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Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., Feb. 20th 2015

News

February 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Jurors have entered deliberation after attorneys delivered their closing arguments in the trial of an Iowa woman accused of killing her husband and his girlfriend more than 30 years ago. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports both the prosecution and defense made their closing statements Thursday in Waterloo in the murder trial of 54-year-old Theresa Supino, who was arrested in March in connection with the 1983 slayings of Steven Fisher and Melisa Gregory. Their bodies were found on the Copper Dollar Ranch northwest of Newton.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A House panel has approved a bill that would help Iowa abuse victims keep their home address confidential. Members of a public safety subcommittee approved the bill yesterday. It now moves to a full committee for consideration.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A House panel has approved a bill that would add fine arts to Iowa’s mandated education curriculum for K through 12 students. An education subcommittee approved the bill Thursday. It now advances to a full committee for review.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — West Des Moines plans to provide about $3.5 million to build an aquifer storage facility that Des Moines Water Works says will add 3 million gallons of water capacity on peak usage days. The Register reports that Des Moines Water Works will own and operate the facility, which will also be used to cool Microsoft’s new data center.

USDA: Iowa farm numbers decline by 500 in 2014 to 88,000

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in a new report that the number of farms in Iowa continues to slide. In an annual report released Thursday the USDA says Iowa farms fell to 88,000 last year, 500 fewer than the year before. Most of the decrease came in the small farm category, those with annual sales between $1,000 and $10,000.

The number of Iowa farms has fallen 1.2 percent since 2010, while the average farm size is up 1.2 percent in the same period, a reflection of national trends. The average farm in Iowa is 347 acres, up one acre from the year before. Iowa had 30.5 million acres in farms last year, down 100,000 acres from the year before.

University of Iowa says 3-year degree program will start this fall

News

February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The University of Iowa announced today it will begin offering an accelerated program that will allow students in some majors to get a degree in three years. U-I president, Sally Mason says the idea came out of talks last fall about finding ways for students to have a better experience at the Iowa City school. “If you are a motivated student — again let me emphasize this is not for every student — this is for highly-motivated students who have a very good idea of what they want to accomplish in life and want to achieve that college degree as quickly as possible,” Mason says. Mason says graduating in three years could have a big impact on students and parents.

“You can save quite a bit of money, that extra semester, that extra whatever it might mean in terms of housing, room-and-board and tuition, if you can reduce those costs, you can significantly reduce the cost of your college degree,” Mason says. Mason says the first majors available under the program are: communication studies, English, history, international studies, marketing, and theatre arts. “Many of these are majors that lots of students pursue,” Mason says, “So we’re pleased obviously that we know we can do these degrees in three for certain types of students.”

Students can enroll in the program after beginning classes in the fall and discussing the option with academic advisors. The three-year degrees require the same number of credits as four-year options, but students have to take a heavier course load and proceed at a faster pace. Mason says students interested in the program will have to sit down with their advisor and determine if they want to pursue it. “We have lots of students who come here who discover what it is they are passionate about — so this may not be for them,” Mason says.

Students in the program have to agree to talk with their adviser regularly and meet checkpoints established by the school to help them stay on track. Mason says this continues the evolution of trying to offer students the best chance to graduate as soon as they can. She says the program started several years ago that guarantees students can get the classes they need to graduate in four years used to be something that students opted into, and she says it has now become an opt out program, as it is assumed that most students will graduate in four years.

(Radio Iowa)

Statehouse drama: gas tax bill clears key House panel on 13-12 vote

News

February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A bit of drama at the statehouse this afternoon (Thursday) as a bill that would raise the state’s gas tax by a dime a gallon cleared a key House committee on a 13-to-12 vote. To ensure passage, Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen used his authority to permanently replace one of the committee’s Republican members who opposed the bill with another Republican who voted yes. “I’m not going to ask somebody to go flip their vote,” Paulsen told reporters before the meeting. And Paulsen temporarily replaced a freshman Republican legislator who was a “no” on the bill and Paulsen himself voted “yes” in his place.

“I’m not going to ask somebody to do something I’m not willing to do,” Paulsen said. Paulsen says he made those extraordinary moves because it’s clear a bipartisan consensus has emerged among legislators and the bill can pass both the House and Senate with both Republican and Democratic votes. Drew Klein is the Iowa director of Americans for Prosperity, a group that opposes the gas tax increase and he was at the statehouse to watch today’s (Thursday’s) vote in the House Ways and Means Committee.

“I don’t think that the taxpayers of Iowa expected to see these types of maneuvers out of House Republican leadership specifically to support and advance a tax increase that’s going to hit low and middle income families the hardest,” Klein says. The bill will be eligible for debate in the Iowa House on Tuesday. An identical bill cleared the Ways and Means Commtitee in the Iowa SENATE around noon today (Thursday) on an eight-to-six vote. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal says he has “no particular timeline” for a vote in the state senate on the issue, but he says when it’s clear the bill will pass “it doesn’t make sense to wait.”

