FUNDING POTHOLE: With an estimated 77 percent decline in federal highway funds for Iowa expected in 2015, the state’s $215 million annual shortfall of funding to meet basic, critical maintenance and construction needs would get even worse if things stand. All of which makes talk about upping Iowa’s fuel tax even more critical this legislative session.
NO PLACE FOR THE MENTALLY ILL : Many county sheriffs in Iowa are calling attention to the growing number of Iowans with mental-health problems who are sent to county jails. Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson says the situation is creating public safety and law enforcement problems. Jails are not the place for the mentally ill. Treatment in separate facilities or programs makes more sense, and legislators should listen. It’s part of effectively reforming mental health services.
MORE FLU, LESS BLOOD: With flu cases spiking in Iowa, donations of the univeral blood type, O-negative, are down. The holidays and cold weather get some blame, but Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center officials suspect the flu outbreak is another reason the agency’s current capacity has dropped to 65 percent.
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