Friday Afternoon News, March 28
City Water Department To Flush Water Lines
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Water Department has announced it intends to flush hydrants in the southeast portion of town beginning Monday at 10:00 a.m. The city water department will start south of 12th Street and east of 2nd Avenue Southeast. Gayle Sitzmann, superintendent for the city water department, says this is the pressure area of town. Work should be completed on Tuesday morning then city water crews will progress to the north to Plymouth Street through the rest of the week starting at 8:00 a.m. and finishing by 3:30 p.m. Sitzmann says there may be discolored water and to check the hard cold water for clarity.
Sioux City Manager To Reorganize City Departments
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — The city manager of Sioux City says his reorganization and consolidation plan will save the city nearly $191,000 in fiscal 2015. City Manager Bob Padmore is distributing his former duties as assistant city manager to current department heads. Two positions will be eliminated as well. The council has already approved his plan. Padmore described the plan as "a streamlining of city organizations and realigning of some of the departments to match the skills and expertise that our employees have."
Regents And Consulting Firm Answer Questions
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa regents and outside consultants leading a major review of the state's three public universities are facing pointed questions from anxious University of Iowa employees. A town hall-style meeting in Iowa City on Friday marked the public launch of the review by the regents and Deloitte Consulting LLP, who are looking at how the universities can cut costs. Consultants from Deloitte told a crowd of about 200 in a campus lecture hall that the review could identify cuts to administration, academic programs and support functions such as information technology. They said it could also lead to some services being located on one campus and shared by all three. Consultants and regents faced questions about possible job cuts, the elimination of duplicative programs, and how the savings would be used.
Six People Hospitalized After Council Bluffs Explosion And Fire
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say six people have been hospitalized after an explosion and fire at a home on the east side of Council Bluffs. Fire investigator Dan Roberts says the accident occurred about 8:10 p.m. Thursday.
Four children and two adults suffered mostly second-degree burns, and two of the injured were taken to a burn center in Lincoln, Neb. Authorities say a group of Boys Scotts had been working on a ceremony display at the home when the explosion occurred. The fire marshal's office is investigating.
Iowa Bar Association Wants More Court Security
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa State Bar Association is asking officials to examine security at the state's county courthouses following an incident in Madison County. The incident Monday involved a man who allegedly pulled out a weapon and brandished it around the courtroom. Twenty-nine-year-old Cory Lee Daugherty was in there to be sentenced on drug charges. He escaped but was arrested a short time later.
Madison County doesn't prohibit visitors from having firearms in the courthouse. ISBA President Guy Cook said in a statement Friday that although courthouse security varies from county to county, "certain basic security measures" should be considered. Daugherty faces multiple charges in connection to the incident, including being a felon in possession of a firearm. Court records do not list an attorney.
Democratic Lawmakers Want Answers From Branstad Regarding Settlements
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democratic lawmakers, determined to question state administrators about confidential settlements reached with fired state workers, are accusing top administrators at the Department of Administrative Services of stalling. The Senate Government Oversight Committee asked the agency's director, Mike Carroll to appear Thursday but he declined. Two other administrators also said no.
Democratic Senator Matt McCoy, a member of the committee says it's the Legislature's role to provide oversight and he won't give up. The DAS spokesman did not immediately return messages.
More than 320 state workers have been fired since Republican Governor Terry Branstad took office in 2011. Several were paid more than $427,000 to keep quiet about their dismissals. Republican leaders say Democrats are pushing so hard because it helps Senator Jack Hatch, who's running against Branstad for governor.
Environmental Groups Upset About Water Quality Practices
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Environmental groups are sounding alarms that a Republican-led House subcommittee has inserted language into the budget bill for the Department of Agriculture that critics say would prevent the public from accessing information about water quality improvement practices funded partially with taxpayer dollars.
The budget bill deals in part with farm practices the state will help pay for as part of the state's strategy to reduce manure and fertilizer that runs into rivers and streams.
Department of Agriculture officials say they must ensure details of land
practices aren't made public for farmers participating in the program.Environmental groups say the data is critical to understanding pollution risks.
Democrats vow to amend the bill if the language isn't changed when it's debated in the House next week.