Tag: 012016

Hawkeye Announces Fall Semester Dean’s List

Hawkeye Community College recently released the Dean’s List for the 2015 Fall Semester. The Dean’s List recognizes outstanding academic accomplishment (GPA of 3.50 or better) by full-time students. The following area students are on the Dean’s List:
Brandon: Denise Clark
Dysart: Noah Dobson, Torri Flickinger, Lydia Lorenzen, Michelle McGeough
Garrison: Shanie Wiedenhoff
La Porte City: Kyle Ansley, Jacob Clark, Emily Craft, Mary Davis, Dobson Douglass, Kylee Faber, Courtney Foulk, Stephanie Heerkes, Emily Johanningmeier, Alex Kane, Sedonna Lyons, Luke Mangrich, Frederick Maxwell, Kathryn Maxwell, Wendy Orr, Justin Rottinghaus, Christopher Schmidt, Michael Smith, Amanda Trimble, Trevor Weber, Alyssa Wiest, Margaret Wilson

Nominations Sought for 2016 Governor’s Award for Quality Care

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2016 Governor’s Award for Quality Care in Health Care Facilities. The Governor’s Award recognizes Iowa health care facilities that offer unique or innovative activities to enhance the quality of care or quality of life for their residents. Nominations are open to all health care facilities licensed under Iowa Code chapter 135C, which include nursing facilities, residential care facilities, and intermediate care facilities, including those facilities specializing in the care of persons with mental illness or intellectual disabilities. (Not eligible for nomination are assisted living programs, elder group homes, or hospital-based nursing facilities as these facilities are not licensed under the Iowa Code chapter establishing the Award program.)
Last year, Crestview Specialty Care in West Branch was selected to receive the 2015 Governor’s Award. The 65-bed long-term care facility was nominated for the Award by the family member of a former resident who cited the outstanding care and services provided by Crestview to its residents. Since the first awards were presented in 2001, a total of 51 awards have been presented to 44 individual facilities.
Residents and family members may nominate an Iowa-licensed long-term care facility for the award. Facilities may not nominate themselves for this recognition. In order to be considered for a 2016 Governor’s Award, nominations must be postmarked by March 1, 2016. Nomination forms may be obtained by calling the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) at 515-281-7102 or downloaded from the Department’s web site at http://dia.iowa.gov.
All nominations must state the reason the facility should be considered, such as any unique services provided by the facility to its residents, and any activities undertaken by the facility to enhance the quality of care or quality of life for its residents. A facility’s history of compliance and whether it accepts residents for whom costs are paid by the Medicaid program are also factors used in the determination of eligibility for a Governor’s Award. Upon receipt by DIA, the nominations will be evaluated and a list of finalists prepared. Under Iowa law, no more than two facilities from each Congressional District may be selected for a Governor’s Award.

Iowa Boat, RV & Vacation Show at UNI-Dome

Boating and outdoor enthusiasts will get the first look of summer at the 28th Annual Iowa Boat, RV, and Vacation Show, presented by Ford, January 22-24 at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls. Marine and recreational vehicle dealers will showcase the state’s largest indoor showroom of dealers and new models. More exhibits and special performances for families and anglers will also be featured and are included with admission to the show.
A wide variety of aluminum and fiberglass fishing boats will satisfy anglers of all types. Family boaters will find runabouts, pontoons, tritoons, and deck boats. Speed enthusiasts can shop power boats, jet boats, and personal watercraft. Area paddlers can shop kayaks and canoes. More marine exhibits include motors, covers, boat docks, lifts, boat repair, marine service and water toys. A large selection of floating and stationary dock and boat lifts will also be on display.
RV enthusiasts can shop an expanded selection of recreational vehicles showcased by eastern Iowa dealers. This is a one-stop experience to compare models, floor plans and features of light-weight campers, travel trailers, fifth wheels, and class A & C motorhomes. The RV lifestyle has fueled a surge in recreational vehicle ownership. Popular features include multiple slide-outs and exterior kitchen and storage options.
More exhibits at the Iowa Boat, RV, & Vacation Show include family resorts, U.S. and Canadian fishing camps, Lake Michigan sportfishing charters, campgrounds and tourism destinations. Truck enthusiasts can shop bed liners, toppers, covers, and other accessories. Fishing tackle will be offered at this year’s show with everything for ice fishing and those getting ready for spring action.
Special Features include the Fishin’ Magicians comedy magic shows. Steve Craig and Amy Short will entertain and amaze families all weekend. The duo has performed their classic and original magic across the country using traditional props, fishing equipment and a humorous fishing theme. Shows will be held on the upper north concourse of the UNI-Dome.
Iowa Boat, RV, and Vacation Show
UNI-Dome, Cedar Falls
Friday, January 22 3:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Saturday, January 23 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday, January 24 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Admission: $7.00 Youth 12 and under FREE
Friday Specials: $5.00 All Day
Detailed show information and discount coupons can be found at: http://iowashows.com/

