Monday News, November 16
Privatization Of Medicare May Leave Some Health Services For Disabled Short On Funds
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The plan to privatize Iowa's Medicaid services beginning in January includes a new payment scheme that cuts reimbursements for some organizations helping people with physical, mental or developmental disabilities. Some care providers say the loss is enough to force smaller organizations to close, leaving the people they serve scrambling to find services.
Mental health centers and organizations providing services for people with physical or intellectual disabilities say the Iowa Department of Human Services new payment plan is unworkable for some.
A mental health center in Creston expects to lose $150,000 and a nonprofit provider in Burlington faces a loss of about $168,000.
The DHS says the new pay structure simplifies reimbursements and is not intended to cut payments. The agency says it will work with providers facing lower reimbursements.
Sioux County Land Sale Brings $17,300 Per Acre
(Hospers) -- Despite low agricultural commodity prices, land still seems to be in high demand with buyers willing to spend near record levels. At a Sioux County land auction held on Friday near Hospers, a tract of 154 acres sold at $17,300 an acre. Jim Klein of Remsen was the auctioneer for the sale. He says the land sold is of high quality with a history of being very productive.
Klein says the land was sold to a local neighboring farmer that had land already adjacent to the land that sold.
The price per acre is not a record for Sioux County land sales, as a parcel of land sold for more than $20,000 an acre nearly two years ago, but as Klein says with lower grain prices, the expectation would be that land value would also decline.
Sioux County is a leader in livestock and poultry production, and Klein believes one reason for the high demand for land is so farmers have somewhere to dispose manure.
Klein says the tract of land did bring several bidders at the start of the sale. He says this was the highest price paid for land that he has had a role in selling.
Sioux City Council To Vote To Approve Land And Funding For Ag Expo
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Sioux City officials are preparing to vote on a pledge for the city to provide $2 million and 12 acres for an agriculture exposition and learning center near the former site of a food manufacturing facility.
The city council will be asked Monday to vote on the pledge, which will be contingent on a $1 million pledge from Missouri River Historical Development and a $2 million pledge from Woodbury County.
The city's commitment would take $200,000 annually for 10 years from the capital improvement plan budget.
The proposed project at the site of the former John Morrell Plant will cost about $11 million to $14 million total.
Interstate 29 Construction To Continue Through Winter Months
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Construction work will continue on Interstate 29 in the Sioux City area through winter, so drivers won't get much of a break this year.
The seven-year widening project is reaching one of its most-complicated stages. So even as this year's work wraps up, new projects will be getting started.
Iowa Department of Transportation's Dakin Schultz says seven bridges will be replaced during the next phase of the project, and work on two of those bridges will start during winter.
Schultz says next year will be a tough one for motorists because of all the projects that are planned that will require detours.
Major construction is expected to continue in 2019, but some finishing work may stretch in to 2020.
Congressman Steve King May Announce Endorsement Of Presidential Candidate
(Des Moines) -- It is expected that Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King will formally endorse a presidential candidate today. King is calling for a news conference this morning for what is described as a "major announcement" concerning the Iowa Caucuses.
Hillary Rodham Clinton Says Her Plan Will Not Raise Taxes On Middle Class
AMES, Iowa (AP) - Hillary Rodham Clinton is offering fresh criticism of Bernie Sanders' proposals. She says she's the only candidate who wouldn't raise taxes on middle-class families or scrap President Barack Obama's health care law.
Clinton is speaking at a fall barbecue with Democrats in Ames following Saturday's debate in Des Moines.
She says taxes are a "defining issue" in the race and she was the only Democrat in the debate who wouldn't raise taxes on middle-class families to pay for her proposals.
Without mentioning Sanders by name, she says Democrats shouldn't suggest the nation "start all over again" with the health care system. Sanders backs a single-payer health system based on Medicare.
Clinton was joined by her husband, ex-President Bill Clinton. He joked after watching the debates, "I think I'm going to vote for Hillary."
Rubio Says U-S Should Not Accept Syrian Refugees
WASHINGTON (AP) - The bloody attacks in Paris are putting the Syrian refugee crisis at center stage in U.S. politics as migrants from that war-torn country surge toward the West and security concerns rise.
Republican presidential contender Marco Rubio on Sunday said the United States should no longer accept Syrian refugees because it's impossible to know whether they have links to Islamic militants - an apparent shift from earlier statements in which the Florida senator left open the prospects of migrants being admitted with proper vetting.
"It's not that we don't want to, it's that we can't," Rubio said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "Because there's no way to background check someone that's coming from Syria. Who do you call and do a background check on them?"
Farragut School District May Be Dissolved By State Education Board
FARRAGUT, Iowa (AP) - The Farragut Community School District will have to find a new superintendent if it manages to survive this week's State Board of Education meeting.
The board is expected to act Wednesday on a proposal to dissolve the western Iowa district. A report given to the state board in October indicated that enrollment is down 28 students from last year's 167 students. The district also has been exceeded its spending authority.
Superintendent Tom Hinrichs has told the state and local boards that he's leaving at the end of the school year. Hinrichs says his decision to leave is being made for personal and family reasons, citing his 75-mile commute from west Omaha in Nebraska.