Thursday Afternoon News, June 25
(Sioux City) -- Sunday will mark the final mass services for the Our Lady of Assumption Parish located in Merrill. The church had served the people around Merrill for 122 years. Bishop Walker Nickless of the Sioux City Diocese will lead the final mass. He says it will be very emotional for the congregation and for himself.
The Catholic Bishop says Sunday's mass service will also be a way for the people to express gratitude to the parish for serving the community for so many years.
Bishop Nickless says nearly five years ago, the diocese took a strategic look at all the parishes to determine their sustainability. Bishop Nickless says many rural churches have fallen victim to declining attendance, as well as the declining number of Catholic priests able to serve the parish.
Bishop Nickless says the Catholic parish of Ellendale and St. Michael's of Sioux City will be combining by sharing a priest, and he says St. Joseph Catholic Church in Struble will become a worship center, but will not necessarily have regular Sunday masses.
Merrill Ambulance To Host "Safety Day"
(Merrill) -- Merrill Ambulance will be hosting a "Safety Day" scheduled for Saturday in conjunction with Merrill Days. Randy Luschen is the Director of the Merrill Ambulance Services, and he says the safety day will focus primarily on bicycle safety.
In addition to promoting safety, Luschen hopes the event can also serve as a recruiting platform.
Luschen explains there has been a change of location for the events from earlier published promotional fliers.
The Merrill Ambulance Director says there isn't any pre-registration with the safety event. He says there will be a drawing for two bicycles, as well as bicycle helmets.
Highway Patrol Trooper Re-assigned
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - One of three veteran Iowa State Patrol officials who were on leave during an internal investigation has been transferred to a new job.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety says Maj. Todd Misel is no longer in charge of field operations for the patrol.
Instead, he has been moved into a position in the commissioner's office overseeing the department's compliance with national law enforcement accreditation standards.
Misel and two other patrol officials were placed on paid leave in April while the department investigated whether they mishandled a state contract to purchase handguns.
The department announced earlier this month they had returned to work without discipline. The department has refused to release the findings of multiple investigations but says the three didn't commit any crimes or violate any policies.
Supreme Court Ruling On Health Insurance Subsidies Helps Iowans
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - With the U.S. Supreme Court upholding tax credits for the federal Affordable Care Act more than 38,000 Iowans will be able to continue insurance coverage with government support.
Had the court struck down the tax credits those Iowans would have lost subsidies and likely would have dropped coverage.
In Iowa, more than 45,000 Iowans use the federal insurance exchange to buy health care coverage and 86 percent of them receive tax credits to help pay premiums.
Iowa is among 34 states using a federally-facilitated model that allows state officials to maintain some management of the insurance program but allows citizens to sign up using the federal government exchange.
The challenge to the law focused on whether states without their own state exchange, like Iowa, could still offer subsidies to users.
EPA Holds Public Hearing On Renewable Fuels Standard
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Opponents of an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to reduce renewable fuel standards say the agency's indecision has slowed investment in the industry.
The EPA has proposed reducing the required volume of renewable fuels in the U.S. gasoline supply by 4 billion gallons this year and 5 billion gallons next year. The agency says Congress set the standards impossibly high in 2007 and they aren't being met.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad on Thursday accused the petroleum industry of pressuring the EPA to lower the standards through "misinformation and half-truths." He and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon joined hundreds of others addressing the EPA about the proposed changes.
American Petroleum Institute spokesman Bob Greco says the standards need to be lower because demand for renewable fuels isn't high enough to meet them.
Public Defender Submits Large Bill To State
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Waukon lawyer wants the state to pay more than $50,000 for her work in defending a man who faced drug charges.
Mary Jane White was appointed by the court to represent Matthew Florek.
Florek had faced decades in prison over accusations that he was a pseudoephedrine buyer for local meth cooks. But he only spent six months in a county jail after White negotiated a plea deal for him.
She charged the state $50,678 for 800 hours of work and expenses in the case that she called complicated. State Public Defender Adam Gregg said the fee was too costly for a drug case. He told her that his office would pay her $21,940.
White seeks the full amount and has gone to court over the matter.