Statewide Iowa — Advocates in Iowa are stunned over the decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, to deny coverage for an entire class of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Lauren Livingston, spokeswoman for the Iowa Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, says the blanket decision has tremendous implications beyond the initial drug, Aduhelm.

The draft decision says all future FDA-approved treatments in this class of drugs, regardless of clinical trial results and what the FDA recommends, will NOT be covered except in another clinical trial.

Aduhelm is showing promise in the treatment of early-stage Alzheimer’s and for others with mild cognitive impairment. For CMS to deny coverage, Livingston says, is putting concerns about money over the lives of patients.

Many other drugs used in treating other afflictions are quite expensive and ARE covered by CMS, she notes. A statement from the national association’s CEO says: “People living with Alzheimer’s disease deserve the same access to therapies given to those living with other conditions like cancer, heart disease and HIV/AIDS. For those in the Administration to treat those with Alzheimer’s disease differently than those with other diseases is simply unacceptable.” About six-million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, including some 66-thousand Iowans.

You can visit the Iowa Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org/iowa.

January 22, 2022 - 5:41 pm - Posted in News

 

Statewide Iowa — Iowa’s record 2021 corn harvest led to a significant increase in traffic on the rail lines that run through Iowa.

That’s Iowa DOT director Scott Marler, who says railroad traffic nationwide increased seven percent in 2021, but has not rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. Marler says the volume of cars and trucks on Iowa streets and highways dropped over 40 percent at the beginning of the pandemic.

Marler says that’s likely because of the high volume of trucks carrying freight on Iowa highways and interstates. Passenger traffic at Iowa airports that offer commercial flights dropped significantly during the first year of the pandemic and Marler says it’s bouncing back.

Marler made his comments during a briefing for the Iowa House Transportation Committee.

January 22, 2022 - 4:47 pm - Posted in News

Alton, Iowa —   A Minneapolis man was injured early Friday evening in a single-vehicle crash near Alton.

According to the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, shortly after 5:30 Friday evening, 44-year-old Abdulkarim Sultan, of Minneapolis, was northbound on Highway 60, a half-mile east of Alton, in a 2011 Toyota Camry when he lost control of his car and struck a bridge guardrail.

Sultan was transported by the Alton Ambulance to Orange City Area Health for treatment of minor injuries.

Deputies say Sultan’s Toyota sustained approximately $4,000 in damage.

Sultan was cited failing to maintain control of a motor vehicle.

Des Moines, Iowa — MidAmerican Energy has filed plans with the Iowa Utilities Board for a three-point-nine BILLION dollar($3.9) renewable energy project.

Company spokesman Geoff Greenwood says the goal is to hit net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

They are calling the project Wind PRIME and Greenwood says they would add more than two-thousand megawatts of wind generation and 50 megawatts of solar. The location of each has not yet been decided.

Greenwood says past projects were built with federal production tax credits — but the amount paid in tax credits is dropping — and could lead to customers paying more.

The wind and solar projects are the major part of the plan, while Greenwood says they want to explore other things like carbon capture. That would help reduce emissions for coal-fired energy plants.

He says they want to look at all the technology available and the does include the small modular nuclear generation.

The proposal has to go through the IUB process to get the plan approved. That will include public hearings and comments on the plan.

In our area, MidAmerican provides both natural gas and electric service in Sheldon, Archer, Germantown, Calumet, Sutherland, Granville, Newkirk, Hospers, Boyden, Hull, Rock Valley, Doon, Alvord, and Inwood. They also provide electric service only in Beloit, Carmel, Middleburg, Chatsworth, Ireton, Maurice, Carnes, and Gaza.

Des Moines, Iowa — Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority have announced more than $500,000 in grant funding will be awarded to rural communities across the state through the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative, and some of that money will be going to communities in northwest Iowa.

Governor Reynolds says that the Empower Rural Iowa Initiative has played a key role in transforming rural communities by expanding broadband access and affordable housing options, which are essential to the growth and retention of our state. She says that these programs help turn innovative ideas into reality for small communities across Iowa, “…paving the way for opportunity and prosperity for generations to come.”

The grants cover 38 projects across the state.

Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg says that rural communities are “the backbone of our state, and this latest round of grants will help them tackle tough challenges like housing, childcare, and recruitment.” He says the Empower Rural Iowa initiative looks forward to building on this success and further ensuring opportunity and prosperity are present in all corners of Iowa.

The Rural Innovation Grant program supports creative, nontraditional ideas to overcome rural community development challenges, such as workforce development and housing shortages.

The Rural Housing Assessment Grant program supports efforts to expand access to quality housing tailored to communities. The program leverages data from the Iowa Finance Authority’s Profile of Iowa tool and provides support through a partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The new Rural Return Grant program supports creative programming that attracts new residents to move and/or work in rural communities. The new Rural Child Care Market Study Grant program supports the use of data and analysis by rural communities, in partnership with First Children’s Finance, to determine the specific needs and solutions for their area.

