12-30 NEWS

THE SOUTH WINNESHIEK AND TURKEY VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE LOOKING AT OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE. BOTH HAVE SCHEDULED ACTIVITIES LEADING UP TO COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IN FUTURE PLANNING. SOUTH WINNESHIEK IS LOOKING FOR COMMUNITY MEMBERS, PARENTS, STUDENTS AND STAFF MEMBERS TO SERVE ON A COMMITTEE. AN INFORMATIONAL MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR NEXT MONDAY, JANUARY 5TH FOLLOWING THE REGULAR SCHOOL BOARD MEETING IN CALMAR. MEANWHILE, THE TURKEY VALLEY DISTRICT IS INITIATING A “FUTURE DIRECTION” COMMITTEE AND SEEKING MEMBERS AND INPUT. AN ON-LINE SURVEY IS UNDERWAY UNTIL JANUARY 5TH AS WELL. CLARK GOLTZ, SUPERINTENDENT OF BOTH DISTRICTS, SAYS IT’S A PROACTIVE WAY TO PLAN THE FUTURE:
AUDIO: GOLTZ 1
GOLTZ SAYS ALL OPTIONS ARE BEING CONSIDERED.

NEW LAWS ARE TAKING EFFECT IN IOWA WHEN THE NEW YEAR IS BORN:
AUDIO: NEW LAWS

YOU’LL SOON HAVE A CLOSER AIRPORT TO TAKE YOU TO A MAJOR HUB:
AUDIO: MC NET

FLU ACTIVITY IS INCREASING IN WINNESHIEK COUNTY AND AROUND IOWA. PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR KRISTA VANDENBRINK SAYS, IN THE LAST REPORTING WEEK, 130 FLU-RELATED HOSPITALIZATIONS HAVE OCCURRED IN IOWA, MOSTLY AMONG THE 64 & OLDER AGE GROUP. SHE SAYS FOUR DIFFERENT STRAINS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED. VANDENBRINK SAYS THE BEST DEFENSE IS THE FLU VACCINE, BUT SOME VIRUSES MAY ONLY OFFER PARTIAL PROTECTION. SHE SAYS IT’S ALSO IMPORTANT TO PRACTICE GOOD PERSONAL HYGIENE HABITS BY COVERING YOUR COUGHS AND SNEEZES, CLEANING YOUR HANDS FREQUENTLY AND STAYING HOME IF YOU’RE ILL. YOU CAN CONTACT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER TO FIND OUT WHERE FLU VACCINE IS AVAILABLE NEAR YOU.

THE ONEOTA FILM FESTIVAL HAS BEEN AWARDED AN IOWA ARTS COUNCIL GRANT OF $3350. NANCY SOJKA, ONEOTA FILM FESTIVAL PRESIDENT, SAYS THE GRANT WILL HELP MAKE POSSIBLE AN APPEARANCE BY THE TINY CIRCUS, BASED IN GRINNELL. THE STOP-ANIMATION TROUPE WILLLL BE IN DECORAH TO WORK ON AN ANIMATED SHORT FILM CALLED “RECYCLE AND RE-USE. THE FILM WILL PREMIERE AT THE 6TH ANNUAL ONEOTA FILM FESTIVAL SCHEDULEDE FOR MARCH 6-8 ON THE LUTHER COLLEGE CAMPUS.

VOTERS ARE DECIDING TODAY WHO’LL FILL THE UNEXPIRED TERM OF JONI ERNST IN THE IOWA SENATE. THE DEMOCRAT CANDIDATE IS STEVE ADAMS, A COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST AT IOWA STATE. ADAMS IS FROM RED OAK. THE LIBERTERIAN CANDIDATE IS DONALD BRANTZ, A FORMER REPUBLICAN. THE REPUBLICANS HAVE MARK COSTELLO IN THE RACE THAT COVERS 6 SOUTHEASTERN IOWA COUNTIES.

12-29 KDEC NEWS

NO ACTION WAS TAKEN ON A COUNTY ZONING ORDINANCE AT MONDAY’S WINNESHIEK COUNTY SUPERVISOR’S MEETING. A PUBLIC HEARING BROUGHT COMMENT FROM A HALF-DOZEN CITIZENS VOICING CONCERNS ABOUT A PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE COUNTY’S ZONING ORDINANCE. SUPERVISOR DEAN THOMPSON MADE A MOTION TO ACCEPT THE AMENDMENT, BUT THE MOTION DIDN’T GET A SECOND. SUPERVISOR’S CHAIR JOHN LOGSDON SAYS THINGS ARE NOT AT A STANDSTILL:
AUDIO: LOGSDON 15
LOGSDON EXPECTS ACTION TO RESUME ON THE ZONING AMENDMENT, BUT NO PUBLIC HEARINGS ARE SCHEDULED AS OF TODAY. THAT MAY CHANGE.

WINNESHIEK COUNTY’S FSA DIRECTOR WILL BE LEAVING THE JOB SOON. FSA DIRECTOR JULIE VULK SAYS HER LAST DAY WILL BE JANUARY 30TH. VULK HAS SPENT 34 YEARS AT THE FARM SERVICE AGENCY, STARTING OUT IN MITCHELL COUNTY AND BECOMING AN FSA DIRECTOR IN DECATURE COUNTY IN 1994. VULK CAME TO WINNESHIEK COUNTY IN JANUARY OF 1996. AN OPEN HOUSE IS PLANNED FOR JANUARY 30TH FROM 1-4P.M. AT THE FSA OFFICE.

THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IS NOW ONE YEAR OLD, AND WE’RE NOW IN THE 2ND YEARLY ENROLLMENT PERIOD. FIRST-YEAR FIGURES SHOW IOWANS HAVE NOT SIGNED UP TO THE DEGREE EVERY OTHER STATE HAS. IN FACT, PUERTO RICO HAS A HIGHER PARTICIPATION RATE THAN IOWA, PUTTING THE HAWKEYE STATE IN 51ST PLACE. BRIAN HUINKER FROM MIDWEST BENEFITS SAYS TALK OF REPLACING OBAMACARE IS ONLY POLITICAL POSTURING:
AUDIO: HUINKER
THE GOVERNMENT HAS SET A GOAL OF 9.1 MILLION TOTAL SIGNUPS FOR THE PROGRAM BY THE END OF THE CURRENT ENROLLMENT PERIOD. IT ENDS FEBRUARY 15TH.

EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS CALLED “COMMON CORE” HAVE BEEN UNDER ATTACK BY CONSERVATIVES ACROSS THE COUNTRY. HERE IN IOWA, IT’S EXPECTED THEY’LL BE UNDER THE LEGISLATIVE MICROSCOPE AS LAWMAKERS BEGIN THEIR SESSION. TAMMY WAWRO’S A CEDAR RAPIDS TEACHER AND PRESIDENT OF THE IOWA STATE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION. SHE SAYS THE COMMON CORE TAKES THE BEST OF THE NATIONAL STANDARDS AND ADDS THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT IN THE STATE. WAWRO SAYS THEY’RE NOT DICTATING CURRICULUM, BUT ENSURING STUDENTS GET THE SAME EDUCATION AROUND THE COUNTRY. SHE SAYS EVEN PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS ARE ADOPTING THEM:
AUDIO TAMMY WAWRO COMMON CORE
WAWRO SAYS IT’S UNFORTUNATE IOWA EDUCATORS DIDN’T STEP UP AND BETTER EXPLAIN THE IOWA STANDARDS, ALLOWING OTHER GROUPS TO COME IN A CRITIQUE THEM. SHE HOPES WORK THIS YEAR ON TESTING STANDARDS WILL CONVINCE LAWMAKERS THAT IOWA CORE IS WORTHWHILE.

FAYETTE COUNTY AUTHORITIES ARRESTED A RANDALIA MAN CHRISTMAS DAY. 25-YEAR OLD JUSTIN STEEGE OF RANDALIA IS CHARGED WITH 2ND DEGREE BURGLARY AND VIOLATION OF A “NO CONTACT” ORDER. STEEGE WAS TAKEN TO THE FAYETTE COUNTY JAIL AND IS BEING HELD ON $20,000 BOND.

DATA SHOWS THE NUMBER OF IOWA SCHOOL BUSES FLAGGED FOR REPEATED SAFETY VIOLATIONS HAS NEARLY DOUBLED SINCE 2012:
AUDIO: QUEALY-SCHOOLBUSES
NEARLY 22,000 BUS INSPECTION CITATIONS HAVE BEEN ISSUE SINCE JUNE OF 2012, MOSTLY FOR UNSAFE TIRES, INOPERABLE WARNING SIGNALS AND DYSFUNCTIONAL WHEEL BEARINGS. MOST BUSES WERE PROMPTLY REPAIRED, BUT THREE DISTRICTS HAVE RECEIVED LETTERS THIS YEAR OVER SAFETY CONCERNS. THEY SAY CASES OF FALSIFYING REPORTS HAVE BEEN FOUND.

12-28 KDEC NEWS

IN THE AFTERMATH OF FERGUSON AND OTHER RECENT EVENTS INVOLVING LOCAL POLICE, CALLS FOR BODY CAMERAS ARE STRONG. DECORAH POLICE CHIEF BILL NIXON SAYS THEIR A LOGICAL NEXT STEP SO DEPARTMENTS CAN MONITOR OFFICER AND PUBLIC INTERACTION. THE DECORAH POLICE DEPT. IS APPLYING FOR A DECORAH COMMUNITY FOUNDATION GRANT TO OUTFIT OFFICERS WITH BODY CAMS. NIXON SAYS, HOWEVER, THERE WILL STILL BE AREAS OF DISAGREEMENT:
AUDIO: NIXON 2 25
NIXON SAYS THE COST OF BODY CAMERAS RANGES FROM $200 TO $700, DEPENDING ON QUALITY AND OPTIONS.

NOT CONTENT WITH NEW D.O.T. RULES THAT SAY AUTOMATEED TRAFFIC CAMERAS SHOULD BE A LAST RESORT, A CENTRAL IOWA LEGISLATOR IS VOWING TO MAKE THE LEGISLATIVE DEBATE THEIR FUTURE NEXT YEAR. REPUBLICAN STATE SENATOR BRAD ZAUN OF URBANDALE HAS INTRODUCED A BILL THAT WOULD BAN THE CAMERAS ON JULY FIRST OF NEXT YEAR:
AUDIO: ZAUN TRAFFIC CAM BAN
ZAUN SAYS HE’S HEARD FROM THOUSANDS OF IOWANS WHO ARE UPSET ABOUT THE CAMERAS. HE SAYS STUDIES SHOW THEIR USE BY CITIES AND COUNTIES IS TO RAISE MORE REVENUE, NOT TO INCREASE TRAFFIC SAFETY.

IOWA’S HEALTH AND WELLNESS PROGRAM IS ABOUT A YEAR OLD AND MORE THAN 119-THOUSAND HAVE SIGNED UP FOR COVERAGE. THE EFFORT LAUNCHED WITH A GOAL OF PROVIDING COVERAGE TO 150,000 IOWANS BY THE END OF THE THIRD YEAR. DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES SPOKESPERSON AMY LORENTZEN-MCCOY SAYS THE EXPECTS A SLIGHT BUMP IN ENROLLMENT OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS:
AUDIO: MCCOY-WELLNESS ENROLLMENT
LORENTZEN-MCCOY SAYS IOWA’S PLAN PUTS A FOCUS ON PREVENTATIVE TREATMENT. THIS YEAR ABOUT 21-THOUSAND PEOPLE RECEIVED HEALTH-RISK ASSESSMENTS UNDER THE PROGRAM.

