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Thursday Afternoon News, April 21

House Republicans Say No To D-O-T Salary Raises

(Des Moines) -- Republicans in the Iowa House say the Iowa D-O-T got a significant budget boost when the state gas tax went up a dime-a-gallon last year -- and the agency should reallocate money within its budget to pay for negotiated employee pay raises. Representative Daniel Huseman (HYOOZ-man), a Republican from Aurelia, says this is a "tough budget year" and other state agencies will have to do that.

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Iowa D-O-T officials say without the extra money, up to 400 employees will be laid off, plus some of the state's Driver's License stations and D-O-T maintenance garages will have to be closed. Lee Wilkinson, director of the D-O-T's operations and finance division, isn't saying which locations might be targeted.

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Wilkinson says the D-O-T cannot use any of the additional gas tax revenue to cover salaries, because of legislative action in 2015 that barred the practice.


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The House Appropriations Committee met last night (Wednesday) and voted to remove the money for D-O-T salary hikes that Senators had included in a transportation budget bill.

 

 

 

Clay County Fair To Construct New Exhibit Hall

(Spencer)-- Members of the Clay County Fair Executive Committee broke ground yesterday, on two capital improvement projects totaling nearly $750,000 that will dramatically transform the Clay County Fairgrounds for years to come.
The first project is the construction of a new 12,000 square foot exhibit building east of the Creative Living Center.  The new exhibit building will provide additional commercial and competitive exhibit space beginning with the 2017 Fair, as well as new restroom facilities for the east end of the fairgrounds.
Clay County Fair Manager and CEO Jeremy Parsons talks about the new commercial exhibit building.

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Parsons says he feels the new exhibit building will become an 'anchor' to the east end of the fairgrounds, providing quality exhibit space and restrooms. He says the  porch along the north side will also provide a great place for fairgoers to sit and rest.

The second project is a complete rebuild and expansion of the Fair's electrical grid in the "Food Row" area south of the Grandstand.  The project, which will be completed with assistance from Spencer Municipal Utilities, will allow the Fair to handle the increased electrical demands of the food concessionaires.

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Parsons says burying the electrical grid underground will also serve as a huge aesthetic improvement to the Fair. Both projects are part of the Fair's "Centennial Vision," the multi-year, multi-million dollar renovation of the Clay County Fairgrounds that was announced in 2014.  The goal of "Centennial Vision" is to make the Fairgrounds a shining jewel for not only the Fair's Centennial in 2017, but for its next 100 years of use. Several "Centennial Vision" projects have been completed since 2014 including new white vinyl fencing around the North Parking Lot and campgrounds; the renovation and restoration of Historic Main Gate A, as well as new landscaping and seating areas; new aluminum bleachers in the Grandstand Annex; and an overhaul of the Outdoor Arena new permanent fencing and gates, new lighting, and bleacher repair.

 

 

 

Roll-Over Accident Claims Life Of A 15 Year Old Girl

(Sioux City) -- One teenager was killed and two others injured Wednesday evening in a one vehicle rollover crash in Sioux City. Sioux City Police say the car driven by a 15 year old girl went out of control in the 4000 block of 28th Street, left the road, and struck a dirt embankment and rolled.  The three teens were taken to Mercy Medical Center, where a 15 year old female passenger was pronounced dead.  The driver, and a 15 year old male passenger were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.  The names of the victims have not been released and the accident remains under investigation.

