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Friday Afternoon News, February 1

Former Superintendent Weighs In On Educational Issues

(Le Mars) -- A lot of attention is being devoted to educational issues from the local standpoint of the Le Mars Community School District hosting an educational legislative forum on Saturday, to the state legislature working on measures of funding education and teacher evaluations, to Governor Branstad's goal to reform education, and all the way up to the federal level of the "No Child Left Behind" Act.  But how many changes will occur, or need to occur, with our educational system.  Dr. Larry Williams is a former superintendent for Sioux City, Hinton and the Akron-Westfield school districts.  Williams, now retired, serves as a consultant relating to educational issues.  One measure being proposed by the state legislature is to require college students wanting to pursue a career in teaching to take additional tests to qualify them as a teacher.  Williams says testing future teachers may not determine whether an individual will make a good teacher.
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The Governor and the state legislature hope to create a method of teacher evaluations which would in part be based upon the student's performance.  Williams questions whether such action would be fair to the student.  He says good teachers use several means to adequately assess a student's performance, and there isn't one way that is the best method for assessing the student's progress.  Williams says Iowa is famous for developing a standardized means of testing with the former Iowa Test of Basic Skills for elementary and junior high students, and the Iowa Tests of Educational Development used for high school students.
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Williams says teachers and parents alike are always interested in the progress and assessment of a student.
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Tomorrow and Monday we will continue our series of reports focusing on educational issues.

 

Spencer Man Found Guilty On Meth Charges

(Sioux City) -- A man who conspired to distribute methamphetamine pled guilty January 30, 2013, in federal court in Sioux City. Gabriel Ginger, 26, from Spencer, Iowa, was convicted of one count of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. At the plea hearing, Ginger admitted his involvement in a conspiracy from about 2010 through August 2011 that distributed more than 50 grams of actual (pure) methamphetamine.  On July 21, 2011, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Ginger’s residence and seized over 10 grams of methamphetamine which Ginger planned to distribute to others. Sentencing before United States District Court Judge Donald E. O’Brien will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Ginger remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  Ginger faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment, a $5,000,000 fine, a special assessment of $100, and at least four years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

 

Harkin Aide Gave Names of Donors To Iowa State For Institute

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Records show a top campaign aide for U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin gave Iowa State University a list of individuals and companies who would be solicited for donations to his namesake
policy institute.
Harkin's finance director, Jeremy Gold, sent a list of 13 individuals and 16 companies who might give to the Harkin Institute of Public Policy to a top official at the ISU Foundation in
October. Earlier that month, Gold had sent the foundation proposed revisions to a fundraising brochure it's using for the institute.
ISU refused to release the names of those on the list, saying they were prospective donors whose identities could be shielded.
University officials have promised the institute would be nonpartisan and free from Harkin's influence.

 

Public Defender Selected To Fill Circuit Court of Appeals

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A federal public defender in Cedar Rapids has been nominated to fill a vacancy on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Jane Kelly has been an assistant federal public defender in the U.S. Northern District of Iowa since 1994.
Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin says Kelly "has spent her career working on behalf of the most underprivileged in society and has fought tirelessly to ensure the rights of all Iowans are protected."
Kelly was born in Indiana. She obtained her law degree from Harvard University in 1991.

 

Des Moines Man Pours Boiling Water On Fiancee

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A 22-year-old Des Moines man has been accused of tossing a pot of boiling water onto his fiancee while they were fighting.
Jeffrey Carlson was arrested Thursday night after officers responded to the home Carlson shared with the woman. She is the mother of his 9-month-old child.
Police Sgt. Jason Halifax says 22-year-old Alicia Atwood suffered burns on her back and on an arm and leg. Carlson told deputies that Atwood pulled the pot onto herself when she tripped
and fell.
Carlson faces two assault charges and one of probation violation. He remained in Polk County Jail on Friday, pending $10,000 bail. Online court records don't list the name of his attorney.
Atwood has been hospitalized.
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Friday News, February 1

Authorities Arrest Two People For Methamphetamine

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Sheriff's office performed a traffic stop late Monday evening on a vehicle in the parking lot of Mike's Saloon in southern Plymouth County.  During that stop, the driver, Aaron Moon, age 31 was arrested for possession of methamphetamine.  A passenger in that car, Cody Smith, was charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Both were booked into the Plymouth County jail.


