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River body was that of missing Nebraska man

News

May 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

FREMONT, Neb. (AP) – Iowa authorities have confirmed that a body found in the Missouri River is that of a missing Nebraska man. The Fremont Tribune says Iowa officials and police in Fremont, Nebraska, identified the man as 56-year-old Thomas Hill, of Fremont.

The body was found Saturday off Fremont County, Iowa, south of Omaha. Hill was reported missing on April 18. His car was found parked near the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge in Omaha.

An Iowa autopsy report says Hill drowned.

Ernst clarifies comments over weapons in Iraq

News

May 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst is clarifying comments she made that critics say implied that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction at the time of the U.S. invasion of the country. The Des Moines Register reports Ernst said in a statement Monday that she did not mean to suggest Iraq had such weapons at the time of the 2003 invasion. She said she was trying to explain that Iraq had such weapons in the past.

Ernst made the initial comments during a meeting with the Register’s editorial board on Friday. Iowa Democratic Party officials later questioned her remarks. Ernst is one of five candidates vying for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Tom Harkin, a long-serving Democrat. The primary is June 3.

Glenwood man arrested for criminal mischief

News

May 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports 22-year old Derek Edward Rodwell, of Glenwood, was arrested late Monday night. Rodwell was taken into custody at the Sheriff’s Office, on a warrant for Criminal Mischief in the 2nd degree. Bond was set at $5,000.

Sen. Grassley calls for update on probe into treatment delays at VA facilities

News

May 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

An investigation is underway into allegations of excessive delays in medical care at V-A hospitals, some delays which have reportedly led to dozens of veterans’ deaths as they waited for treatment. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is asking the inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs for an update on the investigation and details about how the probe is being conducted. Grassley says, “I’m particularly anxious to confirm that the VA facilities that serve Iowans are not falsifying appointment records and Iowans are seen within a reasonable time.”

Many thousands of Iowa veterans are undergoing treatment at V-A facilities in Iowa City, Des Moines, Omaha, Sioux Falls and at affiliated community clinics.  “I’m not aware of any current problems involving medical care or delays for Iowa veterans,” Grassley says, “though I hope that the inspector general’s review will be national since at least three states are alleged to have medical care delays.”

The worst of the reported problems are at V-A facilities in Arizona, Colorado and Texas. Some Senate Republicans are calling for the firing of V-A Secretary Eric Shinseki but Grassley, also a Republican, thinks that’s premature.  “I don’t generally call for resignations unless it’s pretty darn convinced that at the top, that that’s the problem,” Grassley says. “I know the buck stops someplace but right now, I’m going to wait until the hearings are over to make that determination.”

The probe focused initially on a V-A clinic in Fort Collins, Colorado, where many of the 63-hundred veterans seeking treatment had waited several months to see a doctor. Allegations indicate records were changed if they showed a veteran had waited longer than 14 days to be seen. Another V-A facility in Phoenix, Arizona, reportedly had up to 40 patients die because of treatment delays.

(Radio Iowa)

IWCC Innovation News

News

May 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Western Community College in Atlantic is holding a special event 11-a.m. Wednesday, to unveil some exciting, innovative new technology and/or programs. College officials are being tight-lipped on what will be revealed, but they say it follows on the heels of academic and facility-related growth the Atlantic campus has seen recently. The public is invited to attend the event and find out what’s happening.

This weekend is graduation at Iowa Western. During Saturday’s commencement ceremonies at the college’s flagship site in Council Bluffs, 12 Design Technology students from the Atlantic campus will receive their diplomas. The Design Technology Program was launched in Atlantic in the fall of 2011. Students in the program learn to build 3D virtual products using Siemens Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software, the world’s leading product lifecycle management program.

Graduates of the program can expect a starting salary of 40-to 45,000 dollars.

Atlantic School Board news

News

May 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

There aren’t many changes to previously announced budget reductions affecting the Atlantic Community School District. Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein says the board approved the list announced at the last meeting. He says he recommended and the board approved $766,817 in cost reductions. Early retirement incentives will save the district about $382,000. Reducing para-educator positions, eliminating transportation for the summer school will also help to cuts costs.

