Newspaper Article Archive of
Health insurance for 72,000 Iowans in jeopardy
Rep. Amy Nielsen House District 77
Nearly 72,000 Iowans who purchased insurance through the federal Marketplace could lose the insurance coverage they currently have next year.
Citing federal uncertainty and high costs, two insurance carriers in Iowa, Aetna and Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield, announced they would no longer offer individual plans as part of the Marketplace in Iowa. In addition, the remaining provider, Medica announced they are more than likely to cease operations in Iowa but a final decision will be made next month.
It is unclear at this point what other options would be available for Iowans if no insurance is available through the Marketplace.
Changes for voting Iowans becomes law
Voters in Iowa will have more hurdles and less time to vote after Governor Branstad signed into law changes to Iowa’s election law. The new law will shorten the voting window and require a photo ID to vote. The legislation was pushed through despite opposition from both local election officials and voting rights advocates due to the new regulations and challenges voters will face.
The effects of the proposal could make it harder for over 200,000 Iowans who don’t currently have the required documents to vote. The impact of the legislation will especially hurt the elderly, students, disabled, minorities, and low-income Iowans who disproportionately lack the needed requirements. The elimination of 11 early voting days will make it harder for Iowans to vote and gives communities less time to have satellite voting locations throughout their area. Approximately 34,000 Iowans voted in the first 11 days of early voting last year.
During debate, House Democrats worked to improve the bill and make it easier for Iowans to vote by expanding the number of IDs accepted and keeping the early voting timeline in place.
The negative effects will certainly lead to the challenging of the new regulations in court to determine if the new law is constitutional.
Students to pay
After Republican lawmakers cut over $24 million this session from Iowa’s three state universities, students will be forced to pay higher tuition next fall. The Iowa Board of Regents approved a $358 increase in undergraduate tuition for Iowa students next year.
A busy month in Kalona
Blindside By Ron Slechta
This month has already been a busy one. Saturday, May 6, we were up early to be on the early shift for the Kalona Rotary Omelet Breakfast. There was a great crowd and a number of contributions to The Kalona Historical Society.
Profits from the Omelet Breakfast went to the Historical Village Street Scape project.
A number of Historical Society Board members and employees assisted with serving the meal including doing some of the cooking. They also assisted in keeping the tables clean. Since she is president of the Historical Society, Helen was on the early shift with me. She served the cinnamon rolls.
On Sunday, May 7, in the afternoon we attended the DDC Dance Recital at the IMS auditorium. It is really amazing to see the youngsters of all ages perform. Gretchen Steffens does a tremendous job training them.
Things are picking up at the Chamber office with more people taking advantage of the Kalona Chambers By Ways tours.
Last Monday, May 8, I enjoyed visiting with a couple from near London England before John Hershberger took them on a tour of the Amish countryside. They gave me some tips on when Helen and I visit London later this summer. I had to listen carefully as the British accent is sometimes hard to understand.
They were joined by visitors from Wisconsin. In the afternoon an employee of the Iowa Mennonite Museum, located on the Historical Village grounds, took the tour with a friend from Illinois. She wanted to get more knowledge about the Amish and Kalona area.
It would be great if more employees of Kalona businesses would take the time to go on one of the ByWays tours so they can better inform people of the community and what is available in the countryside as well as in town.
Another couple who I enjoyed visiting with were from Amsterdam, New York, where my younger brother, Dennis, lives. Unfortunately they weren’t acquainted with Dennis, but they were so pleased that I was familiar with their hometown. They noted too many people think of New York City when they think of New York. They stressed that New York State has a lot more to offer than the big city. There are many beautiful areas in what they call upstate New York.
Other visitors stopping by the Chamber this week were from Japan, Nebraska, California, Utah, Colorado, Arkansas, Vermont, Kentucky, Missouri and various towns in Iowa.
Thanks to the Kalona Optimist Club for cleaning up the ditches along Highway 22 for 2 miles west of Kalona on May 13. They do this project every spring. It is amazing the things they find that people dispose of. Those who throw things in the ditch should be ashamed and should be out there helping cleanup the mess they make. This is a good program the Optimist sponsor with the cooperation of the Iowa DOT.
Monday night Helen and I attended a 5th through 12th grade band concert at the Mid-Prairie High School gym. We had two granddaughters participate: Eva Marner played the trombone in the 5th Grade band and Emily Marner played the Clarinet.
Emily is using the Clarinet that her mother, Beryl Slechta Marner played when she was in school. Eva used the trombone her uncle, Scott Slechta played while at South Tama County Schools.
It is amazing how band director 5th Grade (all centers) Band Director Norman Brooks and 6th-8th Grade Band Director Ross Schumaker have develop the band students into such good musicians.
Brooks and Schumaker both did a great job of developing the musicians. The Mid-Prairie Schools and Middle School band students are really going to miss Ross Schumaker when he moves on to other employment next school year.
High School Band Director David Kunz also does a great job developing the musicians even more. It was a real pleasure hearing all the band students present their final group performance of the school year.