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More than 2000 rally in Albia, in support of Welcome Home Soldier memorial

News

May 16th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The City of Albia nearly doubled in size Sunday for a rally to show support for the “Welcome Home Soldier” Memorial. A Washington, D.C.-based group has threatened to sue, arguing the memorial’s 21 crosses violate the separation of church and state since the display sits on public land. Jim Keller, founder and president of the “Welcome Home Soldier” board, says the families of veterans paid for each the crosses.

“I always told everybody when you come here, I want to tear your heart out and hand it right back to you,” Keller said. “I think that’s how much I appreciate everybody that fought for our country.” Officials estimated a crowd of two-thousand turned out in Albia for the event. Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds told rally-goers the threatened lawsuit is an attack on religious liberty.

“It is up to us to stand up and say: ‘We will not tolerate this infringement on our rights. We will not allow this memorial to be taken down,'” Reynolds said, to cheers. Reynolds says the “elitists” are counting on Iowans to lose their resolve.  “We must stand together in this fight like each and every one of you are doing here today and, collectively, we must say: ‘Enough is enough,'” Reynolds said. Reynolds says if it’s O-K for crosses to mark the graves of soldiers at cemeteries in Normandy and Arlington, it should be O-K in Monroe County, Iowa.

State Senator Ken Rozenboom, of Oskaloosa, represents the area and he says this is a battle between “political correctness” and the free speech rights of Albia families who had the names of loved ones carved in the crosses. Last year, Americans United for Separation of Church and State raised concerns about a veterans memorial in a Knoxville city park that depicted a soldier kneeling next to a cross. Two members of the Knoxville City Council who voted to move that memorial to private land lost their bids for reelection.

(Radio Iowa)

Drones, TPP, Iran nuclear deal among topics at US Senate candidate forum

News

May 16th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The four Democrats running for the U.S. Senate in Iowa are raising serious concerns about the Obama Administration’s use of drones to target terrorists overseas. The candidates appeared Sunday afternoon at a forum sponsored by the “Stop The Arms Race” PAC. Patty Judge says it’s important to take out “high value” targets, but she says the Pentagon, not the C-I-A, should be running the U.S. drone program.

It’s a military tool and it needs to be treated as a military tool,” Judge says. Rob Hogg  says he has “deep concerns” because our enemies may use drones to strike us. “If we can do things that keep the men and women in our services out of danger by using them for informational purposes, that’s probably a good thing,” Hogg says, “…but we’ve got to be really, really careful.” Tom Fiegen says there are too many civilian casualties with drone strikes.

“You wonder why there are more terrorists? It’s because we use
drones to kill people who are innocent victims,” Fiegen said, to applause. Bob Krause says there is a “joystick mentality” that goes with the operation, but he’s not calling for abandoning the use of drones. “I don’t know that I’m willing yet to say that we need to stop targeting and pinpointing the leadership of ISIS,” Krause says.

The Democratic candidates also agreed the U.S. should NOT use torture when interrogating terror suspects. Regarding two of President Obama’s foreign policy achievements, all four expressed opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, but they were united in their support of the president’s nuclear agreement with Iran. Patty Judge says it will help maintain peace in the Middle East.

“However, we must also understand and realize that we have got to be very vigilant,” Judge says. “There needs to be careful monitoring.” Rob Hogg says people overlook that the deal had international support from U.S. allies. “Even Ronald Reagan used nuclear arms negotiations with the ‘Evil Empire’ to bring moderation to the Soviet Union,” Hogg said, “so why shouldn’t President Obama be able to do that with Iran?” Bob Krause says it was “nearly criminal” for Senator Chuck Grassley to sign onto a letter Senate Republicans sent the “Supreme Leader” in Iran.

“It will probably never be prosecuted, but it was clearly wrong,” Krause said, “and it played into the hands of the far right wing in Iran.” Tom Fiegen describes himself as a peace activist who supports the deal with Iran. “I believe it represents a triumph of diplomacy over war,” Fiegen says. Donald Trump was a frequent target during the two-hour-long forum, as was Senator Grassley.

