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New survey outlines gender wage gap in Iowa

News

April 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A new survey on the gender wage gap finds Iowa is right at the national average of women earning 77-cents for every dollar earned by men. That ranks Iowa 31st among the 50 states. Kate Gallagher Robbins, senior policy analyst with the National Women’s Law Center, says the gap is much wider for minority women in Iowa. Gallagher Robbins says, “When we look at the gap for race and ethnicity, we compare women of color to white non-Hispanic men and for those groups, in Iowa, black women are making about 60% of what white men are earning, while Hispanic women are making about 56%, so it’s fairly striking economic disparities there.”

This June will mark 50 years since President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, yet little progress has been made in narrowing the wage gap. She says some businesses have restrictive policies that make it easy to keep salary data under wraps. “Basically, if you tried to discuss your salary with anyone, you could be punished, and in fact, that’s true in many states across the country,” Gallagher Robbins says. “You can be punished for discussing your salary. That business practice is not illegal and it makes it very difficult for women to know that they even are being underpaid.”

Last week, April 9th, marked Equal Pay Day. That’s the day in 2013 that women have to work through in order to make what men made in all of 2012. “If women are earning nationally 23% less than what men are earning, they have quite a ways to go into the following year to try and make up that amount of money,” Gallagher Robbins says. “What that translates to in actual earnings is about $11,000 nationally.”

While women in Iowa and nationwide make 77-cents to every dollar made by men, the worst state on the list was Wyoming, where the rate was 66-cents. The list was topped by Washington D-C where women make 90-cents to every man’s dollar.

(Radio Iowa)

8AM Newscast 04-18-2013

News, Podcasts

April 18th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

“Get yourself tested” day today, in Harlan

News

April 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Public Health Department in conjunction with the Harrison, Cass, Crawford, Monona and Shelby (HCCMS) Family Planning will be holding a “Get Yourself Tested” event today (April 18th), in Harlan. The GYT event allows men and women to be tested for the sexually transmitted diseases of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea,  through painless and private screenings. In addition, a counselor from the Iowa Department of Public Health will be present to counsel people about HIV, and will offer HIV testing to those at risk.

Public health officials say half of all sexually active people will get a STD by the age of 25 and most will not know it. Most infections are preventable. The CDC recommends yearly Chlamydia screening for sexually active women under the age of 26. Screening and treatment of infections is important, since many STD’s often have no signs or symptoms. The only way to find out if you are infected is to Get Yourself Tested.

GYT events are held every April all over the nation as April is Sexually Transmitted Infection Awareness Month. The idea is raise awareness about the impact of STD’s and to encourage people to discuss their sexual health with their partners and healthcare providers. The Shelby County Public Health GYT event will be held at no charge, from 1- to 5-pm today, at the Public Health Office at 2712 12th Street in Harlan. Appointments are encouraged but not required. For more information, or to make an appointment, call Rachel Birks at Myrtue Medical Center’s HCCMS Family Planning Clinic at 712-755-4312.

Atlantic receives another “Tree City USA” award

News

April 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic recently received another “Tree City USA” Award. The event was held a couple of weeks ago. Dolly Bergman, a volunteer with Trees Forever,” told the Atlantic City Council during their meeting Wednesday evening, that the award recognizes the City for the work its employees and Trees Forever volunteers do, with regard to tree planting and care. Bergman said there are four standards the City must meet in order to qualify for the “Tree City USA” award: There must be a “Trees Board” – which in Atlantic, is the Trees Forever group, a tree care ordinance is in place, a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observation and proclamation.

Bergman says the hardest part is coming up with a budget to meet the $2 per capita requirement. She says if it wasn’t for money the Trees Forever spends in the community, “Atlantic wouldn’t make it,” because of what is in the budget for tree maintenance, new trees, on so on. According to Bergman, in 2012, between the Parks Department and Trees Forever, $15, 668 was spent on tree planting and maintenance, which when added with the $2 per capita for Atlantic’s population of 7,112, allowed the City to just barely qualify for the award.

