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Screwed, Lesson 19

screwed pic Nick Smith

***Please read the disclaimer to the right. The following is the latest in several installments by former teacher and school board member for the Highland Community School District, Nick Smith. They are lessons to a future student, Cal-Em (Lesson 1 Lesson #2 , Lesson #3, Part ILesson #3, Part II LESSON 4 , Lesson 5: [part 1], Lesson 5[part 2],  LESSON 5 [part 3]LESSON 6LESSON SEVEN, Part I Lesson 7, part IILESSON 8Lesson 9Lesson 10 , Lesson #11 , Lesson #12, Lesson #13 , Lesson #14  Lesson #15 , Lesson #16 , Lesson #17  Lesson #18)

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LETTERS TO CAL-EM A PERSONAL HISTORY OF HIGHLAND By Nick Smith

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”        (Dr. Seuss)

 

The trend to individualization (IEPS FOR EVERYONE)

Differentiated instruction and assessment (known as ‘differentiated learning’ or, in educationese, simply, ‘differentiation’) is a philosophy for education that provides different students with different pathways to learning (generally, in the same classroom) through different acquisition of content; processing, constructing and making sense of ideas; and developing teaching materials and evaluation measurements so all students within a classroom can learn effectively, regardless of their differences in ability.  The teacher setting different expectations for task completion for each student based upon their individual needs accomplishes this procedure.

Differentiated instruction, according to Carol Ann Tomlinson (as cited by Ellis, Gable, Greg, & Rock, 2008, p. 32), is the process of “ensuring that what a student learns, how he or she learns it, and how the student demonstrates what he or she has learned is a match for that student’s readiness level, interests, and preferred mode of learning.” Teachers can differentiate through four ways: 1) content, 2) process, 3) product, and 4) learning environment based on the individual learner.   Differentiation stems from beliefs about differences among learners–how they learn, learning preferences and individual interests (Anderson, 2007). Therefore, differentiation is an organized, yet flexible way of proactively adjusting teaching and learning methods to accommodate each child’s learning needs and preferences in order to achieve his or her maximum growth as a learner.   In order to understand how our students learn and what they know, pre-assessment and ongoing assessments are essential. This provides feedback for both the teacher and the student with the ultimate goal of improving student learning.   Delivery of instruction in the past often followed a “one size fits all” approach. In contrast, differentiation is individually student centered, with a focus on utilizing appropriate instructional and assessment tools that are fair, flexible, challenging, and engage students in the curriculum in meaningful ways.

I don’t know what the greatest thing was before sliced bread, but I know that differentiated instruction was the best thing since sliced bread.  This method of instruction takes a tremendous amount of time in planning, preparing and assessing by the teacher, but it pays off handsomely for the students.  The method is not for every class and probably wouldn’t work for some courses at all because logistically, it is simply not possible due to the number of students.  This method, however, is perfect for literature and writing courses that tend to lend themselves to individual instruction and assessment anyway.  I normally differentiated through process, product and environment, doing content only when there was a severe difference in ability levels in the classroom.

The program at Highland integrated the concept of guided practice and independent practice from the Madeline Hunter initiative, finding that these added another dimension to the assessment process that led to more sophisticated differentiation among the students.  We actually discussed the idea of providing each student with an individual education plan (IEP) tied to a career plan later for guidance in course selection and college/career readiness.  Differentiation worked well in my instructional areas, and because I had taught so many writing and literature type classes, the switch was easy and smooth; in fact, I’d already been differentiating all the time; I just didn’t know it.  I still believe that individualization through differentiation is an excellent teaching method because it allows students the opportunity to stretch their individual strengths to new levels.   You ask me, how do I know this?  I lived it.  I saw it work.  Differentiation will not work, in my opinion, with a core curriculum because lock step is the key to core in order to measure standards of acceptance, but not for allowing students to progress according to their own talents and potential.

The whole idea didn’t last long at Highland anyway.  Like every other initiative for school improvement, it gave way to some other quick fix, one-size-fits-all, for profit business moneymaking, government politico movement.   I hated it.  There were so many new reforms tossed on us by unknown powers that most teachers simply started to ignore all the hype and dug in their heels for the methods they were using because they wanted the students to learn, and students did learn, despite the continual changes and political harassment heaped upon us.

 

I haven’t gotten into the large reform programs yet, but doesn’t it seem sad that after untold billions of dollars and lofty reform programs and thousands of start-ups, all most nothing has changed and very little has been accomplished in the area of public school reform in over thirty years.  Why?  Let me try to recap for you a little Cal-Em.  You see, in the shadow of the Nation at Risk report, the first steps toward change came from local schools, then from business groups thrown together by governors, and then by state governors themselves.  Business held the schools responsible for a faltering economy in the face of more international competition (which I find humorous because competition was considered by most business groups to be the solution to the problem in the first place) and demanded something be done about it.  The governors of each state were held responsible by both the business communities and the general public.  Their careers were uncertain.  Education reform became the politically smart thing to do locally through national politicians.

What to do, what to do?  Since governors, business groups, education summits, and think-tank committees were not experts themselves, they turned to what they knew best—throwing more money at the problem, raising employee salaries, toughening the output, strengthening the input, promoting a promising idea and, above all, pushing quick-fix reforms that did not change the basic structure of the educational system at the schools whether they made sense or not.  As a result, a merry-go-round of reforms swept in and out of our schools (Highland included) each unable to grasp the brass ring, fading around to the back of the carrousel as the next wacko idea moved into its place.

As a result, the individual horses of reform moving up and down and round and round on the carrousel did almost nothing to change education.  The idea spread that what was really needed was a full-blown overhaul of the entire system and not the incremental changes that were failing.  This shift in thinking led to two major movements, both of which are still with us today, grinding against each other like two gigantic tectonic plates.  The first is what I call the “choice” movement and the second is what everyone calls the “accountability” movement.  This new-found drive for restructuring the system has in reality served little more, in my opinion, than to spread itself as the colorful awning above the galloping wooden horses under which yet another hodgepodge of plastic horse ideas—from decentralization, quadrant D, rigor and relevance, standards based, core curriculum, professional development to higher order thinking skills—would be brightly painted to dazzle the senses as new and exciting, break-the-mold, now we’ve got it reforms to the system.  They are not.  There is no real vision as to how this several hundred year old educational system should be reformed, no ideas whatsoever as to what it might actually mean to restructure the system and certainly no real desire to take the chance of a totally new system failing.  But a new, totally different system is exactly what we need if we are to truly reform the educational system of the United States.   We need to, in my opinion, either take the chance to change the entire antiquated system, or shut the heck up and stop screwing around with the little fringy things and let the juggernaut continue on unmolested.

