Category: Syndicated

K-12 Iowa Students Below National Average in Foreign Language Enrollment

AMES, Iowa – Iowa students are below the national average when learning a foreign language.

According to a recent study published by The American Councils for International Education, only 15 percent of k-12 graders in Iowa take a foreign language.

The national average is 20 percent.

World Languages and Culture Department Chair for Iowa State University Chad Gasta said learning a foreign language can help students in the real world.

“When we are teaching another language, we are teaching one to be prepared for their career, but we are also teaching them to be prepared for the career that comes in seven years, because they are changing that fast. Language study and language learning certainly puts one on the road to success,” Gasta said.

Gasta said in a perfect world, children could do a dual language in school as early as kindergarten.

“It would be a dual language program, where half the time it is completely in one language and half the time is in completely English. They do their regular course work. Whether it is social sciences, or sciences, or math, or whatever, it is  done in that target language at that time of the day or one day on one day off,” Gasta said.

Gasta said it is unfortunate that, “Iowa doesn’t offer a lot of elementary programs.”

Des Moines elementary schools that offer a language as early as kindergarten include:

  • Hubbell Elementary: Spanish
  • Moore Elementary: Spanish
  • Park Avenue Elementary: Spanish
  • Stowe Elementary: Spanish
  • Walnut Street School: Chinese

Des Moines middle schools that offer a language include:

  • Brody Middle School: Spanish
  • Goodrell Middle School: Spanish
  • Meredith Middle School: Spanish and Chinese
  • Merrill Middle School: Spanish

The high schools in Des Moines offer a variety of languages at select schools, which include: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.

Waukee schools start an introduction to world language in sixth and seventh grade. Once students start eighth grade they have an option of learning either Spanish or German. In high school students have a variety of options when it comes to taking a language.

Ankeny schools begin the language process in sixth and seventh grade with an introduction class. In eighth grade, students have the option to take either Spanish, French or Chinese as an elective before going to high school.

Johnston schools have French and Spanish classes starting at eighth grade. Summit Middle School offers a Spanish class, but it is not a requirement. Johnston High School does not require a foreign language to graduate. Their eighth grade world language course are recognized for college administration, but students don’t earn high school credit until ninth grade.

At 51 percent, New Jersey has the highest enrollment of students in a foreign language, while New Mexico is at the lowest with eight percent enrollment.

Vietnam Resumes Distillers Dried Grains Imports

Vietnam is resuming imports of American distillers dried grains (DDGS).

Vietnam was the third largest market for DDGS before they suspended imports last year when they reportedly found quarantine pests in U.S. shipments. In 2016, the country bought nearly $230 million dollars worth of the grain.

DDGS are a co-product of ethanol production and are essentially concentrated grain. U.S. exports have increased in value to $2 billion dollars a year, nearly five times what it was ten years ago.

After the suspension, the USDA began technical discussions with Vietnam to allow exports to continue.

Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer welcomes the decision to reopen markets, saying it will help the efforts to balance trade relations.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue agrees, he says, “This is great news and I am pleased that the U.S. exporters will once again be able to ship DDGS to Vietnam, which is one of the fastest-growing global markets for U.S. agriculture.”

Board of Regents Get Bleak Outlook For Funding Higher Education in Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa- The Iowa Board of Regents met to discuss the findings of the tuition task force.

The task force was formed after state dollars to regent institutions was reduced by $31 million dollars. Over the past couple of years the schools have been working together to save dollars through economy of scale.

“In the end though it simply comes down to this priorities,” said Regent Larry McKibben of Marshalltown. “Does the legislature and governor hold higher public education in Iowa as a high priority?”

Each school was left to come up with it’s own plan to deal with covering costs. Some looked at 7% tuition increases. Also they looked at how to do more with less.

“We had to make a decision. do we take money to increase the number of faculty and staff or do we give more money to the faculty and staff that we have,” said ISU Interim President Benjamin Allen.

“There’s a lot of conversation about tuition, we’re going to get tuition so high that we’re going to price ourselves out of the market for Iowans,” said University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld. “We’re a long way from even being close to that point.”

Though the formal meeting did not include student comments, some did get up during public comment before the meeting began.

“So how do we pay for our tuition,” said Rob Humble, a Univ of Iowa Medical Student. “I grew up in a family of six kids my parents can’t subsidize my tuition,this means that my education is funded almost entirely on student loans.”

No action was taken on tuition rates at this meeting.

Make-A-Wish Iowa Celebrate 30th Anniversary

URBANDALE, Iowa — The morning fog still hangs above the grass.  Most of the state is still in bed.  Not Jaxson Mestdagh.

“I just can’t seem to find that angle,” said Jaxson Mestdagh, 6-year-old golfer from Urbandale.

Jax is working on his short game.  He’s pretty good, too.  Jax and the game of golf found each other.

“The heart condition he has puts him at risk for sudden cardiac arrest at anytime.  So, he’s really restricted on what we can have him do,” said Lezlie Mestdagh, Jaxson’s mother.