A new Tree City USA flag will be placed in the City Park, to replace last year’s flag. Bergman says 2013 marks the 18th year Atlantic has become a Tree City USA community. Bergman said the City Council and residents should be proud of the award, which is usually presented on the first Tuesday of April, each year. She said in Iowa, there were only 89 communities that qualified for the award for the past year.

In other business, Atlantic Mayor Dave Jones announced the City has some new Police Reserve Officers. He said the volunteers were sworn in last week, and if residents see them on duty, they should offer a “Thank you,” for the service they provide. And, John Lund, Assistant to City Administrator Doug Harris, reported the restrooms at both the City and Sunnyside Parks are now open for the season. Lund said also, that letters will be sent out within the next few weeks to property owners, with regard to the City’s Minimum Maintenance Code, for those properties which are an eyesore and in need of sprucing up. The Code requires property owners to keep structures in reasonably good repair.

7AM Newscast 04-18-2013

News, Podcasts

April 18th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Woman arrested for alleged assault on a Red Oak P.D. officer

News

April 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Red Oak Police report a woman was arrested late Wednesday evening for allegedly assaulting a police officer during an altercation. Officials say in addition to the Assault on a Peace Officer charge, 33-year-old Becky Jo Hegarty, of Red Oak, was charged with breach of peace. The charges stem from an incident which allegedly occurred in the 100 block of Ratliff Road.

Hegarty was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $2,000 bond.

2 people injured during an accident in Mills County Wed. night

News

April 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Two people were sent to the hospital to be checked for possible injuries, following a single-vehicle accident Wednesday night northwest of Malvern, in Mills County. According to the Iowa State Patrol, a 1997 Nissan 200SX driven by 21-year old Kevin Junior Booher, of Council Bluffs, was traveling east on Highway 34 and distracted by his phone, when his passenger yelled about an animal in the roadway. When Booher swerved to miss the creature, his car hit a bridge and guardrail near 295th Street before coming to rest against the guardrail. The accident happened at around 10:55-p.m.

Booher, and his passenger, 20-year old Megan Nicole Beckstrom, of Red Oak, were transported by Malvern Rescue to Creighton Hospital in Omaha. The Patrol says both were wearing their seat belts.  Deputies with the Mills County Sheriff’s Office, along with Malvern Fire and Rescue, assisted at the scene.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., April 18th 2013

News

April 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Republican-controlled Iowa House has approved a version of Governor Terry Branstad’s plan to cut commercial property taxes, setting up a battle with the Democratic-majority Senate which favors an alternate proposal. In a 54-45 vote yesterday the House approved a plan to amend a Senate tax bill to include key items from Branstad’s proposal.

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — Social service agencies in southeast Iowa say they’re concerned about the future of a homeless shelter that appears to have suddenly closed. Local representatives for The Salvation Army and Community Action say the doors are locked tight at Burlington Area Homeless Shelter. A message left through the shelter’s voicemail system was not immediately returned yesterday.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines couple lauded for their adoption of four children have been charged with child endangerment. Thirty-eight-year-old Damien Stovall and 37-year-old Allonna Stovall are accused of using a belt or wooden spoon to punish two of their children, ages 6 and 7. The couple’s seven children were removed from their custody. Court records say a trial is scheduled for June 12th.

MIDDLETON, Iowa (AP) — The Department of Natural Resources says a munitions plant in southeast Iowa has discharged about 100,000 gallons of untreated wastewater into a tributary of the Skunk River. The DNR said yesterday the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant began discharging the wastewater Monday afternoon when a pump at a treatment plan failed. Plant operators fixed the pump and stopped the discharge yesterday morning.

IWCC Design Tech Program’s inaugural class to graduate this Spring

News

April 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The number of students enrolled in the Design Technology Program at Iowa Western Community College in Atlantic, continues to grow. When the idea for the first-of-its kind program for a two-year college was proposed, the City of Atlantic and Cass County Board of Supervisors pledged $100,000 each to assist with the infrastructure necessary to make it possible. The first classes began in Sept., 2011.

