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Senate votes to let psychologists prescribe drugs for mentally ill

News

April 6th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Senate has voted to allow a new group of medical professionals prescribe medications for mentally ill Iowans.  “I think the legislation is going to definitely improve access to mental health services, especially in places that currently have workforce shortages.” That’s Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City who’s been working on the bill. Under current law, psychiatrists can write prescriptions, but there are only 150 psychiatrists in the state and the majority of them live in urban areas. If the bill becomes law, the nearly 500 licensed psychologists in Iowa could write prescriptions, too.

“With the growing mental health care needs of Iowans, we need to find ways to safely increase the number of mental health professionals that can provide specialized care to Iowans needing mental health services,” Bolkcom says. Psychiatrists go to medical school and are licensed medical doctors who are able to write prescriptions.

Psychologists get a doctorate degree from a college after studying human behavior and how the mind works. The bill calls for new training for psychologists before they’d be able to prescribe any of 100 different drugs for treatment of mental illnesses. The bill failed to pass the Senate March 1st, but changes were made in the legislation today (Wednesday) and the bill picked up enough to clear the Senate on a 28 to 22 vote. It now goes to the House for consideration.

The Iowa Psychiatrists Association opposes the bill. The group argues there’s not enough training required for psychologists to be able to “safely prescribe” powerful medications for mentally ill Iowans.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic woman arrested in Mills County

News

April 6th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports four recent arrests. Among those taken into custody was 19-year Selena Marie Hansen, of Atlantic, who was arrested just after 8-a.m. Tuesday, and charged with Driving Under Suspension. Her bond was set at $300. 18-year old Jacob Lee Reafleng, of Glenwood, was arrested Tuesday afternoon, on a warrant for Domestic Abuse Assault and 1st Degree Harassment. His bond was set at $5,000. 29-year old Michael Shawn Beltran, of Bellevue, NE., was arrested in Mills County for Driving Under Suspension. Bond was set at $300. And, 32-year old Joshua Calvin Anderson, of Highland, CO., was arrested this (Wednesday) morning in Malvern, for Public Intoxication and Interference with Official Acts.

Red Oak man arrested on warrant

News

April 6th, 2016 by Chris Parks

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s office reports the arrest of a Red Oak man on a warrant Wednesday.  Deputies arrested 47-year-old Kenneth Houtchens of Red Oak at 11:30am on a warrant for Violation of Probation.  Houtchens was held in the Montgomery County Jail on $10,000 bond.

Iowa Senate OKs legislation over domestic violence penalties

News

April 6th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate has passed legislation that would increase penalties for repeat domestic abusers. The Democratic-controlled Senate voted unanimously 50-0 Wednesday in support of the bill, which would create a mandatory minimum punishment for stalking, harassment and repeat domestic violence. It would also allow a judge to set a higher mandatory minimum sentence.

The bill received overwhelming support in the Republican-majority House in March. Supporters say the legislation would better protect domestic violence victims. The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence initially opposed the bill amid concern over the value of longer sentences. The group said Wednesday it now supports the bill because of several other elements in the measure.

Changes to the bill mean it will return to the House before it can reach Gov. Terry Branstad’s desk.

Red Oak woman arrested on multiple theft charges

News

April 6th, 2016 by Chris Parks

A Red Oak woman was arrested on multiple theft charges Wednesday by Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deuputies.  At 1:45pm Wednesday Deputies arrested 39-year-old Janet Lynn Tarbox of Red Oak on one count in the 1st Degree, two counts in the 2nd Degree, one count in the 3rd Degree, and one count in the 4th Degree of Theft.  She was taken into custody and held on $10,000 cash bond.

New Iowa law allows loaded firearms on snowmobiles, ATVs

News

April 6th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A new law will allow drivers or passengers in snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles to carry loaded firearms. Gov. Terry Branstad signed the legislation into law Wednesday. The law will allow people to carry a loaded firearm whether it’s concealed or not, though there are separate rules for gun owners who are on their private land and those who are not on such property.

A gun owner on his or her own land will not be required to keep their gun permit on them at all times. They will also not be required to keep a firearm on a retention holster. Gun owners will still not be allowed to shoot a weapon from the moving vehicles.

Former Iowa teacher appeals school district restrictions

News

April 6th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

TREYNOR, Iowa (AP) – A former teacher and coach accused of sexual abuse is appealing a school district decision barring him from district grounds.  The Daily Nonpareil reports the Treynor school board plans an appeal hearing April 13 after 46-year-old Michael Travis asked to have some restrictions removed. District attorney Joe Thornton says Travis is prohibited from district facilities unless he’s attending his children’s activities.

Travis gave up his teaching and coaching licenses upon pleading guilty in August to simple assault. He maintained his innocence despite his negotiated guilty plea. Travis
was arrested in May 2014 on two counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee. Former students accused Travis of inappropriately touching them between 2001 and 2006.

Travis was an assistant softball coach at Treynor High School and taught elementary school.

Branstad signs legislation into law on education funding

News

April 6th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad has signed legislation into law that sets new funding levels for K-12 education in the next state budget. Branstad signed legislation Wednesday that will increase K-12 education spending by 2.25 percent for the fiscal year that begins in July. The Republican-majority House and the Democratic-controlled Senate approved the funding earlier this session.

The state currently pays about $6,445 per student in most school programs. The new legislation will increase that by $145. Some educators say the funding increase isn’t enough to avoid financial hardship for school districts around the state. Legislative leaders in both chambers have said there’s limited funding available for the new budget, though some Democrats have also criticized the compromise.

The state spends about $3 billion on K-12 education.

Income tax returns show wages for Iowans up, farm income down

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 6th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The income tax returns Iowans are filing provide some insight into the health of Iowa’s economy. Legislative Services Agency analyst Jeff Robinson says “So far this tax return season individual income tax returns for tax year 2015 are showing good wage growth,” he says, “but growth in unearned income such as interest, dividends and capital gains is negative, while reported farm income is down significantly.”

Robinson has reviewed overall tax payments to the state over the past nine months. “Year to date revenue growth is 2.3 percent through March and that is in line with current budget expectations for the year.” Eighty-eight percent of that growth is in income tax payments to the state. Sales tax payments to the state are up, but not quite as much as experts had predicted.

(Radio Iowa)

2 accidents Sunday, in Harlan

News

April 6th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

(Correction issued on 2nd accident report by Harlan P-D Wed. afternoon)

Harlan Police say no injuries were reported following two separate accidents, Sunday. One of the collisions happened at the intersection of Highway 59 and Lincoln Avenue. The other occurred in the 1400 block of Durant Street.

Authorities say a 2005 Jeep driven by Jacob Holloway, of Harlan, was traveling south on Highway 59, when a 2009 Mazda driven by Nancy Dahlgren, of Omaha, failed to yield to oncoming traffic. The vehicles collided, causing $5,000 damage. Dahlgren was cited for Failure to obey a Stop or Yield sign.

In the other accident, a car driven by Elizabeth Riessen and a motorcycle driven by Evan Dille, both of Harlan, collided. Officials say Riessen was westbound on Durant Street in a 2009 Chevrolet. She came to 1405 Durant Street and made a left hand turn to enter the driveway at the residence. A 2007 Honda motorcycle driven by Dille was traveling east on Durant. When Riessen made her left turn, she crossed the eastbound lane. The motorcycle hit the car on the front passenger side. Riessen was cited for making an unsafe turn or failure to give signal.