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Thursday News, January 16

Yes, it's windy!

(Des Moines)O -- The National Weather Service has issued a high-wind warning, to remain in effect until 9 o'clock tonight. Northwest winds will blow at 25-to-35 miles per hour increasing to around 45 miles per hour this afternoon with gusts to around 55 miles per hour,  and scattered snow showers. Not much snow, but look for an accumlation of about one inch this afternoon.


MidAmerican Energy is on alert for wind-damaged lines(

Des Moines) -- MidAmerican Energy officials are making preparations in anticipation for downed power lines due to the strong winds blowing throughout the state of Iowa. MidAmerican spokesperson Tina Potthoff says crews had to respond to Red Oak earlier this morning for downed power lines.

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Potthoff says they don't want to have any of their customers suffer a power outage, but if it should happen the utility company is standing by and ready.

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Potthoff says the strong winds can do some damage to the powerlines and poles.

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The MidAmerican official says many times customers turn to social media such as twitter and facebook to inform the utiltity company of power outages.

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Resmen Fire Fighters Respond To Controlled Blaze 

Remsen firefighters were called out to a controlled burn at 1:50 this morning at 16784 Shamrock Avenue. Fire chief Todd Tenninger said a passing motorist noticed the fire and called authorities. Even though the fire was contained in a hole, fire officials decided to extinguish the blaze because of the high winds. They were on the scene for about 30 minutes.

Safe landing after landing gear questioned

SIOUX CITY - Officials say a small private plane that reported a problem with its landing gear made it safely to a Sioux City airport. The single-engine turboprop plane carrying two people landed at Sioux Gateway Airport around 8 a.m. yesterday. No injuries were reported.

     Emergency responders were put on notice after the plane's pilot issued an alert around 8 a.m. about a potential problem with the landing gear.
     Assistant Sioux City Fire Chief Pat Flynn says the equipment worked and the plane landed safely.

Brandstad to announces run at a sixth term 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad says he is "energized" and ready to run for an unprecedented sixth term in office.
     The Republican governor announced his bid for re-election Wednesday night before several hundred supporters at a conference center in West Des Moines. He will embark on a statewide tour Thursday.
     The 67-year-old Branstad has been laying the groundwork for a race since last summer. He announced last week that he had just over $4 million in his campaign account at the end of December.
     During his annual "Condition of the State" speech Tuesday, he boasted about tax cuts, education investments and a decline in unemployment.
     Longtime state Senator Jack Hatch, a Des Moines Democrat, is the leading candidate to oppose Branstad.


Fourth-, eighth-graders' test scores drop
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Math and reading scores have dropped for Iowa's fourth- and eighth-grade students.
      The Des Moines Register reported ( ) that fourth- and eighth-grade reading scores declined by 5.4 percentage points and 8.5 percentage points, respectively, comparing the test scores from 2009 through 11  to those from the 2011 through 2013 period.
      The Iowa Education Department said Wednesday that scores in both subjects had risen for 11th-graders.


So, how much topsoil is washing away

AMES, Iowa (AP) - An agronomy professor at Iowa State University is developing a way to determine how much soil is lost from farm fields from, sudden heavy rain.
     Downpours can create what is called ephemeral gullies - temporary washouts that carry valuable topsoil off fields.
     Agronomy professor Richard Cruse is leading a U.S. Department of Agriculture National Integrated Water Quality Program project to study the issue and develop better ways to control such erosion.
     Global studies show that the world's cropland is losing topsoil faster than new soil is forming, reducing cropland's fertility. Such erosion also increases the amount of phosphorous and nitrate carried into streams, lakes, and rivers.
     Cruse says the land's ability to retain water also decreases as more sediment is washed down a river leading to even more erosion.


Former Des Moines School District superintendent back in court
     DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Des Moines school district has asked a Polk County judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a former schools superintendent who sued the district over its handling of explicit emails that led to her resignation.
     The judge didn't immediately rule after Wednesday's hearing. The Des Moines Register says ( ) the hearing was over whether the lawsuit filed by Nancy Sebring can move forward. In October. She says the emails were personal and shouldn't have been released. The district says the emails were public records.
     Sebring sued in June, more than a year after she left her Des Moines position in May 2012. She soon resigned her brand-new job as superintendent for the Omaha, Neb., schools after the emails on her Des Moines district-issued tablet computer became public.

Iowa Farm Bureau members work to secure Renewable Fuel Standards

SAN ANTONIO -- The voting delegates of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation helped secure its strength and commitment to the Renewable Fuels Standard this week, as they took up the RFS and other priority issues for Iowans at the 2014 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in San Antonio. The voting delegates joined more than 350 other state Farm Bureau delegates to find national consensus on a variety of legislative issues.  A high priority for Iowa is the Renewable Fuel Standard, which adds nearly $12 billion, or about 9 percent, to Iowa's GDP and supports nearly 83,000 jobs.  Despite federal threats to weaken the RFS, Iowa voting delegates worked to approve policies to continue support of renewable fuels tax incentives for the production of biodiesel and to continue funding for next-generation cellulosic and biomass fuel research and installation of blender pumps and improved infrastructure.

Branstadt, Reynolds applaud Legislature's support for renewable fuels

(DES MOINES) –  Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today released statements applauding the Iowa Legislature for passing resolutions in support of a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The Legislature’s action comes two days after Gov. Branstad called for swift, bipartisan action in support of the RFS in his Condition of the State Address.

“I am pleased the Iowa Legislature has joined Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and me, and the entire Iowa Congressional Delegation, in support of a robust Renewable Fuels Standard,” said Branstad. “I’m encouraged that the Legislature agrees that  this rule proposed by the EPA would be devastating to the agriculture and renewable fuel sector of the economy. Together, we’ll keep fighting to protect the RFS.”

 Gov. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Reynolds, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and the entire Iowa Congressional Delegation are hosting a hearing, “Hearing in the Heartland: Supporting the Renewable Fuels Standard,” on the proposed EPA rule Thursday, January 23, 2014. More information on the hearing can be found on by visiting the governor’s website.


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