Iowa Senate delays vote on anti-bullying bill

News

March 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate has postponed a vote on legislation that would help schools across the state better respond to cases of bullying. Republican Sen. Mark Chelgren, of Ottumwa, requested Monday that the Senate delay a final vote on the bill while he drafts an amendment. Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal says the Senate could resume debate on the bill as early as Tuesday.

The bill as written would broaden the definition of bullying, require parental notification, grant school officials the authority to respond to bullying off-campus and require that school officials receive training. Cracking down on bullying in Iowa schools has been a priority of Gov. Terry Branstad this session. Both the House and Senate have drafted proposals to address the issue.

2 people arrested on drug charges in Cass County

News

March 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Deputies in Cass County arrested two people on drug and other charges, Saturday. According to the Sheriff’s Office. 27-year old Christopher Charles Hargens, of Shelby, faces charges that include Possession with Intent to Deliver, Delivery of a Controlled Substance, Prohibited Acts, Possession of a Controlled Substance, and OWI 1st Offense. And, 30-year old Brenda Nichole Leah Redler, of Griswold, was arrested for Possession with Intent to Deliver, Possession of Contraband in a Jail Facility, Delivery of a Controlled Substance, Prohibited Acts, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Both subjects were taken to the Cass County Jail where Redler is being held on $17,300 bond and Hargens is being held on $14,000 bond as well as a hold for Shelby County.

Also on Saturday, deputies in Cass County arrested 29-year old Ehren Michael Mardesen, of Anita, on a charge of Violating a No Contact Order. Mardesen was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was released the following day on his own recognizance.

 

On March 15, 2014, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office arrested Christopher Charles Hargens, 27, on charges of ; and Brenda Nichole Leah Redler, 30, of Griswold, IA, on charges of

 

Iowa’s Fran McCaffery battling family health issue

Sports

March 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Most Iowa fans will spend Wednesday morning debating the ins and outs of the team’s first NCAA tournament game in eight years. Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery will be in an Iowa City hospital with his son. The highlight of McCaffery’s professional career at Iowa has coincided with a serious family health issue. McCaffery’s 13-year-old son, Patrick, will have surgery to remove a thyroid tumor just hours before Iowa (20-12) and fellow No. 11 seed Tennessee (21-12) tip off in a First Four game in Dayton, Ohio.

McCaffery said Sunday that he planned to fly to Dayton with his team, return to Iowa City for Patrick’s surgery and go back to Ohio in time to coach against the Volunteers.

Iowa lawmakers consider bill to legalize fireworks

News

March 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa lawmakers are considering legislation that would legalize consumer sale and use of fireworks in the state. Rep. Matt Windschitl, a Republican from Missouri Valley, says the measure will receive necessary approval Monday from a House Ways and Means subcommittee. It will then go to the full committee for a vote.

The bill would allow anyone over 18 to purchase and use novelty and consumer fireworks within the state. Current law prohibits it, with violations carrying a simple misdemeanor charge.

Opponents say the bill opens up the state to an increased risk of injuries and structural damage. But Windschitl says he believes Iowans are responsible enough to appropriately handle fireworks.

 

Similar legislation has been approved in a Senate committee and is eligible for floor debate.

MONDAY, MARCH 17

Trading Post

March 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

WANTED TO RENT: A 2 or 3 bedroom home for a family of 5 in Atlantic. Need by no later than the end of the month. Please call 243-1873 if you have a property for rent or know of one.  Can afford monthly payments of up to $525.

FOR SALE: A Nordic Trac treadmill. Model C2300. $400. A 30×30 fire ring. Has wheels, log rack, and a lid. Asking $40. Also, various gun books including gunsmithing and gun identification. $5-$10 a piece. 712-527-0385.

Drug & alcohol arrests in Mills County

News

March 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports two arrests over the weekend. 29-year old James Joseph Gade, of Omaha, was arrested late Friday night for Possession of a Controlled Substance. Gade was held in the Mills County Jail on $1,000 bond. And, Saturday night, 51-year old John Casey Davis, whose address was not given, was arrested on an OWI/1st offense charge. Davis was booked into the Mills County Jail and held on $1,000 bond.

