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Audubon City Council to act on clerk appointment tonight

News

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon City Council will hold a Special City Council meeting this evening with regard to the hiring of a City Clerk. The agenda says the Council is expected to conduct interviews for the City Clerk’s position, with the right reserved to enter into a closed session for those interviews under Iowa Code. Afterward, the Council may act on the appointment of a City Clerk, and the removal of the current City Clerk.

The City Clerk’s position has been an ongoing issue since mid-January, when the Council voted to appoint someone else to the job. The Council has been under fire ever since then for alleged violations of the Open Meetings and Open Records Laws, and for repeated mis-steps in their handling of the matter.

In other business, the Council will act on approving a remediation plan. The meeting begins at 5:30-p.m.

Harlan City Administrator receives Public Works Award

News

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Harlan City Administrator Terry Cox has received a prestigious award from the American Public Works Association (APWA). Cox was named as one of the 2014 Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year. According to the APWA website, “the selection of a Top Ten list of exceptional public works professionals has been a cornerstone of National Public Works Week. The program has identified more than 400 men and women who reflect the highest standards of professional conduct for public works officials. These honorees have been recognized for discharging critical responsibilities in connection to the design, construction, maintenance and/or operation of major public works projects or activities in large and small municipalities throughout North America. Often their accomplishments are particularly noteworthy in relation to the limited manpower and financial resources available to them.”
The National Public Works Week will be held from May 18th-24th. In conjunction with the award, The Iowa Chapter of the APWA will hold an awards ceremony for Cox on Tuesday, May 13th at the Therkildsen Activity Center in Harlan from 3:30 to 6pm with the award presentation at 4:30pm. Cox said at the meeting Tuesday, the award is a great honor. “I want to thank all the councils and mayors that helped me be involved in APW because they don’t just call Harlan, Iowa Nationwide. Being involved and stuff has given me career goals. It doesn’t just happen without everyone here and the employees. It is a great honor. Thanks.”

Anyone wanting to attend the awards ceremony for City Administrator Terry Cox, contact Harlan City hall by Friday, May 9th at 712-755-5137. In other news, the Harlan City Council approved two maintenance agreements during their meeting Tuesday evening. The first service agreement was for the city sirens with BVPS. City Administrator Terry Cox said it was an annual expense for the sirens and the company will work with Harlan Fire Chief Roger Bissen.

The maintenance project will cost the city about $3,800. The second agreement came in a form of a resolution with the Iowa Department of Transportation for clean up at the Harlan Airport. The city of Harlan is applying for grant money provided by the Iowa DOT in the sum of $26,000 with a local share of 15 percent or $3,900. The local funding will come from the Airport Capital Equipment Revolving Fund Reserves. Cox said the clean up for obstruction removal at the airport is a safety issue as the city needs to clean up trees on the north end of the airport. Cox said once the grant funding is approved, the project will begin.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

8AM Newscast 05-07-2014

News, Podcasts

May 7th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

(Podcast) 7-a.m. News/funeral announcements: 5/7/2014

News, Podcasts

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

Elevated Fire Danger across western IA today

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNTIES: SAC-CRAWFORD-CARROLL-GREENE-AUDUBON-GUTHRIE-DALLAS-CASS-
ADAIR-MADISON-ADAMS-UNION-TAYLOR-RINGGOLD-
611 AM CDT WED MAY 7 2014

ELEVATED FIRE DANGER EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON IN PORTIONS OF WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST IOWA.

WINDS ARE FORECAST TO INCREASE TODAY FROM THE SOUTH AND SHOULD BE SUSTAINED AT 15 TO 20 MPH BY THIS AFTERNOON WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 MPH. AS THE WINDS INCREASE…DRIER AIR IS EXPECTED TO EDGE INTO WESTERN PORTIONS OF THE STATE WITH RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES DROPPING BELOW 30 PERCENT DURING THE AFTERNOON.

THE COMBINATION OF THE WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES WILL LEAD TO AN ELEVATED FIRE
POTENTIAL THIS AFTERNOON UNTIL THE WINDS RELAX AND HUMIDITY VALUES CLIMB THIS EVENING. ANY OUTDOOR FIRES ACROSS THIS AREA WILL HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO SPREAD RAPIDLY THIS AFTERNOON AND BURNING IS DISCOURAGED.

Student drug and alcohol reduction/prevention discussions continue in Harlan

News

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Community School District’s Board of Education this week received an update on recently held meetings of the district’s Drug and Alcohol Committee. Superintendent Justin Wagner said fifteen community members gathered on five separate occasions to discuss the issue of drugs and alcohol within the school district. Wagner says the first thing the committee wanted was to create a mission statement.

“That mission statement was ‘to reduce or deter underage drinking and drug use in the Harlan Community School district,’ According to Wagner, who said “We really wanted to focus on the things we can control We felt we do a lot of good things right now. This started back at the survey we sent out to the staff, community and students and they said we would like to see you do more.”

Wagner said the committee discussed at length topics including extending extra curricular activities, mentoring programs, peer pressure, accountability for students, uniforms, parent accountability, attendance and drug testing. “Sometimes when you talk about drug testing, it’s really kind of a tricky conversation because I think there are some well intentions out there, “ Wagner said. He added “We have gotten a lot of support on the drug testing side of it. And it’s not because they want to play gotcha with kids. I think the community and folks want the kids to be safe. We want the kids to know we are saying drugs are not good for you… The way the law reads now, students have to agree to be drug tested. Some people agree or disagree but it boils down to if the student says no I don’t want to be drug tested, then it is unconstitutional and illegal.”

