Saturday News, June 7
Branstad Declares Four Southwest Iowa Counties As Disaster Areas
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad has issued a proclamation of disaster emergency and activated an assistance program for four Iowa counties affected by recent severe weather.
Branstad said in a news release Friday that the Iowa Individual Assistance Program has been activated for Cass, Harrison, Montgomery, and Ringgold counties. Pottawattamie County was declared under a disaster emergency on Tuesday and is open to the assistance program.
The program provides grants of up to $5,000 to households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or a maximum annual income of less than $40,000 for a family of three. The money is available for home or car repairs, clothing, food and temporary housing.
Severe thunderstorms hit portions of Nebraska and Iowa on Tuesday. Baseball-size hail and heavy rain was reported.
Weather Services Says EF-2 Tornado Reported Near Oakland
OAKLAND, Iowa (AP) - Weather officials say a strong tornado touched down earlier this week in western Iowa's Pottawattamie County.
The National Weather Service says investigators surveying debris concluded an EF-2 tornado landed Tuesday about nine miles west of Oakland. Such a classification means the tornado could have packed wind speeds ranging from 111 to 135 mph.
The Council Bluffs Nonpareil reports (http://bit.ly/1rS395h ) the tornado carved out a three-mile path before it merged with another storm. That created straight-line winds that exceeded 90 mph and severely damaged properties in Oakland.
Brian Smith, a warning coordination meteorologist, says there were reports of severe wind and hail damage in the area.
Gov. Terry Branstad on Tuesday issued a disaster proclamation for Pottawattamie County.
Two Regional Airlines Want To Serve Fort Dodge
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - Two airlines are again seeking approval to offer flights out of Fort Dodge Regional Airport with the help of federal subsidies.
Air Choice One Airlines and Great Lakes Airlines recently submitted proposals to the U. S. Department of Transportation. The agency released the proposals Thursday.
Rhonda Chambers, the airport's director of aviation, says officials are reviewing them.
The newspaper reports Air Choice One is requesting annual federal subsidies ranging from about $3.6 million to $6.9 million. Great Lakes is seeking federal subsidies ranging from about $2.3 million to $2.9 million.
There have been no commercial flights from the airport since Feb. 1, when Great Lakes abruptly suspended service because of a lack of pilots. The airline, plus Air Choice One, had earlier proposals rejected.
Task Force Recommends To Discontinue VEISHEA
AMES, Iowa (AP) - A task force has voted to discontinue the current setup of an annual celebration at Iowa State University, though no decision was made on specific changes.
Members of the group voted unanimously Thursday to discontinue Veishea in its current form. The group discussed eliminating the celebration's well-known name and spreading events throughout the year instead of a multi-day event in the spring.
The group formed shortly after a late-night crowd disturbance in early April. People are accused of overturning cars and toppling light poles. One student was injured.
The task force will make recommendations about Veishea to University President Steven Leath, who will make the final decision on its future.
King Says Ernst Will Defeat Braley
(Des Moines) -- Iowa 4th District Republican Congressman Steve King says Joni Ernst has an uphill battle on her hands in defeating Congressman Bruce Braley for the vacated U-S Senate seat, but he believes she will get the job done and will be the next U-S Senator representing Iowa. King made his comments while attending the World Pork Expo in Des Moines. He says Joni Ernst has proven herself time after time.
Braley did not have any opposition in the primary race, and therefore did not need to spend much money. King says Ernst will have to work hard to get contributions to rebuild her campaign bank account to be able to compete against Braley for political advertising.
King, who passed on the opportunity to seek the Senate seat held by Senator Tom Harkin, says Democrat Braley must answer for several recent miscues, and insults.
King Questions Obama On Trading Prisioners
(Des Moines) -- Congressman King is questioning the Obama administration for trading five high level Tahiban leaders who were being held in Gitmo prison. Speaking with reporters in Des Moines, the Iowa fourth district Congressman says he is glad Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is back home with his family, but he wonders at what cost will it be to other U-S soldiers or to the people of the United States? King says a precedent has now been established, and the Taliban now realize all they need to do is capture one U-S soldier and they will be able to get in return other high level Taliban leaders that had been captured. King says the five Taliban leaders were known terrorists who were responsible for several killings of U-S soldiers, and other terrorist attacks. King says it has been the history of the United States never to negotiate with terrorists groups, but now President Obama has thrown that provision away. The Iowa Congressman says President Obama broke the law by not notifying members of Congress and the Senate, particularly the members of the Intelligence Committees, that a trade was to occur. King says President Obama signed the law himself.
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