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King urges private negotiations over contentious Farm Bill details

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Tomorrow (Wednesday) Republican Congressman Steve King and Democratic Senator Tom Harkin will meet for the first time with the 38 other members of a House-Senate “conference committee” appointed to come up with a Farm Bill compromise.  “I’m glad that we have two Iowans that are conferees,” King says. “We are now and have been for some weeks working to line up those issues that we disagree between the House and the Senate and line them up in order of difficulty.” According to King, the dispute over federal funding for “food stamps” is the most difficult to resolve.

House Republicans have voted to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by 40 billion. The bipartisan Farm Bill that cleared the Democratically-led Senate in June called for four billion in cuts to the food stamp program — 10 times less. King has asked House Republicans leaders to present him some “creative ideas” for bridging that 36-billion dollar divide. “I don’t want to tip any hand on it. I chair the subcommittee that deals with nutrition and so what I say — it might affect the negotiations,” King says. “But I want to get to the end of this thing and I want a bill on the president’s desk I said before the snow flies. I know in part of Iowa I’m already too late on that, but we’re going to try to get this done and I think we get it done by the end of the year.”

There are a variety of other proposals that are unresolved as well, like a so-called “payment cap” that bars farmers with an adjusted gross income above 750-thousand dollars from getting federal subsidies to buy crop insurance. King is urging other members of the conference committee to negotiate the details in private rather than in public. “Let’s sit down and see if we figure out how we can agree before any of us take such a public position that we can’t compromise or back up from it,” King says.

If the Farm Bill doesn’t pass congress by January 1st, farm policies will revert to the 1949 Farm Bill and the first impact consumers would see would be a dramatic increase in milk prices. King made his comments during a weekend appearance on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program.

(Radio Iowa)

Shenandoah man arrested over the weekend

News

October 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Police in Shenandoah report one person was arrested following a traffic stop, Sunday.  25-year-old Christopher Still, of Shenandoah, was taken into custody on charges of disorderly conduct and public intoxication. Still was taken to the Fremont County Jail and held on $1,468 bond.

 

SW IA teen hurt during rollover accident in Page County, Saturday

News

October 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A southwest Iowa teen suffered non-incapacitating injuries during a rollover accident Saturday morning. According to the Page County Sheriff’s Office, 16-year old Sydney A. Casteel, of New Market, was ejected from the 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix she was driving, after it went out of control and slid into the north ditch towards the east, along the north ditch edge of the road. The vehicle rolled more than once before coming to rest on its wheels in the ditch. Rescue workers found the teen laying next to her car. Casteel was transported by helicopter to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha.

Sheriff’s officials say the accident happened northwest of New Market on 210th Street, near the intersection with Willow Avenue.

2 injured when cattle truck overturns on I-29 Monday night

News

October 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The driver and passenger of a semi that was hauling cattle were injured Monday night when the vehicle overturned on southbound Interstate 29 in Council Bluffs. The Omaha World-Herald reports a man and woman in the truck were critically injured and transported by ambulance to Creighton University Medical Center, in Omaha. One of the accident victims was reportedly trapped in the vehicle and had to be freed by rescuers. Their names had not been released as of early Tuesday morning.

The accident, which happened just after 11-p.m., left more than a dozen cattle roaming near the Interstate.
Two dogs that had been in the rig apparently were not seriously injured. Police closed north- and southbound I-29 near 35th Street and Avenue G because of the hazard of the loose cattle. Officers requested equipment to remove downed animals. Animal control officers were called in to help.

Nebraska man convicted of murdering former Mo.Valley woman & her husband

News

October 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

NELIGH, Neb. (AP) — A Northeast Nebraska man has been convicted of first-degree murder for killing his ex-girlfriend and her new husband last year. Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning says 33-year-old Matthew Hinrichsen was convicted Monday of two counts of murder and two weapons charges. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 28, and could receive two life sentences. The jury convicted Hinrichsen in the December 2012 deaths of former Missouri Valley city councilperson Victoria Lee and her husband, Alex Vargas.

Their bodies were found in a charred trailer in rural Antelope County, where the newlyweds were living. Prosecutors say Vargas died from three gunshot wounds, and Lee died of blunt force trauma to her head.

During the trial, Hinrichsen’s lawyers didn’t dispute that he killed the couple, but they argued the killings weren’t planned.

Iowa early News Headlines: Tue., 10/29/13

News

October 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) — Jury selection will continue into a second day in the trial of a former Iowa jail guard charged with first-degree murder in the killing of his pregnant wife. A jury pool of about 100 people was narrowed down Monday in the trial of Seth Techel. Jury selection continues Tuesday.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The trial of two people charged in the death of a Des Moines man was set to start in Polk County. Spencer Antowyn Pierce and 27-year-old Deanna Marie Hood are charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the June death of 35-year-old Steve Allen Harmon.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Police say a man faces charges for allegedly breaking into an Iowa City house and sleeping on a couch inside. Iowa City police say 23-year-old Christopher Reasoner, of North Liberty, has been charged with serious misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief and trespassing.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Police have identified a Sioux City, Iowa, man whose body was found in a roadside ditch in southeastern South Dakota. Sioux City police Lt. Mark Kirkpatrick says 20-year-old Adrian Rojas Hernandez, of Sioux City, was killed by a single gunshot to the head.