This whole thirty plus year tradition of school reform-as-tinkering maintained to the present day is absurdly ludicrous.  So why does the government invest so much money into reforms that hold so little promise?  The answer is that even though there is very little progress, education reform is still a political winner.  Reform is popular with the people, bogus claims are made periodically concerning the success of one process over another, statistics are selected that “prove” some progress, business communities buy into the false rhetoric and teachers either support the insignificant or find the hype so ridiculous they simply ignore it.  Politically, education reform is a huge plus with no minuses.  The politicians get to have a popular punching bag to hit in education, governors get to recycle old failed ideas, claim they are new and take huge political credit for spending taxpayer money on failed reform attempts.

It seems that everyone is happy with the current situation, but I am not happy Cal-Em.  A new system is needed, and I assure you that the politicians, the business community and the teacher unions are not going to bring the goods to truly reform education in a way that makes it truly beneficial for our children and for our country.  No, true reform must come from the teachers.  Yes, it must come from the ones who have remained silent for so long.

You, my future student, must muster the strength and the courage to do what is right by this nation and by its children.  You, Cal-Em, must create the new framework for the future, not as a special interest group, but as a professional education group dedicated to learning for all children within a system that responds to their needs, makes the process fair for all and produces lasting results.

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Posted in Column, Community, Government, Op-ed, Opinion, School Tagged with: , , , , ,

Cyber Security Awareness Resources

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Press Release Des Moines, IOWA – The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Division of Criminal Investigation recognizes October as Cyber Security Awareness Month.

Today, the internet and mobile phones are a constant part of nearly every person’s life. Being constantly connected increases the risk of theft, fraud and abuse to our finances, identity and privacy.

Governor Terry E. Branstad has signed a proclamation proclaiming October 2014 as Cyber Security Awareness Month.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s Cyber Crime Unit offers resources and tips for cyber security.  Following these tips may help keep your personal information safe online:

  • Set strong passwords; don’t share them.
  • Install all updates available for your computers and devices.
  • Don’t share personal information online that can be widely seen.
  • Use privacy settings when available.
  • Use caution when opening suspicious websites and emails.

The DCI’s Cyber Crime Unit houses the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) which offers these tips and resources to parents of children with mobile phones:

  • Talk to your kids about cell phone dangers.
  • Messages and pictures they send are not truly private.
  • Know who your kids are communicating with.
  • Learn who your kids are spending time with online.
  • Check messages and photos sent and received on your child’s phone.
  • Beware of the number of texts and photos your child sends each month.

Link: ICAC website
Link: ICAC Brochure: “Children and Cell Phones”
Link: Dept. Homeland Security’s Nat’l Cyber Security Awareness website

Media Contact: Nate McLaren, Special Agent in Charge, Iowa DCI, (515) 965-7402.

Posted in Community, Government, News, Press Release Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Riverside Council Member Plays Engineer/landscaper

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October 20, 2014 Riverside  City Council Meeting

As per Mayor Bill Poch and City Administrator/Economic Development Director Rusty Rogerson’s suggestion, but not until after considerable discussion regarding procedure of change orders and the responsibility of council members, the $4550 change order for K & E Flatworks was approved 4-0 (City Council Member Nate Kasdorf was absent). At the previous council meeting, Rogerson said $1250 was for re-grading on Sycamore/22 and $3200 was curb and gutter at 22/Washington.

At the present meeting, City Council Member Ralph Schnoebelen said his name was brought up as the one who “committed the act” (re-graded) at 22nd and Sycamore, which caused the need for the change order. He said, “I had nothing to do with it.” He went on to state that the ground was not fit to seed, there were rocks sticking out of the ground, “and it was terrible.” Schnoebelen said that his son-in-law Anthony Eden  did it, and he took two [skid loader] loads of rocks from the location and that is why the ground was disturbed. Schnoebelen said he’d rather it be done right. Jon Smith of K&E Flatworks (K&E) said, “That’s fine…I think it was $1250 was the seeding part….” Schnoebelen said it is still not right and that it needs to be re-graded, and that the city would take care of getting it done in the spring. Smith later said that it was not done yet because they had to stop work until they figured out what was going on. Even though the mayor said they should go by what the contractor said, Schnoebelen was adamant that it should not have been seeded yet. Whereas they were not returning their communications last week, Hart-Frederick’s Engineer Ben Carhoff  addressed the change orders in a recent letter to the city, naming Schnoebelen as the person responsible for impromptu re-grading.

Jon Smith said that if someone has a problem with their work, they don’t take it upon themselves to fix it; they inform K&E so they can get it fixed. Mayor Bill Poch said it should have been brought to their attention. If it was brought to his attention, Smith said they would not be having this issue. He said he would be fine if the city signed off on Sycamore and 22, that K&E had no liability.

Rogerson said,

The only problem I have is that this is not Ralph’s property.

But that the majority of it belongs to an individual who does not live in town; the city has an easement to work on that property owner’s property. Rogerson said he believes that a small piece is owned by the Boecker’s.

Council Member Robert Schneider had no issue with the re-grading, interjecting that his only problem is that the information regarding the curb and gutter was incorrect (he was referring to the other charge on the change order for curb and gutter work done in front of former council member and former mayor Brian McDole’s house that was tabled at the previous council meeting). He stated that Ben Carhoff of Hart-Frederick has not been able to tell them who authorized it and Hart-Frederick should pay for it. Poch verified that Rusty okayed it. Rusty agreed, but it was during a time when the auditors were here.

Smith said that, “the reason everyone is skirting around this is because nobody wants to point fingers, nobody wants to take the blame.” Smith said there was a change order for $14,000 that was verbally approved by Rogerson, Carhoff and Engel. He added that Schnoebelen was there and said to do it, assuring him it would be approved by the council. Smith was also told to take care of the change order for the curb, because Rogerson had Carhoff and Engel look at it and get it done (Rogerson concurred). Smith said that if a change order was not needed for $14, 000, he thought it was not necessary for the lesser $3,000 change order.

The issue is not with Jon or Veenstra and Kimm, Young said, it is with Hart-Frederick not following procedure. Poch pointed out that although Schneider and Young were correct in saying procedure was not followed, there have been other times when things needed to be done before approving it with the council.

Council Member Christine Kirkwood said that one council person does not have the right to make a decision reserved for the council. She said if it was her who did this with the skid loader, it would be a whole different story. Poch acknowledged that as a valid point. He reminded everyone that future issues such as this needs to go through the mayor and/or the office staff.

Before the vote, Rogerson said that if the council approved the change order, it would not negate the city charging the homeowner for the curb. Rogerson does not want the city to get the reputation for leaving a contractor hanging. Schneider noted the investigative audit that dinged the city for doing work that was not approved by the council. He said there is no signed change order. Poch said that they have also been told that such practice is not illegal, it is merely not appropriate to do change orders that way; as stated earlier, sometimes it is necessary.

Although there was a communication issue with everyone involved, Smith said due to the relationship he thought he had with the city, he did not think a signed change order was necessary.

