Wednesday News, July 2
Akron Woman Asked Supervisors For Tax Refund On Missed Veteran Benefits
(Le Mars) The county supervisors heard from an Akron woman during Tuesday's meeting about missed benefits for veterans. Barbara Derby appeared before the board of supervisors asking if the county could go back to refund some taxes to her and her husband. Derby says she, and her husband, a Viet Nam veteran, was not shown the proper documentation to qualify for veterans benefits, such as a tax break on property taxes.
The County Supervisors sympathized with Derby's position, but indicated the money collected from back years taxes had already been allocated, and it would not be possible to refund those taxes. Derby says she and her husband missed out on possible veteran benefits due to a mistake in government documents.
Plymouth County Veterans Affairs Director, Wayne Thieman assisted Derby,and has since been able to correct the mistake, and has submitted the proper documentation. Derby and her husband are now eligible for the tax homestead benefits awarded to veterans, and will be able to receive those benefits from this point moving forward.
Galva Plant First To Produce Cellulosic Ethanol
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A farmer-owned ethanol plant in northwest Iowa is the first commercial facility in the state to make the fuel additive from something other than corn starch.
Ethanol made from plant fiber is called cellulosic ethanol. It's been in research for decades but production is expected to expand significantly this year.
Several plants are in construction capable of turning corn leaves and stalks, wood scraps and even garbage into the fuel additive.
The Quad County Corn Processors plant in Galva has made Iowa's first commercially produced gallons of cellulosic ethanol from corn kernel fiber. The plant, which has the capacity to make 35 million gallons of ethanol the traditional way from corn starch, has added equipment to make an additional 2 million gallons a year in cellulosic ethanol.
Child Dials 9-1-1 After Mother Is Sexually Assaulted
STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a 3-year-old's call to 911 helped lead to the arrest of a man accused of sexually assaulting the child's mother in Storm Lake.
Police say the child dialed 911 early Tuesday but did not speak to emergency dispatchers. Police responded to an apartment, where 30-year-old Denis Reyes-Morales is accused of jumping out of a second-story window.
Police say Reyes-Morales entered the apartment and sexually assaulted a woman inside. He was later arrested at his home.
The woman was treated at a hospital. The child was not hurt.
Reyes-Morales faces charges of first-degree burglary, third-degree sexual abuse and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. He is being held at the Buena Vista County Jail. Court records do not list an attorney.
After 11 Years Council Bluffs Man Found Guilty Of Murder
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - A 36-year-old man has been found guilty of killing another man nearly 11 years ago in Council Bluffs.
A jury convicted James Harris on Tuesday of first-degree murder. Prosecutors say he stabbed to death Nelson Alvarez-Hernandez during a robbery on July 31, 2003.
The case went cold until police used DNA results to tie Thomas Sanchez, of La Vista, Nebraska, to the case and arrest him in January. That led police back to Harris, who police say had long been a suspect. Harris was arrested in March. Charges against Sanchez were dropped on June 24.
Harris faces life in prison without parole at his sentencing, which is scheduled for Aug. 20.
Branstad, Again, Declares More Counties As Emergency Disaster
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has issued another disaster proclamation for counties affected by recent severe weather in Iowa.
Branstad's proclamation Tuesday means state resources can be used to respond to ongoing flooding and severe weather in six additional counties. They are Black Hawk, Iowa, Jackson, Johnson, Louisa and Muscatine counties.
The proclamation also means several counties will be able to utilize the state's individual assistance program. That offers grants of up to $5,000 to certain low-income households.
The National Weather Service says at least three tornadoes hit the state Monday. The proclamation covers severe weather and flooding that began Thursday.
Branstad issued a similar proclamation Monday for Adair, Cedar, Guthrie, Jones and Linn counties.
Weather Officials Confirm Three Tornadoes Hit Eastern Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials have confirmed three tornadoes hit Iowa during recent severe weather.
The National Weather Service says three tornadoes hit Monday in south central and east central Iowa as severe weather packing heavy rain and hail moved across the state. A tornado in Tama County rated as an EF-2, which means winds ranged between 111 and 135 mph. Its peak wind was 120 mph, damaging a house.
The other two tornadoes in Adair and Madison counties rated as an EF-1, which means winds ranged between 86 and 110 mph. The first EF-1 tornado heavily damaged a house and several outbuildings near Stuart. The second EF-1 tornado damaged a house and several trees.
Officials will continue to investigate other reports of tornadoes in the days ahead.
Republican Backed PACs Ready To Spend Money On Political Advertising
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Republican-backed group American Crossroads is reserving $3.1 million in Iowa advertising time for September, an early sign they see Iowa's U.S. Senate race as competitive.
The group and its related group Crossroads GPS announced Tuesday they are reserving nearly $20 million in television advertising time in six states that could determine control of the U.S. Senate, including Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, North Carolina and Montana. Republicans need six seats to retake the majority.
Apart from Iowa and Montana, all the seats are held by Democrats seeking re-election. In Iowa, five-term Democrat Tom Harkin is retiring.
Of the six states, Iowa is the only state Democrat Barack Obama carried in the 2012 presidential election.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley faces GOP state Sen. Joni Ernst in the Iowa race.