WITH WHAT SEEMS TO BE A GROWING NUMBER OF SCAMS AND HACKERS TRYING TO GET BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR ASSETS, TAKING STEPS AVAILABLE TO YOU IS A SMART PLAN. BILL BRAUCH(BROCK), IN CHARGE OF COMSUMER PROTECTION AT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE IN DES MOINES, SAYS THERE’S ONE EARLY SAFEGUARD YOU CAN USE:
AUDIO: BRAUCH 2
BRAUCH SAYS, EVEN COMPANIES THAT ARE IN BUSINESS TO KEEP YOUR INFORMATION SECURE CANNOT GUARANTEE 100% SAFETY.

12-27 KDEC NEWS

WINNESHIEK COUNTY’S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE INCHED UPWARD SLIGHTLY IN NOVEMBER. IT REGISTERED 3.3%. THAT COMPARES TO 3.2% IN OCTOBER. THE HOWARD COUNTY UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURE REMAINED AT 3.6% WHILE CHICKASAW COUNTY’S WENT UP TO 4% FROM 3.7% IN OCTOBER. ALLAMAKEE COUNTY’S RATE WENT TO 4.8%, UP FROM 4.2% IN OCTOBER. THE ONLY NORTHEAST IOWA COUNTY TO IMPROVE EMPLOYMENT WAS FAYETTE COUNTY, WHICH WENT DOWN 3/10THS OF A POINT TO 4.4%.

A PROGRAM AIMED AT SHARING THE METHODS OF EFFECTIVE IOWA TEACHERS IS SPREADING THROUGH THE STATE’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS. DECORAH IS ONE OF 74 DISTRICTS THAT HAVE BEEN APPROVED FOR THE PROGRAM. SUPERINTENDENT MIKE HALUSKA SAYS THE PROGRAM….THE TEACHER LEADERSHIP AND COMPENSATION PROGRAM…PRESENTS POSITIVE OPPORTUNITIES FOR DISTRICT TEACHERS:
AUDIO: HALUSKA 19
51 ADDITIONAL DISTRICTS PLAN TO JOIN THE PROGRAM IN 2016.

THE IOWA STATE PATROL HAS RELEASED DETAILS OF THE TUESDAY MORNING ACCIDENT THAT FORCED THE CLOSURE OF COUNTY ROAD 42 BETWEEN DECORAH AND OSSIAN. THEIR REPORT SAYS A VEHICLE DRIVEN BY 23-YEAR OLD LEELAND IVERSON OF DECORAH WAS NORTHBOUND ON THE SNOW-COVERED BLACKTOP AROUND 6:15 A.M. WHEN HE SLID BROADSIDE INTO A CAR DRIVEN BY 34-YEAR OLD CORY SCHOLBROCK OF CALMAR. 32-YEAR OLD TONYA SCHOLBROCK AND CORY SCHOLBROCK WERE TAKEN TO WINNESHIEK MEDICAL CENTER BY AMBULANCE. IVERSON ALSO RECEIVED POSSIBLE INJURIES IN THE ACCIDENT. LEELAND IVERSON WAS CITED FOR FAILURE TO MAINTAIN CONTROL.

THE FORMER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN HAWKEYE, CLOSED IN MARCH OF LAST YEAR, HAS BEEN SOLD TO A LOCAL BUSINESSMAN. BIBEK SAHU, OWNER OF C.V. RESEARCH IN HAWKEYE, SAYS HE WANT TO CONVERT THE BUILDING TO A TEACHING AND WORK CENTER. SAHU SAYS THE SCHOOL, WHICH WAS PURCHASED FROM THE NORTH FAYETTE VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT FOR $25,000, COULD SERVE AS A COMMUNITY RECREATION CENTER. THE WATERLOO COURIER STORY SAYS IT WILL ALSO PROVIDE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE SPACE FOR C.V. RESEARCH LABS. SAHU SAYS HE ALSO HOPES HIS COMPANY CAN PARTNER WITH REGIONAL COMMUNITY COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO REBUILD A SOLAR CAR FROM IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY.

A SOUTH DAKOTA MAN FACES WEAPONS CHARGES AFTER BEING PULLED OVER ON CHRISTMAS EVE IN BREMER COUNTY. SHERIFF’S DEPUTIES TRIED TO STOP 34-YEAR OLD BILLY FLESHNER OF SIOUX FALLS ON HIGHWAY 218 BUT FLESHNER KEPT GOING BEFORE HE PULLED OVER IN A GAS STATION PARKING LOT BETWEEN WAVERLY AND SHELL ROCK. AUTHORITIES SAY FLESHNER HAD HANDGUNS, A RIFLE AND LOADED MAGAZINES IN THE VEHICLE, BUT DID NOT HAVE A VALID WEAPONS PERMIT. FLESHNER IS IN JAIL ON A $50,000 BOND.N

A POPULAR OLDIES BAND WILL BE PERFORMING AT A FUND-RAISER FOR A WAUKON MAN SATURDAY NIGHT(TONIGHT). CHAD JOHNSON HAS BEEN LIVING WITH MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS FOR 15 YEARS. HIS HEALTH HAS DECLINED THIS PAST SUMMER AND HE IS NOW AT THE NORTHGATE CARE CENTER IN WAUKON TO BE CLOSER TO HIS FAMILY. PROCEEDS FROM THE DANCE, FEATURING MUSIC BY THE CAMINOS, AND SILENT AUCTION WILL GO TOWARDS DEVICES AND THERAPIES TO IMPROVE JOHNSON’S QUALITY OF LIFE. THE FUND-RAISER IS AT GOODFELLAS IN WAUKON. THE SILENT AUCTION RUNS FROM 6-8:30 P.M., AND THE CAMINOS BAND WILL BEGIN AT 9.