Joseph Vanstrom, Design Technology Program Chair at IWCC in Atlantic, speaks to the Board of Supervisors on April 17th, 2013.

During a report to the Cass County Board of Supervisors Wednesday morning, Design Technology Program Chair Joseph Vanstrom said the first students in the two-year program are set to graduate next month, and their future looks very bright.  Four students will be graduating in May. 13 students are currently enrolled in the program. There are also four internships within Cass County, with four more in development, for the new class of students. Two internships have led to part-time employment after the summer. In the case of the other two internships, students in the class were already working for those employers. Vanstrom says those same companies have expressed interest in hiring the interns, or part-time students, as full-time employees, upon graduation.

He says upon graduation all four students from the first DT class will have full-time employment within Cass County. Four students have moved to the County since the program began two-years ago: one for the first class, and three for the second. One of the students have purchased a home within the County. 10 students enrolled in the program the first year it was offered, but only four will graduate in May. Vanstrom says that’s because they weren’t prepared for the rigorous amount of study the program requires.  He said they had a lack of the necessary math skills. To counteract that deficiency, Vanstrom says they are trying to get to students in the lower grades, and stress the importance of being proficient in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – STEM – especially if they want a job in the highly skilled and educated world of Design Technology.

Vanstrom says 30 students are enrolled in the third, two-year course which begins this Fall. Those students and the ones currently enrolled, will be able to work with a new piece of virtual design equipment the college is purchasing for the department.
It’s a laser mapping system that enables a product to replicated, in coordination with a 3-D printer.  He says three companies in partnership with the college plan to purchase 3-D printer systems to expand their Research and Design (R&D) abilities. The students in the Design Tech program at IWCC have already used the 3-D system to create functional objects as part of their curriculum.

An expansion of the Cass County Center made possible by a $22.5-million bond referendum approved by the voters in 13 southwest Iowa counties last December, will be complete in Summer of 2014. It means more room for the Design Technology Department, and a commons area for the students to enjoy.

Atlantic’s Mayor issues a statement on Personnel & Finance Committee meeting

News

April 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Mayor Dave Jones Wednesday night, tried to “Clear up the muddy waters,” with regard to a meeting of the City’s Personnel and Finance Committee. The unpublicized and unannounced meeting was held less than a week before the City Council was to have held a closed session to discuss a personnel matter, which as we learned, pertained to City Administrator Doug Harris. Jones denied the P&F Committee’s meeting was with regard to Harris.

He said “The Personnel and Finance meeting on March 28th was held to discuss personnel matters. I do not believe items discussed during this meeting should be discussed in a public forum. But, I will tell you what the Committee did not do: The Committee did not say…did not discuss what Don Sonntag’s statement was during that meeting. We did not discuss anything about firing Doug Harris.”

On March 20th, local developer Don Sonntag pulled his application for $250,000 in Tax Increment Financing funds from the City, which he said would have helped to bankroll a $2.1-million housing development on the City’s southern edge. He claimed Harris had been working behind the scenes, to “Derail the project.”

Jones, and Councilman Steve Livengood attended the Personnel and Finance Committee meeting on March 28th. Livengood is the Council’s representative on the committee. He emphatically agreed with Jones on a couple of points: that they did not discuss Don Sonntag or the issue of TIFs.  Livengood said while “It was difficult getting everybody focused again, because everybody wanted to talk…that’s like…it’s not what we’re gonna talk about….we didn’t talk about it.” Livengood didn’t mention however, whether the topic of Harris ever came up at the meeting.

Jones said in an interview with KJAN news on April 12th, that he and City Attorney Dave Weidersteen agreed any “Closed-session discussions over personnel matters should be limited to annual performance evaluations or disciplinary matters.” Jones said Weidersteen thought it was appropriate for himself and Jones to personally discuss with Harris the employment issue, and that “A statement could be placed in the personnel file.” Therefore, there would  “Be no need for a public or closed discussion on the matter.”