Home News Wednesday Afternoon News, September 15th

Wednesday Afternoon News, September 15th


Le Mars Community School To Continue With No Mask Mandate As Other Iowa Schools Go Back To Wearing Masks

(Le Mars) — Several changes have occurred within the last few days regarding the use of masks and face coverings for schools.  It was last spring when the Iowa legislature passed a bill that stated masks would not be required for schools and other public places.  Governor Kim Reynolds then signed that bill and it became law.  Jump ahead to the last few days and weeks, where the number of COVID cases and its variants have been on the increase, especially with people who are not vaccinated against the virus.  On Monday, a federal court judge handed down the ruling to stop the implementation of the mask law.  Since that time, the Des Moines school district and Iowa City, and Cedar Rapids school districts have gone back to having a mask mandate for all students, faculty and staff.  What about the Le Mars Community School District?  During Monday evening’s monthly school board meeting, the topic of masks was not listed on the agenda, and the school board did not mention the issue, and there were no parents that attended the school board meeting asking about whether or not masks would again be required inside the Le Mars Community school system.  Dr. Steven Webner, the school superintendent for Le Mars Community, says recent actions have placed school officials in a difficult position.

Webner says Le Mars Community has been fortunate not to see a big surge of new positive COVID cases.

Webner says, he and school board officials, have heard parents express opinions that reflect both strong sides of the mask mandate issue.

The Le Mars Community School Superintendent says there have been some parents who have decided to home-school their children, or request on-line remote education, as a result of the COVID virus outbreak.

Webner says the situation is constantly changing, and he asks that parents be cooperative with school officials as they are constantly wrangling with the issue.




Akron-Westfield Passes $8.9 Million School Bond

(Akron) — Akron-Westfield voters approved a special school bond on Tuesday.  Proposition RD was passed on a nearly 65 percent to 35 percent margin.  The measure needed 60 percent of approval to be passed.  The vote tally was 606 in favor and 329 voting against the measure.  The bond was valued at $8,990,000 and will cover science labs, including Career and Technical Education which involves an upgrade to the Vocational Agriculture and Industrial Tech classrooms and labs.  School superintendent, Randy Collins says a portion of the bond will be to renovate the locker room facilities, and to improve the entrance for better security.




Dordt University Places First In Magazine Survey

(Sioux Center) — Dordt University ranks number one for “Best Undergraduate Teaching (Regional Colleges Midwest)” in the U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 rankings. This means that Dordt is a school where “faculty and administrators are committed to teaching undergraduate students in a high-quality manner,” as described in the rankings’ methodology statement. 

“I am excited and proud that our talented and hard-working faculty are being recognized in this way,” says Dr. Teresa Ter Haar, who serves as dean of curriculum and instruction as well as a theatre professor. “Given the challenges that Covid-19 presented our campus community over the last year and a half, it is especially encouraging that our faculty are being recognized for teaching excellence. It reveals the commitment Dordt’s faculty make—and continue to make every day—to connect with students and provide robust learning experiences.”

Rankings come and go, says Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Leah Zuidema, but Dordt students know that faculty are here for them—and that they’re here to stay.




Floyd Valley Healthcare To Update Medical Records

(Le Mars, IA)  Beginning October 1, Floyd Valley Healthcare will be implementing a new version of our electronic medical record.  This may cause a slight delay in getting patients registered into the new system, so we ask that patients arrive early and be sure to bring a driver’s license and insurance card(s) to their next appointment.  Patients can also log into their patient portal and upload their documents, streamlining the check-in during their first visit with our new Electronic Medical Record (EMR).  If difficulties arise in accessing AveraChart or pre-registering, please contact our AveraChart support team at 855-667-9704.

 This EMR update will enhance patient safety and quality outcomes. This also advances continuity of care regardless of which Avera location the patient is being seen in.  Patients will also benefit from: 

 Ease of Accessibility– Patients have access to their medical history on a desktop computer, phone or any mobile device.

  • Security– Avera Chart is password protected to offer a secure site for all your medical records.
  • Shared Access– Patients have the ability to share access with family or trusted advisors.
  • Messaging your provider– Patients have the ability to message the provider for ease of communication.
  • Managing Appointments– Patients can schedule and manage appointments. You can also pre-register to save time the day of your appointments.
  • Results– Patients can review their test results and reports.
  • Health Summary– Patients can review the health summary.
  • Medications– Patients can review and print a list of all current medications. You can also request a prescription refill.
  • Billing– Patients have access to review and pay bills.
  • Immunizations– Patients have access to their immunization history.
  • Wellness Care– Patients have the ability to manage their wellness care.
  • AveraNow– Patients have the ability to meet virtually with a provider through AveraNow.

“We look forward to the opportunities this upgrade will afford for our patients.  We know that there will be a learning curve for our staff that may create wait times,” states Lorrie Mortensen, RN, MSN, MBA, Director of Patient Care.  “We thank you in advance for your patience while we work to upgrade your medical records.”




State Awards $97.5 Million in Broadband Grants to 39 Applicants

(Des Moines, IA)  —  The State of Iowa is awarding more than 97-million dollars in broadband infrastructure grants.  Governor Kim Reynolds’ office says 39 of 178 applicants received funding through this round of the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program.  Nearly 300-million dollars in grants was requested.  Governor Reynolds said it is clear by the shear volume and scope of applications that the need is there.  The governor says these awards will go a long way toward meeting that need, and “we won’t stop here.”  Reynolds  says the state will expedite a new grant opportunity using American Rescue Plan Act federal funding to build on the state program.




More Iowa School Districts Bringing Back Face Mask Requirements

(Des Moines, IA)  —  Des Moines isn’t the only school district in Iowa to reinstate a face mask requirement today (Wednesday) for students and staff.  The Iowa City Community School District is requiring face coverings in all school buildings following a unanimous vote by the school board Tuesday night.  There are also new mask mandates in the Council Bluffs and Cedar Rapids schools.  Sioux City school officials meet this (Wednesday) afternoon to consider a mask requirement to slow the spread of COVID-19.  The moves come after a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on a new state law that bans school districts from implementing mask mandates.  Governor Kim Reynolds says the state is appealing the judge’s order.




Bettendorf Man Jailed Without Bond For Brother’s Suffocation Death

(Davenport, IA)  —  A Bettendorf man is jailed without bond for the alleged suffocation of his brother last November.  Police say Todd Laing, Senior was arrested Tuesday on an attempted murder charge.  The criminal complaint says Laing put his hands over his brother’s mouth and the man died due to his actions.  Scott County prosecutors say he wasn’t charged with murder because they didn’t think they could prove he intended to kill his brother.  Attempted murder carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.




Iowa Transportation Commission Approves Driver’s License Rule Changes

(Ames, IA)  —  The Iowa Transportation Commission is giving the green light to some driver’s license rule changes to comply with changes passed by lawmakers in the last legislative session.  D-O-T Motor Vehicle Division director Melissa Gillett says one change involves school licenses.  She says the changes allow driving for farm-related purposes with a minor school license if the holder is employed by a farm and the distance driven is no more than 50 miles.  Those who are 14-and-half can get a minor school license and drive to and from school and school activities by themselves between 5 a-m and 10 p-m.  This was not permitted last year.  The Transportation Commission also approved rules allowing drivers who have a commercial driver’s license or C-D-L to renew online.