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Monday Afternoon News, September 10

Newly Constructed Halfway Houses Sit Empty

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Corrections officials say five newly built or expanded halfway houses are sitting empty because there is no money for workers.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports  that a $6 million, 45-bed center in Waterloo was completed more than a year ago but remains empty due to no staff.
The halfway houses are intended ease the overflow of people waiting to serve sentences at other correctional sites.
Corrections officials thought there would be money available to staff the new center when it was completed in April 2011, but the state Corrections Department had a tight budget and opted against
funding the Waterloo center or others in correctional service districts in Davenport, Ames, Sioux City and Ottumwa.
On Friday, corrections officials will consider a proposal to fund the Waterloo center.


Christmas Trees Hurt By The Drought

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Christmas trees in Iowa and other Midwestern states could become the newest victims of this year's drought.
The hot and dry summer took a harsh toll on tree seedlings. When the newly planted trees are ready for harvest by 2019, the selection could be sickly and sagging. Growers have also reported
losses in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Boone County tree farmer Jesse Randall says the supply will tighten in upcoming years. But growers and foresters say this year's crop, planted in 2005, will be as diverse as usual.
Randall says the drought was especially hard on fir trees, which are popular among buyers because of their silvery evergreen hues and rich aromas.

Des Moines Coach Gets Support For Disciplining a Student

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Supporters are rallying behind a Des Moines high school football coach who was suspended after he allegedly punished a sophomore who posted a negative comment about
the team on Twitter.
Athletes and other community members filled the Lincoln Rails practice field Sunday to show support for head coach Tom Mihalovich.
Mihalovich is under investigation for allegedly making sophomore Daunte Campero run until he threw up, after Campero posted a negative tweet about the team.
The rally drew dozens of supporters, including players from the Lincoln football team. They claim the punishment wasn't severe, and Campero never got ill. Campero no longer plays on the team and now goes to a different school.
A high school representative did not return calls for comment.


Nursing Home Administrator On Probation

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State regulators have placed an Ames nursing home administrator on probation for two years, after one resident in her facility's care went missing for hours and others
engaged in sexual activity.
The Iowa Board of Nursing Home Administrators announced Monday that it had settled its case against Cynthia Gentz. Gentz had overseen the Abington on Grand facility.
Regulators say one resident left the facility once in August 2010, and again in November 2010. The resident was treated for hypothermia and frostbite in November after spending hours in the
cold. Board members say neither incident was reported.
Board members say three other residents engaged in sexual activity with one another throughout 2010. Staff believed some of the contact was consensual, but the facility had no policies to address resident-on-resident sexual abuse.



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