Friday Afternoon News, October 18
Grassley Calls "Obamacare Computer Program" A Failure
(Council Bluffs) – People across the nation have been attempting to sign up for the new
Affordable Healthcare Act which provides health care insurance to everyone. There’s just
been one problem…the computer system that handles the participation has been so overloaded,
that few people have been able to obtain additional information, much less able to
participate in the insurance exchange program. Iowa Republican Senator, Chuck Grassley says
the whole program is a failure.
Grassley says a petition has been circulating in the nation’s capital asking for Secretary
of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebilius’ resignation because of the problems
associated with the launching of the Affordable Health Care program. Although, Grassley
says he may not sign that petition.
Sioux City Man Accused Of Assault Declared Incompetent To Stand Trial
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 25-year-old man won't be prosecuted on charges that he shot a
foreign exchange student outside a Sioux City bar last year.
Authorities say Solomon Harris has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial.
Harris had yet to enter pleas to the charges, which included assault. Harris is accused
of shooting 20-year old Natacha Butera, who is from Rwanda. Police say Harris fired the gun
while arguing with another man on Nov. 18, but the bullet struck Butera in the chest and an
Harris' attorney, Greg Jones, says he and prosecutors met with a district judge on
Thursday to discuss where Harris should be committed for treatment and safekeeping. Another
judge has ruled that Harris poses a danger to the public.
South Dakota Attorney General Says No Foul Play Suspected With Missing Women Case
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota's attorney general says a mechanical test points away
from foul play being a factor in the 1971 disappearance of two girls whose car was found
Marty Jackley says the 1960 Studebaker was in high gear. If it were in neutral, that
would indicate foul play.
He also says a forensic pathologist in Sioux Falls confirmed that skeletal remains
inside are consistent with being from two different people.
The bones have been sent to the University of North Texas for identification using DNA
Vermillion High School students Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson were last seen in the
car on their way to a party at a nearby gravel pit.
The car was found upside down in an embankment in Brule Creek in southeast South
Dakota, near Vermillion.
Spirit Lake Attorney Suspended For One Year
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A veteran northwest Iowa trial lawyer will have his license
suspended for one year for mishandling cases while struggling with alcoholism.
The Iowa Supreme Court imposed the punishment Friday on Spirit Lake attorney James
The court says Clarity was a zealous advocate for clients during an unblemished
three-decade career, but that changed after his sister died in 2009 and he became an
alcoholic. He neglected client matters, mismanaged fees and ignored requests, resulting in
the dismissal of one appeal and the jailing of three OWI clients.
The court says Clarity's efforts to seek treatment are a mitigating factor, and a
one-year suspension is more appropriate than the three years sought by regulators.
Clarity's attorney, Edward Bjornstad, said the court made a fair ruling in a sad case.
Scientists Report Agriculture Has Changed Due to Climate Changes
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - More than 150 scientists in Iowa have signed on to a report that says extreme weather patterns caused by climate change are affecting farming in the state and updated practices designed to prevent soil erosion are needed to adjust to the new reality.
This year and last year Iowa saw heavy spring rain which this year may have prevented 900,000 acres of Iowa farmland from being planted. The heavy rain before crops are in the ground also contributes to significant soil erosion. The drought that followed last year significantly cut corn and soybean production.
Researchers and professors from 36 Iowa colleges and universities say in their 2013 climate report released Friday that erosion prevention measures installed 30 years ago need to be updated to handle new weather patterns.
Computer Company To Add Jobs In Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A software company with offices in Ames and in California says it plans to add 700 jobs as part of an expansion which includes construction of a new building in Ames.
WebFilings develops applications to help businesses file complex regulatory financial reports.
The company received approval Friday for $5 million in loans from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The company also gets $500,000 in tax credits from the state and 10-year property tax abatement worth $2.7 million from the city of Ames.
The company says it plans to spend about $15.5 million for the expansion.
WebFilings was founded in 2008. In addition to offices in Ames and Mountain View, Calif., the company is in eight other U.S. cities, and has locations in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.
Iowa Sister State In China To Send Delegation
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - More than 150 government and business leaders from China will come to Des Moines next week to celebrate a sister state relationship and sign agreements for the purchase of Iowa goods and products.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority announced Friday the delegation from Hebei Province would be in Iowa on Monday and Tuesday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its Iowa sister state relationship.
An event is planned for Tuesday afternoon at the Principal Financial Group, where Chinese officials and company executives will sign cooperative agreements in trade, agriculture, tourism and education that the state estimates have a value of more than $1 billion.
The state says China is Iowa's fourth-largest trading partner.
Hebei Province is in northeast China. It has a population of about 70 million people.