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Third district candidates clash over balanced budget amendment, other federal fiscal issues


September 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The two major party candidates seeking Iowa’s third congressional district seat differed sharply over key fiscal issues during an hour-long televised debate last night (Thursday) on Iowa Public Television. For example, the candidates were asked if they support a balanced budget amendment. Democrat Staci Appel went first. “I think we need to have a balanced budget that carves out for Social Security and Medicare,” Appel said.

Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson, a panelist, asked: “So you would vote, if it had those conditions, to amend the U.S. constitution, requiring a federally balanced budget.” Appel replied: “I do not believe I would.” Republican David Young said he would, under certain conditions. To make sure that in wartime there could be a possibility of busting those caps if there were emergencies and we had to protect our homeland, things like that and we had to make sure that our priority was the mandatory spending, the benefits that folks receive under Social Security and Medicare,” Young said.

Appel interjected: “A balanced budget amendment could be a 20 percent across-the-board cut. That would effect Social Security, Medicare, our education budget. We have to be extremely careful when we do things like that.” Young replied: “That’s why you make sure the mandatory spending is a priority.” As for worries about the solvency of Social Security and Medicare, Appel said Medicare costs could be cut if the government could negotiate the bulk purchase of prescription drugs.

“I would keep my promise to seniors and the 40-year-olds and the 50-year-olds that are paying into the system,” Appel said. “Social Security and Medicare’s not a goal. It’s a promise. The best way to shore up Social Security and Medicare is to create great paying jobs, so there’s more people paying into the system and that’s the best way to do it.” Young said he’d be willing to consider a variety of options to fix the systems for future seniors.

“We need to do what conservative President Ronald Reagan did along with liberal Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill did and they got together and put everything on the table,” Young says, “And then you can take things off the table. I would take raising the retirement age, right away, off the way.” But Young says he’d consider getting rid of the income cap and requiring wealthier Americans to pay Social Security taxes on all their income. Appel suggested Young would vote to “privatize” Social Security, but Young said that won’t be an option under consideration.

“I think seniors need to know where he stands on these issues,” Appel said. Young responded: “Can you quote where I said I wanted to privatize Social Security?” Appel said: “You applauded it and I will make sure that after (the debate) that we will give all the citations.” Young continued: “I’d like to know where I said that.” Kathie Obradovich of The Des Moines Register, a debate panelist, asked: “Is that off the table for you, any sort of private account for Social Security?” Young replied: “It’s become such a political issue, it’s amazing that so many Americans when they want to get a better investment on their dollar, they look to mutual funds or stocks, but it’s been so politicized, it’s going to be taken off the table.”

Both said, if elected, they would vote to raise the federal minimum wage to 10-dollars-and-10-cents an hour, although Young would only vote for a bill to raise the minimum wage if tax cuts for small businesses were included in the legislation. On the gas tax, both expressed concern about the condition of roads and bridges, but Appel said she would oppose any increase in the gas tax. Young said it’s time for a more creative way to finance the nation’s transportation system to take into account electric cars and propane-fueled vehicles that are running on fuel that isn’t subject to the federal gas tax.

The debate was held at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs and Iowa Public Television will rebroadcast the event tonight (Friday) at 7 p.m. The two candidates are seeking the seat currently held by Republican Tom Latham. Latham announced last December that he would not seek reelection in 2014.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., Sept. 12th 2014


September 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) — Testimony began yesterday in the second trial of a man charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 17-year-old girl who was beaten and shot to death in a southeast Iowa farmhouse 40 years ago. Robert Eugene Pilcher was arrested in 2012 in the killing of Mary Jayne Jones after a cold case unit started by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation re-examined evidence using tools like DNA evidence that were not available in 1974.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Washington County attorney who said he was too busy to follow the state’s public records law faces a $1,000 fine for the violation. Iowa Administrative Law Judge Margaret LaMarche issued the recommendation for the fine against Larry Brock this week. It’s the minimum he faced if convicted of violating the law, The Des Moines Register reports.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A fugitive captured in Iowa after decades on the run is returning to North Carolina, where he escaped from prison in 1973. North Carolina officers were transporting 69-year-old Ronald Carnes from a county jail in Cedar Rapids to a prison in Raleigh, North Carolina yesterday.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A large fish kill in northwest Iowa was caused by a manure spill from a nearby dairy operation, state officials announced yesterday. The state Department of Natural Resources said the August discharge killed more than 860,000 fish along 28 miles of stream in O’Brien County.

ISP provides new info. on fatal crash in Adams Co.


September 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa State Patrol late Thursday afternoon released more information about a fatal crash that occurred Thursday morning. Authorities said 15-year old Christian Silva, of Creston died when the pickup he was driving hit a semi after Silva failed to stop at the intersection with Vanilla Avenue and 200th Street, or about 5-miles east of Prescott.

The accident happened at around 7:40-a.m., as Silva was traveling south on Vanilla Avenue. After the pickup hit the side of a 2006 Peterbilt semi driven by 37-year old John Paxson, of Mt. Ayr, the semi continued into east on 200th street before entering the south ditch. The pickup truck continued south through the intersection and rolled over onto its top into the east ditch.

Silva, a sophomore at Southwest Valley School District, in Corning, was wearing his seat belt, but died at the scene. Paxson was treated at the scene and released.

