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Iowa’s U.S. Senate candidates debate who has the ‘pure heart’

News

October 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The two major party candidates for the U.S. Senate disagreed over some familiar issues during their third and final debate in Sioux City last night, but their argument over who had the “pure heart” of a devoted Christian sparked an intense exchange. Republican Joni Ernst brought it up first when a debate moderator asked what set her apart from Democrat Bruce Braley. “Soundbites do have consequences and I believe that I have a pure heart, willing to serve Iowans, where Congressman Braley behind closed doors has poked fun at our senior senator, Chuck Grassley,” Ernst said. “I don’t call that building bridges. I call that burning bridges, congressman.”

Braley immediately responded, saying he had apologized to Grassley and to Iowa farmers for his remarks at a Texas fundraiser in which Braley warned that Grassley — a farmer who isn’t a lawyer — would become chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee if Republicans win the U.S.Senate. “So if you’re questioning my pure heart, senator, I can tell you that I’ve been an elder in my church. I’ve taught Sunday School to adults and children. I’ve never seen a corporation sitting next to me in the church pew and yet you believe that their interests outweigh those of women in Iowa when it comes to contraception,” Braley said.

Ernst replied: “Oh again, very misleading. I have said I support a woman’s right to contraception.” Ernst agrees with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling which says some family-owned corporations like the Hobby Lobby chain do not have to provide their employees insurance that covers contraception if the family has religious objections. “But that doesn’t mean a woman can’t get reliable, safe birth control,” Ernst said. “She can still go to her doctor and receive birth control. It’s not outlawing birth control.”

Braley says no business should be able to select the types of contraception their employee insurance plans cover. “She supports a Supreme Court decision that allows employers to interfere with an individual woman’s health care decisions about her contraception,” Braley says. During a discussion about taxes, Ernst touched on her support for a “flatter, fairer, simpler” tax, like a national sales tax instead of a federal income tax.”I say, ‘Scrap the IRS,’” Ernst said. “Let’s start all over again.” Braley replied. “Senator Ernst’s answer to everything is ‘Scrap it.’ Scrap the IRS. Get rid of it. Get rid of the Department of Education. Get rid of the EPA.” And Ernst responded.

“I don’t believe in a bloated federal bureaucracy,” Ernst said. “We need to return a lot of that power to the states.” The candidates began the debate by addressing concerns about Ebola and both said it may be necessary to temporarily ban flights into the U.S. from west Africa. Midway through the debate both candidates denounced the negative campaign advertising swamping Iowa’s airwaves. Braley supports efforts to reign in the outside spending, but Ernst says they’re “exercising political free speech” and “that’s a right.”

The debate was held at Morningside College in Sioux City and sponsored by T-V stations K-C-A-U in Sioux City and W-O-I in Des Moines.

(Radio Iowa)

Fuel analyst sees continued downward trend in gas

News

October 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Dropping oil prices are partly responsible for a drop of prices at the gas pump. Department of Agriculture fuels analyst, Harold Hommes, says a lot of the state is seeing gas for under three bucks a gallon. “Right now we’re finding things are fairly varied. We do have some in the low three’s yet, but most of the gasoline has crossed the three-dollar mark and has fallen into that two-70 to two-90 mark,” Hommes says. He expects prices to continue to drop.

“I do look for that trend to continue, there’s a lot of downward pressure right now on crude right now from the general economy, and recently, European recession woes,” Hommes says. He says one of the biggest factors is the substantial build up of crude oil stores. “We are producing a lot of it, and most storage hubs are sitting on ample supplies and inventories.” Switches in production to produce heating oil can make the price go up, but Hommes says that’s no long a factor.

“The heating fuel production, it’s really already occurred. And I think the industry is ready to move that and has been moving it through pipelines. It’s pretty much placed where it needs to be placed for this winter,” Hommes says. While the gas in your area may be under the three-dollar mark, others may still be paying much more. Hommes says there can be wide variations on price, and sale philosophy and location are a couple of keys for the differences.

“Some retailers have a bit wider margins. Some focus on narrower margins to attract customers in for other products,” Hommes explains. “But maybe the single biggest factor is location. When you’ve got to drive more than an hour to get your product from a terminal, those costs add up.” He says competition can also be a factor in gas pricing.

“And in most places in Iowa we do have that competition,” Hommes says. He says when there are a lot of stations in one area, it is hard to not match a station that drops its gas price, as customers can quickly move to the lowest priced station. Crude oil prices dropped nearly six dollars or more this week — leading to the drop in gasoline prices.

The Triple-A average price for regular unleaded gasoline in Iowa Tuesday was three-dollars, three cents. That is down nine cents from last week and down 25 cents from one year ago.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., Oct. 17th 2014

News

October 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa National Guard says an airman who died nearly 70 years ago during the Battle of the Bulge will be laid to rest Monday. The Guard announced yesterday that through DNA testing, a team identified remains found near Allmuthen, Belgium as those of Staff Sergeant Maurice Fevold. The memorial service will be Monday at Bruce Funeral Home in Fort Dodge with burial at Blossom Hill Cemetery near Badger.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst and Democratic opponent Bruce Braley have again sparred over abortion rights in their final debate. The Iowa congressman and the state senator participated in a conversational debate yesterday as part of their neck-and-neck race to succeed retiring Senator Tom Harkin.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee will campaign for Iowa Republicans next week. A spokesman for congressional candidate Rod Blum says Paul will appear Wednesday at a Cedar Falls rally for Blum, who is seeking the open 1st district seat. An Ernst spokeswoman says Huckabee will hold Tuesday events for Ernst in Sioux City and Council Bluffs.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — Mason City officials are asking people not to smoke at public playgrounds in the city but have decided to make compliance voluntary. The Globe Gazette reports the Mason City Parks and Recreation Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution urging people not to smoke in playgrounds.