Rogerson said that an architect signed off on the design for the concession stand and bids will open 2PM October 30 with a completion date of April 1. There were no comments from citizens on the public hearing about the building for the concession stand at Hall Park (Resolution 10202014-1 Approving plans, specifications for Concession Stand), which passed 4-0. Trinity Methodist Board of Trustees Chairman Karen Zimmerman is looking for help with the water damage incurred that was originally brought up at the May 19, 2014 city council meeting (where the motion to have an engineer look at the issue was passed). The issue will be placed on November 3, 2014’s council meeting agenda. They are asking for $3500 out of a slightly over $10,000 bill. Resident Karie Kiene addressed the council regarding her water damage issue related to the same water flow that caused the Methodist Church’s issue. She said as of now, her damage is at $2,000 (Her basement wall caved in). She would like some help with her repairs as well. Kiene, as well as one of her neighbors also affected by this are asked to appear at the next council meeting.

As per Rogerson’s suggestion, the council voted to move $260,000 in community center funds to University Credit Union to take advantage of a higher rate (4-0). Hall Park parking spot resolution was approved 4-0. The council voted to donate $230 to the Backpack program at Highland Elementary, 4-0. Kirkwood pointed out to the council that they might begin to receive requests from every group in town. Young reminded Kirkwood that they budgeted $8,000 for just that purpose; when it’s out, that’s all. Community Visioning Chairman Larry Simon asked for an amount not to exceed $5,000 for city Christmas lights; the request was approved 4-0. Rogerson informed the council that one of the city’s trees has fallen over into the cemetery and has damaged some stones. A company has been contacted for removal and the insurance company will notified as well. Although $500 of the money given for the benches along the trail is earmarked for community visioning, the committee does not maintain its own finances. The money from the benches is, however, being tracked. City Council Member Tom Sexton asked about RACC and Visioning Committee combining. They can work together, but they are different nonprofit groups.

Posted in Community, Government, Informative, News, Opinion Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Washington County Sheriff’s Report 10/13-10/19

10/13/2014 1408689 16:21 SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY

Agency: Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Location: AINSWORTH, IA 52201

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10-17 REPORTS FINDING A SUSPICIOUS ITEM IN THE FRONT ENTRANCE BATHROOMS AT MARR PARK. || 92-3 RESPONDED. ITEM WAS SEIZED AND DISPOSED OF.

10/14/2014 1408711 19:51 ALL OTHER THEFT

Agency: Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Location: AINSWORTH, IA 52201

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REPORTS ONE OF THE BOARD MEMBERS IS IN HER NEIGHBOR^S APARTMENT POSSIBLY TAKING ITEMS, AND SHOULDN’T BE THERE. REQUEST A DEPUTY. SPOKE WITH THE BOARD MEMBER WHO ADVISED THAT THE PREVIOUS TENANT HAD GIVEN UP HER RIGHTS TO ALL THE ITEMS IN THE APARTMENT. THEY WILL TAKE CARE OF THE BELONGINGS AS PER HER REQUEST.

10/16/2014 1408755 5:29 TRAFFIC ACCIDENT

Location: 1178 ENTERPRISE DR RIVERSIDE, IA 52327

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CALLER REPORTS VEHICLE VS DEER NO INJURIES || 92-18 WAS ADVISED. CALLER WAS ADVISED IF DAMAGE IS OVER $1500 TO FILL OUT A STATE ACCIDENT REPORT. DOCUMENTATION

10/15/2014 1408723 10:39 FIRE CALLS

Agency: Fire

Location: AINSWORTH, IA 52201

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ELECTRIC SPACE HEATER WAS PLUGGED IN AND SUBJECT IN THE RESIDENCE SMELLED SMOKE, THEY HAVE UNPLUGGED IT AND AFTER ABOUT 10 MINUTES THE OUTLET IS HOT. || WASHINGTON FIRE DEPARTMENT AND 92-8 RESPONDED.

10/16/2014 1408761 9:54 TRAFFIC ACCIDENT

Agency: EMS

Location:1400 HWY 218 RIVERSIDE, IA 52327

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CALLER REPORTS WITNESSING A SINGLE MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT SINGLE PASSENGER, CAME TO REST IN THE MEDIAN NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF HWY 218 & 150TH. MALE SUBJECT IS CONSCIOUS AND TALKING. || IHP ARRIVED ON SCENE DURING THE CALL. AD55, RIVERSIDE QRS/RESCUE, & 92-8 RESPONDED. IHP WILL HANDLE THE ACCIDENT REPORT, AD55 TRANSPORTED 1 PATIENT TO THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA HOSPITAL ARRIVING AT 1036.

10/16/2014 1408774 17:43 ALL OTHER OFFENSES

Agency: Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Location: 1528 RIVERSIDE RD RIVERSIDE, IA 52327

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CALLER REQUESTS A DEPUTY MAKE CONTACT WITH male from RIVERSIDE AND ADVISE HIM NOT TO RETURN TO HER PROPERTY DUE TO HIM CAUSING PROBLEMS WITH HER SON. 92-10 RESPONDED. THE SUBJECT WAS NOT AT HIS RESIDENCE, DEPUTY WILL ATTEMPT TO LOCATE HIM.

10/16/2014 1408777 19:19 RUNAWAYS/MISSING

Agency: Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Location: HWY 218 & RAMP RAMP AINSWORTH, IA 52201

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CALLER REQUESTS ASSISTANCE IN LOCATING HER 85 YEAR OF AGE FATHER. HE WOULD BE IN LIC/XXXX AND WAS LAST SEEN ON HIGHWAY 92 EASTBOUND NEAR HIGHWAY 218. UNKNOWN DIRECTION OF TRAVEL FROM THERE. || DEPUTIES WERE ADVISED TO ATTEMPT TO LOCATE. A TELETYPE WAS SENT TO SURROUNDING AGENCIES IN SOUTHEAST IOWA. ENTERED AS MISSING 85 year old male from NORTH LIBERTY, IA. SUBJECT WAS LOCATED SAFELY BY A JOHNSON COUNTY DEPUTY, THE CALLER WAS ADVISED. SUBJECT WAS CLEARED FROM THE SYSTEM.

10/17/2014 1408781 6:49 ALL OTHER OFFENSES

Agency: Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Location:RIVERSIDE, IA 52327

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CALLER REPORTS HEARING GUNSHOTS WHILE WALKING IN THE TIMBER || 92-8 RESPONDED.SPOKE WITH THE CALLER AND CHECKED THE AREA. UNABLE TO LOCATE

10/17/2014 1408787 12:05 INTIMIDATION/HARASSMEN

Agency: Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Location: RIVERSIDE, IA 52327

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CALLER REPORTS ANOTHER SUBJECT HARASSING HER AND MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS ABOUT HER. || 92-8 SPOKE WITH BOTH SUBJECTS, BOTH WERE ADVISED TO HAVE NO FURTHER CONTACT.

