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Wednesday Afternoon News, February 12

Farmland Rental Rates Expected To Decline

(Orange City) -- Farmland rental rates look to be holding steady or showing some signs of decline, that according to an Iowa State University Extension Farm Management Specialist.  Melissa O'Rourke says landowners and farmers are now negotiating terms for the upcoming crop year.  She says our neighbors to the east project a slight decline in farmland rental rates.

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O'Rourke says whether  farmland rental rates trends go up or down, or hold steady, depends largely on what the previous conditions and terms were for the lease agreement.  O'Rourke says she still hears of instances where a tennant and landlord had entered a long-term lease agreement and the rental rates are extremely low.

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The ISU Farm Management Specialist says there have been times in the recent past when farmland rental rates were given a "bump up".  But she says 2014 may be a year when profit margins are tighter.

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O'Rourke says most farmland rental agreements today are scheduled for a one-year term with review of the yield performance, future projections, and current and future commodity prices.


Wednesday Morning Accident Causes Injuries

(Le Mars) -- A personal injury accident occurred this morning at about 7:45 a.m. when a vehicle crossed the center line and collided with a second vehicle.  The accident happened on County road K-64, approximately a quarter of a mile south of 100th Street.  21 year old Anna Zeutenhorst of Orange City was southbound on K-64 when she crossed the center line and struck a northbound car driven by 49 year old Rochelle Niehus of Le Mars.  Both drivers were taken to local hospitals by private transportation.  Neither was thought to have serious injuries, but both vehicles were listed as a total loss.  The collision was investigated by the Iowa State Patrol with assistance from the Plymouth County Sheriff's office.


Vehicle Hits Utility Pole In Accident

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police Department investigated a one-vehicle accident that happened on Plymouth Street/Highway 3 just passed 6th Avenue.  The accident was reported shortly after 11:00 a.m. this morning.  Apparently, Elizabeth Bollin of Akron suddenly lost control of her vehicle when it left the road and hit an utility pole.  The pole snapped falling on to the street.  When the pole fell, it pulled the electrical wires that went to the house at 529 Plymouth Street Northwest, causing damage there as well.  Bollin and her two children passengers were transported to the Floyd Valley Hospital for observation and minor injuries.


12,000 Iowans Sign Up For Federal Healthcare

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Nearly 12,000 Iowa residents have signed up for private health insurance plans using the federal enrollment website.
     Federal authorities released new data Wednesday on the first four months of enrollment under the health care law. The report shows that nearly 12,000 in Iowa enrolled private health insurance between Oct. 1 and Feb 1. 
     That number has grown substantially over the past month. About 7,500 signed up during the first three months the website was available. The site was plagued with technical difficulties at first. 
     Eighty-three percent of Iowa enrollees were eligible for financial assistance to help cover the cost of a plan. 
     More older Iowans have signed up so far. Thirty-seven percent of the enrollees are between the ages of 55 and 64.


State Senate Revises Bill To Open Girls Juvenile Home

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers in the Iowa Senate are revising legislation originally designed to reopen the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo. 
     Democratic Sen. Joe Bolkcom, of Iowa City, says the bill is being amended and would instead simply require the state to establish a facility for delinquent girls. He says the amended bill - which got preliminary approval from a Senate subcommittee Wednesday - will not specify where that facility should be. 
     The Iowa Juvenile Home was closed by Gov. Terry Branstad on Jan. 15 following allegations that teens were improperly treated at the center.  Bolkcom says he wants to keep the focus on treatment for girls who need it.
     Four Democratic lawmakers have filed a lawsuit against Branstad, seeking to keep the home open. That effort will continue in the courts.


State Senate Wants Felons To Be Restored Their Voting Rights

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Felons discharged from criminal sentences would have their voting rights returned under a bill backed by a Senate panel.
     In a 9-to-6 vote, Democrats on the State Government Committee endorsed the bill Wednesday to restore felons' voting rights. Republican members of the panel all voted no.
     The bill would require that voting rights be restored to felons after they leave prison and complete the terms of their release. After his election, Gov. Terry Branstad took action that made Iowa among four states requiring felons to apply to the governor to have voting rights restored.
     Republican Sen. Charles Schneider, of West Des Moines, opposed the bill, saying it would prematurely restore voting rights.
     U.S. Attorney Eric Holder called Tuesday for Iowa and other states to ease rules restricting voting by felons.


Lawmakers Try To Toughen Rules Involving Children And Prositution

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A state panel has approved legislation giving prosecutors more options for helping minors mired in prostitution and increasing penalties for pimps who used children.
     The House Judiciary Committee voted 20-0 Wednesday to approve the bill, which now goes to the House floor. 
     Under current law, all cases of prostitution are punishable as an aggravated misdemeanor. The bill would give county attorneys the option of referring minors involved with prostitution to Iowa's Department of Human Services as a child in need of assistance if an adult is believed to be involved. 
     Penalties would also increase for pimping involving a minor from a class "D" felony to a class "C" felony.
     Democratic Rep. Todd Prichard says the bill is a start on a serious problem that few in Iowa understand.


Cedar Falls To Restore Old Postal House

 CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - Restoration could begin on an old post office in Cedar Falls that had been destined for demolition.
     The Cedar Falls City Council is on the verge of approving a deal with the Cedar Falls Development Group, which was formed to promote historic preservation. The group plans to spend $500,000 to rehabilitate the building, completed in 1918.
     Some of the restoration costs would be covered by a $75,000 state challenge grant. The development group is expected to sign a 39-year lease and to recoup its investment by renting space to private tenants.
     The city also has offered a five-year tax rebate up to $96,000.
     Last summer, the council voted to demolish the building but agreed to delay those plans after preservationists sought to save it.


Woman Arrested For Assauting Roomate With Shovel

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines woman accused of hitting her roommate with a shovel after a dispute over clearing snow has been arrested.
     Des Moines police say 46-year-old Marie Alana Connett was arrested Tuesday. She faces a charge of willful injury. Court records do not list an attorney.
     The Des Moines Register reports ( ) Connett is accused of hitting her roommate multiple times in the head and shoulders with a hard plastic shovel during an incident on Feb. 5. The victim says Connett tried to drag her outside the house and demanded that she shovel the driveway.
     The injured woman was later treated at a hospital for a shoulder fracture.
     Court records show Connett has been released from the Polk County Jail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled on Feb. 21.







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