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by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 22 2014 10:26AM

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Sioux City Council has given its final approval to changing the ordinance that bars pit bulls from inside city limits.

The council voted 5-0 on Monday in favor of the proposal. The proposal lets the city manager give exemptions to licensed Sioux City animal rescue agencies. It lets the agencies hold the pit bulls in their facilities for up to 90 days.

Noah's Hope had requested the exemption. It says it doesn't intend to keep pit bulls in the city. It plans to seek approval for volunteers to haul pit bulls from foster homes outside city limits to veterinarians, pet stores and adoption events inside Sioux City.


Filed Under :
Location : IowaSioux City
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 22 2014 10:26AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa House has rejected a Senate amendment to the health and human services budget that would have reopened the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo. The House action Tuesday morning sends the bill to a conference committee where members of both parties will work out the differences in the bill.

The Senate Monday evening passed it along party lines with only Democratic support. The Republican-led House rejected it on a voice vote only.

Democratic House Minority Leader Mark Smith says it's important to provide the services to some of the state's most troubled youth.

Rep. David Heaton, a Mount Pleasant Republican, says the funding in the bill may be inadequate to reopen the home, which was closed by Gov. Terry Branstad following allegations that delinquent girls were being mistreated.


Filed Under :
Topics : PoliticsSocial Issues
Location : Des MoinesIowaToledo
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 22 2014 10:25AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Des Moines police say a 4-year-old girl died after an apparent accidental shooting in her family's apartment.

The shooting happened Monday evening at an apartment south of the city's downtown.

The girl died at Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines.

Police say the child's parents and two younger children were home when the shooting occurred.

Sgt. Jason Halifax says the investigation was continuing, but it appeared that "safe weapons handling practices were not followed."

No charges have been filed. Police didn't release the names of those involved.

Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : Des MoinesIowa
People : Jason Halifax
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 22 2014 10:24AM

KEOKUK, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is warning Keokuk residents about a wastewater spill into a local creek.

City officials say about 20 gallons per minute were flowing into Soap Creek, which feeds into the Mississippi River. The discharge was discovered near Carbide Lane at 3 p.m. Saturday, and was still going Monday afternoon.

The DNR recommends keeping children and pets away from Soap Creek near Carbide Lane and all areas downstream for 1-2 days after the line is fixed. City crews have located a plug in the line that caused the spill, but were still working to remove it.

The city has taken water samples for testing and will notify DNR when the line is repaired.


Filed Under :
Location : IowaKeokukMississippi
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 22 2014 10:23AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — State and local economic development officials in central Iowa have come up with a brand name and logo for the region in an effort to create an identity similar to that of Silicon Valley in California.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Gov. Terry Branstad were among the dignitaries at the unveiling of the "Cultivation Corridor" branding of an area within a 60-mile radius of Des Moines.

The idea is to focus attention on the marketing of agribusiness, biotechnology and renewable fuel products.

Iowa State University President Stephen Leath helped lead the 3-year process of identifying concepts and coming up with the idea.

He says the primary goals are to attract and retain top quality workers in agriculture biosciences, expand job creation, and create a ripple effect in the economy statewide.


Filed Under :
Topics : Business_Finance
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 22 2014 10:23AM

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Waterloo police are investigating the theft of jewelry worth thousands of dollars from a Kmart store.

The jewelry was stolen during a break-in around 11 p.m. Thursday, while the store was closed.

Police say someone entered the store through a back door. The burglar broke a display case in the jewelry area and took 17 rings and wedding bands, two diamond pendants and a pair of diamond earrings.

An alarm alerted police, who arrived and noticed the back door ajar, but officers couldn't find the burglar.

Police say the theft was recorded on a surveillance camera.

Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : IowaWaterloo
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 22 2014 10:22AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lucey, an 18-month old pooch from Waukee, Iowa, has beaten out 49 drooling competitors to take this year's "Beautiful Bulldog" pageant.

Monday's tongue-in-cheek event is designed to kick off the weeklong Drake Relays, an internationally-renowned track and field event in Des Moines.

Lucey's owner, Tiffany Torstenson of nearby Waukee, Iowa, is a surgeon at the Mercy Katzmann Breast Center. Torstenson said she often takes Lucey to work. She says Lucey's demeanor around doctors and patients helped convinced her human family that she'd make a perfect therapy dog.

Lucey was certainly a hit with the crowd at Drake's Knapp Center, besting a pair of boys named Lord Nelson and Zuul to capture top honors.


Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowaWaukee
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 22 2014 10:21AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is announcing a new program that will provide $150 million to help small agriculture-related businesses in rural areas that need cash to expand.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was in Cedar Rapids on Monday to announce the formation of the first Rural Business Investment Company, licensed by the USDA to establish a fund that will invest in businesses.

The money is coming from eight Farm Credit banks in six states.

New Orleans-based Advantage Capital Partners will choose the businesses to receive investment cash. The company has experience investing in small businesses in rural areas and will manage the fund.

Vilsack says it's the first step in the USDA's plans this summer to create a buzz about business activity in the nation's rural areas.


Filed Under :
Topics : Business_Finance
Location : Des MoinesIowaNew Orleans
People : Tom Vilsack
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 22 2014 10:20AM

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Waterloo officials are considering limiting roadside memorials erected at the site of deadly car crashes.

A majority of the City Council called last week for an ordinance that would set rules for the memorials, such as the allowable size and time they could remain.

Council member David Jones argued "at some point you have to draw the line somewhere."

However, some council members say the rules would be difficult to enforce. And Mayor Buck Clark says drawing up an ordinance would "open up a can of worms."

Waterloo and most other cities already make it illegal to erect signs or displays in public right of ways, but officials usually allow memorials to crash victims.

Council member Steve Schmitt says guidelines would ensure consistent enforcement.

Filed Under :
Location : IowaWaterloo
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 22 2014 10:20AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Auditor Mary Mosiman says she is conducting an audit of confidential secret settlements that have enveloped Gov. Terry Branstad's administration in controversy for more than a month.

Mosiman says in a letter to Democratic Sen. Jack Hatch she began to review the settlement agreements shortly after she learned of them. She says her office is working to identify anything improper or inappropriate. She says she'll issue a public report when the investigation is concluded.

Hatch, who's running against Branstad for governor, sent Mosiman a letter April 8 asking for an audit.

He also wants the Legislature to approve funds for a broader independent audit from a firm outside the government to ensure politics is removed from the process.

Mosiman, a Republican, was appointed by Branstad last year.


Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 22 2014 10:15AM

CEDAR FALS, Iowa (AP) — University of Northern Iowa officials are considering reducing the maximum number of hours students can work at jobs on campus.

The university has proposed reducing the maximum hours students can work at on-campus job from 30 hours a week to 20 hours. Students couldn't work more than 320 hours each semester.

The proposal, now posted on the university's website for public comment, is an effort to formalize UNI's policy and ensure academic activities take precedence over work. Officials say the move also would make more jobs available to students.

But students like Katie Titus say they rely on the income from their jobs. Titus works 25 to 35 hours weekly at a campus dining center. She may have to quit if her hours are cut.

Filed Under :
Topics : Education
Location : Cedar FalsIowaNorthern Iowa
People : Katie Titus
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 21 2014 11:24AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Des Moines police have identified a teenager who died while trying to climb aboard a slow-moving freight train.

Police announced Monday that 18-year-old Phillip Tyshawn Simmons died in the early morning accident.

Officers were called to a crossing on the city's east side at 1:18 a.m. and determined that a teen had been waiting with friends at a rail crossing. The teen tried to climb onto the train, possibly to cross to the other side.

Police say he fell during this attempt. He was caught beneath the train and dragged along the tracks.

The train operator was notified and stopped the cars while police investigated. Several rail crossings were blocked by the train through the early morning hours.


Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 21 2014 10:46AM

CEDAR FALS, Iowa (AP) — University of Northern Iowa officials are considering reducing the maximum number of hours students can work at jobs on campus.

The university has proposed reducing the maximum hours students can work at on-campus job from 30 hours a week to 20 hours. Students couldn't work more than 320 hours each semester.

The proposal, now posted on the university's website for public comment, is an effort to formalize UNI's policy and ensure academic activities take precedence over work. Officials say the move also would make more jobs available to students.

But students like Katie Titus say they rely on the income from their jobs. Titus works 25 to 35 hours weekly at a campus dining center. She may have to quit if her hours are cut.

Filed Under :
Topics : Education
Location : Cedar FalsIowaNorthern Iowa
People : Katie Titus
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 21 2014 10:44AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is announcing a new program that will provide $150 million to help small agriculture-related startups in rural areas that need cash to expand.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is in Cedar Rapids on Monday to announce the formation of the first Rural Business Investment Company, licensed by the USDA to establish a fund that will invest in businesses.

The money is coming from eight Farm Credit banks in six states.

New Orleans-based Advantage Capital Partners will choose the businesses to receive investment cash. The company, which has experience investing in small startups in rural areas, will manage the fund.

Vilsack says it's the first step in USDA plans this summer to create a buzz about business activity in the nation's rural areas.


Filed Under :
Topics : Business_Finance
Location : Des MoinesIowaNew Orleans
People : Tom Vilsack
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 21 2014 10:19AM

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — West Des Moines officials say their past work with major companies played a major role in attracting a $1.1 billion Microsoft data center to their city.

Microsoft approached West Des Moines about the project roughly five years ago, but had concerns over whether the city could provide the necessary infrastructure.

West Des Moines Mayor Steve Gaer says city officials pointed to their relationships with other major companies, such as Wells Fargo and General Growth Properties, which owns the Jordan Creek Town Center. Gaer says those connections gave the city credibility and showed that they deliver on their promises.

The new data center announced on Friday is Microsoft's second in West Des Moines.

Filed Under :
People : Steve Gaer
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 21 2014 10:18AM

DYERSVILLE, Iowa (AP) — Twenty-five years after "The Field of Dreams" debuted in movie theaters, the Iowa farm where it was filmed remains at the center of simmering debates.

The film, which premiered in Iowa 25 years ago Sunday, turned the land into the state's most famous farm. It also set off a land dispute that has become bigger and more divisive as years passed.

The latest involves an Illinois couple that wants to develop the farm around the field into a $74 million baseball and softball complex for traveling youth tournament teams. The proposed All-Star Ballpark Heaven has sparked feuds and lawsuits between neighbors and against the city of Dyersville.

As the debate rages, cast members are scheduled to return in June for the 25th anniversary celebration.


Filed Under :
Location : DyersvilleIllinoisIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 21 2014 10:17AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A teenager was killed while trying to climb aboard a slow-moving train in Des Moines.