(Radio Iowa)

Senate panel OKs bill that would ban most calls in cars

News

February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Senate panel has approved a bill that would ban people in Iowa from holding a cellphone and talking while driving. A transportation subcommittee discussed the bill Thursday. It now moves to a full committee for consideration. Current law prohibits people in Iowa from reading, writing and sending messages on an electronic device while driving, though an officer must be stopping a person for a different offense in order to enforce it. This bill would ban a person from holding a cellphone and talking while driving.

The bill would also remove the circumstances for stopping a person. The bill exempts a person using a GPS or a device in a hands-free or voice-activated mode. The Department of Public Safety is sponsoring the bill, and it has Gov. Terry Branstad’s support.

House panel OKs bill aimed at helping Iowa abuse victims

News

February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A House panel has approved a bill that would help Iowa abuse victims keep their home address confidential. Members of a public safety subcommittee approved the bill Thursday. It now moves to a full committee for consideration. The bill would allow a victim of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, stalking and other scenarios to enroll in a program through the secretary of state’s office that would allow mail for a victim to be forwarded to a designated address.

Supporters say the bill would protect victims from offenders using public records. Subcommittee members expressed concern about the program’s $100 fee to individuals in Iowa who are convicted of charges including domestic abuse. Rep. Dean Fisher, a Garwin Republican and a bill co-sponsor, says he’s open to changes in the legislation.

House panel OKs bill that would add fine arts to Iowa Core

News

February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A House panel has approved a bill that would add fine arts to Iowa’s mandated education curriculum for K-12 students. An education subcommittee approved the bill Thursday. It now advances to a full committee for review. The bill would add music, theater, visual art and other fine arts to the Iowa Core, the state’s academic standards. The Iowa Core currently includes English, mathematics, science and social studies.

Emily Piper, of the Iowa Association of School Boards, says it’s better for school districts to infuse fine arts education into the current curriculum without a state mandate. Rep. Greg Forristall, a Republican from Macedonia and co-sponsor of the bill, says the addition would help prioritize fine arts education.

Similar legislation was introduced last session but it did not advance.

New interns at the Museum of Danish America

News

February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Museum of Danish America has recently welcomed two new Danish interns, thanks to grant support from the Scan | Design Foundation by Inger & Jens Bruun.

23-year old Charlotte Kimig is the newest Collections Intern at the Museum of Danish America. In Denmark, she lives in an apartment just outside of Copenhagen, but grew up in small suburb called Frederikssund. She just finished her Bachelor’s degree in History from Copenhagen University, and has, until my internship, been working and trying to save up some money.

CHARLOTTE KEIMIG

CHARLOTTE KEIMIG

Back home, she has a part-time job at an auction house, where she helps customers get their antiques evaluated. Charlotte says she is specifically fascinated by the Danish Modern furniture.  Her plan is to start this summer on her Master’s degree in History. With her internship at the museum, she’s hoping to learn more about the psychology behind the Danish emigration to America and the whole concept of pursuing the American Dream. She will be completing her internship on June 30.

27-year old Johannes Svend Brask Kristoffersen is the newest Exhibits and Development Intern from Copenhagen, Denmark. He’s a graduate student in History at the University of Copenhagen. He’s also minoring in Near Eastern Archeology and Southeast Asian studies.  Prior to coming to the museum, he worked at the Danish Museum of Technology as part of the national museum educational program.   Johannes has also been working for the Danish Cancer Society in the Prevention and Awareness Department, where assisted the secretariat and the accounting staff in different tasks.

JOHANNES SVEND BRASK KRISTOFFERSEN

JOHANNES SVEND BRASK KRISTOFFERSEN

During his internship at the Museum of Danish America, Kristoffersen will be working on the Skål! Scandinavian Spirits exhibition and other smaller exhibitions while also assisting in the planning and execution of different events. His internship will end at the end of July.

 

Late accident report from Cass County

News

February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office today (Thursday), released information about an accident that happened last Friday evening (Feb. 13th).  According to the report, a two-vehicle accident on I-80 eastbound at the 51 mile marker, as a 2006 Kenworth driven by 48-year old James Allen Thimmesch,  of Aurora, IA, was eastbound on I-80.The semi was passed by a 2007 Ford F150 pickup owned and driven by 63-year old Douglas Duane Wager, of Shelby,which suddenly slowed when it got into the lane in front of Thimmesch’s vehicle, causing Thimmesch to strike the rear of Wager’s vehicle. No accident injuries were reported, although Wager was subsequently transported by Medivac to the Cass County Memorial Hospital for a potential medical condition. Damage to the vehicles amounted to $3,000 altogether.
(12-p.m. News)

Godwin Scholarship Application Deadline Is March 31st

News

February 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon County Community Foundation reminds students in the Exira/EHK school District, that the deadline for submitting applications for the Exira Lions Club/Harold and Beverly Ann Godwin Endowed Scholarship is March 31st. The Fund will award one scholarship for $1,000 and is open to any high school senior from the Exira-EHK School District pursuing a two or four year degree, full-time, at any accredited vocational/technical, educational institution, a college or university.

Applicants are asked to complete the application form and submit it with a copy of their current transcripts to their high school guidance counselor, as directed in the scholarship’s fact sheet. Scholarship applications are available from the guidance counselor.