Friday News, April 15
Grassland Near Wells Corporate Office To Be Burned Saturday Morning
(Le Mars) -- The controlled burn of the prairie grasses on the terraces on the south and southwest sides of the Wells Corporate Center building has been rescheduled to 6:00am on Saturday, April 16, because of a more favorable weather forecast. The Le Mars Fire-Rescue Department along with the Akron Fire-Rescue Department will be present and in charge of the controlled burn. The burn should take approximately four hours.
City Announces Closing Of 4th Street Southeast For Repairs
(Le Mars) -- Le Mars city officials are closing 4th St. S.E. today between 7th Ave. S.E. and 8th Ave. S.E. due to some needed street repair. Park Lane has been reopened to thru traffic out by the camp ground.
State Legislature Will Probably Remain In Session Beyond Adjournment Deadline
(Des Moines) -- Tuesday, April 19th was the original date the Iowa legislature had scheduled for adjournment for the 2016 general session. However, many lawmakers are in agreement they don't believe business will be completed by the deadline. Republican State Senator Bill Anderson of Pierson says because of the pace to approve some crucial budget bills was slower than expected, he says the lawmakers will be asked to return to Des Moines, perhaps for another week.
Senate Democrats Propose Tax Increase To Finance Water Quality Initiatives
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Democratic-controlled Senate is attempting to revive a proposal to fund water quality initiatives through a sales and use tax increase, but the plan has little support in the Republican-majority House.
A three-member panel of the Senate Ways and Means Committee agreed Thursday to advance a bill that would increase the state's sales and use tax by less than a penny to pay into a natural resources and outdoor recreation trust fund. The fund, established in 2010, has no money in it. State Senator Bill Anderson says he opposes the tax increase.
Anderson wants to make certain Iowa continues to offer voluntary programs for water quality initiatives, as opposed to forced regulations.
The bill requires several legislative procedures before it can head to the House, where GOP leaders say they would not support a measure that increases taxes.
The split Iowa Legislature has considered several plans this session to pay for water quality initiatives, but there is little consensus.
MidAmerican Energy To Construct Wind Turbine Farm
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy Company says it plans to spend $3.6 billion on a wind turbine operation that will generate up to 2,000 megawatts of electricity.
Bill Fehrman, the utility's CEO and president, announced the project Thursday at an event in Des Moines attended by Gov. Terry Branstad and other state officials. Officials say the wind farm will be the largest economic development project in the state's history.
Fehrman says when the project is completed, the utility will generate wind energy that equals 85 percent of its annual customer sales in Iowa. MidAmerican is the state's largest utility.
MidAmerican didn't release where the new turbines would be erected but says the utility will finalize locations while the Iowa Utilities Board considers the project.
15 Year Old Sioux City Girl Dies From Auto Accident
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Police say a 15-year-old girl has died in a rollover crash in Sioux City.
The Sioux City Police Department said in a news release that Alexis Wilde was riding in the front passenger seat of a vehicle driven by another 15-year-old Wednesday evening, when the vehicle went off the roadway and struck a dirt embankment, causing the car to roll over.
Police say Wilde, the driver and another 15-year-old passenger were transported to a hospital, where Wilde died from her injuries. The other two teens suffered minor injuries.
The crash is under investigation.
House Republicans Pull Funding For Planned Parenthood
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Members of the Republican-controlled House have advanced a budget bill that would remove state funding for Planned Parenthood, though the proposal is not expected to have enough support in the Democratic-majority Senate. The House Appropriations Committee voted along party lines Thursday for a bill that would remove Medicaid funding for family planning facilities that provide abortions.
Regents Say They May Increase Tuition Rates
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The board that oversees Iowa's three public universities has indicated it may need to increase tuition for students because the Legislature has proposed limited new dollars for the next budget year. Bruce Rastetter, president of the Iowa Board of Regents, says the board is disappointed by the proposed funding announced Thursday. Rastetter says the board will immediately start discussions regarding tuition increases for the upcoming school year.