DECORAH POLICE ARRESTED TWO MEN CHRISTMAS EVE AFTER A 9-1-1 CALL REPORTED A FIGHT IN PROGRESS IN THE DECORAH PUBLIC LIBRARY PARKING LOT. THE TWO MEN, 25-YEAR OLD ARTHUR KUNTZ CLOYD AND 42-YEAR OLD WILLIAM ARTHUR KUNTZ(KOONTZ), SHARE A RESIDENCE ON MAIN STREET IN DECORAH. THEY WERE ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH PUBLIC INTOXICATION AND INTERFERENCE WITH OFFICIAL ACTS. THEY WERE TAKEN TO JAIL IN DECORAH.

A MAN FROM BRITT IOWA WAS CHARGED WITH SHOPLIFTING AT THE DECORAH WALMART WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. 30-YEAR OLD MATTHEW BAKER WAS ARRESTED FOR ATTEMPTING TO LEAVE THE STORE WITHOUT PAYING FOR $289 WORTH OF MERCHANDISE.

12-24 KDEC NEWS

THE DECORAH SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS SET A SPECIAL BOARD MEETING FOR JANUARY 5TH AT NOON. ON THE AGENDA IS THE APPROVAL OF NINE NEW HIRES. ALSO ON THE AGENDA IS A DISCUSSION OF THE DISTRICT’S SCHOOL START DATE. GOVERNOR BRANSTAD HAS DECIDED STATE PUBLIC SCHOOLS WILL HAVE TO NEED MORE REASONS TO BEGIN THE SCHOOL YEAR BEFORE THE FIRST OF SEPTEMBER. THAT DATE IS CURRENTLY A STATE LAW, BUT THE VAST MAJORITY OF IOWA SCHOOLS…336 OUT OF 338…. NOW RECEIVE WAIVERS TO BEGIN IN MID-TO-LATE AUGUST.

IF YOU KNOW OF ANY VETERANS WHO ARE SHUT-INS AT HOME OR IN A NURSING HOME, THE DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS WAUKON POST WOULD LIKE TO KNOW THEIR NAMES SO THEY CAN RECEIVE VISITS DURING THE HOLIDAYS. THE D.A.V. POST COVERS ALLAMAKEE, CLAYTON, FAYETTE, HOWARD AND WINNESHIEK COUNTIES, AS WELL AS FILLMORE AND HOUSTON COUNTIES IN MINNESOTA. IF YOU CAN PROVIDE INFORMATION, THEY ASK YOU TO CONTACT THEM AT 568-5275 IN WAUKON.

AFTER A MONTH-LONG INVESTIGATION, FAYETTE COUNTY AUTHORITIES HAVE FILED CHARGES ON TWO WEST UNION BROTHERS. THE BROTHERS, 24-YEAR OLD ALEXANDER JANS AND 33-YEAR OLD ADAM JANS, WERE UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR RUNNING A CRIMINAL NETWORK FOR POSSESSION AND SALE OF DRUGS. WHILE ALEXANDER JANS WAS IN THE FAYETTE COUNTY JAIL, AUTHORITIES SAY HE CONSPIRED TO CONTINUE HIS ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES. ADAM JANS WAS ARRESTED SATURDAY AND WILL APPEAR IN COURT AT A LATER DATE. ALEXANDER JANS WAS CHARGED MONDAY AND WAS TAKEN TO JAIL ON A $300,000 CASH BOND. IF CONVICTED, BOTH BROTHERS COULD SERVE UP TO 50 YEARS IN PRISON.

A WISCONSIN WOMAN HAS BEEN KILLED IN A FILLMORE COUNTY ACCIDENT. THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE SAYS 27-YEAR OLD LAURA FINSETH SCOTT OF HOLMEN WISCONSIN DIED IN AN ACCIDENT SATURDAY NIGHT IN PILOT MOUND TOWNSHIP NORTHEAST OF FOUNTAIN. SHE WAS A PASSENGER IN A CAR DRIVEN BY 28-YEAR OLD HUNTER SCOTT OF HOLMEN. HE WAS TAKEN TO ST. MARY’S IN ROCHESTER FOR TREATMENT. ICY ROADS LED TO THE ROLLOVER OF THE SCOTT’S CAR ON FILLMORE COUNTY ROAD 11.

FIREFIGHTERS SAY, THIS TIME OF YEAR BRINGS ADDED FIRE HAZARDS, INCLUDING CHRISTMAS TREES AND GREENERY, AND THE USE OF CANDLES AND FIREPLACES. STATE FIRE MARSHALL RON HUMPHREYS SAYS THERE ARE ADDITIONAL COMMON FIRE-STARTERS:
AUDIO: PREVENT FIRES
HUMPHREYS SAYS BUYING A NEW SMOKE OR C.O. DETECTOR FOR A FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND IS A GREAT CHRISTMAS PRESENT. HE ALSO RECOMMENDS PEOPLE HAVE AN EMERGENCY PLAN TO FAMILIES CAN ESCAPE THEIR HOME SAFELY.

A WINNESHIEK COUNTY WOMAN HAS BEEN HONORED FOR HER PHOTOGRAPHY BY THE SILOS AND SMOKESTACKS NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA. JOYCE MEYER OF CALMAR RECEIVED THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE “MOST LIKED” AWARD FOR HER PHOTO “A PASTURE WITH A VIEW”. YOU CAN SEE HER AWARD-WINNING PHOTO, AS WELL AS OTHER WINNERS, ON SILOS & SMOKESTACKS.ORG.

