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Iowa ag land value dropped 2 pct in 2013, feds say

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Federal Reserve says the value of agricultural land dropped a percentage point in the last quarter of 2013 and a total of 2 percent for the year. The drop suggests the surge in farmland prices over the past few years may be coming to an end, depressed by lower commodity prices that have reduced farmer income.

Iowa State economics professor Chad Hart told The Des Moines Register that “we’ll likely see lower farm values tied to those lower farm incomes that we’re going to experience in the next year to year and a half.”  An Iowa State University survey suggested that land values might have peaked in some parts of the state last year, with prices dropping in northwestern Iowa.

DNR takes enforcement action against Crawford Co. business

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it has taken enforcement action on a Crawford County business. The DNR ordered Farmland Foods to pay a $10,000 penalty for past wastewater violations. The administrative consent order reports Farmland Foods has consistently violated the terms of the industrial treatment agreement since September 2010. The violation was primarily exceeding the nitrogen, biochemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids.

Denison Municipal Utilities is also mentioned in the order as they issued notices of noncompliance and assessed surcharges against Farmland for the violations of the treatment agreement. To date, Farmland Foods told the DNR they have spent more than $3.7 million on corrective action projects and maintenance since 2010. The processing plant continues to give DMU progress reports bimonthly according to the order.

Special Weather Statement: Cass & area Counties 2/14/14

News, Weather

February 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNTIES: SAC-CARROLL-AUDUBON-GUTHRIE-DALLAS-CASS-ADAIR-MADISON-ADAMS-UNION-TAYLOR-RINGGOLD

403 AM CST FRI FEB 14 2014

…SNOW TO IMPACT THE MORNING COMMUTE…

AREAS OF SNOW WILL MOVE NORTHWEST TO SOUTHEAST ACROSS IOWA THIS MORNING AFFECTING THE MORNING COMMUTE WITH SNOW COVERED AND SLICK ROADS. THE SNOWFALL INTENSITY WILL VARY WITH GENERALLY LIGHT SNOW BUT ALSO INCLUDE SHORTER BURSTS OF MODERATE SNOW AS WELL. THIS WILL RESULT IN WIDESPREAD ACCUMULATIONS OF AT LEAST AN INCH AND LOCALLY UP TO TWO INCHES. VISIBILITIES MAY BE REDUCED TO UNDER A MILE DURING THE PERIODS OF HEAVIER SNOW.

MOTORISTS SHOULD PLAN FOR EXTRA TRAVEL TIME THIS MORNING…SLOWING DOWN…DRIVING CAUTIOUSLY…AND ALLOWING FOR EXTRA DISTANCE BETWEEN VEHICLES.

Judge grants receivership request for 2 SW IA care facilities

News

February 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Omaha World-Herald reports an Iowa judge has granted the state’s request to appoint a receiver for two southwest Iowa care homes to ensure the government gets money it says it’s owed. The State alleges Faith Ridge Life Center of Malvern and Kevington Lane in Sidney owe the Iowa Department of Human Services hundreds of thousands of dollars in Medicaid funds. District Court Judge Mary Pat Gunderson also has ordered the homes to disclose all of their property and liabilities and ordered them to not transfer any property.Faith Ridge is a 51-bed nursing home, and Kevington Lane is a 21-bed residential care  facility, serving those who need a lower level of care than a nursing home. Both properties are owned by Mary Morse-Bolton of Plattsmouth, Neb. Iowa has already suspended payment of Medicaid funds to the facilities.

The appointed receiver is Klaasmeyer & Associates of Omaha, which assists nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The company previously has worked with Morse-Bolton and her properties. A hearing on the matter took place at the Polk County Courthouse in Des Moines on Wednesday and Thursday.

32-year old Daniel Morse, of rural Glenwood, Morse-Bolton’s oldest son, said the state should have had to prove how much the homes owe before taking action. Also, the state has not come up with an exact dollar amount for what is owed. Amy Lorentzen McCoy, spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Human Services, said in a statement that the Morse-Bolton homes have “a long history of refusing to comply with Medicaid requirements despite our repeated efforts to educate and assist its owner.”

The state has also raised questions about the quality of care the facilities are providing. Morse-Bolton says the residents are treated well.

IA early News Headlines: Fri., Feb 14th 2014

News

February 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press …

EAST MOLINE, Ill. (AP) — Deere and Company says it will lay off about 120 workers at its combine plant in East Moline, Illinois on March 31st. According to the Quad City Times in Davenport, Iowa, employees learned the news yesterday during a meeting at the plant. About 2,800 people work at the factory. Deere said the layoffs will be based on seniority.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A student group at Drake University has expressed concern over the menu at a campus dinner intended to celebrate Black History Month. Tess Montgomery, president of the Coalition of Black Students, tells the Des Moines Register that some African-American students felt embarrassed and patronized by a Wednesday night dinner menu that included fried chicken and collard greens. Montgomery says the menu perpetuated offensive stereotypes. Sodexo has apologized, and is planning a second dinner with the student group.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Activists are working with officials in Johnson County in hopes of approving a ban on plastic bags used by retailers. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports county officials have been looking at ways to reduce plastic bag use for several months.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a 63-year-old central Iowa man was arrested after a loaded gun was found in his bag at the Des Moines airport. The Des Moines Register says a Transportation Security Administration officer spotted the gun Tuesday morning as the bag was going through a security screening.

