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Monday Afternoon News, December 23

Construction On New Waste Water Treatment Plant Is Progressing

(Le Mars) -- Construction has been progressing on the new city waste water treatment plant according to Waste water superintendent Ron Kaiser.  Despite the cold weather, Kaiser says crews are still working on the project.

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Kaiser says the contractor has brought in extra crews to insure making the spring deadline. He updates the progress that has been completed so far.

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Last week during the city council meeting, the city's leaders were given an update on the project.  Kaiser believes work will be completed by the spring of 2014 deadline.

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People Rushing To Sign Up For Health Insurance

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa residents are hurrying to buy health insurance on the federal marketplace website before a looming coverage deadline.
     Experts helping people enroll in plans say Monday that they have been busy getting people help in recent days. The deadline to sign up on the federal exchange for coverage that starts Jan. 1 was Monday, but federal officials have now effectively extended that deadline through Tuesday. 
     Iowa is one of 36 states using the federal enrollment website. This grace period for enrollment is one of many adjustments during a troubled roll-out for President Barack Obama's health care law.
     Nicole Kock, a navigator with Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, says that an extension will benefit those seeking insurance. She says it gives people a little more time to plan.

 

Propane In Short Supply -- Prices On The Increase

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Several upper Midwestern states are dealing with higher propane prices because of supply problems in recent weeks. 
     Farmers used more propane than usual to dry the late harvest of grain that came out of the fields too wet. Rural households not served by natural gas lines dipped into propane supplies early due to colder than normal temperatures. And the Cochin pipeline that carries propane to the Midwest from Canada closed for several weeks, stalling supply to the region.
     The supply problem has driven prices 14 percent higher since mid-November in Iowa, where customers pay $1.88 a gallon. That's 34 percent higher than last year. Propane's up 15 percent in Illinois in the last month, 13 percent in Wisconsin and Minnesota and 12 percent in Nebraska.

 

Volunteers Pack 1.5 Million Meals For Philippines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Volunteers in Des Moines are packing 1.5 million meals for survivors of a devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines last month.
     The Iowa-based group Outreach, Inc., pledged to send the meals to victims of the Nov. 8 typhoon, which killed more than 6,000 people.
     On Monday, the organization says volunteers began loading the first of five 40-foot containers. The other containers will be loaded later in the week. The food will arrive in the Philippines in 45 to 60 days.
     The charities Somebody Cares and Rotary International were helping send the containers to the Philippines.
     Outreach, Inc., was created in 2004 by Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton, retired farm owners from Union. The group has delivered hundreds of millions of meals to people suffering from hunger.

 

Salvation Army Receives Gold Coin Worth $1200

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Salvation Army says someone dropped a gold coin valued at more than $1,000 in a kettle last weekend in Des Moines.
     The charity says Monday that a donor dropped the gold coin in a kettle at a Dahl's supermarket on the city's southside on Saturday. It's worth about $1,200.
     It's the second gold coin left at a Salvation Army kettle in the Des Moines area this season.
     The Salvation Army in Des Moines hopes to raise $1.2 million from its Red Kettle campaign and is about two-thirds toward that target.
     The charity says the tradition of anonymously dropping gold coins in its kettles began about 30 years ago when such a coin was placed in a kettle in Crystal lake, Ill.

 

Passenger Rail Train From Iowa City To Chicago Not Likely To Happen

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - It would cost Iowa more money than initially projected for passenger rail service between Iowa City and Chicago.
     The  federal government allocated $210 million in 2010 but required a local match. Illinois is moving forward with its portion of the project, but not Iowa.
     Iowa would have been obligated to contribute $21.8 million in initial support, but that's grown to $72 million because of inflation, new infrastructure regulations and more improvements to accommodate freight growth. 
     A memo by assistant to the city manager Geoff Fruin says the project had required just 20 percent state support to advance, but now it would require 58 percent support.
     Iowa Sen. Matt McCoy says he's pessimistic about the Iowa City-Chicago line's funding chances in the Capitol next year.
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