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Tuesday News, October 1

Congress Fails To Reach Budget Agreement --Government Offices To Shut Down

(Washington) -- Congress was unable to reach any type of compromise for the fiscal budget that starts today, and because of that, many of the U-S government agencies are shut down and closed for today.  Congressman Steve King had feared it would happen....Iowa Congressman Steve King says with a midnight deadline looming before the federal government partially shuts down because of a lack of funding, he's not seeing a mood of compromise on capitol hill between House Republicans and Senate Democrats.

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The 4th District Republican says the Senate Majority Leader isn't willing to negotiate on the federal health care plan, so the stalemate continues.

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King says even if parts of the government shutdown briefly, the damage to the economy will be minor compared to the implementation of "Obamacare".

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King says Congress is not obligated to fund the health care plan, and the President has made changes to the plan without Congressional approval, such as providing exemptions to certain groups.

Local agencies under the supervision of the federal government have their doors closed today.  They include Social Security offices, veterans affairs, and even the offices of the United States Department of Agriculture.  One federally backed agency that will be operating today is the postal service, so mail will continue without interruption.


Supervisors To Meet With Hospital Administrator

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to meet with Floyd Valley Hospital Administrator, Mike Donlin during today's weekly scheduled board meeting.  It is expected Donlin will offer the supervisors an update on the hospital expansion project.  A portion of the Local Options Sales Tax that was approved in August is slated to help finance the hospital's expansion.  County Engineer Tom Rohe will also appear before the county governing board.  He will again discuss the Smith Company road which was brought to the attention of the board, a few weeks ago.  Rohe will also update the supervisors on current construction projects.


City Council To Discuss Dogwood Additions

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council have a light agenda for today's meeting.  The council will discuss the development and zoning of Dogwood Additions, an area designated for light industrial.  The area in question lies at the corner of 12th Street Southwest and 6th Avenue Southwest.


Storm Lake Woman Abuses And Neglects Mother

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A 32-year-old Storm Lake woman has been accused of neglecting her mother and stealing from her.
Police say Erika Larios hadn't been taking her mother in for kidney dialysis and had been spending her mother's Social Security payments on herself. Police say Larios had removed her mother from a nursing home in Rock Island, Ill., and took her to Storm Lake.
Larios is charged with felony dependent adult financial abuse and dependent adult abuse causing bodily injury. State authorities have removed Larios' mother from Larios' care.
A public phone listing couldn't be found for Larios. Online court records don't list the name of her attorney in the case.


Woman Sentenced To Jail After Stealing From Past Employer

DAKOTA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A northern Iowa woman has been given jail time for stealing thousands of dollars from the welding shop where she was a bookkeeper.
36-year-old Rebecca Bottjen, of Osage, was sentenced Monday in Dakota County, Nebraska District Court to 60 days in jail and five years of probation. She was given credit for nearly 40 days already served in jail.
Bottjen had earlier pleaded guilty to five counts of theft by unlawful taking. She will need to pay restitution.
Bottjen was accused of stealing more than $67,000 from New Ideas Fabrication of Dakota City, Nebraskabetween October 2010 and February 2012. Prosecutors say she wrote checks to herself and illegally transferred money out of the company's accounts.

Judge To Consider Disciplining Attorneys For Contacting Jurors

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A judge will consider whether to sanction former attorneys for Sholom Rubashkin for contacting jurors after the verdict that landed the former kosher slaughterhouse executive in prison.
U.S. District Judge Linda Reade says the juror contacts violated a rule because they were done without permission. She'll decide Tuesday how to handle them.
Des Moines attorney Guy Cook has apologized for having an associate interview some jurors after the verdict in 2009. He says he believed Reade authorized the contacts when she told jurors they could speak with anyone or no one.
Kansas City attorney James Wyrsch authorized private investigators to contact jurors last month. In one case, Rubashkin's daughter showed up at a juror's home. Prosecutors say that was harassment.
Wyrsch said he's decided against representing Rubashkin on appeal.


U of I To Conduct Water Research With Iowa DNR

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa is linking its research on water and geological resources with the University of Iowa.
The University of Iowa and the state Department of Natural Resources have reached a cooperative agreement that will transfer some groundwater and geological research to the school's Department of Hydroscience and Engineering.
The university's new responsibilities include surveying Iowa's natural resources in all their economic and scientific aspects, as well as making topographic maps and studying the state's geological problems.
DNR Director Chuck Gipp says the agreement increases the state's capabilities to focus on geological and hydrological research, and also frees up the agency to focus on regulatory obligations.

West Des Moines Company Ordered To Pay Fines For Violating Environmental Laws

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A West Des Moines company has been ordered to pay $80,000 for violating state environmental laws when it demolished a Williamsburg truck stop.
Iowa District Court Judge Paul D. Miller assessed the civil penalty against Jai Santoshi Ma Inc. and owner Bhupen Patel.
Attorney General Tom Miller said in an April petition that Patel and his business failed to inspect for asbestos when it arranged for the demolition of the former Middle America Truck Stop in May and June of 2012. Testing later showed the demolition waste included asbestos material.
The court ordered Patel and Jai Santoshi Ma to identify and properly dispose of all asbestos-contaminated soil at the site.


