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4 arrests & a vehicle theft reported in Creston


February 8th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Creston Police Department reports three people were arrested Tuesday on separate charges, and one person was arrested this (Wednesday) morning. 39-year old Michael Johns, of Creston, was arrested just after 6-a.m. today (Wed.), on a Union County warrant for Violation of Parole. Johns was being held without bond in the jail.

Tuesday night, 57-year old Michael Fry, of Creston, was arrested on a Union County warrant for Failure to Serve his sentence, on an original charge of Driving While Barred. Fry was being held in the Union County Jail until his sentence is served. Tuesday morning, 37-year old Dustin Kilgore and 39-year old John Burgoyne, both of Creston, were arrested. Kilgore was taken into custody for Theft in the 5th Degree. He was subsequently released on a promise to appear in court. Burgoyne was arrested at the Union County LEC on a warrant for Violation of a No Contact/Protective Order. Burgoyne was also released on a Promise to Appear.

And, a Greenfield woman reported to Creston Police Tuesday morning, that sometime around 11:30-p.m. Monday, her 1993 Cadillac DeVille was taken from the 400 block of New York Avenue, in Creston. The car was recovered about nine hours later in the 800 block of W. Adams Street.

(Podcast) KJAN Morning News & funeral report, Wednesday, 2/8/2017

News, Podcasts

February 8th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The area’s top news at 7:06-a.m., w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson


Bill barring immigrant ‘sanctuaries’ in the state’s public institutions clears committee


February 8th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A bill designed to bar Iowa cities and counties as well as schools and universities from providing “sanctuary” to undocumented immigrants sparked a statehouse protest Tuesday afternoon. Reverend Russ Melby of Ames was one of the protest’s organizers. “To be supportive of folks who don’t have much of a voice, to be supportive of what our Lord, as a Christian, commands us to be,” Melby says, “namely supportive of those who are, generally speaking, left out.”

The bill would bar any resolution or ordinance that “limits or restricts” enforcement of federal immigration laws. The legislation applies to Iowa’s public schools, community colleges and the three public universities in Iowa as well as private schools that receive state funds. The bill passed the House Public Safety Committee on a party-line vote. Representative Steven Holt, a Republican from Denison, says there’s a public safety concern about providing “safe haven” to people who are not in the country legally.  “Now we all know that the vast majority of people who are not in our country legally have just come here for a better life and they’re contributing in a number of ways in our communities,” Holt says, “but there’s also that number that could have and possibly do have a violent, criminal past.”

Holt points to a San Francisco murder committed by an undocumented immigrant who had returned to San Francisco because it was a “sanctuary city.” President Trump has directed the Department of Homeland Security to deport more undocumented immigrants who’ve committed serious crimes here.  “We don’t want Iowans to be harmed as a result of a sanctuary city policy that might encourage someone with that type of past to come to Iowa,” Holt says. The protests over the bill extended the process, but the legislation cleared the committee late Tuesday afternoon. The Des Moines School Board voted unanimously last (Tuesday) night to require that federal immigration officials get permission from the superintendent if they want to talk with students or staff.

Representative Holt says his message to Des Moines school officials is to “respect the rule of law.”  “If we don’t respect the rule of law, we’ve got very serious trouble,” Holt says. “And all this bill is seeking to do is just to instruct the government, state entities in Iowa that you will cooperate in the traditional sense with federal immigration authorities in the enforcement of our laws.”

The Des Moines School Board passed another resolution last night that expresses support for the 55-hundred students in the district who were brought into the U.S. illegally by their parents. So-called “Dreamers” were temporarily protected from deportation by an executive order issued by former President Obama. President Trump has said “Dreamers” will be treated “very compassionately,” but it’s not clear yet what Trump may propose. His focus thus far has been on the deportation of undocumented criminals.

(Radio Iowa)

Juvenile male cited for beer theft & tobacco possession


February 8th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak say a juvenile male was cited for Theft in the 5th Degree, Possession of Alcohol under the Age of 21, and Possession of Tobacco/3rd offense. The unnamed youth was detained after officers called to the Dollar General Store in Red Oak at around 6-p.m. Tuesday, investigated the theft from the store, of two beers. The juvenile had left the scene in a vehicle, but officers located the car at the intersection of N. 6th and E. Prospect Streets in Red Oak, a short time later.

The juvenile was in the passenger seat of the car. Authorities say in addition to having the alcohol, the juvenile was found to be in possession of tobacco. He was cited for the offenses and then released to his parents.

Atlantic Education Board presents initial proposal to Education Assoc.


February 8th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A representative from the law firm of Lynch-Dallas, in Cedar Rapids, presented to the Atlantic Education Association, Tuesday afternoon, the Atlantic Board of Education’s initial bargaining proposal for the 2017-18 School Year as part two of the collective bargaining process. Last week, the Education Association (representing the District’s Certified Staff), made its initial proposal, which essentially called for a 5.9 percent total package increase along with a $1,900 increase in base pay.

