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Friday Afternoon News, April 22

Legislature Appropriates Money For Capitol Dome Restoration

(Des Moines) -- The renovation of state-owned buildings and facilities was discussed at length by the Iowa legislature, but unfortunately, many of those buildings that need improvements may have to wait another year before any construction work can begin.   State Representative Chuck Holz says many legislators realize the need to renovate the State's Historical Museum, Wallace Office Building, and the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, but he says there simply isn't enough money in the budget. One building that will get a make-over is the state capitol building, specifically the iconic gold dome.  Holz says restoration efforts will begin shortly on the capitol dome.

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Holz says the funding to repair and renovate the state buildings comes from the RIF account.

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The Le Mars lawmaker says part of the problem is the state is still financing a bond issue from the Governor Culver administration.

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Senate Rejects House Plan To Ban Funding For Planned Parenthood

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Democratic-majority Senate has stripped away language in a budget bill passed by the Republican-controlled House that would remove state funding for Planned Parenthood.
The Senate voted 27-23 Friday for a roughly $1.8 billion health and human services bill that would remove language to cut Medicaid funding for family planning facilities that provide abortions. Medicaid provides health services for about 560,000 poor and disabled residents.
Democrats say the proposal would make Iowa ineligible for federal dollars. Republicans say they don't want to support abortion providers and there are other options available.
The Senate would also add more state oversight of Medicaid, which switched recently to private management. Democrats say an oversight plan by the House isn't enough.
A special legislative committee is expected to sort out differences in the bill.

 

 

 

 

Iowa And Minnesota Look To Help Each Other On Medical Marijuana Issue

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Officials in Iowa and Minnesota are exploring a system to allow Iowa residents to buy medical marijuana from their northern neighbor, lawmakers from both states have told The Associated Press. 
Iowa's Legislature has struggled this year to expand a 2014 law that legalized marijuana oils for patients suffering seizures but left them nowhere to buy it. Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer said Friday an agreement with Minnesota is one option they're now considering.
Minnesota's program launched last summer. The novel setup could bring more patients to the two companies in Minnesota that are struggling with low enrollment.
But it would also raise some federal concerns. And it could pit Iowa residents with long drives to the closest dispensary in Rochester, Minnesota - three hours northeast of Des Moines.

 

 

 

 

Supreme Court Awards Decision In Favor Of Iowa Department Of Human Services

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court has handed a victory to the Iowa Department of Human Services in a dispute over cuts in payments made to a group of Medicaid service providers in 2011.
The dispute occurred after then-Gov. Chet Culver ordered 10 percent budget cuts for state agencies in 2009 and the Legislature passed a bill in 2010 continuing those cuts into the 2011 state fiscal year. The DHS, however, neglected to carry over a portion of those cuts - a 2.5 percent inflation adjustment - into its administrative rules which set service provider payments.
Service providers sued claiming the administrative rules govern rates and the Iowa Court of Appeals agreed.
The Supreme Court on Friday, however, said statutes enacted by the Legislature prevail over administrative rules when there are conflicts.

 

 

 

 

Grassley Admits To Having A Tough Re-election Race

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Sen. Charles Grassley acknowledges he's facing his toughest re-election race in decades.
The Republican seeking a seventh Senate term says more than his Democratic opposition, he thinks the presidential race could present challenges.
Grassley, back in Iowa Friday to meet with civic groups, schools and businesses, says he doesn't know how his support will be affected if billionaire businessman Donald Trump is the Republican nominee.
He equates the race to 1980 when many assumed Ronald Reagan would hurt down-ticket Republicans. It didn't turn out that way. Grassley says he received 100,000 more votes than Reagan in Iowa.
Grassley hasn't lost a general election in 50 years and typically wins with more than 60 percent of the vote.
Democrats running include former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge and state Sen. Rob Hogg.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

 


   

Friday News, April 22

Le Mars Police Release Information Regarding Vehicle Accident

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police have released information regarding an accident that occurred Wednesday afternoon at the intersection of 2nd Avenue Southeast and 4th Street Southeast.  The accident happened after 4:00 p.m. According to the traffic report, 43 year old Victor Ruedas Tinoco of Pharr, Texas, was driving eastbound on 4th Street southeast and 46 year old Stacy Hoffman of Le Mars was traveling northbound on 2nd Avenue southeast.  Hoffman says she did not see the Ruedas Tinoco vehicle when the two vehicles collided at the intersection.  Hoffman hit the Ruedas Tinoco vehicle on the passenger side.  There were no injuries associated with the accident.

