Monday Afternoon News, September 8
Real Estate And Mobile Home Taxes Now Due
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Treasurer, Shelly Sitzmann, reminds property owners that the first-half real estate and mobile home taxes are due now and can be paid in the office, online, or through the mail. The delinquent date is Wednesday, October 1, 2014. Mail must be postmarked on or before September 30, 2014 to avoid delinquent interest. Send your payment before the last day, as mailing your payment on September 30 does not guarantee a September 30 postmark. Delinquent interest of 1.5% per month rounded to the nearest dollar attaches to all unpaid taxes on October 1, 2014, and an additional 1.5% penalty on the first of each succeeding month thereafter. There is a minimum $1.00 penalty on all taxes.
City Officials To Test Outdoor Warning Sirens
(Le Mars) -- Coming up today at 1:00 p.m. city officials will be testing the outdoor warning sirens. Normally the tests are conducted on the first Monday of the month, but since last Monday was Labor Day, city officials decided to wait until today. Although there is a cloud cover and some strong winds today, Officials want to assure Le Mars residents that the sirens are only being tested and there are no current storm warnings.
Authorities Investigate Weekend Motorcycle Accident
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County authorities are investigating a motorcycle accident that occured on Saturday evening. 64 year old Kevin Buffington of Sioux Falls was riding his motorcycle on Highway 12 near Akron when he lost control of his motorcycle while going around a curve. Buffington was thrown from his motorcycle and suffered injuries. He was transported to Mercy Medical Center of Sioux City by the Akron ambulance.
Midwest Governors Meet In Des Moines
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governors from five Midwest states joined Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad on Monday in meetings with Japanese governors, officials, and company executives for the annual gathering of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association.
The group, founded in 1967, meets yearly to discuss the growth and progress of economic relations of the American Midwest and Japan.
Governors from Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin planned to give speeches. The Japanese ambassador and the consulate general from Chicago attended the meeting.
The speakers also included Kikkoman Corp. Honorary CEO Yuzaburo Mogi, who is credited with introducing soy sauce to the United States in 1959. He is the Japanese conference chairman.
"The theme this year is building a robust and sustainable future," he said. "We hope this meeting will help identify and develop business opportunities for all of us."
Mogi joined executives from Nippon Airways, Toshiba and Toyota at the conference to discuss continued trade, government and business relationships between the two countries.
It is the 46th year the organization has met. Former Illinois Gov. Jim Thompson, the U.S. conference chairman, said this year's goal is to find new synergies between the states highlighting growth in environmental industries and in the health and wellness sectors as the population of Japan and the U.S. states age.
Regents To Ask For $13 Million
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Board of Regents said Monday it will ask lawmakers for an additional $13 million to help the state's three public universities transition to a new funding model based on in-state enrollment.
A board budget plan shows the money would be split between the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University. Regents will consider the plan Wednesday during a meeting in Ames.
Board spokeswoman Sheila Koppin said the new money would prevent $13 million from being shifted away from the University of Iowa next year.
The school has a lower percentage of students from Iowa than the other two universities, and it was expected to lose up to $39 million over the next three years under the plan.
University of Iowa spokesman Joe Brennan said Monday's funding request was good news and should reassure faculty who are anxious about possible cuts. But he cautioned that it was only the beginning of the process.
Under the funding model adopted in June, 60 percent of money for the schools will be allocated based on in-state enrollment. The other 40 percent would be based on measures such as the number of graduates and diversity of the student body.
Regents said the new model aligns state tax dollars with Iowa students, and holds the universities accountable for their performance.
New Prision Still Not Completed
FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) - Repairs are still not done at the new Fort Madison prison built to house 800 inmates in maximum security, and there is no timetable for when they'll occupy their new cells.
The new, $132 million Iowa State Penitentiary was expected to be occupied in March, but officials said the geothermal heating and cooling system was improperly designed and didn't work as planned.
"We haven't been given a completion date by our contractors," says Rebecca Bowker, executive officer at the Iowa State Penitentiary, "They are doing what they need to do" to finish the work, she said.
Assistant Iowa Corrections Director Fred Scaletta said contractors are changing pumps and piping to bring the geothermal system into compliance with the building specifications and design.
Caleb Hunter, deputy director of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services, said potential legal claims are being evaluated by the Iowa attorney general's office.
Meanwhile, the penitentiary has completed a week of training to operate the new prison, Bowker said, and some refresher training is planned when the move occurs.
Hepatitus Pill Dispensed At Prisions
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The state Corrections Department has started the limited use of a hepatitis drug that costs $1,000 per pill.
Supporters of the Solvadi's use argue that it cures more than 90 percent of people who take it, depending on which virus strain they have, The Des Moines Register reported (http://dmreg.co/1uestSa ). They say it also has fewer side effects than older drugs used to treat hepatitis C, a virus most commonly spread by sharing infected needles.
According to the corrections department's medical director Harbans Deol, more than 10 percent of the prison system's inmates have the virus.
In order to qualify for the drug, inmates must show signs of illness. They have to be in prison for 18 months and must be willing to participate in alcohol- or drug-addiction treatment. The drugs aren't given to the inmate if he or she is allergic, pregnant, have heart problems, have bleeding disorders or have liver problems.
Deol says prison medical staff screen all incoming inmates for the virus, but they don't aggressively treat every inmate who has it. Usually, they will prescribe medications for prisoners who show signs of becoming seriously ill.
Two inmates have recently taken opted to take Sovaldi. Deol says the total cost to treat them is expected to reach about $147,000.
He says the prison system has budgeted about $1.5 million for the new medication for the current fiscal year.
Health Officials Monitor Respiratory Virus
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Public health officials on Monday said they're monitoring a high number of reports of a respiratory virus in several Midwest states including Iowa.
Enterovirus EV-D68 begins like a cold with symptoms such as coughing and wheezing, according to the state Department of Public Health. It appears to spread though close contact with infected people.
"This is a really common virus," said Dr. Ann Garvey, a deputy state epidemiologist. "We see this virus circulate every year about this time. What's a little different this year and is causing more attention is that we're seeing it circulate in higher levels than we usually see."
Additional information about the virus in Iowa is not available. Federal and state officials do not track the number of cases of the virus. It's also been reported in Illinois, Ohio and Kansas, according to Iowa health officials.
The disease is a type of enterovirus, which is a common virus with more than 100 types. About 10 to 15 million enterovirus infections occur in the U.S. each year, according to state officials. Most people recover at home without complications.
Officials warned Enterovirus EV-D68 may cause some people with severe respiratory illness to be hospitalized for further treatment. Infants, children and teenagers, especially those with a history of asthma or other conditions that compromise the immune system, are more likely to become sick.
Infected people should drink fluids, rest and stay home to prevent spreading the disease. Individuals experiencing difficulty with breathing should contact their health care provider.