Des Moines police say a male in his late teens was waiting with friends at a railroad crossing in the 2000 block of Des Moines Street shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday. Police say the young man tried to board the train while it was moving, possibly so he could cross to the other side. The teenager then fell and got caught beneath one of the cars, and was dragged.

Police say the investigation scene was spread over four railroad crossings. Des Moines police were interviewing witnesses. The victim's identity was being withheld until family members are notified.


Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 21 2014 10:16AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Legislative leaders say they could end the session this week despite disagreements over budget bills and Gov. Terry Branstad's policy priorities.

They have a strong incentive to close up shop and go home — their daily allowance for working and living in Des Moines runs out Tuesday.

Three budget bills on which there are differences are in conference committees, where lawmakers from both parties negotiate compromises. Differences remain on a school anti-bullying bill and expansion of broadband Internet, but leaders say resolution is possible.

Branstad appears unfazed by ongoing criticism from Democrats about payments for secrecy in settlement agreements and other executive branch issues pursued by the Government Oversight Committee.

He says his focus remains on the substance of issues and he remains optimistic.


Filed Under :
Topics : PoliticsSocial Issues
Location : Des MoinesIowa
People : Terry Branstad
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 21 2014 10:15AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa Burn Treatment Center is reporting a higher-than-normal number of patients suffering from anhydrous ammonia burns.

The center says it has treated five people in the last two weeks. The center's medical personnel say they usually only see one or two cases each year. Official say the high number of patients in such a short amount of time is concerning.

Anhydrous ammonia is used legally by farmers as a crop fertilizer, but is often used, too, for the illegal manufacturing of methamphetamine.

The colorless, pungent gas can burn the eyes, throat, skin and damage lung tissue at high exposures.


Filed Under :
Location : IowaIowa City
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 21 2014 10:15AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa received $71 million this week from tobacco companies — its annual share of a 1998 landmark legal settlement in which tobacco companies pay states for smoking-related health care costs.

The Iowa Attorney General's Office says that since 1999, the state has received more than $960 million in tobacco payments.

This week's payment included a regular annual sum of more than $54 million as part of the master agreement and an additional "Strategic Contribution Fund" payment of more than $17.5 million.

The payment also includes a $6 million tobacco arbitration judgment from a case in which cigarette manufacturers claimed Iowa did not diligently enforce its tobacco statutes in 2003. A unanimous three-judge panel sided with Iowa in the case last year.


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Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 21 2014 10:14AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Civil rights groups are planning a hearing to consider how to improve elections administration and expand access to voting in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

A coalition calling itself the National Commission on Voting Rights will hear hours of testimony Monday at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.

The group is holding similar events around the country to learn about "challenges, successes and opportunities" for reform in all aspects of policies related to voting. The information will be consolidated into reports that will be shared with members of Congress and state activists.

Community leaders, elections officials and voting rights advocates are expected to be among those who testify on issues ranging from the locations of polling places to how to improve voting access for individuals with disabilities.


Filed Under :
Topics : PoliticsSocial Issues
Location : IowaIowa CityKansasMissouriNebraska
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 21 2014 10:12AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — As the end of the legislative session draws near, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is pushing lawmakers to keep some of his priorities in mind.

Before the session began in January, Branstad focused on four priorities: reducing bullying in schools; expanding programs for veterans; extending broadband and Internet access to rural Iowans; and increasing funding for apprenticeships.

All those efforts remain alive, but none has been approved and time could be running out. Senate and House leaders say adjournment could come next week, meaning lawmakers must work quickly if the proposals are going to be approved and sent to the governor.

Branstad says he remains hopeful.


Filed Under :
Topics : Social Issues
Location : Des MoinesIowa
People : Terry Branstad
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 21 2014 10:11AM

TAMA, Iowa (AP) — State officials have approved tax credits for developers to reopen a long-closed meatpacking plant in Tama that would eventually employ about 600 workers.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board approved $4 million in tax credits to Iowa Premium Beef on Friday. To receive the incentives, the company must create the jobs and offer a wage of $15.42 an hour to 120 employees.

The facility, which was shuttered in 2000, will help process Black Angus beef for food service, retail and international customers. Production is expected to begin in the fall.

The company behind the proposed $48 million project is made up of a group of investors.

Filed Under :
Topics : Business_FinanceLabor
Location : IowaTama
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 21 2014 10:11AM

IOWA FALLS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a man killed in a standoff in Iowa Falls was armed with several weapons.

The state Department of Public Safety says 25-year-old Leighton C. Fitz walked outside of a private house Thursday with weapons and a bullet-proof vest. He is accused of disobeying orders and reaching for a weapon. Authorities say that's when several officers shot at Fitz.

Three officers with the Department of Public Safety and two from the Iowa Falls Police Department were involved in the shooting. They are on administrative leave pending the investigation.

Authorities say they later found multiple loaded weapons and a gas mask inside the home. There also were threats toward officers posted on Fitz's Facebook page.

The Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy.


Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : IowaIowa Falls
People : Leighton C. Fitz
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 18 2014 10:05AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A prosecutor pursuing several cases against felons charged with voting illegally says an Iowa Supreme Court ruling shouldn't impact them.

Assistant Black Hawk County Attorney Linda Fangman said Thursday the prosecutions will "proceed as is," despite Tuesday's ruling suggesting that not all felons lose their voting rights. She's handling felony election misconduct cases against six offenders accused of voting in the 2012 election even though they lost their rights. A seventh may plead guilty Monday.

Critics including the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa say such prosecutions are on shaky footing after justices failed to agree on which felony crimes lead to disenfranchisement.

Three justices ruled that only felonies that raise concerns about elections integrity strip offenders of their rights. Two others said all felonies should.


Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : IowaIowa City
People : Linda Fangman
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 18 2014 10:05AM

CLIVE, Iowa (AP) — Officers are still looking for a prisoner who escaped in suburban Des Moines while being transferred for a court hearing in a burglary case.

Polk County Sheriff's Lt. Brent Long said Friday that 37-year-old Kenny Bevard remained at large. Bevard escaped around 4:50 p.m. Thursday in Clive while being driven to Adel in adjacent Dallas County.

Authorities say Bevard was handcuffed when got out and ran as the Dallas County sheriff's vehicle stopped in traffic. He reached a nearby wooded area. An automated phone message was sent to area residents about the escape.

Officers suspect Bevard soon stole a van from a truck stop. The van was found later in Urbandale.

Authorities say Bevard has served prison time for burglary and for being a felon in possession of a firearm.


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Topics : Law_Crime
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 18 2014 10:04AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democrats are looking to expand access to Iowa's presidential caucuses to people who are typically unable to attend them. It's a tricky task with these local political meetings that thrive on in-person discussion.

Party leaders said Thursday it's not in response to criticism, but a way to expand access to grass-roots democracy.

Senior Iowa Democratic adviser Norm Sterzenbach said Thursday: "It's an important part of our party to see if there are ways to make it more accessible."

Caucuses are run by parties, and held at night, unlike primaries. Democrat Hillary Clinton said after the 2008 caucuses that they excluded night workers, among others. So far, suggestions include virtual participation and proxy voting.

In 2008, 240,000 Iowa Democrats — 39 percent — participated. That's more than twice as many as the previous record.


Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 18 2014 10:03AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The state's top human resources officer says the most common reason state workers are excluded from being considered for rehire is for bad behavior or poor performance.

Michelle Minnehan, human resources chief operating officer for the state, told the Senate Government Oversight Committee on Thursday the reasons workers are fired and not eligible for rehire have included abuse of sick leave, falsification of records, urinating on prison inmates' food, and sexual harassment.

Minnehan was responding to questions in a broadening investigation into state hiring and firing practices.

The state released a list last week to The Associated Press containing 975 names of disqualified former workers. State officials had previously said no actual list existed.

Lawmakers report getting calls from former state workers shocked to find they're on the list.


Filed Under :
Topics : Labor
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 18 2014 10:02AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Education must gather information from schools about whether they are testing for radon gas under a bill Gov. Terry Branstad has signed into law.

Branstad signed the bill Thursday to require school districts to tell the department about radon testing by the end of this year. The department must then report to the Legislature by January.

An original draft of the bill required schools to test for the gas and deal with problems if levels exceed recommendations. The House removed testing requirements, instead opting to gather information and assess how schools handle radon.

Lawmakers plan to use the information collected to create a proposal for testing next year.

The EPA estimates about 21,000 people die nationally each year from lung cancer caused by radon exposure.


Filed Under :
Topics : Education
Location : Des MoinesIowa
People : Terry Branstad
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 18 2014 10:01AM

IOWA FALLS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a man has been shot and killed following a standoff in Iowa Falls.

Iowa State Patrol spokesman Sgt. Scott Bright says the shooting happened Thursday outside a private home. The man was shot by law enforcement.

Bright says authorities had been trying to talk to the man, who is accused of locking himself in his home and making threats via social media during the standoff.

The man at some point fired shots and authorities backed away from the home. He eventually came outside to the front porch and was shot.

Authorities have not released the man's name.

Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : IowaIowa Falls
People : Scott Bright
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 18 2014 10:00AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill intended to change funding and programming for job training and establish an apprenticeship program has won the support of a divided Iowa Senate.

The Senate voted 26-to-20 Thursday to approve the measure, with Republicans opposing the proposal. It now goes to the House, where House Speaker Kraig Paulsen says he's interested in the apprenticeship piece.

The bill changes current law to increase Iowa's workforce fund from $4 million to $6 million. Half that money would go toward the apprenticeship program. It also creates an advisory board to promote apprenticeship programs.

Sen. Bill Dotzler, a Waterloo Democrat, says the legislation would provide those who train Iowa's workforce with the resources they need.

Senate Republicans argued for approving a job training bill that largely retains the current program.


Filed Under :
Topics : LaborPolitics
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 18 2014 9:59AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The chairman of the state's Public Employment Relations Board says aides to Gov. Terry Branstad pressured the board to hire a friend of the administration in the latest accusation that top government officials pushed to fill government positions with allies.

Board Chairman Jim Riordan told the Senate Government Oversight Committee Thursday that Branstad's former chief of staff, Jeff Boeyink, and current staff attorney, Brenna Findley, threatened the board with budget cuts if it didn't make the hire. The board hired former Judge Robert Wilson to be an administrative law judge.

Questioned by reporters, Branstad flatly denied the claims and accused Riordan, who hasn't been reappointed by the governor, of making false accusations.

Riordan, a former Democratic state senator, will be replaced by a Republican confirmed Wednesday by the Senate.


Filed Under :
Topics : LaborPolitics
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 18 2014 9:59AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A lawyer for a Des Moines doctor accused of prescribing large amounts of narcotic painkillers was denied a mistrial request in the case.

