Thursday News, November 5
Le Mars Conducting A Housing Survey
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council heard a report from Simpco representatives on Tuesday regarding a housing survey that is currently being coordinated by the government consulting agency. Kirk Lehmann, the Community and Economic Development Planner for SIMPCO says the housing survey is to analyze Le Mars' status needs for housing.
Lehmann says anybody can participate in the housing study.
The Simpco official explains the type of questions featured on the housing study.
Lehmann says the city conducted a similar study ten year ago. He says the results indicated Le Mars would need to have additional housing developments in order to accommodate the growing community. He believes this year's study may show similar results.
Lehmann has already begun collecting and analyzing the data. He says surveys need to be returned to Simpco prior to November 30th in order for him to complete the document for the city council's review in January. Lehmann says the housing surveys can be obtained from either the city's or Simpco's websites, or a printed hard copy is available at the Le Mars Public Library.
State Main Street Officials Are In Le Mars To Discuss Second Story Housing
(Le Mars) -- Main Street Iowa staff will be in Le Mars on Thursday, November 5th to talk about second floor housing in downtown Le Mars buildings. A presentation called “Pigeons and Profits” will be shown. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. There is no charge to attend, but participants are asked to contact the Le Mars Chamber office.
Organizations Can Apply For Hotel/Motel Tax Grants
(Le Mars) -- Local non-profit and not-for profit organizations have the opportunity to apply for grants through the Le Mars Convention and Visitors Bureau Hotel/Motel sales tax program. Jessica Brownmiller, the Le Mars Convention and Visitors Bureau manager says a total of $40,000 is available for the grant program. Projects must not begin until July 1, 2016, and must be completed by June 30th of 2017. Preference is given to projects with a tourism or event scope of work. Organizations receiving CVB hotel/motel funds cannot request additional funding toward the same project from the Le Mars City Council. Since the incorporation of the five percent hotel/motel sales tax in Le Mars, more than $1,512,000 in grant funds have been awarded to a variety of projects. Applications are due in the city hall office no later than Tuesday, December 15th, 2015 for consideration.
People Have Opportunity To Speak At Hearing About Proposed Pipeline
BOONE, Iowa (AP) - A regulatory board overseeing the potential approval of an oil pipeline across Iowa has established a sign-up process for people who want to comment on the project at an upcoming hearing.
The Iowa Utilities Board says people should contact their offices Thursday or Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to alert officials of any intention to speak at a Nov. 12 public hearing in Boone. Time will be allotted for a little over 200 people to speak at a maximum of two minutes each.
The hearing at the Boone County Fairgrounds is expected to last several hours. Unscheduled speakers may speak at the end if there's time.
The pipeline would transfer crude oil through 18 Iowa counties and parts of North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois.
Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Branstad For Closing Mental Health Institutions
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Governor Terry Branstad that challenged his decision to close two state mental health centers this year.
Polk County District Judge Douglas Staskal issued a ruling Tuesday that approved a request by state attorneys to throw out the lawsuit.
The suit was filed by the head of Iowa's largest public employees union and 20 Democratic lawmakers. It claimed that closing the centers in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant was illegal because Iowa law requires the state to operate them.
Tuesday's ruling says Branstad had the authority to veto financial support for such centers.
Mark Hedberg, an attorney representing the lawmakers and the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, says he will appeal the ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court.
Des Moines Woman Operating Pain Clinic Accused Of Defrauding Medicaid & Medicare
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A defense lawyer says a woman who runs a Des Moines pain relief clinic will fight accusations that she defrauded Medicare and Medicaid.
Polk County prosecutors have filed theft, fraud and other charges against Louann Hart, who runs Partners In Healthcare. Her attorney, Guy Cook, says Hart denies any wrongdoing and will plead not guilty.
Prosecutors say Hart filed false insurance claims for drug testing and psychological testing and falsified records in support of the claims. The charges say her actions led to more than $165,000 in inappropriate costs to Medicaid and more than $10,000 in inappropriate costs to Medicare.
State officials suspended Medicaid payments to the clinic in July, citing fraud allegations.