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Iowa, national conservative leaders talk abortion, school choice at Family Leader event


July 13th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Des Moines, Iowa) – State and national conservative leaders discussed wins and future goals for issues like abortion and education policy Friday at the Family Leadership Summit, with one of the group’s officials calling for further abortion restrictions in Iowa.

According to the Iowa Capital Dispatch, The Family Leader, an influential conservative Christian organization, brought speakers to the gathering of an estimated 1,000 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines. Family Leader Vice President Chuck Hurley, who works as an advocate and lobbyist at the Iowa Legislature, told the crowd that that conservative Christians have seen major successes in Iowa in recent years. One important, recent conservative win in Iowa, Hurley said, was the recent state Supreme Court abortion decision.

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law Iowa’s six-week abortion ban at the 2023 Family Leadership Summit. A year later, speakers at the event celebrated the June Iowa Supreme Court decision to uphold the law — a significant win after the court struck down a similar so-called “fetal heartbeat” law that had been signed in 2018 last year. Under the latest court decision, most abortions will be illegal in Iowa after cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo, something that occurs as early as six weeks of pregnancy. There are exceptions to the ban in cases of rape and incest, if reported within specified time frames to law enforcement, a public health agency or a doctor, as well as when the medical procedure is necessary to save the life of the mother.

Advocates for reproductive health care say the law will functionally ban a majority of abortions in Iowa, as many people are not aware they are pregnant at six weeks of gestation.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke on a panel about education hosted by Family Leader President and CEO Bob Vander Plaats at the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines July 12, 2024. (Photo by Robin Opsahl/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Another victory highlighted at the event was the state’s education savings account (ESA) program, signed by Reynolds in January 2023. Much of the conversation centered on Iowa’s ESA program, providing public funding for private school tuition and associated fees. The program provides scholarships that match per-pupil funding at Iowa’s K-12 public schools — for the upcoming 2024-2025 school year, and fund $7,826 per participating student.

The speakers also touched on the presidential race between presumptive nominees President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. Trump has indicated he may announce his vice president pick at the Republican National Convention next week, with expected contenders including U.S. Sens. J.D. Vance and Tim Scott, as well as former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders have been floated as potential Trump running mates.

ARL rescues over 100 dogs from a Boone County puppy mill


July 13th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Des Moines, Iowa) – Officials with the Animal Rescue League report that just months after they helped rescue more than 100 dogs from a puppy mill in Boone County, the ARL team was back on the same property Friday, working with authorities to free 46 MORE dogs and puppies from the cycle of commercial breeding. The ARL says the breeder surrendered their license and has officially shut down. Most of the dogs rescued will need medical, dental and behavioral care. Emergency overflow housing to care for the animals temporarily has been established.
Most of the animals are “undersocialized,” according to the organization, and will need behavioral help to learn to trust humans. Some are still nursing and will need weeks of care as they grow. All will need spay and neuter surgeries to ensure their breeding days are behind them.

Photo from the ARL’s Facebook page

If you would like to help with the cost of bringing the dogs back to health and their needs, you can donate through the following website:  https://ow.ly/RHmx50SA2Tz or Venmo @ ARL-Iowa.

Griswold School regular monthly meeting set for Monday evening


July 13th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Griswold, Iowa) – A regular monthly meeting of the Griswold School District’s Board of Education will be held Monday, beginning at 5:30-p.m, in the Conference Room at the school. Some New Business items on the agenda include: Discussion w/regard to the relocation of the concession stand (Informational only – no action expected); The appointment of – District Business Manager/Treasurer, Board Secretary, District Attorney, and Affirmative Action Coordinator; and Approval of – Bakery, Dairy, Snow Removal, Warewash, Facility and Safety Grant bids.

View the full agenda below:

• Call Meeting to Order

• Reading of Mission Statement

• Approval of Agenda (D.R.)

• Public Input

• Superintendent’s Report:

  1. Thank You Card(s) (I)
  2. The Month in Review – Administration (I)
  3. Board Learning Opportunities (I)

– Select July Recipient(s)

– IASB Convention

– Board Self-Evaluation

• Consent Agenda (D.R.)

