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News Briefs

May 17, 2013

Dog credited with saving Iowa couple from fire

CARLISLE (AP) — A dog named Toby has been credited with saving an Iowa couple from a fire that damaged their home southeast of Des Moines.

Television station KCCI reports that Toby started barking around 5 a.m. Thursday, awakening Jeremy Aldrich. Aldrich got up to see what was wrong and spotted a fiery glow that soon exploded into flames on the back of his house.

Aldrich, his girlfriend and Toby fled the home, and no injuries to them or firefighters have been reported.

Fire investigators say the fire was caused by heat from a ceramic fire pit on a wooden deck. Aldrich says he'd used the fire pit on the deck before and had poured water into the pit before he went to bed.

The house sustained extensive smoke and water damage.


Occupant, firefighter hurt in Des Moines fire

DES MOINES (AP) — At least one of several Des Moines firefighters who fell through a floor while fighting an apartment building fire has been injured.

Fire officials say a building occupant also was injured by the fire, which was reported a little before 8 p.m. Thursday.

District Fire Chief Dan Burke says the severity of the injuries wasn't immediately clear.


Woman unable to escape shelter fire in Boone

BOONE (AP) — Fire officials in Boone say a woman died in an early morning fire at a shelter.

The Des Moines Register reports the woman died in the fire at a house being used as a woman's shelter in the central Iowa city.

The fire was reported about 3:45 a.m.

The fire department didn't release the woman's name but say she is an adult. No one else was in the home when the fire occurred.

Officials are investigating the cause of the fire and why the woman wasn't able to escape.


Court sides with Iowa dentists in key billing case

IOWA CITY (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court says insurers cannot impose price caps on dentists who accept their plans for procedures that aren't reimbursed.

The court's 7-0 ruling Friday is a victory for dentists who can now set their own prices for some services, rather than being forced to accept the maximum fees that insurers want them to charge.

But it's also a potential setback for patients who could see higher bills for some procedures, even some that their policies would normally cover.

Under the ruling, dentists are free to set their own prices when an insurer does not pay for a normally-covered procedure because of limits in the policy, such as maximum annual benefits.

Iowa's insurance commissioner warned in 2011 that some patients could face significantly higher costs if dentists prevailed.


Conservation Reserve Program signup begins Monday

DES MOINES (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers can sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program beginning Monday.

Farm Service Agency offices across Iowa are beginning the four-week general CRP sign-up, which continues through June 14.

The program allows farmers to set aside land likely to erode and receive a government payment for not farming it.

The USDA says benefits also include improved water quality and enhanced wildlife habitat.

FSA State Executive Director John Whitaker says the benefits of CRP were highlighted after Iowa recently experienced the worst flooding and drought seen in 60 years. He says CRP protected environmentally sensitive land from washing or blowing away.

He says updated rental rates may make CRP a more attractive alternative on land where costs are high and yields are low.


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