In a statement on the district’s Facebook page, Southwest Valley Superintendent Willie Stone said “All students have been informed of this tragedy. We have made arrangements for several grief counselors to be available at school to help anyone dealing with the grief of Christian’s death. Students can visit with our counselors at any time to help them through this tragedy.” He also asked for students and staff to “Please keep Christian’s family in your thoughts and prayers.”

All schools sponsored events at Southwest Valley Community Schools scheduled for Thursday evening were have been postponed because of the tragic event that unfolded Thursday morning.

Montgomery County sex offender arrested


September 11th, 2014 by admin

A man wanted for failing to comply with the State of Iowa’s Sex Offender Registry was arrested recently in Montgomery County. Authorities say it was the third time in the last 14 months and the sixth time since Sept. 2007, that 52-year old Jack Ray Steinspring, of Red Oak had failed to register since he was required to do so.

Steinspring was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $5,000 bond.

(used during the 3-p.m. & 5-pm News, Thu. 9-11)

Singer Carole King to campaign for Braley


September 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley has a friend in Carole King. Braley’s campaign announced Thursday that the singer-songwriter would meet with supporters at four locations around the state on Friday. The four-term congressman from Waterloo is locked in a tight Senate race with Republican Joni Ernst. Both are vying to win the Senate seat vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.

King, whose 1971 album Tapestry won four Grammy awards, will appear in Council Bluffs, Creston, Newton and Iowa City to thank volunteers. She is the second musical star from the 1970s to back Braley. Last month Joe Walsh, of the Eagles, promoted a fundraising effort that gave contributors a chance to win tickets to an Eagles concert. For $5, contributors could be entered to win tickets and go backstage.

Dike breach floods Fremont County marsh area


September 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa DNR report floodwaters from recent heavy rains across southwest Iowa caused a dike on the south side of the main tract at Riverton Wildlife Management Area in Fremont County to blow out, rapidly raising the water level in the marsh. The rising water level has made the main Riverton boat ramp inaccessible and is putting water over the main access road.

The main access road and boat ramp will be closed until water levels recede. The Jensen tract south of the town of Riverton is still open to boat and walk in hunters. The Riverton Wildlife Management Area is a 4,000 acre public hunting and wildlife refuge area popular with waterfowl hunters. Iowa’s special September teal season is open through Sept. 16. The duck hunting season in the south zone is Oct. 4-8 and Oct. 18 to Dec. 11.

(Update) American battling Ebola steadily improving


September 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska doctors treating an American aid worker infected with Ebola say he has responded well to aggressive treatment in the past week. Dr. Phil Smith said Thursday Dr. Rick Sacra received blood transfusions from an Ebola survivor shortly after he arrived at the Nebraska Medical Center last Friday.

The 51-year-old Sacra, who had been working at a hospital in Liberia, also received an experimental drug that doctors refuse to identify. And he has received supportive care including IV fluids. Smith says doctors wanted to treat Sacra with everything available to give him the best chance of recovering.

The doctors treating Sacra are talking with doctors at Emory University Hospital who have treated three other Ebola patients. They hope to develop to develop new treatment plans based on the experience.

Update: S.W. Valley High School Sophomore dies in Thu. morning crash


September 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

In an update to our story at 9-a.m. today, officials with Southwest Valley Schools in Corning say a sophomore at the school died following a crash at the intersection of Vanilla Avenue and 200th Street, near Corning, in Adams County. In a press release, Superintendent Willie Stone announced that Christian Silva was killed the crash.

Stone says all students were informed of the incident, and grief counselors were made available at school to help anyone dealing with the grief of Silva’s death. All school-sponsored events at Southwest Iowa schools scheduled this (Thursday) evening were postponed.

Additional information about the accident has not been released.The crash was being investigated by the Iowa State Patrol.

USDA boosts corn, soybean harvest to new records

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The nation’s corn and soybean farmers will harvest by far the largest crops ever this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday in a new report. Bigger crops have been expected this year as adequate rain and cool temperatures made for favorable growing conditions, but the new estimates far surpass previous records.

Corn farmers are expected to harvest nearly 14.4 billion bushels of corn, up from last year’s 13.9 billion bushel record. The 171.7 bushels per acre yield is significantly higher than the previous record set in 2009 of 164.7 bushels per acre. Record yields will be set in 18 states, the USDA said.

Despite the strong forecast, concerns have grown in recent days that early cold weather is creeping into the upper Midwest and some crops are maturing later this year. Temperatures below freezing could slow or stop crops from reaching full maturity and affect the harvest. That possibility was not reflected in Thursday’s report.

Ten states including Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska have the highest number of ears per corn stalk ever, the USDA said. After meeting all current demands for corn — including exports and use for animal feed, ethanol and food for people — the USDA estimated 2 billion bushels of corn would remain in stock. That’s the highest ending stock in a decade.

The soybean harvest estimate also moved upward to a new record of 3.9 billion bushels. The previous record was 3.4 billion bushels in 2009. The per-acre yield is now estimated at record 46.6 bushels per acre.

Biden returning to key presidential state of Iowa


September 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden is returning to the key presidential state of Iowa next week, reminding voters not to count him out of the next presidential campaign. The White House says Biden will be in Des Moines on Wednesday. He’ll speak at an event for a Catholic social justice group called Nuns on the Bus.

Biden’s visit will come days after former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton comes to Iowa to headline retiring Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry fundraiser, attended by thousands of Iowa political activists. Last year Biden was the headliner for that event, which frequently attracts potential White House contenders.

Both Clinton and Biden are considering running again for president in 2016. Iowa traditionally holds the first presidential primary contest.