Review of secret settlements ordered by governor

News

March 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad is ordering a comprehensive review of his administration’s policies to pay settlements to former workers who agree to sign confidentiality agreements.  Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds says she and Branstad did not know about agreements with six former employees who were secretly paid a total of more than $280,000 if they agreed to keep quiet.

Reynolds says she and Branstad learned of the payments and confidentiality agreements Sunday when The Des Moines Sunday Register published a story. She says the administration appoints competent agency directors and doesn’t micromanage them.

Many of the workers say they were asked to leave their jobs by Republican Branstad’s administration because they have Democratic ties. Branstad is on vacation in Arizona and was not at the administration’s weekly news conference.

State unemployment rate goes up in January

News

March 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s unemployment rate went up slightly in January. Kerry Koonce crunches the numbers for Iowa Workforce Development. “Our rate was at four-point-three percent (4.3) — it’s a tenth of a percent up from four-point-two (4.2) in December. Part of that is due to benchmarking as the numbers change a little bit. But, compared to January 2013 — we were at five percent — so we are significantly below where we were a year ago,” Koonce says. The benchmarking Koonce mentioned is the annual process where they bring all of last year’s monthly numbers up to date before figuring the new year numbers. Koonce says the numbers released each month sometimes don’t include all the information available.

“Sometimes it’s a quarter later when all of the data comes in, January’s data, it can be April before we see everything. So we go back and true up those numbers to what the real information is from what employers report on their quarterly information and those kinds of things,” Koonce says. “And so you will see some changes in each month’s numbers of the previous year which overall can have an impact on what the annual rate is and those kinds of things.” The numbers show the state lost 73-hundred jobs from December to January.

“The majority of that came in the trade, transportation and utilities area…most of it in retail trade. And what it looks like is the seasonable adjustment numbers maybe didn’t capture everything. So, we are expecting that maybe next month that’s going to kind of even back out,” according to Koonce. Fifty-six-hundred of the lost jobs were in that trade, transportation and utilities sector.

“We think that when the February numbers come out — and those will come out later this month — we will see where we are normally at this time of year,” Koonce says. Regardless of how the numbers are adjusted, she says the overall picture is improving. “We’re almost a full percentage point below where we were this time last year. So that’s a significant improvement for our economy as we continue move forward,” Koonce says. “Plus, our unemployment claims continue to decrease, new claims continue to go down.”

The January 2013 unemployment rate for the state was five percent. The U-S unemployment rate for January inched down to six-point-six-percent (6.6) percent from six-point-seven (6.7) percent in December. This was the lowest national rate since October 2008.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa gardeners are recruited to help feed state’s “food insecure”

News

March 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A new initiative is seeking out Iowa gardeners for help in reducing food insecurity in the state. Cultivate Iowa aims to promote the health benefits of food gardening and to increase produce donations to food pantries. Angie Tagtow, program coordinator for the campaign, says 400-thousand Iowans don’t have access to healthy food. Tagtow says, “We thought gardening would be an innovative strategy to improving access to healthful food, improving self-sufficiency, and hopefully improving overall food security and health of low-resource populations.”

Tagtow says studies find people with less money have higher rates of diet-related chronic disease because they eat fewer fruits and vegetables. She says growing food will benefit the community but it can also help the gardener.  “The cost of food is going to be going up and so by growing your own, it actually saves a tremendous amount on your food budget in comparison to what the food prices really are,” she says.

Households and individuals who can’t afford regular access to food are considered food insecure. The project is being organized by Food Access and Health Work Group, which connects the Iowa Food Bank Association and other pantries to state agencies.

(Radio Iowa)

Drug-related arrests in Fremont County

News

March 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office reports two men were arrested on drug charges earlier this month. On March 8th, 61-year old Kenneth Allen Frazee, of Shenandoah, was arrested for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. And, on March 5th, 43-year old Jeffrey Wade Massey, of Hamburg, was arrested for Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Failure to have Insurance, Driving Under Suspension, and failure to show proof of vehicle registration.