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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
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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.
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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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Monday News, September 30

MenuMasters Raises $28,500

(Le Mars) -- More than $28,500 was raised for the Le Mars Community School District through the efforts of the second annual MenuMasters event held Saturday evening at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds.  Attendees had the opportunity to sample more than 30 different food items from 30 teams of chefs.  Appetizers...beverages...entree's...and desserts were all served.  Team Shockers was voted by the attendees as having the best appetizer.  The Best Dessert was awarded to Family Tree Lawn Care Service.  Le Mars Physical Therapy with its "I pulled my butt" pork loin won the Best Entree entry.  The Best Theme was awarded to Lederman Bail Bonds Service, which featured a jail bird behind bars, complete with handcuffs, ankle restraints, and outfitted with a convict horizontal stripped outfit.  The crowd of more than 600 people chose Primebank as having the Best Food as it was served by Cole Sitzmann and Mark Schmidt with their "Cole Cash Slaw".


Plymouth County K-9 Unit Helps With Drug Arrest

(Le Mars) --  The Plymouth County Sheriff's Office K-9 unit conducted a traffic stop at the intersection of Highway 75 and County Road C-80.  That traffic stop was made last Saturday.  As a result of the stop, Jeffery McDaniels, age 30, of Cherokee, Iowa, was placed under arrest for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.  He was booked into the Plymouth County jail.


Deputies Make An Arrest For Domestic Assault And Drug Paraphernalia

(Le Mars) -- Last Monday, the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office responded to 41696 100th Street for a report of a domestic dispute.  As a result of an investigation conducted, Lauren Goss, Age 19, of Alton, Iowa, was placed under arrest for domestic assault and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) Goes Into Effect Tuesday

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Starting Tuesday, uninsured Iowa residents can start using the new online marketplaces created under President Barack Obama's health care law to compare and buy health insurance plans.
After years of debate and preparation, the consumer launch day of the biggest new social welfare program in a generation has arrived. About 264,000 Iowa residents without insurance could benefit.
Just how many people will immediately participate is unclear. While Iowa is not a state where political opponents of the law are trying to impede implementation, state officials say there is still work to be done to explain the law to the public.  Not all the education, assistance and marketing efforts will be fully ready in Iowa on day one.
Iowa City Senator Joe Bolkcom calls it a "massive undertaking to educate Iowans."

 

Better Business Bureau Warns Against Healthcare Scam

(Des Moines) -- Iowans are being warned about a scam involving the federal government's Affordable Care Act, a large portion of which will launch next week. Con artists are calling homes, saying they're ready to send your Obamacare card, all they need is your personal information. Kimberly Hazen with the Better Business Bureau, says these are the latest in the long-running string of health care "phishing" scams.

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Callers may claim they need your Medicare, banking or personal information to get you your coverage. Hazen says it's highly unlikely Medicare or anyone from the federal government is really calling you.

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Hazen says the best response to these calls is to hang up, or to make some calls yourself to learn more.

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If you repeatedly get these calls, contact your local authorities or contact the Better Business Bureau via www.bbb.org.

 

Harkin Blasts Texas Senator Cruz For Comments

(Washington) -- Iowa Senator Tom Harkin has drawn national attention for remarks he made on the Senate floor Friday. Harkin, a Democrat who helped craft the Affordable Care Act, accused "minority" Republicans pushing for a government shut-down over "ObamaCare" of stirring up passions and putting the country at risk.
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Harkin's comments are being played and replayed on television newscasts and featured in dozens of national stories about the showdown in Washington. Harkin referred to Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz and other Tea Party favorites as a "small group of willful" politicians who didn't get their way in the 2012 election.

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Harkin further explains their position.

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Earlier last week when he spent more than 21 hours speaking on the senate floor, Senator Cruz compared modern-day "pundits" who say "ObamaCare" can't be "defunded" to the Nazi appeasers of the 1940s. Harkin has referred to Cruz's speech-a-thon as a "tirade."


Southwest Airlines Helping Lower Air Fares At Des Moines Airport

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - One year after Southwest Airlines began flying out of Des Moines, airfares at the airport are cheaper.
Airport Director Don Smithey credits Southwest for the lower fares because other airlines adjusted prices to compete.
The U.S. Transportation Department says Des Moines' airfare fell 6.9 percent between the first quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013.
That was the third-largest drop in the U.S. at a time when airfares were increasing in most places.
Southwest began offering twice-a-day flights from Des Moines to Chicago last September. The discount airline added a daily flight to Las Vegas on Sunday.

 

Iowa Farmers Allowed To Carry Heavier Loads During Harvest

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa farmers will be able to carry heavier loads of corn, soybeans and other items for the next two months.
Gov. Terry Branstad signed a proclamation Friday allowing the heavier loads, a move Iowa governors usually take in the fall.
The proclamation allows people to haul loads of soybeans, corn, hay, straw, silage and stover up to 90,000 pounds of gross weight without a permit for 60 days. The temporary allowance doesn't apply to interstate highways.
The move is intended to help farmers efficiently move crops after harvest.

 

Northey Encourages People To Visit Apple Orchids

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's agriculture secretary is encouraging residents to visit apple orchards around the state.
Bill Northey says it's been near perfect weather for the state's apple trees. He added that growers are reporting apples are maturing a little ahead of normal schedule, so now is a great time to visit a farm.
Northey says an orchard visit is a great way to enjoy the autumn weather and try new varieties of apples that may not be offered at a local grocery store.
A list of apple growers can be found on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship website.


Fire Destroys Family Home - Second Time Family Loses Home

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A fire destroyed an Iowa couple's home and forced them to relocate nine years after a flood made their previous home unlivable.
Keith and Judy Steger's in Delaware County was damaged by fire on Friday after something on the stove caught fire.
The Stegers and their seven children spent the weekend trying to salvage what they could from the home.
In 2004, the Stegers lost their home in Elkader to flooding.
The couple's son, Jeremy Steger, says it's hard to express what it's like to lose a home. He says the family just has to keep moving forward.
For now, the Stegers are planning to live in another building on their property.


Elderly Sex Offender Still Waiting For Trial

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - More than two years after an elderly convicted sex offender confessed to sexually assaulting a fellow nursing home resident, 85-year-old William Cubbage still hasn't been tried.
The 95-year-old woman Cubbage is accused of assaulting at the Pomeroy Care Center in 2011 died later and her family sued the state and accused officials of failing to protect the public.
Cubbage is being held by the Iowa Department of Corrections until a trial can be held to determine if he should be recommitted to the state's sex offender unit.
Attorney General spokesman Geoff Greenwood says the family's lawsuit isn't a factor in Cubbage's delayed trial. Instead, he says issued like the death of the Calhoun County prosecutor and schedule conflicts for lawyers and experts forced the trial to be delayed until March.
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