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Proposed bridge replacement on U.S. 34 over Platte River in Adams Co., to be discussed Sept. 22

News

September 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – Sept. 12, 2011 – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) will hold a public information meeting Thursday, Sept. 22, to discuss the proposed bridge replacement of the U.S. 34 bridge over the Platte River, 1.3 miles west of the Iowa 25 intersection, in Adams County. The meeting will be held from 4:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the Lenox Community Center, 110 E. Dallas St. in Lenox. This public information meeting will be conducted utilizing an open forum format. No formal presentation will be made. Iowa DOT staff members will be present to discuss the project informally. Through traffic would be detoured using Adams County Road N-64, Taylor County Road J-13 and Iowa 25 during construction. 

For general information regarding the proposed bridge replacement or the public meeting, contact Donald Stevens, interim district engineer, Iowa DOT District 4, 2210 E. Seventh St., Atlantic, Iowa 50022, telephone 712-243-3355 or 800-289-4368, e-mail donald.stevens@dot.iowa.gov. Visit the Iowa DOT’s project-related public meeting website at www.iowadot.gov/pim for information about scheduled public meetings and hearings – and opportunities to offer input to the Iowa DOT during the development of certain projects.

Massena City Council to meet this evening

News

September 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The City Council in Massena is set to hold its regular meeting this evening. On the agenda at 7-p.m., is discussion and possible action with regard to tree removal in the historical area, the sewer improvement system design, and the transfer of City funds to the road use tax fund, for blacktop payment.

In other business, the Council will receive information about the DNR’s plan of action to reduce the sewer system inflow and infiltration, act on a contract for wastewater collection systems improvement, discuss a DNR Open Burn application, and, set the dates for public hearings on building permit and engine brake ordinances.

The meeting begins at 7-p.m., in the Massena City Hall.

1 Injured During Semi vs. Motorcycle Crash in Adair County, Sunday

News

September 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A northwest Iowa woman suffered serious injuries during a crash between a motorcycle and a semi Sunday afternoon, in Adair County. The Iowa State Patrol says a 2007 Volvo semi driven by 40-year old Larry D. Fry, of Fredericktown, Ohio, was traveling east on Interstate 80 in the slow lane just east of the Highway 25 exit, and was unable to merge into the left lane.

A 2003 Harley Davidson motorcycle, driven by 44-year old Deborah Lynn Dirks, of Gilmore City, was merging from the ramp onto I-80 eastbound and collided with the side of the semi. The impact caused Dirks to lose control of the cycle, which came to rest in the south ditch.  The accident happened at around 4:15-p.m.

Dirks was flown by helicopter to Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. According to her friends, doctors were forced to amputate one of her legs below the knee. She also suffered lacerations, broken bones, and a collapsed lung, but was expected to survive from her injuries.

Friends say the woman was riding with the “Freedom Riders” motorcycle club when the accident, which remains under investigation, took place.

Western IA man & NE woman die in cycle crash

News

September 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

(A-P) EMERSON, Neb. — Two people on a motorcycle have been killed in a head-on collision with a car near Emerson in eastern Nebraska. The Dixon County, NE,  sheriff’s office says that 20-year-old Christopher Oberg, of Mapleton, Iowa, and his passenger, 19-year-old Alexis Calfee of Bennett, Neb., died at the scene of Friday evening’s crash. The sheriff’s office says Oberg was heading westbound on the motorcycle when he encountered an eastbound car in his lane. He swerved but couldn’t avoid a crash. The driver of the car, identified as 55-year-old Robert Mahler, of Hubbard, Neb., was taken to an Iowa hospital. The crash is under investigatio

More Social Security recipients get direct deposit

News

September 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – More recipients of government payments in the Midwest are signing up for direct deposit, but officials say 1.8 million people are still counting on paper checks. That could be a problem because the federal government plans to end paper checks for Social Security and other benefits in March 2013. The Treasury Department says 88 percent of the benefit payments in the Midwest are now being made electronically. That’s up from 85 percent seven months ago. Officials hope the number of people using direct deposit will continue to grow. So reminders will be sent to benefit recipients in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Anyone needing help with the change can call 1-800-333-1795 or visit www.GoDirect.org.

Irwin man arrested on Public Intoxication in Montgomery County

News

September 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Montgomery County said Sunday, a Shelby County man was arrested at around 9-a.m. Sunday on a charge of public intoxication. 20-year old Dustin William Martz, of Irwin, was taken into custody on Highway 71,  about one-half mile north of the intersection with Highway 34. Martz was brought to the Montgomery County Jail and held on $300 cash bond.

Area Health Care providers speak at Rural Health Roundtable (follow-up to earlier posting)

News

September 10th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A Rural Health Roundtable held at the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic, Friday, gave area health care providers a chance to speak about issues affecting how they do their jobs and how the Obama administration’s new initiatives might affect them.

Dr. John Bigelow

One of those who spoke was Dr. John Bigelow, Executive Director of the Southwest Iowa Mental Health Clinic in Atlantic. Bigelow mentioned  the Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) which is in danger of  closing because a lack of reimbursement from Medicaid and Medicare has cost the hospital nearly $500-million dollars. He said the Affordable Care Act policies are looking to make behavioral health care part of primary care, which is important, because many of the patients he treats have significant health issues. He says statistics show there are a significant number of people who are dealing with depression and anxiety disorders, due in-part to the economy. The economy he says also creates a hardship for those who have to travel about 40-miles or more to receive the limited amount of services they BHU can provide.

