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Iowa justices to consider sentences for teenagers


October 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court might not be done changing the criminal justice system’s approach to teenagers who commit serious crimes. The court said Thursday that it would review three cases of inmates serving lengthy prison terms for crimes they committed when they were seventeen. In each case, the offenders argue their lengthy sentences amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

They include a man who was sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence of 17 years for first-degree robbery; a man serving a life sentence for convictions of second-degree murder and other charges in 1994; and a man sentenced to at least 7 years for second-degree robbery.

The court in August opened the door to shorter sentences for three dozen killers who were juveniles when they were sentenced to life in prison.

Cell phone provide gives Atlantic teacher funds through the “Calling All Teachers” Campaign


October 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with U-S Cellular report 120 Iowa teachers have been notified that their classroom projects were being funded through the company’s “Calling All Teachers” campaign. Among them was Sue Riggs of Washington Elementary School, in Atlantic, who had a nearly $730 Reading Homework-I Can’t Wait to Get Started project funded.

The wireless carrier worked with philanthropic website DonorsChoose.org to fund $500,000 in creative and impactful classroom projects submitted by public school teachers. Iowa donations worth $70,820 will benefit 8,950 students throughout the state.

U.S. Cellular says it is dedicated to supporting education and the pressing needs of schools. Calling All Teachers is one way the company gives back to local communities. Teachers across the country posted classroom projects that covered a variety of topics that included language and literacy, math and science, music and the arts, health and sports and special needs. Some educators asked for novels, bookshelves and calculators, while others requested LCD projectors and digital cameras.

Starting Nov. 4, U.S. Cellular will bring back its Calling All Communities campaign for the fifth year. Schools can rally community support for the chance to win a share of $500,000 to fund what their students need the most. The top 20 schools that garner the most community votes will each win $25,000 to use as they wish to improve their educational experience. Additional information is available at www.uscellular.com.

Study: Iowans will need help finding health plans


October 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A University of Iowa study says Iowans most eligible to buy subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act are going to need help signing up. The UI Public Policy Center study released Thursday said those individuals reported being uncomfortable selecting health insurance plans through online exchanges and the majority thought they would need “some or a lot of help.”

The study says that population is also more concerned about the costs of health care and more likely to have delayed their care in the last year. That means even after they sign up, they will be looking for help from health care providers on how to use it.

The study was conducted for the Iowa Department of Public Health and based on surveys returned by 498 people.

Iowa seeks to improve representation for parents


October 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Supreme Court has adopted new standards aimed at improving legal representation for parents in child welfare cases. The court adopted a rule Thursday requiring attorneys who are appointed to represent parents in juvenile court to complete three hours of continuing legal education annually.  Starting in 2015, attorneys who are not in compliance will not be able to take any more such appointments.

The court opted not to include an initial experience and training requirement for such attorneys, which a task force had recommended.  Separately, the court said it had adopted new standards giving guidance to such attorneys on best practices, such as trying to avoid delays and communicating appropriately with clients. Chief Justice Mark Cady writes that the court’s goal is to elevate children’s justice issues.

IDPH updates WIC program information


October 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Dept. of Public Health said Thursday that a temporary budget has been passed to fund the WIC program until January 15th. That means they are now able to print October, November, and December checks effective immediately. If you have an appointment scheduled this month, make sure you keep it to receive your checks.

If you have been to clinic this month and received October checks, but still need to receive November and December checks, you will receive those checks in November and your local agency will decide how they will get those checks to you.

Questions should be directed to the state WIC office (1-800-532-1579) or your local agency.

SW IA woman arrested for disorderly conduct


October 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Police in Lenox report an investigation into a disturbance early Wednesday morning resulted in the arrest of one person on a couple of charges. Officers were called to a residence in the 600 block of south Walnut Street at around 12:45-a.m. Upon their arrival, officers learned  several individuals had left the scene.

Marie Merithew

Marie Merithew

Following investigation into the incident, arrest warrants were obtained. Wednesday afternoon, 37-year old Marie Merithew, of Kent,  was arrested in connection with the incident, on charges of Disorderly Conduct and Driving under Suspension. She was transported to the Taylor County Jail for processing and was being held pending an appearance before the magistrate.

Red Cross urges blood donations in honor of Veterans Day


October 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

With Veterans Day coming up on Nov. 11th, officials with the American Red Cross are encouraging eligible donors to schedule an appointment to give blood, in honor of those who have served the country in the U.S. armed forces. Blood donated through the Red Cross is distributed to about 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country for patients in need, including patients at many U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers. All blood types are currently needed, especially O negative, A negative and B negative.

Officials say another way to support veterans, military families and active-duty service members at hospitals and installations around the world is by sending a holiday card through the annual Holiday Mail for Heroes program. Between now and early December, the Red Cross will collect the cards and distribute them. Learn more at redcross.org.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood transfusions help save lives every day. Appointments to roll up a sleeve and donate can be made today by visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Audubon County: Nov. 6 from 12-6 p.m. at Exira Recreational Center, 106 N. Jefferson in Exira.

