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Friday Afternoon News, January 4

Wellness Challenge Being Organized For Plymouth County

(Le Mars) -- This time each year, many people set new year's resolutions for themselves, perhaps to lose weight, get more exercise, or to start eating healthy.  Living Healthy Iowa is challenging all Iowans to focus on getting healthy for the new year.  Iowa ranks 20th in the nation as the healthiest state, and unfortunately Plymouth County ranks low among the 99 Iowa counties as for being the healthiest county.  Todd Lancaster, the executive director of the Le Mars YMCA, and also one of the local coordinators to the Living Healthy Iowa program says there is an effort being organized to get Plymouth County residents to start thinking about wellness and being healthy.  Lancaster says people are urged to participate in the ten-week wellness challenge.
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Lancaster says diabetes and obesity are on the rise for people across the state and the nation.  He says to extend your life expectancy is another reason to look at joining the ten-week wellness challenge.
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Recently, an organizational meeting took place attracting more than 30 community leaders. 
The wellness challenge begins on January 28, and Lancaster says Plymouth County organizers have a goal of having at least 2500 people participate.
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The YMCA official says it doesn't take much to get healthy.  He says people can take some small simple steps to modify their lifestyle in order to become a healthier person.

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The Le Mars YMCA, Floyd Valley Hospital, and the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach of Plymouth County are organizing the ten-week wellness challenge.  Lancaster urges everyone to participate, form a team, and to encourage your family, friends, and co-workers to join the program.  For more information, you can contact the Le Mars YMCA, Floyd Valley Hospital, or the Plymouth County Extension office.  Registration is $20 with a five dollar coupon that can be used at area Hy-Vee supermarkets.

 

Investigation Continues On Medical Helicopter Crash

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Federal investigators are still looking for the cause of a medical helicopter crash in northern Iowa that killed three people.
Pilot Gene Grell, nurse Shelly Lair-Langenbau and paramedic Russell Piehl died when the helicopter crashed north of Ventura Wednesday night. They were on the way to Emmetsburg to pick up a
patient.
Lair-Langenbau and Piehl worked for Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa in Mason City.
The CEO of the medical transport company that owned the helicopter says the pilot didn't make any emergency call. The helicopter had a satellite tracking system that monitored its
position and other information instead of the traditional onboard black box.
Weather was overcast with 10-to-15 mile per hour winds at the time of the crash.


Leath Loosens Research Restrictions on Harkin Institute

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa State University President Steven Leath is loosening restrictions that he imposed on the Harkin Institute of Public Policy's ability to research agriculture.
Leath issued a memo Wednesday withdrawing a November order that allowed the institute to conduct agriculture research only if it related to Sen. Tom Harkin's papers and had approval from the
Center for Agricultural and Rural Development.
The restrictions were opposed by Harkin and the institute's advisory board. Critics called them a restriction on academic freedom, while Leath said they were meant to avoid duplication and
protect CARD's prominent reputation.
Leath's new memo seeks to reach a compromise. It says public policy research conducted by the institute focusing on subjects found elsewhere on campus "is expected to be planned, conducted
and published in a cooperative, collaborative manner."


State Responds To Pollution Run-off Concerns

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The state has responded to requests and added two weeks to the public comment period on a plan to cut pollution running down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico.
Friday was the scheduled end of the 45-day comment period. Comments now will
be taken until Jan 18.
Under the plan that was released in November, wastewater treatment and industrial plants would be asked to make costly upgrades to cut pollution while farmers would do so voluntarily.
It took two years of study and private meetings to formulate the plan. It comes in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's order in 2008 for 12 states along the Mississippi River to
develop strategies to prevent nitrates and phosphorous from reaching the gulf.
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