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Wednesday Afternoon News, October 30

(Updated) Rural Electrical Coops React To FEMA Aid Denial

(Le Mars) -- Several northwest Iowa electrical cooperatives are appealing the Federal Emergency Management's Administration's decision not to grant any financial assistance aid following an April snow storm.  Lyon Rural Electric Cooperative, Iowa Lakes Electrical Cooperative, Osceola Rural Electric Cooperative, and Sanborn Municipal Utilities have filed a formal appeal asking that FEMA reverse an earlier decision to deny federal disaster aid to Iowa following devastating storms, a decision that could also force the repayment of millions in previously awarded aid.  Following a late winter snow, ice, and wind storm in April, a federally declared major disaster area was given to Lyon, Osceola, Dickinson, Sioux
and O'Brien counties.  However, FEMA officials stated that disaster aid could not be issued
because the affected electric utilities did not conduct comprehensive laboratory testing on every mile of wire on an annual basis.
Lyon County Electrical Cooperative general manager Ross Loomans says the National Rural Electrical Cooperatives Association and FEMA originally worked together to establish a policy to determine the need for repair and/or replacement of electrical lines.

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Loomans says the policy has been in place since 2009, and he doesn't know why FEMA has decided to change the rules.

He says what FEMA is now asking of the electrical cooperatives is simply not practical.

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The electrical cooperative manager says he is caught between a "rock and a hard place" with regards to 100 miles of electrical line that still needs repairing.

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Sergeant Bluff Will Have "Write-In" Mayor

SERGEANT BLUFF, Iowa (AP) - The next mayor of Sergeant Bluff will be a write-in winner because no mayoral candidate is listed on the ballot.
Woodbury County election commissioner Pat Gill says that the lack of a candidate is rare for cities the size of Sergeant Bluff. The city's population in the 2010 U.S. Census was 4,227.
So, because no name is listed on Tuesday's ballot, the mayor will be a write-in.
Gill says that if there's a tie, county Board of Supervisors will put the names in a hat and draw the winner.

 

Fur Trapping Season To Begin Saturday

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's fur trapping season will begin Saturday, and the Department
of Natural Resources says trappers should have good luck with strong populations of most species.
The DNR says fur harvesters should find plenty of raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, river otters and mink.
Furbearer biologist Vince Evelsizer says only muskrats and gray fox will be scarce.
The furbearer season will end for most species on Jan. 31.
The DNR says there has been an increase in the number of Iowa trappers in each of the past three years and the number will likely top 19,000 this season.

 

Iowa State University To Hire More Faculty

AMES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa State University is posting 29 new faculty positions as part of President Steven Leath's plan to expand hiring.
Des Moines television station KCCI says the hires are part of the Presidential High-Impact Hires Initiative launched last month.
Money for the new positions comes from $1.5 million in new state appropriations and $500,000 from changes in the academic affairs division.
Leath's overall goal is to hire 200 new faculty members in three years.


 

   

Wednesday News, October 30

Electrical Cooperatives Appeal FEMA Decision

(Des Moines) -- Several northwest Iowa electrical cooperatives are appealing the Federal Emergency Management's Administration's decision not to grant any financial assistance aid following an April snow storm.  Lyon Rural Electric Cooperative, Iowa Lakes Electrical Cooperative, Osceola Rural Electric Cooperative, and Sanborn Municipal Utilities have filed a formal appeal asking that FEMA reverse an earlier decision to deny federal disaster aid to Iowa following devastating storms, a decision that could also force the repayment of millions in previously awarded aid.  Following a late winter snow, ice, and wind storm in
April, a federally declared major disaster area was given to Lyon, Osceola, Dickinson, Sioux and O'Brien counties.  However, FEMA officials stated that disaster aid could not be issued because the affected electric utilities did not conduct comprehensive laboratory testing on every mile of wire on an annual basis.


Recent Rains May Slow Down Harvest But Helping Soil Moisture Levels

(Le Mars) -- Harvest may be interrupted temporary due to the wet conditions of the last few
days, but Iowa State University extension crop specialist, Joel DeJong says the moisture that we have been receiving during the last month is helping replenish lost moisture levels in our soil.

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DeJong says in general the harvest has been progressing without too many problems.  However, some farmers are having to deal with lodging and ears dropping.