The Drug and Alcohol Community Committee decided on four recommendations: working with the Harlan Police Department on attendance if a child misses five days unexcused absences, extend extra curricular activities, establish a Drug and Alcohol informative class for Middle School students and continue to get information to the media and community regarding drugs and alcohol. No board action was necessary with the recommendations. Wagner said the recommendations are being implemented at this time and most of them will tie into the school district’s handbook for the upcoming school year in the fall.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Harlan Board of Ed approves 1:1 initiative upgrades

News

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Community School District’s Board of Education has approved several 1 to 1 initiative upgrades. During the Board’s meeting on Monday, Technology Director Lisa Swanson said that over a three year period, the school has had to replace about 60 percent of the bags each year due to the damage being done over the course of the school year. Currently, students are carrying their laptops in a messenger type bag with the one strap over the shoulder. However, Swanson said High school students take their bag with them everywhere and normally overstuff them with books and other materials which have caused the wear and tear.

Swanson recommended the board approve the purchase of new Airtech backpacks with a logo for all High School students totaling 550 bags at a cost of $33,000. The new backpacks will allow students to put everything from textbooks, papers and their laptop without causing damage. In addition, the backpacks have an air-pocket on the bottom to help protect the computer. The school district will also be replacing the current messenger bags for Middle School students with a more rugged carrying case. The total cost for the middle school replace bags was $16,800. Swanson said both bag purchases were under budget and planned for every year. The school board approved both recommendations as well as the purchase of 37 new laptops for teachers at a cost of $26,145.31 and 60 laptops for students for $28,901.40.

In other business, Superintendent Justin Wagner told the board about the upcoming, new Summer School Program for students. Wagner said with government funding, students can attend classes, eat breakfast and lunch for free before being released over the noon hour. The new program will be spread out throughout the summer months between High school, Middle School and Elementary students. High school students will begin classes on June 2nd through 22nd, Elementary from June 10th-18th and Middle School from the end of July to Early August. Parents will be getting more information regarding the summer school program from their child in the near future.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Iowa board tables $100,000 settlement with worker

News

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The State Appeal Board is delaying the approval of a proposed $100,000 settlement with a former Glenwood Resource Center employee who claimed she faced retaliation. The board tabled the state’s settlement Monday with Cecilia Carman, who alleged officials violated the Iowa Civil Rights Act when they failed to rehire her. Board members said they wanted more details before approving the payments for lost wages, emotional distress and legal fees for Carman.

The board’s executive secretary, Joe Barry, said Tuesday that members wanted more information about the details, including whether actions have been taken to prevent similar problems in the future. He says it is expected to be considered at the board’s June 2 meeting, if not earlier.

The settlement came as the case was scheduled for trial last month.

Bluffs man sentenced to 3 life terms for murder

News

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Council Bluffs man found guilty in connection with the July 2012 execution-style shootings of a reputed methamphetamine dealer and his two sons, will spend the rest of his life in prison. The Daily NonPareil reports District Judge Kimberly Miller Pankonin handed down the sentence Tuesday against Anthony “Pookie” Davis. The 35-year old Davis was sentenced in Douglas County District Court to three consecutive life terms for three counts of first-degree murder. He and co-defendant Timothy “Mont” Britt were found guilty pf shooting 44-year old Miguel Avalos, and his sons 18-year old Miguel Jr., and 16-year old Jose.

Judge Pankonin said Davis avoided a potential death sentence because the jury found no aggravating circumstances to the murders. Davis, who was also found guilty of three counts of using a weapon to commit a felony, declined to speak. His attorney, Kelly Steenbock, said only that she sincerely believed the shooting deaths were not intentional.

During the March trial, prosecutors said Davis and Britt planned to rob Avalos, but the robbery went horribly wrong, ending with the execution-style shootings of Avalos and his sons. The father was shot five times in the head. Davis and Britt each was charged with first-degree murder under the felony murder rule, which holds accomplices accountable if someone dies in the commission of a felony such as robbery.

At his April trial, Britt was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of using a weapon to commit a felony and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He will be sentenced May 29th.

Glenwood aquatic center/pool bond issue fails

News

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A proposed $4.75 million bond issue in Glenwood for the construction of an outdoor swimming pool and aquatic center failed to meet the required 60-percent margin of approval during a vote held Tuesday. The Daily NonPareil says project would have increased property taxes 1.5 percent.  Of the 970 votes, 465 voted against the facility, while 505 voters supported it. There are 3,320 registered voters in Glenwood. The bond issue needed a 60 percent supermajority in order to pass. Glenwood has been without an outdoor pool since the previous facility closed in 2005.

City Administrator Brian Kissel said the facility included lap lanes, a lazy river feature and a zero-depth entry. Plans for water slides, which were part of a project alternate estimated at $5.1 million, weren’t included.According to a survey, more than 90 percent of Glenwood residents said they would support a swimming pool and aquatic center to replace the former municipal pool. City officials held town meetings to answer questions about the project.

If the bond had passed, the next step would have been for the Glenwood City Council and the Glenwood Community School District Board of Education to vote and sign a shared-property agreement. City officials were looking at a local option sales tax fund to help operate the facility.