Iowa Under A Wind Chill Advisory

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials say cold temperatures and bitter wind chills are hitting most of Iowa.
The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill advisory for most of Iowa from Thursday into Friday morning. An arctic high pressure will create wind chill values between 25 and 35 degrees
below zero in some parts.
The coldest area will be in northern Iowa, though southern Iowa will experience wind chill values between 15 to 25 degrees below zero.
In Des Moines, the temperature is expected to hit 7 degrees below zero Thursday night. Officials say it's been almost two years since the temperature will be this low.
Officials say temperatures will ease by Saturday and into early next week.


Medical Officials Warn To Watch For Frost Bite

(Le Mars) -- When temperatures start dropping to single digits, and combined with the strong winds, its not long before we start talking about wind chill index, and then, as medical personnel suggests, we need to be concerned about frost bite. 
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Jody Hoffman, Supervisor of Nursing at Floyd Valley Hospital says frost bite can occur before we even realize any symptoms.
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Hoffman says symptoms can vary depending upon the severity of the frost bite.
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The Floyd Valley Nurse says it is at that point when you should seek medical attention.  In treating frost bite, Hoffman says to move the person to a warm area and keep the extremities elevated.

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Teacher Evaluations Not Always Useful

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A state review says most Iowa teacher evaluations don't help administrators identify their top performers.
The report released Thursday says that of the nearly 17,600 teachers evaluated during the 2011-12 school year, 98 percent received a positive rating.
Jay Pennington wrote the report for the Iowa Education Department, and he says 58 percent of the Iowa school districts reported using a system in which teachers either met or didn't meet
evaluation standards.
Pennington says that evaluation system isn't providing "that spread that says who are your good, who are your great, teachers."
Gov. Terry Branstad's education reform package under consideration in the Legislature would include a three-tier performance scale and would factor in student performance.

 

Republican Lawmakers Work On Education Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican lawmakers are working on a measure to change the rules governing when the Legislature determines Iowa school funding.
House Speaker Kraig Paulsen told reporters Thursday that he is working on a bill that would end the requirement that lawmakers establish school funding levels 18 months before the start of a
school year. Last spring, legislators ended their session without following the law and setting funding levels for the 2013 to 2014 school year.
Paulsen says the change was needed because the current policy limits options for future legislators.
Democratic lawmakers say the Legislature should keep the current system. They say they have sought to follow the 18-month rule since it was put in place in 1995.

 

Iowa Using Coasters To Promote Colon Cancer Awareness

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa is promoting a colon cancer awareness campaign with the help of bars and restaurants across the state.
The state Department of Public Health is reminding residents to get screened for colorectal cancer via drink coasters distributed to 26 bars, taverns and restaurants in 19 counties. They were
distributed between December and the end of January.
The message on the coasters also carries a trivia question about celebrities who have had colon cancer.
The agency says it created the coasters to promote awareness to Iowa residents in rural and urban areas.
The campaign will run again in March during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

 

Iowa To Receive Money For Foreclosure Settlement

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa has been awarded $1.1 million as part of a national settlement involving improper foreclosure conduct by a mortgage processing company.
Attorney General Tom Miller announced Thursday that Iowa is one of dozens of states that will receive some of the $121 million settlement from Lender Processing Services and its subsidiaries.
Miller filed a consumer fraud petition in Polk County District Court alleging improper conduct.
The states argued that the Florida company "robo-signed" foreclosure documents. The practice describes banks that automatically sign off on foreclosures without properly reviewing documents.
The company will be required to reform its business practices under the settlement.

 

Pella Electric Cooperative To Receive FEMA Grant

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An electric cooperative in Pella has been awarded a $5.6 million grant to improve its power lines.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says the funds will be used to replace and strengthen more than 120 miles of lines to better withstand storms. The Pella Cooperative Electric Association
lines are in Jasper, Mahaska, Marion, Polk and Poweshiek counties.
Sen. Tom Harkin announced the grant Thursday. He was the chief sponsor of legislation that expanded FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Program which is funding the grant.
The purpose of the program is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.

   

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