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Iowa ACLU not happy with DOT’s decision on illegals


December 28th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation’s decision to not issue driver’s licenses to aliens who came into the country illegally as kids is not sitting well with the Iowa A-C-L-U. Ben Stone is the group’s executive director. “The A-C-L-U of Iowa and its allies are profoundly disappointed in the conclusion reached by the Iowa Department of Transportation, and we will vigorously pursue all legal options to change this result,” Stone told Radio Iowa. D-O-T director Paul Trombino said his department’s reading of Iowa law found they could not issue licenses or I-D cards to those who are not in the country legally. Stone does not agree.

“We can make no sense of the reading that they have put forward. It makes no sense, it’s wrong and we will attempt to convince them otherwise. And we are optimistic that we will be able to do that,” Stone says. The issue gained attention in June when the U-S Department of Homeland Security issued a memo saying it was up to the discretion of the states on how to handle the illegals given what’s called “deferred action” status by the U-S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Stone says the state is messing with the lives of those in the group.

“I think what we are encountering here is a state agency that is basically bending over backwards to find something in which to justify it’s conclusion. And frankly it’s nonsensical,” according to Stone. “These people are not going to be deported, they are authorized to be here by the federal government. All of this is just semantic shenanigans.” One estimate says there are some five-thousand people impacted. Stone says it is a public safety issue.

“It makes no sense to have people who are here who are not going to be removed by the federal government, who are permitted to work, who have been issued papers to that affect. And yet the state of Iowa doesn’t seem to think that there is any obligation to provide them with the ability to lawfully obtain a license,” Stone says. “And that results in our roads being occupied by people that have not been properly licensed, and that is not in the interest of public safety.” Stone says they will seek all legal means to get the D-O-T to change its mind and if that is not successful, will seek other ways to change the decision.

(Radio Iowa)

ICA honors 3 western Iowa beef producers

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Three Iowans who have devoted their lives to improving cattle and beef production in the state were honored during the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association annual meeting in December. Together, their work totals 125 years. Darrell Busby, of Oakland, was honored as the ICA 2012 Hall of Fame recipient.

Since Busby came to Iowa in 1980 as an Extension Beef Specialist, he has worked to provide a better understanding for producers of how what’s going on inside cattle can improve outcomes on the outside. As an extension specialist for 30 years, he collected in-depth growth and carcass data, and showed cattle producers how the information is useful in ‘cause and effect’ ways that impact their bottom line. Although he retired from Iowa State University in 2010, he continues to focus on collecting data about beef cattle as manager of the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity cooperative in southwest Iowa.

Lee Faris, of Mt. Ayr, was named the 2012 Outstanding Commercial Producer Award winner. Faris has been involved in cattle production for 40 years. He began his beef operation near Mt. Ayr when he purchased 27 head of three-year-old bred cows in 1973. Over time, he has grown that herd to more than 200 cows. Faris credits his success to a good health program for both breeding stock and calves, and keeping good records on cow production. In recent years, he has been able to document a 95% calf crop or better.  The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and the Iowa Beef Breeds Council jointly selected Faris as the award winner for the Outstanding Commercial Producer Award. They also worked together to select the final recipient of producer awards.

And, Everett Shepherd of EJ Shepherd Charolais, Stuart, is the Seedstock Producer of the Year for 2013. His journey to focusing on Charolais cattle is much like the journeys he has taken across the country “looking for the right genetics.” Shepherd has been in the cattle business for 46 years, starting with a registered Angus herd, and then crossing them with Simmentals for 10 years in his commercial cow/calf operation. He gradually transitioned to purebred Charolais, and focused on seedstock production, providing quality bulls and heifers to commercial herds in Iowa, as well as the U.S. and Canada.

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association represents more than 9,500 beef-producing families and associated companies dedicated to the future of Iowa’s beef industry. ICA’s mission is “Grow Iowa’s beef business through advocacy, leadership and education.”

NE woman injured in I-80 accident near Walnut


December 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Nebraska woman was transported to the hospital in Harlan after the car she was driving went out of control and rolled into a ditch Thursday morning, about a mile west of the Walnut exit. The Iowa State Patrol says 54-year old Vickie Blaisdell, of McCook, NE, was traveling west on I-80 at around 11:35-a.m., when her 2006 Chevy Malibu skidded on the snow and ice and entered the north ditch, where it overturned and ended up on its roof.

Blaisdell was transported to the hospital by Walnut Rescue. Officials say she was wearing her seat belt, and the injuries appeared to have been minor.