 

 

 

 

Joy Hollow Log Cabin To Be Focus Of Museum's Annual Meeting

Le Mars) -- The Joy Hollow log cabin is getting a new roof.  Niehus Construction of Le Mars is now installing a new cedar shingle roof on Joy Hollow Log Cabin, the cabin acquired last summer from the Plymouth County Fair by the Plymouth County Historical Museum.
The cabin, now entering its final phase of renovation, will be the subject for the Museum’s 52nd annual meeting at 6 p.m., Thursday, May 12.
Reservations for the annual meeting and pioneer meal are due at the Museum by Thursday, May 5. Those wishing to attend the meeting may contact the Museum at 546-7002, or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
The theme of “Cabin Fever” will recognize the acquisition of Joy Hollow Log Cabin to the Museum property. Catering the 6 p.m. event will be Timmy’s, who will offer a pioneer meal of homemade beef stew, cornbread, coleslaw, dessert, coffee, ice tea, and water, all for $10.
The Rev. Dr. Jean Ziettlow of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Le Mars will offer the table grace. Special piano music also is planned. Middle school students are planning History Day displays.
Headlining the program of “Cabin Fever” will be Dale and Sue Morrow of Morrow’s Housemoving, Jackson, Nebraska. The Morrows moved Joy Hollow Log Cabin to the Museum grounds on June 5, 2015, and will be explaining how the husband-wife team worked together on the project.
Tentative plans also call for Mark Johnson of Artisan Restoration to address the crowd about the restoration of the cabin that he completed last summer through the chinking of logs and other measures.
New members will be voted onto the board of directors for a three-year term. Nominees are being sought from throughout the county. If you are interested in joining the board, please contact the Museum: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; or 546-7002.
Also during the annual meeting, Ruth Steunenberg, president of the board, will conduct a brief business meeting. Volunteer awards also will be presented.

 

 

 

 

Holz Believes Legislature Will Finish Session Next Week

(Le Mars) -- The Iowa Legislature was to have adjourn the session this past Tuesday, but the House and the Senate still are still a part on some budget items.  However, Le Mars Republican State Representative Chuck Holz believes the lawmakers will finish up their work sometime next week.

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Holz says lawmakers are working in conference committees to bring the two sides together on the remaining budget items.

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Holz says the Health and Human Services bill passed along party lines as the Democrats were wanting to add more money to the department, but he says Republicans were wanting to hold the line on the spending.
Water quality was an issue that was brought forward by Governor Branstad during his "State of the State" address back in January, in part due to the pending litigation by the Des Moines Water Works as they are attempting to sue Buena Vista, Sac, and Calhoun counties for higher than normal nitrate levels.  Holz says if lawmakers are not able to agree on where and how to fund water quality initiatives, then the Le Mars legislator says it will be first on the agenda for next legislative session.

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Regents Agree To Increase Room And Board Rates

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Room and board costs will increase at Iowa's three public universities.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen  reports the Iowa Board of Regents voted unanimously Thursday to approve the price hikes that will go into effect next school year.
Under the new plan, the most popular room and meal plans will now cost $9,301 at the University of Iowa, $8,356 at Iowa State University and $8,629 at the University of Northern Iowa.
The proposed costs reflect a 2.9 percent increase over last year at the UI and a 3.5 percent increase at ISU and UNI.
Some board members said they didn't want to see similar increases next year. Board president Bruce Rastetter urged the universities to make joint food purchases in order to decrease costs.
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Fundraising Continues For Jester Park Near Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Fundraising is continuing for the $10 million nature center at Jester Park that's intended to become Polk County's gateway to the outdoors.
$7.5 million already has been committed, leaving $2.5 million to be raised from private sources before the final design and construction.
The park sits northwest of Des Moines, along the northwest side of Saylorville Lake.
The center will include a 17,000-square-foot hub with classrooms, environmental displays and equipment rentals for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, fishing and collecting insects or marine life. There also will be an art gallery, exhibit hall and conference rooms.
The goal is to begin construction next year and open the nature center April 22, 2018 - Earth Day.
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