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USDA proposes new rules for school food


February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa kids wouldn’t be able to snack on corn chips and a Coke from their school vending machine under a new federal proposal. “Smart Snacks in School” would change the types of food sold in schools nationwide, according to Kevin Concannon, a former Iowan and the U-S-D-A’s Undersecretary for Food and Nutrition Services. Concannon says, “It makes sure that American kids that go to school for the snacks that they may purchase, whether they’re from vending machines or on counters during the school day, are healthier than they currently have available in many places.”

All foods sold in schools would have to meet certain guidelines, Concannon says, to make them more nutritious. Chips, candy and soda would be replaced with bagged fruits, vegetables and low-fat milk. “The snacks will have to have less sodium, less sugar,” Concannon says. “They’re more likely to have a granola bar than a typical sugar-doused candy bar.”

The proposals can be found on the Federal Register. Iowans have 60 days to comment on proposed changes and if they become policy, Iowa schools would have one year to comply. Concannon, who served as the director of the Iowa Department of Human Services from 2003 to 2008, says this change is for common sense and better health. “Let’s have more foods that we should encourage to children,” he says. “Let’s have fewer foods that we would like to discourage kids from consuming.” Snacks brought from home would still be allowed under the proposal, as well as items from school bake sales.

(Radio Iowa)

Giving Iowa companies a second shot at state contracts


February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Democrats in the Iowa Senate are trying a second time to pass legislation that would give Iowa companies an advantage in selling goods and services to state government. Under their bill, if an out-of-state company is the lowest bidder, Iowa companies with bids just a bit higher would be given a chance to match the low bid and win the contract. Senator Liz Mathis, a Democrat from Robbins, is the bill’s chief sponsor. “The goal of the bill is to certainly focus on small businesses,” she says, “and to make sure that Iowa businesses are given a fair crack at state contracts.”

This new advantage for Iowa businesses would not apply on huge state government projects, like a new prison. It would apply any time the state buys under half a million dollars worth of goods or services on contract. An Iowa business within 10-thousand dollars or five percent of the winning bid from an out-of-state competitor could get the sale if the Iowa business lowers its price and matches the low bid. “And those bids are usually surrounding things like office supplies, ice machines, computers,” Mathis says. Similar legislation passed the Senate last year, but was never considered in the Republican-led House.

Republicans object to the concept, arguing Iowa taxpayers would wind up paying more to run state government because out-of-state companies with low-cost products would quit bidding for Iowa government contracts.

(Radio Iowa)

7AM Newscast 02-08-2013

News, Podcasts

February 8th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Livestock Master Matrix passes in 88 Iowa Counties

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say 88 counties notified the DNR last month, that they plan to evaluate construction permit applications and proposed locations for animal confinements by using the master matrix. Animal producers in these counties must meet higher standards than other confinement producers who also need a construction permit. They must earn points on the master matrix by choosing a site and using practices that reduce impacts on air, water and the community.

With 11 exceptions, all counties will use the matrix during the next 12 months. None of the 11 counties who opted not to use the matrix are in western or southwest Iowa.  Counties that adopt the master matrix can provide more input to producers on site selection, the proposed structures and proposed facility management. Participating counties can also join in DNR visits to a proposed confinement site.

While all counties may submit comments to the DNR during the review process for permit applications, counties that adopt the master matrix can also appeal approval of a preliminary permit to the Environmental Protection Commission. The deadline for enrolling in the program is Jan. 31st of each year. Producers and citizens can obtain more information and view a map of participating counties by looking for preconstruction requirements for permitted confinements at www.iowadnr.gov/afo.

The matrix affects only producers who must get a construction permit for a confinement. Generally, these include proposed construction, expansion or modification of confinement feeding operations with more than 2,500 finishing hogs, 1,000 beef cattle or 715 mature dairy cows.

Iowan gets 75 years for murder, attempted murder


February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A 23-year-old Sioux City man has been given 75 years in prison for murder and attempted murder. James Kroll Jr. had pleaded guilty to the charges last month. Kroll was sentenced on Thursday in Woodbury County District Court.  Authorities say Kroll used a crowbar to beat 54-year-old Jeffrey Moravek to death and seriously injure 54-year-old Mary Tope after breaking into Tope’s home in June.

Police say Tope’s daughter, Emily, was in the house at the time and identified Kroll, her former boyfriend. Court papers say Kroll was distraught that their relationship had ended. She was not injured.

Guthrie Center to be slammed by 40-to 50,000 visitors in July


February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The community of Guthrie Center, with a population of just over 1,560 people (according to the latest numbers), will swell by about 32-percent at the end of July, when two events converge upon the city. According to the Guthrie Center Times, officials learned late last month, that RAGBRAI, with its estimated 10-thousand riders, will be rolling through the town situated half-way between Harlan and Perry, on July 22nd. Less than 4 days later, Guthrie Center will host the annual two-day River Ruckus country music festival, which will bring more than 30,000 people to the community.Last year’s Ruckus brought more than 20,000 people to town.

