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Saturday News, September 28

ALS Walk Scheduled For Saturday

(Le Mars) -- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.  A-L-S, affects millions of people worldwide, including here in Le Mars.  That's why Colleen Scholten is organizing an A-L-S awareness walk scheduled for Saturday morning at the Le Mars Municipal Park.  Registration begins at 10:00 a.m. with the walk to begin at 11:00 a.m.  The walk is two miles long, although Scholten says you don't have to walk the entire distance.

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Scholten's son, Steve, has been diagnosed with the deadly disease.

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Scholten says family members take turns in caring for her son.  She says ALS is hard to diagnose and with her son, he first noticed a tingling or numbness in his hands.

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Scholten says the disease continued to progress and continued to deteriorate Steve's nerves and muscles.

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Scholten says doctors and researchers are still puzzled by the disease, and to date, they don't know what causes ALS to strike, or what is a common denominator among patients.  All they do know is it is a fatal disease.  Scholten is complimentary of the Iowa Chapter of the ALS association, saying they offer great support.


Siouxland Paramedics Fined $390,000

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City ambulance service provider has agreed to pay $390,000 to resolve allegations about how it submitted claims to federal health care programs.
The U.S. Attorney's Office announced the settlement Friday, saying Siouxland Paramedics will pay the money but won't admit any wrongdoing.
At issue was how Siouxland submitted claims to the Medicare and Medicaid programs for ambulance transports.
Karen Van De Steeg, executive director of the nonprofit that governs Siouxland Paramedics, blamed the problem on a legal interpretation of how the service billed for certain services.


Senate Democrats Want Tuition Freeze

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Senate Democrats want to see a second year of tuition freezes at state universities.
Democrats who control the state Senate announced Friday that they would seek another tuition freeze. During the legislative session earlier this year, lawmakers and the governor agreed to freeze undergraduate tuition at the three state universities for the first time in more than 30 years.
That freeze impacted the 2013 through 2014 academic year.
Lawmakers will return for the next legislative session in January. Democrats are calling on Republicans Governor Terry Branstad and leadership of the Republican-majority state House to agree to the proposal.
Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht says the governor will announce his budget plans in January. A spokesman for Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Fort Dodge Police Officer Found Not Guilty Of Assault

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - A Fort Dodge police officer charged with assaulting his wife has been found not guilty.
Magistrate William Habhab ruled Friday that officer Jody Chansler was not guilty of domestic abuse assault.
Chansler was charged with the assault in August. He was accused of shoving his wife to the floor but testified in court that he and his wife bumped as he was trying to leave his house, causing her to fall.
She was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital. 
Chansler, who has served with the Fort Dodge Police Department for 12 years, was placed on paid administrative leave after the charge.


EEOC Appeals Judgement To Pay Iowa Trucking Firm

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is again appealing an order that it pay millions in legal costs to an Iowa trucking company for a botched investigation.
EEOC filed notice Friday that it will appeal last month's order by U.S. District Judge Linda Reade that it pay $4.7 million to CRST Van Expedited.
Reade's order is believed to be the largest-ever fee sanction in the history of the EEOC. She says the agency brought numerous "unreasonable or groundless" claims of sexual harassment against the Cedar Rapids-based company.
Reade had ordered the agency to pay $4.5 million in 2010 to CRST, but that award was thrown out by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The appeals court will now consider the issue a second time.


Cow Herds Contract Disease

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Cows in 14 herds in eastern Iowa have come down with an illness spread by small flies and more often found in deer.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship says the illness, Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease is a virus spread by biting midges.
EHD rarely affects cattle, but it has been found in the wild whitetail deer population southern and eastern Iowa. The disease can be fatal in deer but it does not usually kill cows. It can cause fever, ulcers in the mouth and gums, swollen tongue, and lameness. 
There is no evidence it can infect humans.
Cattle farmers should use insect control and contact a veterinarian if they see signs of illness.
A hard freeze kills the midges and stops the spread of the virus.


Iowa Sets Record For Hog Production

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The population of hogs and pigs in Iowa has reached the highest number ever.
The United States Department of Agriculture says in its quarterly report released Friday that the Sept. 1 inventory of hogs and pigs in the state shows 21.2 million animals. That's up from 2 percent reported on the same date a year ago and is the highest inventory on record.
Iowa is by far the nation's leading hog producer with nearly a third of the nation's 68.4 million animals. A distant second is North Carolina with about 9.5 million hogs. Minnesota is third with 7.6 million. Followed by Illinois with 4.7 million and Nebraska with 3.1 million.