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Sioux County Authorities Investigate Thefts From Implement Dealer

(Orange City) -- Sioux County Sheriff's Office is investigating a series of thefts that occurred at a farm equipment implement dealership at Rock Valley.  This past summer, a New Holland L225 Skid Loader was stolen and on Friday, Town and Country Implement has reported a Power Take Off shaft and a New Holland Computer Monitor have been stolen. Sioux County authorities are asking the public if they have any information related to the thefts to contact the sheriff's office.  People can remain anonymous by utilizing "Text-A-Tip".

 

330 Pounds Of Expired Medicine Gathered At Drug-Back Program

(Sioux City) -- You may recall from Saturday's news update that the Sioux City Police
Department participated in the National Prescription Drug Take Back program.  A program
which is designed to collect old and expired medical prescriptions.  The Sioux City Police
is reporting they collected over 330 pounds of expired and unused medications.  Prescription
medications are a public safety issue, often leading to accidental poisoning, overdose and
abuse.

 

Storm Lake Police Arrest Woman For Felony Criminal Conduct

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Storm Lake police says they arrested a Waterloo woman suspected of
trying to scam Wal-Mart stores by claiming clogged toilets damaged her property.
Police arrested 34-year-old Shannon Cannon on Monday.
Police allege Cannon tried to scam 18 Wal-Mart stores by clogging toilets at the
stores, then claiming her property was damaged by the overflowing water.
Investigators say Cannon brought her young children along to the stores and used them
as part of her scheme.
Cannon was originally arrested in Storm Lake in September. After an investigation, police filed additional charges.
She is now charged with felony ongoing criminal conduct, using a juvenile to commit a
crime, misdemeanor fourth-degree fraudulent practice and criminal trespassing.
Online court records do not list an attorney.

 

Police Arrest Man After Making Threats To A School

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police have in custody a man suspected of entering a Des Moines middle school and claiming to have a gun.
Des Moines police say 35-year-old Ryan Collier was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon
following a manhunt on the city's west side. The search included officers scouring backyards
and tree houses.
Collier is suspected of arguing with his girlfriend at Merrill Middle School and telling staffers he had a gun. He then allegedly fled the school.
The incident prompted the middle school and several surrounding schools to be put on
lockdown around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. They were later lifted.
The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/16jIpqU) no one at the school saw the
gun and no one was injured.

 

Branstad To Open Two Prisons

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is opening two new prisons in Iowa and touting
a recent decline in the number of people behind bars.
Branstad is attending a grand opening for the new Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison Wednesday. On Monday, he was at a ribbon-cutting for the new Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville.
The projects cost a combined $217 million and were started under the previous governor.
Branstad says the new facilities will be more efficient. He also says the state is making progress in reducing the prison population.
There are currently 8,230 inmates in Iowa prisons. That's down by about 600 people from
when Branstad took office in 2011.
Branstad attributed some of the decline to better programs for ex-offenders to prevent
their return to prison.

 

State Tax Revenues Up 9 Percent

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Legislative Services Agency says the state's tax receipts
were more than 9 percent higher in September than a year ago.
The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/17qy5QN ) Tuesday that tax receipts totaled $648.9 million in September, a 9.7 percent increase from the previous year.
The agency says there were gains in individual income tax, corporate income tax and the sales/use tax.
Iowa's year-over-year annual growth is 7.3 percent.
Senior legislative analyst Jeff Robinson says Iowa's fuel tax revenue was down 1.9
percent over the past 12 months. Casino taxes dropped during that period by less than 1
percent.
In the 12 months ending Sept. 30, net revenue from all taxes deposited to the state totaled $7.595 billion.

 

Branstad To Dress As "Ghostbuster" For Halloween Party

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says he plans to dress up as a "ghostbuster" this Halloween.
Branstad told Des Moines fourth graders that he and his family would attend a Halloween party at the governor's mansion, and all would dress as characters from the 1980s "Ghostbusters" movies.
The roughly 70 students at Jefferson Elementary School laughed when Branstad told them he dressed as Star Wars character Obi-Wan Kenobi last year but would be a "ghostbuster" this Halloween.
He says that for Halloween, the usual name for the governor's mansion, Terrace Hill, would be replaced by Scare-Us Hill.
He described decorations of ghosts and bats, adding "not real bats, but you know."
Thursday's Scare-Us Hill Pumpkin Ball is sponsored by the Terrace Hill Society Foundation.
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