FEMA denies Iowa disaster request

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday her office has received notification that Iowa?s request has been denied for federal assistance to homeowners, renters and businesses in four counties impacted by flooding and severe weather from June 6 to July 2.

?We are extremely disappointed with FEMA?s decision,? Reynolds said in a statement. ?People in Iowa are still hurting and in need of help several weeks after the flooding. We will be appealing this decision.? On Aug. 1, the governor requested the Individual Assistance Program be made available to disaster-affected residents and businesses in Buchanan, Dickinson, Polk and Winnebago counties. Individual Assistance Program funding provides disaster survivors with programs and services to maximize recovery, including assistance with housing, personal property replacement, medical expenses and legal services. In its denial letter, FEMA said it had determined the impact to individuals and households from this event was not of such severity and magnitude to warrant a designation of Individual Assistance.

The governor has 30 days to file an appeal with FEMA. The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management will be working closely with local emergency management agencies to determine additional damage and impacts caused by the flooding and severe weather.

Reynolds was notified earlier this week that her request had been granted for funding for the repair of public infrastructure that was damaged during that same time period. Public Assistance Program funding, which is now available for 30 counties, is used to rebuild damaged infrastructure and cover the costs of debris removal and emergency work. The counties now eligible to apply for Public Assistance Program funding are: Adair, Buchanan, Buena Vista, Cerro Gordo, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Clay, Dallas, Delaware, Dickinson, Emmet, Floyd, Hamilton, Hancock, Howard, Humboldt, Kossuth, Lyon, O?Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Polk, Sioux, Story, Warren, Webster, Winnebago, Winneshiek and Wright.

The Iowa Supreme Court on Wednesday announced its 2018-19 calendar, which includes special sessions at the Drake and University of Iowa law schools and four special evening sessions to hear oral arguments from attorneys.

The court?s adjudicative term is from Sept. 1 to June 30, 2019.

The court will hear special evening sessions of oral arguments Sept. 17 in Johnston, Oct. 9 in Red Oak, Feb. 11, 2019, in Des Moines and April 2, 2019, in Forest City. The sessions start at 7 p.m.

and are open to the public.

The University of Iowa College of Law and the Drake University Law School also will host oral arguments Sept. 7 and March 28, 2019, respectively, with limited seating for the public.


Work release inmate dies

Officials with the Iowa Department of Corrections said Wednesday that James Olyn Shell Sr., 63, was pronounced dead early Sunday at the Davenport Work Release Center, where he suffered a medical emergency.

His death is not being considered suspicious at this time, according to a department news release.

Shell entered the work release program Oct. 20, 2017, corrections officials said. He was serving multiple sentences for being a habitual offender, and his incarceration began Nov. 8, 2016, state officials said in the news release.

Housing task force begins work

Gov. Kim Reynolds has established a task force to address housing concerns following the July 19 tornado in Marshalltown.

?As we?ve assisted Marshalltown citizens impacted by the tornado, it?s become apparent that lack of available housing is an issue,? Reynolds said in a statement Wednesday.

?I brought this task force together to coordinate and leverage the resources and expertise each member organization can bring to the table? as the community rebuilds.

The 2018 Long Term Housing Recovery Task Force, which had its first meeting Tuesday in Marshalltown, consists of representatives from local, state and federal agencies, along with voluntary agency partners.

Task force members will collaborate to identify available resources and provide an overall network of assistance to support immediate and long-term housing recovery goals.

Also, the task force will share information and data to assist in housing recovery, ensure coordination among government and nonprofit agency partners, identify unmet needs and potential resources to meet those needs, and deploy resources to support Marshalltown?s long-term housing recovery goals, she said.