Friday News, March 6
Le Mars Boys Basketball Team To Receive Commemorative Basketballs
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Boys Basketball Team will be given a special souvenier for qualifying for the Iowa Boys State Basketball Tournament. Plymouth County Farm Bureau will present the Bulldog team with commemorative basketballs on Monday, March 9th. The presentation will take place at the Le Mars Community High School Gymnasium at 1;30 p.m. The Iowa Farm Bureau is the exclusive title sponsor of the Iowa High School Athletic Association and each team member and coach that qualifies for the state tournament is given a basketball. Mark Bohner, the regional manager for Iowa Farm Bureau representing six northwest Iowa counties, will make the presentation.
Parents Arrested After 5 Month Old Fractures Skull
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a 5-month-old boy is being treated for a fractured skull and his parents are facing charges in Sioux City.
Court records say 25-year-old Kara Jackson and Aaron Tucker were arrested Wednesday and are charged with felony child endangerment. The records say Tucker will turn 24 on Saturday. Jackson's attorney didn't immediately return a call Friday to comment on the case. Court records don't list the name of Tucker's attorney.
A criminal complaint says the tiny boy was taken to a Sioux City hospital on Feb. 26. The complaint says his parents accused each other of dropping the child on different occasions.
The state has taken custody of the baby.
Fire Destroys Sioux City Home
(Sioux City) -- A home on Sioux City's northside has been destroyed by fire. Lt. Joe Rodriques of the Sioux City Fire Department says fire units were sent to 1234 West 41st Street around 10:40 a.m.
Rodriques says the home sustained severe damage from the fire and the investigation into what caused the blaze will take some time.
The Hinton Fire Department and a tanker from the 185th Air National Guard Unit provided assistance in fighting the fire. The home, which was listed as for sale, is owned by Terry and Rebecca Evans.
Legislative Bills Face Funnel Deadline
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - With the bipartisan approval of a fuel tax increase out of the way, Governor Terry Branstad is hoping to win backing for two other legislative priorities - an anti-bullying bill and an effort to expand broadband internet access.
Both bills were set to move forward as the Legislature approached a Friday procedural deadline, while some other more partisan legislation appeared dead Thursday.
Branstad said he was pleased that his agenda is moving ahead in the Legislature.
Under legislative rules, known as "funnel week," Friday is the deadline for most bills to receive committee-level approval in the state House or Senate. Some bills are not subject to this deadline, like budget bills, and legislative leaders could always revive a bill later in the session.
Legislators Still Debating Over School Start Date
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Debates over when the school year should begin are playing out in districts around the country, with lawmakers trying to balance concerns about local control, academic rigor and tourism revenue.
Business owners express growing worries that earlier starts in August hurt tourism revenue during the critical summer months. Many educators say starting sooner helps them better prepare students for standardized tests, Advanced Placement courses and end-of-semester exams.
The tension boils down to whether state or local leaders should be deciding. Lawmakers in several states, including Iowa, Arizona, Maryland and Texas, are currently considering measures on opposite sides of the debate.
Iowa lawmakers are trying to find a compromise agreeable to educators and tourism officials. In Texas, which set a requirement in 2006, lawmakers are trying to give districts more flexibility.
Senate Approves Contact Information For Public Officials
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Senate committee has approved a bill that would require contact information for elected public officials in Iowa to be published online in a timely manner.
A state government committee approved the bill unanimously Thursday. It now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
The bill would require an entity to post contact information for an elected public official within 30 days of the official's swearing in to the position. A public official includes lawmakers, county board supervisors, city council members and board members of a school district.
Some lobbyists speaking earlier Thursday expressed concern about whether private information would be required. Senator Jeff Danielson, a Cedar Falls Democrat and committee chairman, says the bill is aimed at ensuring the public can easily reach officials, not disclosing private information.
Mental Health Officials Get Layoff Notices
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Layoff notices are going out to employees at a state mental health institution in Mount Pleasant that is slated for closure.
Department of Human Services spokeswoman Amy McCoy says Thursday that notices had gone out to 36 workers. The layoffs will be effective April 6th. There currently are about 74 people working at the facility.
Under Governor Terry Branstad's proposed budget, funding would be eliminated for mental health facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant. Branstad says the hospitals are old and that people can seek mental health treatment from other providers, including two state mental health institutions in Cherokee and Independence.
Democratic lawmakers say the Republican governor is ignoring the fact that the Legislature appropriated money for the institutions. A Branstad spokesman says the change will lead to better care.