National Geographic Exhibit In Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A National Geographic exhibition on dangerous and remote areas of the world is officially on display at the Science Center of Iowa.
The center and Blank IMAX Dome Theater will open the Earth Explorers exhibit Saturday morning in Des Moines.

The exhibit is advertised as teaching visitors about the wildest places on Earth.  It follows explorers from National Geographic as they venture into oceans, polar regions, rain forests, mountains and caves.
Organizers also encourage visitors to use a free interactive app during the exhibit. Earth Explorers is available through January 14 of next year.


Friday News, September 27

Register To Vote For Civic Elections

(Le Mars) -- City elections are scheduled for November 5th, and voters now have the opportunity to register.  Registration forms can be obtained in person from the Plymouth County Auditor’s office at the Plymouth County Courthouse, from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, or the Voter registration form can be downloaded at www.co.plymouth.ia.us under Online Services and then County Forms and mailed to the Auditor’s office. 
If you wish to have a voter registration form mailed to you, please contact the Auditor’s Office or if you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Plymouth County Auditor’s Office at 712-546-6100.


Le Mars Police Department File Quarterly Report

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police Department has issued its quarterly report to city officials. During this past fiscal quarter, the local police investigated 310 complaints, had 1141 calls to service, handed out 531 traffic citations along with 375 warnings.  The police department responded to 66 accidents, and during the quarter, the police made 129 arrests.  During the quarter, the Le Mars Police Department conducted
several safety-related presentations, and promoted two officers...Tim Hop was given the
rank of Captain, and Bob Bendlin was made a Sergeant.


State Attorney General Suing Northwest Iowa Landfill

ORANGE CITY, Iowa (AP) - The state has filed a lawsuit against a northwest Iowa landfill alleging trash was dumped in an area without the required environmental safeguards.
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says in a statement Thursday that he's sued the Northwest Iowa Area Solid Waste Agency in Sioux County. The agency operates a landfill four miles south of Sheldon.
The lawsuit says the agency illegally dumped 300,000 tons of trash in an area without a liner or a collection system for runoff as required by Iowa law. Miller also alleges the agency began construction on two areas without permits from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
The landfill's attorney, James Brick says no spills occurred and the lawsuit is focused on permit issues. He says the landfill will challenge the allegations in court.

Woodbine Fire Destroys Flower Shop, Jeopardizes Other Businesses

WOODBINE, Iowa (AP) - Firefighters from several nearby towns have helped put out a flower shop fire in the western Iowa city of Woodbine.
The blaze began around 3 p.m. Thursday in the alley behind the Everything Ellen Flower Shoppe in downtown Woodbine. As the flames spread into the shop, a call soon went out for aid from other Harrison County fire departments.
When the fire threatened to spread to nearby businesses, residents lined up to grab merchandise and pass it out of the stores. The fire appeared to be confined to the flower shop and the roof of a nearby building.
A person who fell on a street was the only reported injury.
The fire cause is being investigated.


State Fire Marshall Reassigned

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's state fire marshal has been reassigned from his job.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety says State Fire Marshal Ray Reynolds has been granted a reassignment request to be a special agent in charge of the State Building Code and Inspection Unit.
Reynolds cited personal and family issues for his request to Public Safety Commissioner Larry Noble. Reynolds was appointed state fire marshal in 2010.
Reynolds was recently criticized by firefighters for a column he wrote this summer that implied full-time firefighters should volunteer to help install smoke detectors for an upcoming event. Noble later apologized to the Des Moines Association of Professional Fire Fighters union on behalf of the department. Reynolds also said he hoped to move on from the column.


Branstad Meets With State School Board

(Des Moines) -- Governor Terry Branstad met with the State Board of Education Thursday to discuss the group's education goals for the next year. The state passed a major reform package in the last legislative session, and Branstad was asked after the meeting if he is sticking by the creation of a state education standard even though Iowa is known for allowing local control of education.

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He says it's key to understand schools can still have control with the state standards.

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The governor says they have a lot to do to move ahead with implementation of the reforms passed in the last session. Branstad was asked if there are things that need to be changed in the plan, such as concerns over changes in home schooling.

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While he says it's early to discuss new ideas for education in the next session, Branstad says one are he'd like to focus on is helping principals.