Carroll County: Nov. 11 from 1:30-6:30 p.m. at Templeton Community Fire & EMS, 117 S. Main St. in Templeton.

Cass County: Nov. 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Griswold High School, 20 Madison in Griswold.;  Nov. 14 from 12-6 p.m. at Atlantic Catholic Parish Center, 105 W. Fifth St. in Atlantic.

Fremont County: Nov. 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fremont Mills High School, 27 Jackson Blvd. in Tabor.; Nov. 6 from 12-6 p.m. at Nishnabotna High School, 907 Hartford Ave. in Farragut.

Harrison County: Nov. 15 from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Alegent Health Community Memorial Hospital, 631 N. Eighth St. in Missouri Valley.

Mills County: Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at East Mills High School, 1501 E. 15th St. in Malvern; Nov. 11 from 12-6 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 512 Second St. in Glenwood.

Montgomery County: Nov. 13 from 12-6 p.m. at Community Center, 201 S. Third Ave. in Villisca.

Page County: Nov. 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Shenandoah High School, 1000 Mustang Drive in Shenandoah; Nov. 8 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Shenandoah Medical Center, 300 Pershing Ave. in Shenandoah; Nov. 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Iowa Western Community College, 923 E. Washington in Clarinda.

Pottawattamie County: Nov. 4 from 12:30-6:15 p.m. at American Red Cross Loess Hills Chapter, 705 N. 16th St. in Council Bluffs; Nov. 5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at American Red Cross Loess Hills Chapter, 705 N. 16th St. in Council Bluffs; Nov. 6 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Oakland Riverside High School, 501 Oakland Ave. in Oakland; Nov. 8 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Abraham Lincoln High School, 1205 Bonham in Council Bluffs; Nov. 11 from 12:30-6:15 p.m. at American Red Cross Loess Hills Chapter, 705 N. 16th St. in Council Bluffs; Nov. 12 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at American Red Cross Loess Hills Chapter, 705 N. 16th St. in Council Bluffs; Nov. 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Kanesville Alternative Learning Center, 807 Ave. G in Council Bluffs.

Ringgold County: Nov. 12 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at First Christian Church, 201 W. Monroe in Mount Ayr.

Shelby County: Nov. 7 from 12-6 p.m. at St. Boniface Parish Center, 305 Duren St. in Westphalia; Nov. 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Veteran’s Memorial Building, 1104 Morningview in Harlan.

Ernst receives local endorsement in her U-S Senate bid


October 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst, a candidate for United States Senate, has announced her candidacy has been endorsed by Mills County Auditor Carol Robertson, from Glenwood. In announcing her support of Ernst, Robertson highlighted Ernst’s credentials as a former Auditor, her  Iowa values and record of service as a leader in the Iowa National Guard, as reasons for her endorsement.

Area “Dream Big, Grow Here” winners announced


October 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Western Department of Economic Development, and Workforce Development, in conjunction with the Iowa Western Small Business Development Center, have announced the top five area businesses in the “Dream Big, Grow Here” contest. Local businesses advancing in the competition include:  The Pudgy Pumpkin Patch Gift Shop in Red Oak, Egg Krate Antiques LLC in Elk Horn, Innovative Strength and Condition in Neola, Willow Creek Glass Chapel and Banquet Hall in Shelby and Kitchen Sisters LLC in Persia.

A wildcard, Valley Drug in Missouri Valley, was also selected by representatives of the Southwest Iowa Dream Big Grow Here contest. Each business was judged based on their creative and strategic approaches to getting votes during the contest, as well as the validity of their business model.

A regional pitch off contest for a chance to win $5,000 will be held on October 29th, 2013 from noon to 3pm at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs. The public is invited to attend the regional pitch off by calling for reservations at 712-325-3350. The winner(s) will have a chance to compete for $10,000 at the statewide EntreFest Conference in 2014.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

(Updated 10-a.m.) Page County accident injures two females Wed. night


October 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Two southwest Iowa teens were injured during a single-vehicle accident late Wednesday night, about 5-miles east of Shenandoah. Page County Sheriff Lyle Palmer reports 16-year old Brydget Bird, of Essex, and a passenger in her car, 16-year old Sayj Martin, of Shenandoah, were transported by Mercy 1 helicopter to Creighton Medical Center in Omaha, following the crash that happened at around 11-p.m. on E Avenue, a half-mile north of Highway 2. The teens, who were both wearing their seat belts, suffered possible, unknown injuries.

Palmer says the girls were traveling north on E Avenue in 1996 Mercury Mystique, when they met another car. Bird panicked and moved too far over to the right side of the road. Two tires on the vehicle left the pavement causing it to go out of control before entering a ditch and colliding with a large road culvert. The vehicle was totaled in the crash. Damage to the road tube was estimated at $500.

Emergency personnel used the jaws of life to extricate the females, who were trapped in the car. Crews were on the scene for about two-hours. No citations have been issued.