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Wednesday News, December 4

Icy Road Conditions Reported For Northwest Iowa

(Le Mars) -- Road conditions throughout northwest Iowa are slick this morning after freezing drizzle and snow that fell overnight.  According to the latest information provided by the Iowa Department of Transportation through their 511 website, I-29 has a blockage or is closed due to the weather conditions.  Iowa Highway 3 from the South Dakota border to near Albert City is partially covered in ice.  Iowa highway 9 from Larchwood to Spirit Lake is ice and snow covered.  Iowa Highway 12 from Sioux City heading north to Hawarden is partially covered with ice.  U-S Highway 18 from the South Dakota border to Ruthven is ice covered.  U-S Highway 20 from Sioux City to Galva is partially covered with ice. The Iowa DOT asks motorists to be aware of ice on bridges.  U-S Highway 59 from Holstein to Primghar is ice covered.  U-S Highway 59 between Primghar and Sanborn is completely covered with mixed snow, ice, or slush. Highway 60 from Le Mars to Sheldon is covered with ice, and from Sheldon to the Minnesota border Highway 60 is completely covered with mixed snow, ice, and slush.  U-s Highway 75 from Sioux City to Sioux Center is covered with ice, and from Sioux Center to the Minnesota border is mixed with snow, ice and slush.


Chamber Legislative Luncheon Scheduled For Today

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce will host the Legislative Luncheon scheduled for today at noon at the American Bank.  State Senator Bill Anderson and State Representative Chuck Soderberg will give an update regarding the upcoming legislative session, as well as answer questions.  


Former Prosecutor Testifies In Court About Problems With Job

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A former prosecutor testified her problems in the U.S. Attorney's Office began when she raised the possibility of age discrimination with her new boss.
     Martha Fagg testified Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Sioux City, where a jury and judge will consider her claims of disability and age discrimination by then U.S. Attorney Stephanie Rose.
     Rose is now a federal judge.
     In March 2010, Fagg wrote to Rose, warning that her reorganization of the civil division could expose the office to age discrimination accusations.
     Fagg calls the memo, "The beginning of my end."
     Despite earlier receiving positive performance evaluations, Fagg was later told her performance was poor. She was transferred from Sioux City to Cedar Rapids, then fired in 2011.
     The trial continues Wednesday.


Branstad And Northey Encourage Harkin To Support King Amendment In Farm Bill

DES MOINES – Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today sent a letter to Sen. Tom Harkin encouraging him to support the inclusion of the “King amendment” as part of the ongoing farm bill negotiations.  Iowa Congressman Steve King sponsored the amendment and would prevent individual states from dictating agriculture production practices in other states.


Branstad To Testify At EPA Hearing For Ethanol

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad will go to Virginia this week to testify against a proposal to reduce the amount of ethanol required to be blended into gasoline.
     Branstad announced his plans Tuesday, saying he'll testify Thursday at a public hearing organized by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA proposes to reduce by almost 3 billion gallons the amount of biofuels required to be blended into gasoline in 2014.
     Branstad is among many politicians and industry executives who are defending the current levels of ethanol and biodiesel in the nation's fuel supply. 
     At a recent event, Branstad argued the EPA has embarked on a war on corn that threatens thousands of jobs. Iowa is the nation's leading corn producer and top ethanol maker.


Customers Willing To Buy Locally Grown Food

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Farmers growing food to sell locally are increasingly finding willing customers to buy their products.
     The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, which is based at Iowa State University, says it tracked sales of 103 farmers who reported more than $10 million in local food sales in 2012. Most of the food was purchased by grocery stores, restaurants, schools, colleges, hospitals, nursing homes and nonprofit organizations. The organizations reported they spent just under 9 percent of their total food budget on food grown by local farmers.
     The group's goal is to increase the food purchased by local organizations to 30 percent of their total food budgets. That would boost local food purchasing to more than $21 million increasing income for the farmers and encouraging them to hire additional help.


Regents Consider Freezing Tuition Rates

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Plans to freeze tuition rates for undergraduates while cutting them for out-of-state law students are up for approval by the Iowa Board of Regents.
     The regents meet Wednesday on a conference call. 
     After months of discussion, they're expected to formally approve a plan to freeze tuition rates for resident undergraduate students at Iowa's three public universities for the second straight year. The freeze is contingent on the schools receiving a 4 percent general funding increase from lawmakers next year.  Without it, the regents warn they may have to approve a hike later.
     Gov. Terry Branstad has said he'd love to see another freeze if the state budget allows.
     The regents are also expected to consider a cut in tuition rates for non-residents attending the University of Iowa law school.






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