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He says they want to help schools capitalize on the leadership of the principals. The governor spoke with the Board of Education for about 45 minutes, and during that time praised new Education Department director Brad Buck as a person who can move the education reforms forward.


Federal Officials Have Not Signed Off The Iowa Health Care Plan

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad says federal authorities haven't signed off on Iowa's low income health care expansion because they don't like the use of premiums in the plan.
Branstad says Thursday he stands by the plan. But despite meeting with federal officials in Washington this week, Branstad still hasn't gotten a waiver for the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan.
State lawmakers in May approved legislation that accepts federal funding to create a new health plan for some poor residents and to pay the premiums for other low-income Iowans to get private insurance on the new health care exchanges. Starting in 2015, some participants could be subject to small monthly premiums
A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately return a call for comment.


Planned Parenthood Expands On TeleMedicine

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Planned Parenthood of the Heartland says it is expanding telemedicine services in clinics around Iowa.
The women's health program says Thursday that three health centers allow patients to consult with health professionals via video conferencing for birth control consultations, birth control method changes and testing for sexual transmitted infections. By the end of the year, Planned Parenthood hopes to have telemedicine offerings at 15 clinics around the state.
Last month, the Iowa Board of Medicine voted to ban a telemedicine system used by Planned Parenthood in Iowa in which doctors distribute abortion-inducing pills remotely to patients in clinics across the state.
Board's Executive Director Mark Bowden declined to comment on the announcement, saying the board will have to review the information.


U of I Students To Receive iPads

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Newly admitted students at the University of Iowa's College of Education are getting tech savvy.
Undergraduate and master's teacher education students will receive one free iPad each at a Friday ceremony at the school's Teacher Leader Center. The event marks the students' completion of training on technology.
Officials say students will use their tablets during their studies and in future classrooms.
The iPads are courtesy of a gift from Linda Baker, an alumna and retired teacher.


U of I Renews Contract For Clinical Research

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The federal government has opted to renew a multimillion-dollar contract with the University of Iowa to conduct clinical trials of potential vaccines and therapies for infectious diseases.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said Thursday that Iowa was one of nine institutions nationwide to win contracts to operate Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units.
Iowa was first awarded a contract in 2007. Its principal investigator is Patricia Winokur, a professor of internal medicine and the director of the UI Vaccine Research and Education Project.
Winokur says the nationwide network of research centers allows scientists to rapidly test vaccines in response to potential pandemic threats. She says the Iowa site has benefited from a strong track record of people willing to participate in its vaccine studies.

Farmers Asked To Use Caution When Applying Manure Fertilizer Around Waterways

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State environmental officials are asking farmers to be extra careful when applying fertilizer and manure to fields after harvest this year because the state's rivers and streams are running low, which means even the smallest of spills can kill fish.
Fisheries Biologist Scott Grummer says he is already seeing manure and fertilizer application on some fields and advises farmers to allow more distance between application areas and vulnerable spots like streams and tile intakes this fall.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has already investigated four fish kills this month.
In Lyon County cow manure killed more than 500 fish in the Little Rock River and hog manure seeping into Big Cedar Creek in Pocahontas County killed catfish and smallmouth bass valued at $20,000.


Trees To Be Planted At "American Gothic" Site

ELDON, Iowa (AP) - An area surrounding the southeast Iowa house that inspired the "American Gothic" painting is getting more trees.
Trees Forever, a group that plants trees around the state, is headed to Eldon on Friday to add greenery to the American Gothic House Center. It's adjacent to the house that inspired the famous 1930 painting by Grant Wood.
The group will partner with Alliant Energy, the city of Eldon and local high school students to plant 165 trees. Nearly 40 shade trees will line the entrance drive, parking lot and visitor center. Additional trees will be added around the city maintenance sheds.
Organizers say the public is invited to participate in the event. Volunteers should bring their own shovels and wear appropriate clothing for planting.

Simpson College To Receive One Million Dollar Gift

INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) - Simpson College says a $1 million bequest by a history professor who died earlier this year will be used to help students study abroad.
The Indianola-based private college says an estate gift from emeritus history professor Joseph Walt would fund an academic endowment for student study abroad scholarships.
Walt, who died in January at age 88, left $1 million to the college's endowment to use as the institution wished.
College officials thought the study abroad endowment was the best way to honor Walt, and Simpson's Board of Trustees supported the decision.
Simpson has about 2,000 full and part-time students. Its main campus is in Indianola and it also has branches in West Des Moines and Ankeny.






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