State Senate Candidate Arrested For OWI

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A south Des Moines candidate for the Iowa Senate has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.
The Des Moines Register says (http://dmreg.co/17n7u4k) Tony Bisignano, a Democrat, acknowledged his mistake and took responsibility for his action.
A police report says the 61-year-old was arrested at 12:38 a.m. Monday in Altoona. The report says his blood alcohol level was 0.099 percent.
Bisignano has been arrested for operating while intoxicated twice before, most recently 12 years ago.
He's seeking the Senate seat of Democrat Jack Hatch, who is running for governor. The district includes the south side of Des Moines and the Sherman Hill neighborhood.


Register To Move Globe To Historical Museum

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The world is a nearly ready for a move down Locust Street in Des Moines.
The Des Moines Register is moving its 150-pound globe, which was a fixture in the newspaper's lobby since the 1950s, a mile east to the State Historical Museum in the city's East Village.
The Register reports (http://dmreg.co/GzD8lc ) a ceremony is planned Wednesday morning, when Register Publisher Rick Green and Mary Cownie, director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, will transfer ownership of the aluminum globe. It then will be loaded onto a truck and hauled to the museum. After being temporarily stored in the museum's basement, it will be installed in the building's lobby later this year.
The Register donated the globe after moving into new offices a few blocks from its old building.






Monday Afternoon News, September 30

Affordable Health Care Starts Tuesday -- Feds Yet To Approve Iowa Plan

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says Iowa residents will be able to sign up for a new low-income health care program starting Tuesday, even though federal authorities have yet to approve the plan.
Branstad says Monday that enrollment will start as planned. The state has applied for a waiver enabling the state to receive more federal Medicaid money for the proposed Iowa Health and Wellness Plan, a new health insurance program.
So far the waiver has not been granted and a sticking point is the use of small premiums for some plan participants.
Under the proposal, the state would take federal funding to create a new health plan for some poor residents and to pay the premiums for other low-income Iowans to get private insurance on the new health care exchanges.


Government Shutdown Could Hurt Iowa National Guard

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa National Guard spokesman says a government shutdown would idle more than 1,000 full-time National Guard employees and halt weekend training missions for thousands of soldiers if it continues into October.
Guard spokesman Col. Greg Hapgood says as of Tuesday about 1,000 workers would be furloughed out of the 2,200 full-time National Guard workers in Iowa.
Weekend soldier training missions also would stop. Thousands of soldiers undergo weekend drills and October is one of the busiest months because many are completing once a year tasks including annual physical fitness qualifications.
Gov. Terry Branstad says a federal government shutdown should have a minimal impact on the state of Iowa. He says all state offices will remain open and any disruptions that could occur would be minimized.


Guard Deployed To Colorado Flooding

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Some Iowa National Guard members are heading west to help Colorado flooding victims.
Five of the guardsmen are leaving today from the Waterloo airport. Others are leaving from Des Moines and the Quad Cities area.
Guard Col. Greg Hapgood says the soldiers include pilots, crew chiefs and aircraft fuelers who will be stationed in Aurora, Colo., for about 10 days. The helicopters are already there.
The massive flooding in the Front Range of the Rockies washed out scores of highways and county roads earlier this month. That raised the need for helicopters to carry medical help to stranded residents or to evacuate injured people


Branstad Defending Decision Not To Release Speeding Report

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is defending his administration's decision to withhold information about how many times law enforcement has checked the license plate of the governor's official vehicle.
Citing Branstad's former public safety commissioner, the Gazette newspaper in Cedar Rapids reported Saturday that the governor's vehicle plates had been run through police databases more than 20 times since 2011.
The Associated Press in July requested information showing when the plate was run. That could show whether the vehicle had been pursued or gotten out of photo-enforced speeding or red light tickets. But after agreeing to the request, the administration later said the data must be kept confidential.
Branstad claimed Monday he cannot release the information under federal law.
Two troopers have been disciplined this year for speeding while transporting Branstad.

Construction Crews Start Renovation Of Nollen Plaza

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Construction crews have begun renovation on a plaza area in downtown Des Moines.
Crews began enclosing Cowles Commons, once known as Nollen Plaza, on Monday. The process should take several days.
Des Moines Performing Arts, which is spearheading the renovation, says demolition of the existing architectural features will begin around mid-October.
The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/1fCPklk ) the renovation project is scheduled to be completed in late 2014. It includes the current fountain being replaced with two interactive fountains.


Former Employee Steals Ice Cream And Cash

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A former employee of an ice cream store has been accused of stealing money, cakes and other treats from the business.
Iowa City Police say 25-year-old Conor P. Fudge entered a downtown Cold Stone Creamery after business hours on Sept. 11 and Sept. 12. Security footage shows him taking money from a safe, as well as cakes and containers of ice cream.
The store owner says Fudge, who stopped working at the business in late August, entered with an unauthorized key. The stolen money and property was estimated at about $500.
Fudge has been charged with third-degree burglary and an aggravated misdemeanor count of third-degree theft. Court records do not list an attorney.


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