 

 

 

American Red Cross To Distribute Fire Alarms To Homes

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Volunteers will fan out across some Sioux City neighborhoods later this month to install hundreds of smoke detectors.
The American Red Cross event on April 30 is the first of such scale in the city, involving more than 100 volunteers visiting about 1,600 homes. Fire officials say the neighborhoods were chosen because fire call data show the neighborhoods have a disproportionate number of fires. 
Teams will have three to five volunteers per group. They'll talk to residents about fire safety while one of the volunteers installs a detector.
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Thursday News, April 21

Three Vehicles Collide At Rural Intersection

(Le Mars) -- Three vehicles collided Wednesday morning at the intersection of County roads C-38 and K-22 about eight miles southwest of Le Mars.  The accident happened at about 10:15 a.m. 36 year old Kari Robinson of Akron was traveling southbound on county road K-22 when 68 year old Russell Martin of Elk Point, South Dakota was heading east-bound on C-38.  Martin had thought the intersection was a four-way stop.  He pulled out into the intersection striking the Robinson vehicle which made the Robinson vehicle spin and strike a pick up truck being driven by 20 year old Andrew Brown of Merrill. Brown was heading northbound on K-22, but was wanting to make a left-hand turn heading westbound on C-38.  Brown had stopped at the intersection and was waiting for the two vehicles to pass.  During the accident, the weather conditions were rainy and foggy.  Both the Robinson and Brown vehicles sustained major damage and the two vehicles appeared to be totaled, Plymouth County Sheriff's deputies indicated there were only minor injuries and none were  thought to be life-threatening injuries. Robinson was transported by the Le Mars Ambulance Service to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City.  Also responding to the accident were the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department and also the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office.  Plymouth County Sheriff's deputies are investigating the accident.

 

 

 


Iowa State Patrol To Watch Teen Driving Habits During Prom And Graduation Season

(Le Mars) -- This time of year a teenage driver's thoughts often turn to high school proms and graduations.  But according to officials with the Iowa State Patrol, it is also one of the deadliest times when teen age drivers are involved with an accident.

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Trooper Vince Kurtz says the Iowa State Patrol has kicked off the "I got caught" campaign that offers incentives and rewards to teenage drivers who are doing the correct things as it relates to driving.

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Kurtz says the program has helped teen age drivers become more aware of their driving habits, and many times it encourages the teen drivers to make good decisions when it comes to their driving.

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Senate Democrats Critical Of Privatized Medicaid Program

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Members of a legislative committee in the Democratic-majority Senate say they're hearing multiple reports of problems with Iowa's Medicaid program under private management.
Lawmakers in the Senate Human Resources Committee said Wednesday they've received complaints from Medicaid service providers and program recipients. Those complaints range from questions over rejected claims and confusion about coverage.
Lawmakers say the problems conflict with reports from Gov. Terry Branstad's office and others that there have been no serious problems since three insurance companies took over Medicaid on April 1.
A Branstad spokesman says positive reports from the governor's office are directly from Medicaid patients. State officials and representatives for the insurance companies say they'll investigate any ongoing complaints.
The $4.2 billion Medicaid program provides health care to about 560,000 poor and disabled Iowa residents.

 

 

 

 

House Republicans Pass Legislation To Ban Funding For Planned Parenthood

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Republican-controlled Iowa House has passed a health and human services bill for the next budget that would remove state funding for Planned Parenthood.
The chamber voted 56-42 Wednesday for the legislation, which is expected to hit roadblocks in the Democratic-majority Senate over a proposal to remove Medicaid funding for family planning facilities that provide abortions. The bill is expected to be resolved through a special legislative committee.
The House voted after a debate that began Tuesday night.
Lawmakers continue to pass bills that will make up the budget that goes into effect in July, but there's growing conflict about some decisions.
Wednesday marks the first day lawmakers are working without reimbursement payments for expenses like food and housing. The date is often seen as a deadline for adjournment activity.

 

 

 

 

Motorcycle Driver Identified

 

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have identified the man who fled from police on a motorcycle and died after a crash in Council Bluffs.
Police say an Iowa Transportation Department officer was trying to pull over two motorcyclists around 10:20 p.m. Tuesday near the Pottawattamie County Jail when they sped away.
Police say 18-year-old Lance McCormick lost control of his motorcycle, struck a curb and then a fence. He was ejected.
The other motorcyclist raced away.
Police say McCormick was injured and later died at a Council Bluffs hospital.
Police say the motorcycle was stolen.



 








 

 


   

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