Tuesday News, January 14
Supervisors Continue To Work On County Budget
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors continue to work on the county's budget for today. Neal Adler, executive director of the Le Mars Business Industrial Corporation will appear before the supervisors to request and extension for a mortgage for the Le Mars Industrial park, second addition. Plains Area mental health director, Patrick Schmitz is scheduled to appear before the county governing board to present the fiscal year 2014-15 budget funding information. Plymouth County Sheriff, Mike Van Otterloo will present the fiscal year budget for the Plymouth County Law Enforcement Center that includes funding for the deputies, jailers, and 911 communications department. Attorney Gene Collins is also scheduled to appear before the Plymouth county supervisors. He is seeking an extension to file a subdivision in Elkhorn township. The supervisors will also get a construction update from county engineer Tom Rohe.
Sheriff's Department Asking For Members To Support ISSDA
(Le Mars) -- Responding to the increasing number of people wanting to assist law enforcement officials and build a stronger partnership in the fight against crime, Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo has announced that Plymouth County citizens will be receiving their renewal membership as an Honorary Member of the Iowa State Sheriffs' and Deputies' Association, institute. Memberships will go out in the mail to those citizens who have supported the program in previous years. The funding provides critical training for the sheriff's employees, as well as help the Iowa Special Olympics and sending a deserving youth to a week-long YMCA camp in Boone. Contributions are tax deductible and Sheriff Van Otterloo says they will not solicit by telephone.
Floyd Valley Hospital Trustees To Elect Officers
(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital Trustees are scheduled to meet this evening. The election of new officers and committee assignments will be first on the agenda. The trustees will hear a medical update report from Dr. Sheila Holcomb, a financial update from Daryl Friedenbach, and hospital administrator, Mike Donlin will offer a general update, as well as, speaking about the construction progress with the new loading dock and the north addition expansion.
Branstad To Deliver State of the State Address Today
(Des Moines) -- Iowa Governor Terry Branstad will deliver the State of the State address this morning to the joint session of the Iowa legislature. Branstad is expected to request funding to help Iowa veterans. Branstad also wants to have the legislature act on bullying issues.
Iowa Legislature General Session Convenes
(Des Moines) -- The 2014 Iowa legislative session is underway. Senate President Pam Jochum (YOH-kum) -- a Democrat from Dubuque -- got things going in the senate shortly after 10 o'clock.
Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs used his opening day speech to focus on an economic message.
Democrats like House Minority Leader Mark Smith of Marshalltown plan to press for an increase in the state's minimum wage.
House Speaker Kraig Paulsen -- a Republican from Hiawatha -- was among the majority of legislators who voted to increase the state minimum wage in 2007, but Paulsen told reporters it's unlikely the Republican-led House will embrace the idea in 2014.
House Republican Leader Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake used her opening day speech to argue decision-makers in Des Moines don't function like the politicians in D.C. do.
Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix of Shell Rock said new federal taxes will burden Iowa's middle class.
While Republicans in the legislature are touting for a flat, four-and-a-half percent state income tax, Republican Governor Terry Branstad says it's unrealistic because Democrats who control the debate agenda in the senate are opposed to the idea. Democrats argue a flat income tax is a big tax reduction for the wealthy.
Fonda Police Chief And Pocahontas Sheriff At Odds Over Responding To Emergency Calls
FONDA, Iowa (AP) - A city police chief has been cut off from emergency dispatch communications following a dispute with a county sheriff over the proper response protocol for emergency calls.
Pocahontas County Sheriff Bob Lampe recently issued a memorandum that says employees should not communicate with Fonda Police Chief Alex Leu on radio traffic.
Leu posted about the situation on the Facebook page for Fonda, a city about 90 miles east of Sioux City. He listed his city-issued cellphone number with the post.
Lampe says Leu is not authorized to respond to emergency medical calls outside of city limits. Leu, who is a state-certified emergency medical technician, disputes that. He says he can often get to a scene quicker than a county deputy.
7500 Iowans Sign Up For Federal Healthcare Plan
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - About 7,500 Iowa residents have signed up for health insurance plans using the federal enrollment website.
Federal authorities released new data Monday covering the first three months of enrollment under the health care law. The vast majority of those enrollees signed up for marketplace plans in December.
Eighty-one percent of those who enrolled qualified for tax credits to cover part of the cost of coverage.
More older Iowans have signed up so far. Thirty-eight percent of the enrollees are between the ages of 55 and 64.
In all, about 29,000 applications to cover about 44,000 people have been filed with the federal enrollment website. Nearly 25,000 were determined eligible for a marketplace plan and about 7,500 have selected a plan and signed up.
Community College Offer Advanced Manufacturing Education
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's community colleges are providing their progress in offering advanced manufacturing education throughout the state.
The Iowa-Advanced Manufacturing Consortium, made up of Iowa's 15 community colleges, says more than 800 individuals have participated so far in programs funded through a $13 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
More than 120 individuals have completed a program with a diploma, degree or certificate. More than 650 individuals continue to work toward a credential.
The consortium, which was formed last year, is trying to build training opportunities that offer industry-recognized credentials in fields like welding, machining, industrial maintenance, industrial automation and manufacturing technology.
The group says it hopes to surpass a grant goal of nearly 2,800 program participants over the course of the project.
DNR Officials To Talk Water Quality On Facebook
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Water quality experts from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say they will answer questions from Iowans on Facebook on Tuesday afternoon.
The DNR staff will answer questions about anything from drinking water to recreation live from noon to 2:30 p.m. to Iowans posting questions as a comment on the "Live Q&A" post that the DNR will send out at noon. Participants also may post questions ahead of time on the DNR's Facebook Timeline at www.facebook.com/iowadnr .
Staff members answering questions include Bill Ehm, head of the DNR's Environmental Services Division; Shelli Grapp, Water Quality bureau chief; and John Olson, senior environmental specialist.
Participants need to "like" the DNR Facebook page and be sure they're getting notifications and the posts are showing up in their news feed.