WINTER STORM Storm to drop snow from ND into MN, IA, WI GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) – Another blast of winter weather is forecast to track from eastern North Dakota southeast overnight into Minnesota and Iowa. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning through Tuesday for a system that is expected to dump the heaviest amounts of snow in eastern North Dakota and across a swath of Minnesota including the Twin Cities, down into northeastern Iowa. North Dakota could see 8 to 12 inches of snow, with the highest amounts in Devils Lake, Grand Forks, Mayville, Fargo and Wahpeton. Six to 10 inches with isolated amounts of 12 inches were forecast from central through southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin into northern Iowa.
IOWA CAPITOL FOCUS Branstad keeps focus on IowaCare, not Medicaid DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Governor Terry Branstad is expected to soon reveal his plans for revamping the IowaCare health program for low-income adults, sticking to an approach he holds is better for the state than the Medicaid expansion that Democrats are promoting. IowaCare was designed to provide limited health benefits to low-income adults who don’t qualify for Medicaid. But the program, which now has about 70,000 enrollees, offers very limited services. If Branstad agreed to expand Medicaid, the federal government would pay the full cost of the expansion for the first three years, then 10 percent of the cost would gradually be shifted to the state. But Branstad says he’s not convinced the federal government will keep its promise to pay most costs.
DES MOINES SUPERINTENDENT Des Moines superintendent candidates narrowed to 3 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Des Moines School Board has narrowed its search for a new superintendent to three finalists. They are Thomas Ahart, interim superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools; James Browder, superintendent of the Anchorage School District in Alaska; and Carey Wright, chief academic officer of the District of Columbia Public Schools. The two men and a woman will be in Des Moines for interviews and public receptions Monday through Wednesday. The board says its interviews will be broadcast on a local public service television station and will be open to the public. Ahart’s reception and interview are Monday, Wright’s on Tuesday, and Browder’s on Wednesday. Each reception is at 4:30 p.m. at the Des Moines Public Library and the interviews are at 7 p.m. at the Des Moines Central Campus.
BOIL ORDER-ATTICA Attica water boil advisory lifted ATTICA, Iowa (AP) – A boil advisory for the city of Attica initiated on Friday has now been lifted after water samples indicate the water is safe. The boil order was issued by Pershing Utility after a break occurred in a water main. Attica, located in Marion County, about 45 miles southeast of Des Moines, gets its water from Pershing Utility. Breaks in a water line can allow bacteria and other substances to enter the water. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says in a statement issued Sunday that the water tests returned indicating it was now safe to use.
LINN COUNTY CASINO VOTE Linn County voters to decide on casino on Tuesday (Information in the following story is from: KWWL-TV, http://www.kwwl.com) CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – Linn County voters will head to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether or not they want to allow a casino to be built. KWWL TV reports campaigns on both sides spent this weekend trying to gather up last-minute support. Marcia Rogers, the Vote Yes spokeswoman says her group is working to show voters the economic benefits and the fun of gambling. Just Say No spokesman Todd Henderson says if the casino vote fails the operator of nearby Riverside Casino says he’ll build the community a water park, which Henderson says is a much more family friendly option than a gambling facility. Linn County Auditor Joel Miller says almost 11 percent of registered voters have already cast their ballots.
WOODBURY COUNTY-CASINO REPORT Gaming regulators to hear background check reports (Information in the following story is from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com) SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – State casino regulators are scheduled this week to hear reports on the background checks done on applicants for a casino license in Sioux City. The Sioux City Journal reported Sunday that the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is scheduled to hear the results at a closed meeting on Wednesday. The commission expects to issue a state gaming license to a casino operator on April 18th. Extensive background checks are done by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. Top officials with the proposed Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and the proposed Warrior Casino and Hotel were checked. So were board members of two nonprofit groups, Siouxland Strong Incorporated, which backs the Warrior project, and Greater Siouxland Improvement Association, which is partnering with Penn National Gaming Co. on a Hollywood-themed casino.
DUBUQUE-PETS IN PARKS Dubuque considers allowing pets in city parks (Information in the following story is from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com) DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – The Dubuque City Council will consider Monday a new ordinance that would cats and dogs to legally stroll through city parks on a leash. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports the issue has been divisive. A petition seeking the change received 1,101 signatures, while a petition of those opposed received 1,057 signatures. The parks commission earlier voted 6-1 to recommend the council allow pets in parks and on trails with a few exceptions that include an arboretum, a golf course, and a recreation complex. A city ordinance banning pets in parks was written in 1969. Opponents say they believe it’s a child safety issue and fear children being bitten by dogs. Supporters say most large cities allow pets in parks on leashes and it’s time for Dubuque to catch up.
HIGHWAY 61 RECONSTRUCTION DOT to discuss reconstruction of Hwy 61 March 14 AMES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Department of Transportation has scheduled a public hearing for March 14th to discuss a proposed four-lane reconstruction of U.S. Highway 61 in Louisa County. DOT staff will informally discuss the design and how the proposed construction will affect nearby properties. The public is invited to talk about the project between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Louisa-Muscatine Elementary School Cafeteria in Letts. The project includes reconstruction of the four-lane highway in Louisa County from 130th Street north to the existing four-lane road at the Muscatine County line.
NEWTON-HISTORIC DOWNTOWN Newton considers nomination to historic register (Information in the following story is from: Newton Daily News, http://www.newtondailynews.com) NEWTON, Iowa (AP) – The Newton City Council plans to vote Monday on a contract with the State Historical Society of Iowa to nominate the city’s down town district to the National Register of Historic Places. The Newton Daily News reports if the district is approved it could mean some property owners could qualify for tax credits and other financial resources. The designation also could boost tourism. In June 2012, the Newton Historic Preservation Commission’s evaluation of the downtown district concluded there is an historic quality that could make it eligible for the National Register. Last fall, the council authorized application for a government grant to pursue nomination. The commission was awarded more than $8,000 to pay for the hiring of a preservation consultant who will lead the commission through the nominating process.
CARE FACILITY INSPECTIONS Iowa lags on inspection of care facilities (Information in the following story is from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com) DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – State records show 39 percent of Iowa’s 178 residential care facilities for the disabled have not had a full state inspection in at least 2 1/2 years even though a state law requires regular inspections. A Des Moines Sunday Register analysis of state records shows some care facilities have gone almost four years without an inspection. The newspaper reports on Sunday delayed inspections are due to a law passed in 2011 that suspended a previous policy requiring inspections every 30 months. The move enacted under former Gov. Chet Culver was intended to save money. Last year, the Legislature and Governor Terry Branstad reinstated inspections, but inspectors haven’t caught up. Inspections are completed at 109 facilities, leaving 69 – or 39 percent – uninspected for at least 30 months.