Home News Tuesday Afternoon News, December 22

Tuesday Afternoon News, December 22

Space Heater The Cause Of The Fatal Spencer Fire

SPENCER, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say a space heater caused a fire at a trailer in northwest Iowa where a body was found.
The Spencer Fire Department says the heater ignited combustible materials that caused the fire Saturday afternoon.
The body of the occupant was found after the blaze was extinguished. The occupant’s name has not been released.
The state medical examiner’s office is handling the autopsy.





Attorney For Three Counties Being Sued For Nitrate Levels Ask The Case Be Dismissed

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A lawyer representing three Iowa drainage districts has asked for a partial dismissal of a lawsuit against the counties filed by Des Moines Water Works.
The water utility company filed the lawsuit in March, claiming that the counties’ boards of supervisors are violating the federal Clean Water Act by not doing enough to reduce the amount of nitrates in water that runs into the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers and their tributaries. The utility is seeking damages of more than $1.4 million.
Attorney Michael Reck argued in court Monday that eight counts filed against Buena Vista, Sac and Calhoun counties should be dismissed because drainage districts can’t regulate the actions of landowners within their borders and cannot be held accountable for their actions.





Holz Appointed To Iowa House Agriculture Committee

(Le Mars) — Newly elected republican state representative, Chuck Holz says he is excited and anxious for the start of the Iowa legislative session.  Legislators will begin work starting January 11th.  Holz is entering his first term of the state office. He told KLEM news that he has been appointed to the House Agriculture, the House Commerce, the House Economic Development, and the House Transportation Committees.  The retired veterinarian believes nitrate run-off into streams and rivers, may surface as a topic of interest within the Iowa House Agriculture Committee.  Holz believes the real concern is if the Des Moines Water Works is successful with it lawsuit against Buena Vista, Sac, and Calhoun counties, then it may set forth a dangerous precedent.

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Holz says more investigation is needed on the issue.  Holz favors the continuation of landowners trying to reduce nitrates on their own, instead of state regulations being imposed on landowners.

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Holz says how much nitrate run-off occurs can also depend largely upon Mother Nature with the timing and amount of rainfall.  Holz says nitrate levels tend to spike following a heavy spring rain.

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Children Insured Under the HAWK-I Program May Not Have Insurance After January 1

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Lawmakers say a delay in privatization of Iowa’s Medicaid program means that most of the 37,000 children enrolled in a special health care program must transition to a new insurance carrier by the new year.
Iowa terminated its contract with two companies that managed the hawk-i program, anticipating that the state’s Medicaid program would be almost completely privatized by Jan. 1.
Last week, the federal government rejected that target date, saying Iowa was not ready for the transition. 
Iowa asked UnitedHealthcare and Wellmark to extend their contracts, but Wellmark declined.
Iowa Medicaid Director Mikki Stier said Monday about 75 percent of the program’s children are currently insured through Wellmark.
Board members for hawk-i said they would help Iowa persuade Wellmark to extend its contract.





Grassley Says National Spending Is Getting Out Of Hand

(New Hartford) — Prior to going home for the Christmas break, both the U-S Senate and the U-S House of Representatives passed a spending bill that exceeds $1.6 trillion.  Many people wonder how will the United States ever get itself out of debt, if Congress continues to pass legislation that expands the spending level and national debt?  Iowa Republicans Chuck Grassley in the Senate, and Steve King in the House both voted against the measure.

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Grassley says the situation is improving, but ever so slightly.

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Grassley says Republicans in both chambers should have stuck together on their principals.

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Iowa’s Population Sees Slow, Modest, Growth

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa’s population grew at a modest rate to 3.12 million this year, but the growth rate trailed behind the national rate.
The U.S. Census Bureau released new estimates Tuesday showing state and national populations as of July 1.
Iowa’s population grew by 14,418, or 0.5 percent, over last year’s total of 3.11 million.
The national population grew 0.8 percent to 321.4 million between last year and this year.
Iowa remains 30th in population among the states.
Iowa lost a U.S. House seat after the 2010 Census because the state’s population grew more slowly than other states. So the state’s current four House seats are likely safe even with Iowa’s continued slow growth.