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More than 300 children receive bikes from anonymous donors

News

December 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Two youth organizations in Sioux City have teamed up with a bicycle shop owner and anonymous donors to give bicycles to more than 300 children. The Sioux City Journal reports that Girls Inc. gave out 115 bicycles Friday, and the Boys Club of Sioux City surprised 225 boys with bikes Tuesday afternoon. The children also received helmets and locks.

Doug Albrecht, owner of Albrecht Cycle Shop, worked with the anonymous donors to order the mountain bikes. The team assembled about 60 bicycles a week over five weeks. The retail value of each bike is about $400, but Albrecht was able to get a discount from the manufacturer since they were purchased in bulk. He says this is the largest one-time donation the bikes shop has ever seen.

Adair-Casey Whole Grade Sharing details released

News

December 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Adair-Casey and Guthrie Center School Districts have released details about a proposed five-year, Whole Grade Sharing agreement. According to information on the districts’ websites, each district would maintain its own kindergarten-6th grade program. 7th and 8th grade students would attend class at Adair-Casey. 9th-12th graders would attend high school in Guthrie Center. In addition, both districts would share all activities in grades 7-12, including their athletic programs. All high school competitions would take place in Guthrie Center, with the shared districts jointly competing in the West Central Activities Conference. The agreement would go into effect July 1st, 2016.

Public hearings regarding the proposed agreement will take place this (Wednesday) evening at the Adair-Casey Junior-Senior High School Library, beginning at 7-p.m., and on Tuesday, December 22nd, in the Library Media Center at the Guthrie Center High School.

Further details about the proposed WGS agreement are available at http://gcs.dynamicwebware.com/school_board/ACGC-WGSA_12.15.pdf
And, details on the activity agreement can found at http://gcs.dynamicwebware.com/school_board/ACGC-activitysharingagt-12.14.pdf

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., 12/16/15

News

December 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa health officials say half of all potential contracts for Medicaid services have been signed ahead of the state’s switch to privatized care on Jan. 1. The Iowa Department of Human Services says the four private companies taking over the state’s Medicaid program have signed a total of more than 62,000 contracts with medical providers.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa officials say they’re trying to figure out how to respond to excessive alcohol consumption at multiple state beaches. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said it’s collecting informal public comments on ways to reduce alcohol-related incidents on beaches at state parks and state recreation areas. Iowa State Parks Bureau Chief Todd Coffelt says the inquiry is in response to reported cases of excessive alcohol consumption at multiple state beaches.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Federal education officials say Iowa and Nebraska have the top high school graduation rates in the country. Data released by the Education Department show Iowa ranked first among all states with a graduation rate of 90.5 percent for the 2013-2014 school year. Nebraska came in second with a graduation rate of 89.7 percent for the same period.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The value of Iowa farmland has declined for the second year in a row. An Iowa State University survey says the statewide average is about $7,600 an acre, compared to $8,700 two years ago. Researchers say they’re not expecting a rebound soon because of falling farm income and stagnant commodity prices.

15 Iowa Cities Receive $9.1 Million in Low-Interest State Revolving Fund Loans for Water Quality Initiatives

News

December 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Fifteen Iowa cities will benefit from a combined total of more than $9.1 million in low-cost water quality loans through the State Revolving Fund. Among them, is Underwood, which is receiving $313,000 for a sewer lift station and force main, and, Winterset, which is receiving $1.4-million for sewer treatment improvements.

State Revolving Fund Construction Loans are a low-cost construction financing option available for Iowa cities and municipalities for water quality initiatives. Planning & Design Loans are zero percent loans that assist with the first-phase of project expenses. The Iowa Finance Authority and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources jointly administer the State Revolving Fund in Iowa.

The State Revolving Fund has awarded Iowa communities and municipalities more than $2.5 billion in Construction Loans and $130 million through Planning & Design Loans since the program’s inception. More information is available at IowaSRF.com.