Guy Cook made the request Thursday during testimony in the trial of Daniel Baldi. He faces nine counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Cook said a witness' statements about Baldi were hearsay and designed to inflame and prejudice the case. Associate Polk County District Judge Gregory Brandt instructed jurors to ignore the witness' comments. He denied the mistrial request.

Prosecutors say Baldi prescribed large amounts of narcotic painkillers to patients including Paul Gray, founder of the band Slipknot, who died in 2010. Baldi's denies responsibility for the deaths.

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Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 18 2014 9:58AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The assistant director of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy will retire after facing months of criticism for making inappropriate sexual and threatening remarks to female cadets and colleagues.

A letter released Thursday to The Associated Press shows 71-year-old Michael Quinn will retire June 30.

The move comes after Senate Democrats held him up as an example of personnel mismanagement by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad's administration.

Quinn was the subject of reports by the AP last year showing that he was allowed to keep his job despite a state investigation that found he violated anti-discrimination and violence-free workplace policies.

The investigation found that he made remarks to cadets and employees about his testicles and his sex life and told one subordinate that he would "slit your throat" if she acted up.


Filed Under :
Topics : PoliticsSocial Issues
Location : IowaIowa City
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 18 2014 9:57AM

AMES, Iowa (AP) — A task force has been formed to determine if an annual celebration at Iowa State University should continue in the future following a large crowd disturbance near campus.

University President Steven Leath announced the 20-member group Thursday. Tom Hill, senior vice president for student affairs, will lead it.

The group includes student leaders and staff, as well as the mayor of Ames and the police chief.

Plans for the task force were announced shortly after a crowd disturbance this month near campus. People gathered during the multi-day Veishea celebration are accused of overturning cars and toppling light poles. One student was injured.

The disturbance led to Veishea's suspension this school year. The group will study the celebration's history and offer recommendations to Leath before the end of June.


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Location : AmesIowa
People : Steven LeathTom Hill
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 18 2014 9:56AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A new outdoor field for the University of Iowa's marching band and other programs is scheduled to open this year.

The $16 million project includes an indoor turf field and support areas. It will be part of the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex.

Historic flooding in 2008 destroyed the university's Voxman Music Building, which complicated storage and transportation for the Hawkeye Marching Band's instruments.

The band practices at a temporary field and recital hall, though band director Kevin Kastens says conditions are not ideal.

The outdoor practice field has been graded and seeded, and construction of the indoor turf facility has begun. It's expected to be completed this fall.


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Location : IowaIowa City
People : Kevin Kastens
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 17 2014 10:09AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The chairman of the state's Public Employment Relations Board says aides to Gov. Terry Branstad pressured the board to hire a friend of the administration.

The pressure was part of the administration's effort to stack the deck against public employee complaints.

Board Chairman Jim Riordan told the Register that Branstad's former chief of staff, Jeff Boeyink, and current staff attorney, Brenna Findley, threatened to cut the board budget if the board didn't make the hire. The board did so, hiring former Polk County District Court Judge Robert Wilson to be an administrative law judge.

Boeyink didn't return calls for comment. Findley referred calls to Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers. Centers' response didn't directly touch on whether Branstad aides had pressured the Employment Relations Board.

Filed Under :
Topics : LaborPolitics
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 17 2014 10:08AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Insurance Division is investigating an insurance agency that's accused of overbilling thousands of government employees for health care coverage.

The division is focused on Two Rivers Insurance Co. The agency had been acting as an independent agent selling insurance for Wellmark and other companies.

Wellmark spokesman Traci McBee says Wellmark ended its relationship with Two Rivers on April 9 because Two Rivers had "marked up some of its customers' health insurance premiums without Wellmark's knowledge."

Todd Ackerman of Two Rivers said the company "categorically disagrees" with Wellmark's conclusion. He acknowledged Wellmark's allegations "revolve around the way we were compensated, and we believe we were transparent."

State insurance commissioner Nick Gerhart acknowledged that the state was investigating but provided no details.

Filed Under :
Topics : LaborSocial Issues
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 17 2014 10:07AM

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a man being held in Waterloo is a fugitive of more than 40 years from North Carolina.

The man was arrested after the Iowa Transportation Department's facial recognition system flagged his driver's license photo. Authorities say they found information in his residence that identified him as 68-year-old Ronald Dwaine Carnes.

Records say Carnes was convicted of robbery in the Winston-Salem, N.C., area in November 1970 and sentenced to 20 years. He escaped a correctional center in Huntersville, N.C., in August 1973.

The Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office says Carnes was charged Monday with committing fraudulent practices, possession of weapons by a felon and possession of a fictitious license. Records do not list an attorney.

North Carolina officials say they're working to extradite Carnes.

Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 17 2014 10:06AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says Iowa has agreed to a federal recommendation that will allow thousands of residents to hang onto health insurance policies that don't meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

Branstad and Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart announced Wednesday that the state would grant the extension of plans through 2016.

The action will let about 330,000 Iowans retain their health insurance policies. Most buy their own insurance or are covered by small employers.

Without the move, some of those policies could be cancelled.

Branstad says in a statement that the decision gives Iowans the flexibility to maintain current coverage or shop for new plans available to them.

Eighteen other states have allowed plan extensions as permitted by federal regulations.


by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 17 2014 10:04AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lawmakers from the Iowa Senate and House have agreed to meet to hammer out details on an education budget, as the chambers have not agreed on public university spending increases, among other provisions.

The Senate rejected a plan from the House on Wednesday that would give the University of Iowa less of an increase than that given to Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa, and the House then adhered to it. Lawmakers will now meet to discuss the budget and settle differences between both parties and chambers.

Democrats say giving less money to UI could result in a tuition increase, but Republicans say the school has enough cash reserve to avoid raising tuition.

The bill as a whole appropriates funds for educational programs.


Filed Under :
Topics : EducationPolitics
Location : Des MoinesIowaNorthern Iowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 17 2014 10:04AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An official of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services says federal money could have been used to pay money to former state employees to keep quiet about settlement agreements.

Lon Anderson, Chief Deputy Director of the DAS, appeared before the Government Oversight Committee to answer questions about the Legislature's deepening investigation into the agreements.

Democrats allege money may have been misappropriated to pay laid off workers for silence.

Anderson says in some cases money would have come from fees other government agencies pay DAS for services and it's impossible to know where that money came from.

Sen. Matt McCoy says if federal money was used it could jeopardize Iowa's ability to seek federal money or the keep money it has already been given.


Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 17 2014 10:03AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Elections officials will continue to bar felons from voting despite an Iowa Supreme Court ruling that suggests not all of them have lost their voting rights.

Three justices ruled Tuesday that only some felonies are considered "infamous crimes" under the Iowa Constitution that bar individuals from voting or holding office.

Their opinion said such crimes are only ones that show offenders "would tend to undermine the process of democratic governance through elections." The court says it'll have to "develop a more precise test" in future rulings.

A spokesman for Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz said Wednesday the office will continue to treat all felons as being disenfranchised unless their rights have been restored by Gov. Terry Branstad.

He says the court didn't identify specific felonies that weren't "infamous crimes."


Filed Under :
Topics : Law_CrimePolitics
Location : IowaIowa City
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 17 2014 10:02AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some workers won't benefit even if a long-shot Democratic proposal to raise the federal minimum wage becomes law.

That's because more than a dozen categories of jobs are exempt from the hourly minimum, currently $7.25.

Those exclusions run from some workers with disabilities to crews on fishing ships to casual baby sitters.

Legislation sponsored by Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin would gradually raise the minimum to $10.10 by 2016.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the measure would boost earnings for 16.5 million workers — but also cost 500,000 others their jobs.

And the bill doesn't eliminate exemptions from the required minimum.

Harkin would gradually raise salaries of tipped workers like waiters to 70 percent of the minimum wage. They currently earn $2.13 hourly.


Filed Under :
Location : IowaWashington
People : Tom Harkin
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 17 2014 10:01AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad earned $234,907 and is paying $28,298 in federal taxes for 2013.

The governor and his wife, Chris, are paying $6,235 in state taxes.

By releasing his tax returns Wednesday, Branstad continued a practice he's done annually as governor.

Branstad's governor salary totaled just over $127,000. He also earned more than $54,000 from the state's retirement pension fund from earlier service as governor, lieutenant governor and legislator. Additional income of $22,000 is from capital gains earned on business investments. He also received $35,000 from an IRA following an uncle's death.

Branstad contributed more than $40,000 to charities.

He paid an effective tax rate of 12 percent.

His Democratic opponent, Sen. Jack Hatch, released documents Tuesday showing income of $468,591 from real estate development businesses and his state salary.


Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 16 2014 10:08AM

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Iowa officials are awaiting a fingerprint check to confirm that a man being held in Waterloo is a fugitive of more than 40 years from North Carolina.

The man was arrested after the Iowa Transportation Department's facial recognition system flagged his driver's license photo. Officers say they found information in his residence that identified him as 68-year-old Ronald Dwaine Carnes.

Records say Carnes was convicted of robbery in the Winston-Salem, N.C., area in November 1970 and sentenced to 20 years. He escaped the Mecklenburg Correctional Center in Huntersville, N.C., in August 1973.

Authorities say the man they believe is Carnes moved to Waterloo from Washington state last summer. Authorities say he used the name Louie Vance to apply for an Iowa license in March.

Filed Under :
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 16 2014 10:07AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad is releasing his tax returns, something he's done every year he's served as governor to promote transparency.

Returns released a year ago showed the governor and his wife, Chris, earned $226,728 in 2012.

Most of the income comes from his governor's paycheck but he also continues to collect from the state's retirement pension fund from his earlier service as governor, lieutenant governor and legislator.

Branstad in past years also has reported income from capital gains from an Iowa banking company in which he owns shares and business income from his ownership of 13 small town post offices, for which he is paid rent.

Branstad's Democratic opponent, Sen. Jack Hatch, released documents Tuesday showing income of $468,591 from real estate development businesses and his state senator salary.


Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 16 2014 10:06AM

HAMPTON, Iowa (AP) — A former Iowa doctor convicted of sexual exploitation has been given jail time for violating his probation.

Forty-one-year-old Brian Hansen was found in contempt of court on Monday in Franklin County District Court. He'd violated a probation provision that barred him from contacting victims or their families.

Hansen was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty in May 2013 to one count of sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist. Prosecutors dropped seven other counts of sexual abuse and exploitation.

The state medical board suspended Hansen's license last year. The board said Hansen had engaged in sex with co-workers and patients and made numerous improper sexual comments.


Filed Under :
Location : HamptonIowa
People : Brian Hansen
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 16 2014 10:06AM

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) — Police say a hypnotist hired to provide alcohol-free entertainment at a post high school prom event in Marshalltown was arrested for public intoxication.

The Marshalltown Police Department says 43-year-old Terry Woodward was taken into custody early Sunday morning. A message left for Woodward's attorney was not immediately returned Tuesday.

