Thursday Afternoon News, July 16
Rain Amounts Vary Across County
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County was fortunate to receive some showers last evening, but how much depends upon where you lived. At the KLEM offices located on 2nd Avenue Northwest in Le Mars, our rain gauge measured .81 one-hundredths of an inch. However, we received numerous phone calls from various listeners telling us about different amounts. In the area in the far northwest corner of the county near Craig, listerners report having received only 15 one-hundredths of an inch. Residents living on the southern edge of Le Mars report having two-plus inches of rain. Still there were those living east of Merrill and towards Remsen that reported having any where from three inches up to five inches of rain.
Medical Cannabis Cards
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa has spent more than $100,000 to create and issue registration cards to about 50 people getting cannabis oil under the state's medical marijuana program.
The Iowa Department of Transportation last fall asked Massachusetts-based MorphoTrust USA to design and create the cards, which were approved last year by the state Legislature.
According to documents obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request, MorphoTrust USA billed the Transportation Department $115,000 for its work. It was paid for through the state general fund.
Agency spokeswoman Melissa Spiegel said the cost was reasonable based on similar work on other cards.
The card program has faced criticism that it's cumbersome and largely useless.
Branstad Declares Additional Counties As Disaster Areas
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has issued another disaster proclamation in response to recent severe weather in Iowa.
Branstad says in a press release that he signed a proclamation of disaster emergency Wednesday for Jefferson and Wayne counties in the southern half of the state. The areas were affected by severe storms and flooding toward the end of June.
The proclamation allows officials to use state resources to respond to effects from the severe weather. Branstad made similar proclamations for other Iowa counties last month.
Sioux City Library Shuts Down Due To Flooding
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The main library branch in Sioux City has reopened, a day after street flooding caused by a water main break shut it down.
The Wilbur Aalfs Library branch was forced to close Wednesday.
The water main break was on the east side of the building under a sidewalk. Library director Betsy Thompson says the break flooded parts of the sidewalk and a nearby alley, but the interior of the library wasn't affected.
The decision to close was made because the library had no running water or air conditioning as crews worked to stop the flow of water and repair the main.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A new survey suggests modest economic growth ahead in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states, but the predicted decline in farm income this year remains a concern.
The overall Rural Mainstreet economic index inched into positive territory in July at 53.4. In June the index registered a neutral score of 50.
The index has risen for four months. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the trend is encouraging, but the bankers surveyed still aren't very optimistic. The confidence index remained in negative territory at 46.6 after improving from June's 45.9.
The survey indexes range from 0 to 100. Any score below 50 suggests decline in that factor in the months ahead.
Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.
University Of Iowa To Hire Communications Consultant
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa college says it'll spend up to $145,000 to hire an Atlanta-based consultant to oversee its strategic communications for the next six months.
The move comes after the University of Iowa's vice president of strategic communications, Joe Brennan, announced last month that he was leaving for a similar post at a New York college.
The Iowa school confirmed to the Iowa City Press-Citizen on Tuesday that it's contracting with Terri Goren of Goren & Associates.
Goren will be paid $20,000 per month with a $25,000 cap on flight, meals and reimbursement. She won't be an official college employee but rather an independent contractor. Her contract expires Dec. 31.
A school spokeswoman says that Brennan's last day is scheduled for Aug. 3, but that Goren's contract began July 1.
Drug Court Closes
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Budget concerns have led officials in western Iowa to announce a plan to shut down the region's drug court.
The Fourth Judicial District drug court will shut down on Oct. 1.
Drug court started in January 2000. It offers people who are convicted of drug felonies a chance to complete a rehabilitation program instead of going to jail. If they are successful, the charges can be wiped from their records.
District director Kip Shanks says there are about 40 offenders in the program, which is no longer accepting applications.
Shanks says the program cost $250,000 a year to run, but funds allocated to his department for 2016 did not cover both drug court costs and employee raises.
Mall Of The Bluffs Up For Sale
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Mall of the Bluffs in Council Bluffs will be sold at auction.
The property, which sold for $8.5 million in 2013 to Namdar Realty Group of Great Neck, N.Y., is listed on auction.com with a $1.5 million opening bid.
The auction runs for three days starting Aug. 3.
Namdar leasing manager Chiam Wiater confirmed that the main 492,000-square-foot building is for sale.
Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh says other properties on the grounds are for sale, but not as part of the auction.