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Monday Afternoon News, December 10

Cold Weather and Holidays Bring More Fire Dangers To Home

(Le Mars) -- With the cold weather setting in and the fact that the holidays means more candles are burning in homes, officials with the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department want people to think safety.  Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says space heaters and candles are often the cause for fires during the cold months.
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Representative Steve King Comments on Lame Duck Session

(Sioux City) -- Congress is in its lame duck session and many issues still remain unresolved.  Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King says some type of an agreement between President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner needs to occur before the pending mandatory budget cuts and tax increases occurs sending the nation's economy over the so-called financial cliff.
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King says other legislation, such as the pending farm bill, may be held hostage to whether an agreement can be reached involving the sharp budget cuts and pending tax increases.  King says he doesn't like the direction that Congress is proposing with the farm bill.
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The Republican Congressman says he is not certain whether or not the farm bill will be passed on its own merits, or if it will be thrown in with several other pending legislative bills.
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Ruth Harkin Fights With Iowa State Over Husband's Research Facility

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Emails show Regent Ruth Harkin has fought for months to allow an Iowa State University institute honoring her husband, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, to research agriculture.
Iowa State released e-mails Monday detailing the dispute over research restrictions on the Harkin Institute of Public Policy. The Harkins say the university is suppressing academic freedom, while ISU President Steven Leath says the policy avoids duplication and protects the prominence of another ISU agriculture research center.
The dispute dates to July, when Leath told Ruth Harkin that a campus memo banned the institute from conducting agriculture research. Leath says he instructed the university's foundation to remove language about agriculture from a Harkin Institute brochure.
Ruth Harkin says the restriction doesn't make sense because agriculture has been the centerpiece of her husband's legislative agenda.

 

Branstad Says He Supports Death Penalty

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says he supports institution of the death penalty but won't push for such legislation because he doubts it would clear the Senate.
Branstad noted Monday he's long supported approval of a death penalty in cases of kidnap or rape where the victim is killed. In his earlier stint as governor, he tried unsuccessfully to approve capital punishment in Iowa.
Some lawmakers have called for changing Iowa law to allow the death penalty following the discovery of two bodies believed to be Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook, who went missing last summer.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Council Bluffs Democrat, opposes reinstatement of the death penalty.
Branstad says he's focused on legislation that has a "realistic chance of being approved."
Iowa outlawed capital punishment in 1965.

 

Authorities Processing Evidence In Missing Cousins Case

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities are processing evidence collected from a wildlife area in northern Iowa where hunters discovered bodies believed to be two missing cousins.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (http://bit.ly/UsBl0x ) reports authorities left the Seven Bridges Wildlife Area in Bremer County on Friday. They had been searching the secluded area for any
evidence connected to the case of Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook.
Elizabeth was 8 and Lyric was 10 when they vanished in July while their riding bikes in Evansdale. Hunters found the bodies last week in a wildlife area about 25 miles away from where they
were last seen.
The newspaper also reports officials on Friday completed the autopsies of the remains, though results won't be finalized until further tests are done.
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