10/17/2014 1408800 20:12 TRAFFIC ACCIDENT

Agency: Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Location:RIVERSIDE RD & 170TH ST RIVERSIDE, IA 52327

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CALLER REPORTS HITTING A DEER IN LIC/XXX ON RIVERSIDE RD NORTH OF 170TH ST. NO INJURIES AND THE VEHICLE IS DRIVABLE. 92-9 WAS ADVISED FOR DOCUMENTATION. THE CALLER WAS ADVISED TO FILL OUT A STATE ACCIDENT REPORT IF THE DAMAGE IS OVER $1500.

10/18/2014 1408815 1:54 TRAFFIC OTHER

Agency: Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Location: HWY 218 & 130TH ST RIVERSIDE, IA 52327

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10-17 REPORTS A VEHICLE TRAVELING NORTHBOUND IN THE SOUTHBOUND LANE OF HWY 218 AT A HIGH RATE OF SPEED. (DISPATCH RECEIVED MULTIPLE CALLS ON IT) || 92-14 STOPPED THE VEHICLE AT HWY 218 AND 130TH ST THEN THE VEHICLE TOOK OFF AGAIN ENDING IN A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT. 92-10 AND 92-19 ALSO ASSISTED. 92-14 ARRESTED: 26 year old female from [????] , OLDS OFFENSE: OWI 1ST, ELUDING, OPEN CONTAINER, DRIVING ON WRONG SIDE OF 2-WAY HIGHWAY, FAILED TO YIELD TO EMERGENCY VEHICLE, UNSAFE APPROACH TO CERTAIN STATIONARY VEHICLE, NO PROOF OF INSURANCE-ACCIDENT RELATED, RECKLESS DRIVING, INTERFERENCE WITH OFFICIAL ACTS, DRIVING UNDER SUSPENSION. VEHICLE ENTERED AS TOWED.

10/18/2014 1408820 7:40 TRAFFIC OTHER

Agency: Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Location: RIVERSIDE, IA 52327

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CALLER REPORTS A TRUCK IN THE DITCH WITH A MALE SUBJECT WHO IS POSSIBLY PASSED OUT, MAYBE INTOXICATED. THE LIGHTS ARE ON, IT DOESN^T LOOK LIKE IT IS ACCIDENT RELATED.

10/18/2014 1408832 21:00 TRAFFIC ACCIDENT

Agency: Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Location: 230TH ST & HWY 218 AINSWORTH, IA 52201

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CALLER REPORTS VEHICLE VS DEER NO INJURIES. VEHICLE IS ON SIDE OF THE ROAD || 92-10 RESPONDED. VEHICLE WAS TOWED BY EARL^S RADIATOR AND REPAIR

10/20/2014 1408869 3:33 SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY

Agency: Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Location:RIVERSIDE, IA 52327

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10-17 REPORTS THERE IS A PERSON PUTTING TRASH IN THE BACK OF HIS TRUCK.|| 92-18 RESPONDED AND SPOKE TO ALL PARTIES. SUSPECT CLEANED UP THE GARBAGE.

Posted in Community, Government, Informative, News, Press Release Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

Forum Funnies, Volume 1 Number 10

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Volume 1 Number 10

Our apologies for the poor quality of the previous posting. This one’s a little more legible. 

skeletons waiting

For past cartoons, go to the Archives page by clicking on the tab in the menu, or here.

Posted in Column, Comic, Community, Government Tagged with: , , ,

October 17, 2014 Riverside Progress Report

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*New information is in bold/italic font or otherwise noted.

**Completed items are struck through

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This list is a short compilation of items that need addressed in Riverside. The Riverside Progress Report is a guide or score sheet, a progress report. It contains issues that citizens are still asking about. Since there are many out there who like to point out when I am wrong (my wife included), please, as with anything posted on this site, point such instances out. If you feel we missed anything or if something should not be included, by all means, let us know.  This list will most likely change, so check in every week. This list does not contain rumors

You can call this living in the past. You can chastise because it does not focus on the positive. Yes we have town celebrations, yes paint and flower pots dressed up downtown, the roof on the shelter at Railroad Park was replaced, etc., etc. Some of these things make me very proud to live in Riverside. Do you know what else makes me proud to live in Riverside? My neighbors, my friends, and those people who are willing to stand up and hold people accountable. Because they believe, like my son said,

“I like this town, ‘cause it’s ours.”

I want to show how important this list is to some people (not necessarily in the way you think):

Tom. Please add the fact that a city council person got fired from their job for sending a fake bomb to a middle eastern war veteran who was a co worker and a former bomb tech. This has never been discussed. Kind of sad we would treat a veteran in to such a childish manner. Everyone has skeletons, don’t be selective if you really are a journalist. Check the sex offender register or how about a parent leaving a severely Austic child alone with younger siblings while the parents are working or attending a meeting. Sound familiar? Those who live in glass houses should check out the facts before jumping on a crusade.

Reader/citizen suggestions

  • Sidewalk added up on Ash from Sycamore to Buckeye.
  • Cherry Street

Issues avoided/ignored

  • Council Member Bob Schneider’s apology to the citizens and Ms. Kirkwood for misleading them regarding his/his wife’s records request for employee pay stubs (Schneider used the words ‘we’ and ‘I’ when asking Kirkwood what was requested at the September 2, 2014 city council meeting [see the preceding post, under ‘Check Stub’] ) Update: At the September 15 city council meeting, this was officially amended into the minutes for the September 3 city council meeting, stating that Lois Schneider had in fact asked for and received pay stubs; Kirkwood has supporting evidence.  If you would like to see evidence, here you go! https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B39j18PzWLdsdUkzRTdILUJkQ3c/edit?usp=sharing 
  • Employees entering citizen homes without permission was never even addressed by the council or mayor, nor were responses returned to our inquiries ( http://wp.me/p2fxcp-4eL )
  • Freedom of Information: Certain members of the council are in complete denial and/or ignorant to this concept
    • Pending requests: After verifying with the County Supervisors, The Forum requested Voluntary Annexation request/proposal for 114th to the County of Washington, Iowa on September 24, 2014 (this request has been acknowledged by Rogerson).***In an email from Washington County Engineer Jacob Thorius : “Currently we do not have a Resolution as they have not provided the County with an accurate description of the area being annexed.” (There was a valid reason for this; see the council meeting post)
  • At the August 4, 2014 Riverside City Council meeting, ‘Attorney’s opinion: what open records are and what are not on the next meeting’s agenda’ was approved by the council. Kasdorf and Poch also asked for an opinion at the September 2, 2014 council meeting. This was moved up from ‘Issues to keep tabs on’ to issues avoided and ignored. Council person Kasdorf asked for Sueppel’s opinion again, and Poch made a point to ask a fifth time for said opinion. Kasdorf also stated that they were billed for it.Semis parking along the shoulder of Hiway 22
  • Audit status (the previous audit/special investigation had regular updates)
  • Junk vehicles- do I really need to explain this one?
  • Boise Court- This requires some clarification. The “annexation and rezoning of Boise Ct.” was denied at the June 16, 2014 meeting, even though it is part of the comprehensive plan.