Shelby County man injured & arrested following a Pott. County crash Thu. night

News

February 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Shelby County man was injured and fled the scene of a crash Thursday night on Interstate 80 in Pottawattamie County. The Iowa State Patrol says 37-year old Ryan Schwery, of Earling, was found at the Country Inn in Shelby following a collision between his SUV and a van on I-80 westbound, about a mile west of the Shelby exit at around 8:45-p.m.  Schwery was transported to Myrtue Memorial Hospital in Harlan for treatment of minor injuries before being taken into custody and transported to the Pottawattamie County Jail. The Patrol’s report did not indicated what charges were filed against Schwery.

Officials say the 1991 Chevy Blazer Schwery was driving, was experiencing engine problems and was traveling below the posted minimum speed (40-mph), when a 2008 Dodge Sprinter van driven by 24-year old Tyler Mark of Lincoln, NE, approached from behind. Mark swerved to avoid hitting the SUV but was unable to prevent the collision. The impact spun the Blazer off the road to the right before it rolled over into the north ditch and came to rest upright. The van spun out and came to rest in the north ditch.

Shaw announces his official candidacy for Iowa’s 3rd District

News

February 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Shenandoah native Monte Shaw, Executive Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, officially threw his hat into the ring in the campaign for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, a seat being vacated by Republican Representative Tom Latham, who announced in December he would not be running for re-election. Shaw made his announcement during stops Thursday in Red Oak, Corning, Glenwood, Adel, Perry and Atlantic.

Monte Shaw

Monte Shaw

During a visit to the KJAN studios, Shaw said his focus is winning the June 3rd Primary, by setting himself apart from the other Republican candidates by proving he’s the best person to advocate for Iowans. He said he’s spent the last 20-years working for Iowans, advocating for the protection of Senior Citizens and working on Renewable Fuels issues that are important to Iowa’s future.

Shaw says one of the biggest advocacy skills he has in knowing how to negotiate over the “fine points, but knowing when to stand and fight on principle.” Shaw says he will stand-firm on getting spending under control and getting rid of “Job killing regulations like Obamacare.” He says creating growth and jobs which create higher tax revenues and in turn will get the budget deficit under control so it doesn‘t continue to increase and become a burden for the younger generation. He says working together with other like-minded leaders in Washington will help to overcome the gridlock displayed over the past couple of years, especially with regard to the recently passed Farm Bill.

Shaw didn’t have much good to say about it, though. He says it was better than going back to 1940’s law, but it did not reform enough. Shaw says they got rid of direct payments, and they should have gotten rid of counter-cyclical payments. There’s still much work to be done on the Farm Bill, according to Shaw. Shaw says creating an environment for robust job creation will be his number one priority if he’s elected to Congress. That, he says, starts with less restrictions on the Ag industry. “That means having the government stop whip lashing them [farmers] with embargos or new EPA restrictions that make no sense, or even undermining the Renewable Fuels standard.”

He says passing “Silly regulations like Obamacare” has caused many small business owners and those looking to expand, to hold-off on investing in expansion and hiring more workers, because of the uncertainty on how much the Affordable Care Act will cost them.

Iowa lawmakers OK tougher penalties for kidnapping

News

February 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lawmakers have approved a bill seeking to increase penalties for kidnapping cases involving minors after hearing from the mother of murder victim Kathlynn Shepard. A subcommittee and then the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the bill Thursday. In urging passage of the bill, Denise Shepard told subcommittee members the story of her daughter’s killing last May. She says legislation to keep kidnapping offenders in jail longer would save children’s lives.

The bill would increase criminal penalties in cases involving children 16 and younger and cases in which the person convicted had previously been convicted of kidnapping. Kathlynn was 15 when she and a 12-year-old friend were kidnapped by Michael Klunder while walking home from school in Dayton.

The 12-year-old escaped but authorities say Klunder killed Kathlynn and committed suicide.

Iowa Democrats seek more funding for preschool

News

February 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Senate Democrats want to boost state preschool spending, with a goal of making publicly-funded preschool available to all 4-year-olds whose parents want them enrolled. A bill that would provide more funding to school districts that expand or establish preschool programs for 4-year-olds was reviewed in a Senate subcommittee Thursday and has the support to move on to the Senate Education Committee for review.

Sen. Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, says the additional funding would be offered for three years, starting in the fall of 2015. He says the effort could cost as much as $15 million. While this plan has support in the Democrat-majority Senate, it is not clear if the bill could win backing from Republicans controlling the Iowa House.

Lawmakers discuss gun rights in state constitution

News

February 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa House Republicans are continuing their effort to amend the state constitution to add the right to bear arms. Lawmakers debated the proposal in a House subcommittee Thursday. They did not vote to move the measure forward, instead pledging to have more discussions. The proposal from House Republicans would add language to the Iowa Constitution stating that the right to “acquire, keep, possess, transport, carry, transfer, and use arms to defend life and liberty” cannot be denied.

Changing the state constitution is a multi-step process, which would require approval by the current General Assembly and then by the one elected in 2014. After that it would go to Iowa voters. A similar bill was passed in the GOP-majority Iowa House in 2012 but did not advance in the Democratic-controlled Senate.