Friday Afternoon News, November 22
Branstad Blasts EPA On Decision On Ethanol
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican politicians from Iowa are gathering with ethanol industry executives at a central Iowa ethanol plant to speak out against the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to reduce the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline next year.
Gov. Terry Branstad says the EPA has embarked on a war on corn threatening thousands of jobs.
He is accompanied at Lincolnway Energy near Nevada by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, U.S. Rep. Steve King, and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.
The event is hosted by a coalition of companies and farm organizations whose members profit from ethanol production. They include DuPont, Monsanto, Syngenta, and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.
The EPA proposes to reduce by almost 3 billion gallons the amounts of biofuels blended into gasoline in 2014 than the law requires.
Infant's Death Being Investigated
STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities are investigating the death of a 1-month-old boy found in an apartment in northwest Iowa.
Storm Lake police say an autopsy on the infant will be done Friday.
The boy was found unresponsive Thursday afternoon at his family's apartment. His parents called 911.
The Sioux City Journal says authorities collected evidence from the home Thursday night. Additional information about the case has not been released. No arrests have been made.
Storm Lake Assistant Police Chief Todd Erskine told the newspaper that authorities are still interviewing people and collecting medical records.
Change In Policy After Mental Patient Chokes On Food
CLARINDA, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials say they've revised meal distribution policies at a state mental health institute after a patient fatally choked on food he shouldn't have been served.
The state Department of Human Services says food service procedures at Clarinda Mental Health Institute were not followed when a patient in the geriatric psychiatry program was given a peanut butter sandwich on Sept. 1 instead of pureed food. He was later found unresponsive and slumped over a dining table.
Officials say they began an internal investigation and at least one employee has been fired. DHS Director Charles M. Palmer says the incident was isolated.
The Department of Inspections and Appeals surveyed the facility in early November. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also issued a civil penalty of more than $8,000.
Woman Uses Craig's List To Hire Man To Kill Husband
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa woman who used Craigslist to solicit someone to kill her father has pleaded guilty to a murder for hire charge.
Megan Schmidt of Dubuque posted the ad in July seeking someone to do a "one-time job" for $10,000. A Dubuque man identified as "M.T." responded, saying he would do just about anything for that money.
Schmidt explained that she wanted her father killed, and it would be best to "either shoot him or stab him because he is a bigger man." M.T. contacted police.
An undercover investigator set up a meeting with Schmidt, where she showed a picture of her father, divulged his address and promised she'd pay once he was dead.
The 23-year-old pleaded guilty Wednesday to using a telephone in the commission of murder for hire.
Youngest Life In Prision Inmate Paroled
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa inmate who was once the youngest lifer in Iowa's correctional system has cancer and wants to die outside prison walls.
A Polk County judge has resentenced Kristina Fetters and is recommending parole. If paroled, Fetters would be the first Iowa inmate sentenced to life in prison as a juvenile to be released after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The high court said life sentences without parole are unconstitutional for juveniles.
A jury convicted Fetters in 1995 of killing her great-aunt, Arlene Klehm. Klehm died in 1994 after Fetters hit her on the head with an iron skillet and stabbed her at least five times.
Fetters was 15 when she entered prison. She's 33 now. Her attorney, Michael Adams, says Fetters' breast cancer has spread to her bones.
Branstad Defends Claim For Jobs Created
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is downsizing his recent claims of job creation in the state.
Branstad - who pledged to create 200,000 new jobs in five years during his 2010 campaign - recently claimed he has added more than 160,000 jobs since taking office.
His administration now says the actual figure was 128,000 following new federal jobs data out Friday.
Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht said via email that the change was simply due to calculations with revised data and the governor never sought to mislead Iowans.
The new figure has still drawn criticism because it counts only jobs added in Iowa, not jobs lost. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday shows the state has added 48,200 net jobs since Branstad took office.