New Mexico couple injured in Pott. County accident Thursday


December 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A man and woman from New Mexico suffered what were described as minor injuries during a single vehicle accident Thursday morning on Interstate 80, near Shelby. The Iowa State Patrol says 60-year old Jose Flores, and a passenger in his vehicle, 51-year old Emma Elias-Marquez, both of Albuquerque, NM, were transported by Shelby Rescue to Myrtue Memorial Hospital in Harlan, for evaluation. The Patrol says the pair were traveling west on I-80 at around 10:20-a.m., when the 2003 Chevy Avalanche they were in went out of control on the snow covered road.

The pickup truck entered the median about a mile west of the Shelby exit and rolled over before coming to rest in the eastbound lanes of I-80. Flores was able to drive the vehicle onto the south shoulder after it rolled. The Patrol says both occupants of the vehicle were wearing their seat belts.

2 arrests on theft charges in Mills County


December 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Two Omaha residents were arrested Wednesday morning on theft charges in Mills County. Sheriff’s officials report 19-year old Megan Nicole Moline-Kisicki and 19-year old Tyler Robert Beecher were taken into custody on warrants charging them with Theft in the 1st degree. The pair was arrested at the Sarpy County, NE, Corrections facility. Their bonds were set at $5,000 each.

The Sheriff’s Office reports also, a Council Bluffs woman reported Wednesday afternoon, an incident of 3rd degree burglary at a location along Barrus Road, near Glenwood. No other details were provided.

Western Iowa Drivers Advised to Slow Down, Beware of Black Ice


December 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Throughout the morning Troopers in western Iowa have responded to assist numerous motorists whose vehicles have slid off the road. Though the road surface appears clear, law enforcement advises black ice can be found on many roadways. Drivers should slow down and drive accordingly.

Towing has been restricted in western Iowa along Interstate 29 from Missouri Valley to Sioux City, due to repeated single-vehicle crashes and icy road conditions.

Additionally, Troopers are responding to several crashes along Interstate 80 between mile markers 29 and 40. As the roadway curves and the direction of travel changes on this stretch of highway, the condition of the roadway also changes. Drivers are caught off guard and are unable to control their vehicle at high rates of speed.

Please remember to check 511ia.org before traveling. This site will give you current information related to road and weather conditions or closures that may affect your trip.

Man gets prison time for distributing meth in Iowa


December 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A man has been sentenced to more than four years in federal prison for distributing methamphetamine in western Iowa. Antonio Lara-Pantoja of Denison was sentenced in Sioux City last week after pleading guilty in August to a drug conspiracy charge.

Officers found nearly 4 grams of meth in Lara-Pantoja’s vehicle when he was arrested in March 2011. Investigators say he sold more than 100 grams of meth in Denison from January through March of last year.  Authorities say he obtained the drug in Omaha, Neb.

Drought unrelenting despite recent snowstorms

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

December 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

ST. LOUIS (AP) – The snowstorm that pummeled the upper Midwest last week is helping ease dry conditions in Iowa but hasn’t done much to relax the overall grip of the worst U.S. drought in decades.  The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows that roughly 62 percent of the continental U.S. remains in some form of drought, unchanged from the previous week. That number has been above 60 percent largely since July.

Nearly 22 percent of the lower 48 states are in extreme or exceptional drought, the two worst categories. That also is unchanged from the previous week.  All of Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota are in drought. But thanks to last week’s snow, the amount of Iowa in extreme or exceptional drought fell 9 percentage points to 32 percent.

Iowa DOT: No licenses for illegal immigrants


December 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Department of Transportation says it will not issue driver’s licenses to young illegal immigrants who are now eligible to work in the U.S. under an Obama administration program. The department said Thursday that Iowa law does not allow it to issue driver’s licenses or non-operator identification cards to people who are not in the country legally.

President Barack Obama announced a policy change in June that lets certain illegal immigrants apply for a temporary work permit if they were brought to the country as children. Several Republican governors have said they will not issue driver’s licenses to immigrants who qualify. In August, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman said his state would continue to deny licenses, welfare benefits and other public assistance unless required by state law.

Accident blocks part of I-80 near Shelby


December 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation reports an accident this (Thursday) morning on Interstate 80 in Pottawattamie County, has traffic down to one lane. The right eastbound lane of I-80 near Shelby, between County Road M-16 and Exit 40, is currently blocked. No other details are available.
(Last updated by the DOT at 10:27 AM CST)