Issues to keep tabs on

  • How long has it been since Community Visioning held an election for chairman?
  • Community Building
  • At the June 16 RCCM, City Council Member Nate Kasdorf asked for Conservation Park rules and regulations, i.e., park hours to be on the next agenda. It was not ( http://wp.me/p2fxcp-4fJ ), nor was it discussed at that meeting.
  • Methodist church storm water issues
  • At the August 18 council meeting, the council voted to put up a stop sign at Ella and Ash. Rogerson said it is ordered and will be here soon
  • What was the attorney’s opinion on the motion regarding Kirkwood puttingu items on the agenda?
  • Why were only Schneider and Poch allowed to select the final three engineering firms?
  • Resolve fund balances Fall 2014 This is from the City Administrator’s Punch List; it was moved up due to it’s persistence
  • Cherry Lane This was moved down from the above list because it, while important to the expansion of the city, has not technically been avoided.
  • At the June 16 RCCM, the council approved the negotiating team of Council Members Ralph Schnoebelen and Bob Schneider, Mayor Bill Poch and City Administrator/Economic Development Director Rusty Rogerson for the ‘deal’ with the Casino (re: the agreement paying the city ended July 31; by law, we will receive money from the casino anyway…what’s to negotiate?)
  • Plans regarding the construction of the Hall Park Concession stand.
  • Construction of Hall Park Concession Stand

     From the City Administrator’s Punch List

  • Meet with Washington Economic Development Group (WEDG) Executive Director, Ed Raber about residential development.
  • Fence on the east side of sidewalk of Conservation Park. Fall 2014
  • Primitive camping at Conservation Park Fall 2014
  • Amend TIF [tax increment funding] to include area in Roetlin Property 8/14/ Amend urban renewal plan to include north west corner of Roetlin’s property
  • Holderness property (See the October 6 city council meeting for Cathy Lindhorst’s take on this)
  • Geyer property (See the October 6 city council meeting for Cathy Lindhorst’s take on this)
  • City events- Address profit/loss of events when proposing future events
  • Develop ideas for Fall WCRF grant requests 9/14
  • Evaluate all city buildings for heightened security (including City Hall 12/14)
  • Develop working relationships with other communities
  • Conduct open house of city facilities Fall 2014
  • Revise/renew city administrator contract Fall 2014
  • Employee job description revisions Fall 2014
  • Complete evaluations/revise job descriptions
  • Review/revise employee handbook
  • Possible IDOT funds to work on sidewalks downtown 6/14

 

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Editorial: One More Thing About Hatred

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On this 3 year anniversary of the blog, I feel the need to thank all the readers. There is no, “If you don’t like it, then don’t read it’ attitude. All are encouraged to read and comment as they see fit. I don’t want to write about bad things going on in Riverside, but I told myself three years ago that I would write the good and the bad (besides, I am clueless about knitting and gardening, so what else can I write about?). A new concept in a small town, but this is what people deserve to know. Democracy should exist in small towns. People deserve the write to voice their opinions and not be scared to voice them. Unnecessarily long wait times for information that should be readily available, people directly involved with the city being above the law are things you saw in Dukes of Hazzard (If so, I get to be Cooter!). I know certain things to be true in relation to this blog: If you voice your opinion, You might get glared at and called a liar, I will probably get cornered at meetings, and the blog is not going to necessarily end all this childish behavior, and, THE most important thing that will never change (let me get on my soapbox…okay): This is America. Requesting information is not contingent upon the convenience of people, it is our right. Speaking with our elected is not something they can choose not to do, it is our right to communicate with them. The blog could not be more aptly named. You have given it purpose and momentum. For that we thank you

So, in the spirit of the blog, I wanted to write today’s editorial about some ongoing (hopefully over) issue that will hopefully help some people think before they talk and the rest of you can just be informed. Topic: Vandalism, hatred and the importance of the written word.

I was contacted by the Washington County Sheriff’s department earlier this week regarding a post on the blog. The deputy received a phone call that prompted him to inquire into the meaning of Volume 1, number 7 of the Forum Funnies. The cartoon, which can be found here, depicted Citizen Kevin Kiene being boiled in a black kettle tended by two witches. I informed the deputy that the cartoon was a response to my distaste of my friend, Mr. Kiene, being accused of vandalizing Citizen Phyllis Latta’s home by Ms. Latta and by her daughter, the latter one in public; she called Kiene evil and was told to watch his back. The deputy thanked me, and that was it. Kiene received the same call, during which he relayed what he knew. Fine, I thought, he’s just doing his job. If someone felt threatened, I expect them to follow up. Then I remembered the articles requesting sympathy and revenge for Ms. Latta, the latter of which contained grim allusions to hanging and that the perpetrator would get theirs in spades.

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Read this whole paragraph before you get mad: I have little to no sympathy for a woman who told my wife on two separate instances that she was a liar and that one of my friends an alcoholic wife beater. I have little sympathy for a woman who accuses another friend of vandalism. Don’t get me wrong, spraying foam in her sump pump is incorrigible, but I cannot have sympathy for anyone who has been so heinously vindictive to the people I care about. What all this leads to, where I am going with this, is many people not only believe what they read, but they might act on it. Most writers want their work read and would hope that people will learn something. Any responsible writer understands the importance of a single word, a letter and even a punctuation mark. Even in today’s world of hashtags and abbreviated text lingo, you miss one of the aforementioned, and your message could be misunderstood or even lost. Any writer lucky enough to acquire a following of loyal readers can, and should, feel empowered, and therefore should write responsibly. Just like the misplaced comma or misspelled word can add confusion and the loss of readers, how the words are put together and the ones that are left out makes a difference. When you put a skilled writer and a willing audience together, a writer can make a difference.

As we saw the last two weeks, some may take that empowerment and attempt to incite and rouse readers to exact revenge. I won’t get back on that soapbox, but I want to make something clear: Warning people through intended disturbing imagery is a tactic used in the same way planting and spreading false accusations are used. Such writing could, at the very least, lead to damage to someone else’s property, or worse, to someone being injured, or worse yet, killed. Even though it did not involve hanging, I think back to a case that began in the early nineteenth century that started with sensationalism and ended in a double murder.

Frank and Nathan Rainsbarger were arrested in Hardin County on January 16, 1885, for the murder of Enoch Johnson, Frank’s father in law which was allegedly in connection with a counterfeit ring. Throughout their incarceration (and even though they later changed his tune), a journalist’s incendiary words and damning headlines and stories (“The dashing and defiant Frank had captivated the innocent minded maiden” [his wife] [Eldora Herald]) seemed to aggravate the situation and turned a town against not only the murderers, but against their family name. According to Raymond Tinnian (as published in the August 7, 2014 Highland Review), “James S. Ross, editor of the Eldora Herald, seems to have slipped on the growing payroll of the counterfeit ring. His newspaper became the mouthpiece of the Hardin County criminals,” connecting the counterfeit ring to the Rainsbarger’s and later some people who were helping them clear their names. This hatred grew past the mere smearing of the name, and led to a mob of vigilante’s doling out a warped sense of justice on the family. Frank and Nathan Rainsbarger (who at the time were serving life sentences) provided a sworn affidavit in 1911 as part of a petition to pardon them.

