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Tuesday Afternoon News, August 26

Fewer Parents Having Their Children Vaccinated (Updated)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are concerned over the increase in parents choosing not to vaccinate their children.
Parents received vaccination exemptions in the 2012-13 school year for nearly 8,000 children. That's more than triple the number from 12 years ago.
While the figure represents less than 2 percent of all Iowa children, health leaders say they're worried about the rise in unvaccinated children.
Polk County's public health director Rick Kozin says some parents might not realize that unvaccinated children could lead to a disease outbreak in schools.
Iowa laws allow two kinds of exemptions for medical or religions reasons. Some children have to avoid vaccinations for medical reasons such as allergies.  Plymouth County Community Health Director Deb Steffen says she has seen an increase of parents refusing to have their children immunized here in Plymouth County.

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Steffen says she sometimes worries whether an epidemic were to occur in Plymouth County, many people may not at first recognize the symptoms.

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The Community Health Director says the internet has provided both factual and incorrect information about vaccinations, which has led to public confusion.

 

Green Gables Restaurant To Close

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A popular restaurant in Sioux City has decided to close the doors.  The owner of the Green Gables restaurant in Sioux City says the business is closing after 85 years due to financial problems.
Jennifer Vollmer owns the eatery at 18th and Pierce streets. Her grandfather opened the business in 1929. A sign on the front door announced the closure Monday.
Vollmer says closing the restaurant was a family decision. 
Over the years, the restaurant's menu expanded to include breakfast, lunch and dinner options. This summer the restaurant made a few changes. It dropped several dinner items and changed its hours to close at 3 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. Vollmer says the cutback was a result of shrinking dinner crowds.
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State Senator Calls For Restructuring Of Administrative Services Agency

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Democratic senator on the Government Oversight Committee says the Iowa Department of Administrative Services is a mammoth state agency that is too large for proper oversight and needs to be restructured.
Sen. Matt McCoy at a committee hearing Tuesday says DAS spent has more money instead of saving millions as the agency has claimed.
Legislative Services Agency Director Holly Lyons presented a report which says DAS spent 17 percent more money between 2011 and 2013. DAS Deputy Director Lon Anderson says the report does not include savings from construction projects and includes spending from other agency budgets.
The DAS oversees state building construction, human resources, and purchasing. 
The committee continues its hearing focusing Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday on allegations of political interference at Iowa Workforce Development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Tuesday News, August 26

Le Mars Fire Department Honored With Life Safety Achievement Award

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department has learned that it will receive the 2013 Life Safety Achievement Award.  The award will be given to the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department on September 6, 2014 at the Annual Iowa Firefighters Convention which is being hosted in Grinnell, Iowa this year.  This award is presented by the National Association of State Fire Marshals and the Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company.   Since 1994 the Life Safety Achievement Award has recognized Fire Departments throughout the United States for outstanding fire safety statistics and effective fire prevention programs during the preceding calendar year.
In recognition of these pro-active fire prevention efforts aimed at improving a community’s fire and life safety behaviors, a Fire Department may be eligible for the LSA award.

Criteria:
 Zero fire deaths or a 10% reduction in fire deaths from the previous year.
 Department shall have an active fire prevention program in place.
 Dedicated commitment to fire prevention activities (financially and in-kind)
 Evidence that fire prevention efforts are making a positive difference in the community.

Le Mars Fire-Rescue was awarded this achievement award for several reasons. 
First, Le Mars had zero fire deaths in 2013.  Second, Le Mars has a fire prevention program that is funded by business and individual donations which provides hand-outs and literature to over 1500 students annually.  Third, the Le Mars Fire-Rescue Department speaks to over 450 children each year about fire safety during fire prevention week in October.  Lastly, Le Mars was able to show how the program is working by awarding student of the year awards to two young girls who saw a fire on their way home from school and new exactly what to do and the fire was put out quickly by firefighters before it could spread.  This is the second year in a row that the Le Mars Fire-Rescue Department has received this award.  Le Mars Fire-Rescue was one of only nine Fire Departments in Iowa to receive this award in 2012.

 

Supervisors To Have The Week Off

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will be taking the week off as there will not be a weekly meeting scheduled for today, due to the lack of agenda items.

 

New Playground Equipment In Place

(Le Mars) -- Over the summer, contractors assembled new playground equipment at each of the three Le Mars Community elementary schools.  Now that school has started, Scott Parry, the principal at Kluckholn Elementary says the new playground equipment is in place and is being used by the students. 

