-Oct. 2
Disabled Hunter Sept. 17-Oct. 2
Holiday Antlerless-Only Dec. 24-Jan. 2

(Radio Iowa)

Fatal motorcycle chase in Council Bluffs

News

April 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A man in his 20’s died during a motorcycle pursuit Tuesday night in Pottawattamie County. Council Bluffs Police say at around 10:19-p.m.,  an officer with the Iowa Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Enforcement (MVE) Division attempted to stop two motorcycles on Big Lake Road, near the Pottawattamie County Jail. Both motorcycles eluded the officer and drove westbound on Nash Blvd at a high rate of speed. The driver of a 2006 Yamaha lost control of the motorcycle approximately 3 blocks west of the intersection of 16th Street and Nash Blvd.

The motorcycle went over the curb and stuck a fence separating the city street from the interstate. The driver was ejected from the motorcycle. The second motorcycle fled the area. The MVE Officer witnessed the crash and immediately stopped and rendered aid. The male driver was transported to Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs were he died from his injuries. The driver was wearing a helmet. The man had no identification and was driving a stolen motorcycle. His identity was still being investigated.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact the Council Bluffs Police Department at 712‐328‐4948 (Traffic Unit) or 712‐328‐STOP (Crime Stoppers).

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., April 20th 2016

News

April 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 3:40 a.m. CDT

COUNCIL BLUFFS – A pursuit of two motorcycles in Council Bluffs led to one of the cycles crashing and the other getting away, Tuesday night. The driver of the motorcycle that crashed died at a hospital. The man, who was in his 20’s, had no ID on him. The incident remains under investigation.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A former U.S. Cellular employee has been accused of stealing nearly $30,000 in merchandise from the company in Council Bluffs. The 21-year-old man, who lives in Omaha, Nebraska, is charged with felony theft and ongoing criminal conduct.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — City Council members have approved a measure to penalize Sioux City property owners an extra 25 percent on unpaid city fees for removing snow from sidewalks. The penalties were approved Monday and will be levied on the unpaid fees added to the parcels’ property taxes. City code requires owners to clear sidewalks within 12 hours after snow or ice has stopped falling.

OSKALOOSA, Iowa (AP) — Officials are asking residents in Oskaloosa and Beacon to boil their water after a pump failed in a city water treatment plant. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says two water towers in the Oskaloosa treatment plant emptied overnight and the low pressure may have caused bacteria to enter the water system. Officials say residents should boil drinking water for a minute before letting it cool.

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) — Dozens of people who didn’t know Charles Lanam went to his funeral anyway, honoring his service to his country. The Mitchell Family Funeral Home in Marshalltown had posted an appeal on Facebook, asking people to attend Monday’s service at the Iowa Veterans Home and cemetery. The funeral home had said the 81-year-old Fairfield native died April 10, leaving behind no family to mourn him.

Griswold School Board votes to continue pursuit of Superintendent Sharing

News

April 19th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Griswold School Board, Tuesday evening, passed a motion in a continuation of efforts to find a shared Superintendent to replace Dana Kunze, who will be departing at the end of June. The motion was made by Board member Steve Baier, after about an hour of discussion. The motion as read by Board Secretary Nancy Taylor. “Baier moved to go forward with consideration of Superintendent sharing opportunities at this time, and if not making successful progress by June 1st pursue an interim Superintendent.” The motion was seconded by Scott Peterson.

Griswold School Board, from left to right: Steve Baier, Erika Kirchhoff, Scott Hansen, Scott Peterson, Heather Pelzer, Board Secretary Nancy Taylor, Superintendent Dana Kunze.

Griswold School Board, from left to right: Steve Baier, Erika Kirchhoff, Scott Hansen, Scott Peterson, Heather Pelzer, Board Secretary Nancy Taylor, Superintendent Dana Kunze.

The Board was forced to consider their Superintendent options, because a proposed three-way sharing agreement between the South Page and Sidney School Districts was shot down by the Sidney School Board during their meeting, Monday night.

The priority for the Board right now, as made evident during their meeting, Tuesday, is to have the administrative team at Griswold go through a list candidates for a Middle School/High School Principal, whittle those candidates down to five or six for video interviews, and then have those persons interviewed by the Board for consideration.

Steve Baier said there’s still time to get the Superintendent in place by June 1st, but the urgency lies in the Middle School/High School Principal’s position, because that’s the “face of district,” the person with the most public contact. He said there shouldn’t be a problem in finding an interim Superintendent, and in fact, several individuals have expressed an interest in such a position.