Friday Deadline for City Election Absentee Ballot Requests

News

October 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz is reminding eligible Iowans that Friday, November 1, is the deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail for the upcoming city elections on Tuesday, November 5th. To receive an absentee ballot in the mail for city elections, local county auditors must receive the completed absentee ballot request form no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, November 1st. “I hope all eligible Iowans take full advantage of their right to vote in the upcoming city elections,” Schultz said.  “The deadline for local county auditors to receive requested absentee ballots by mail is Friday, November 1.”

Iowans can download the State of Iowa Official Absentee Ballot Request Form from www.sos.iowa.gov and return it to your local county auditor’s office or visit your local county auditor’s office to fill out a paper copy. Iowans that do not request an absentee ballot by the deadline can vote in person at the local county auditor’s office between now and November 4th, or head to the polls on Tuesday, November 5th.

“Most Iowans go to vote in person on Election Day and I hope every eligible Iowan makes sure their vote is cast in the city elections,” Schultz said. Iowans with further questions regarding their voter registration or the location of their polling place are encouraged to contact their local county auditor’s office.

Atlantic Committee discusses pay raise for the Mayor and Council

News

October 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic’s Personnel and Finance Committee met for about 30-minutes Monday afternoon to discuss the process of evaluating the City Administrator, and to consider an increase in the compensation received by the Mayor and City Council.IMG_20131028_124520 Prior to their discussion, City Administrator Doug Harris explained Iowa Code has a say in when such compensation can be called for and how soon it can be implemented. He said when Council’s increase their compensation, they can’t do that in the months of November and December. Even if the Council were to approve a raise, it wouldn’t take effect until the next election cycle.

That means if the Council voted in January to approve an increase, it wouldn’t become effective for the Council until 2016, and for the Mayor in 2018, beginning in January 2019. Mayor Dave Jones pointed out the last time the Council and Mayor had a raise was in 1999, after it was approved in 1998. Currently, Council members receive $30 for each Council meeting and $20 for each committee or commission meeting they attend. The Mayor receives an annual salary of $8,000. The committee was looking at a 25-to 50-percent increase.

Mayor Dave Jones requested the Personal and Finance Committee discuss the matter during the meeting. The committee tossed around the idea of adjusting the Mayor’s salary and leaving the Council’s rate unchanged, but further discussion and a comment by Mayor Jones swayed them to agree if should be across the board. Jones said it won’t break the budget to provide a fair raise, and it would act as more of a “Thank you” to the Council. Steve Livengood said if a $10 raise for the Council is too much, it could be cut to $5. Councilperson Kathy Somers said by the time it’s actually implemented it’ll be 20-years since the last raise.

The way the system is set-up, the Council cannot vote to raise it’s salary and that of the Mayor without public approval. Councilman Shawn Shouse said issues such as commercial property tax rate rollbacks and required City services will require the Council to try and provide the same or additional services with less money from taxes, therefore a 25-to 50-percent raise is not necessary for the Council, but the Mayor spends a considerable amount of time away from his own business to handle matters related to the City. No action was taken during the meeting.

As for the City Administrator’s evaluation, in the past, the Committee has sought community input through surveys, and most recently, conducted its own evaluation. This time around, they agreed to conduct an informal survey at their next meeting on November 6th, during which public input will be accepted.

Update: Minor injuries during I-80 collision in Cass County Monday

News

October 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Authorities say only minor injuries were reported following a collision Monday afternoon on Interstate 80 in Cass County. The crash at the 67. 2-mile marker eastbound was reported just after 2:20-p.m.

Traffic backed up on I-80 eastbound about 1 mile east of the accident scene. (Ric Hanson/photo)

Traffic backed up on I-80 eastbound about 1 mile east of the accident scene. (Ric Hanson/photo)

Anita and Wiota Fire, Medivac ambulance and Cass County Sheriff’s Deputies along with the Iowa State Patrol responded to the scene. The driver of the van was injured and transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital. Traffic was blocked in both eastbound lanes for a time, but by 3-p.m. one lane was flowing slowly, but smoothly. The line of traffic extended west, to about a half-mile east of the Wiota Exit.

Breaking News!:Van-vs.-semi collision on I-80 in Cass County

News

October 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Fire and Rescue personnel from Anita and Wiota have been dispatched to the scene of a head-on, personal injury crash between a van and a semi tractor trailer on Interstate 80 in Cass County. Crash at the 67. 2-mile marker eastbound was reported just after 2:20-p.m.  Medivac ambulance and Cass County Sheriff’s Deputies are also responding. Additional details are currently unavailable.