IOWA JUVENILE HOME
Records show more seclusion at Iowa Juvenile Home
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State records show the Iowa Juvenile Home continued to keep children in isolation cells for extended periods despite concerns raised by advocacy groups and several investigations.
The Des Moines Register reports youths at the Toledo facility spent a total of 365 hours in seclusion in October. That's more than four times the 80 hours logged in September.
Disability Rights Iowa, which first investigated the home's practices a year ago, says it visited the facility in October and found a youth had been in seclusion for 111 hours.
Amy Lorentzen McCoy, spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Human Services, did not immediately respond to a message left Wednesday.
Gov. Terry Branstad announced Monday that state officials will close the facility by January, transfer the children and lay off the staff.
TOWBOAT SINKS-MISSISSIPPI RIVER
Once sunken towboat ready to move to repair docks
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Mississippi River towboat that partially sank just over two weeks ago is nearly ready to begin its 350-mile trip to a St. Louis area repair facility.
U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Colin Fogarty says two small holes were discovered in the boat's hull but they have been patched and the boat is watertight. A larger 30-by-12 inch hole had been patched earlier.
Fogarty says the Coast Guard is doing a final safety inspection and reviewing the transit plan. Once those tasks are completed the boat will be towed away, likely beginning Wednesday.
The boat struck something in the river Nov. 25, took on water and partially sank against the riverbank at LeClaire.
Investigators from the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are looking into what happened.
About 750 Iowans enrolled in marketplace plans
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Just over 750 Iowa residents have enrolled in private health insurance plans using the federal marketplace website.
New data released by the federal government Wednesday shows that enrollment is edging up in Iowa. But the enrollment number represents a fraction of the people who have applied for coverage on the website.
In October and November, nearly 13,000 applications were completed on the website, for insurance to cover roughly 25,000 people. Out of those applicants, 750 were able to complete the process and sign up for private insurance.
From those applications, about 5,000 individuals have been deemed eligible for financial assistance to pay for insurance and roughly 7,400 will be eligible for low-income health programs like Medicaid.
Federal authorities have been working to fix glitches on the enrollment website.
KING HOLIDAY-IOWA CITY SCHOOLS
Iowa City students may get King holiday off
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa City school board has taken steps toward canceling school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day next month.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen says the board voted Tuesday to have administrators check a rescheduling of activities planned for the holiday so the district could cancel classes that day, Jan. 20.
At Tuesday's board meeting, some people criticized a decision the board made in 2013 to hold classes on the holiday.
Officials at each school have created plans for assemblies and other activities on the holiday, including mock marches for civil rights.
Superintendent Stephen Murley says officials would need to hold a public hearing to amend the district's calendar.
Iowan gets 14 years for child endangerment
ELKADER, Iowa (AP) - A Monona man accused of shaking his girlfriend's toddler has been given 14 years in prison.
Troy Laufenberg was sentenced on Tuesday in Clayton County District Court. He'd pleaded guilty to two counts of child endangerment for having methamphetamine in the apartment he shared with his girlfriend, her daughter from a previous relationship and a baby the two had together. A judge found him guilty of one count of child endangerment for causing her serious injury in July.
Doctors said the toddler's injuries were consistent with shaken baby syndrome. He'd said the girl fell down a staircase.
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