“While we were in jail at Marshalltown, awaiting our trial, a mob attacked the jail at Eldora and assassinated our two brothers, Finn and Emanuel, and no action was ever taken by officials to learn who constituted the mob. “With no intention to discuss that affair, we refer to same to show that the public mind was inflamed against the name Rainsbarger at the time we were tried, and that a fair trial was an impossibility in Hardin or any of the surrounding counties.”

What that left out was that Finn and Emmanuel Rainsbarger were brutally attacked and murdered by a mob (supposedly the Vigilance committee mustered up by the head of the counterfeiting ring, William P. Hiserodt), one was riddled with bullets and the other’s dead body was shot two times in the head. The distaste for what happened to Enoch Johnson and the potential disclosure of information about the counterfeit ring led to a hatred spurned on by a journalist. Could I be overreacting? Maybe. Could I be sensationalizing? Maybe. But when I hear anyone even allude to hanging people to exact revenge, then I feel it’s warranted to address it and make people aware. It is especially warranted if after those articles, people start getting accused.z

 
 

For more on the Rainsbargers, read the sources I used for this editorial:   an account transcribed by Linda Suarez from The Past and Present of Hardin County Iowa and ‘Rainsbargers—A Myth Based on Lies Part Two’ by Raymond Timian, Kalona as published in the Highland Review, Aug 7, 2014. The Past and Present of Hardin County Iowa ed. by Willaim J. Moir.  Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1911. pp. 192-2000. Retrieved from: http://iagenweb.org/hardin/rainsbarger-pp1911.html 

Posted in Community, Editorial, Government, Opinion Tagged with: , , , , , ,

City of Riverside, Iowa City Council Agenda

 

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Monday October 20, 2014

6:30 pm at City Hall

5:30 PM COUNCIL WORK SESSION: Revisions to Planning and Zoning Ordinance, Site

Ordinance (new), Sub-Division Ordinance (new), adopting 2015 Building, mechanical, existing

building codes and the Uniform Building Codes.

Note: NO DECISIONS ARE MADE AT COUNCIL WORK SESSIONS. GENERALLY THERE IS N0

REGULAR COUNCIL AGENDA

6:30 PM Call meeting to Order and Roll Call Riverside Mayor Poch

1. Approval of Agenda (discussion/action)

2. Approval of Consent Agenda (discussion/action)

a. Revised Minutes from 9/2/14 meeting

b. Minutes of 10/6/14 meeting (revised from what was published)

d. Approval of Liquor License for Scandinavian Interiors

3. Committee Reports (discussion/action)

5. 6:45 pm Public Hearing on the proposed plans, specification concerning the

concessions stand replacement at Hall Park.

6. Resolution 10202014-1 Approving plans, specifications for Concession Stand

7. Highland School Back Pack Program Request (discussion/action)

8. Resolution 10062014-1 Approving Change Order KE Flatworks (discussion/action)

9. Resolution 10202014-2 Acceptance of Parking Spots at Hall Park (discussion/action

10. Iowa Econ Dev and Drake University Project (discussion/action)

11. Holiday Lights (discussion/action)

12. Moving Community Center Money (discussion/action)

13. Council Request for Information (discussion/action)

14. City Administrator Comments (discussion/action)

15. Council Comments (discussion/action)

Posted in Community, Government, Informative, News, Press Release Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Screwed, LESSON 18: Curriculum Mapping

screwed pic Nick Smith

***Please read the disclaimer to the right. The following is the latest in several installments by former teacher and school board member for the Highland Community School District, Nick Smith. They are lessons to a future student, Cal-Em (Lesson 1 Lesson #2 , Lesson #3, Part ILesson #3, Part II LESSON 4 , Lesson 5: [part 1], Lesson 5[part 2],  LESSON 5 [part 3]LESSON 6LESSON SEVEN, Part I Lesson 7, part IILESSON 8Lesson 9Lesson 10 , Lesson #11 , Lesson #12, Lesson #13 , Lesson #14  Lesson #15 , Lesson #16 , Lesson #17  )

 

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LETTERS TO CAL-EM A PERSONAL HISTORY OF HIGHLAND By Nick Smith SCREWED

 

Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers.  [Socrates 420 B.C.]

Curriculum alignment became the craze for a while, and, of course, what we had wasn’t good enough to satisfy the trend of curriculum development, which was to document the relationship between every component of the curriculum. In short, it was a new way to do what we were already doing but on more specific and prescribed forms. Curriculum mapping is a process for collecting and recording curriculum-related data that identifies core skills and content taught, processes employed, and assessments used for each subject area and grade level. The completed curriculum map then becomes a tool that helps teachers keep track of what has been taught and plan what will be taught. Creating and working with curriculum maps is a 7-phase process involving:

 

Phase 1: Data collection

Phase 2: A review of all maps by all teachers

Phase 3: Small mixed group reviews, in which groups of five to eight diverse faculty members share individual findings

Phase 4: Large group comparisons, in which all faculty members gather to examine the findings of the smaller groups

Phase 5: Identification of immediate revision points and creation of a timetable for resolution

Phase 6: Identification of points requiring additional research and planning, and a timetable for resolution of those points

Phase 7: Planning for the next review cycle

The purpose of a curriculum map is to document the relationship between every component of the curriculum. Used as an analysis, communication, and planning tool, a curriculum map

  • allows educators to review the curriculum to check for unnecessary redundancies, inconsistencies, misalignments, weaknesses, and gaps;
  • documents the relationships between the required components of the curriculum and the intended student learning outcomes;
  • helps identify opportunities for integration among disciplines;
  • provides a review of assessment methods; and
  • Identifies what students have learned, allowing educators to focus on building on previous knowledge.

Bear in mind that curriculum maps are records of implemented instruction — of what has been taught during the current school year. Sadly, at Highland, we somehow got the whole thing turned around and treated curriculum mapping like a curriculum guide, trying to pre-plan based on a monthly calendar starting in September and ending in May. It was the biggest flub I’ve ever seen. Not one single teacher understood what the Curriculum Director wanted, and what’s even more amazing, the Curriculum Director didn’t know what he wanted at all. We ended up with a colossal amount of paper work and effort that couldn’t be used by anyone. Many of our reform efforts turned out this way because the Richard Heads wanted what other schools were doing, but they didn’t understand what the initiatives were about, how they operated or what the process required. So, many of Highland’s so-called reforms were destined for failure before they began because they were poorly planned and poorly understood. Some, however, put feathers in the caps of the administrators, helping them with their individual careers. Staff could always tell when an administrator was looking to leave Highland because there was always a building project of some kind or a new fad improvement dumped in place.