12-23 KDEC NEWS

WINNESHIEK COUNTY SHERIFF LEON BOHR HAS ANNOUNCED HE’S LEAVING THE JOB NEXT YEAR. SHERIFF BOHR SUBMITTED A LETTER OF RESIGNATION TO THE COUNTY BOARD MONDAY MORNING. BOHR HAS SPENT 30 YEARS IN LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT, JOINING THE DECORAH POLICE DEPARTMENT IN 1985. HE MOVED TO THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT IN 1993 AND BECAME WINNESHIEK COUNTY SHERIFF IN 2002. HIS LAST DAY WILL BE MARCH 31ST.

THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY BOARD AND THE PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION WILL BE PUTTING MORE DETAIL INTO THEIR OFFICIAL AGENDAS IN THE FUTURE. THE COUNTY SUPERVISORS HEARD A THOROUGH DESCRIPTION OF OPEN MEETINGS REQUIREMENTS AT MONDAY’S REGULAR SESSION. DICK JANSON, REPRESENTING THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY PROTECTORS, SAYS A RECENT P&Z AGENDA DIDN’T DETAIL THE WORK THAT WAS DONE AT ITS MEETING. JANSON, A RETIRED EDUCATOR, SAYS HIS COMMENTS WEREN’T ABOUT CONTENT, BUT ABOUT PROCEDURE. COUNTY BOARD CHAIR JOHN LOGSDON SAYS HE DOESN’T DISPUTE THE RECOMMENDATION:
AUDIO: LOGSDON 16
JANSON ALSO REQUESTED FUTURE P&Z AGENDAS BE PLACED ON THE COUNTY WEBSITE.

3 TEENAGERS WERE INJURED IN A SATURDAY NIGHT ACCIDENT IN NORTHWEST WINNESHIEK COUNTY. THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE SAYS THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED AFTER 9 SATURDAY NIGHT ON POLE LINE ROAD WEST OF W-14. A TRUCK DRIVEN BY 17 YEAR-OLD MIKE KRAHENBUHL OF CRESCO WAS WESTBOUND WHEN HE LOST CONTROL ON ICY ROADS, SLID INTO THE DITCH AND OVERTURNED. ALL 4 OCCUPANTS WERE ABLE TO EXTRICATE THEMSELVES. NEARBY RESIDENTS HEARD THE CRASH AND RENDERED FIRST AID UNTIL A WINNESHIEK MEDICAL CENTER AMBULANCE ARRIVED. 15 YEAR-OLD LEXI RUSTAD OF CRESCO AND 17 YEAR-OLD AUSTIN OLLINDIECK OF RIDGEWAY WERE TAKEN TO THE HOWARD COUNTY HOSPITAL WITH NON LIFE-THREATENING INJURIES. KRAHENBUHL WAS ALSO TAKEN TO THE CRESCO HOSPITAL. 18 YEAR-OLD KYLE DAWLEY OF CRESCO WAS UNINJURED. THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE SAYS ALL WERE WEARING THEIR SEAT BELTS, LIKELY PREVENTING MORE SERIOUS INJURIES.

THE HEAD OF THE FBI RECENTLY CALLED CYBERCRIME A BIGGER THREAT THAN TERRORISM. BILL BRAUCH, ASSISTANT TO THE IOWA ATTORNEY GENERAL, SAYS THERE ARE WAYS TO SAFEGUARD YOUR INFORMATION AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. BRAUCH SAYS EVERYTHING YOU DO ON-LINE HAS A RISK IF YOU’RE NOT ON A SECURE WEBSITE. YOU CAN TELL THE DIFFERENCE, HE SAYS, BY THE FIRST CHARACTERS ON THE ADDRESS LINE. IF IT SAYS “HTTPS” IT’S SECURE. IF IT SAYS ONLY “HTTP”, IT’S NOT. BRAUCH SAYS EVEN COMPANIES THAT OFFER SECURITY SERVICE, SUCH AS LIFELOCK, CANNOT GUARANTEE 100% SAFETY:
AUDIO
BRAUCH IS IN CHARGE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION IN IOWA. HE MADE HIS COMMENTS ON THURSDAY’S OUR TOWN PROGRAM ON KDEC RADIO.

CONGRESS HAS ADJOURNED FOR THE YEAR, BUT NOT BEFORE APPROVING A GIANT SPENDING BILL LAST WEEK THAT INCLUDES CUTS TO CONSERVATION. FARMER JOHN GILBERT OF IOWA FALLS SAYS EFFORTS TO PROTECT THE LAND AND WATER ARE WORKING AND GROWING IN POPULARITY IN THE STATE, BUT THAT DIDN’T STOP LAWMAKERS FROM MAKING FUNDING CUTBACKS:
AUDIO GILBERT 12
THE FUNDING BILL, CALLED “CROMNIBUS”, WILL SHRINK THE CONSERVATION PROGRAM BY NEARLY A QUARTER OF ITS CURRENT ACREAGE. THESE FEDERAL CUTS COME ON TOP OF A DROP OF 20-MILLION DOLLARS OF SUPPORT TO VOLUNTARY CONSERVATION PROGRAMS IN IOWA.

ALL 99 IOWA COUNTIES ARE PARTICIPATING IN A NATIONWIDE CRACKDOWN ON IMPAIRED DRIVING. THE LATEST IS AN APP FOR IOS AND ANDROID CALLED “SAFER-RIDE”. IOWA’S GOVERNORS TRAFFIC SAFETY BUREAU’S ALCOHOL PROGRAMS COORDINATOR SAYS THE APP IS AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE SO ANYONE CAN USE IT TO HELP OUT A POTENTIAL DRUNK DRIVER:
AUDIO BECKER
THE APP OFFERS JUST THREE OPTIONS: CALL A CAB, CALL A FRIEND OR FIND MY LOCATION. IT’S PART OF THE ANNUAL HOLIDAY CRACKDOWN ON IMPAIRED DRIVING.