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The new playground equipment had a price tag of close to $360,000, but was partially financed through fund raiser efforts by the Le Mars Parent-Teacher-Organization, and other community civic organizations. Franklin and Clark school principal Floyd Athay says there is money left over to add more items.

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The old playground equipment was constructed from wood and steel and Athay says it had simply worn out.  The new playground equipment is constructed from durable plastic.

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Parry says the new playground equipment is handicapped accessible and meets the safety requirements.

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And what about the elementary students?  What do they think of the new playground equipment?

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Farm Progress Show Begins Today

(Boone) -- Farmers from across the midwest will be heading to Boone, Iowa for the next three days in order to attend the Farm Progress Show.  The exhibition has been referred to as a "farmer's supermarket" showing the latest in agricultural technology.  The show features the major names associated with farming from equipment to seed companies.  Vince Kurtz with the Iowa Highway Patrol says the farm show is likely to create some traffic jams. 

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Three Commodity Organizations Form Water Alliance

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Three Iowa farm trade groups have formed an organization called the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance to push farmers harder on the implementation of farm practices designed to clean Iowa's water. The group's goal is to get more farmers to participate in the state's Nutrient Reduction Strategy, a voluntary program initiated Gov. Terry Branstad's administration.
     Environmental groups including Iowa Citizens for Community improvement want measurable and enforceable standards. They say the new alliance will do little to improve Iowa water. Iowa CCI says it's a corporate public relations campaign that won't change a thing.
     Branstad announced the creation of the alliance Monday with officials from Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association.
     The soybean group's CEO Kirk Leeds is board chairman of the nonprofit alliance.

 

More Parents Refusing To Vaccinate Children

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are concerned over the increase in parents choosing not to vaccinate their children.
    Parents received vaccination exemptions in the 2012-13 school year for nearly 8,000 children. That's more than triple the number from 12 years ago.
     While the figure represents less than 2 percent of all Iowa children, health leaders say they're worried about the rise in unvaccinated children.
     Polk County's public health director Rick Kozin says some parents might not realize that unvaccinated children could lead to a disease outbreak in schools.
     Iowa laws allow two kinds of exemptions for medical or religions reasons. Some children have to avoid vaccinations for medical reasons such as allergies.

 

State Senate Government Oversight Committee To Question Workforce Officials

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Senate Government Oversight Committee is calling to testify under oath a number of judges that decide Iowa unemployment cases as part of its investigation into alleged abuse of power at Iowa Workforce Development.
     Former Chief Administrative Law Judge Joe Walsh is the first witness to appear Tuesday. He's filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the state claiming IWD Director Teresa Wahlert laid him off after he opposed her efforts to change his job to a political appointment and to favor employers over workers in unemployment decisions.
     The committee has for months been investigating allegations of a hostile work environment at state agencies, questionable hiring practices and misallocation of funds in Gov. Terry Branstad's administration.
     Branstad, a Republican, says the committee run by Senate Democrats is motivated by politics.

 

U of I Student Appeared To Have Overdose Symptoms 

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a University of Iowa student found disoriented at a residence hall appeared to be experiencing overdose symptoms.
     Dan Stepleton with the Iowa Department of Public Safety's Division of Narcotics Enforcement says  officers found suspicious items in the student's dorm room at Slater Hall. He added that some items are believed to be used in drug manufacturing, but he did not elaborate.
     Officials responded to Slater Hall on Sunday night after the student was reported disoriented in the lobby. School officials say the 500-person residence hall was evacuated after staff reported chemicals and other suspicious items in the student's dorm room. Residents returned to their dorms before midnight.
     The student was hospitalized. An update on the student's condition was not available Monday.
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U of I Student Sexually Assaulted

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A University of Iowa student says she was sexually assaulted in a residence hall just a few days before the start of the fall semester.
     The female student told officials she was the victim of nonconsensual sexual contact by an acquaintance in a residence hall Friday. The student contacted officials Sunday.
     UI spokesman Tom Moore says the student has decided not to file a police report at this time.
     The school issued a "timely warning" Monday about the incident. They issued more than a dozen during the last academic school year. UI President Sally Mason released a six-point plan in February aimed at combating sexual assault.
 

 

 


 

 

 



   

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