The Board had discussed trying to find two more districts to share with, sharing with one district, having a combination Superintendent/Middle School-High School Principal, and, using an interim Superintendent. They ruled out the Combo position, because it risks burning out the person selected, and their other obligations would stretch them too thin.

Board President Scott Hansen, agreed, saying also, a combination position would be detrimental to maintaining discipline. In any case, the Board agreed with Petersen, who said “The clock is ticking” on finding a solution to the leadership problem, and the direction they’re heading now, is the best way to proceed.

Iowa mother testifies about crash that killed her only daughter

News

April 19th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A southwest Iowa woman testified before a Congressional panel today (Tuesday) about how her daughter was killed in Omaha by a drunk driver who was in the U-S illegally. Michelle Root, of Modale, told how a matter of hours before the crash, her 21-year-old daughter had graduated from Bellevue University with a four-point-oh G-P-A. Sarah Root, who lived in Council Bluffs, wanted to go on and earn a master’s degree in criminology.

“The night of January 31st, 2016, as she was coming home, she was rear-ended by Eswin Mejia who was 19 years old, here illegally, drunk driving, street racing,” Root says. “My daughter died instantly.” Bond was set by the judge on the suspect at $50,000 and Mejia was released after posting the standard 10-percent, or $5,000. Mejia, a native of Honduras, hasn’t been seen since and is feared to have fled the country.

Michelle Root testifies before a Congressional Panel, Tuesday (Radio IA photo)

Michelle Root testifies before a Congressional Panel, Tuesday (Radio IA photo)

“The local law enforcement did their job,” Root says. “They detained him, went to ICE, tried to get a hold on him, ICE refused. I don’t know why that was, with everything that happened, but he is on the loose now and our family does not have closure.” Police say Mejia’s blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit and he was driving on a suspended license when he was speeding and caused the accident.

“We probably never will have closure, even if he is found,” Root says. “I just hope that he will be, someday, found to pay for the crime he did against my daughter.” Root appeared before the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security while wearing a t-shirt that read: Strong Adorable Remarkable Amazing Heavenly. The first letters from each word spell out Sarah. In her statement, Root blamed Obama administration guidelines for deeming the suspect in the case to be no threat to public safety.

“We are not against immigration,” Root says. “Sarah’s grandmother was an immigrant from Vienna, Austria. She did it legally. She did it the right way. That’s all we’re asking. It’s the illegal immigrants that are already breaking the law once they come over here and they continue to break our laws.” Representative Trey Gowdy, a Republican from South Carolina, chairs the subcommittee and addressed the Root case directly.

Gowdy says, “How in the hell somebody here illegally who operates a vehicle at a high rate of speed and three times the legal rate of impairment and kills a 21-year-old girl doesn’t meet priorities of ICE is precisely why so little people have confidence in this administration’s policies and priorities and precisely why so many people are angry and fed up with the current state of immigration enforcement.” Gowdy blames the Obama administration and ICE for the tragic circumstances.

Gowdy says, “If killing a young woman while racing in an impaired state and being here illegally in the first place does not meet priorities, then perhaps your priorities are wrong.” In her statement, Root noted that her daughter was the “hero” of the story as she was an organ donor and “unselfishly saved the lives of six individuals through her donation and helped another four dozen through her donation of tissue and bone.”

A similar case has surfaced in Omaha. A Honduran man who officials say is in the U-S illegally is charged in a deadly hit-and-run. Police report 27-year-old Edwin Elvir-Palma is charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, suspicion of reckless driving, not having a driver’s license, and his fourth DUI. Elvir-Palma is accused of running over 34-year-old Margarito Nava-Luna early Saturday morning in Omaha.

(Radio Iowa)

Tabor man arrested on assault charge Tuesday

News

April 19th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Police in Tabor responding to a reported assault in progress arrested one person, Tuesday. 19-year old Marcus Pierce, of Tabor, was taken into custody for Going Armed with Intent, Domestic Abuse 2nd Offense, and Domestic Abuse (Strangulation,). He was being held at the Fremont County Jail pending an initial appearance with the Magistrate.

Pierce’ arrested followed an investigation into an incident in the 200 block of Orange Street, in Tabor. Officers discovered a female with minor injuries at the scene, who advised Pierce was armed with a knife prior to law enforcement arrival.

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Tabor Police Department with the investigation.

Marcus Pierce

Marcus Pierce

Atlantic City Council to act on matching grant funds & hear about Bull Creek project

News

April 19th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The City Council in Atlantic will meet in a regular session 5:30-p.m. Wednesday, at City Hall. During their meeting, the Council will act on approving a Resolution pledging $46,500 in matching funds for a Vision Iowa grant application. The grant application for the second phase of the Schildberg Recreation Area, requires matching funds.