Woodward is accused of showing up drunk before a 3 a.m. performance at the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA. He was hired to perform for GMG High School.

Capt. Brian Batterson said people reported Woodward smelled like alcohol. He had no interaction with students before his arrest.

The talent agency that hired Woodward says he has been fired.

by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 16 2014 10:05AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — More than three weeks later, the Iowa Board of Regents is still figuring out how to comply with Gov. Terry Branstad's order to post employee settlement agreements online.

In an executive order on March 24, Branstad ordered his administration and the regents to post all legal agreements that resolve employment disputes on websites that are easily accessible to the public.

The Department of Administrative Services has posted executive branch settlements on its website, but the regents' office hasn't done so yet. The regents govern the state's three public universities, and special schools for hearing- and vision-impaired students.

Regents spokeswoman Sheila Koppin said Tuesday during a media briefing that board officials "have been having discussions" about the executive order. She said she didn't have any more information.


Filed Under :
Location : IowaIowa City
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 16 2014 10:04AM

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) — An Alliant Energy official says the utility has received the necessary permits for a power plant in Marshalltown and expects to begin construction this summer.

Alliant representative Kenn Vinson told the Marshalltown City Council on Monday night the utility received an air permit from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. That was the last permit needed and will enable Alliant to petition the utility board for approval to build the plant.

Alliant, with Iowa operations based in Cedar Rapids, previously said its planned natural gas-powered plant will cost roughly $750 million and generate about 600 megawatts of electricity.

Alliant spokesman Ryan Stensland says the company plants to "sink steel" in Marshalltown this summer.

The company has previously said it hope to start operations in 2017.

Filed Under :
Topics : Environment
Location : Cedar RapidsIowaMarshalltown
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 16 2014 10:03AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court says a Des Moines man can run for state Senate despite efforts by his primary opponent to have him disqualified.

Tony Bisignano was convicted of second-offense drunken driving, and his Democratic primary opponent Ned Chiodo claimed that disqualified him from voting or seeking office because it fit the definition of an infamous crime in the Iowa Constitution. Such a ruling would not only have disqualified Bisignano but thousands of other Iowans convicted of aggravated misdemeanors.

The court concluded second-offense operating while intoxicated isn't an infamous crime but says its ruling is limited to OWI second offense only. Future cases will have to decide which felonies might fall within the meaning of infamous crime.

Bisignano and Chiodo are seeking the Senate seat being vacated by Jack Hatch.


Filed Under :
Topics : Law_CrimePolitics
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 16 2014 10:02AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A legislative panel has backed a plan meant to extend broadband access to rural Iowans, though an agreement hasn't been reached on language about the placement of new cell towers.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted 16-to-9 Tuesday to advance the measure, but differences remain about language in the bill that gives cellular companies more uniform standards for tower placement. Local officials have argued those new rules could limit their control over tower placement decisions.

Rep. Peter Cownie, a West Des Moines Republican, says his goal is to work with cellular providers while not stripping local governments of their control in cell tower siting. He promises to find common ground before anything is signed into law.

The legislation is now eligible for floor debate.


Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Des MoinesIowa
People : Peter Cownie
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 16 2014 10:01AM

ELDORA, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say two juveniles that escaped from a north-central Iowa treatment facility have been captured, and a third remains at large.

The state Department of Human Services says the juveniles were apprehended separately in Cedar Rapids between Sunday night and Monday afternoon. The Muscatine County Sheriff's Office says a third juvenile still at large is a suspect in crimes over the weekend.

The juveniles were part of a group of eight that ran from the Eldora State Training School on Thursday. The juveniles were being escorted from the gymnasium to their cottage at the time. Five were returned to the facility within an hour.

Delinquent youth between the ages of 12 and 18 are placed at the school through court orders. The facility provides treatment and educational services.


Filed Under :
Location : Central IowaEldoraIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 16 2014 10:01AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa courthouses have a variety of security features, with about half banning guns and fewer providing secure areas for judges and staff to work outside courtrooms.

A gun incident in March at the Madison County Courthouse has sparked another push from the Iowa State Bar Association for upgraded security procedures at courthouses statewide. The group published a report on the issue in 2005.

A review show a majority of courthouses lack safety features recommended by the bar association. Those features include metal detectors or entryways that are monitored by deputies.

Guy Cook, a Des Moines attorney and president of the bar association, says a lack of basic security such as restricted entrances has the potential to create dangerous situations.

Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowa
People : Guy Cook
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 16 2014 10:00AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill meant to further relieve the financial stress of disabled veterans in the state has won the unanimous support of the Iowa Senate.

The Senate voted 50-0 Tuesday to expand a homestead tax credit already in place for disabled veterans. The legislation now goes to the House for consideration.

Under current law, eligibility for the credit is limited to disabled veterans who have an income of $35,000 or less and have acquired their home through certain federal programs. The proposal would make the tax credit available to disabled veterans regardless of income and how the home was purchased, and extend the credit to surviving spouses or children.

Sen. Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, says the bill is a small way to better help disabled veterans financially.


by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 15 2014 10:25AM

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Iowa's insurance commissioner has scheduled forums in Cedar Rapids and Davenport to educate the public on how to avoid investment and insurance scams.

Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart said a May 1 forum and panel discussion at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center would be limited to the first 210 respondents. A similar event is scheduled June 5 in Davenport.

Gerhart said the events are part of a education program called, "Iowa Fraud Fighters — Shield Your Savings." He said many con artists are targeting residents who are older than 60 with "very slick and sophisticated investment" scams that swindle millions of Americans out of billions of dollars every year.

The event will include information about common scams tips to prevent fraud. Attorney General Tom Miller and other state officials will participate.


Filed Under :
Location : Cedar RapidsDavenportIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 15 2014 10:24AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has called on the Legislature to take action following an Iowa Supreme Court ruling that found school coaches cannot be convicted of sexual exploitation by a school employee under current law.

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled 5-2 Friday to overturn the conviction of a former Bloomfield basketball coach who had sex with a 16-year-old girl on his team, saying coaches without teaching licenses are not considered school employees and therefore cannot be convicted. In a statement Monday, Branstad urged lawmakers to pass legislation to include school coaches in the law to protect Iowa students from sexual exploitation.

Branstad says action should be taken now, while the Legislature remains in session.

The session has no specific end date, but lawmakers will stop receiving expense payments after April 22.


Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowa
People : Terry Branstad
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 15 2014 10:23AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Two top managers at the Iowa Department of Administrative Services have been asked to return for a second day of questioning before a joint legislative oversight committee.

Doug Woodley and Paul Carlson didn't help lawmakers clarify the big question: who authorized settlement agreements in which money was paid for secrecy.

The focus seemed to turn once again to a former DAS attorney, Ryan Lamb, who now works for a construction contractor.

Senate Oversight Committee leaders say they'll ask Lamb to appear.

Woodley and Carlson spent nearly two hours before the committee. They were cooperative in answering questions from Democrats and Republicans from the House and Senate and promised to provide a number of documents detailing the amount of money saved in the 2011 government reorganization


Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 15 2014 10:22AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A plan to enroll more 4-year-olds in preschool and incentivize the creation or expansion of programs has won the Iowa Senate's approval.

The Senate voted 28-22 Monday in favor of the measure, which now goes to the House for further consideration. All those opposed were Republicans.

The Iowa Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program, established in 2007, already funds preschool for 4-year-olds. The legislation would offer additional funds to school districts with existing programs or those that initiate new programs, in an effort to expand preschool enrollment. These incentives would be offered for three years beginning in 2015, and would be based on increased enrollment.

Sen. Herman Quirmbach, an Ames Democrat, says the legislation is meant to increase participation in the preschool program and improve outreach efforts to Iowa children.


Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Des MoinesIowa
People : Herman Quirmbach
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 15 2014 10:22AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A lawmaker is demanding an investigation to determine why so many workers at the Iowa Veterans Home have been fired and disqualified from future state employment.

Democratic Sen. Steve Sodders of State Center said Monday that his analysis of state data shows 61 home employees have been fired and added to the "do-not-rehire" list during Branstad's current term. He says that's nearly twice as many in three years under Branstad compared to the prior 12 years under Democratic governors.

Sodders has long blamed the home's former commandant, David Worley, for creating a hostile work environment. Worley resigned in October.

Sodders asked Branstad to launch an investigation to determine whether workers were wrongly fired and blacklisted under Worley.

More than 600 veterans and spouses live on the home's campus in Marshalltown.


Filed Under :
Topics : LaborPolitics
Location : IowaIowa CityMarshalltown
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 15 2014 10:21AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has awarded grants to two fueling sites in an effort to expand access higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel.

The Oak Street Station in Inwood and Farmers Cooperative in Mount Ayr will each receive $125,000 as part of the Fueling Our Future initiative.

Inwood is about 35 miles north of Le Mars. Mount Ayr is about 70 miles southwest of Des Moines.

Farmers Cooperative will construct a new fueling site to provide different ethanol and biodiesel blends. It also will receive $100,000 through the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure program.

The Oak Street Station will build a new site offering five renewable fuel dispensers.

Branstad says in a statement that supporting these projects will help grow the local economy as well.


Filed Under :
Topics : Environment
Location : Des MoinesIowaLe Mars
People : Terry Branstad
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 15 2014 10:20AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lawmakers have been unable to change a state law on postmarked absentee ballots that may accidentally void some valid ballots.

Election officials say some valid ballots over the years could have been invalidated because the Postal Service doesn't always postmark business reply mail envelopes.

The state law has been in effect for years. But an accompanying administrative rule that allowed election officials to check the date on the enclosed voter affidavit was repealed in 2011.

The newspaper reports data collected in local elections from 2011 and 2013 show the issue is widespread throughout the state.

Legislators this session have failed to find a solution to the problem. Officials say the practice could continue during high-profile statewide contests this year, including the race for governor.

Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 15 2014 10:19AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Longtime Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad finds himself in the unfamiliar position of juggling mini-scandals as he prepares to seek a sixth term.

In recent weeks, he's had to face questions about why his administration pushed about 1,200 state workers out of their jobs and paid some to keep quiet, whether it kept a blacklist of former employees banned for rehiring, and whether an appointee was mishandling unemployment cases.

The controversies aren't threatening Branstad's re-election. He had 10 times the campaign cash of his little-known Democratic challenger.

But Democratic lawmakers are planning investigations. And Republicans worry that the turmoil will roil the political waters as they attempt to win a U.S. Senate seat and control of the state Senate. The Republican governor is counted on to help lead that effort.


Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Des MoinesIowa
People : Terry Branstad
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 14 2014 10:25AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says Democrats pursuing investigations into confidential settlement agreements, do-not-hire lists, and other issues are practicing partisan politics at its worst.

