Friday News, July 19
Merrill To Have Water Outages
(Merrill) -- Merrill city officials say there will be periodic water outages beginning the week of July 22 in and around the 5th Street project, including side streets in Merrill.
School Board Nominations Due In Two Weeks
(Le Mars) -- Candidates seeking a position on the Le Mars Community School District Board of Education have just two weeks to submit their petition papers. This year the positions for District 1, 2, 3, and 4 are up for election. So far, three candidates have filed. They include incumbents Brenda Phelan running for District 4, and Mark Hemmingson and Chris Collins seeking a position for District 3. Due to re-redistricting, Collins and Hemmingson are now both residing in the same district. Nomination papers are due no later than 5:00 p.m. August 1st. A total of 50 signatures are required for nomination, along with living within the Le Mars Community School District.
Hinton To Host Annual Tractor Pull Tonight
(Hinton) -- The trucks and tractors will be kicking up the dirt and puffing out the smoke at this evening's Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pull scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. at Hinton. The annual event is sponsored by the Hinton Civic Club and it draws competitors and spectators from all across the midwest.
Doug Roberts serves as president of the Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pulling Association and explains what people will see tonight.
Roberts says the tractors are not those you would commonly see in the field, but they have been modified with longer bodies, larger tires, bigger engines, and often fueled with 100 percent alcohol for the specific purpose of pulling the weight sled.
This year the fans will have an extra vantage point of viewing the competition as the truck and tractor pull will feature a jumbo television screen allowing the fans to get close up view.
Iowa Unemployment Remains Steady
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's unemployment rate in June remained unchanged from the previous month at 4.6 percent.
A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows the rate remained the same despite the state adding 6,500 jobs.
It's still an improvement from the same period last year, when Iowa's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.3 percent and the state had 24,800 less jobs.
The industries of construction, leisure and hospitality added 2,600 jobs in June. Professional and business services also added 1,900 jobs in the same period.
Education, health services and government each lost 1,700 jobs in June.
Wells Fargo Lays Off 50 People
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Wells Fargo and Company says 58 workers in its home mortgage division in Des Moines have received layoff notices.
Company spokeswoman Vickee Adams said Thursday that the layoffs are a reflection of the cyclical nature of the business. Employees were notified Wednesday.
Increasing home loan rates have slowed refinancing. The average rate on a 30-year loan is 4.37 percent this week. Just two months ago the rate was 3.35 percent. Rates had surged in recent weeks amid concern over the Fed's bond purchases, which have kept interest rates low.
Adams says some workers may find other jobs in the company.
Wells Fargo posted profit of $5.27 billion on Friday, 20 percent higher than the same period a year ago.
Egyptian Fertilizer Company May Get More Tax Breaks
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa economic development officials are considering whether to give an Egyptian company additional tax incentives for spending nearly $2 billion to build a fertilizer plant in southeast Iowa.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority is scheduled Friday to consider an additional $25 million in tax credits for Orascom Construction Industries.
The state and local governments already have promised more than $200 million in incentives including loans that do not have to be paid back if the promised jobs are created and tax credits.
The company also is allowed to finance more than $1 billion of the cost of construction through the specially authorized federal Midwest Disaster Area Bonds saving million in interest costs.
Construction of the plant will be located just off U.S. Highway 61 between Fort Madison and Burlington.
Governor's Driver Stops To Assist At A Fire
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa State Patrol is praising a trooper who responded to a house fire while he was driving Governor Terry Branstad.
The patrol said Thursday trooper Greg Steffen was driving Branstad to Des Moines after an event Wednesday in Eddyville, when they passed through Monroe on Highway 163.
Steffen noticed black smoke, couldn't tell where it was coming from and decided to investigate, eventually finding a house engulfed in flames. An elderly resident had escaped the fire with multiple burns.
Steffen moved the woman and bystanders away after noticing a propane tank, and rendered first aid until emergency crews arrived. Branstad stayed in the vehicle a safe distance away.
Captain Mark Logsdon says Steffen "demonstrated a great example of public service" by protecting the governor and residents during the incident.
Should Farm Buildings Be Inspected For Electrical Uses?
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Electrical Examining Board is expected to decide Aug. 15 whether Iowa farm buildings must be inspected.
The board weighed conflicting opinions on the matter at a hearing Thursday.
A judge had ordered the board to reconsider rules adopted after electrical regulatory legislation was passed by the Legislature in 2007. The judge said the board had gone too far in requiring the
Some farmers and their supporters object to the inspections as a power grab by the board. Other farmers and their supporters say the inspections are needed for safety.
State records say that since 1994, Iowa has had 15 farm deaths from electrocution.