A number of surrounding counties he says, don’t have community mental health centers because they weren’t being funded appropriately. Bigelow says the SWIMC is doing better than similar facilities because of Medicaid cost reimbursement, but that only covers about 35% of the clients they serve. CCMH he says, has provided cash flow during times of financial shortage, and the County subsidizes services to individuals who don’t have insurance, but some policies have high deductibles or don’t cover mental health. Bigelow said he was pleased to learn the Health and Human Services Administration (HRSA) has expanded eligibility of the National Health Corps, because it should help to attract mental health professionals to rural communities. He says it took more than seven months to fill the last two positions in his department, because some applicants weren’t qualified to take advantage of financial programs which would allow them to work and repay their loans.

Ed Friedman, a rural health Physician’s Assistant (P.A.) at the Redfield Medical Clinic and an administrator for 26-years, said good legislation, along with reasonable enforcement of those regulations andreimbursement are critical to the delivery of rural health care.  Friedman said the funding of a P.A. education  program by HRSA has made a big difference in bringing licensed P-A’s to Iowa. He says 40-years ago, there were none, now there are 800. Rural Health Clinics he says, have also made a huge difference. Still, he says RHC’s and Community Health Centers need guidance from HRSA on how to collaborate on policies which are confusing, and out-of-date, and those policies need to be integrated into the Affordable Care Act.

P.A. Ed Friedman

 

 

Rural Health Roundtable held in Atlantic

News

September 10th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A gathering of health care professionals and persons with an interest in rural health care participated in a Rural Health Roundtable held in Atlantic, Friday.

Dr. Mary Wakefield, HRSA Administrator

Keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Mary K. Wakefield, R.N., Administrator of the U-S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under the Health and Human Services Division (HHS). Wakefield, who was appointed to HRSA by President Obama in 2009, spoke with regard to the Obama Administration’s Rural Council, which was created in June, 2011, and  is led by U-S Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, the former Governor of Iowa.  Wakefield said its new initiatives are aimed at strengthening rural health care infrastructure across the U-S.

She says when he was in Iowa earlier this Summer for a Rural Economic Summitt, President Obama announced two initiatives. An expanded eligibility of the National Health Service Corps, which offers an opportunity for those who are willing to work in under-served rural and urban areas, to have their loans repaid or receive scholarships. She says that will allow hospitals to recruit primary care physicians, practitioners, physician assistants, psychologists and others.

The other initiative, is with regard to Health Information Technology and Jobs Training.  It focuses on the way the use HIT can be expanded in rural areas. She says this past week, $12-million was awarded in rural HIT development nationwide, through HRSA.  $300,000 of that went to two providers in Iowa: Van Buren County Hospital, and the Wright Medical Center. Wakefield also spoke with regard to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). She said there are a number of new provisions relevant to small communities, which are designed to improve the health work force infrastructure, help support access to health care services that target chronic illness, and focuses on illness prevention.”

Wakefield said since 2009, Iowa has received $114-million in direct funding, primarily through the ACA. She says of that, $56-million is directed to community health centers. $15-million out of that is for construction and critical renovation of those facilities.  $19-million dollars has been targeted towards the health of women, infants and children. $11.4-million has been allocated to support the next generation of health care providers through partnerships with education. $8-million is coming into the state to support rural health grants. Another $7-million is in the form of Health Information Technology grants to the Iowa Foundation for Medical Care. $8.4-million is for the Iowa Department of Public Health for its Information Health Exchange program.

$190,000 in Quality Improvement grants has also been given to the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic from HRSA‘s Office of Rural Health Policy.  Wakefield said input from ongoing roundtables such as that which was held in Atlantic,  will help HRSA compile a report for the President’s Rural Council. The report will be submitted to him in October, along with a copy for Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U-S Department of Health and Human Services.

A report on some of the preliminary work that has been accomplished “Jobs and Economic Security for Rural America,“ can be found at www.whitehouse.gov.

Direct link:
www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/16/president-announces-new-jobs-initiatives-rural-america

$1-million “Calling All Communities” campaign underway

News

September 10th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with U-S Cellular, based in Chicago, have announced voting has begun for the company’s $1-million “Calling All Communities” campaign, which will award 18 schools across the country with some much needed funding. The school with the most votes wins $150,000, while the next 17 schools each receive $50,000. The winnings may be used in any manner needed to enhance students’ learning experiences.

Now through October 6th, anyone 18-years or older can visit a U-S Cellular store and ask an associate for a code that will allow them to vote for their favorite school at www.uscellular.com. Each online voting code gives the person an opportunity to vote online once per day during the campaign. Each voting card also features a pee-off sticker that gives thousands of school supporters a chance to cast two votes per day, or win a prize.

Public and private schools, kindergarten through high school, are eligible to win. No purchase is necessary, and you don’t have to be a U-S Cellular customer to vote. The winning schools will be announced in October and November.

Since the program began in 2008, $2 million has been awarded to schools across the country.

Homicide suspect eludes authorities in Council Bluffs

News

September 10th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A man authorities believe is connected to a homicide has eluded capture in Council Bluffs. According to Omaha television station KETV, officers with the Council Bluffs Police Department and Metro Area Fugitive Task Force set up a perimeter Friday afternoon at a house near 16th Street and 5th Avenue, thinking the unidentified suspect was inside.

As it turned out, the man was not at the home, and authorities continue to look for the suspect.