Emily Ellingsen, with Lynch-Dallas, said the District proposes a “Step and lane Movement” salary schedule, which would be “adjusted to reflect the accurate TSS Base (Teacher Salary Schedule) calculation (estimated at $3,470), which shall not be costed into the total package.” The estimated total package amounts to an increase of 1.380%.

The District also made changes to the length of the work day. The proposal calls for the day to begin at 8-a.m. for teachers and staff (instead of 7:45-a.m.), and ending at 4-p.m. (Instead of 3:45-p.m.) That didn’t sit well with some of the Education Association’s reps, but Ellingson explained, and the proposal spells out, that the hours would be “Soley at the discretion of the building principal.” Furthermore, that “If District professional development extends the work day, comp time will be made available for the staff. All comp time must be used in the pay period during which it is earned.”

Ellingsen, Superintendent Dr. Mike Amstein, and the Education Association will meet again, at a date to be determined, to continue negotiations. Much of which will be based upon what the Iowa Legislature decides to do with Aid to Schools. Republicans in the Iowa House have sent the governor a bill that will increase general state aid to public schools by 40-million dollars for the next academic year, which amounts to about a $73 per student increase over last year, or 1.1%. Democrats say schools need far more than what Republicans are offering, but Republican lawmakers says they are responding to the dilemma of limited state tax collections.

About a month ago, Governor Branstad recommended a 2% state spending boost for schools in each of the next two years. On Monday, he indicated he will accept the ONE-year, roughly 1% percent increase Republican legislators have agreed upon.

For the Atlantic School District, a meeting will be held Thursday afternoon between the Board of Directors and the Non-Certified Staff’s Bargaining Unit. The meeting takes place at 4-p.m., in the Middle School Library.

Red Oak PPEL approved Tuesday


February 8th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Voters in the Red Oak Community School District, Tuesday, overwhelmingly approved at Public Measure pertaining to a 10-year extension of a Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL), and a PPEL Income Surtax. According to unofficial results from the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office, “Proposition A” received 391 Yes votes and 154 No votes, or 71.74% to 28.26%. A simple majority was needed in order for the measure to pass.

The levy of $1.34 per thousand dollars taxable property valuation will be used for building and grounds maintenance and construction, plus transportation, equipment and technology purchases. It becomes effective on June 30th 2021, while the Income Surtax starts December 31st for each calendar year, and commencing with the 2020 calendar year.

Meanwhile voters in the Hamburg School District, Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a $4.3 million bond issue for a renovation and expansion of Marnie Simons Elementary School. Unofficial results from the Fremont County Auditor’s Office show the bond issue was rejected by a 367-to-274 vote. The referendum received only 42.75% of the vote–well short of the 60% super-majority necessary for its passage.

School officials proposed the project in order to make it more compatible for middle school students. Marnie Simons became a K-8 facility earlier this year. Opponents argued the expansion was unnecessary for the district’s small enrollment, and that the building was in good shape. They also believed the bond issue was too big of an expense for taxpayers.

Governor ‘proud’ GOP legislature poised to change Iowa’s collective bargaining law


February 8th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad says the bill his fellow Republicans in the legislature have crafted to change bargaining rights for public employee unions includes “many of the changes” HE has wanted to make for years. “I’m proud of the fact we have people in the legislature that are willing to do the right thing and are not going to be threatened or intimiated by anybody,” Branstad says. “We have a responsibility to the people that elected us.”

In 1974, Branstad was one of the few legislators who voted AGAINST the state’s current collective bargaining law for government workers and teachers in Iowa. Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds says the changes in this year’s bill are “necessary” because public employees in Iowa are being rewarded for “time served” rather than “merit.”

“It’s just simply not fair and it really demonstrates, I think, how far out of whack in the disparity and the differences that are taking place with the current collective bargaining law,” Reynolds said, “and how it has become in favor of the unions and their special interests.” In a rare move, Reynolds and Branstad held an afternoon news conference WITH the Republican leaders in the House and Senate to discuss the legislation. House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, a Republican from Clear Lake, says this bill should be “no surprise” since House Republicans tried to make many of these changes six years ago.

“The goal is to take another look and make some changes to a process that hasn’t been looked at very thoroughly in 40 years,” Upmeyer says. Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix, a Republican from Shell Rock, says the bill “is a better deal for Iowa taxpayers. “The proposal before us is about local control…It gives school boards the opportunity to improve student achievement by keeping the best teachers in the classroom,” Dix says.And Dix says getting rid of seniority will let school officials fire “the occasional…bad apple” in the teaching profession.

Tammy Wawro is president of the Iowa State Education Association, the union that represents 34-thousand teachers.  “I am beyond angry today,” Wawro said during a statehouse news conference. “I am actually mortified.” Wawro is urging union members to talk with their co-workers and explain the scope of the legislation. “When you’re talking about removing seniority, when you’re talking about not being able even to have a conversation about what your insurance might look like, that doesn’t just impact union members,” Wawro says. “That impacts every public sector worker and employee.”

Iowa Federation of Labor president Ken Sager says isn’t just about STATE employees and teachers. The bill will hit 184-thousand Iowans, including those who work for cities and counties. “There’s been an ongoing effort, an ongoing vendetta if you will to penalize the very people in this state who provide the necessary services to provide for a civilized society,” Sager says. “There’s something fundamentally wrong with that.”