The four candidates are competing to win the June 7th Democratic Primary and the chance to face Grassley in the General Election.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Monday, May 16th 2016

News

May 16th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 3:40 a.m. CDT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A voluntary state program that aims to improve water quality practices at farms around Iowa is entering its fourth year amid growing differences about the best ways to clean up the state’s waterways. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced this month the sign-up period is open for its cost-share program that allows farmers to offset the expense of installing some water quality practices. Some agriculture experts say it’s not enough for long-term benefits.

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — In the trucking industry, technology is driving change. Todd Smith, chief operating officer at Decker Truck Line Inc. in Fort Dodge said that by the end of 2017 it will be mandated that all trucks have electronic logs. Paper logs will no longer be accepted. This change in technology has made it a difficult transition for some of the older truckers, who account for a large percentage of drivers. Smith said the average age of the driving force today is an estimated 57 years old.

SOLON, Iowa (AP) — Iowa officials are considering banning alcohol at two state beaches because of past problems, but the rule hasn’t been approved yet. The ban would apply initially at Lake Macbride near Solon and Pleasant Creek at Palo. Alcohol would be banned at the beaches but would be allowed in the campgrounds.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Officials in eastern Iowa plan to hold groundbreaking ceremony for new Scott County sheriff’s headquarters. The $4.55 million facility is expected to be completed next spring. The new headquarters will be built in Eldridge, Iowa.

Voluntary water quality program in Iowa highlights issues

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 15th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A voluntary state program that aims to improve water quality practices at farms around Iowa is entering its fourth year amid growing differences about the best ways to clean up the state’s waterways. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has announced the sign-up period is open for its cost-share program that allows farmers to offset the expense of implementing some water quality practices. The money will be available in July.

The agriculture department says the program is among several water quality initiatives. Some agriculture experts say it’s not enough for long-term benefits. The Iowa Legislature failed this session to figure out a sustainable funding source for water quality initiatives. There is also tension over whether cleanup efforts should include regulation or expanded voluntary efforts like the cost-share program.

Cass County Supervisors to meet Monday

News

May 15th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors will meet Monday morning, in Atlantic. Normally, they meet every Wednesday morning, except during the last week of the month. During Monday’s 8:30-a.m. session at the courthouse, the Board expects to hear a report and funding request from Kenner Baxter, Cass County Tourism Representative. The funding request is with regard to costs associated with a County tourism brochure.

Other, regular reports, if available, may be presented by the Cass County Attorney, Engineer, and Mental Health/Disabilities/General Assistance department heads.

Exira-EHK and CAM School Boards to meet Monday evening

News

May 15th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Exira-EHK and CAM School District Boards of Education will hold their regular, separate meetings, Monday evening. The Exira-EHK Board will hold a Work Session at 6-p.m. in the Conference Room at the Elk Horn Building, followed by their Regular Session at 7-p.m., during which there will be a public hearing on a 2015-16 School Budget Amendment.

They will also act on: the resignation of High School Science teacher Tom Rasmussen; Approving 2016-17 fees and the 2015-16 Budget Amendment; Contracts with Iowa Western Community College for concurrent courses, and a consortium with Glenwood for a Special Education student. The Board will also act on approving an internet agreement with Marne-Elk Horn Telephone, and a proposal from R&L Craft to fix district roofs.

The CAM School Board meeting begins with a Public Hearings on High School Parking lot improvements, Massena Bus Lane Improvements and the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) policy. The meeting and hearings begin at 6:30-p.m. in the High School Media Center.

Other discussion and action items include: Resolutions approving the plans, specifications and form of contract for the High School Parking Lot improvements, Massena Bus Lane improvements and the appropriate use of the CIPA policy. The CAM Board will also discuss and/or act on Capital Projects, Casey’s Computer Consulting Agreement for 2016-17, and a Memorandum of Understanding with Iowa Western Community College.

Prior to adjournment, the Board will hold a closed session at 7:30-p.m., to “Consider the Superintendent’s recommendation to terminate contract.” That will be followed by a possible motion on a Chapter 279 recommendation.