A DECORAH WOMAN RECENTLY FROM A TRIP TO NICARAGUA WITH THE ORGANIZATION, “GLOBAL PARTNERS”. JENNIFER GIPP, PRESIDENT OF THE DECORAH ROTARY CLUB, IS AN OPTICIAN. SHE, AND TWO ROTARIANS FROM LACROSSE, SPENT TIME IN MATAGALPA, NICARAGUA WORKING WITH VISION IMPAIRED OF ALL AGES. SHE SAYS THEY SAW ALMOST 600 PEOPLE IN 4 DAYS THERE. GIPP SAYS ROTARY SUPPORT HAS BEEN IMPORTANT TO THE GLOBAL PARTNERS EFFORT:
AUDIO: GIPP 18
GIPP SAYS THEY ALSO DELIVERED BAGS OF BEANS AND RICE TO THE COMMUNITY OF SANTA CELIA, WHICH ROTARIANS HELPED BUILD THROUGH DONATIONS LAST YEAR. NICARAGUA IS THE SECOND POOREST COUNTRY IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE, TRAILING ONLY HAITI.

12-21 KDEC NEWS

TOMORROW’S MEETING OF THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SUPERVISORS AGENDA INCLUDES A “HOT BUTTON” ISSUE. THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY PROTECTORS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT A VIOLATION OF THE OPEN MEETINGS LAW BY THE PLANNING AND ZONING ADMINISTRATOR AND LEGAL COUNSEL. DICK JANSON, REPRESENTING THE PROTECTORS, WILL MEET WITH THE SUPERVISORS AT 11:30. THE PROTECTORS BELIEVE PROPER PROCEDURES HAVEN’T BEEN FOLLOWED AND WANT TO SEND THE MATTER BACK TO PLANNING AND ZONING. IF THE SUPERVISORS DECIDE NOT TO SEND IT BACK TO P&Z, IT’S LIKELY THE PROTECTORS MAY TAKE LEGAL ACTION. CURRENTLY, A PUBLIC HEARING ON COUNTY ZONING IS SET FOR DEC. 29TH. THAT HEARING COULD BE DELAYED.

AN ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP IS POINTING TO A SURVEY SHOWING THAT IN IOWA AND OTHER EARLY BATTLEGROUND STATE, VOTERS STILL WANT SOMTHING DONE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE. WESLEY WARREN OF THE NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL POINTS TO THE SURVEY SHOWING 65% OF THOSE POLLED IN STATES LIKE IOWA, COLORADO, MICHIGAN, NEW HAMPSHIRE AND VIRGINIA WANT THE E-P-A TO LIMIT POLLUTION BY POWER PLANTS AS AN INDICATOR THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS STILL ON VOTERS’ MINDS:
AUDIO: WESLEY WARREN
WARREN ADMITS THEY BACKED CONGRESSMAN BRUCE BRALEY’S FAILED U.S. SENATE CAMPAIGN, BUT HE SAYS ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES WEREN’T A FACTOR. HE ALSO SAYS JONI ERNST TONED DOWN HER RHETORIC, TELLING VOTERS SHE DROVE A PRIUS.

THE IOWA ATTORNEY GENERAL IS WARNING YOU ABOUT ANOTHER SCAM TRYING TO GET YOUR MONEY:
AUDIO: GREENWOOD IRS SCAM
SPOKESMAN GEOFF GREENWOOD SAYS PEOPLE REPORT THEY’RE GETTING CALLS FROM SOMEONE CLAIMING TO BE FROM THE IRS OR OTHER GOVERNMENT ENTITY, AND THREATENS JAIL TIME UNLESS A DEBT IS PAID RIGHT AWAY BY A PREPAID DEBIT CARD. HE SAYS, IF YOU DO IT, YOUR MONEY IS GONE. GREENWOOD SAYS THEY’RE FINDING IT’S FOREIGN ENTITIES MAKING THE CALLS, AND THE MONEY’S NOT RECOVERABLE.

LAST MONTH THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE COULDN’T SAY HOW WINTER WOULD SHAPE UP. A BIT DEEPER INTO THE SEASON, METEOROLOGIST KURT KOTENBERG SAYS THE MODELS SHOW A COLD JANUARY ON THE WAY, BUT IT WILL LIKELY BE BALANCED OUT LATER:
AUDIO: KOTENBERG FORECAST
KOTENBERG SAYS THE GREAT LAKES REGION EXPECTS LIGHTER THAN NORMAL PRECIPITATION THROUGH MARCH, BUT THE SOUTHWEST EXPECTS HEAVIER SNOW. IOWA WILL LIKELY BE CAUGHT UP IN THE MIDDLE.

A HALF-DOZEN STATES HAVE TAKEN PRE-EMPTIVE MEASURES TO PREVENT THE SALE OF PAN-COH-HOL….OR, POWDERED ALCOHOL. MINNESOTA IS THE MOST RECENT STATE TO BLOCK THE SALE OF SUCH PRODUCTS. THE IOWA ALCOHOL BEVERAGES DIVISION SAYS PAN-COH-HOL RAISES A TON OF RED FLAGS. PAN-COL-HOL IS A POWDERED VERSION OF RUM, VODKA OR OTHER COCKTAILS. FEDERAL AND STATE REGULATORS WORRY THE PRODUCT MAY BE MIS-USED AND BROUGHT INTO VENUES THAT DO NOT ALLOW ALCOHOL. IT IS NOT LEGAL FOR SALE IN IOWA, AND REGULATORS HOPE TO KEEP THE BAN IN PLACE.

