Wednesday Afternoon News, June 5
FEMA Officials Visit Plymouth County
(Le Mars) -- Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, were in Le Mars on Tuesday afternoon visiting with county and local officials about the extent of flood damage that occurred in Plymouth County last week. Plymouth County Emergency Management Director Gary Junge says the meeting was organized to offer a preliminary view of the dollar damage.
Junge says Plymouth County will have to wait until FEMA officials assess the entire state's damages before knowing whether Plymouth County will qualify for any federal financial assistance.
South Dakota Company Wants To Buy Ash From Coal Generator Plant
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A South Dakota company plans to buy ash from two Sioux City power plants and sell it to concrete companies.
Rail to Road Transloading, of Sioux Falls, S.D., plans to open two storage silos near the MidAmerican Energy power plants. The fly ash is a byproduct of coal used to power the plants. The ash is used to
MidAmerican has been burying the ash. Rail to Road Transloading President Clark Meyer told the Woodbury County Board on Tuesday that his company will store more than 20,000 tons of ash in the
winter and sell it to concrete companies during warmer months.
Monona County Officials Issue Amber Alert
ONAWA, Iowa (AP) - A mother described by authorities as a "noncustodial parent" has been arrested and her two young sons are safe hours after an Amber Alert was issued in western Iowa for
The Monona County Sheriff's Office in Onawa said early Tuesday it was looking for a 4-year-old and 1-month-old. Authorities say 30-year-old Cari Eich abducted the boys and is suspected of being
under the influence of methamphetamine.
Iowa Department of Safety communications manager Jessica Lown said Tuesday evening that Eich and the children had been found safe across the border in Nebraska and that Eich is in custody.
Lown says officials believe Eich is a "noncustodial parent" of the children and that it did not appear she ever had custody rights.
Vilsack Says He Will Not Run For Governor
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Former Governor Tom Vilsack will not run again for Iowa's top job in 2014.
A spokesman for the U.S. agriculture secretary and two-term Democratic governor says Wednesday that Vilsack has decided against a run. Matt Paul says Vilsack considered the race but enjoys his
Vilsack took the job in January 2009. He was governor from 1999 through 2007. He announced in January that he accepted President Barack Obama's offer to stay on for the second term, which ends in January 2017.
Republican Gov. Terry Branstad has not announced plans to run for re-election, though he is widely expected to do so. On the Democratic side, state Sen. Jack Hatch, of Des Moines, is exploring
a run and state Rep. Tyler Olson, of Cedar Rapids, is also considering it.
Regents Select Rastetter As President
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Board of Regents has selected agribusiness executive Bruce Rastetter as the next president of the board that governs Iowa's public universities.
The board voted 7-0 Wednesday to name Rastetter to replace Craig Lang, who left the board in April.
The Democratic-controlled state Senate had rejected Gov. Terry Branstad's appointment of Lang to a second term after a partisan clash over management of the universities.
Rastetter is a top Branstad donor and a Republican powerbroker who's been in the middle of controversies involving academic freedom, the board's transparency and his own business dealings. He
said he looks forward to "continuing to make a difference of the fine institutions we represent."
The board voted to elevate Regent Katie Mulholland to president pro tem, a position that Rastetter held previously.
Former Regent Files Second Lawsuit Against Iowa Public Radio
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former Iowa Board of Regents president has filed another lawsuit against the Iowa Public Radio board over a meeting that he says was illegally closed to the public.
Michael Gartner's second lawsuit names a slightly different group of board members who, the lawsuit says, met behind closed doors on Feb. 26, the day Iowa Public Radio officials voted to fire chief executive Mary Herrington.
Gartner first sued Iowa Public Radio and five board members on May 28. That lawsuit says a Dec. 13 meeting to discuss Herrington's performance was a violation of state public meeting rules. The
second lawsuit says the Feb. 26 meeting where Herrington was fired also was improperly constituted.
Board representatives didn't immediately respond to messages on Wednesday.
Free Fishing Weekend
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa residents can fish without a license this weekend.
The Department of Natural Resources says the free fishing weekend will run from Friday through Sunday.
The event typically is scheduled during a time when bluegills are usually close to shore and aggressive, making it likely novice anglers will have success.
The DNR encourages those catching their first fish to take a photo and send it to the DNR, which will commemorate the event by sending back a certificate suitable for framing and the submitted
photo. Information on the first fish program is available online at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Fishing/MasterAnglerFirstFish.aspx .
All other regulations remain in place during the free fishing weekend.
Eastern Iowa Rivers Start To Recede
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Cities along major rivers in Iowa remain in a holding pattern as flooding reaches a high point and water begins to recede in the coming days.
At Iowa City the Iowa River is expected to reach just above 25 feet Wednesday and remain there through the middle of next week before falling. Talk in Iowa City is beginning to turn toward
cleanup after the river falls below moderate flood stage.
National Weather Service Meteorologist David Cousins says the Mississippi River is behaving as expected. He says peak levels will be reached within the next couple of days before the water begins
to fall this weekend.
The river should reach its crest at 20.3 feet in Burlington on Thursday then begin to fall. Flood stage is 15 feet.
Leach To Work At University of Iowa
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Highly-regarded former Iowa congressman Jim Leach is joining the University of Iowa faculty.
University President Sally Mason said Wednesday that the university beat out Harvard and Princeton to land Leach, who stepped down last month as President Obama's chairman of the
National Endowment for the Humanities.
Mason said Leach will become a visiting professor of law. She said he will work with the school's center on human rights, give special campus lectures on foreign policy and other issues, and
teach courses on American government and the legislative process.
Leach, a Davenport native, represented Iowa in congress for 30 years until he was defeated for re-election in 2006 in an anti-Republican wave. He had chaired the House committees on
banking and international relations.
Mason says Leach's term will last three years.