Home News Wednesday Afternoon News, December 19th

Wednesday Afternoon News, December 19th


340 Iowa Schools Are Struggling

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – State education officials say more than 340 Iowa schools have been identified as struggling.
The Iowa Department of Education said in a report released Tuesday that 34 schools need comprehensive improvement for all students and 307 need targeted support for some student groups.
The department says the schools’ students are not meeting state
benchmarks for learning and growth.
The new Iowa School Performance Profiles ranking meets federal
requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which is succeeding the No Child Left Behind program.
The state’s new searchable online database includes data on student performance and academic growth in math and reading, high school graduation rates and proficiency of students learning English.
Struggling schools are required to create an improvement plan, and about $6 million a year in federal funding will be available to help the Iowa schools.



Dubuque Teacher Found Drunk At School

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – Authorities have arrested a teacher suspected of being drunk at her school in Dubuque.
Dubuque County court records say 38-year-old Erin Ellerbach, of Asbury, was taken into custody Monday afternoon at Jefferson Middle School. A Dubuque officer sent to the school reported that she had slurred speech, red and watery eyes and smelled of alcohol. A subsequent test showed she had a blood alcohol level of nearly three times the legal limit for driving.
Ellerbach’s charged with public intoxication. She didn’t immediately respond to a phone message Wednesday from The Associated Press. The court records don’t list the name of an attorney who could comment for her.
The records also say school officials found cans of flavored alcoholic beverages in her office.
School district spokesman Mike Cyze says Ellerbach has resigned her position.



Trial Scheduled For Mason City Woman Who Filed Fraudulent Health Insurance Claims

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) – A March trial has been scheduled for Mason City woman accused of filing false health insurance claims for her family.
Cerro Gordo County court records say 34-year-old Amber Griffin entered written pleas of not guilty last week to four counts of insurance fraud-presenting false information and one of theft. Her trial is set to begin March 12.
Criminal complaints say Griffin submitted two fraudulent claims in October 2016 and one each in November and December that year. Each said a family member had been treated at a local medical facility. The complaints also said she submitted false medical records with the claims.



Judge Orders A New Trial For Woman Found Guilty Of Killing Daughter

OSKALOOSA, Iowa (AP) – A judge has ordered a new trial for a woman found guilty more than four years ago of killing her daughter in south-central Iowa’s Mahaska County.
Court records say Judge Daniel Wilson last week set aside the first-degree murder conviction of 25-year-old Alicia Ritenour, agreeing with her arguments that her trial attorney had been ineffective. The judge did not release her from state custody and set bail at $500,000. The new trial has not yet been scheduled.
Authorities went to Ritenour’s Oskaloosa apartment in January 2014 following a 911 call. Officers found 17-month-old Ava Ritenour dead. An autopsy showed she died of head trauma.



Des Moines Massage Parlors To Obtain Licenses To Remain Open

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Des Moines massage therapy businesses will need to obtain a license or close under a new city ordinance designed to fight prostitution and human trafficking.
The Des Moines Register reports the City Council this week unanimously approved a measure requiring massage therapy businesses to have a state license or shut down.
Officials made the move because of concern that unregulated massage businesses were centers for prostitution and human trafficking. Other Iowa cities have taken similar actions, including Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Coralville and the Des Moines suburbs of Johnston and Urbandale.
Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert says police have a list of business suspected of illegal actions that officers will begin checking.
The ordinance takes effect immediately.