At his Monday news conference, Branstad argued lawmakers ought to focus on the budget and policy issues instead of making accusations using politically charged words.

House Democrats are calling for an expanded investigation into allegations that some employees have been blacklisted from future state employment and other issues.

The Senate Government Oversight Committee also is holding another hearing to ask questions about government payments to former workers for secrecy and problems they believe exist in the executive branch.

Democratic Sen. Janet Petersen, oversight committee chairwoman, has set a Monday afternoon meeting, and two Department of Administrative Services officials who didn't come last week say they'll appear.


Filed Under :
Topics : LaborPolitics
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 14 2014 10:24AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Two Des Moines residents have been arrested in the kidnapping and beating of a man found in the trunk of a car.

Police say they've arrested 53-year-old Debra Oliver and 50-year-old John Deering and charged both with kidnapping. Online records say Oliver and Deering remained in Polk County Jail on Monday. Online court records don't list the names of their attorneys.

The two are suspected of abducting 60-year-old Ronald Carris. Police say Carris called 911 around 5:50 a.m. Friday, saying he had been stuffed into the truck of his car. The 911 audio recording captured the beating.

His cellphone was traced to a park along the Des Moines River. Officers found him in the trunk of a car they spotted there.


Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 14 2014 10:22AM

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa (AP) — The state has fined an assisted living center in Spirit Lake, saying it presents an "imminent danger" to residents.

Keelson Harbour Assisted Living has been fined $3,000. The state says the center has not adequately trained workers, used nonmedical staffers to inject diabetic residents and borrowed medical supplies from residents to meet other residents' needs. The center has 68 residents.

Keelson Harbour is owned by Vista Prairie Communities in Minnesota. Patrick Rafferty is a Vista Prairie executive, and he says the Iowa inspectors' findings are being reviewed. He says a decision has not been made yet on whether Vista Prairie will appeal the fine.

Rafferty says that "if there are issues, they will be corrected."

The center's executive director declined to comment.

Filed Under :
Location : IowaMinnesota
People : Patrick Rafferty
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 14 2014 10:21AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have released the name of a 57-year-old Des Moines homicide victim.

The Des Moines Police Department identified her as Juanita Lagrone, of Des Moines.

Police say officers were sent to a home around 2:15 p.m. Sunday after a relative found Lagrone on the floor. Officers and medics say Lagrone was dead when they arrived. Sgt. Jason Halifax says there were signs of trauma to her body and a baseball bat nearby.

Reports say her death is being investigated as Des Moines' first homicide of 2014. No arrests have been reported.

Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 14 2014 10:20AM

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — The number of hog feeding businesses in southeast Iowa could grow quickly if Des Moines County officials approve all the proposed projects.

County officials are considering five different proposals to build animal feeding operations. The county is already home to 24 confined animal feeding operations.

Jeff Prier with the state Department of Natural Resources says Des Moines County likely has room for more hog-feeding operations.

An Iowa company called Agri-Way Partners is behind three of the five proposed hog feeding operations. Company spokesman Mark Wilkerson says the firm is owned by 22 poultry farms near Wayland.


Filed Under :
Topics : Business_Finance
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 14 2014 10:19AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — At least 386 state employees have been hired by Gov. Terry Branstad's administration without advertising the positions, but this is not a new practice in Iowa.

Critics say the practice makes it easier for friends and campaign donors to land the jobs.

Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers says the unadvertised hires are allowed under state law for certain jobs.

This practice is allowed for at-will jobs that come with fewer job protections that most government jobs.

Centers says another 2,300 people were hired for jobs that were advertised since Branstad took office in 2011.

Branstad's predecessor hired 604 employees into unadvertised jobs.

Filed Under :
Topics : Labor
Location : Des MoinesIowa
People : Terry Branstad
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 14 2014 10:18AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden has unveiled a new exhibit featuring small hanging trees and flowers.

The High Flight exhibit offers a presentation showcasing hanging arrangements inspired by Japanese string gardens. There are more than 250 pieces on display during the six-week exhibit, which opened Thursday. It's available through May 18.

Officials say a blue steel sculpture constructed by a volunteer artist will be the exhibit's centerpiece. There will also be sky cables over various pathways in the conservatory.

Botanical officials will offer a workshop inspired by the exhibit on April 26.


Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 14 2014 10:18AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The State Historical Society of Iowa is reminding Iowa residents to apply for grant money that can be used for preservation purposes.

The division of the state Department of Cultural Affairs says the deadline to apply for the Historical Resource Development Program and the Country School program is April 25.

The development program aims to preserve and educate about historic resources in the categories of documentary collections, historic preservation and museums. The school program helps preserve and maintain the state's one- and two-room country schools.

Applications must be submitted online. Hard copies of application materials must be turned in manually or be postmarked by April 25.

Projects funded in this grant cycle will begin in July. They must be completed by Nov. 30, 2016.


Filed Under :
Topics : EducationPolitics
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 11 2014 10:10AM

ANKENY, Iowa (AP) — A 33-year-old teacher has been accused of sexually exploiting a former student at Ankeny High School.

Authorities say Mandy Davenport, of Des Moines, is charged with sexual exploitation by a school employee. Ankeny police say the youth involved is a 17-year-old boy.

On Monday Davenport resigned her job as a language arts teacher at Ankeny Centennial High School. Davenport was placed on leave April 4. A schools representative says Davenport worked at Ankeny High for three years before moving to Ankeny Centennial.

A public phone listing for her couldn't be found. Online court records don't list the name of her attorney.


Filed Under :
Topics : EducationLaw_Crime
Location : AnkenyDes MoinesIowa
People : Mandy Davenport
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 11 2014 10:10AM

CLINTON, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered U.S. and Iowa flags to be flown at half-staff to honor a Clinton man who died during World War II.

The remains of 1st Lt. Louis Longman are being returned to Iowa, and a memorial service is scheduled for Saturday at the Rock Island Arsenal National Cemetery, in Rock Island, Ill. Military honors will be provided by the Iowa National Guard.

The flags are to be flown at half-staff from 5 p.m. Friday until 8 a.m. Monday.

The Defense Department says the 26-year-old Longman went down with his P-38 fighter on April 16, 1944, in the mountains of New Guinea. The recovery and identification process began in 2005.

Longman graduated in 1936 from St. Mary's High School in Clinton.


Filed Under :
Location : ClintonIllinoisIowaNewRock Island
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 11 2014 10:09AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An effort to reopen the Iowa Juvenile home closed by Gov. Terry Branstad in January has been rejected by the Iowa House.

House Minority Leader Mark Smith, of Marshalltown, on Thursday attempted to tack on a provision to the health and human services budget to reopen the facility in Toledo and revamp programming for delinquent girls. The amendment failed in a 48-to-51 vote.

Smith and other Democrats say delinquent girls are no longer being properly served since Branstad closed the home, which previously housed some of Iowa's most troubled girls. They also say since there's a facility for delinquent boys in Eldora, girls deserve a similar state-run location.

Rep. David Heaton, a Mount Pleasant Republican, says although the House rejected the motion, lawmakers will continue to work toward a solution.


Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Des MoinesIowaMarshalltownToledo
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 11 2014 10:08AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A nonprofit group that supports low-income families who can't afford to bury their children would receive state funds under a budget provision approved by the Iowa House.

While debating the health and human services appropriation Thursday, lawmakers adopted an amendment to provide $100,000 to the organization Sing Me To Heaven. The group offers financial support to families who have lost a child, and members have said fundraising efforts aren't sufficient to help families across the state.

The money would be administered through Iowa's Department of Public Health. Eligible families could then receive up to $2,000 for funeral expenses after a child's death, which the group would dispense.

Rep. Bob Kressig, a Cedar Falls Democrat, says the appropriation is a way to help needy families suffering from loss.


Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowa
People : Bob Kressig
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 11 2014 10:07AM

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — The Waterloo airport is using a $1 million federal grant to buy snow removal equipment.

The Waterloo Regional Airport will get the money from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Michelle Weidner, finance director for the city, says the funding request was included in a previous application for airport improvement money.

Weidner says such grants typically require a local match. That is usually covered by airport passenger facility charges from plane fares.

U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin announced the grant Thursday. The federal agency awarded more than $3.2 million to Iowa airports for various improvement projects.

Filed Under :
Location : IowaWaterloo
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 11 2014 10:06AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz plans to return more than $200,000 to the state in unspent money from his budget. He says his ongoing efforts to reduce costs in his office resulted in less spending than his predecessors.

Schultz says finding efficiencies in technology, reducing staff, and consolidating management positions, allows him to return the money in July.

Schultz has been criticized by Democrats and voting rights advocates for paying the Iowa Division of Criminal investigation $250,000 over two years to investigate voter fraud. The money came from a federal grant designed to improve voting.

A spokesman for Schultz says the $200,000 is the current fiscal year savings but will continue in lower expenditures in future years.

Schultz, a Republican, is leaving after one term to run for Congress.


Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowa
People : Matt Schultz
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 11 2014 10:06AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa House lawmakers have released an amendment that addresses the issue of the placement of cell towers.

The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday gave reporters copies of new language, which members will add to a bill primarily dealing with expansion of broadband and Internet access in rural Iowa. The bill also includes new rules for cell tower siting, which has prompted complaints from local officials who argued it stripped out local control.

The tower siting language reflected a call by cellular companies for uniformity in the application process.

New language includes a timeframe for local governments to respond to requests for the construction or modification of cell towers as well as rules for governments to approve or deny applications.

The amended bill has yet to be discussed.


Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 11 2014 10:05AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal says he will sponsor a bill legalizing the sale of medical marijuana in Iowa, reviving an issue once thought dead this year.

The persistent efforts of woman who have children with epilepsy changed lawmakers' perceptions on the issue.

New policy measures cannot be raised late in the legislative session unless leaders in the House or Senate bring them up. Since Gronstal, a Democrat, will sponsor a bill its fate relies on Minority Leader Bill Dix, a Republican, to sign on too to move it forward. Dix says he will make that decision when a bill is presented to him.

Gov. Terry Branstad has talked recently with governors who have signed bills legalizing use of cannabis plant oil that isn't smoked and doesn't create a high.


Filed Under :
Topics : PoliticsSocial Issues
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 11 2014 10:04AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill making it illegal for landowners to allow drinking by minors on their property has won the final approval of the Iowa Senate.

The Senate voted 47-0 Thursday to send the legislation to Gov. Terry Branstad.

The measure originally prohibited landowners from permitting anyone under 21 to drink. The Senate concurred with a House amendment that limits offenses to those who permit people younger than 18 to drink on their property. Lawmakers also agreed to pass a provision exempting landlords and other property managers who may be unaware of minors drinking.

