Monday Afternoon News, September 15
Ambulance Service Files Quarterly Report
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Ambulance Service recently submitted its quarterly report for June through August. According to Ambulance Director, Bill Rosacker, the Le Mars Ambulance responded to 229 calls during the quarter, which was an increase of 18 calls, or 8.5 percent from the same period one year ago. For the year, the Le Mars Ambulance had 949 calls compared to the 940 from a year ago. Rosacker reports the local ambulance staff has 25 crewmembers, down two people from last quarter, due to employment opportunities, outside Le Mars. The Ambulance service did not purchase any new equipment this past quarter, and it was able to come in under budget for the fiscal year.
American Red Cross Searching For Heroes
(Le Mars) -- When we think of heroes, perhaps what first comes to mind is a fire fighter, a police officer, a health official, or even a military veteran. It may also be our next door neighbor, or a teacher, or a random person who has done extraordinary work or service. What ever the case, the American Red Cross is teaming up with the Hy-Vee supermarkets and the University of Iowa and the University of Nebraska to officially recognize those individuals that may be called a hero. Tammy Lee serves as the executive director of the Siouxland Chapter of the American Red Cross. She says nominations are now being accepted to honor the person who can be classified as a hero for the "Heroes Game" between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
People will have the opportunity to view the Heroes trophy which will be on display at the Le Mars Hy-Vee this afternoon.
The Red Cross official says northwest Iowa has been fortunate to have had two people recognized for their heroic service.
Lee says the criteria for nominees for the Heroes Game is fairly broad.
That Heroes Game trophy stands about two feet tall and is made with walnut wood. It will be at the Le Mars Hy-Vee store beginning at 3:00 p.m. today and will remain on display until 7:00 p.m. Nominations will be accepted until October 14th. You can submit a nomination by going either to the Hy-Vee website or redcross.org/ia.
New Waste Water Treatment Plant To Hold Open House
(Le Mars) -- Le Mars residents and the general public is invited to attend an open house scheduled for Thursday afternoon at the new waste water treatment facility, located about two miles west of town at 17505 Key Avenue. Le Mars mayor, Dick Kirchoff, says this is a one-time opportunity to see the new plant.
Kirchoff offers some interesting statistics about the new waste water treatment facility.
The Le Mars mayor says the new facility was needed to accommodate the expansion and growth of the city and its industries. He explains the facility was financed in part by Wells Enterprises and Dean's Foods.
Parking may become a concern during Thursday's open house, and the Le Mars mayor suggests people park at the Little League ball park, then be shuttled to the new waste water plant.
Farm Bureau Wants Stiffer Penalties For Theft Of Livestock And Grain
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa farm officials are seeking to enforce a mandatory minimum sentence for the felony theft of livestock and crops.
Delegates of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation met last week to discuss proper punishment for people who steal cattle, hogs, corn, soybeans and other farm property.
Some states are seeing an increase of cattle thefts since the price of the animals have reached record highs. The problem could soon make its way to Iowa, experts say, since the state is expected to raise more cattle in light of low corn prices and a drought in Texas, the leading producer of cattle in the U.S.
Iowa is the top corn-producing state with nearly 2.2 billion bushels last year, and is ranked sixth nationally for cattle.
Corey Schultz is a region executive officer for the Livestock Marketing Association and works with livestock auctions in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.
"The rise in cattle numbers, the rise in prices, you could definitely see a rise in cattle thefts," Schultz said.
Novice thieves usually don't steal livestock, according to Larry Gray, executive director of law enforcement for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
"Anyone can kick down the door to a house and steal a flat screen TV," he said. "But to steal cattle - first you have to have the ability to transport those cattle. Then you have to have the knowledge to market the cattle. You can't run down to the local pawn store and get some money for them."
Iowa's Birthrate Declines
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's economy is improving but the state's birth rate isn't keeping pace.
Iowa Department of Public Health figures show the state's birth rate for 2013 is up less than 1 percent over 2012, The Des Moines Register reported (http://dmreg.co/1qZtvkj ). The 2013 numbers are still nearly 5 percent lower than the birth rate in 2007, before the economy slumped. There were 39,013 babies born in 2013, compared with 38,686 in 2012 and 40,835 in 2007.
Similar numbers are being reported elsewhere in the country, which experts say is typical during recessions. People apparently have fewer babies because they're less confident they can support growing families.
Birth rates tend to rebound eventually, but how long it will take is tough to pinpoint, said Gretchen Livingston of the Pew Research Center. The nation's fertility rate, the number of births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, was at an all-time low in 2013, though it was a bit higher in Iowa.
The decline in Iowa births includes a decrease in the number of babies born to teen mothers, which state public health officials say is a victory.
University of Iowa economics professor Alice Schoonbroodt suspects the birth rate will increase more soon, but she's less confident than she was a year or two ago.
"The longer we go with no change, the more we're led to believe it's something permanent," she said.
Birth rates have been dropping overall for several decades. Iowa's birth rate in the late 1940s through the early 1960s was about twice what it is now. Livingston said that boom was a historical exception and afterward birth rates dropped back to regular patterns, then fell further.
Family planning advocates said they believe careful use of birth control is the main reason for declining birth rates. Declining marriage rates may also be a factor. Two things the decline can't be attributed to are abortions (Iowa women had 30 percent fewer in 2012 than they did in 2007) and general aging of the population.
Branstad Calls For Students To Learn About Financials As Part Of Education
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa students should be learning how to make informed financial choices as part of their education, Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday, as he accepted a series of recommendations from a group charged with reviewing financial literacy teaching in the state.
Iowa school districts are expected to teach certain financial lessons to K-12 students. The group was formed by the state Department of Education to assess the current offerings and provide recommendations for improvement.
Those recommendations include revising the current standards to provide more clarity to districts and establishing ways to measure if school districts are meeting the goals.
"Financial skills are essential. Which is why they are included in Iowa's academic standards," Branstad said. "We know our children need to be financially literate in order to have a bright and successful future."
Department of Education Director Brad Buck said school districts will continue to have flexibility over how they meet these standards. The department has assigned a staff member to oversee the issue of financial literacy and will try to provide resources for teachers and administrators, he said.
Branstad Asks That Deposition Be Done Following Election
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Citing his busy schedule, Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday that it was appropriate to delay his deposition in a high-profile civil lawsuit until after the November election.
After his attorney objected to September and October dates, Branstad has been scheduled to be questioned Nov. 26 in the lawsuit filed by former Workers' Compensation Commissioner Christopher Godfrey. Branstad's attorneys confirmed his plans to The Associated Press last week.
Branstad said he is busy serving as governor and running for re-election. He is seeking a sixth term against Democrat Jack Hatch in the election Nov. 4.
"I'm very interested and willing to have the deposition, but we'll have it after the election," Branstad said.
Asked if voters should get more information before the election, Branstad said: "This lawsuit was filed years ago and the plaintiff has delayed and delayed and delayed it. We have totally cooperated in every aspect and I think asking me to have a deposition before the election when my schedule is already extremely busy is not appropriate"
Godfrey filed suit in 2012 against Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and four aides over what he claims were illegal tactics to try to force his resignation. Godfrey left his state job last month after being appointed chairman and chief judge of the Employees' Compensation Appeals Board in Washington.
Godfrey's attorney, Roxanne Conlin, initially called the Nov. 26 date unacceptable for Branstad's deposition and sought an Oct. 24 date, but the two sides reached agreement last week.