Simply Put – January 20, 2016

By Mike Whittlesey
The following column is written in response to a letter to the editor from Justin Murphy. Read the letter here.
In a world where social media makes it easy to voice personal opinions in a public forum, signing one’s name to a letter to the editor takes conviction. Mr. Murphy should be commended for his fortitude.
As the Editor in Chief, I am ultimately responsible for everything that appears in the print, online and digital editions of The Progress Review. When we purchased La Porte City’s newspaper in 2002, we made a commitment to the community to continue producing a weekly newspaper that dates back to the 1870s.
As Mr. Murphy noted, readers looking for scandals are not likely to find them in the pages of The Progress Review. If publishing the “negative happenings” in our community was a priority, it would be worth my time to investigate rumors circulating around town. But it is not. There are several reasons why.
Every printed page in The Progress Review comes with a cost. That is why, on average, 40% of the content we publish each week is devoted to advertising. Advertisers make it possible to keep the subscription price our readers pay lower than many other weekly newspapers in the state. Consequently, my job as editor is to publish the news and feature stories I believe our readers will find informative and meaningful, given the limited space available.
While I have certainly heard a number of rumors circulating around town during my tenure at The Progress Review, I must admit that I definitely do not make an effort to “keep up-to-date with rumors spreading around like wild fires.” At The Progress Review, before any article gets investigated or written, a simple question helps determine its worthiness for publication: What is the value of the story?
In the case of the suspension of Union High School football players, it is their status as juveniles that helps keep their names from being made public in this newspaper. In many cases, law enforcement officials and school district administrators are not obligated to release the names of juveniles to the media, out of deference to their juvenile status. Investigating such rumors is a moot point if the names of the students in question are not willingly made available to the media.
In response to other examples cited in Mr. Murphy’s letter, what value does a “town alcoholic” story have to offer the community? How about an “abusive husband” story? What is the merit to publishing a story about an alleged “student-teacher scandal”? In each of these examples, no investigation conducted by The Progress Review is likely to advance the story beyond its rumor status. Publishing unsubstantiated rumors is akin to action “that is defamatory or that maliciously or damagingly misrepresents.” In other words, libel. Our readers deserve better than that. That is also why the names of specific individuals referenced in Mr. Murphy’s letter were redacted prior to publication.
Over the past 14 years, there are numerous reports of “negative happenings” to be found in the pages of The Progress Review. The police reports and law enforcement press releases we do publish have what the aforementioned “scandals” lack- an event that takes place resulting in the accused being formally charged with a crime. It is not The Progress Review’s job to report accusations based on rumor or innuendo. Would such stories sell more papers? Perhaps. We choose to leave investigations of possible misdeeds to the agencies who are far better equipped to conduct them properly.
In 2016, the number of family-owned newspapers in the United States continues to decline. As publishers of La Porte City’s hometown newspaper, we are afforded the opportunity to share the stories about the people and events in our community like no other media outlet. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously, the reason we continue to look for ways to improve our community, not tear it down. It’s also the reason why, after 14 years, The Progress Review’s commitment to our home town remains as strong as ever. –MW

Practical Money Matters – January 20, 2016

By Nathaniel Sillin
Take a Close Look at Social Security in 2016
If you’re not close to retirement age, it’s easy to ignore what Social Security is doing. However, some significant announcements late last year make now a very good time to pay attention.
What follows is a summary of notable changes to Social Security at the start of 2016 and ways to ensure you’re making the right retirement planning and claiming (http://www.consumerfinance.gov/retirement/before-you-claim/) decisions based on what’s ahead:
2016 Social Security payments won’t increase. In late October, Social Security (https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/) announced that there wasn’t enough inflation in 2015 to create a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to monthly benefits this year. Understandably, this announcement shook up recipients who look to Social Security for a significant part of their monthly income. It’s only the third time payments were frozen in the past 40 years since automatic COLA adjustments began, but here’s the rub – all three occasions occurred after 2010. In short, most seniors will have to live with an average monthly payment of $1,341 with married beneficiaries receiving a total of $2,212.
Married and divorced individuals may have to rethink the way they claim benefits. Also last October, Washington settled a federal budget battle in part by closing some notable loopholes in Social Security law that allowed certain married couples to substantially increase their benefits over time and certain divorced individuals to claim benefits from former spouses under certain circumstances. These new restrictions on so-called file-and-suspend and restricted-claim strategies go into effect this coming May. In short, if you’re close to age 62 (the earliest age you can start claiming Social Security benefits) getting qualified advice has never been more important.
Other COLA-related issues. When there’s no cost-of-living adjustment, there’s no change in the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax, which will stay at $118,500 in 2016. This means earnings above that level aren’t subject to the Social Security portion of the payroll tax or used to calculate retirement payouts. At the same time, the Social Security earnings limit for people who work and claim Social Security payments will stay at $15,720 in 2016 for people ages 65 and younger. Social Security beneficiaries who earn more than this amount will have $1 in benefits temporarily withheld for every $2 in earnings above the limit.
Some benefits are going down – a little. The highest possible Social Security payment for a 66-year-old worker who signs up for Social Security this year will be $2,639 per month, down $24 from $2,663 in 2015. The reason? Social Security noted that despite no cost-of-living adjustment there was an increase in the national average wage index, one of the statistical guideposts the agency uses to calculate benefits.
Service changes. If you haven’t created a My Social Security account, do so for two reasons: First, there have been reports of ID theft related to thieves attempting fraudulent signups for such accounts. Second, the agency is making more detailed account data available online such as estimates of monthly payments at various claiming ages. Also, Social Security expanded office hours in some of its field locations in 2015, so if you need face-to-face assistance, check hours of operation at your closest local office (https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp).
Bottom line: Social Security froze benefit amounts for the coming year, and that has an impact on both current and future recipients. You can’t fully understand your retirement without understanding how Social Security works, so now’s the time to learn.


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