Danny Homan is president of AFSCME Council 61, the union that represents the largest share of state workers. “The Republicans in the House and Senate have cowardly crafted this legislation behind closed doors,” Homan says. “They have been hiding from those that this affects because it’s easier to betray working men and women without having to look them in the eye.”

During a statehouse news conference, the three union leaders said they were NOT planning mass protests at the capitol. Instead, they’re urging union members to attend weekend forums legislators hold in their home districts. Police and fire fighters in Iowa would retain many of their current bargaining rights under the proposed legislation, but fire fighters and police officers were among the union members who flooded the capitol yesterday to object to the bill.

A subcommittee in the Iowa HOUSE will discuss this collective bargaining bill early this (Wednesday) morning. A SENATE subcommittee has a two-hour meeting on the same bill scheduled to start at 11 a.m. It appears the bill is likely to pass both the House and Senate next week. The governor has indicated he’ll quickly sign it into law.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Wednesday, Feb. 8th, 2017


February 8th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 2:40 a.m. CST

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has told Iowa environmental regulators that changes made to state clean water standards last year violate federal regulations. The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission approved changes in August that eliminated a rigorous environmental assessment before allowing new contaminants to be introduced to streams, rivers or lakes by city wastewater treatment plants or industry.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republicans in the Iowa Legislature are moving quickly on a bill that public employee unions say would gut Iowa’s collective bargaining law. The 68-page bill was filed Tuesday in the House and Senate. The scope of the proposed changes is unclear, and it caused confusion in the initial hours of its release. Union leaders say they’re still reviewing the bill and how it stacks up with efforts around the country to change collective bargaining laws.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa Senate subcommittee approved a proposed ban on medical research using fetal tissue despite objections it could jeopardize life-saving cures. The Republican-controlled panel agreed Tuesday that the use or transportation of fetal tissue should be largely prohibited. The legislation is similar to a bill passed in the Iowa House last year. That bill failed in a Senate controlled by Democrats, but with Republicans controlling both chambers, the measure could see greater support.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — A Waterloo man accused of stabbing to death his father has taken a plea deal. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that Rashod Aldridge entered Alford pleas Monday to charges of voluntary manslaughter and two counts of going armed with intent. Under an Alford plea, a defendant maintains innocence but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence for conviction. He’d been charged with second-degree murder in the March 20 slaying of Roosevelt Aldridge.

Iowa Senators vote in favor of U-S Education Secretary


February 7th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s two U-S Senators both voted to confirm Betsy DeVos today (Tuesday) as the U-S Secretary of Education. DeVos drew criticism for her lack of education background and the vote in the Senate ended in a 50-50 tie that had to be broken by Vice President Mike Pence. Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, released a video message explaining her vote. “Over the last several weeks, I have thoroughly vetted Betsy DeVos, and have found that she shares the belief that those closest to our students — from parents to teachers to local administrators and local elected officials — know what is best for our students,” Ernst says. “Additionally, she has pledged to fight for all students, including those attending public, private, and charter schools.”

Ernst says DeVoss has also pledged to support students who require additional support due to developmental, physical, or other disabilities. She also says she will be sure the DeVos follows through with what she has said she will do. “While I support her confirmation, I will be holding her accountable to the standard she has placed upon herself,” she says.

Ernst acknowledged the controversy surrounding DeVos. “I have heard from folks on both sides of the debate over Betsy DeVos. Good people can disagree with one another and still engage in a civil, productive discourse,” Ernst says. ” An open and honest dialogue is important and it’s critical that I continue to hear from you.”

She finished by saying she looks forward to “working with you to protect our schools, restore local control, and prepare our youth to enter the workforce.”  Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican from New Hartford, released a statement on DeVos’ confirmation, saying: “I believe Betsy DeVos will perform the job of U-S Secretary of Education faithfully and well. There’s been a lot of misinformation that Mrs. DeVos opposes public schools. In fact, she’s committed to being an advocate for great public schools. What’s more, her job will not be to oversee public schools. That’s handled at the state and local school board levels. The role of the U-S Secretary of Education is to implement federal education programs, which are largely targeted at providing additional assistance to disadvantaged students and students with disabilities whether they attend public or private schools.”

Grassley’s statement says DeVos has made it clear that her job would be to enforce all federal laws as Congress intended, and says that’s” refreshing in light of recent experience.” Grassley says the Obama Administration overreached in trying to coerce states to adopt its preferred policies and Congress passed safeguards to prevent any future secretary of education from pushing policies not included in federal law.

(Radio Iowa)

Hog barn fire reported in n.w. Audubon County


February 7th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Firefighters from Audubon were called to a reported hog barn fire several miles northwest of Audubon, Tuesday night. The call about the fire at 1038 170th Avenue came in at around 5:40-p.m. A person answering the phone at the Audubon Fire Department said a spark from a welder triggered a flash fire in methane pit. The fire blew itself out before firefighters arrived. No damage or injuries were reported. Fire firefighters were back in the station by around 6:35-p.m.