Monday Afternoon News, March 10
City Public Works Department Repairing Potholes
(Le Mars) -- In addition to seeing birds singing, flowers blooming, and warmer temperatures, another ritual of spring is the many potholes that occur on streets and highways. Steve Hansen, the superintendent for the Le Mars Public Works Department, says his crew has already gotten started on the repairing the many potholes on Le Mars streets.
Hansen doesn't have a tally of the number of potholes found on Le Mars streets, but he anticipates seeing more as the ground begins to thaw. He says potholes are created when you have the constant freezing and thawing.
The city streets superintendent doesn't see this year as being any better or worse than other years for street pothole repair.
Hansen says he is not aware of anyone that has damaged a tire as the result of the city's potholes. Hansen says the streets and avenues that have the most traffic will be given first priority. He says there are some downtown alleys that will also be given proper attention.
Branstad Opposes Legalization of Medical Marijuana
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says he worries drug abuse would increase if medical marijuana became legal in Iowa.
Branstad on Monday told reporters he empathizes with those suffering from illnesses who believe they would benefit from using medical marijuana, but he fears there would be unintended consequences to its legalization. He says he's already concerned with prescription drug abuse across the state, and he thinks legalizing medical marijuana could further that abuse.
Patients and doctors testified before a legislative panel last week to encourage lawmakers to consider the positive uses of medical marijuana. They also spoke one-on-one with Branstad.
Branstad says lawmakers should be careful drafting laws geared toward such a small subset of Iowa's population. He says more study is needed before seriously considering such legislation.
Iowa Legislature Still Working On Bullying Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers are continuing their efforts to fund an anti-bullying measure that would create an office to coordinate efforts and establish a grant program for schools across the state.
A three-member Senate appropriations subcommittee voted 2-1 on Monday in favor of the legislation, which goes to the full Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.
The bill calls for a $1 million appropriation to establish an office within the Department of Education, charged with coordinating and implementing bullying prevention and response efforts. The bill also would develop a grant program to help schools carry out new anti-bullying policies.
Adam Gregg, legislative liaison for Gov. Terry Branstad, says such a large appropriation is unnecessary. Sen. Robert Hogg, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, says he's sure an agreement on funding can be reached.
Supreme Court To Hear Case Regarding Dog Trainer
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court is considering whether a former Drake University law student who trains service dogs for veterans may sue the university, which she says barred her from taking a dog to classes.
Nicole Shumate, a 2009 Drake Law School graduate, filed a lawsuit in August 2011 claiming the university denied her access to classes and other activities with a service dog in training.
A district court judge dismissed the case in 2012 but the Iowa Court of Appeals in November sided with Shumate, saying a person training a service dog is protected in the same way as someone with a disability who uses a service dog.
Drake's attorney, Andrew Bracken, says Iowa's law does not authorize dog trainers to sue for damages.
The Supreme Court heard arguments Monday.
Television Commercials Promote Iowa Tourism
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad wants to encourage more out-of-state tourists to visit Iowa.
Branstad on Monday announced a new ad campaign launched by the Iowa Economic Development Authority's tourism office. The campaign, which will run through mid-June, was released this month and is geared toward potential travelers in Chicago, Minneapolis, Omaha and other Midwest cities.
Television ads encourage viewers to visit the Travel Iowa website in order to "fill in the blanks" as it shows families exploring historical sites and enjoying ice cream. The website can be used to generate possible destinations based on travel companions and interests.
Branstad says tourism is a critical part of Iowa's economy, and the campaign is an effort to make Iowa an attractive choice when individuals begin to plan their getaways.