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Wednesday News, May 23

Local Mental Health Services Out of Money

(Le Mars) -- With the restructuring of how mental health is being funded, and with an additional case load, the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors heard from Sharon Nieman, Plymouth County CPC and General Relief Director that additional funds would be needed to sustain services between today and the end of the fiscal year which is June 30th.  This is the first time, the local mental health provider has ran out of allocated money.

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 Nieman informed the supervisors that unfortunately, several counties are finding themselves in a similar position.  She says Sioux County ran out of money two weeks ago.  Nieman says her staff is implementing a waiting list for mental health patients.

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Plains Area Mental Health Center Executive Director Patrick Schmitz and Don Nore, the executive director with Life Skills Training Center both listened to Nieman explain the situation to the supervisors.  Schmitz and Nore assured the supervisors that they would not turn anyone away, and in fact they would continue to provide services.  The problem hinges on recent legislative action that placed some of the funding from the state and in the hands of the counties.  Back in the mid 1990's State law was established forbidding counties the opportunity to raise the tax levy to finance mental health.  Counties must have a separte levy to fund mental health services, and for Plymouth County, the levy is the lowest in the state per capita. 

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 That's good news for tax payers, but not very good news for mental health services.  Many people are unaware of how much money is allocated to mental health.  For many counties, including Plymouth, mental health services ranks second only to road and bridge maintenance in terms of a county expenses.

 

Supervisors Approve Deputies Salary Percentages

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors gave their approval to the county deputy salary percentages.  Each deputy within the auditor's, treasurer, attorney, recorder, and sheriff's office was given a raise in pay, based in part on the number of years served and from a certain percentage of the elected county official's salary.

 

Le Mars Mainstreet Visits With Demographic Groups

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Mainstreet organization is looking at ways to improve the downtown district.  During the past couple of days, consultants from the Mainstreet Iowa program were in town visiting with various demographic groups to help determine the needs of downtown Le Mars.  Mary Reynolds, Le Mars Mainstreet coordinator explains the different demographics.

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Perhaps somewhat surprising, Reynolds says the three diverse and different demographic groups essentially identified the same things as what are the benefits of downtown.

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Reynolds says of the 10 students that participated in the downtown analysis, nine indicated after college, they would probably would like to live in Le Mars.

 

Grassley Questions Expensive Court Conference

(Washington) -- Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is questioning why an August conference for federal judges needs to be held at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa located at Honolulu, Hawaii. The resort offers activities such as surfing lessons, snorkeling, yoga and Zumba.
Grassley and fellow Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions say it's "tone-deaf" to plan an expensive conference after the controversy surrounding the General Services Administration's lavish 2010 conference in Las Vegas.
     The Hawaii Tourism Authority defends the islands as being a place to hold productive and quality meetings.
     The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says lodging and airfare costs are comparable to mainland venues and government funds aren't to be used for recreational activities.

 

School Serves Recalled Lettuce

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Lettuce that had been recalled over fears of listeria contamination was served at Iowa City Community School District schools.
     The district says in a news release that officials were notified about the recall on Monday, after much of the lettuce had already been served. The rest won't be used.
     Federal authorities say there have been no reported illnesses associated with the voluntary recall by River Ranch Fresh Foods, of Salinas, Calif.
     Symptoms of listeria infection include high fever, headache and neck stiffness.


    

   

Tuesday News, May 22nd

Supervisors Discuss Mental Health

(Le Mars) -- May is recognized as "Mental Heath Month" and the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to meet again this morning and hear from Sharon Nieman, Plymouth County's CPC and General Relief Director.  She will visit with the supervisors regarding the current mental health status.  It is expected that the supervisors and Nieman will discuss the local funding of mental health services.  You may recall the Iowa legislature passed some legislation that changed the way mental health is to be supervised, as well as funded, with more of the funding to come from the county level.  Many people simply don't realize that mental health services rank second only to road and bridge maintenance in terms of county expenses.  Later in the day the supervisors will share lunch with the staff of Plains Area Mental Health Center.  The purpose of the luncheon is to have the supervisors be better informed of the many services and programs available at Plains Area Mental Health.

 

Fire at Rock Valley Group Home

ROCK VALLEY, Iowa (AP) - No injuries were reported in a fire at a group home for people with disabilities near Rock Valley in northwest Iowa.
     The Sioux County sheriff's office says part of a building at the Hope Haven Niessink Home was damaged in the fire that broke out Monday morning. The fire was contained to an office and a fitness
room. All staff and residents escaped safely.
     The cause of the fire is under investigation.

 

Main Street Iowa Discusses Downtown Le Mars

(Le Mars) -- A group of concerned community citizens met Monday afternoon to discuss Le Mars downtown.  It is all part of the Main Street of Iowa analysis of Le Mars as the city hopes to revitalize the downtown district.  Discussion focused on what are the good aspects of downtown, and what areas are in need of improvement?  Officials from Main Street of Iowa remain in town today and will work with focus groups, all with the intent of identifying ways to improve the downtown district of Le Mars.

 

Floyd Valley Hospital Acknowledges EMT's

(Le Mars) -- This week is National Emergency Services Week and Floyd Valley Hospital acknowledged the services of area ambulance crews, fire fighters, law enforcement, and others involved with the saving of lives.  A dinner was prepared in their honor.  After thanking and praising the efforts of the area EMT's, Floyd Valley Hospital Administrator, Mike Donlin spoke of the goals that Floyd Valley hopes to achieve.  Donlin informed the group that steps are being taken to explore the possibility of expanding the hospital facilities.  He also spoke about the transition of incorporating electronic medical records, and how that transition will eventually be a better system.  Mary Jo Clark, Floyd Valley Trauma Center Coordinator spoke to the group about computerized charting.

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Clark acknowledged that the new system may be in need of improvements, and she asked for the EMT's patience while the new system is updated with the needed information.  The group of EMT's also heard from Anita Bailey of Milford.  Bailey serves as an EMT education coordinator and state inspector.  She offered an explaination as to what type of people are EMT's.

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USDA Issues Weekly Crop Update

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Corn is high, healthy and way ahead of schedule, the government says in its weekly assessment of the growing season.
     The nation's corn crop is 96 percent planted, way ahead of last year's 75 percent and the 81 percent average of the last few years. Iowa is 98 percent planted.
     The USDA says 76 percent of the crop has emerged nationally. The average is 48 percent. Iowa is at 81 percent.
     The government says 62 percent of the crop is good, 20 percent fair and 15 percent excellent.
     It's also a good start to the soybean season with 76 percent of the crop planted. Normally, it's about 42 percent. More than a third has emerged, better than the 13 percent average.
     An early spring and good weather gets the credit.

 

Farmers Planting Crops Too Close To Roadways

 MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Cerro Gordo County official says crops planted too close to county roads pose safety and other hazards.
     The Mason City Globe Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/JatQqy ) that some farmers have pulled up their fences so they can plant more ground closer to county roadways.
     County engineer Mary Kelly she understands the farmers' desire to "get the biggest bang for their buck."
     But Kelly says planting in the county easements on ditch sides and bottoms can create drainage and erosion problems. Also, as crops grow they can obscure a driver's vision.
     Kelly says a tall crop of corn near a road might prevent a driver from stopping in time for a deer coming out of the field.





   

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