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Friday Afternoon News, December 14

Le Mars Ambulance Responds To More Calls

(Le Mars) -- The number of calls the Le Mars Ambulance Service has responded to this year is greater than the number of calls from last year.  According to the quarterly report, the Le Mars Ambulance Service had 237 calls from September 1st to November 30th of this year.  A year ago, during the same quarter, the Le Mars Ambulance responded to 155 calls.  Year to date numbers show the ambulance service has been called to offer aid 861 times, where as a year ago figures show the ambulance responded to a total of 683 calls.  The numbers indicate an increase of 26 percent.  During the quarter, the new 2012 Life-Line ambulance was delivered and placed into service.  The 2004 unit was traded-in and the 2008 ambulance was transferred to become the back-up unit.

 

Branstad Announces State-Federal Exchange For Health Insurance

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has informed the federal government that Iowa will create a state-federal partnership exchange to help Iowans buy health insurance, a requirement of the federal health care law.
Branstad sent the letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday. That was the deadline for states to declare whether they will pursue a state-based exchange, accept a
federal takeover or seek some kind of combined approach.
Branstad cited the cost of a state-based exchange as a key factor in his decision to reject that option. He says the state-federal model will allow Iowa to keep some control over its health care system and minimize costs.

 

Accountant Suggests To Save Money Now Because of Financial Cliff

(Des Moines) -- An Iowa financial consultant says we should start setting aside more savings in case that so-called fiscal cliff can't be avoided by Congress. Jeff Strawhacker, a longtime C-P-A in West Des Moines, says he's not optimistic our national leaders will come up with a valid compromise plan to avoid the large, looming tax increases before the year is out.
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Federal taxes could be taking a much larger bite from our paychecks as of January 1st and Strawhacker says if you're not already saving money for a rainy day, it's a wise practice to start, fiscal cliff or not.

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Strawhacker, who focuses his accounting business on financial consulting and tax planning, says there's plenty of partisan bickering in Washington, so he's none too confident in members of Congress.

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The "fiscal cliff" involves a series of 500-billion dollars in tax increases and 200-billion in budget cuts which are scheduled to automatically take effect on or around January 1st. Without action by Congress and the White House, some analysts fear the financial jolt could prompt a recession.

 

Administrative Judge Must Testify As To Pressured By Warden

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court says an administrative law judge must testify about whether pressure from a warden influenced her decision to punish an inmate who committed
assault.
The court ruled Friday that Iowa Department of Corrections administrative law judge Deb Edwards must comply with a watchdog's subpoena to answer questions about her discipline of inmate Randy
Linderman.
The department had limited Edwards' testimony in an investigation by the state ombudsman's office, arguing that judges cannot be questioned about their decision-making process.
Edwards had found Linderman guilty of assaulting a guard and imposed a 180-day loss-of-earned-time penalty, twice as harsh as state policy allowed.
The court says it is troubled by an e-mail sent by the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility warden to Edwards asking for stiff sanctions before her ruling.


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