Three Osceola County communities are among 10 communities that received Rural Housing Assessment grants. The City of Ocheyedan,the City of Ashton, and the City of Sibley each received $10,000. Rural Housing Assessment grants and will be working with Iowa State University Office of Extension and Outreach to undergo a facilitated readiness assessment and implementation process. The cities of Keosauqua, Emmetsburg, Lee County, Clarinda, Grinnell, Forest City, and Wayne County received Rural Child Care Market Study grants and will be working with First Children’s Finance to undergo a data and analysis study.

Also, Northwestern College and the City of Orange City received a $1,000 Rural Leadership Bootcamp Grant for a project called, “Accelerate Siouxland.”

For more information on the Center for Rural Revitalization programs, visit https://www.iowaeda.com/empower-rural-iowa/ or contact Liesl Seabert at Rural@iowaeda.com

A full list of the of the 2022 Rural Grant recipients is available here.

Sioux Falls, SD — Medical directors from two of the major health systems serving our area say that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has pushed aside the other variants.

KELO Radio says Avera Health and Sanford Health chief doctors David Basel and Mike Wilde gave an update on the impact the coronavirus is having on the community, their facilities, and the staff of their networks.

The medical directors say the good news is the symptoms are milder with Omicron.

However, the bad news is that hospitalizations are increasing because of surging cases from the variant.

Avera’s Dr. Basel says the Avera system went from 100 hospitalized COVID patients on January 1st to 200 Thursday.

They say this not only has an impact on treating COVID patients, but also on those who come in with traumas, heart attacks and strokes, and other medical problems.

The health systems say they closely analyze if a patient needs surgery, particularly if it entails an overnight stay.

Both physicians say their hospitals are also dealing with sick employees, with the remaining workers dealing with a large increase in tests to process and patients to care for.

The doctors stressed that the best way to prevent getting sick or to reduce the symptoms if you do get sick is to get vaccinated and boosted.

They also say stay home from work if you feel sick.

Story from our news partner, KELO Radio

Des Moines, Iowa — A bill eligible for debate in the Iowa Senate would ensure the State Board of Health has sole authority for adding to the list of required vaccinations for children enrolled in Iowa schools or child care centers.

The bill would prohibit school or city officials from requiring that children be vaccinated against COVID before they may return to local schools in the fall. And, if the state Board of Health were to require COVID shots, Republican Senator Tim Kraayenbrink of Fort Dodge says the bill says parents may be able to opt out if that happens.

Under CURRENT law, the state Board of Health can deny all exemptions from childhood vaccinations during public health emergencies. The bill cleared the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

Iowa and other states require school-aged children be vaccinated against contagious diseases like polio and the measles before they enroll in school. So far, California and Louisiana are the only states that have added COVID vaccinations to the list of required shots that are mandatory for school attendance.

January 21, 2022 - 2:18 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — More than 400 Sioux County high school sophomores gathered at Northwest Iowa Community College Friday for Sioux County’s seventh annual “Your Future @ Work” event.

The students were there to explore and discover the diverse career opportunities available right where they live, in Sioux County, Iowa. A variety of career fields were represented with presenters and partners from local community businesses, industries, and colleges.

The event began at 11:00 Friday morning with lunch and a presentation in the Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center and was followed by breakout sessions and booths around the NCC campus from 11:40 until 2:00 pm.

Presenters for the event represented more than 30 Sioux County employers and colleges, with more than 20 booths for students to visit.

“Your Future @ Work” is an annual cooperative initiative within Sioux County to address the current workforce needs.

A few images from the 2022 “Your Future @ Work” event can be viewed below (Photos by KIWA Staff)…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 21, 2022 - 9:50 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — The chairman of an Iowa House committee says after careful consideration, he’s decided now is not the time to change state law governing when property may be seized for pipelines.

Republican Representative Bobby Kaufmann said last week that he was trying to craft a bill to require that a large percentage of landowners agree to a carbon pipeline before state regulators could approve seizure of the remaining property through eminent domain.

This week, in a written statement, Kaufmann said rushing eminent domain changes through the legislature this year would send the wrong message to businesses AND to the landowners who’ve already signed easements for carbon pipelines and landowners still considering contracts.

Kaufmann says he’s passionate about private property rights, but he says it’s also important to send the message that Iowa’s legal, regulatory and tax structure is stable for new and existing business ventures.

Rock Valley, Iowa — Three fire departments were called out on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, to a call in Rock Valley.

According to Rock Valley Fire Chief Brent Eshuis, about 3:25 p.m., the Rock Valley Fire Department was called to the report of a dryer fire at Cooperative Farmers Elevator in central Rock Valley.

The chief says the fire department saw light smoke coming from the dryer as they approached the scene. He says they sent some firefighters up to investigate. They found some hot spots but no flames.

The fire department was assisted by the Hull Fire Department, who is paged automatically to structure fires in Rock Valley, and the Sioux Center Fire Department provided help with their aerial truck. He says they drained the 4000 bushels of corn from the dryer and spread it on the ground. They did find some burned corn.

Eshuis says no injuries were reported. He says the cause of the fire is undetermined, but he says it was a brand new dryer and this was the first time elevator workers had tried to dry corn with it.

Chief Eshuis reports that there was a little damage on the inside of the dryer.

He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene for about two hours.