12-20 NEWS

A VEHICLE TAKEN FROM 503 NORTH STREET IN DECORAH ENDED UP IN THE UPPER IOWA RIVER THURSDAY NIGHT. DECORAH POLICE GOT A 9-1-1 CALL AT 10:48 REPORTING A PARTIALLY SUBMERGED VEHICLE WAS FOUND IN THE RIVER WITH THE LIGHTS ON. OFFICERS FOUND THE CAR UNOCCUPIED WITH NO KEYS IN THE IGNITION AND THE SHIFTER STILL IN PARK. MEANWHILE, A LUTHER COLLEGE STUDENT, BRANDON MARINO OF LONDON, ONTARIO, CANADA, CALLED DECORAH POLICE TO REPORT HIS CAR HAD BEEN STOLEN. THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE IS SEEKING INFORMATION FROM ANYONE SEEING THE BLACK 2001 HYUNDAI SANTA FE PARKED, OR DRIVING ON THE RIVER ROAD EAST OF DECORAH IN GLENWOOD TOWNSHIP. THEY’RE ALSO INTERESTED IN ANY VEHICLE PARKED ALONG RIVER ROAD IN THAT AREA THURSDAY EVENING.

AUTHORITIES HAVE RELEASED THE NAME OF THE DRIVER OF A SEMI TRACTOR TRAILER WHOSE RIG OVERTURNED THURSDAY MORNING ON W-40 SOUTH OF HESPER. 22-YEAR OLD TRACY TWETEN (TWEET EN) OF DECORAH HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH OPERATING A COMMERCIAL VEHICLE WITHOUT A COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE. THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE SAYS THE SEMI DRIVEN BY TWETEN CAUGHT FIRE AFTER ROLLING OVER TWICE. TWETEN SUFFERED MINOR INJURIES AND WAS TAKEN TO WINNESHIEK MEDICAL CENTER. THE TRAILER, OWNED BY K&D AG, WAS A TOTAL LOSS. THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED SHORTLY AFTER 8:30 THURSDAY MORNING.

CORN PRODUCERS HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THE WORK OF CONGRESS RELATING TO TAX CREDITS THAT WILL BENEFIT RENEWABLE ENERGY. AN EXTENSION OF THE CREDITS HAS BEEN APPROVED. THE $41.6 BILLION PACKAGE WILL APPLY ONLY TO 2014 TAXES. SOME FORMS OF BIO-DIESEL ARE INCLUDED, BUT THE TAX CREDITS WILL NOT BENEFIT IOWA’S CORN-BASED ETHANOL INDUSTRY. HOWEVER, CELLULOSIC ETHANOL, A MUCH SMALLER STATE INDUSTRY, DOES SDE SOME BENEFIT.

THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF N-I-C-C IS RECEIVING A MAJOR DONATION TO THE SCHOOL HE NOW LEADS. ROB DENSON IS NOW PRESIDENT OF DES MOINES AREA COMMUNITY COLLEGE. THIS WEEK, THE SCHOOL RECEIVED A DONATION OF 5 ACRES OF LAND WORTH AN ESTIMATED 350-THOUSAND DOLLARS. DENSON SAYS THE NEXT STEP IS TO DETERMINE HOW BEST TO USE THE LAND:
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DENSON SAYS THE LAND IS NEXT TO D-MACC’S AMES CENTER, WHERE 1700 STUDENTS TAKE CLASSES.

THE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF DECORAH METRONET HAVE AGREED TO PARTICIPATE IN A STUDY THAT MAY LEAD TO A POOLING OF RESOURCES THAT WOULD BROADEN THE USE OF THE METRONET TO LINK WITH OTHER CITIES. CITY MANAGER CHAD BIRD, A BOARD MEMBER, SAYS THE GROUP AGREED TO SIGN ONTO THE STUDY BEING CONDUCTED BY THE IOWA ASSOCIATION OF MUNICIPAL UTILITIES. DECORAH IS THE 9TH ENTITY THUS FAR TO SIGN ON. BIRD SAYS THE COST WILL DEPEND ON THE NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS IN THE STUDY, BUT DECORAH’S COMMITMENT IS CAPPED AT $13,000.

A BARRIER TO FINANCIAL STABILITY FOR IOWANS WITH DISABILITIES IS ON ITS WAY OUT WITH CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL OF THE ABLE ACT. ABLE STANDS FOR “ACHIEVING A BETTER LIFE EXPERIENCE”. RICK SHANNON WITH THE IOWA DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES COUNCIL SAYS THE ACT ALLOWS PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES TO GROW THEIR SAVINGS ACCOUNTS WITHOUT JEOPARDIZING THEIR MEDICAID AND SOCIAL SECURITY ELIGIBILITY:
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UNDER CURRENT LAW, THE MAXIMUM WORTH OF ASSETS BEFORE A PERSON LOSES ELIGIBILITY FOR GOVERNMENT BENEFITS IS $2000. THE ABLE ACT WILL ALLOW FOR A SAVINGS ACCOUNT OF UP TO $100,000.