Below is the template for Highland’s Curriculum Map

screwed 18 chart

As you can see, this system was a disaster for the teachers and the students. Not even the curriculum director could figure out what was needed for this school improvement reform. We wasted our time trying to fill these dumb things out for three semesters and working them into our classes, but in the end, we abandoned it all and moved on to something else.

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MEANWHILE, BACK IN THE JUNGLE

A board member’s son continually refused to do assignments for my class. This refusal, along with many other school violations, made him ineligible for sports. His parents were very upset, and his board member parent started retaliating against me and some other teachers.   The complaint persuaded the administration to apply enormous pressure on me to pass the student even though they had failed my class due to their own actions. From January to June of that year, the superintendent harassed me constantly to pass this student. The student refused to complete even one assignment for my class, which was required for graduation. When it became obvious that the student would not graduate, pressure from the superintendent and the school board became severe. My career was in jeopardy as the administration continued to badger me. I offered several possible solutions, but the student refused them all. Finally, I was ordered to pass the child or be terminated. A grievance was filed on my behalf, infuriating the superintendent. The work place became a very hostile environment. In the end, the student failed most of their classes and could not graduate. Even on the Friday before graduation, the administration held a teachers’ meeting to inform us that this student would walk across the stage and receive an empty diploma case. The staff refused the idea, and threated to go to the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) and the Department of Education. The superintendent and the board member vowed to “get even” with me for being the teacher who wouldn’t pass the student. My “trouble maker” status continued.

Much of my “trouble maker” status came from one person who continued to perpetuate the myth from administrator to administrator. I’m not sure what I ever did to garner her dislike, but it must have been something. Bev was the superintendent’s secretary when I started at Highland, and then she became the school board secretary, and finally, she became the business manager for the Highland community School district. Bev Colbert was very good at her job, always pleasant and smiling, but she didn’t care much for anything or anyone that upset the apple cart. Know the truth, Bev Colbert actually ran the school, its finances, its administration, its direction and all of the decisions and programs related to the school. She knew the budget and administered it according to her own interpretation with little regard for the superintendents or the board. She held enormous power within the system because she knew the basics of school finance that none of the superintendents ever knew. Bev, like most valuable employees, liked to please her bosses, and it became natural, I believe, for her to offer them some form of comfort when they made horrible blunders and acts in violation of the contract and human rights. I, naturally, became the perfect scapegoat—the patsy fall guy when blame needed to be placed somewhere. She did the most to perpetuate my “trouble maker” label from administration to administration for reasons only she knows. Maybe she thought I really was a troublemaker, rather than the designated “rights chair” representative of the Highland Education Association.

Following is a note a former school board member gave to me some time ago. I had asked if he could share some memories with me from his time on the board, and this is some of what he sent me.

Regarding Nick Smith:

“When I was elected to the Highland School Board, the superintendent at that time, xxxxxxxxxx, asked to meet with me to tell me a little about Highland. During our meeting, he stated that there were two “trouble makers” in the high school. I pointedly did not ask who they were and instead asked other questions. Before our meeting was over, he returned to the subject of the troublemakers and said that he might as well just tell me whom they were and proceeded to name the two troublemakers as Nick Smith and Jerry Lippert.

“At that time, it was rare to have any one attend the board meetings so most of the meetings were just the superintendent, board secretary, Bev Colbert, and the board members. It was not uncommon during open board meetings for negative comments to be made about Nick Smith and Jerry Lippert. Comments usually were about how nice it would be if they would resign or if the administration could just get rid of them.

“During my first year on the board, I attended a board convention in Des Moines with the other board members. While socializing before dinner, xxxxxxxxxx was again complaining about Nick Smith. One of the board members asked just what the problem was with Mr. Smith and xxxxxxxxxx said, “He’s very intelligent, maybe the most intelligent person I’ve ever met, he’s an excellent teacher and the students and parents all seem to like him, but if it wasn’t for that damn union, I’d fire him anyway.” At that point, I said, ‘Well I guess we wouldn’t want any intelligent, excellent teachers that are liked by students and parents on staff.’ And I walked away, disgusted.”

Green Living Everyday

Later, a former principal at the high school shared their experiences with the superintendent and Bev Colbert concerning my role as the rights chair with the union. He confirms the fact that I was targeted by the administration for special treatment as a troublemaker because I represented the rights of the employees, which the administration seemed determined to ignore or trample on as they saw fit. In addition, I gave them someone to vent their frustrations on when they didn’t get to disregard teacher’s rights and discriminate against them.

“I would like to go on record in saying Mr. Nick Smith was one of the most outstanding teachers and persons I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with and knowing. Mr. Smith spent endless hours before and after school working with students from the highest academic levels to our special needs students that required help. Mr. Smith provided summer school help to students before the school had a summer school program. This I might add was without any pay from the district or parents. Mr. Smith served on many committees to help formulate programs and building policies to help benefit students. These are some of the committees Mr. Smith was a member: At-Risk committee, Child Study Team, Alternative High School, SSR reading committee, CSIP School Improvement committee, Student Study Skills, Teacher in-service Committee, Teacher Rep, school calendar committee, MAP testing Proctor, Special reading Program for non-proficient students etc.

“Mr. Smith carried a full load of courses, which included three college credit courses, Comp I, Comp II and Forms of Literature. He was an ado teacher for a local college. Mr. Smith was always willing to give of his time and expertise to other teachers and students.

“I was Mr. Smith’s direct supervisor as principal and did many teacher evaluations of Mr. Smith over the years. He encompassed outstanding teaching methods and knowledge of the content he was teaching. His ability to help students understand the material, and allow them to express meaningful ideas and concepts was exceptional.

“During the time at Highland, I found some of the administrative team, like the school board secretary, superintendent and some school board members rude, unprofessional and filled with comments like, ‘Smith is incompetent, a troublemaker and poor teacher.’ As I first mentioned, I kept [anecdotal] notes over the years. As I searched though my logs, I found comments made about Mr. Smith.

“I was talking with the superintendent and the board secretary. ‘I’m telling you to watch out for Nick Smith he is a big troublemaker,’ Person 3: ‘I have not had any problems with Smith, in fact he has been helpful as a new principal” Sec. ‘You don’t know him, he is always behind most of the problems at the school. Just ask the former principal.’

Board Sec. ‘Smith is out in the hall with a student. I feel sorry for xxxxxxxx.” Person 2: “was the student getting smart with Mr. Smith?” Sec. ‘I don’t know but when Smith is there, there’s going to be trouble.’

“A member of the administrative team that works with another area educational agency was part of an administrative staff meeting, and Mr. Smith’s name came up in the conversation. ‘Smith again, we all know he creates problems at the school. I’ve worked with him many times.’

“The school board secretary makes the comment about Smith is a troublemaker.

The superintendent makes the comment that Mr. Smith is complaining about the teacher mentor selections. He is not very professional; he’s a pain in the butt.”