13-year old cited for assault

News

October 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Page County Sheriff’s Office cited a 13-year old female Wednesday, following a domestic disturbance at her home. Deputies responded to a home in the 2300 block of P Avenue at around 6-p.m., Wednesday. During their investigation, they learned 40-year old Wendy Miller had gotten into an argument. During the verbal dispute, the teen allegedly kicked Miller in the face and arm, causing injury. Miller told deputies she wanted to pursue charges against her daughter, who was cited into juvenile court and released to the custody of her father.

The Page County Sheriff’s Office reports also, 20-year old Torri Grace Perry, of College Springs, was arrested at around 9-p.m. Wednesday, in Clarinda. Perry was taken into custody on a Fremont County warrant for Violation of Probation. She was unable to post a $10,000 bond, and was transported to the Fremont County Jail.

Torri Perry

Torri Perry

Griswold man arrested for OWI

News

October 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Cass County said Thursday that a Griswold man was arrested Sunday on an OWI charge. 25-year old Nicholas Clyde Seyler, of Griswold, was taken into custody on a charge of OWI 1st Offense. Seyler was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was released later that day in his own recognizance.

Iowa woman avoids life sentence in toddler’s death

News

October 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

ORANGE CITY, Iowa (AP) — Prosecutors have dropped murder charges against an Iowa woman who admitted to causing the head injuries that killed a three-year-girl at her in-home day care. Rochelle Sapp of Orange City pleaded guilty Thursday to involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment charges under a plea agreement in the death of Autumn Elgersma. Sapp admitted that she dropped the toddler to the ground and also admitted to multiple acts of child endangerment in prior months.

Prosecutors dropped a first-degree murder charge, which would’ve been a life sentence for Sapp. Second-degree murder would’ve required 35 years. Judge Edward Jacobson sentenced Sapp to an indeterminate sentence of up to 100 years.

Drake University law professor Bob Rigg says the 34-year-old Sapp will serve “significant time” — likely around 15 to 20 years.

Texas company plans Sioux City rail car facility

News

October 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A state agency says a Texas company plans to build a rail car maintenance and repair facility in Sioux City that would create 250 jobs. The Sioux City Journal reports Dallas-based TrinityRail Maintenance Services has requested $1.9 million in tax incentives for the proposed $29.5 million project. Plans call for a 150,000 square-foot complex.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority will consider the request at a meeting Friday in Des Moines. To qualify for the incentives, the facility would need to pay workers at least $16.36 per hour.

Last Iowa Senate debate set for Braley and Ernst

News

October 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Democrat Bruce Braley’s campaign aides say the Democratic congressman hopes to be back from Washington for the final debate with Republican Joni Ernst in Iowa’s neck-and-neck U.S. Senate race.

Braley was attending the House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee hearing on the Ebola virus. Braley is a member of the subcommittee. Deadlocked in recent polls, the candidates plan to debate at 7 p.m. Thursday at Morningside College in Sioux City.

Ernst had no campaign events planned Thursday. Ernst reports having three times as much campaign money on hand as Braley, though the congressman has recently erased the gap Ernst held in September.

The seat is open this fall because five-term Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin is not seeking re-election.

More landowners join Missouri River flood lawsuit

News

October 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The list of landowners suing the federal government over major flooding along the Missouri River since 2006 has grown considerably. The lawsuit filed against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in March was amended Thursday to include 436 plaintiffs. The latest additions to the lawsuit include 38 North Dakota landowners and the Omaha and Winnebago tribes of Nebraska.

The landowners argue that the Corps’ decisions since 2006 have contributed to flooding especially during the extended 2011 flooding that devastated hundreds of thousands of acres of mostly farmland in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.

The federal government has denied the allegations and says the Corps shouldn’t be blamed. Landowners say the recurring flooding deprived them of their land, so they should be compensated.

3 arrested on drug & other charges in Shelby County, Thursday

News

October 16th, 2014 by Mark Saylor

A joint investigation by authorities in two western Iowa counties has resulted in the recovery of stolen property, three arrests and the discovery of illegal drugs along with drug paraphernalia. Sheriff’s deputies in Shelby and Crawford Counties executed a search warrant at 258 5th Street in Earling Thursday afternoon.

Arrested at the residence was 27-year old Nicole McClure, of Earling, who was charged with possession of a controlled substance/methamphetamine. McClure was being held in Shelby County on$100,000 bond.  24-year old Elizabeth Melby, of Moorhead, who arrested at the home on a Monona County warrant for possession of a controlled substance. She was transported to Monona County from the Shelby County Jail.

And, 46-year old Daniel Welsh, of Denison, was arrested on three counts of 3rd degree burglary. He was being held at the Crawford County Jail on $5,000 bond.

Officials says there is a possibility of more arrests being made in the near future as the investigation is continuing.