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Grassley, Ernst split votes on Farm Bill

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 12th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — Iowa’s two U.S. Senators parted ways in Tuesday’s approval of a new five-year Farm Bill. Joni Ernst voted in favor of the compromise bill, which now goes to the House. Chuck Grassley was one of just 13 Republicans voting against the bill.  “It’s the small and medium-sized farmers that needs the help from the government. Not these big, big farmers and corporate farmers that we’re going to end up helping the way this bill is written,” Grassley, a farmer from New Hartford, said on the floor of the Senate.

Grassley’s payment limitation amendment was removed from the Farm Bill in conference committee. He’s fought for years to place “hard caps” on subsidies from the government, saying the largest ag operations and even non-farmers are benefiting the most. “I’m more than just a little disappointed,” Grassley said. “Especially when the impact of large farmers being allowed to manipulate the system is that young and beginning farmers face even larger hurdles.”

Grassley said farm policy should be “a limited safety net” to help farmers recover from natural disasters and other “unforeseen challenges.” This bill, he said, goes well beyond that. “Today, we have a Farm Bill that is intentionally written – and I want to emphasize intentionally written – to help the largest farmers receive unlimited subsidies from the federal government,” Grassley said. Senator Joni Ernst served on the conference committee that drafted the compromise. In a prepared statement, she praised the bill as “farmer-focused” and said it includes her provisions to reform the Conservation Reserve Program and provide “critical mental health support” through the FARMERS FIRST Act.

Glenwood woman hurt in single-vehicle accident; Glenwood man arrested for DUS & speeding

News

December 12th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports 46-year old Jennifer Wolbach, of Glenwood, was injured at around 7:20-a.m. today (Wednesday), during a single-vehicle accident on 221st Street. Authorities say Wolbach was driving a 2015 Ford northbound, when she hit a patch of ice on the road while negotiating a curve. The vehicle crossed the median and rolled once before coming to rest on its wheels in the west ditch. Wolbach was transported to Mercy Hospital by Glenwood Rescue.

And, Sheriff’s officials say 32-year old Kenneth Ryan Hartwell, of Glenwood, was arrested Tuesday night, for Driving Under Suspension, and Speeding. His bond was set at $300.

2 arrested in connection with Union County vehicle break-ins/thefts

News

December 12th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Union County Sheriff’s Office reports that after numerous calls from residents in Afton regarding vehicles being entered and items being taken, Sheriff’s Deputies, Afton Police, and Creston Police executed a search warrant at the Afton Park Apartments. Taken into custody Tuesday evening, was: 29-year old Steven Mathew Behlers, who was arrested on a Union County warrant for burglary 2nd degree. Behlers was being held in the Union County Jail on $10,000 bond; And, 30-year old Cherrie Lee Palmer, was arrested on a Union County warrant for forgery – five counts of unlawful use of credit cards. Palmer was being held for Union County in the Adams County Jail, on $10,000 bond.

Separately, 24-year old Melissa Marie Shinn, of Creston, was arrested Tuesday morning, for driving while barred. Shinn was released from the Union County Jail on $2,000 bond.

Iowa teen arrested in stabbing death of grandmother

News

December 12th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) — A 19-year-old Iowa man has been arrested hours after police say he stabbed his grandmother to death on her birthday. Darian Lensgraf was arrested early Wednesday in Muscatine after a convenience store clerk called 911 to report that he was in the store holding a bloody knife. About 15 minutes earlier, police had received another call reporting that a woman was found stabbed to death at a home in Muscatine. Diana Lensgraf has been identified as the victim. Wednesday marked her 66th birthday.

Darian Lensgraf allegedly told police during an interview that he took the knife to her home with the intent to kill her. He made an initial appearance Wednesday and is being held in jail on a $5 million cash-only bond. He was charged earlier this year with stealing a handgun from a friend with whom he was staying.

Iowa authorities searching for missing work-release inmate

News

December 12th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Authorities are searching for an eastern Iowa work-release inmate who has gone missing. The Iowa Department of Corrections says 29-year-old Demon Deonte Daniels failed to report back to a Waterloo residential facility as required Tuesday night. Daniels is serving time for a domestic abuse assault conviction in Black Hawk County.

He was admitted to the work-release facility on Monday. Corrections officials say anyone with information on Daniels’ whereabouts should contact their local police.

Gov. Reynolds announces SBA disaster assistance for flood-damaged counties

News

December 12th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Kim Reynolds announced on Wednesday (today), that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) granted her request to provide assistance in the form of low-interest disaster loans for Polk County, along with seven contiguous counties impacted by the June 6-July 2, 2018, flooding and severe weather event. Homeowners, renters, businesses and most nonprofit organizations in Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Polk, Story and Warren counties, whose property was damaged or destroyed by this disaster, will be able to apply for low-interest disaster loans from the SBA.

Applications may be made in person at the SBA’s Disaster Loan Outreach Center located at Polk County River Place, 2309 Euclid Avenue, Des Moines, beginning December 13, 2018, at 8 a.m. Representatives from the SBA will be on hand at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about the disaster loan program, explain the application process and help individuals complete their application. The center’s normal hours of operation will be Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. until further notice. Please note for the holidays, the center closes at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 21 and reopens at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 3. No appointment is necessary.

