Tuesday News, April 16
Supervisors Have Light Agenda For Weekly Meeting
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are to meet this morning. The supervisors have a light agenda. They will hear from county engineer Tom Rohe and are expected to approve a contract with Dixon Construction for a bridge repair project. The supervisors will also decide upon a subdivision request.
Siouxlanders Respond To Boston Marathon Bombing
(Undated) -- Two bombs exploded yesterday near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. At least two people have been killed with dozens of others injured, many of which are seriously injured. Renee Schwiesow is a Sioux County native who lives in the Boston area. She was in the city for Monday's finish of the Boston Marathon. Schwiesow had left the area before the explosions occurred, but says part of the city in in a lock down mode.
Schwiesow says part of the city's mass transit system has also been shutdown.
Schwiesow is the daughter of former Sioux County Sheriff, Jim Schwiesow.
Paul Miller is a 73 year old marathoner from Sioux City. He competed in the Boston Marathon twice, most recently in 2011.
Miller says there would still have been several runners on the course and many spectators at the finish line when the explosions occurred.
Miller says Monday's events in Boston will not stop him from competing in other big marathons.
Miller says his thoughts are with the victims of the explosions.
Drake Relays Reviewing Security
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State and local officials in many parts of the country are taking a look at security in the wake of the bombing attacks against the Boston Marathon. But in Iowa, as in
other localities so far, there have been no cancellations. Officials in charge of the Drake Relays say that they, too, are reviewing safety measures ahead of next week's meet.
Drake spokesman Tyler Patton tells The AP that campus and Des Moines police will re-evaluate the security plans for the Drake Relays, which will be held from April 25-28.
Patton says no further details were immediately available.
The meet will also host a 1-mile race in downtown Des Moines on April 23 and a half marathon on April 28.
Drake Relays director Brian Brown was in meetings Monday and unavailable for further comment.
Senate Passes Bill To Reduce Property Taxes
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has approved a plan to reduce commercial property taxes, but the outlook for the bill is unclear because the House favors an alternate proposal from Gov.
The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 29-21 in favor of the plan Monday. The legislation would gradually provide commercial and industrial property owners with a tax credit equivalent to a roughly 40 percent tax cut on their first $324,000 in assessed property value.
Democrats say the plan would benefit Iowa small businesses.
The bill will now move to the Republican-majority House where lawmakers have given committee-level approval to a plan from Branstad that gradually reduces taxable assessments for commercial property owners by 20 percent.
A spokesman for Branstad says he remains hopeful they can find a compromise.
Senate Expands and Approves Judicial Budget
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has approved budget legislation that would give more funding to the judicial branch.
The Democratic-controlled Senate approved the plan Monday on a 26-24 party line vote. The budget gives the judiciary a $167.7 million budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, an increase
of nearly $6 million over the current year. The judicial branch requested this funding level.
Democratic Sen. Robert Hogg, of Cedar Rapids, says the budget will help the judicial system restore some services that have been reduced due to cuts.
In January, Chief Justice Mark Cady said the court needs to increase staffing in juvenile courts, keep clerk of court offices open full-time and provide more support workers to justices.
The legislation now moves to the Republican-majority House for review.
Big Crowd Expected For Medicaid Hearing
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa House budget committee is expecting a big crowd for a public hearing on the Senate's Medicaid expansion plan.
More than 50 people have signed up to testify at the hearing, set to begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the House chambers.
They will comment on a Medicaid expansion bill approved by the Senate. It would add up to 180,000 people to the state's Medicaid program, with the federal government picking up the entire cost for three years and then ratcheting down to 90 percent.
Gov. Terry Branstad opposes the Medicaid expansion, saying it would be too expensive. He has proposed a plan called Healthy Iowa, which would offer more limited benefits to an estimated 89,000
residents with incomes below the poverty line.
House Passes Legislation That Helps For Future Flooding Victims
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Some lawmakers say a bill recently passed by the Legislature could leave taxpayers vulnerable if future flooding damages homes surrounding a lake in eastern Iowa.
The measure exempts Lake Delhi along the Maquoketa River from a requirement that dam owners buy easements for any property that could flood if water scales the dam. Some lawmakers say it's a
liability issue, since lakefront owners could sue the state if their homes are damaged.
The Des Moines Register reports Gov. Terry Branstad hasn't decided if he will sign the bill.
A 2010 storm caused the river to run over the dam and destroy it. Some have criticized funding to restore the dam because they argue there's limited public access.
A homeowners group says the dam has a huge economic impact on Iowa.
Iowa Public Radio Negotiating With Former CEO
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Public Radio's lawyers are negotiating with former CEO Mary Grace Herrington, who was fired on Feb. 26.
Iowa Public Radio board chairwoman Kay Runge says the organization has risked being sued because the board discussed personnel matters after voting to terminate Herrington's contract.
The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/109bJzI) that there's no deadline to reach an agreement. But Runge said at the board's Monday meeting in Des Moines that the board "would like to
get it wrapped."
The negotiations and search for a new CEO come as the organization faces a revenue shortfall. It has until the end of June to reach its goal of nearly $8 million.