Thursday News, March 14
Catholics Delighted Over The Selection of New Pope
(Sioux City) -- Catholics around the world are celebrating after the Vatican announced the election of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to the papacy - making him the first pontiff from the Americas.
The new Pope selected the name Francis the first, which Bishop R. Walker Nickless of the Sioux City Diocese says shows his "humbleness":
Bishop Nickless says the Hispanic members of the Catholic Church are overjoyed with Bergoglio's selection as the new pontiff:
Bishop Nickless believes caring for the poor will be a high priority for the new pope:
The Bishop says he is looking forward to meeting the 76 year old Pope Francis for the first time.
Nickless says he was a little surprised by the age of the new pontiff, but after watching him address the gathered masses, he believes the right man was selected.
Living Last Supper Offered In Le Mars
(Le Mars) -- Experience the Lenten season in a new and meaningful way this year when the Presbyterian United Church of Christ hosts the living last supper drama "Lord is it I?" The presentation is being made by a group of men from Sheldon United Methodist Church as part of their outreach ministry. The cast members recreate the scene from Leonardo Da Vinci's famous Last Supper painting, then listen to Jesus' statement that one of them, his closest friends, will betray him. In turn they each think aloud of who it could be, ultimately focusing on themselves and asking the dreadful question, "Lord, is it I?" The event begins at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 17th at the Presbyterian United Church of Christ, at 858 7th Avenue, in Le Mars. Communion for the congregation is incorporated into the presentation, which also includes music by the Circuit Riders, a men's quartet from the Sheldon United Methodist Church. Sheldon's Living Last Supper ministry marks its 28th consecutive year in 2013.
College Planning Seminar Scheduled For Monday
(Le Mars) -- High school juniors and their parents can learn about planning for college during a free presentation offered by Le Mars Community High School and Iowa College Access Network (ICAN). The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 18 in the high school cafeteria of Le Mars High School. During the presentation, students and parents will receive answers to questions on topics including the admission process and requirements, college selection, and campus visits, the application process, understanding costs and cost of attendance, scholarships and making successful transitions to college. Jessica Schultz, ICAN senior outreach representative says "this presentation is very helpful to juniors and parents who are unsure exactly what steps they need to take to get ready for college." She says, "as students get closer to graduation, they and their families often find the entire process confusing. This information clears up that confusion so families know what to do." For more information about the presentation, students and parents should contact either Barry Borchers or Nicki Addison at the Le Mars High School by calling (712) 546-7028.
Woodbury County Settles Suit Over Strip Search
(Sioux City) -- - Woodbury County officials have decided to settle lawsuits filed over strip searches at the county jail.
Woodbury County Board Chairman Larry Clausen says the board settled rather than risk trial and possibly pay more to complainants and their attorneys.
Three women arrested on misdemeanor charges say they were forced to take off their clothes in view of male jailers during incidents in 2006 and 2007.
In the settlement, Maureen Rattray, of South Sioux City, Neb., was paid $335,000. Lori Mathes received $40,000 and Lisa Lambert $10,000. Dismissal papers were filed Tuesday.
In 2011 a U.S. District Court jury awarded Rattray more than $250,000, but that verdict was overturned and a retrial ordered because of inconsistencies in the verdict form.
ISAC Conference Being Held In Des Moines
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - More than 700 Iowa county officials are gathering in Des Moines for a conference focused on training and networking.
The Iowa State Association of Counties will meet Thursday and Friday at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown for the 70th Spring School of Instruction gathering.
Organizers say presentations will cover health care reform, workers' compensation, government spending and tourism. Participants also will learn about important legislative issues
concerning county operations and finances.
County officials are expected to review and approve the association's budget for the next fiscal year. Plymouth County Attorney, Darin Raymond serves as the President of the Iowa State Association of Counties.
House Approves Flat-Tax Option
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A proposal to give taxpayers the option of paying a flat income tax has the support of the Republican-controlled Iowa House.
The legislation was approved Wednesday in a 53 to 46 party-line vote.
The plan says taxpayers could pay a 4.5 percent tax on income instead of the current progressive tax. Most deductions and credits wouldn't be available to those paying the flat tax.
Supporters argue such a system would simplify the process. Opponents say a flat tax provides costly breaks to the affluent.
Lawmakers in the House amended the bill to include another proposal to use surplus budget funds to give credits to taxpayers. The surplus has been estimated at up to $800 million.
The legislation now moves to the Democratic-majority Senate, where it has little chance of support.
State Senate Approves Bill For Additional Mental Health Funding
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State senators approved a bill that would give some counties a share of $11.6 million to continue treatment of mental health patients as the state transitions to a
The Senate approved the measure Wednesday by a 40 to 5 vote with some Republicans and Democrats against the bill, which aids 26 of the 32 counties seeking extra funding to get them through this fiscal year.
The one-time appropriation now goes to Gov. Terry Branstad for his signature. Branstad earlier voiced support for $3.8 million, a figure recommended by the Department of Human Services.
Sen. Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids spoke in support of the bill Wednesday, saying such a level of funding is needed because the mental health services in the state are approaching a "crisis
Branstad To Take A Vacation
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is taking a little break from budget debates to take a family trip to Arizona.
Spokesman Tim Albrecht says Branstad will leave Friday and return March 23rd.
Albrecht calls the trip an annual spring break vacation for Branstad and his family. Albrecht declined to provide Branstad's exact destination.
Albrecht says Branstad checks in daily with staff when he is out of town.
The Legislature will continue its work while the governor is away.