Applicants may apply online and receive additional disaster assistance information, at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

Governor fills out spots on new Teachers Cabinet: 4 from western/S.W. IA selected

News

December 12th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Governor Kim Reynolds has announced the full list of she calls a “Teachers Cabinet” that she says will give teachers a more prominent voice in education policy in the state. Reynolds announced the first seven members of the cabinet in August and received nomination from the public for the final nine. Included among the cabinet members, from western Iowa, is:

  • Alex Oliver, Social Studies Teacher, Riverside High School in Carson, Riverside Community School District, Cross Country, Wrestling and Track Coach
  • Denise Hoag, Computer Science Teacher, Thomas Jefferson High School, Council Bluffs Community School District, was previously employed in the corporate world as a computer programmer
  • Jodie Geist, Special Education Teacher, Mount Ayr High School, Mount Ayr Community School District, specializes in helping students transition from high school to adult life
  • and Vanesa Sanchez, Elementary Dual Language Teacher, Denison Elementary School, Denison Community School District.

The governor says cabinet members will meet quarterly with her and Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise to offer their advice about how to better prepare all students. Reynolds says it will strengthen the direct line of communication between the governor’s office, schools and communities. The first meeting will be January 4th in Des Moines.

Traffic stop in Pott. Country results in drug-related arrest

News

December 12th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

A Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Deputy conducting a traffic stop Tuesday at Highway 6 and 400th Street, arrested a man from Colorado on drug charges. 19-year old Jose Hernandez-Alvarez, of Aurora, CO., was taken into custody at around 9:50-p.m., for Possession of a Controlled Substance (9.8-grams of marijuana)/1st offense, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (1 grinder and 1 pipe). His bond was set at $1,000.

Cass County Supervisors receive WCCA report

News

December 12th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors this (Wednesday) morning, received an annual report from West Central Community Action (WCCA) Interim Executive Director Wendy Mueller, who is also the organization’s Outreach and LiHeap Coordinator. She was appointed to the position following the retirement of long-time Executive Director Joel Dirks. WCCA provides nearly a dozen services to 10 counties in western and southwest Iowa. Mueller thanked the Board for continuing to fund WCCA, which she said allows them “To provide services at the highest level possible,” to Cass County residents. Mueller said during Fiscal Year 2018, WCCA served 667 households in the County, which consisted of more than 1,500 individuals. Of the households served, 44% were single-person. 54-percent had an income below the 100-percent poverty guideline. 66 persons were on a fixed income. 61-percent were renters, and of the individuals served, 41% were between the ages of 18-and 54.

Mueller said also, WCCA operated three Head Start classrooms in the County during FY 2018: one was located in Anita, and two are in Atlantic. They served a total of 45 children. She says they also started an Early Headstart Home-Based program in August, with a capacity of 12 children ages zero-to three. By the end of the fiscal year, seven families had been enrolled in the program. The Child Care Resource and Referral program works with home providers who are either registered or want to become registered, as well as child care centers, to get them involved in the Quality Rating System [QRS], which improves overall child care.

Wendy Mueller said 142 children were enrolled in 15 daycare centers, as part of the Child and Adult Care Food program, which promotes good nutrition and positive eating habits for children who are in home-based daycare. WCCA also helped four households received a total of $69,000 for weatherization services, to improve home energy efficiency. And, through LiHeap, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, WCCA serviced 445 households in the form of utility assistance, for a total cost in Cass County, of nearly $200,000.

Mueller said also, the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program, served over 400 participants, provided over $204,000 in WIC certificates, most of which were used in food stores in Cass County. In summation, she said over $1.5-million worth of services were provided through WCCA to Casss County. She asked the Supervisors to consider the organization’s request for funding in the amount of $4,000, which is the same as last year. The Board will take the request under consideration when they begin work on the budget, in January.

Ethanol backers go to bat for RFS in hearing on Transportation Fuels Act

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 12th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — Ethanol industry leaders defended the Renewable Fuels Standard at a hearing Tuesday before the House Energy Committee. At issue is the recently released draft of the 21st Century Transportation Fuels Act, which aims to sunset the RFS. Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, called the RFS an overwhelming success, despite years of mismanagement. “Repealing the RFS is unnecessary and will further destabilize a struggling farm economy and ethanol sector. Moreover, the draft does nothing to stop the EPA’s continued misuse of the small refinery exemption authority,” Skor said.

Geoff Cooper, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, said ending the RFS by 2022 would reduce ethanol demand. “We simply cannot support the RFS program as the draft envisions without a much stronger signal to the market that ethanol’s role in our fuel supply will continue to grow,” Cooper said. Wesley Spurlock, former president of the National Corn Growers Association, said the RFS benefits farmers, consumers, and the environment – noting corn-based ethanol has 43-percent lower Greenhouse Gas emissions than gasoline. Iowa is the nation’s top producer of ethanol.