Approval of Minutes

Approval of Financial Statements

Approval of Bills

4. Personnel

5. Gifts, Memorials, Bequests

Old Business

6. Board Policies – Second Reading (D.R.) – 900, 901, 902.1, 902.2, 902.3, 902.4, 902.5

New Business

7. Discussion On Concession Stand Relocation (I)

8. Approval Of Official Depositories For The District (D.R.)

9. Discussion On Exit Interview Results (I)

10. Appointment Of Business Manager / Treasurer (D.R.)

11. Appointment Of Board Secretary (D.R.)

12. Appointment Of District Attorney (D.R.)

13. Appointment Of Affirmative Action Coordinator (D.R.)

14. Approval Of Bakery Bids (D.R.)

15. Approval Of Trash Bids (D.R.)

16. Approval Of Dairy Bids (D.R.)

17. Approval Of Snow Removal Bids (D.R.)

18. Approval Of Warewash Bids (D.R.)

19. Approval Of Facility Bids (D.R.)

20. Approval Of Safety Grant Bids (D.R.)

21. Board Policies – First Reading (I) – 106.1, 106.1E1, 106.1R1, 106.1R2, 106.1R3, 106.1R4, 106.1R5, 200.4, 206.3, 206.4, 401.6, 402.3, 501.3, 501.9, 501.9R1, 501.14, 501.15, 502.6, 505.2, 603.1, 603.12, 607.2, 710.1, 801.3, 803.2, 903.1, 903.2, 903.3, 903.4, 903.5, 903.5R1, 905.3, Rescind 501.9E1, 501.10, 510.10R1

22. Annual Review Of Policies 505.5, 505.8, 711.3 and 711.5 (I)

• Adjourn

(D.R.) = Decision Required

(I.) = Informational

Final agenda will be posted in the Central Office no less than 24 hours before the meeting.

Davenport Man Sentenced to 137 Months in Federal Prison for Felon in Possession of a Firearm


July 12th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

DAVENPORT, Iowa – A Davenport man was sentenced on Wednesday, July 10, 2024 to 137 months in federal prison, for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to public court documents and evidence presented at sentencing, Sylvester George Taylor Staples, 31, was found in possession of a firearm and 9.24 grams of cocaine base. Staples had multiple prior felony convictions, including a prior federal conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm. At sentencing, the Court also found Staples violated the terms of his federal supervised release and ordered to serve an additional 24 months of imprisonment.

After completing his term of imprisonment, Staples will be required to serve 3 years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

United States Attorney Richard D. Westphal of the Southern District of Iowa made the announcement. This case was investigated by the Davenport Police Department.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results. For more information about Project Safe Neighborhoods, please visit Justice.gov/PSN.

Atlantic Area Chamber Ambassadors Visit Bike Farm


July 12th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Atlantic, Iowa) – The Atlantic Area Chamber Ambassadors were hosted by the Bike Farm on Thursday, July 11th, 2024. The Ambassadors gathered to view Steve Anderson’s new building at the Bike Farm, a full-service bike shop, located just off the T-Bone bike trail.

At the Bike Farm, Anderson services all models of bicycles and have a large inventory of parts and accessories on hand. Steve has been working in bike maintenance since college, with his first job being at Bike World in Ames. Steve Anderson continued his love for bike maintenance by opening the Bike Farm 10 years ago. The bike farm has been remarkably busy with the anticipation of the upcoming 2024 RAGBRAI.

Anderson said “RAGBRAI gets people interested in pulling their bikes out of the garage. He currently has over fifty bikes in storage to work on or sell, but he says loves what he does.

Ambassador’s Pictured Left to Right: Alden Harriman, Dolly Bergmann, Chris Parks, Paula Leverence, Megan Sramek, Cara Anderson, Krysta Hanson, Anne Quist, Steve Anderson, Paige Harden, Gary Anderson, Julie Waters, Jeremy Butler, Elaine Otte, Jennifer McEntaffer, Jeff Christensen, Nina Welter, Bill Saluk, Janet Cappel, Scott Benett, Kathie Hockenberry, Kelsey Beschorner, DeeDee Kalny and Sue Liston.

While the bike farm typically focuses on maintenance and repair of bikes, there are used and new bikes available for sale. Steve takes immense pride in helping people find good bikes that fit their needs, working closely with a biking company in Ankeny and Waukee, to ensure he finds the best option for all levels of riders.

The Bike Farm is located at 55717 Olive Street in Atlantic. For more information about The Bike Farm and the services they provide, contact Steve Anderson at (712) 249-3930.

Red Cross continues work in northwest Iowa


July 12th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Three weeks out from devastating floods in Northwest Iowa, recovery continues. The Red Cross has been on the ground in affected areas since the beginning of the disaster and will continue to assist residents in finding some sort of relief in the face of horrible loss. American Red Cross Public Affairs Manager Kim Mailes says things have progressed beyond finding people a place to stay to continuing to help them recover.

Mailes says at the beginning of operations, 14 shelters were opened, they recorded four-thousand overnight stays, served 30-thousand meals and supported 11 emergency operation centers. He says the Red Cross now operates two emergency shelters but still serve more than 14-hundred meals each day. The Red Cross also records damage assessments in a database and shares it with FEMA.

That’s when The Red Cross contacts people that have been recorded in the database and meets with them individually to determine their needs. Quite often it’s assistance with replacing furniture, clothing, medicines, etc., and once the Red Cross completes 85% disaster assessment, they start providing financial assistance. Financial assistance is in addition to anything received from other organizations such as an insurance settlement or FEMA payout and is not based on income.

