Thursday News, October 23
State Senator Hatch Visits Le Mars
(Le Mars) -- State Senator Jack Hatch, a Democrat from Des Moines, stopped in Le Mars late Wednesday afternoon as he campaigned in northwest Iowa seeking the position of Governor. Hatch appeared at the Plymouth County Democratic headquarters. Hatch told supporters that if elected, he would propose raising the fuel tax by ten cents a gallon over the next five years in order to finance Iowa's deteriorating infrastructure system. He says Iowa is in desperate need to repair our roads and bridges.
Hatch's message to allocate state funds for repairing roads and bridges resonated with the gathered supporters. Nate Summerside, a bridge inspector for Plymouth County, was at the event and informed the Democratic gubernatorial candidate that Plymouth County ranks first in the state with more than 400 bridges that have a span of at least 20 feet. Summerside says the total number of bridges in Plymouth County is close to 600. Hatch says the need to repair Iowa's roads and bridges would help the rural agricultural economy, but he says it also becomes a public safety issue.
Hatch also discussed education and health care for rural Iowans, saying Governor Branstad has failed to implement any meaningful programs.
The Democratic candidate spoke passionately about the short-comings of Branstad's health care plan.
Hatch also addressed the minimum wage issue, saying to his supporters "Iowans that work 40 hours a week should not have to be listed as poverty level." He favors a proposal by U-S Senator Tom Harkin to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour over a two year time period.
Flu Vaccination Clinics Postponed
(Le Mars) -- Due to the unforeseen delay shipment of the influenza vaccine, Floyd Valley Hospital has had to postpone both the flu vaccine clinic scheduled for Friday at Hinton, as well as the flu clinic originally scheduled for next Tuesday at the Rejoice Church in Le Mars. The Hinton clinic has been rescheduled to occur on Friday, November 14th between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. The vaccination clinic for the Rejoice Church has not yet been rescheduled.
Regents Consider 1.75 Percent Tuition Increase
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The governing board for Iowa's three public universities will discuss a plan that would raise tuition and fees by 1.75 percent next year.
The Iowa Board of Regents will meet at the University of Iowa on Thursday for the second of a two-day meeting.
Regents are expected to consider the tuition plan, but not vote on it until December.
It would raise the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for undergraduates from Iowa to $8,220 at the University of Iowa, $7,851 at Iowa State and $7,933 at the University of Northern Iowa.
The proposal comes after the board has frozen tuition rates for the prior two years, for the first time since the 1970s.
The increase would cover the expected cost of inflation and generate $14.5 million in new revenues.
Regents Study Voluntary Payment Agreements
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Agreements by Iowa's three public universities to make voluntary payments to cities instead of property taxes would receive closer scrutiny under a policy recommended Wednesday.
The policy backed by an Iowa Board of Regents committee comes after the University of Iowa faced criticism over a $1 million annual payment to the city of Coralville for a tax-exempt medical clinic.
The regents agreed to the payment in 2010 as part of a plan for a $73 million University of Iowa ambulatory care clinic at Coralville's Iowa River Landing development.
Critics have called it overly generous. A report by Iowa City suggested it was out of step with the payments that other college towns receive.
The new policy would require universities to justify such agreements and how the payments are calculated.
Iowa Splits Votes Evenly Between Democrats And Republicans
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - The politically savvy state of Iowa prides itself on purple voting, boasting a congressional delegation evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. But this year, with a closely matched Senate race and three competitive House seats, the GOP sees an opportunity to turn the state a vibrant shade of red.
Big bucks and big-name politicians are helping. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was in Cedar Falls Wednesday, stumping for Republican businessman Rod Blum, who is running against longtime Democratic state lawmaker Pat Murphy in the 1st Congressional District. The seat is open because Democrat Bruce Braley is running for Senate.
Republicans are also spending heavily in the state's 2nd and 3rd Congressional Districts. But Democrats questioned how good the GOP chances really were of securing all four House seats.
Two Men Charged With Baby's Death
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Two men have been charged in connection with the death of a baby boy who was run over in his child seat in a Des Moines driveway.
Des Moines police say in a news release that 26-year-old Brian Garrett and 33-year-old Deanthony Clark have been arrested. Jail records say both remained in custody on Thursday. Court records don't list the men's attorneys.
Police say Garrett was the father of the 4-month-old child, Breland Garrett. Brian Garrett is charged with child endangerment. Clark's charges include operating while intoxicated and five counts of neglect of a dependent.
Police say Breland was placed on the driveway in front of a sport utility vehicle as several children were being loaded on Aug. 30. The SUV subsequently moved forward and ran over Breland.
Des Moines Man Told To Stop Playing Doctor
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Health officials are telling a Des Moines man to stop telling people he's a doctor or he could face jail time.
The Iowa Board of Medicine sent a cease and desist letter to 60-year-old Jorrion Belinsky following an incident in June where he told a West Des Moines police officer that he was a psychiatrist whose public argument with a woman was a doctor and patient interaction.
Police reported the incident to the medical board. Their letter states Belinsky has not graduated from an accredited medical school and does not hold an Iowa medical license. The letter also says a civil injunction or felony charge is possible if he doesn't stop portraying himself as a doctor.
A public number was not listed for Belinsky.