The paper reports Ruckus promoter Grant Sheeder had originally scheduled to have his 60-foot concert stage trucked into town to begin construction on Monday of the concert week. However, learning RAGBRAI would clog all roads through town, he recently rescheduled the trucks’ arrival time for Sunday, July 21st, instead.

The acts for the River Ruckus, which features some of the biggest names in country music include:
Friday, July 26: Casey Donahew Band, Chris Cagle, and Big and Rich.
Saturday, July 27: Granger Smith, Josh Thompson, Gretchen Wilson, and Hank Williams, Jr.

King says he won’t be bullied out of running for US Senate


February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A threat from G-O-P strategist Karl Rove makes it more likely rather than less likely that Republican Congressman Steve King will run for the U.S. Senate. Rove has vowed to spend millions in primaries to defeat ultra-conservative candidates, as Rove contends candidates like King cannot win a General Election. King says no one is going to bully him out of running for the U.S. Senate. “This is a decision for Iowans, not someone who happens to have a checkbook,” King told Radio Iowa. King sent an email to supporters on Thursday, saying he was “under attack” from a “crusade” led by “Karl Rove and his army.”

King asked his own supporters to make a campaign donation, to “show Rove he cannot decide (King’s) political future.”  “We’re going to have to have a battle in the court of public opinion until it’s clear that Iowans will make the decision on their nominee for the United States Senate and that will set a precedent for the rest of the country,” King said. “It’s that important.” King isn’t yet ready to officially declare himself a candidate for the Senate, however.

“It’s gotten closer each day, but I wouldn’t want to imply that the decision is made. It’s not,” King said. “It will be made by a thorough analysis of county-by-county, and all of the resources necessary to run a race of this magnitude.” King spoke with Radio Iowa by phone late Thursday afternoon. He was at Camden Yard in Baltimore, attending a Heritage Foundation retreat. Steve Forbes, the two-time presidential candidate, was the keynote speaker.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Friday, Feb. 8th 2013


February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Friends of a young Iowa woman killed in a mo-ped accident are urging lawmakers to approve a law requiring helmets for underage mo-ped drivers. College students Leah Murray and Olivia Lofgren testified before a state Senate subcommittee yesterday on behalf of legislation to require helmets for mo-ped drivers under 18. Both say they want to prevent an accident like the one that killed their friend Caroline Found in 2011.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Board of Regents has voted to uphold the firing of a University of Iowa radiology professor who engaged in harassing behavior toward colleagues. A spokeswoman said yesterday the board voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon for the termination of Malik Juweid (joo-WAYD’) after considering his appeal in closed session.

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (AP) — Jim Warkentin says personal reasons led him to resign as chief of the North Liberty police force. The Gazette reports that Warkentin didn’t elaborate on those reasons in a press release issued through the city on Wednesday. His resignation was effective today. Lieutenant Diane Venenga has been named acting police chief.

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State University’s athletic director is apologizing for his comment at a high school basketball game that led to his removal. The Des Moines Register reports Jamie Pollard says he’s sorry he said anything that he shouldn’t have said at the Tuesday night game between Colfax-Mingo High School and Gilbert High School. Pollard’s son plays for Gilbert.

Iowa voter registration form legality questioned


February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Voter fraud cases against several Iowans could be in trouble if a district court judge rules Iowa’s voter registration form is illegal. The attorney for a Council Bluffs man charged with election misconduct says the voter registration form has smaller type at the bottom where the person signing certifies citizenship. State law requires the print on the form to be uniform throughout.

Attorney David Richter says Pottawattamie County prosecutors stipulated at a hearing Monday that the type differs. He expects a judge to find the form illegal. If the judge believes that justifies dismissal of charges against Richter’s client, Albert Harte-Maxwell, prosecution in similar cases could be in trouble. Five other people are charged with election misconduct for registering to vote without U.S. citizenship, a felony in Iowa.

U. of Iowa apologizes for release of GPA data


February 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa is apologizing after a temporary employee mistakenly sent an email to 2,000 students that included a document showing all of their grade point averages. The school said Thursday that students served by the Center for Diversity and Enrichment received the e-mail Wednesday that included a data attachment with their names, number of credit hours and grade point averages.

University officials apologized to students, saying they understand the breach “may have caused undue stress.” The university said counseling resources were available and that steps were “being taken to remedy the situation and to ensure that such mistakes do not occur again.” Students have been instructed to delete the attachment, and shred any copies they printed out because personal grade information is protected under federal student privacy law.