Thursday News, November 20
Spencer High School Evacuated For Bomb Threat
SPENCER, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say the Spencer Iowa high school evacuated after a bomb threat has been declared safe.
The Spencer Police Department says students at Spencer High School were taken back to the school Wednesday afternoon then dismissed for the day.
A written bomb threat was found Wednesday morning on one of the school's interior walls. Officials say they took the threat seriously and transported students to an undisclosed location.
Officer Kyle Van Otterloo says officers checked around the school and found no explosive devices inside.
Iowa Man Arrested By Secret Service Agents For Having Weapons Near White House
WASHINGTON (AP) - An Iowa man is being held on a weapons charge after Secret Service officers say they found a hunting rifle, dozens of rounds of ammunition and a knife in his car parked near the White House.
The Secret Service says R.J. Kapheim, 41, was arrested on a charge of having an unregistered firearm.
Kapheim, from Davenport was arrested after he approached uniformed officers along 15th Street just before 1 p.m. Wednesday and explained that someone in Iowa told him to drive to the White House. He later showed them to his car parked nearby and let officers search the vehicle. The agency reports they found the rifle, ammunition and a 6-inch knife in the truck of his 2013 Volkswagen Passat.
It was unclear if Kapheim has a lawyer.
Grassley Pays Tribute To Harkin
WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Chuck Grassley has offered an emotional farewell to longtime colleague Tom Harkin, who is retiring after three decades in the Senate.
Grassley spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday. The Republican Grassley and Democratic Harkin have served from Iowa together since the mid-1980s.
Grassley noted that Wednesday was Harkin's 75th birthday. He praised Harkin for working on behalf of people with disabilities and for championing causes like education and the environment.
Grassley said he and Harkin "looked out for the millions of Americans who choose to work and earn a living in rural America." He said they always worked together for Iowa.
Grassley admitted the two Iowa Senators were at opposite ends of the political spectrum, but never-the-less they worked together for the good of the state of Iowa.
Republican Joni Ernst won the hotly contested race for Harkin's vacated Senate seat, meaning Iowa will soon have two Republican senators for the first time in decades.
Cold Weather And Snow May Prevent Livestock Producers From Applying Manure
(Undated) -- A later harvest and colder temperatures have caused some issues for livestock producers who would like to fertilize fields with manure. Iowa State University Extension Agronomist, Joel DeJong, says northwest Iowa livestock confinement barns have millions of gallons of liquid manure waiting for applicators to inject into the soil.
(sot) DeJong manure1
Applying manure on the top of the ground raises more concerns about runoff and pollution.
(sot) DeJong manure2
Iowa Pork Producers Association spokesman, Ron Berkenholz, doesn’t see it being a problem for producers.
The state rules that prevent producers from spreading manure on frozen ground with the start of winter were instituted in 2010.
Council Bluffs Boy Charged With Arson For Setting Fire To School
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - The Council Bluffs Community School District says a 14-year-old boy has been charged with first-degree arson in connection to a high school fire.
District officials said Wednesday that two boys were involved in the Tuesday incident at Abraham Lincoln High School. They say authorities interviewed a 15-year-old boy but he hasn't been charged.
No injuries were reported after sprinklers extinguished a football tackling dummy in the school field house. Students were evacuated for about 10 minutes while firefighters helped vent smoke.
Fire officials haven't released the suspects' identities.
Pharmacy Board Tables Decision Regarding Marijuana
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Board of Pharmacy will wait until a January meeting to consider recommending changing state law to reclassify marijuana so it could be used to treat medical conditions.
The board met Wednesday and decided to table a proposal that members recommend a change to the current law.
Currently, marijuana is classified under state law as both a Schedule I drug, meaning it is has no medical use, and as a Schedule II drug, which has medicinal value. Advocates want the drug to be placed only in the Schedule II category.
The board recommended that the Legislature make such a change to state law in 2010, but no action was taken.
Lawmakers this year approved legislation that allows the use of oil derived from marijuana to treat chronic epilepsy.