Under the bill, first violations would carry a simple misdemeanor charge and a $200 fine.

Sen. Robert Hogg, a Cedar Rapids Democrat, says despite changes to the legislation, it makes progress in fighting underage drinking across the state.


Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 11 2014 10:03AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa's human resources agency has released a list of hundreds of former workers who are barred from returning to state employment.

Its release came days after its now-fired director repeatedly told lawmakers no such list existed.

A spreadsheet released by the Department of Administrative Services identifies 975 workers who've been disqualified from future employment because they were either fired or resigned before termination, dating to 1990. The majority are barred from any of the executive branch's 42 agencies.

The department released the data to The Associated Press four days after its then-director Mike Carroll told lawmakers that "there is no list." Gov. Terry Branstad fired Carroll on Tuesday.

The AP reported last month that state government has continued the little-known practice of barring former workers despite questions about its legality.


Filed Under :
Topics : Labor
Location : IowaIowa City
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 10 2014 10:55AM
It was the announcement that Steven Leach, president of Iowa State University, never dreamed of having to make and the announcement students didn't want to hear.

"It's with mixed feeling and a heavy heart that I have decided to suspend the remainder of this Viesha."

But that's not the worst thing President Leach felt he had to say.

"Today, I'm really here to express my extreme disappointment and sadness over the Campustown incident."

To words rang in the ears of student, university faculty, and community members who filled the South Ballroom. So many people trying to fit into one room caused the staff to open the partitions, separating the ballrooms, on the second floor of the Memorial Union.

Unlike the students who become visibly upset after the announcement was made, President Leach kept his composure as he delivered his speech of disappointment.

"Frankly, I'm embarrassed for our university, and our community," he says, "I feel especially sorry for the students who have worked so hard over the past year planning."

Zach Morton, co-chair of this year's Viesha festival said the event was just getting started and he thinks those who flipped cars and downed light poles forgot what Viesha was really about.

"At the end of the day, Viesha is here for Iowa State University," Morton said, "Viesha is for all the students in the room, all the faculty, all the staff…everyone; and that's the important thing to remember."

The key word through the whole press conference could be summed up in one word: Safety.

"The consensus of the group was perfectly clear," says President Leach, "human safety and the safety of our community has to be our number one priority, and we cannot have any more property destroyed or any more instances of this nature."

That one instance almost cost one student his life after a light pole that was knocked down by students during the riots. He is now recovering in a Des Moines hospital, but his family is asking to keep his identity secret, according to Ames Police Chief Chuck Cychosz.

And then, President Leach said what all students, present and future, were afraid of hearing.

"The likelihood of Viesha, or something like it, continuing in its present form is very, very small."

All events were suspended last night after 5:00 p.m. The university is now working with organizers and the community to refund and rebuild the university and its reputation.

--By 1230 KFJB Reporter Katherine Fritcke
Filed Under :
Topics : Education
Location : Campustown
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 10 2014 10:17AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — For the second consecutive day officials in the Iowa Department of Administrative Services have told legislators investigating use of state money to pay former workers for silence they wouldn't appear to answer questions.

Senate Oversight Committee Chairwoman Janet Peterson says two DAS administrators were asked to appear for a Thursday afternoon hearing but sent a message Wednesday night they would not show up.

She says discussions will be held about whether it's time for the committee to exercise subpoena power if Gov. Terry Branstad's administration continues to avoid legislative oversight.

Petersen says she's also hoping to release documents that reflect Branstad's office conducted only a cursory investigation into the payments for silence in settlement agreements with former workers.

Spokesmen for the DAS and Branstad did not immediately reply to messages.


Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 10 2014 10:16AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A southwest Iowa lawmaker has returned to his job in the Iowa Capitol, where he hadn't voted on a measure since March 4.

Sen. Hubert Houser on Wednesday wrote a $576 check to repay expense money he was paid while absent.

Houser received handshakes and encouragement from Democrats and Republicans as he headed to his desk in the Senate chamber.

He told the Register earlier that he was too busy with work on his farm to join in legislative business, adding that as a Republican in the Democratic-controlled Senate, he had little to do. He's served 22 years in the Legislature.

Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Des MoinesIowaSouthwest Iowa
People : Hubert Houser
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 10 2014 10:15AM

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — The veteran Iowa investigator fired after reporting Gov. Terry Branstad's speeding SUV is going into business as a private investigator.

Former Division of Criminal Investigation agent Larry Hedlund said Wednesday he's obtained his private investigator's license and founded Hedlund Investigations. His business card touts 25 years of experience and a motto of, "truth, trust and tenacity." He envisions investigating everything from unsolved homicides to potential wrongful convictions and police misconduct.

Hedlund continues to sue his former superiors for wrongful termination. He alleges that he was removed from duty and fired in retaliation for initiating a pursuit in which a vehicle carrying Branstad was clocked traveling 84 mph but not stopped.

The 56-year-old Hedlund says he believes he has "something to offer attorneys or anybody that might need a private investigator."


Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : Iowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 10 2014 10:14AM

ACKLEY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa inspectors have cited a care center after incidents in which residents weren't properly supervised.

State inspectors cited the Presbyterian Village in Ackley.

In one, a resident with dementia left the home during the early hours of Feb. 4 and was found outside later with a 78.3 degree temperature.

In another incident, residents with Alzheimer's engaged in sex.

Lesser violations related to no cups or water pitchers in residents' rooms.

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals in March issued a $10,000 fine for the more serious violations and $500 fine for the others.

The larger fine was suspended because federal officials intervened and ordered a $9,750 fine.

Presbyterian Village administrator Julie Hinders says the citations are serious, but the center offers good care.

Filed Under :
Location : AckleyIowa
People : Julie Hinders
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 10 2014 10:13AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The state Department of Natural Resources has confirmed Iowa's first case of chronic wasting disease in a wild deer.

The DNR says in a news release Wednesday the disease was found in a sample from a deer killed in early December in Allamakee County.

DNR Director Chuck Gipp says the agency now will increase monitoring in the area where the deer was killed.

Chronic Wasting Disease primarily infects deer and elk. It attacks the brains of infected animals, causing them to lose weight, act abnormally and lose bodily functions.

There is no evidence humans can contract the disease by eating venison, but health experts recommend people not eat parts of deer, including brains and spinal cords.

The disease already has been found in all states bordering Iowa.


by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 10 2014 10:12AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An associate cello professor at the University of Iowa is playing a series of shows at private homes around the state in an effort to get more people into classical music.

Anthony Arnone is performing with his instrument at upcoming house concerts this month in Davenport and Iowa City.

He's also enlisted the help of a musical arts doctoral student who will play the piano. The pair has other house concerts scheduled in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Dubuque, Keokuk, Muscatine and Washington.

Arnone says the shows were inspired by his impromptu performance at a car service business. The experience was so positive he started performing at other public spaces.

The free house concerts involve 20 to 30 guests. They will be one-hour performances.

by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 8 2014 10:45AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A power outage at the Iowa Capitol Tuesday morning shut down chamber voting machines, microphones and cameras and disabled the Legislature's website until about 9 a.m.

Power went out around 7:30 a.m. plunging the Capitol into darkness. Power was on again in about 10 minutes. By 8 a.m. elevators, some doors and other electricity-powered equipment were coming back into service but not completely functional.

A spokesman for the Department of Administrative Services says there was an interruption in power during routine testing of the Capitol complex emergency power system.

The House convened at 8:30 but quickly stood at ease. The Senate gaveled in shortly after 9 a.m. and by then equipment on the Senate floor was working.


Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 8 2014 10:43AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A southwest Iowa lawmaker who has stopped joining in legislative action at the Capitol is still receiving his salary and daily expense payments.

Secretary of the Senate Michael Marshall mentioned Sen. Hubert Houser was receiving his $144 daily expense payments and his $25,000 annual salary, though he hasn't voted on a measure since March 4.

Houser told the Register earlier he was too busy with work on his farm to join in legislative business, adding that as a Republican in the Democratic-controlled Senate, he had little to do.

On Monday, Houser said he's willing to return his legislative pay to the state if anyone requested he do so.

Houser, a Republican, has served 22 years in the Legislature.


Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Des MoinesIowaSouthwest Iowa
People : Hubert Houser
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 8 2014 10:37AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A 38-foot-long recreational vehicle sponsored by the University of Iowa will soon travel Iowa promoting the state's rich history.

The Mobile Museum is expected to make its inaugural appearance in Fort Dodge this weekend, and stops in Decorah, Osage and Council Bluffs are planned. The university plans to show it off to the media Tuesday.

The Mobile Museum is sponsored by the Old Capitol Museum, Museum of Natural History and Office of the State Archaeologist. It will feature exhibits about mammals that roamed Iowa during the last ice age, the founding of Iowa, and the state's "ancient agriculturalists" based in the Loess Hills.

UI vice president for research Dan Reed says it is a "museum built in Iowa, by Iowans, for Iowans" that will visit schools, libraries and special events.


Filed Under :
Location : IowaIowa City
People : Dan Reed
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 8 2014 10:36AM

DUNKERTON, Iowa (AP) — A former Dunkerton football player convicted of carrying a handgun onto school grounds is facing an additional charge in the case.

18-year-old Mar'yo Lindsey Jr. has been charged with a single count of carrying weapons on school grounds in connection with having a gun at Riceville school facilities in late August.

Lindsey was convicted of the same charge last month, but it was in relation to bringing the gun onto Dunkerton property.

Authorities say they found a handgun and marijuana in Lindsey's gear bag following a game in which he was sent to a hospital for an injury. He was later arrested in Texas.

Court records show Lindsey has pleaded not guilty to the latest charge. Trial has been tentatively set for April 23.

Filed Under :
Topics : Law_CrimeSports
Location : DunkertonIowaRicevilleTexas
People : Lindsey JrLindsey Jr.
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 8 2014 10:35AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Three Republicans viewed as potential presidential candidates will speak at the GOP state convention in June.

Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Danny Carroll announced Monday that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum will speak at the June 14 convention in Des Moines.

The three have taken part in a number of events in Iowa since the 2012 election.

In a statement Carroll says, "This will be a treat for our state convention delegates and guests and will create some lively interaction as we plan for victory in November."


Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Des MoinesIowaLouisiana
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 8 2014 10:34AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An appeals court panel says an Urbandale attorney acted improperly during a sexual harassment trial when she told of her own harassment experience.

A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed an award given to Mindy Gilster, a former employee of Primebank in Sioux City. She sued the bank and supervisor Joseph Strub in 2010, claiming sexual harassment and retaliation.

In closing arguments during the 2012 trial, her lawyer, Brooke Timmer, told jurors a Drake law school professor sexually harassed her.

Defense attorneys objected, but U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett allowed Timmer to continue.

The appeals panel ruled Friday the comments were improper.

