Thursday Afternoon News, March 26
Iowa Population Increases In Des Moines, But Declines In Rural Areas
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The latest U.S. Census estimates show the Des Moines metro area is growing quickly while most Iowa counties have declining populations.
According to data released Thursday, the Des Moines-West Des Moines metro area population reached an estimated 611,549, up 7.4 percent from the 2010 U.S. Census. The majority of Iowa counties, however, saw declines, as only 31 of 99 experienced an uptick.
The data show Dallas County had a 17 percent increase, the largest among Iowa counties. The biggest decline was in Fremont County, where population dropped 5.6 percent.
All of Iowa's nine metro areas saw growth. The Iowa City metro led the pack, up 7.7 percent since 2010.
Gary Krob, coordinator of the State Data Center, says having growth across Iowa rather than concentrated in one area is promising.
Clarinda Mental Health Patients Being Moved
CLARINDA, Iowa (AP) - Officials from Clarinda Mental Health have begun to transfer mentally ill senior citizens from the institution to private nursing homes.
A spokeswoman for the state facility confirmed Wednesday that only about a dozen patients, who are considered to be some of the toughest cases the institution handles, will be affected. The institute itself is scheduled to close July 1.
The Department of Human Services says that it is looking for safe placements for the senior citizens. Patient advocates say most of the senior citizens in the program were placed in the institution because private facilities found them too difficult to handle.
Department spokeswoman Amy McCoy said that some of the transfers have taken place, but declined to say how many of the residents have been moved.
Prison Contractor Blames Constant Changes For Increased Costs
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The contractor seeking an additional $18.1 million for work on the still-empty Fort Madison prison blames repeated changes, conflicting directives and defective designs.
The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/1xibdzQ ) that it reviewed documents filed by Walsh Construction, of Chicago, and responses by Shive-Hattery Architecture Engineering, of Des Moines, which also worked on the prison project. Because the prison still doesn't meet state building code, it remains empty.
Walsh project manager Brian McGinty said in an August 2014 letter to the Iowa Administrative Services Department that Shive-Hattery dismisses any notion that its design might be the problem and tries to blame Walsh and its subcontractors.
But a Shive-Hattery team leader said in a December 2014 letter that Walsh Construction had submitted some incorrect information to the state and made erroneous assumptions.
Janitor Charged For Bringing Gun To School Grounds
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A 39-year-old Des Moines school janitor has been charged with carrying a weapon while working on school grounds.
The Des Moines district says it has fired John Keith, who was arrested Monday. Officers say they found a loaded handgun in Keith's vehicle. A police report says Keith showed the gun to another employee on March 9 and talked about his conceal carry permit.
A police spokesman, Sgt. Jason Halifax, says even people who have legal permits to carry aren't authorized to have guns with them or in their vehicles while on school grounds.
Online court records don't list the name of an attorney for Keith who could be contacted to comment on the case.