Jax’s condition is called cardiomyopathy and golf is pretty much his only safe option for sports.  These early morning sessions are possible because of Make-A-Wish Iowa.  They installed a putting green in his backyard last month.  Since then he’s been out there everyday.   He loves his putting surface, but it wasn’t his original wish.

“He said ‘I know I have the perfect thing.  I’m going to ask for a small heart.’  The first thing he wanted was a cure,” said Lezlie Mestdagh.

Make-A-Wish Iowa celebrates their 30th anniversary this month and the wish for a cure is their most requested wish.  

“We get that question more often then we’d like.  Obviously, that is the one wish we’d like to grant but unfortunately we’re unable to grant for our kids,” said Chris Wood with Make-A-Wish Iowa.

Instead they focus on making their tough journeys a little easier.  The detours included sending more than 1,500 kids to Disney.  Others have gone to Hawaii and even some up with the Blue Angels.

To celebrate their history, they’ve launched 30 Years of Wishes. The goal is to raise enough money in 30 days to bring wishes to 30 more families, just like they did for the Mestdaghs.

“It changes the whole family’s life. It’s not easy being Jaxson’s mom.  It’s not easy being Jaxson’s dad.  It’s not easy being his sister.  The experience you go through to realize some cares about you so much it’s just life changing, really,” said Lezlie.

Wood says they are still nine wishes short of their goal and they need your help.  If you’d like to help visit their website.

Florida Woman Embraces Stranger Who Gave Her Last Generator in Store

ORLANDO, Fla. – While many residents in Florida are bracing for impact as Hurricane Irma makes its way through the Caribbean, Pam Brekke knew she needed to get a generator in order to help her father.

Brekke had scoured the area searching for generators, but found only empty store shelves.

“My father’s on oxygen, and I’m worried about this storm,” she told WFTV.

She even traveled 30 miles from her Sanford home to the Lowe’s in Orlando, but, as she waited in line, she saw the customer in front of her receive the last generator in stock.

The realization sent Brekke into tears, which caught the attention of Ramon Santiago.

Without knowing the reason behind her need for a generator, Santiago gave her the one in his cart.

Brekke embraced Santiago right there in the Lowe’s aisle, and he comforted her, saying, “It’s OK, everything is OK.”

After a long hug, Brekke thanked him and told others in the aisle, “That’s a beautiful man right there.”

The moment of kindness amid widespread fear leading up to landfall was recorded and posted to Facebook, where it has been viewed more than 4 million times.

Store managers say they do not know if they will receive another shipment of generators before the hurricane hits.

Five Creston Players Kicked Off Football Team For ‘KKK’ Social Media Post

CRESTON, Iowa  —  The five players who posed for a photo wearing white hoods while burning a cross have been kicked off the football team.

The Creston News Advertiser reports on Thursday morning that the five unnamed teens were removed from the team.  Football coach Brian Morrison confirmed the dismissal to the newspaper.  Only one of the students is a Senior.  It is unclear at this time whether the four underclassmen would be eligible to return for future seasons or participate in other sports.

The photo in question, showing five young men wearing white hoods while burning a cross and waving a Confederate flag, began circulating on social media Wednesday morning.  The school district says it took immediate action to investigate the picture and punish the kids involved.

All five students were reportedly football players.  According to the “Team Handbook” available on the Creston High School athletics webpage players have a responsibility to the community and violating that responsibility will lead to consequences.

The handbook lists consequences for “activity detrimental to team” that could include suspension.  However the handbook also says “the severity of the infraction will determine the consequence.”

Logue’s Look to Add to Racing Legacy at Super Nationals This Week in Boone

BOONE, Iowa  --  RVTV wasn't the only vehicle rolling into Boone this week.  900 cars from 17 different states, Canada and Australia will BE racing for glory on the dirt track at the Super Nationals at the Boone Speedway this week.

However the favorite in the championship race will be the driver who travels the shortest distance to make it to the track.  The Logue family is a Boone racing legacy.

"My dad was the Ricky Carmichael of modified racing, the GOAT, the legend," says John Logue Jr., "Nobody`s won the Modified Super Nationals five times except John Logue."

Junior has followed in Senior's footsteps.  They are the only father-son duo to win the Super Nationals.

Not only is racing a way of life for the family ... it will also be part of death.  The Logue's have a family burial plot where they will one day be laid to rest, alongside their cars from championships past.

 

Hurricane Irma Moves Back Over Open Water on Collision Course With Florida

MIAMI, Florida  —  Outer bands of the unusually powerful Hurricane Irma battered parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Thursday morning, threatening serious flooding a day after leaving severe destruction and at least nine dead across a string of Caribbean islands to the east.

Irma — a Category 5 storm that has kept sustained winds of 180 mph longer than any other on record — knocked out electricity a day earlier to more than 1 million customers in Puerto Rico as it churned off the US territory, and devastated smaller islands, including Barbuda and the British Virgin Islands.

