Friday Afternoon News, June 12
Republicans To Do Away With Iowa Straw Poll
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican leaders in Iowa have agreed to end the state's straw poll because of waning interest from presidential hopefuls and questions about its relevancy.
Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kauffman says state party officials voted during a Friday morning conference call to end the straw poll, which began in 1979 and has been held every summer before a contested presidential caucus.
For years, the poll has been considered an early but unreliable test of campaigns' strength.
Critics say it has become a costly sideshow, and many candidates fear the humiliation of a poor showing. Some 2016 GOP hopefuls recently said they would skip the event altogether.
Bird Flu Cases Slowing Down, But Ag Officials Fear The Deadly Disease May Return
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - No new bird flu cases have been reported in nearly a week on commercial farms in Minnesota and Iowa.
That has farmers, scientists and government officials hopeful the worst outbreak of bird flu in the U.S. is winding down, though they know it doesn't mean the outbreak is over.
Farmers are finishing the disposal of turkey and chicken carcasses, disinfecting the barns and preparing to restock with new birds.
And scientists trying to develop an effective vaccine, determine how the H5N2 virus evaded biosecurity measures and to establish what can be done to prevent a repeat.
The first turkey barn that was infected in Minnesota is restocking, and Iowa officials say they hope to begin to do the same in several weeks.
Supreme Court Says You Can Be Drunk On Your Porch
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court has affirmed the right to be drunk on your front porch.
The court ruled Friday in the case of Patience Paye, who appealed her 2013 public intoxication conviction.
Paye called police after fighting with her boyfriend and met officers on the front porch of her Waterloo home. While investigating the domestic assault complaint an officer questioned Paye about whether she'd been drinking.
A test revealed her blood alcohol concentration at 0.267 percent, more than three times the amount considered drunk for driving.
She was charged and convicted. But she appealed, saying her front porch isn't a public place.
The Supreme Court agreed, declaring the front steps of a private residence not a public place if the homeowner hasn't invited the general public to be there.
Tests Show Identity Of Man And Missing Child
BETHANY, Mo. (AP) - A sheriff says dental records have confirmed one of the bodies found in burned car in northwest Missouri was that of a man linked to the disappearance of his young son.
Harrison County Sheriff Josh Eckeron says the body was identified Thursday as 33-year-old Elvis Habibovic. DNA is being used to determine whether a second body found in the car was Habibovic's 9-month-old son, Logan.
The two bodies were found in the car Tuesday at a conservation area about 10 miles northeast of Bethany, Missouri.
Authorities had issued an Amber alert for the boy after his father didn't return him to his mother's home in Urbandale, Iowa.
Eckerson says authorities believe Habibovic piped exhaust into the car but an official cause of death is pending.
Iowa City Bans E-Cigarettes
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The City Council has scheduled a vote next week on banning electronic cigarettes from many public places in Iowa City.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that because e-cigarettes are not covered by state law, the council will consider an ordinance Tuesday that would ban their use in all places where it already is illegal to smoke tobacco products, under state and city laws.
State law bars smoking in certain public spaces, places of employment and city buildings. Iowa City has expanded that ban to municipal parking ramps, the pedestrian mall and certain areas of city parks.
Under a policy taking effect Aug. 24, the University of Iowa is expanding its smoke-free policy to include e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that deliver flavoring and nicotine via inhaled water vapor.
Northern Iowa And Iowa State Enter Agreement On Patents
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - The University of Northern Iowa has entered a formal agreement with another college to help oversee its patent and business plans.
Officials with both schools say the agreement will create new opportunities for commercializing inventions created on campus.
A University of Northern Iowa official says the number of ideas being pitched at the school has held fairly steady over the past few years. He says as patents, licenses and profits emerge from the new partnership with Iowa State University, he expects faculty and staff to be inspired to share more of their ideas.
The University of Northern Iowa earlier this month signed the agreement with Iowa State.