Audubon and Griswold School Board meetings set for Monday

News

May 15th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Members of the Audubon and Griswold School District’s Boards of Education will hold their regular, separate meetings, Monday. The Griswold School Board meeting gets underway at 5:30-p.m. in the Central Office at the Middle School/High School Building.

On their agenda is discussion and action pertaining to the Facilities Committee, and the second reading of series 400 Board Polices. The Board will also act on several items, including: Selecting an Athletic Director for 2016-17; Planning for a Shared Superintendent with Lenox; 2016-17 Transportation Planning; a Certified Bargaining Agreement for 2016-17; Nutrition prices and Registration fees; a Memorandum of Understanding with Iowa Western Community College, and an APEX agreement with Glenwood.

In Audubon, the 7-p.m. School Board meeting in the High School Board Room, will include an exempt session for Discussion of strategy regarding negotiations with employees not covered by collective bargaining. Afterward, they’ll return to an open session, for action on several items, including: Salary increases for employees not covered by collective bargaining; Shared teaching contracts with Coon Rapids-Bayard; School fees for 2016-17; and approval of a Superintendent Contract.

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board to accept Herring’s resignation, Monday

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 15th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic’s Parks and Recreation Board is expected to receive a letter of resignation, Monday, from Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring. Herring announced his intentions to retire back in Sept., 2014, and at that time requested the Board begin a search for his successor. In Dec., 2014, Seth Staashelm was hired as the Assistant Parks and Rec Director, with the idea being he would succeed Herring in the Director’s position. Herring’s last day will be June 30th. He began working as Parks and Rec Director in June, 2011.

Atlantic Parks & Rec Asst. Dir. Seth Staashelm (Left) & Director Roger Herring (right), at the Parks & Rec Board mtg. 12/14/15

Atlantic Parks & Rec Asst. Dir. Seth Staashelm (Left) & Director Roger Herring (right), at the Parks & Rec Board mtg. 12/14/15

In other business, the Board will receive updates on the Schildberg Rec Area Lake #2 Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant, and the Vision Iowa grant, along with other, regular park programs and various features updates, such as the Connector Trail, Dog Park, Kiddie Korral and East Shelter house renovation.

Their meeting takes places in the Council’s Chambers at City Hall, beginning at 5:15-p.m., Monday.

Red Oak man arrested for violating protection order

News

May 15th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak, Saturday evening, arrested 43-year old Chris Allan Taylor, of Red Oak, for allegedly violating a No Contact/protection Order. Taylor was taken into custody at around 5:30-p.m. at a residence in the 2400 block of N. 8th Street, and brought to the Montgomery County Jail, where he was being held on a $300 cash bond.

Iowa early News Headlines: Sunday, May 15th 2016

News

May 15th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 4:30 a.m. CDT

INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) — A judge has declared the Warren County Courthouse no longer habitable and says court employees are at risk. The Des Moines Register reports that Chief Judge Arthur Gamble of Iowa’s Fifth Judicial District issued the finding this week. He also told Warren County supervisors that if the county doesn’t act soon, the court will begin a process to compel them to provide suitable court facilities, as required by law.

FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) — Officials are seeking to hire correctional officers for the new maximum security prison in Fort Madison. The Fort Madison Daily Democrat reports that those interested in applying must be a high school graduate or have earned a GED certificate. Eligible applicants also must pass a background check, panel interview, psychology exam, recorded observation and judgment test, drug screening, medical exam and have a valid driver’s license.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Sioux City school board has approved offering $20,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the mother of a student sexually exploited by former educational specialist. The Sioux City Journal says the board approved the offer Friday with no discussion. The lawsuit says the negligence of Sioux City Community Schools and IowaJAG Inc. was responsible for 30-year-old Erick Deleon’s ability to have contact with the 16-year-old girl after school hours.

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — Randall Payne won’t learn of his fate until at least Monday, when a Des Moines County jury is scheduled to resume deliberating whether Payne was responsible for the death of his 22dayold son. The Hawk Eye reports that the jury spent about three hours deliberating Friday. Payne is charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment counts. If convicted of the murder charge, Payne faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.