Home News Thursday News, January 14th

Thursday News, January 14th


Bickford To Leave Mission Honduras Leadership Position

(Le Mars) — After seven years of leading the Gehlen Catholic Mission Honduras program, Carolyn Bickford is stepping aside. Gehlen Catholic issued a news release announcing Bickford’s intended departure following the planned missionary tour scheduled for early June. Bickford tells how she first
became interested in the Mission Honduras program.

Bickford says after taking the initial trip, she fell in love with the
Honduran people, and felt a calling to offer continued assistance.

Bickford says the people of Honduras are immensely grateful for the Gehlen Catholic connection as students, and community volunteers have traveled to the Central American nation over the years to offer their assistance.

The Gehlen Catholic Mission Honduras official says it is not just the Honduran people that whose lives are enhanced, but those people that participated on the various Mission Honduras trips have had a life-changing experience.

All told, Bickford says she has visited Honduras more than 30 times. Along with Richard Sievert, she has made several follow-up trips to check on the various progress and completed projects.

As to the reason why Bickford has chosen now to step aside from the Gehlen Catholic Mission Honduras program, she says the time is right to allow someone else to lead the program. And yes, Bickford says she will return to Honduras.

(photo contributed.)




Northwestern College Nursing Program Ranks Among Top Programs

ORANGE CITY, Iowa—Northwestern College’s nursing program has been ranked among the nation’s top 20 percent, as well as 35th out of the best 100 in the Plains region, by Nursing Schools Almanac (nursingschoolsalmanac.com).

More than 3,000 institutions offering nursing degrees were evaluated using three factors: the institution’s academic prestige and perceived value; the breadth and depth of nursing programs offered; and student success, particularly on the NCLEX national licensure exam. Schools from Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota were included in
the Plains region rankings.

The website notes several of Northwestern’s nursing program distinctives, including hands-on training through health care-related mission trips and a state-of-the-art nursing laboratory with six human patient simulators. It also highlights Northwestern graduates’ success on the NCLEX licensure exam.

“This ranking—as well as the 100% NCLEX first-time pass rate of our 2020 nursing graduates—is evidence of the high quality of Northwestern’s nursing program,” says Dr. Julie Dragstra, assistant professor and nursing department chair. “Our curriculum prepares nurses who are excellent clinicians, able to
care for their patients’ physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Students are challenged to think critically and develop clinical reasoning to prepare them for a variety of practice settings. As a result, our graduates are sought after by hospitals and other medical providers, identified as well prepared to provide compassionate care.”

Northwestern offers a traditional undergraduate BSN degree in addition to an RN-to-BSN online option, both of which are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing. The college’s nursing arts laboratory is located in the DeWitt Family

Science Center and includes high-fidelity simulators and patient rooms, a flexible learning space with eight bays, IV practice arms and other training equipment, a hospital-based computerized medication system, and an electronic health record simulation program.

Nursing Schools Almanac strives to provide detailed, comprehensive and analytical resources for aspiring nurses.




Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Says Child Welfare Is Her Priority During The “Condition of the Judiciary” Address

(Des Moines) — The Iowa legislature heard from Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice, Susan Christensen as she delivered the “Condition of the Judiciary” address Wednesday morning. Christensen, a mother of five and grandmother of six, spoke about how the courts can offer hope to individuals. The Iowa Supreme Court justice informed the state legislature that the court system may look different, but it did not succumb to the challenges of COVID-19. Christensen talked about her priorities, and says her immediate priority is to effectively offer justice through the Iowa courts system during the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. Long-term priorities involve child welfare. Christiansen refers to herself as the “Cookie Judge” and would often offer home-baked cookies to children caught up in a child welfare case.

Christensen expanded on her discussion focusing on child welfare as her priorities, saying more funding is needed to assist families to stay together when an individual faces a crisis.

The Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice says there are two important pilot projects that evolved from the “Family First” legislation.

Christensen says the second pilot project was entitled: “Four questions–Seven Judges. She says it was the brain-child of Judge Bill Owens in Ottumwa and Linnnae Nicol from West Union, and they asked the question, “How can we avoid removing children from their families?” Christensen says the pilot project has now involved much more than the original seven judges, and is being used throughout the court system across the state of Iowa.

Christensen says her second priority is to elevate the presence of family treatment courts throughout the state. She says there are only 12 family treatment courts in Iowa.

Christensen introduced a guest of hers inside the legislative chambers who has successfully participated in a family treatment court, and kicked his addiction to methamphetamine, and has been sober for more than three years, and has been working at a manufacturing plant at Atlantic, Iowa. Furthermore, the individual was recently recognized by his company for his outstanding work at the manufacturing facility.