Mailes says people who might have been missed during the assessment phase can call the Red Cross and an assessment crew will be dispatched to their location. That number is 1-800-Red-Cross (1-800-733-2767).

SWITA to celebrate Ride Transit Week July 15 th through the 19th


July 12th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Atlantic, Iowa) – Southwest Iowa Transit Agency (SWITA) will be celebrating Ride Transit Week July 15 th through the
19th and encourages the public to find out more about public transit in the region and take a ride on SWITA.

Public transit gets Americans to work, to education, to healthcare, and more. It also helps job creation, alleviates traffic congestion, and reduces emissions. In 2023 Americans traveled 36.87 billion miles on public transit during 7.11 billion trips. 6 billion gallons of gasoline are saved each year by using public transportation and a 5-to-1 economic return is produced by long-term investment in public transit.

SWITA officials say they are proud to be part of that public transit equation right here in eight Iowa counties. SWITA has continued to support record public transit ridership in the region year-over-year with 520,000 rides in fiscal year 2023 and anticipating a total of over 550,000 for fiscal year 2024. SWITA’s ride services include taxis in six communities, medical transportation, student transportation, workforce transportation, and special/charter trips. SWITA vehicles are equipped with wheelchair accessibility and one personal attendant rides free.

SWITA will be celebrating Ride Transit Week with many offerings, highlighted by an appearance on Thursday, July 18th at Produce in the Park in Atlantic City Park. Stop by and see the SWITA crew for fun, prizes, and information. Mini SWITA buses will be hidden throughout the park for visitors to find and return to the SWITA table for a prize. Other activities will include kids’ handprint painting on a flag, a chance to check out a SWITA bus, information available about services and how to sign up, and other fun and giveaways.

Seven area communities have already issued or will be issuing Mayoral Proclamations supporting Ride Transit Week: Atlantic, Council Bluffs, Glenwood, Harlan, Missouri Valley, Red Oak, and Shenandoah. SWITA operates a taxi service in six of those communities and the Special Transit Service (STS) in Council Bluffs.

SWITA has earned major honors for its service this year. SWITA was named the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Regional Transit System of the Year and received the FTA Region 7 Rural Transit Systems Award of Excellence.

To find out more about SWITA and the services offered you can browse SWITA.com or call 800-842- 8065 or 712-243-2518. Follow us on Facebook for regular updates as well. SWITA services are open to the public. Help SWITA celebrate Ride Transit Week July 15-19, 2024!

Influential lobbyist says personhood law is ultimate goal


July 12th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – A lobbyist for an influential evangelical Christian group says the Iowa Supreme Court ruling that upheld a six week abortion ban is a major milestone, but a complete ban on abortion is the ultimate goal. Chuck Hurley spoke this (Friday) afternoon at a summit hosted by The Family Leader.

Life at Conception or personhood bills have been introduced in the Iowa legislature, in other states and the U-S congress. Alabama and Arkansas have personhood amendments in their state constitutions. Democrats say a personhood law or constitutional amendment could outlaw in vitro fertilization, since Alabama’s Supreme Court recently ruled frozen embryos are children and those who destroy embryos could be held liable for wrongful death.

Learn to Hunt program opens registration for beginner fur harvesting workshops

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 12th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is offering a program to teach skills needed to trap furbearers to people with little to no trapping experience. The workshop will feature knowledge and skill building sessions with instructors that will teach the basics of trapping in Iowa. Jamie Cook, Iowa DNR Program Coordinator, says “For those interested in the tradition of trapping as a means of sourcing fur, this program provides the opportunity to gain the skills and the knowledge it takes to do it all yourself.”

Participants will learn basic strategies for trapping such as proper equipment, trap placement, trapping regulations and steps for preparing hides for trade. Participants are expected to dress appropriately for the weather as a significant portion of the class will be held outdoors. The workshops will take place on various dates and locations across the state. The course is designed for participants of all ages.  Space is limited so be sure to register right away.

For more information and to begin the registration process, visit the link below and search by Trapper Education Class event type:


The program is provided through a partnership with the Iowa DNR and Iowa Trappers Association. It is part of a national effort to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters, anglers and trappers due to the overall decline in hunting and outdoor recreation.

Timeline set for new gambling license applications


July 12th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Radio  Iowa) – The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission set the timeline today (Friday) for new license applications. The process includes a gambling market study and proposals to do that are due August 15th. Applications for those interested in getting a license are due one month later.

The commission will hear presentations on potential new casinos in October. The market study is due at the end of December with a public presentation in January. It’s anticipated the I-R-G-C will make a decision on awarding any new licenses in February.

A group in Linn County is proposing a casino in Cedar Rapids, but not other proposals have been made public.