The jury awarded Gilster $900,000. The judge reduced that to $428,982.

The case will be retried.

Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : Des MoinesIowaSioux City
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 8 2014 10:33AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa inmate who has spent most of his life in prison for playing a minor role in a 1984 slaying has been granted work-release privileges.

Todd Hoffer has left the minimum-security prison in Rockwell City and transferred to a halfway house in West Union in northeastern Iowa.

The Iowa Board of Parole ordered work-release for the 53-year-old Hoffer after interviewing him last month. If he's successful in that facility, he could be released on parole.

Hoffer was one of three men convicted in the 1984 killing of Juanita Weaver, who was shot during a Des Moines home invasion.

Gov. Tom Vilsack commuted Hoffer's life sentence in 2007, noting that Hoffer wasn't the shooter and never intended for Weaver's death. Even the man who prosecuted Hoffer supported his clemency application.


Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 8 2014 10:30AM

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — A group of University of Northern Iowa students is helping bring thousands of free saplings to Cedar Falls to help the city replace trees lost to disease or flooding.

UNI Hardwoods recently transported 6,500 oak tree saplings from a nursery in East Moline, Ill. More than 100 student volunteers will plant some of them on April 12 at a new nursery in the North Cedar neighborhood.

The saplings will replace trees infected by the emerald ash borer or destroyed by historic flooding in 2008. City officials say funding for tree removals and replacements has dwindled.

The saplings will mature for several years before they're either moved or kept in place to reforest the area.

Filed Under :
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 7 2014 10:11AM

BLAIRSTOWN, Iowa (AP) — A stolen car has been pulled from Hannen Lake in east-central Iowa's Benton County.

Authorities say an angler spotted the car Sunday afternoon. Police think the car was stolen in Blairstown either Saturday night or Sunday morning.

No arrests have been reported.


Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 7 2014 10:10AM

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a 30-year-old Cedar Falls man has died after crashing during a pursuit by an Iowa state trooper.

The Iowa State Patrol says Jon Winburn tried to get away from the trooper after running a stop sign late Sunday morning. The patrol says the brief chase ended when Winburn lost control of his motorcycle and it crashed into a concrete wall of the Mutual Wheel building on La Porte Road in Waterloo.

The patrol says Winburn was pronounced dead at Covenant Medical Center.


Filed Under :
Location : IowaWaterloo
People : Jon Winburn
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 7 2014 10:10AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Settlement agreements are likely to continue to dominate the agenda at the Iowa Capitol this week as some lawmakers remain unsatisfied with discrepancies in testimony and answers they received during hearings last week.

Former employees testified at a Government Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday they were treated badly when fired in 2011 and were offered money to keep quiet about their dismissals. Department of Administrative Services Director Mike Carroll denied those allegations on Thursday in testimony to the committee that completely contradicted the workers.

Democratic Sen. Janet Petersen, chair of the Senate Government Oversight Committee, says she plans to ask state department heads and human resources officials to come before the committee. She's waiting for the Department of Administrative Services to provide numerous documents about state contracts and hiring practices.


Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 7 2014 10:08AM

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — A Fort Dodge man accused of using a hatchet to kill another man has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder.

Twenty-nine-year-old Ronald Dilley had been charged with first-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Steven Fisher, whose decomposed remains were found by an Otho farmer in a ditch on July 10.

Dilley and 23-year-old Holly Ekstrom, of Fort Dodge, were charged in Fisher's death. Ekstrom has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and is set to stand trial July 22.

Dilley told a judge Friday he hit Fisher four times in the head with a hatchet after Fisher made a comment that upset Dilley.

Dilley faces up to 50 years in prison when he's sentenced May 5.

Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : Iowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 7 2014 10:08AM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Wildlife and environmental groups are claiming victory when it comes to conservation under the new farm bill.

Two of their top priorities made it into the law, which set federal farm policy for the next five years.

One is "conservation compliance," which means farmers will have to use good conservation practices on highly erodible lands and protect wetlands to qualify for crop insurance premium subsidies.

The other creates "sodsaver" protections to discourage farmers from plowing up native grasslands in the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana and Nebraska.

It wasn't a total victory, though. The $57.6 billion in the farm bill for conservation programs over the next 10 years represents a net reduction of $4 billion. And conservationists are disappointed that fewer acres can be enrolled in the popular Conservation Reserve Program.


Filed Under :
Topics : Environment
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 7 2014 10:07AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill intended to expand broadband access to rural Iowans also includes language that could limit the ability of local governments to regulate the placement of cell towers.

Both the state Senate and House are wrangling with details on the so-called Connect Every Iowan Act. In an effort to increase cellular and wireless coverage as well, the House has included provisions to streamline the cell tower siting application process across the state.

This has prompted opposition from some city officials who argue they are being stripped of their authority in tower placement decisions.

Lawmakers say it's not their intention to remove local authority, and that they will work to find common ground for all parties involved.

Subcommittees in both chambers plan to meet to discuss the legislation next week.


Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 4 2014 10:38AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The iconic figures in Grant Wood's painting "American Gothic" have taken up temporary residence at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

A 25-foot-tall replica of the farmer and his daughter will remain at the fairgrounds in east Des Moines for the next six months.

Peter Cownie, executive director of the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation, says his father, Jim Cownie, and central Iowa businessman Bill Knapp paid $30,000 to lease the sculpture.

The artwork by Seward Johnson was completed in 2007 and has been displayed in several locations, including Chicago, Dubuque and most recently at Simpson College in Indianola.

Iowa artist Grant Wood painted "American Gothic" in 1930, and it was first displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Filed Under :
Location : Central IowaChicagoDes MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 4 2014 10:37AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — In a key voting rights case, the Iowa Supreme Court will decide whether a state senate candidate convicted of an aggravated misdemeanor is eligible to hold office.

The court granted a request Thursday to hear the case in which primary rival Ned Chiodo is seeking to disqualify Tony Bisignano based on his conviction for second-offense drunken driving.

At issue is whether that was an "infamous crime" that stripped Bisignano of his right to vote and hold public office. The court's decision could affect thousands of current and future offenders convicted of aggravated misdemeanors.

A state panel ruled that Bisignano is eligible because lawmakers have defined "infamous crimes" as felonies. A judge agreed Wednesday.

But prior court rulings have defined them as crimes that could land offenders in a state prison.


Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 4 2014 10:34AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez will hold events in Des Moines and Ottumwa this weekend.

U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin announced Thursday that Perez would be in Iowa on Saturday. Harkin says the labor secretary will focus on a proposed increase in the national minimum wage and job training during the events.

The first event will be at Raygun, a quirky clothing store in Des Moines' East Village. Perez will be joined by Harkin, U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley and Raygun owner Mike Draper.

Later, Perez will tour the Job Corps Center in Ottumwa. Besides Harkin, Perez will be joined by U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack.

Before being confirmed as labor secretary, Perez headed the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. He previously was secretary of Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.


Filed Under :
Topics : LaborPolitics
Location : Des MoinesIowaMarylandOttumwa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 4 2014 10:32AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz is asking the Iowa Supreme Court to review and overturn a district court judge's decision that Schultz did not have the authority to create a new rule aimed at ridding voter registration rolls of voters who didn't appear to be U.S. citizens.

Polk County Judge Scott Rosenberg last month said state law does not authorize Schultz to create a rule that would cancel a voter's registration based on citizenship questions.

Schultz tried to pass a rule that would have removed voters from registration rolls if he could not confirm their citizenship by comparing state records with federal immigration records.

Schultz says he can't allow non-citizens to cancel out Iowans' votes and insists the rule protects the integrity of the vote.


Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 4 2014 10:31AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill meant to stop the release of sexually violent predators has been signed into law.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed the bill Thursday.

The law allows those convicted of a violent sexual offense as a juvenile to be sent to a civil containment unit for sexually violent predators upon release from prison. Officials didn't previously consider such juvenile convictions when making adult release decisions.

Lawmakers say those who commit sexually violent crimes as juveniles could be dangerous as adults. They say this was true in the case of Kathlynn Shepard, who authorities say was abducted and killed last year by Michael Klunder.

Had the law had been in place last year, lawmakers say Klunder could have been kept in civil containment for past offenses instead of being freed.


Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 3 2014 10:14AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines man shot by police who said he was trying to run them down has been charged with two counts of assault.

30-year-old Shawntee Deiyane Young was arrested and charged Saturday with two counts of assault by use or display of a dangerous weapon.

Police say Young drove up to the scene of a shooting officers were investigating March 20. Police say when officers tried to stop Young, he accelerated toward them. Three officers fired at Young, who was hit by one bullet and treated at a local hospital.

The three officers — Sgt. Chad Nicolino and Officers Andrew Becker and Seth Arganbright — remain on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.

A phone number for Young could not be found.

Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 3 2014 10:13AM

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Four Iowa Republicans running for U.S. Senate are debating higher education costs, health care and the federal debt at a forum at Iowa State University.

Radio host Sam Clovis, state Sen. Joni Ernst, businessman Scott Schaben and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker met for the debate Wednesday evening. They said any of them would be better suited to succeed retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin than four-term U.S. House Democrat Bruce Braley.

A fifth candidate, Mark Jacobs, isn't participating because of a scheduling conflict. But that didn't keep him out of the debate.

Clovis took a shot at Jacobs, who has spent heavily on television ads ahead of the June 3 primary. Clovis, who also teaches at Morningside University, says it's "important for all the candidates" to attend.


Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : AmesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 3 2014 10:12AM

GRIMES, Iowa (AP) — Officials say there's an ongoing discharge of wastewater going into a creek in central Iowa.

The state Department of Natural Resources says the discharge developed while officials with the city of Grimes were replacing a pump at a lift station Wednesday afternoon.

Officials say when two pumps failed at the same location, they hauled incoming wastewater to the city's sewage treatment plant. But the city could not keep up with the incoming flow of wastewater.

The DNR says an unknown but small amount of wastewater is "occasionally" discharging into an unnamed creek. That creek flows to the lake at Cutty's Des Moines Camping Club, then to North Walnut Creek.

Officials are working to repair the lift station by Wednesday night. Additional information was not released.


Filed Under :
Topics : Environment
Location : Central IowaGrimesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 3 2014 10:11AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lawmakers in the Iowa House say they want to further establish government transparency and openness in the light of secret settlement agreements between state agencies and fired employees.

While debating a budget bill for agriculture and natural resources Wednesday, the House adopted an amendment to prevent money appropriated in the bill from being used for payments in such settlement agreements. Iowa's Department of Natural Resources participated in these payments to former employees.

Rep. Chris Hall, a Sioux City Democrat, says the amendment is an effort to keep taxpayer dollars from being used for settlements.