Irma could next hit the Atlantic archipelagos of the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas — and by the weekend may reach a nervous Florida, where people have flocked to stores to prepare and some communities have ordered evacuations.

“If you decide to stay in the Florida Keys, you are on your own,” said Roman Gastesi, administrator of Monroe County, which ordered everyone off the small islands off the state’s southern coast ahead of the storm’s anticipated approach.

Hurricane Irma: Live updates

Irma on Wednesday left at least nine people dead, including six on St. Martin, two on St. Bart’s and one in Barbuda. The latter is barely habitable, with nearly all its buildings damaged, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda said.

On Thursday morning, Irma’s powerful core was moving off the mountainous northern coasts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and could leave up to 15 inches of rain — amounts that could trigger dangerous flooding and mudslides, the National Hurricane Center said.

Here are the latest developments:

— Around 8 a.m. ET, Irma’s center was about 110 miles north of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, moving west-northwest with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph — well above the 157 mph threshold of a Category 5 storm.

— Barbuda, one of two major islands in the nation of Antigua and Barbuda, took a major hit Wednesday, with about 95% of its buildings damaged, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said.

— Browne described the damage as “unprecedented” and “absolutely devastating,” estimating it will cost $100 million to rebuild.

— Irma’s eye passed directly over Barbuda on Wednesday, leaving the small island’s 1,800 residents largely incommunicado after it knocked over the telecommunications system and cell towers.

— Irma is one of three active hurricanes in the Atlantic basin — the last time this happened was in 2010. Jose, in the open Atlantic far to the southeast of Irma, has become a hurricane, as has Katia in the Gulf of Mexico.

— A hurricane warning is in effect for some areas in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Hurricane or tropical storm conditions also are possible late this week in parts of Cuba.

— Irma has maintained intensity above 180 mph longer than any storm in Atlantic basin history.

Will it hit Florida?

It’s too early to tell whether it will make landfall on the US mainland. Some computer models show it could churn near Florida’s southern and east coasts by early Sunday. Officials are ordering some evacuations and shutting down schools.

The tropical storm-force wind field from Irma stretches over 300 miles from end to end. If it were centered over New York City, the tropical storm-force winds would stretch from Baltimore to Boston.

Gov. Rick Scott urged Floridians to heed any evacuation order.

“(A) storm surge could cover your house. We can rebuild homes — we cannot rebuild your family,” he said Wednesday.

Many spent Wednesday stocking up on food or making plans to head inland. Hurricane watches may be issued for parts of South Florida and the Keys on Thursday.

In Broward County, which includes Fort Lauderdale and other cities north of Miami, a mandatory evacuation will go into effect at noon Thursday for some areas, Mayor Barbara Sharief said.

Miami-Dade County ordered people out in some areas, including mobile homes and barrier islands.

Florida is not the only state preparing for possible impact.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency for all 100 counties, while his Georgia counterpart, Nathan Deal, issued a state of emergency for six coastal counties. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster also declared a state of emergency.

Bahamas orders evacuations

A hurricane warning is in effect for the central and southeastern Bahamas, and officials there are not taking chances.

Emergency evacuations have been ordered for six southern islands — Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay and Ragged Island.

“This is the largest such evacuation in the history of the country,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said.

“Some of the (Bahamian) islands aren’t more than 9 feet (above sea level). Storm surges there may be 20 feet,” CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.

Trail of destruction

Kelsey Nowakowski posted images to Instagram of the aftermath in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

“This doesn’t look like it was ever a tropical paradise. It looks like an eerie fairytale forest,” she said in her post. “During the storm there were a handful of times when we thought we were losing the house’s roof on the floor above, but when we emerged we found our roof intact.”

Michael Coleman took shelter in a cement bunker in St. Thomas.

“The wind was so intense. Trees and roofs flying,” he said.

He posted a video on Twitter showing mangled patio and roofing scattered all around.

In Puerto Rico, about 56,680 customers are without water, with the US territory’s northeast hit the hardest, according to Jesus Poupart of the emergency operations center. Emergency officials are still taking in reports to determine the extent of the damage.

In the northeast city of Fajardo, authorities conducted at least 10 rescues, an emergency dispatcher there told CNN. Of those, five were from flooded homes, two of people trapped in vehicles, and three who were trapped in an elevator, the dispatcher said.

In San Juan, CNN’s Leyla Santiago said 900,000 customers are without power after strong winds hit the island. There were no immediate reports of injuries in the US territory of about 3.4 million people.

1934 ISU Wrestling Champion Joins RVTV in Boone

BOONE, Iowa  --  This guy knows plenty about the Iowa-Iowa State rivalry ... he's seen nearly every matchup between the two schools.

On Wednesday night the RVTV crew was joined by Glen Yarger.  The 106-year-old is a former Iowa State wrestler who won the "Big Six Championship" back in 1934.  Glen says a lot has changed in the last century, but one thing about his beloved sport hasn't.

"Wrestling was the same then as it is now.  You just get in there and work," Yarger says.