12-19 NEWS

THE DRIVER OF A SEMI TRACTOR-TRAILER RECEIVED MINOR INJURIES WHEN HIS RIG ROLLED ON W-40 SOUTH OF HESPER THIS (THURSDAY)MORNING. THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE SAYS THE SEMI CAUGHT FIRE AFTER ROLLING. DECORAH AND MABEL FIRE DEPARTMENTS ASSISTED AT THE SCENE. THE DRIVER, WHOSE NAME HAS NOT BEEN RELEASED, WAS TAKEN TO WINNESHIEK MEDICAL CENTER. THE SEMI WAS A TOTAL LOSS. THE ACCIDENT, WHICH HAPPENED SHORTLY AFTER 8:30 A.M., REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

AN OSAGE COMPANY HAS BEEN ORDERED TO PAY A RURAL ELMA MAN ALMOST $119,000 IN DAMAGES AFTER A HOWARD COUNTY COURT FOUND THE MAN’S FARMLAND WAS DAMAGED WHEN THE COMPANY REMOVED TREES AND FENCING WITHOUT PERMISSION. THE WATERLOO COURIER REPORTS MAYER’S DIGGING COMPANY OF OSAGE HAD TRESPASSED ON FARMLAND OWNED BY DEAN BUHR. THE DIGGING COMPANY CLEARED FARMLAND OWNED BY BUHR’S NEIGHBOR, WHO WAS TO HAVE CONTACTED BUHR ABOUT THE REMOVAL OF A TREE, ROCK AND BRUSH ALONG A FENCELINE BETWEEN THE TWO FARMERS. A JURY FOUND BUHR’S REAL ESTATE WAS DAMAGED, HIS USE AND ENJOYMENT OF THE PROPERTY IMPAIRED, AND THAT THE DIGGING COMPANY DID NOT HAVE EXPRESS OR IMPLIED PERMISSION TO ENTER BUHR’S PROPERTY.

FEDERAL PROSECUTORS ARE GIVING UP THEIR LONG PURSUIT OF THE DEATH PENALTY AGAINST A WOMAN CONVICTED OF HELPING KILL FIVE PEOPLE NEAR MASON CITY IN 1993. SUE DANIELSON REPORTS:
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WINNESHIEK COUNTY SUPERVISORS WILL ACCEPT PUBLIC COMMENTS ON ZONING ORDINANCE AMENDMENTS THIS WEEK. THEY’VE SET DECEMBER 29 AT 10 A.M. FOR A PUBLIC HEARING ON THE CHANGES THE PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION RECOMMENDED EARLIER THIS MONTH. COUNTY ZONING ADMINISTRATOR TONY PHILLIPS SAYS THE MAIN CHANGES WERE IN VERBIAGE.

A NEWLY-FORMED GROUP IS PUSHING FOR IOWA LAWMAKERS TO TAKE AWAY SOME OF THE RESTRICTIONS ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA:
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GOVERNOR BRANSTAD SAYS HE WILL LISTEN TO THE GROUP AND IOWANS IN FAVOR OF EXPANDED MEDICAL MARIJUANA USE, BUT HE SAYS HE WILL ALSO LISTEN TO DRUG ENFORCEMENT AND MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS LINING UP ON THE OTHER SIDE. HE URGED THOSE WHO ARE COMPLAINING TO HAVE PATIENCE, SINCE THE LAW WENT INTO EFFECT ONLY SIX MONTHS AGO.

AN AMISH COUPLE FROM FILLMORE COUNTY HAS CONFIRMED THEIR PLANS TO TAKE THE STATE OF MINNESOTA TO TRIAL RELATING TO BUILDING CODES. AMMON AND SARAH SWARTZENTRUBER ARE CHARGED WITH A ZONING VIOLATION RELATING TO A BUILDING THEY’VE CONSTRUCTED. THE AMISH SHUN MOST MODERN APPLIANCES AND SAY THE LACK OF PLUMBING IN THEIR BUILDING IS ON PAR WITH THEIR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS. THE TRIAL IS CURRENTLY SET TO START JANUARY 8TH, BUT MAY BE MOVED TO LATE MARCH IF IT APPEARS THE TRIAL MIGHT TAKE MORE THAN TWO DAYS.

12-18 NEWS

TWO DECORAH RESIDENTS WERE APPOINTED TO CITY COMMISSIONS BY THE COUNCIL AT THIS WEEK’S MEETING. STAN MOELLER WAS RE-APPOINTED TO THE PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION, AND DIANE SCHOLL WAS APPOINTED TO THE HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION. CITY MANAGER CHAD BIRD SAYS OPENINGS REMAIN ON THE PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION, HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION. ANYONE INTERESTED IN SERVING IS ASKED TO APPLY VIA THE CITY’S WEBSITE OR CONTACT CITY HALL.

THE STATE ETHICS BOARD HAS DISMISSED A COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST STATE TREASURER MICHAEL FITZGERALD OVER AN ADVEERTISING CAMPAIGN FOR “COLLEGE SAVINGS IOWA” THAT WAS AIRED AS HE WAS RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION. SUE DANIELSON REPORTS:
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A CRESCO MAN WAS INJURED IN A 2-VEHICLE ACCIDENT NEAR DUBUQUE MONDAY. THE DUBUQUE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE REPORTS 62-YEAR OLD ROGER HALVERSON WAS TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL WITH NON-LIFE-THREATENING INJURIES. THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED ON HIGHWAY 151. HALVERSON WAS CHARGED WITH FAILING TO YIELD THE RIGHT-OF-WAY.

A REPORT JUST OUT SHOWS HOW MUCH MONEY IOWANS WITH HEALTH INSURANCE OBTAINED THROUGH FEDERAL EXCHANGES WOULD LOSE IF THE SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST THOSE EXCHANGES. JIM BOYD REPORTS:
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FAYETTE COUNTY AUTHORITIES HAVE ARRESTED A RANDALIA WOMAN ON A WARRANT OUT OF BUCHANAN COUNTY. 50-YEAR OLD LISA BURGOS WAS CHARGED WITH PROBATION VIOLATION ON AN ORIGINAL CHARGE OF ASSAULT WITH BODILY INJURY OR MENTAL ILLNESS. HER BOND WAS SET AT $25,000. BURGOS HAS BEEN RELEASED BACK TO BUCHANAN COUNTY.