This is enough for now, Cal-Em. Let it suffice that when teachers stand up for their own rights, demand that the agreed upon contract be followed and insist that the dignity provided them by the Constitution of the United states not be violated through discriminatory actions by the school administrators or board members, someone will be labeled as a troublemaker. That person was I for many, many years. As for the administrators, they all do great for themselves, receiving large severance or retirement packages that no one else in the system gets. I’ve been trying to locate these secret packages, but I have not been able to locate them as of yet. I know that most of the superintendents received money packages, principals received money packages, and the board secretary received a money package as did the operations manager. Why these severance and early retirement plans are not reported up front with all the other normal expenditures, smacks of a little secretive club action to me. I will find the money, and I’m betting it’s hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars that’s gone to the administrators’ club of hidden benefits.

 

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Posted in Community, Government, Guest Post, Op-ed, Opinion, School Tagged with: , , , , ,

IA Dept of Natural Resources (PR)

DNR logohttpwww[dot]osceolacountydailynews.comwp[hyphen]contentuploads201208DNR-logo.jpg
Pheasant Opener Prospects are Good
Posted: 10/14/2014
Iowa pheasant hunters should see more of what they came for, as they step into the field this fall. More pheasants.A strong rebound in August roadside counts of Iowa’s most popular game bird has buoyed expectations, heading toward the October 25 opener.

“It’s not the ‘good old days,’ but hunters will see noticeable improvement,” says DNR pheasant biologist Todd Bogenschutz. “We have the best pheasant numbers since 2008. People are telling me that more birds are flushing; that they are hearing more crowing and cackling out there.”

Counts this summer averaged 17.4 pheasants per 30 mile survey route, up 151 percent from last year’s 6.9…an all-time low. Of the nine regions monitored, eight had increases ranging from 102-290 percent. Only northeast Iowa showed no change.

Bogenschutz says drought conditions across the past two summers probably kept pheasants in the fields on August mornings, rather than pushing up to road edges, to escape heavy dew. That may have kept many from being tallied on the 200 gravel road routes surveyed. Hunters harvested 10,000 more pheasants in 2013, despite the record low counts.

So, where do you find them, on a fall morning?

“The best habitat will hold birds; good winter cover, good nesting cover, too. Hunters should be happy hunting those areas, over just decent nesting cover,” predicts Bogenschutz.  “Hunt around the best habitat, and you will be pleasantly surprised. Talk to the farmers where you will be hunting. Ask what they have seen while harvesting the crops.”

With a better bird outlook, the numbers of hunters should climb, too. Last year, only 41,000 pheasant hunters were in the fields.

“If word gets out of the early season success expected, we could see 60,000 hunters this fall,” predicts Bogenschutz. “We could have a harvest of 200,000 to 300,000 birds.”

Early in the season, standing crops are going to be a factor.

“Harvest is running a little behind. The season is starting a couple days earlier, too,” reminds Bogenschutz. “That could be a challenge for hunters, until the corn is out. Our counts were up; hens with broods were way up. There will be a lot of young roosters, who aren’t wise to the ways of the wild, yet.”

 

Hunting hours for Iowa’s pheasant seasons are 8 a.m. until 4:30 each day. The daily limit is three rooster pheasants. The season closes on January 10.

 Posted: 10/14/2014
Improving the living conditions for Iowa pheasants is at the heart of the Pheasant SAFE habitat program thatis designed to give pheasants a kitchen, bedroom and living room altogether in one spot to maximize pheasant survival and reproduction.Iowa received 50,000 acres for the program that was divided between primary and secondary counties, based on pheasant counts from 2002-06. Around 27,500 areas remain in the primary pheasant counties, (see the SAFE link at www.iowadnr.gov/habitat).

“We would like to keep the momentum going and keep our pheasant numbers increasing and this program is one way to accomplish that,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the DNR. “But we can’t ask for more acres in the program until the initial allotment is gone.”

Pheasant SAFE is one tool to help boost the bird population. Bogenschutz said Iowa received $3 million through the USDA-NRCS Voluntary Public Access-Habitat Incentive Program to benefit the DNR’s Iowa Habitat Access Program (IHAP). IHAP plans to add more than 20,000 acres of improved habitat on private land and make those lands available to hunters in the coming years.

He said the Wildlife Bureau is also working with Pheasants Forever to improve pheasant/quail habitat on 40-50 wildlife management areas through the Enhance A Wildlife Area program.

Better Bird Numbers Could Attact Former Hunters
Posted: 10/14/2014
Iowa’s August Roadside Survey pheasant count was the highest since 2008 and that good news has people talking.“These are our best bird counts in six years and people are telling me they’re seeing and hearing birds more than in recent years,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the Iowa DNR. “It’s not the good old days, but it’s the best we’ve had in a few years.”

Bogenschutz said he’s hoping the increase is enough to bring back hunters who dropped the sport when the population hit an all-time low in 2011.

In 2008, there were around 86,000 resident pheasant hunters. In 2013, that number had fallen to 41,000.  Nonresident hunters had fallen from a peak in the 1990s of 60,000 to 5,700 in 2012, rebounding to 6,300 in 2013.

“Pheasants have some buzz right now, but is it enough buzz to bring some of the former hunters back? We’ll have to see,” he said.

Youth Season October 18-19
Posted: 10/14/2014
Iowa’s higher pheasant counts mean this will be an excellent year to take kids pheasant hunting, said ToddBogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the DNR.“We have a lot of young birds that haven’t been hunted yet so there could be a good opportunity for kids to be successful,” Bogenschutz said.

One issue could be the late harvest. Bogenschutz suggested youth hunters target habitat near areas where beans have been harvested.

Youth hunters age 15 and younger are allowed to harvest one rooster each day of the two day season.  Shooting hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the youth must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult. Participants must comply with the blaze orange clothing requirement.

Looking for Places to Hunt? Start Online
Posted: 10/14/2014

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources created a hunter atlas showing all areas in the state open to public hunting and included what type of wildlife would be associated with those areas, open seasons and any restrictions.

The interactive hunter atlas is on the front page in the links at the lower left on www.iowadnr.gov.

“The atlas allows hunters a bird’s eye-view of the area and allows them to print maps, if they want,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the Iowa DNR.

Another resource is the Iowa Habitat Access Program (IHAP), where private landowners receive assistance to improve habitat on their land in exchange for opening the property for hunter access.  The program has added 8,100 acres where hunters can access private property.

Site maps are available at www.iowadnr.gov/ihap showing boundaries, which species would be most likely attracted to the habitat and the location of a comment box where hunters can leave their thoughts on the program.

Walk-in public hunting through IHAP is available between September 1 and May 31.

“We need hunter input on this program so each site has a drop box and survey cards to collect hunter comments. They can either drop the cards in the box or mail them from home,” said Kelly Smith, with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau who manages the program.

Areas are posted with signs, are regularly patrolled by Iowa DNR conservation officers.

“Hunters should respect private property, stay on the land enrolled in the program and pick up after themselves,” Smith said. “This program is only available because landowners were willing to participate in it.”

Posted in Government, Informative, News, Press Release Tagged with: , , ,
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