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Monday Afternoon News, February 24

Le Mars Community School Board To Meet

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education is scheduled to meet this evening.  Although the time of that meeting has been moved up to 5:00 p.m.  The school board will hear reports from the school district's principals as they report the mid-year progress reports.  The school board will act upon the requested resignations that include: Kandi Lara from the food service position, Kayla Koopman will resign from her duties as the assistant volleyball coach, and Carrie Campbell has asked to resign her position as a basketball cheerleading coach at the conclusion of the 2013-2014 season.  The school board will discuss the district's new affirmative action plan, and the board will appoint two members to serve on the Meet and Confer Team for the purpose of discussing contracts with the support staff and administration.

Pharmacist Accused Of Fraud

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A trial is starting for an Iowa pharmacist accused of fraudulently billing an insurance company for life-saving drugs sent to hemophilia patients.
     Michael Stein, the owner of Pharmacy Matters in Iowa City, has pleaded not guilty to 15 counts of health care fraud. Jury selection began Monday in federal court in Des Moines.
     Prosecutors contend Stein billed Wellmark for expensive drugs to treat hemophilia, when his pharmacy actually did little work in dispensing those drugs. They say his pharmacy acted as a "pass-through entity" for Florida companies, giving them access to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield network.
     Stein's attorneys say the case is a contract dispute between a pharmacist and an insurer. They say reasonable minds disagree about whether Stein provided a service for which he could bill Wellmark.

 

Judge Rules Against Activist Plea For Medical Marijuna

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A judge has rejected a marijuana activist's lawsuit that claimed the Iowa Board of Pharmacy should have recommended that the Legislature change the classification of the drug so it could be used in the treatment of medical conditions.
 
     Polk County District Court Judge Scott Rosenberg ruled last week that the board did nothing wrong when it denied Carl Olsen's request that the panel recommend a change in the classification of marijuana. Olsen thinks the board should change the classification, which states that marijuana is among drugs with no medical purpose.
     Olsen argued the board was obligated to recommend the Legislature change the classification, but the board has declined to do so.
     Olsen says Monday he plans to appeal the judge's ruling.
     ---
 

Story County Settles Lawsuit From Former Employee

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Story County officials have agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a former employee of the county attorney's office who claims she was unjustly fired and denied payment for overtime.
     An order entered by Magistrate Judge Ross Walters in U.S. District Court Monday indicates the county and Cathleen Vincent agreed to settle the case for an undisclosed amount of money. 
     The judge's order finds the settlement "fair and reasonable and adequately compensates the plaintiff for any back owing overtime payments..."
     Vincent, a victim witness coordinator in the county attorney's office, was fired in May 2011. 
     The county claims it was for good cause and as an exempt employee she didn't qualify for overtime.
     Vincent's attorney declined to comment. The attorney representing the county did not immediately respond to a message.

 

Financial Services Company Fined

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An eastern Iowa financial services company has been fined $775,000 by industry regulators for failing to supervise the sale of alternative investments.
     Berthel Fisher & Co. Financial Services and its affiliate Securities Management & Research, both based in Marion, were alleged to have provided inadequate supervisory systems for sales of alternative investments including certain real estate investment trusts, oil and gas programs, and business development companies.
     The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority says the companies did not train staff properly and did not correctly review investments for suitability. The company also was cited for not adequately researching certain exchange-traded funds before offering them to clients.
     The companies agreed to the fine but did not admit or deny the charges.
     Company officials did not immediately respond to a message.

 

Miller-Meeks To Seek Congressional Seat

 OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) - Mariannette Miller-Meeks says she'll seek the Republican nomination to Iowa's 2nd Congressional District in her third try for the House seat.
     Miller-Meeks announced Sunday night that she'd seek the seat now held by Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack.
     Miller-Meeks, of Ottumwa, ran against Loebsack and lost in 2010 and 2008.
     In announcing her campaign, Miller-Meeks called Washington a "dysfunctional mess" that needs someone with her experience to bring people together. She also criticized the Affordable Care Act.
     Miller-Meeks is an ophthalmologist and for three years headed the Iowa Department of Public Health.
     She's a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves and served as the first woman president of the Iowa Medical Society.
     She plans to hold events throughout the district Wednesday and Thursday.

 

Man Accused Of Animal Abuse

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) - A Drakesville man has pleaded not guilty to charges related to the discovery of more than 20 animals in a van.
     45-year-old Roger Blew entered his plea Friday in Wapello County district court. He was charged with improperly confining animals and three counts of animal cruelty after an officer responding to a complaint found the animals in the van owned by Blew.
     One animal in the van was dead, one died while police were inspecting the vehicle and another had to be euthanized.
     The animals prompted police to check Blew's home, where they found at least 100 goats, pigs, mice, turtles and other animals living inside.  There were a number of dead animals on the property.
     Police are investigating who is responsible for those animals.
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