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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.

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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.

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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
arm.
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
last month.
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
testing.
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
Clarity III.
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.

 



 

 

   

Friday News, October 18

Grassley Responds To Questions Regarding No Vote On Shutdown Measure

(Council Bluffs) -- Iowa Republican Senator, Chuck Grassley was one of 18 Senators to vote
against the measure late Wednesday night that ended the federal government shutdown and extended the government's borrowing authority.
During Grassley's weekly news conference, he told reporters, the Senate and Congress did not
actually resolve the major issue.

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Grassley says a conference committee has been established between both chambers' budget
committees to bring about a resolution before the next deadline of January 15th.  Grassley
says the budget conference committee has been assigned to look beyond the spending of 2014,
and to work out a reform deal involving the nation's entitlements, including social security, medicare, and medicaid.

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Grassley was asked if he believes Congress will be able to find a resolution before the January 15th deadline, or will the nation again be faced with the midnight crisis on January 14th?

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Grassley Says Too Much Work Needs To Be Done For Recess

(Council Bluffs) -- Speaking about Senator Grassley...the Iowa Republican told reporters he
is disappointed with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for calling for a week long recess. 
Grassley says there is too much work that needs to be done, including the farm bill.

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Grassley says the Senate is losing another week before getting these important bills to the President.  As for the farm bill, Grassley says there has been a conference committee organized to negotiate the differences.  He says the major obstacle is the amount of funding for nutritional assistance programs, like food stamps.

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Blair Speaks At World Food Prize

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The discussion about hunger and poverty in developing nations
turned largely from the controversies of global warming and genetically modified crops and
focused on governments and their role in solving social ills.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says all the money in the world cannot help
nations unless they have basic capacity in the government to provide electricity, roads and
policies that allow farmers to make their own decisions.
He says change is occurring with a new generation of leaders in Africa and elsewhere.
They want to learn and incorporate new ideas about how to better grow food.
Blair appeared with philanthropist Howard Buffett, son of billionaire investor Warren
Buffett, at the World Food Prize symposium in Des Moines to discuss ways to end poverty and
hunger.


Study Says Iowans Need Help With Affordable Healthcare Plan

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A University of Iowa study says Iowans most eligible to buy
subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act are going to need help signing up.
The UI Public Policy Center study released Thursday said those individuals reported
being uncomfortable selecting health insurance plans through online exchanges and the
majority thought they would need "some or a lot of help."
The study says that population is also more concerned about the costs of health care
and more likely to have delayed their care in the last year. That means even after they sign
up, they will be looking for help from health care providers on how to use it.
The study was conducted for the Iowa Department of Public Health and based on surveys
returned by 498 people.


Scientists To Release Report Regarding Climate Change And Agriculture

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Several Iowa scientist are releasing a report on how they believe
climate change is affecting farmers.
A report "Iowa Climate Statement 2012: Climate Change Threatens Iowa Farms" will be
released Friday at Drake University.
Researchers and professors from Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, the
University of Northern Iowa, Drake, and Mount Mercy University will release the report.
The report looks at the extreme weather this year marked by the wettest spring on
record followed by the second-driest July through September ever.
The release of the report is part of the Iowa Climate Science Educators Forum, a
daylong meeting of science faculty, researchers and students from Iowa colleges and universities.

 

Police Chiefs Association Wants Recruits To Attend Cedar Rapids Academy

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Police chiefs are upset with the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy
Council's decision to bar outside agencies from sending recruits to train at the Cedar Rapids police academy.
Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman said Thursday that a recent council decision
barred seven recruits from Lisbon, Hiawatha and the Department of Corrections from attending
his department's academy, which started last month. Instead, those recruits have to go to
the ILEA academy in Johnston at a higher cost to become certified.
Jerman says the Cedar Rapids academy has been open to recruits from other agencies for
decades, which helps build relationships. He says he believes the ILEA council's August vote
was motivated by its funding concerns.
The Iowa Police Chiefs Association has voted to support legislation next year to
overturn the decision.

 

Supreme Court To Study Serious Crimes Committed By Teens

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court might not be done changing the criminal
justice system's approach to teenagers who commit serious crimes.
The court said Thursday that it would review three cases of inmates serving lengthy
prison terms for crimes they committed when they were seventeen. In each case, the offenders
argue their lengthy sentences amount to cruel and unusual punishment.
They include a man who was sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence of 17 years for
first-degree robbery; a man serving a life sentence for convictions of second-degree murder
and other charges in 1994; and a man sentenced to at least 7 years for second-degree
robbery.
The court in August opened the door to shorter sentences for three dozen killers who
were juveniles when they were sentenced to life in prison.


Commission To Study How Regents Allocate Funds To State Universities

URBANDALE, Iowa (AP) - A task force appointed to review how funds are distributed to Iowa's three public universities is meeting for the first time.
The group, chaired by former Iowa regent David Miles, will meet Friday in Urbandale at
the Board of Regents office.
Then-Board President Craig Lang created the group in April, directing it to examine how
general university funding is divided among the University of Iowa, Iowa State University
and the University of Northern Iowa.
He said the five-member group should consider whether the different needs and distinct
missions are being addressed by the current model and to identify metrics to review
performance.
The group is expected to hear a presentation from consultant Art Hauptman about
different state funding models for higher education and ideas for reforms.

 



   

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