The grant will help to cover an estimated $353,000 in construction for the campgrounds restrooms in the shelter house facilities. That includes $250,000 in construction costs. The City has budgeted $80,000 plus a project fund balance of $11,918 for the project. The City originally budgeted $20,000 for the project, but received $25,000 from the County, which leaves the Project Fund with what City Administrator John Lund says is “A strong balance.” Aside from this project, Lund will recommend to the Council the City NOT appropriating any additional funds outside the normal budgeting process.

The Council will discuss financial support for the Ann W. Wickman Childcare Center. The Personnel and Finance Committee, last week, recommended the City offer $15,000 per year in Operational Support of the Center. Their options include offering a matching amount up to $15,000, or to issue the funds without condition. Lund says there may be value in using the grant match proposal to leverage support from private donors, as the primary supplemental support to the YMCA, which runs the Childcare Center. If the Council approves, it would likely get the money from the Local Option Sales Tax Progress Fund.

In other business, the Council will hear from Snyder and Associates Engineers’ Kyle Riley, with regard to the Bull Creek Storm Water Projects, and, they’ll hear an annual report from Animal Control Officer Kris Erickson. And, in his report to the Atlantic City Council, City Administrator John Lund will discuss inquires he’s had with regard to bee keeping within the City Limits, and an ordinance regulating such businesses.

Atlantic Rotary Seeks Nominations for Outstanding Teacher Award

News

April 19th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Rotary Club is seeking nominations for the 3rd Annual Rotary Club of Atlantic Outstanding Teacher Award. The award, designed to recognize excellence in education in the Atlantic Community Schools, can be given to any certified, full-time teacher who spends at least 60% of his/her time instructing students. The teacher selected will receive recognition at a school employee event, and will also receive a $3000 cash award.

The award may be used to enhance the educational resources of the teacher, further the teacher’s education, or for any other purpose which the selected teacher deems appropriate. This is the third year for the award, which has been a “long-time goal” for the Atlantic Rotary Club, according to Kate Olson, 2016 Rotary Teacher Award Project Chair.

“The Atlantic Rotary Club has been a dedicated supporter of education in the community for many years through senior scholarships, and annual events such as senior recognition and new teacher welcome. In addition, they are frequent contributors through funding for many school needs such as updating technology in the classroom, supporting curriculum for local preschools, and a number of other school requests. Members of our club have been continually insistent that we also recognize and support the talented educators that are the heart of our schools, and we are very happy we have been able to get this program off to such a successful start in the first few years.”

Margo Magill, an educator at Washington Elementary School was the first teacher to be recognized at the Rotary Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2014. DeLana Harris, from Schuler Elementary School, was the 2015 award winner. Both teachers had “exceptional nomination forms and letters of support from the community,” according to Olson. “We are hoping to continue the tradition of a strong pool of applicants this year. The selection process is always difficult, but we love seeing the dedication to students and the art of teaching that comes through in each of the nominations.”

For teachers to be considered for the 2016 award, completed nomination forms, including letters of support, must be received by Friday April 29th. Nominated teachers will be evaluated based on their skill with students, classroom management, parent communication, peer interaction and community involvement. Teachers must be nominated by three individuals- they can be current or former students, parents of students, co-workers, or any combination thereof.

Forms were sent via email to all current parents through from the Atlantic Community School System in late March/early April. Hard copies of nomination forms may also be picked up from any school administration office, or at the Cass County Extension Office. Completed nominations may be dropped off, or mailed, to the Cass County Extension Office, Attn: Kate Olson, 805 West 10th Street in Atlantic.

It is the intention of the Atlantic Rotary Club, through this award, to recognize and reward outstanding educators in our public school system who exemplify the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self” through their continuous dedication to students, parents, peers and the larger community, as well as the art and practice of education. The award is funded by proceeds from the Atlantic Rotary Club’s annual auction, which is made possible by the generous donations of local businesses and community members.

IRS phone scam involving the Pott. Co. Sheriff’s Office

News

April 19th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker has issued a warning about an IRS phone scam that refers to the Sheriff’s Office. Danker said information was received today (Tuesday) that indicated a subject telephoned an intended victim claiming to be a representative of the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office. The caller said there was an issue with the IRS. The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office main telephone number (712) 890-2200 has been reported to have shown on caller ID displays.

The subject will then instruct the intended victim to call a number and provide personal information. The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office does not provide notifications on behalf of the IRS. If you or someone you know has been the victim of this type of scam, contact the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office or your local law enforcement agency. As a personal safety reminder, please be wary of providing your personal information over the telephone to strangers.