Wednesday News, May 23
Local Mental Health Services Out of Money
(Le Mars) -- With the restructuring of how mental health is being funded, and with an additional case load, the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors heard from Sharon Nieman, Plymouth County CPC and General Relief Director that additional funds would be needed to sustain services between today and the end of the fiscal year which is June 30th. This is the first time, the local mental health provider has ran out of allocated money.
Nieman informed the supervisors that unfortunately, several counties are finding themselves in a similar position. She says Sioux County ran out of money two weeks ago. Nieman says her staff is implementing a waiting list for mental health patients.
Plains Area Mental Health Center Executive Director Patrick Schmitz and Don Nore, the executive director with Life Skills Training Center both listened to Nieman explain the situation to the supervisors. Schmitz and Nore assured the supervisors that they would not turn anyone away, and in fact they would continue to provide services. The problem hinges on recent legislative action that placed some of the funding from the state and in the hands of the counties. Back in the mid 1990's State law was established forbidding counties the opportunity to raise the tax levy to finance mental health. Counties must have a separte levy to fund mental health services, and for Plymouth County, the levy is the lowest in the state per capita.
That's good news for tax payers, but not very good news for mental health services. Many people are unaware of how much money is allocated to mental health. For many counties, including Plymouth, mental health services ranks second only to road and bridge maintenance in terms of a county expenses.
Supervisors Approve Deputies Salary Percentages
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors gave their approval to the county deputy salary percentages. Each deputy within the auditor's, treasurer, attorney, recorder, and sheriff's office was given a raise in pay, based in part on the number of years served and from a certain percentage of the elected county official's salary.
Le Mars Mainstreet Visits With Demographic Groups
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Mainstreet organization is looking at ways to improve the downtown district. During the past couple of days, consultants from the Mainstreet Iowa program were in town visiting with various demographic groups to help determine the needs of downtown Le Mars. Mary Reynolds, Le Mars Mainstreet coordinator explains the different demographics.
Perhaps somewhat surprising, Reynolds says the three diverse and different demographic groups essentially identified the same things as what are the benefits of downtown.
Reynolds says of the 10 students that participated in the downtown analysis, nine indicated after college, they would probably would like to live in Le Mars.
Grassley Questions Expensive Court Conference
(Washington) -- Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is questioning why an August conference for federal judges needs to be held at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa located at Honolulu, Hawaii. The resort offers activities such as surfing lessons, snorkeling, yoga and Zumba.
Grassley and fellow Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions say it's "tone-deaf" to plan an expensive conference after the controversy surrounding the General Services Administration's lavish 2010 conference in Las Vegas.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority defends the islands as being a place to hold productive and quality meetings.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says lodging and airfare costs are comparable to mainland venues and government funds aren't to be used for recreational activities.
School Serves Recalled Lettuce
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Lettuce that had been recalled over fears of listeria contamination was served at Iowa City Community School District schools.
The district says in a news release that officials were notified about the recall on Monday, after much of the lettuce had already been served. The rest won't be used.
Federal authorities say there have been no reported illnesses associated with the voluntary recall by River Ranch Fresh Foods, of Salinas, Calif.
Symptoms of listeria infection include high fever, headache and neck stiffness.
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