Friday Afternoon News, January 31
Oyens To Lose Local Ambulance Service
(Oyens) -- It's a problem many small communities are facing, being able to have enough volunteers to sustain an ambulance service. Beginning Saturday, February 1st, the people of Oyens will no longer have a local ambulance serving local medical needs. Emergency medical calls will be directed to either Remsen or Le Mars. Oyens, a small town of 103 people, is finding it difficult to recruit and retain needed volunteers. Dan Cronin serves as the director for the Oyens Ambulance Service and says it was a tough decision to discontinue the sevice, but necessary, since there are only six volunteers staffing the Oyens ambulance. He says two people would be "on-call" 24 hours for an entire week.
Cronin says County Road K-64 will now serve as the dividing line.
He says there is a possibility the ambulance could still be used as a "first reponder" unit, as part of the Oyens Fire Department. Cronin remains hopeful the ambulance service again will be utilized.
Ideally, Cronin says another six to seven additional volunteers would help secure the medical service to the small Plymouth County community. The ambulance director says the required time for training and additional education requirements make it that much more difficult to secure a qualified medical team.
Bill Rosacker is the Director for Le Mars Ambulance Services. He says with the added territory the response time will be longer. Rosacker is concerned because the Le Mars Ambulance is already responding to Merrill emergencies during daytime hours.
Rosacker says what's happening in Oyens and Merrill is ocurring at many communities across the state.
Cronin says the decision affects only the ambulance services. He says Oyens will retain its fire department.
Court Says Department Of Transportation Responsible For Paying Contractors
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court says the Iowa Department of Transportation is responsible for paying three subcontractors after they completed work on state projects in 2011 but were never paid by the general contractor hired by the state.
The case centers on improvements made to Interstate 80 rest stops in Adair County. The DOT hired Universal Concrete Ltd. as the general contractor which in turn hired three subcontractors to provide equipment and concrete.
The three subcontractors, owed in excess of $32,000, sued the DOT but lost in district court and appealed.
The appeal presents the first opportunity for the high court to decide whether a 1988 law requires the DOT to pay subcontractors shortchanged by a general contractor.
The court determined DOT should pay the subcontractors and any reasonable attorney fees.
Frost Deepest Point In Years
JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - The frost has reached down more than 25 inches into the soil in a Des Moines suburb.
The National Weather Service says the frost is deeper in Johnston than it's been in the past five years that the data have been collected.
Rob DeRoy of the weather service told Des Moines television station KCCI that part of the reason for the deeper frost this year is the lack of snow cover. The snow helps insulate the ground from the near-zero and subzero temperatures.
The frost could pose a problem when spring rains arrive.
Weather service hydrologist Jeff Zogg says water can't soak in when there's a barrier of frost. So the rain runs off, increasing the flood risk.
Prosecutors Seek Prison Time For Kosher Slaughterhouse Manager
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Federal prosecutors are seeking prison time for a former Iowa kosher slaughterhouse manager who they say exploited immigrant workers for labor, money and sex.
Prosecutors are planning to call several witnesses at Friday's sentencing hearing for Hosam Amara to recount abuses before a May 2008 immigration raid at the Agriprocessors, Inc., plant in which 389 workers were arrested.
They're hoping to convince U.S. District Judge Linda Reade to sentence Amara to 78 months in prison, the high end of a range recommended under advisory guidelines.
In a sentencing memo, U.S. Attorney Sean Berry says Amara should be punished for "financial and sexual exploitation of undocumented alien workers."
Amara was the plant's poultry manager. He pleaded guilty last year to conspiring with other executives to harbor immigrants for profit.
Doctor Pleads Guilty To Misuse Of Prescriptions
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former Newtown doctor accused of loosely prescribing painkillers has decided to plead guilty.
A change of plea hearing is scheduled Feb. 21 for Lafayette Twyner. Twyner is charged with 114 counts of health care fraud and unlawfully disseminating controlled substances and has previously denied wrongdoing.
Prosecutors would not release details of a plea agreement worked out with Twyner's attorney.
Twyner surrendered his state medical license in 2012 to settle allegations from the Iowa Board of Medicine.
Save The Arches
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Some City Council members and other people want the city to ensure the trademark arches are retained in the design for the downtown Grand Avenue bridge replacement.
Councilwoman Christine Hensley says that the arches are part of the city logo, so it's critical that they are reflected in the design for the new, $7.2 million structure. Work is expected to begin in summer 2015.
The current bridge was built in 1916 and rehabilitated in 1967. It carries about 8,200 vehicles each day.
Deputy City Engineer Pam Cooksey says that replicating the architecture of the existing bridge will likely be too expensive. She also says that style of architecture doesn't meet Iowa Department of Transportation design standards.
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