Saturday News, September 28
ALS Walk Scheduled For Saturday
(Le Mars) -- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. A-L-S, affects millions of people worldwide, including here in Le Mars. That's why Colleen Scholten is organizing an A-L-S awareness walk scheduled for Saturday morning at the Le Mars Municipal Park. Registration begins at 10:00 a.m. with the walk to begin at 11:00 a.m. The walk is two miles long, although Scholten says you don't have to walk the entire distance.
Scholten's son, Steve, has been diagnosed with the deadly disease.
Scholten says family members take turns in caring for her son. She says ALS is hard to diagnose and with her son, he first noticed a tingling or numbness in his hands.
Scholten says the disease continued to progress and continued to deteriorate Steve's nerves and muscles.
Scholten says doctors and researchers are still puzzled by the disease, and to date, they don't know what causes ALS to strike, or what is a common denominator among patients. All they do know is it is a fatal disease. Scholten is complimentary of the Iowa Chapter of the ALS association, saying they offer great support.
Siouxland Paramedics Fined $390,000
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City ambulance service provider has agreed to pay $390,000 to resolve allegations about how it submitted claims to federal health care programs.
The U.S. Attorney's Office announced the settlement Friday, saying Siouxland Paramedics will pay the money but won't admit any wrongdoing.
At issue was how Siouxland submitted claims to the Medicare and Medicaid programs for ambulance transports.
Karen Van De Steeg, executive director of the nonprofit that governs Siouxland Paramedics, blamed the problem on a legal interpretation of how the service billed for certain services.
Senate Democrats Want Tuition Freeze
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Senate Democrats want to see a second year of tuition freezes at state universities.
Democrats who control the state Senate announced Friday that they would seek another tuition freeze. During the legislative session earlier this year, lawmakers and the governor agreed to freeze undergraduate tuition at the three state universities for the first time in more than 30 years.
That freeze impacted the 2013 through 2014 academic year.
Lawmakers will return for the next legislative session in January. Democrats are calling on Republicans Governor Terry Branstad and leadership of the Republican-majority state House to agree to the proposal.
Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht says the governor will announce his budget plans in January. A spokesman for Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fort Dodge Police Officer Found Not Guilty Of Assault
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - A Fort Dodge police officer charged with assaulting his wife has been found not guilty.
Magistrate William Habhab ruled Friday that officer Jody Chansler was not guilty of domestic abuse assault.
Chansler was charged with the assault in August. He was accused of shoving his wife to the floor but testified in court that he and his wife bumped as he was trying to leave his house, causing her to fall.
She was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital.
Chansler, who has served with the Fort Dodge Police Department for 12 years, was placed on paid administrative leave after the charge.
EEOC Appeals Judgement To Pay Iowa Trucking Firm
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is again appealing an order that it pay millions in legal costs to an Iowa trucking company for a botched investigation.
EEOC filed notice Friday that it will appeal last month's order by U.S. District Judge Linda Reade that it pay $4.7 million to CRST Van Expedited.
Reade's order is believed to be the largest-ever fee sanction in the history of the EEOC. She says the agency brought numerous "unreasonable or groundless" claims of sexual harassment against the Cedar Rapids-based company.
Reade had ordered the agency to pay $4.5 million in 2010 to CRST, but that award was thrown out by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The appeals court will now consider the issue a second time.
Cow Herds Contract Disease
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Cows in 14 herds in eastern Iowa have come down with an illness spread by small flies and more often found in deer.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship says the illness, Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease is a virus spread by biting midges.
EHD rarely affects cattle, but it has been found in the wild whitetail deer population southern and eastern Iowa. The disease can be fatal in deer but it does not usually kill cows. It can cause fever, ulcers in the mouth and gums, swollen tongue, and lameness.
There is no evidence it can infect humans.
Cattle farmers should use insect control and contact a veterinarian if they see signs of illness.
A hard freeze kills the midges and stops the spread of the virus.
Iowa Sets Record For Hog Production
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The population of hogs and pigs in Iowa has reached the highest number ever.
The United States Department of Agriculture says in its quarterly report released Friday that the Sept. 1 inventory of hogs and pigs in the state shows 21.2 million animals. That's up from 2 percent reported on the same date a year ago and is the highest inventory on record.
Iowa is by far the nation's leading hog producer with nearly a third of the nation's 68.4 million animals. A distant second is North Carolina with about 9.5 million hogs. Minnesota is third with 7.6 million. Followed by Illinois with 4.7 million and Nebraska with 3.1 million.
National Geographic Exhibit In Des Moines
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A National Geographic exhibition on dangerous and remote areas of the world is officially on display at the Science Center of Iowa.
The center and Blank IMAX Dome Theater will open the Earth Explorers exhibit Saturday morning in Des Moines.
The exhibit is advertised as teaching visitors about the wildest places on Earth. It follows explorers from National Geographic as they venture into oceans, polar regions, rain forests, mountains and caves.
Organizers also encourage visitors to use a free interactive app during the exhibit. Earth Explorers is available through January 14 of next year.