Thursday News, April 16
Transitional Kindergarten Teacher Awarded "Teacher Of The Year"
(Le Mars) -- A transitional Kindergarten teacher has been honored with the Le Mars Community School District's "Teacher of the Year" award. Kim Rohrs has been teaching for the last 27 years, and she has taught school at each of the Le Mars Community Elementary schools. She began her teaching career with the LeMars Community School District in the 1987-88 school year teaching 1st grade at Kissinger Elementary in Merrill. Later, in 1995, she transferred to Clark Elementary to teach kindergarten and in 2002 started with the transitional kindergarten program at Kluckhohn Elementary. She created the curriculum for the transitional Kindergarten program for Le Mars Schools. Wayne and Julie Beitelspacher, along with their son, Luke, and his wife, Ashley, nominated Mrs. Rohrs for the award. Brooks Beitelspacher, a grandson of Wayne and Julie, and son of Luke and Ashley is in Mrs. Rohrs' class. Rohrs will be formally recognized at the Le Mars Community School Foundation Awards Banquet when she will be presented the Chrystal Bell of Education Excellence. Denise Anthony of the Le Mars School Foundation presented Kim Rohrs a certificate along with two checks each amounting to $500. One check is to be used for her classroom, and the other is a personal award. Many of Kim's family members were at Kluckhohn Elementary School to share in the moment of the presentation. Julie Bietelspacher explains why she and her family nominated Kim Rohrs for the award.
In a future news story, we will share some comments from the new "Teacher Of The Year".
School Superintendent Hands Out "Pink Slips" To Staff Due To Legislature Stalemate
LIBERTY CENTER, Iowa (AP) - The superintendent of a central Iowa school district has drawn up pink slips for all its employees as lawmakers continue to grapple with education funding for the upcoming school year.
Delane Galvin, superintendent of Southeast Warren School District, says he plans to notify 100 staff members that their contracts won't be renewed.
Districts were required to certify their budgets by Wednesday. Galvin says the move allows some flexibility as the district waits to hear how much supplemental state aid will be received.
The Republican-majority House and Democratic-controlled Senate remain at odds over how much new money to give to schools in the 2015-2016 academic year. Democrats have lowered a proposal for additional funding to about $150 million. Republicans argue the state can't afford spending more than $100 million. Le Mars state representative Chuck Soderberg is on the conference committee to decide the educational funding.
Soderberg says the stalemate continues between what the House is proposing and what the Senate is proposing for education funding, with both sides holding their positions. He says he is uncertain as to what type of compromise will be achieved.
Lawmakers Look At Changing Property Seizure Law
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers in a government oversight committee say they may propose changes to an Iowa law that allows authorities to seize money and other items from people suspected of illegal activity.
People in support of reforming what is known as civil asset forfeiture testified Wednesday that revising state law could ensure people are treated more fairly.
The Iowa law allows authorities to seize assets like cash, cars or property from a person suspected of illegal activity. Law enforcement officials can keep the items, even if a case does not result in a conviction.
Critics say the law makes it difficult for a person to recover seized items. Law enforcement officials disagree, though noted they were open to working with lawmakers to tighten guidelines in the law to better track seized items.
Chiropractor Loses License
LAMONI, Iowa (AP) - A southern Iowa chiropractor accused of accepting sex as payment for his services and performing exorcisms on patients has surrendered his state license.
The Iowa Board of Chiropractic released a report Wednesday detailing charges against Charles Manuel, of Lamoni. Manuel signed an agreement last month in saying he wouldn't apply for reinstatement for at least 10 years.
The agreement requires that Manuel prove any circumstances surrounding the revocation of his license no longer exist before he can resume practicing chiropractic in the state. Manuel also recommended that patients stop taking medication he prescribed to them.
Emerald Ash Borer Detected In Dallas County
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials have detected the emerald ash borer in a residential tree in rural Dallas County, making it the 21st county in Iowa where infestations have been confirmed.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that the bug was identified after an arborist had contacted state officials about a suspicious ash tree. Further investigation revealed recent woodpecker activity and live larvae below the bark.
Federal experts then confirmed the borer's presence.
The larvae of the emerald ash borer cut off an ash tree's flow of nutrients when deposited below the bark. Once infected, trees typically die within five years.
Mike Kintner, who coordinates the state's efforts to combat the bug, says the recent finding is the closest to Polk County and Iowa's capital city of Des Moines to date.
Des Moines Airport Wants New Lease Agreement From Iowa National Air Guard
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Des Moines Airport Authority is seeking a new lease agreement from the Iowa National Guard.
The Guard, which leases about 170 acres of land, received a third extension from the Airport Authority to delay an updated lease agreement Tuesday.
The Iowa Guard has paid $1 per year for rent since 1975 because of its "aeronautical mission" status due to the presence of fighter jets. The airport approved the rent because the jets provided firefighting services.
When the jets were removed in September, the airport picked up the cost of services.
Guard officials say they expect their "aeronautical mission" status to return pending approval from federal authorities, which could take at least two years and further delay negotiations of a new rental agreement.
Kevin Foley, executive director and general manager of the airport, says the airport cannot wait that long.