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Thursday News, February 20

Winter Storm Approaches Iowa

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Weather officials are predicting several inches of snow over a large swath of Iowa, with blizzard conditions hitting the northern half of the state.
     The National Weather Service says anywhere from 3 to 9 inches of snow could fall in central and northern Iowa from the early hours of Thursday into the evening hours.
     Meteorologist Kurt Kotenberg says the wintry mix of sleet and snow will develop Thursday morning for northern Iowa. Rain will fall in central Iowa until it transitions into snow. Heavy snow will fall from Thursday morning into the afternoon.
     Kotenberg says thundersnow - an area of heavy snow with embedded thunder - could occur Thursday.
     The winter storm system will be largely out of the state by Friday morning as it moves northeast into Wisconsin.


Healthy Eating In A Hurry

(Le Mars) -- Do you often times wish you could eat a healthy meal, but feel as though your schedule prevents it, so instead you settle for a burger from a fast-food restaurant?  Healthy Meals in a Hurry is a seminar the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach of Plymouth County is hosting this evening.  Extension Program and Youth Coordinator, Ann Schoenrock explains tonight's seminar will show how you can eat healthy even when you are in a hurry.

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The seminar will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the lower level of the Le Mars Convention Center.  Schoenrock says Iowa State University Extension Nutrition Specialist Renae Swears will lead the program.

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The County Extension Program and Youth Coordinator says pre-planning our visits to the supermarket or grocery store, as well as pre-planning our meals will help having a delicious meal, even when we are rushing about.

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Registration is $10 which will cover the food samples, and a copy of the publication.  If you are not able to attend tonight's program, but do have an interest, Schoenrock says the county extension office does have extra copies.    


Milford Man Uses Forklift To Retreive Candy Bar From Vending Machine 

MILFORD, Iowa (AP) - A 27-year-old man has lost his job and Iowa unemployment benefits for using a forklift on a malfunctioning vending machine.
     Robert McKevitt had deposited money in a vending machine last fall, but the candy bar he wanted wouldn't fall. 
     State unemployment records say his banging and rocking the machine didn't work, so McKevitt commandeered a forklift, picked up the machine at least six times and dropped it on the floor at the Polaris Industries' warehouse in Milford. Three candy bars fell.
     In a ruling released last month, a judge denied McKevitt's claim for unemployment benefits, saying he'd willfully disregarded his employer's interests.
     McKevitt told the Register he never lifted and dropped the machine but did use it to move the machine back in place.


Lawmakers Work On Anti-bullying Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers in the Iowa House have approved an anti-bullying measure that would emphasize teacher training standards.
     The House Education Committee passed the measure 19-4 Wednesday. The bill is now up for debate on the House floor. 
     The legislation would require parental notification in bullying situations, as well as bullying prevention and response training for educators. School officials would also be granted permission to get involved in certain instances of cyberbullying as they pertain to the school. 
     Some committee members said they wanted the bill to focus even more on training. Republican Rep. Quentin Stanerson, of Center Point, said future discussions on the measure would flush out those details.
     The education committee in the Senate passed a similar bill Wednesday.


Democrats Want Facility For Delinquent Juvenile Girls

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers in the Democratic-majority Iowa Senate are advancing a bill that would establish a state facility for delinquent girls.     The Senate Human Resources Committee approved the bill Wednesday in a party-line vote with eight Democrats in favor and five Republicans opposed. The legislation was originally designed to reopen the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo, but now just says there must be a state-run facility for delinquent girls. 
     Democratic Sen. Joe Bolkcom, of Iowa City, says he was disappointed the bill did not earn Republican support and pledged to keep working for compromise. 
     The Iowa Juvenile Home was closed by Gov. Terry Branstad on Jan. 15 following allegations that teens were improperly treated at the center.
     Four Democratic lawmakers have filed a lawsuit against Branstad, seeking to keep the home open.


Woman Accused Of Kidnapping Infant Will Face Court In Wisconsin On Friday

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The woman charged with kidnapping a Wisconsin newborn and leaving him behind an Iowa gas station is scheduled to make her initial federal court appearance Friday.
     A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Madison, Wis., says authorities will transfer Kristen Smith to Wisconsin from Iowa sometime before then.
     A grand jury is meeting in Madison on Wednesday, but it's unclear whether Smith's case is being heard.
     The FBI has filed a complaint accusing Smith in the Feb. 6 kidnapping of newborn Kayden Powell. Smith's been jailed in Iowa since her arrest, hours after the baby went missing. 
     Investigators say Smith took Kayden from a Wisconsin home where her half sister was staying, and left him in West Branch, Iowa, in freezing temperatures. He was found alive 29 hours later.


Agriculture Census To Be Released

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is set to release its Census of Agriculture, a detailed report released every five years that lists the number of farms, how many acres are farmed, the number of farmers and their average age and many other statistics.
     The last report released in 2007 revealed that the number of Iowa farms had increased 2 percent from 2002 to 2007 to more than 92,800. The average farm size was lower and total acres of land farmed fell 3 percent.
     Iowa ranked first in the nation in 2007 in production of hogs, corn, soybeans and third in the nation for the value of agriculture products sold.
     The report to be released Thursday morning is used in evaluating and implementing agriculture policies and programs.

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