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Saturday Afternoon News, April 6

Lawmakers Visit About Legislative Issues

(Le Mars) -- State Representative Chuck Soderberg along with State Senator Bill Anderson were in Le Mars Saturday morning holding a legislative forum.  A group of nearly 20 people from various businesses consisting of educational, utility, agriculture, mental health, and even seniors had attended the forum.  Soderberg told the group how the State House of Representatives are becoming more frustrated with the State Senate's inability to deliver budget bills.  Soderberg, who chairs the House Appropriations committee says while the House has sent six budget bills to the Senate, the Senate has sent over to the other chamber only one budget bill.
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The General Session is scheduled to end on May 3rd, however, both lawmakers are uncertain as to whether the legislature can complete its work on time. 

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(Le Mars) -- The State Senate has before them the task of confirming the various nominees for commissions and state boards prior to April 15th.  Governor Branstad's nominees for the Board of Regents and the State Utility Board have come under great scrutiny within the Senate committees.  State Senator Bill Anderson says he intends to support Governor Branstad's nominees for the Board of Regents, both Craig Lang and Robert Cramer and says it is a matter of Democrats wanting to play politics.

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Mathis Says She Will Not Seek Congressional Seat

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Democratic state Sen. Liz Mathis says she will not seek the Iowa congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley.
Mathis, of Robins, told The Associated Press she seriously considered a bid for Iowa's 1st Congressional District but decided to announce Saturday she would focus on her state Senate work and her family.
Mathis was elected to the Senate in a 2011 special election, then won a full term in 2012. She represents the 34th District in Linn County.
Braley, a Democrat, is seeking the Senate seat held for five terms by Tom Harkin.
The 1st District includes 20 Iowa counties.
Democratic state Rep. Pat Murphy of Dubuque has announced he will run. Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Rathje and Dubuque businessman Rod Blum say they'll seek the Republican nomination.

 

Public Safety Director Speaks About Criticism

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's new public safety department director has literally worn many law enforcement hats in his career.
The state Senate confirmed 59-year-old K. Brian London this week as head of the agency, about six months after he began working following his appointment by Gov. Terry Branstad.
London has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement, including stints with agencies ranging from the CIA and Secret Service to the California Highway Patrol.
London has made some changes in the department that have drawn criticism, but he tells The Associated Press, "Give me a shot. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised."


State Supreme Court Denies Appeal

WASHINGTON, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court has denied the appeal of an eastern Iowa man who smothered his wife in 2010 during an argument.
The state's high court on Friday rejected James Blum's argument that the Iowa Court of Appeals
should have found that his trial lawyer was ineffective.
The Iowa Court of Appeal upheld Blum's second-degree murder conviction earlier this year.
Blum told police that he held Patricia Blum's face down against a cushion until she died and should've let her up but didn't because he was so angry. Police say he attacked his wife after she
told him she backed a car into their garage door.
Blum is serving a 50-year prison term. He's now 73.
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Students Drive Tractors To School

VAN HORNE, Iowa (AP) - The parking lot at eastern Iowa's Benton Community High School looked a little crowded this week.
Cedar Rapids television station KCRG-TV reports that Friday was the Van Horne school's
annual "Bring Your Tractor to School" day.
Future Farmers of America organizes the event every year.
Student Connor Selken drove his great-grandfather's 1951 Ford tractor to the school. Adam Gorkow drove in a much bigger machine and noted that Iowa is the top corn producer in the country.
Gorkow says that without the tractors, that wouldn't be possible.
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Saturday News, April 6

Anderson and Soderberg To Hold Legislative Forums

(Le Mars) -- State Senator Bill Anderson and State Representative Chuck Soderberg will hold a series of legislative forums this morning.  At 8:30 the two law makers will be in Remsen at the Remsen Public Library, then at 10:00 this morning, Anderson and Soderberg will discuss legislative issues with the public in Le Mars at the Habitue Coffeehouse and Creperie.  The state legislators will finish the day at Akron at the Akron Public Library with a legislative forum at 11:30 a.m.  The legislative forums are open to the public.


Merrill Fire Department Called To Addyville Grass Fire

(Merrill) -- The Merrill Fire Department responded to a grass fire Friday afternoon located near the Addyville Methodist Church of rural Merrill.  The alarm came in at about 4:00 p.m.  Firefighters were on the scene for nearly a half an hour.

 

Hinton Fire and Rescue Responds To Roll-over Accident

(Hinton) -- The Hinton Fire and Rescue crew was dispatched to the scene of a personal injury roll-over accident yesterday.  The accident happened in the southwest corner of the county on Loop Road.  That accident was reported at about 5:17 p.m.  Fire officials were on the scene of the accident for nearly a half hour.  No other information regarding the accident is available at this time.


Tyson Fined By Environmental Protection Agency

(Sioux City) -- Tyson Foods has agreed to pay nearly four-million-dollars in civil penalties for the mishandling of anhydrous ammonia at its plants in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.  Ben Washburn is the spokesperson for the E-P-A region covering the four states.

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Washburn says the anhydrous ammonia releases led to property damage, multiple injuries, and the death of a worker at a plant in Kansas.  The settlement includes Tyson operations in Dakota City, Sioux City, Cherokee, Denison, Storm Lake and other sites.  Washburn says Tyson will take some other steps along with paying the three-point-nine-five-million dollar penalty.

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Washburn says the E-P-A plans to keep an eye on Tyson to ensure they are following through with the safety procedures.
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Kevin Igli, chief Environmental, Health and Safety Officer of Tyson Foods, says the company agreed to develop a third-party audit system at the facilities involved to assure EPA the plants are in compliance with all aspects of our Risk Management Plan obligations.  Igli says Tyson strives to operate their facilities responsibly, so after learning of EPA's concerns we immediately made improvements and cooperated with EPA officials throughout the process.  Tyson is headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas and is the world's largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef and pork.

 

Pharmacy Owner Charged With Illegally Selling Pain Pills

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines pharmacy owner accused of illegally selling pain pills has had his state license permanently revoked.
The Iowa Board of Pharmacy says in a ruling released Friday that Mark Graziano's explanation for a shortage of nearly 700,000 pills of hydrocodone was neither credible nor plausible.
Graziano's license was suspended last year after an audit of Bauder Pharmacy in Des Moines showed the discrepancies over about four years. Graziano told the board in a February hearing that an
employee may have ordered the drugs, but he had no proof.
The pharmacy continues to operate. The board on Friday decided to keep a store ban on dispensing addictive drugs, and its overall license is on probation. The business also has been fined $25,000.
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Military Families To Receive Quilts

FONDA, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa group that comforts military families is presenting quilts to the families of six fallen service members.
Freedom Quilts, Inc. will present the quilts during an event Saturday in Fonda. Col. Robert Wiley of the 103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command will be the keynote speaker.
The quilts were sewn by volunteers. They will honor service members that have served in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan.
The group's founder says the quilts are a reminder for the families that their loved one is not forgotten.

 

Tortoise Left in Elevator

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa museum says an employee hid a presumed stolen African leopard tortoise in an elevator after finding the 18-pound reptile trapped behind paneling in her
enclosure.
The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque says the employee's bizarre move was a misguided attempt to prevent further embarrassment after officials announced Tuesday that they believed Cashew had been taken as a prank.
Cashew was discovered in the elevator on Thursday and officials said they supposed the regretful thief had smuggled her back inside.
President and CEO Jerry Enzler said Friday that an employee actually found Cashew some time earlier, wedged behind a wall panel. The employee then put her in the elevator to keep up the
impression she had been stolen.
Enzler says the employee will be reprimanded.


   

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