(photo contributed — Audio courtesy of Iowa Public Television)




Iowa GOP House Members Vote Against Trump Impeachment

(Washington, DC) — Iowa’s congressional delegation voted along party lines today (Wednesday) in the Democrat-led impeachment of President Donald Trump. The state’s lone Democrat in the U-S House, Cindy Axne of West Des Moines, says President Trump incited last week’s Capitol mob with “dangerous” rhetoric and she voted for impeachment. Republican Ashley Hinson of Marion says Trump bears responsibility for one of the darkest days in our country’s history, but she says impeachment is the wrong path forward. Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa says last week’s attack was horrific, but she said impeaching Trump would make it more difficult for President-elect Biden unify the nation. Republican Randy Feenstra of Hull says impeachment is divisive, Trump only has a few days left in office and it’s time for the country to come together. Ten Republicans joined the Democratic majority to impeach President Trump a second time.




Iowa Congresswoman Axne Explains Vote For Impeachment

(Washington, DC) — Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne of West Des Moines followed in line with the Democratic-led impeachment of President Donald Trump in the U-S House. Axne says those responsible for last week’s insurrection in the U-S Capitol must be held accountable and that’s why she voted to impeach President Trump. Axne is the only Democrat in the Iowa delegation and says she was encouraged that House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney and other nine other House Republicans supported impeachment. The three Republicans from Iowa who serve in the U-S House said it’s time for the country to unify and they voted against the articles of impeachment against Trump.




1845 New COVID Cases in Iowa, 10 Additional Deaths

(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting one-thousand-845 positive COVID tests today (Wednesday), increasing the state’s total to 299-thousand-910 cases. Ten more Iowans have died of coronavirus complications which brings the death toll to four-thousand-232. The 516 people hospitalized with COVID-19 is 36 fewer than Tuesday. Seventy-nine of those patients are in intensive care and 30 are on ventilators. There are outbreaks at 84 long-term care facilities in Iowa. Forty-eight counties have a 14-day average positivity rate of at least 15 percent. More than 52-hundred tests contributed to these numbers.




Democratic Lawmakers Not Happy With Lack Of Masks

(Des Moines, IA) — Democrats in the Iowa Legislature are complaining about the potential spread of Covid-19 at the state Capitol. Senator Joe Bolkcom from Iowa City is accusing Republican leaders of acting like COVID is no big deal. He says Republican’s reasoning about not being able to require legislators to wear masks is a “joke.” Bolkcom says the rules mandate that he wear a tie and jacket to be able to stand and speak in the Senate. The top G-O-P leaders in the legislature say they are strongly encouraging lawmakers to wear masks when they can’t socially distance, but they say the Constitution doesn’t give them the power to force elected officials to cover their faces. Democrats have tried, but failed this week to get their Republican colleagues to agree to mask mandates in committee rooms.




Audit Finds Improper Expenses For A Des Moines Schools Employee

(Des Moines, IA) — A report from the State Auditor’s Office finds maintenance workers improperly billed Des Moines Public Schools for 200-thousand worth of expenses for building supplies and personal items like snacks, cigarettes and ammunition. The report says the improper billing happened in a seven-year-period. The report says William Joseph Hinrichs, a 12-year employee, received payments from the district for tools and construction materials that were “not necessary or reasonable” for his work. The audit also found credit card statements showing Hinrichs charged the district for purchases that included stonewashed jeans, t-shirts, shoes, wireless earbuds and paintballs.




Linn County Authorities ID Man Killed in Skid Loader Accident

(Marion, IA) — The Linn County Sheriff’s Office is identifying the man killed Tuesday afternoon in a skid loader accident. Deputies say 74-year-old Richard Shanahan of Springville was partially backed over by a Bobcat operated by Robert Carson of Marion. Shanahan died at the scene. They were using the skid loader to clean up downed trees.




Northeast Iowa Men Admit to Illegally Harvesting Ginseng

(Independence, IA) — Two northeast Iowa men are pleading guilty to the illegal taking of wild ginseng on state-managed land in September of last year. A D-N-R conservation officer charged 58-year-old Gregg Latham of Oelwein and 49-year Dustin Millard of Strawberry Point with 112 counts of unlawfully harvesting ginseng on state timberland and other charges. Officers found ginseng roots on the state land and also found more evidence in a search of their homes. Each pleaded guilty to 24 ginseng violations — along with theft, trespass, and littering. They face some 57-hundred dollars in criminal penalties and have to reimburse the state 257-dollars each for their portion of the stolen wild ginseng.




Iowa City Community Police Review Board Seeking More Authority

(Iowa City, IA) — The Community Police Review Board in Iowa City is seeking more authority to hold police accountable in misconduct cases. More than a dozen recommendations have been submitted to the City Council. Right now, the board’s only authority is to issue a report on whether it agrees with findings on cases like that by the police chief and city manager. When a complaint is sustained, the board wants to be allowed to include its report in the findings on whether the discipline handed down is reasonable or fair. It also wants to be allowed to request a meeting when it doesn’t agree with the way the case was handled.