Monday News, May 20
Storms Hit Central Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa didn't make it quite a year without a tornado touchdown as strong storms generated two confirmed tornado touchdowns in central Iowa. No injuries have been reported.
Iowa had gone 358 consecutive days without a confirmed tornado.
The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/YUfPsk ) an area west of Des Moines is hardest hit with six mobile homes in Earlham damaged. Downed power lines have left about 11,000 homes
and business without power across the state.
The National Weather Service confirms tornado touchdowns near Huxley and Earlham. Another was witnessed in a farm field by firefighters near Grundy Center.
Semitrailers blew over west of Earlham and on Interstate Highway 35 near Ankeny.
A farmer in Mitchell County has lost cattle when wind blew over a barn killing some of the animals inside.
Spencer Company Is Saved From Buyout From Nebraska Company
SPENCER, Iowa (AP) - A Nebraska company's purchase of a northwest Iowa manufacturer has saved 30 jobs.
Thurston Manufacturing Co. of Thurston, Neb., says it has purchased Simonsen Iron Works of Spencer, Iowa, and plans to reopen the plant Monday morning.
The plant closed last week and its 32 employees were laid off.
Thurston co-owner Nick Jenson says the acquisition allows his company to expand production and accept orders it otherwise would have to turn away.
The company makes fertilizer injection and tillage equipment.
He says the purchase was completed swiftly to allow Simonsen workers to get back to work. He says 30 of the 32 employees will resume plant operations at 6 a.m. Monday.
Lawmakers Return To The State Capitol Building
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers will return to the Iowa Statehouse this week as they seek to resolve some of the session's biggest issues and adjourn.
The House will convene Monday and the Senate will get back to work Tuesday.
The agenda will include work on a plan to reduce commercial property taxes, education reforms and the state's budget. Lawmakers also will decide whether to push off action on competing low-income health care plans until a special session held later this year.
Legislators are working more than two weeks past the scheduled May 3 conclusion of the session. Because of that, they are no longer being paid for expenses.
Education Funding and Reform Bill Still In Waiting
(Des Moines) -- State representative Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars believes the state lawmakers will be able to come to terms on most of the issues. Soderberg says one of the major issues before the legislature is the education funding and educational reform bill. He says the bill should have been resolved months ago, but differences between the House led republicans and the Senate controlled Democrats left the bill in legislative limbo.
Fired Senate Staffer Claims Sexual Harassment
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A woman who used to work for the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus says she was fired after reporting sexual harassment, but GOP officials deny that.
Kirsten Anderson told WHO-TV in an interview that aired Sunday that she was fired Friday several hours after complaining about harassment from lawmakers and staffers. She had been communications
director for the caucus.
Anderson says she provided documentation about the harassment to Republican leaders Friday and asked for their help in improving the environment.
Ed Failor Junior, who is an assistant to Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix, says Anderson was fired for failing to improve her performance.
Failor says Dix and other GOP leaders do not tolerate sexual harassment.
Governor Walker To Visit Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will visit Iowa this week to deliver a speech that may bolster speculation that he will run for president in 2016.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports Walker will speak to a Republican fundraiser in the Des Moines area on Thursday. The event will be hosted by the Republican Party of Polk County.
Walker says he's attending the event at the invitation of his friend, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. Walker says visiting a neighboring state isn't necessarily tied to presidential politics.
But Walker is a favorite of many conservatives because he fought to limit collective bargaining for public workers in his state and then survived a recall election.
Walker is also scheduled to speak at conservative events around the country.
Glenwood Care Facility Fined
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A state-run care facility in Glenwood has been fined by federal inspectors more than any other facility in the state in the past 10 months.
The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/10PvOFJ ) the Glenwood Resource Center has been fined eight times and assessed penalties of more than $27,000 since last July.
Most of the fines are tied to shortcomings in staff training and a failure to notify inspectors of incidents at the home.
Superintendent Zvia McCormick says in a written statement that Glenwood staff is quick to make amends when issues needing attention surface. She says employees are well trained and residents safe.
McCormick says Glenwood is the largest facility of its type in Iowa and a greater number of violations isn't a surprise.
The facility has 260 residents, mostly adults.
Jewell Man Listed As Missing
JEWELL, Iowa (AP) - Friends and family of a Jewell man missing since Wednesday are asking area farmers to keep an eye out for the man or a missing backhoe.
Kenneth Heckman was last seen Wednesday morning. Family members say he turned 46 on Thursday and failed to show up for a planned birthday party.
KCCI-TV reports (http://bit.ly/16Jw6VT ) Heckman is now listed on the Iowa Department of Public Safety's missing persons website.
Family members say authorities found Heckman's pickup truck in a farm field and his dog waiting nearby. They believe he may have left the truck on a backhoe.
Heckman's cell phone has been turned off.
Iowa's Powerball Sales Total More Than $5 Million
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Lottery says Powerball sales in the state totaled $5.1 million for Saturday's drawing that produced a winner in Florida.
The lottery says in a news release that nearly $2.8 million in tickets were sold on Saturday alone. The busiest stretch was from about 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
The average Powerball ticket purchase Saturday was $5.81.
There were 77,640 tickets that won a prize in Iowa, including three that came within one number of the jackpot.
The winning numbers were: 10-13-14-22-52 and Powerball 11.
The single winner was sold at a supermarket in Zephyrhills, Florida.