200+ Iowans who joined buying club to share $20,000 in refunds

News

December 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

More than 200 Iowans will be getting refunds after they unknowingly enrolled in an expensive buying club. A Tennessee-based company that operates the website SavingsGalore.com has agreed to stop enrolling Iowans and make some $20,000 in refunds. The Iowa Attorney General’s Office reports the company failed to post clear notices and disclosures about when a consumer is being signed up for a buying club membership.

In many cases, Iowans discovered unexpected membership charges to their credit or debit cards, but they’d gone unnoticed for months or even years. According to the A-G’s office, consumers who signed up for the buying club will be contacted by the state about their refund.

(Radio Iowa)

State Parks impacted by recent, unseasonable rains

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Visitors planning a trip to some State Parks in Iowa, may want to double check conditions as recent unseasonable rains have had some impact. Among the impacted parks is Springbrook State Park, which is closed to vehicular traffic due to a road construction project and flood waters are over the main road. The Sherburne Cabin can still be accessed from the west and the park office is still accessible from the east. The Education Center is unaffected by the flooding.

Because conditions can change rapidly in flood conditions, state park visitors are encouraged to check for closures posted the DNR website at www.iowadnr.gov/parks or the parks reservation site at http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com or by contacting individual park offices directly.

IA DNR seeks public comment on proposed alcohol ban on state beaches

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa DNR is seeking informal public comment on a draft proposed rule under consideration that would ban alcohol year-round on all beaches in state parks and state recreation areas. The proposed ban would apply to the sand or the fenced in area of the beach, the adjacent designated swimming area, and a 200-foot land buffer surrounding the sand or fenced in area. Rental facilities that are within the 200-foot land buffer that have been formally reserved through the DNR will not be subject to the ban.

The ban is being considered because incidents reveal a continued pattern of excessive alcohol consumption at multiple state beaches, which threaten the safety of the general public and personnel.

Comments may be directed to Jessica Manken at 515-725-8488 or at Jessica.Manken@dnr.iowa.gov through close of business on Monday, December 21, 2015.

Sioux City considering lowering traffic camera fines

News

December 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Sioux City officials will consider lowering fines levied against motorists caught speeding by traffic cameras posted on Interstate 29. The Sioux City Journal reports that the City Council will discuss at a Monday meeting whether to reduce the fine from $168 to $100. Assistant City Attorney Justin Vondrak says drivers caught going 11 to 15 mph over the posted speed limit are subject to the current fine.

Vondrak says the proposed reduction would apply only to speed cameras on I-29 and not to the city’s red-light cameras posted around town. In 2012, the council lowered the fine for red-light violations from $195 to $100, an amount more in line with other Iowa cities with cameras.

Christmas light thefts reported in Exira

News

December 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office is investigating several reports of thefts in Exira. Officials say the thefts occurred sometime early this (Tuesday) morning. Three residences reported having their Christmas lights stolen. The lights are described as being “Star Shower” laser lights.

Anyone with information about the thefts, or who may have seen anything pertaining to the incidents, is urged to contact the Audubon County Sheriff’s Office at 712-563-2631, or Audubon County Crimestoppers at 712-563-2234.

A reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction is being offered. Similar thefts of the “Star Shower” lights are being reported all over the nation.

U Iowa pres sorry for saying unready teachers should be shot

News

December 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The University of Iowa’s president has apologized to one offended employee for saying publicly that instructors who aren’t ready to teach their classes should be shot. Bruce Harreld wrote in an email to librarian Lisa Gardinier that his statement to the UI Staff Council was “an unfortunate off-the-cuff remark.” He says he didn’t mean to offend anyone or imply that he supports gun violence in any form.

Harreld writes that he’s used the comment in many forums previously without drawing a complaint. Gardinier says Harreld’s remark came during the Dec. 9 meeting, in response to a staffer’s question about instruction. Gardinier told Harreld the remark was “irresponsible and unprofessional.” She later welcomed his apology, saying she understood his remark to be rhetorical.

Gardinier shared the correspondence with The Associated Press.