In addition, there will be across the board cost reductions in all school departments, a reduction in the Atlantic Middle School Reading position for the 2014-2015 school year, a reduction in the substitute teacher budget, reducing of the text book budget by $50,000, and reductions of Para contracts to 35-hours, and a Para testing position. Amstein says the board also approved settlements with the district’s certified and non-certified staff. The certified teaching staff will see an overall package increase of 3.8-percent, which includes a $1,000 base salary increase. The non-certified staff contract provide for a .35-cents an hour increase and total package increase of 3.88-percent.

Amstein says the Atlantic School Board also approved several contracts for vacant Summer School and new hire teachers’ positions. Among them: Mindy Duff, new Elementary School Music teacher; Paul Dudley, a new instructor for High School Math; Trisha Niceswanger, High School Spanish instructor. At Washington Elementary, new hires include: Katina Coffield, Allison Elliott, Gena Rush, Emily Brown. At Schuler Elementary, the Board approved the hiring of Julia Gross and Michelle McLaren.

The Board approved the resignation of Middle School Math teacher Carrie Clemsen. Amstein said she wants to spend more time helping her husband on the family farm. And, Volunteer Coaching positions were approved for Mike McDermott (9th grade baseball) and Nancy Rasmussen-Jenkins as Assistant Boys & Girls Cross Country Coach.

Students defend western Iowa high school principal

News

May 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

RED OAK, Iowa (AP) – Some students and other residents of western Iowa’s Red Oak have defended the embattled high school principal. Several dozen people attended a forum at the end of Monday night’s school board meeting to inquire about principal Jedd Sherman and praise his commitment to students.

The board voted May 5 to consider terminating Sherman’s contract. The board said in its notice to Sherman that reasons for his potential termination included failures to develop good relationships with the superintendent, other administrators, outside consultants and some teachers. Board members declined to answer questions asked Monday night, saying that they couldn’t because it was a personnel matter.

Sherman acknowledged having a disagreement with a consultant but disagreed with the board’s other allegations. He’s filed a request for an appeal hearing.

(9-a.m. News)

(Podcast) 7:07-a.m. Area News & funeral report, Tue. May 13th 2014

News, Podcasts

May 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

Western Iowa detasseling outfit won’t be hiring

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A longtime summer employer in western Iowa won’t be hiring students and adults for the hot and hard work of detasseling. Siouxland Detasseling CEO Ron Foster told the Sioux City Journal that the area decline in seed corn production led to the cutback on hiring. Since 1983 Siouxland has hired more than 200 workers each summer.

Detasselers walk through the rows of corn and pull the pollinating tassels off the top of the plants that will produce seed for future planting. Siouxland Detasseling crews usually work fields north of Onawa to Salix in Iowa and the Jefferson and Elk Point areas in South Dakota.

U-S Ag Secretary not in favor of splitting food stamps out of farm bill

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Some federal officials suggest the Farm Bill should be split in two, separating agricultural policies from SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps. U-S Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, argues that food stamps play a big role in ag income and the two should remain united under one piece of legislation. Vilsack says, “When 15-cents of every food dollar that’s spent in the grocery store ends up ultimately in farmers’ pockets, the reality is that the safety net, the nutrition assistance program, is also part of the overall stabilizing farm prices and making sure we have adequate income for our producers to keep them in business.”

Some Washington leaders have suggested the coalition between agricultural and nutrition interests no longer works, but Vilsack disagrees.  “When 15% of America’s population lives in rural America and 85% lives in urban and suburban America and there’s such a disconnect oftentimes between folks who consume and folks who produce our food,” Vilsack says, “it may be difficult in the future if you separate the nutrition programs and the farm programs to get a farm bill done.” Vilsack understands why some have suggested splitting SNAP and ag programs, given the difficulty in passing the last Farm Bill.

“I would sincerely hope that we wouldn’t try to disconnect the two because I think it would make it very difficult to get farm bills and farm programs supported in Congress,” he says. Vilsack argues the nutrition programs provide a safety net for farm income. SNAP accounts for the largest portion of the Farm Bill, or about 768-billion dollars over ten years. Since the 2008 Farm Bill, funding for SNAP has almost doubled.

(Radio Iowa)