Home News Monday News, May 30

Monday News, May 30

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MEMORIAL DAY OBSERVANCES

Memorial Day observances will take place this morning in Le Mars.  Over one thousand American flags are placed at the Plymouth County Courthouse grounds for the remembrance.  At 9:15, a parade will take place along 8th Street Boulevard.  A commemorative program will take place at 10 am at the courthouse. In case of inclement weather, the program will be held at the Le Mars Community Middle School.  KLEM will broadcast the program at 10 am.

There’s also a Memorial Day Celebration today on Main Street in Merrill.  A ceremony and Veteran’s Flag Parade will take place.  Lunch will be served for a free-will donation.

 

STANDARDS FOR DEAF STUDENTS

A new state law outlines the visual language skills deaf and hard of hearing children need to learn — things like fingerspelling and American Sign Language — so they’re prepared for kindergarten. The law also establishes a mentoring program for parents of newborns and toddlers who are diagnosed with hearing difficulties. Tina Caloud, outreach director for the Iowa School for the Deaf, attended the bill signing ceremony in the governor’s office.  She spoke with Radio Iowa through an interpreter.

Studies show the majority of deaf children who enter kindergarten without knowing American Sign Language never catch up academically. Shirley Hampton, president of the Iowa Association for the Deaf, spoke through an interpreter during a Radio Iowa interview.

At least 2000 deaf and hard of hearing students are enrolled in Iowa’s K-through-12 schools. The Iowa Association for the Deaf is pushing legislators to offer closed captioning on the livestream of debate in the House and Senate. And the group says a state law may be needed to ensure emergency warning systems alert everyone.

Hampton says she was recently eating in a central Iowa restaurant and saw other customers clustered around a television, then leave the dining room. She had no idea they had heard about a tornado warning through the television and were seeking shelter in the kitchen.

 

COVID ALCOHOL DEATHS

There were more “substance misuse” deaths across the country during 2020 than in any other single year, according to a report from a nonprofit, nonpartisan group, though Iowa’s numbers were slightly less grim. Rhea Farberman, policy research director at Trust for America’s Health, says Iowa’s overall figures were slightly below the national average.

Deaths associated with alcohol, drugs and suicide took the lives of more than 186-thousand Americans in 2020, what the report says is a 20-percent one-year increase in the combined death rate. Farberman says most of Iowa’s results were under national figures, but there were still tragic increases. She adds, “behind each of these statistics is a grieving family.”

The stresses brought on by the rise of COVID-19 are being blamed for some of the records numbers, but she says that’s not the only reason for the increase in deaths.

The pandemic brought anxiety, stress, grief and financial hardship to many, and it also led to a disruption in substance misuse recovery programs.

The first year the report was issued, 2018, there were more than 55-thousand deaths nationwide attributed to drugs, alcohol and suicide. For 2020, that figure more than tripled to nearly 187-thousand. See the full report at:

https://www.tfah.org/report-details/pain-in-the-nation-2022/

 

SCAM SEMINARS

The Iowa Attorney General’s office has launched a series of consumer protection presentations that will visit a dozen Iowa cities over the next month. Al Perales, an investigator in the A-G’s office, says he’ll be prepared to hear consumer complaints after he outlines some of the most popular scams, like when you get a message from a supposed Facebook friend.

In another popular scam, Perales says you might get a text, email or robocall from someone claiming to be with Amazon, confirming you’ve been sent a high-dollar item.

Elderly Iowans are sometimes targeted in a late-night phone call from someone claiming to be a grandchild who needs bail money, but Perales says Iowans in their teens, 20s and 30s are falling victim to con artists, too.

Perales began the tour in Independence. Other cities on the list include: Sioux City and  Lake View.

 

BORDER WALL SUPPLIES

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst is proposing a bill to use materials stockpiled for the border wall that have been sitting since the Biden administration stopped work on the wall. The Republican says the federal report shows the government is paying three million dollars a day to keep the materials from being stolen, and her bill would solve that problem too. It would turn over the unused materials purchased to construct the southern border barrier to any state wishing to finish the job. Ernst says they are working on getting some bi-partisan support — especially from states like Arizona — where border crossings have increased.

 

FUNDING FOR NON-PROFITS

Iowa’s Governor has announced 20 million dollars in federal funding will be used to help nonprofit organizations in Iowa. Information from Kim Reynolds’ office says the new “Nonprofit Innovation Fund” will provide a competitive grant opportunity to help nonprofit organizations make transformational investments in vertical infrastructure that will enable them to offer additional services or help more Iowans. Nonprofits are encouraged to apply with shovel-ready projects that expand the number of services provided to Iowans and/or projects that increase the number of Iowans served by the nonprofit. Applications will be accepted starting June 27th at iowagrants.gov.

 

PHARMACY MANAGERS

The last bill to clear the legislature this year gives Iowa’s insurance commissioner authority to collect more data about companies called pharmacy benefit managers. Critics say P-B-Ms are driving small-town pharmacies out of business, while the industry says P-B-Ms are helping to control prescription drug costs. The Iowa House unanimously voted for a series of safeguards for pharmacies and consumers two months ago — and the Senate voted to scale some of that back.