Republican Rep. Matt Windschitl, of Missouri Valley, says he supported the motion, though he says Gov. Terry Branstad already addressed the issue with an executive order prohibiting state agencies from signing confidential settlement agreements.


Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Des MoinesIowaSioux City
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 3 2014 10:10AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa City has approved several changes to an ordinance that bans people younger than 21 from being in bars late at night.

The changes clarify some rules that bars and other venues must meet if they want an exemption to the regulation.

The clarifications include the definition of a disc jockey, and specifies that they're not considered a performer whose shows go toward a 150-show requirement for the exemption.

More than five venues currently have the exemption.

The City Council made the changes during a meeting Tuesday. They passed the ordinance in 2010 as part of an effort to reduce binge drinking by University of Iowa students and other minors. The law has withstood two ballot votes to repeal it.

Filed Under :
Location : IowaIowa City
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 3 2014 10:09AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate has rejected changes to a bill meant to crack down on certain instances of human trafficking involving minors.

The Senate unanimously voted Wednesday to restore a law enforcement training reporting requirement and a victim fund in cases of prostitution involving minors. The House voted last month to remove these provisions.

The bill maintains a provision proposed by the House to remove offenses from the records of anyone previously convicted of prostitution as a minor. It also keeps a penalty increase for pimping involving a minor.

Democratic Sen. Robert Dvorsky, of Coralville, says the measure returns to the House, where lawmakers can consider the Senate's changes.

Should the House fail to approve the changes, the bill will die unless lawmakers from each chambers work together on a compromise.


Filed Under :
Location : CoralvilleDes MoinesIowa
People : Robert Dvorsky
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 3 2014 10:08AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The owner of a well-known Des Moines pharmacy has been indicted on 16 federal charges in connection to the disappearance of nearly 700,000 pills of addictive painkillers.

Mark Graziano appeared in federal court Wednesday in Des Moines. The 52-year-old has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to distribute drugs, wire fraud and tax evasion.

Another man, Andrew Michael Enloe, is accused of helping Graziano. He has pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute drugs.

Authorities raided Graziano's store, Bauder Pharmacy, in 2012 after an informant said Graziano illegally sold hydrocodone pills. Graziano denies the claims.

The Iowa Board of Pharmacy revoked Graziano's license last year. The store, co-owned by his sister, is banned from dispensing addictive drugs.

A trial date has been set for June 2.


Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 3 2014 10:07AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Four former state employees have cast doubt on state officials' claims that hundreds of thousands of dollars were saved through layoffs in 2011 as part of government reorganization.

The workers, testifying before the Senate Government Oversight Committee, claim some of their jobs are done by contractors at higher cost. They also claim laws were broken in the way their dismissals were handled in what Sen. Matt McCoy calls the Sept. 1 massacre.

The workers say their replacements were unqualified to perform the engineering and architectural jobs they held, jobs weren't posted, and replacements hired were close friends of administrators at the Iowa Department of Administrative Services.

A department spokesman says millions have been saved and the savings continue as the department runs more efficiently with fewer people and less paperwork.


Filed Under :
Topics : LaborPolitics
Location : Des MoinesIowa
People : Matt McCoy
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 3 2014 10:07AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The attorney for a woman who says her high school coach molested her causing her emotion problems wants the Iowa Supreme Court to change the way lawsuits against schools are handled in such cases.

Des Moines attorney Roxanne Conlin is representing a woman who says her New London school teacher and coach sexually abused her for several years. She's suing the school district.

The district's attorney, Steven Ort, says current law prohibits the lawsuit because the statute of limitations has expired.

At the center of the argument is whether school districts fall under a discovery rule that gives victims up to four years to file suit after they discover the abuse affected them.

Ort claims past court rulings concluded the discovery rule doesn't apply to schools. Conlin argues it does.


Filed Under :
Topics : EducationLaw_Crime
Location : Des MoinesIowaNew London
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 3 2014 10:06AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A spokesman says Iowa's executive branch no longer tells fired workers when they are added to the state's "do-not-rehire list" and waits to break the bad news only if they ever apply for another state job.

Department of Administrative Services spokesman Caleb Hunter said Wednesday the change came in response to administrative law judges who ruled that state officials don't have the legal authority to issue blanket employment bans against fired workers. Instead, those judges ruled that state officials can disqualify applicants on a case-by-case basis based on previous firings.

Instead of ending the practice of barring some ex-employees for life, Hunter says the department limited how it notifies those affected.

The department previously notified employees at the time of their firings that they were barred from future state employment.


by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 3 2014 10:05AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate's second-ranking Democrat says he'd be open to negotiating a compromise if Republicans block Democrats' efforts to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin says Democrats' goal remains a $10.10 minimum wage.

In the coming days, the Senate could debate a plan by Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin that would gradually lift today's minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2016.

Democrats will need 60 Senate votes to overcome Republican opposition to the increase to $10.10. That means they will need at least five GOP votes to prevail.

No Republicans have publicly backed that increase, and Democrats have seemed unlikely to succeed.

The minimum wage bill is among several income-related issues Democrats are pushing as this fall's congressional elections near.


Filed Under :
Topics : LaborPolitics
Location : IowaWashington
People : Dick DurbinTom Harkin
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 1 2014 10:42AM
The weather is getting nicer, so why not go for a run or walk for the Marshall County 4-H and their first ever Clover Run/Walk 5-K? Katie Mullaney, Spokesperson for the event says the money will expected to go to events the whole community could benefit from.

"At the Marshall County Fair, we would love to have more activities for people who are not involved in 4H as an incentive to come out to the fair ground and be able to participate in any way," she say.

She then goes on to add, "Raising that money would, pretty much, would give more room for activities."

The money not used for the fair, would then go back to 4H dues. However, they needed to find a way to raise the money, all while getting the community involved.

While walking and running are fun, there is another activity during the event to help raise money.

"We will also have a silent auction," Mullaney says.

The items being auctioned off will be particularly of interest to sports fans.

"We have a Fred Hoiberg signed basketball; a Paul Rhoads signed basketball; and gloves signed by wide receivers from the St. Louis Rams."

But, if sports are not your thing, there are a few other items donated from people in the community, including a Puddle Tractor.

The 4-H Clover Run/Walk will take place on Saturday, April 12th, at the Central Iowa Fair Grounds. For more information and to learn how to register you can go to the ISU Extension's website.


--By 1230 KFJB Reporter Katherine Fritcke
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by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 1 2014 10:24AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Representatives for a company overseeing redevelopment of a historic downtown Des Moines building destroyed in a fire have made their first public statements.

Officials from the Hansen Company held a press conference Monday. They insisted the work site at the Younkers building met necessary regulations.

Tony Garcia, company vice president, said construction crews were doing "hot work" Friday that could generate sparks. But he added that the work was carefully monitored and it was completed hours before the fire started early Saturday.

Officials say the former Younkers building will have to be demolished and that several nearby buildings sustained smoke and water damage. Investigators say there are no early indications as to what caused the blaze.

Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowa
People : Tony Garcia
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 1 2014 10:23AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court has rejected an appeal argument by Jonathan Narcisse in his fight to gain a spot on the Democratic primary ballot for governor.

Last week a judge denied the former Des Moines school board member's request to overturn a ruling by the Iowa secretary of state's office that his nomination petitions were incomplete.

That office ruled earlier this month that some of Narcisse's petitions didn't note the title of the office sought, disqualifying him from being placed on primary ballots. The decision leaves state Sen. Jack Hatch the only Democrat running for governor.

On Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court agreed to hear Narcisse's appeal and on Monday delivered an opinion that simply affirms the district court decision.


Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 1 2014 10:22AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Sioux City high school student has been appointed to the Iowa Board of Education.

Gov. Terry Branstad said in a news release Monday that he has appointed Hannah Rens as the non-voting student member on the board.

Rens, a sophomore at Sioux City East High School, will serve for two years. Her term begins May 1 and runs through the end of April 2016. She replaces a graduating Iowa City high school student.

Branstad's appointment is not subject to Senate confirmation. The Iowa Board of Education works with the state Department of Education.


Filed Under :
Topics : EducationPolitics
Location : Des MoinesIowaIowa City
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 1 2014 10:22AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds says she will lead a trade mission to Thailand to promote the purchase of Iowa-grown soybeans and other products from the state.

Reynolds announced Monday she would leave April 5 for the weeklong trip, which is being organized and paid for by the Iowa Soybean Association.

Besides Reynolds, the delegation will include Kirk Leeds, the Iowa Soybean Association's chief executive officer, and Brian Kemp, a farmer from Sibley who is the association's president.

Reynolds says in a statement that Thailand, with a large soy food industry and population of 69 million, offers a potentially lucrative market for increase Iowa soybean exports.


Filed Under :
Location : Des MoinesIowa
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 1 2014 10:21AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A nonprofit group wants Iowa lawmakers to approve financial assistance for low-income families who can't afford to bury their children.

Sing Me To Heaven, a foundation that offers support to families who have lost a child, will visit the Capitol on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to support a bill intended to help low-income families with funeral costs.

The bill would provide $100,000 to be administered through Iowa's Department of Public Health. Eligible parents and families could then receive up to $2,000 for funeral expenses after the death of a child. The bill is now in the House Appropriations Committee and is still eligible for consideration.

The group has already helped more than 40 families in Iowa, but it says in a statement that more money is needed.


by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 1 2014 10:21AM

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The number of acres devoted to corn is expected to shrink about 4 percent this year as farmers devote more of their land to soybeans.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its annual forecast Monday of what farmers plan to plant.

The USDA says it expects 91.7 million acres of corn to be planted this year, down from 95.37 million acres last year.

The number of acres devoted to soybeans is expected to grow about 6 percent to 81.5 million acres from last year's 76.5 million acres.

Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser says farmers are responding to predictions for tight soybean supplies and relatively high crop prices.

Gaesser, who serves as president of the American Soybean Association, says demand for soybeans is clearly high going into this year.


Filed Under :
Topics : Environment
Location : IowaNebraskaOmaha
People : Ray Gaesser
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department posted Apr 1 2014 10:20AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa's executive branch maintains an internal "do not rehire" list that has grown to more than 1,400 people who are barred from returning to state employment after being fired previously.

A review by The Associated Press shows the two-decades-old list has grown under Gov. Terry Branstad even as the state lacks clear legal justification and policies for how workers' names are added and removed.

Administrative law judges have ruled three times since 2009 that the Department of Administrative Services doesn't have "the statutory or regulatory authority" to issue lifetime employment bans against fired workers.

At least 250 names have been added since Branstad returned to office in 2011, about twice the pace of his predecessor.

Iowa managers say they use the list to reject bad employees and save taxpayer money.


Filed Under :
Topics : Labor
Location : IowaIowa City
People : Terry Branstad
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