Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., Nov. 20th 2012


November 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — After months of drought, companies that ship grain and other goods down the Mississippi River are being haunted by a potential nightmare: If water levels fall too low, the nation’s main inland waterway could become impassable to barges just as the harvest heads to market. The focus of greatest concern is a 180-mile stretch of the river between St. Louis and Cairo, Ilinois, where depths in drought-parched river channels have become dangerously shallow.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An administrative law judge will decide whether Governor Terry Branstad’s administration broke the law in July when he allowed state employees the option of paying 20 percent of their health insurance premiums. Three labor unions challenged Branstad’s executive order saying any changes in insurance benefits must be negotiated or agreed to by the unions. The unions want a judge to end the program and reimburse workers who participated. A hearing was held yesterday. A decision is expected by March 2013.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — University of Iowa officials have asked the Board of Regents next week to approve a plan to demolish flood-damaged Hancher Auditorium and the School of Art building. Both buildings have been vacant since the 2008 flood. The Regents heard the request on Wednesday.

WACO, Neb. (AP) — Monsanto is investing more than $100 million to expand four of its seed processing plants in Nebraska, Iowa and Indiana. St. Louis, Missouri-based Monsanto announced the expansion Wednesday.