Archive for  October 12th 2018

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CRESTON, Iowa — Shovels pierced into the Creston soil overturning fresh emotions.  “It is reopened on a daily basis.  It is just not anything you forget about. You don’t get over it,” said Beth Fry, mother of Amy Sharp who died along with her husband Kevin and two children Sterling and Adrianna in March while vacationing in Mexico.  While asleep, the family of four inhaled toxic gases from a faulty water heater.  “No family needs to go through what our families have been through,” Beth added.

Nearly seven months after their death, seventh grade Creston Middle School classmates of twelve year-old Sterling planted new life in his honor.  “It was very honorable for Sterling,” said Renee Hoyt, Amy’s sister.

Each scoop had a purpose, and students shared the shoveling.  “They have been in the healing process since the tragedy took place,” said Creston Middle School Principal Brad Baker.

Finally the Linden tree stood as firm in the ground as the Sharp family’s memory within the Creston community.  Baker said, “Seeing the tree grow and prosper lets us remember the sharp family will not be forgotten.”

While tributes and memorials may not bring the Sharps back, their family members played a role in something that may save lives.  They talked Governor Kim Reynolds into proclaiming November Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month.  It is a gas that has killed an average of twenty Iowans a year since 2000.  Beth said, “I don’t want somebody to drop their kids off at the neighbor’s house for a play date to spend the night without knowing that family is protecting everybody in the home with a detector.”

An eventual victory family members hope can spread much like the roots of Sterling’s tree. Renee said, “If we can save one person’s life, one family’s life, it is a victory.”

INDIANOLA, Iowa– Thirteen teaching positions at Simpson College are being eliminated it’s the universities’ second round of layoffs this year in the same round of cuts.

French and German majors will no longer be offered, and some say the biggest hit is the school’s art department is closing.

We found it’s all part of a nationwide trend.

“We added a health human services major and a data science major,” Jill Johnson VP Marketing and Communications at Simpson said.

But that comes at a cost.

“They just told me that the art department was going to be discontinued,” art instructor Justin Nostrala said.

Closing the Art Department and discontinuing French and German majors is the schools latest push to save money and boost enrollment.

Justin Nostrala will lose his job he has taught art Simpson here for 17 years and he is not alone, twelve other faculty will be laid off too.

“I’d hoped that the college would find a way to keep up the art department,” Nostrala said.

The university says there just isn’t enough money.

“Due to lack of student enrollment declining student enrollment over the years,” Jill Johnson said.

Over the past three years, full-time enrollment at Simpson is down from 1379 in 2016 to 1250 in 2018.

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, nation-wide there are 14,000 less fulltime private college students this academic year.

Layoffs depend on a teacher’s contract, Nostrala is tenure so his last day will be sometime in May 2020.

Students can still declare art as a major and the university says there will be resources, so students can graduate.

The school will no longer recruit for art, French or German majors.

The cuts will not impact to scholarship money offered to students in those fields.