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Friday Afternoon News, June 12

Republicans To Do Away With Iowa Straw Poll

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican leaders in Iowa have agreed to end the state's straw poll because of waning interest from presidential hopefuls and questions about its relevancy.

Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kauffman says state party officials voted during a Friday morning conference call to end the straw poll, which began in 1979 and has been held every summer before a contested presidential caucus.

For years, the poll has been considered an early but unreliable test of campaigns' strength.

Critics say it has become a costly sideshow, and many candidates fear the humiliation of a poor showing. Some 2016 GOP hopefuls recently said they would skip the event altogether.




Bird Flu Cases Slowing Down, But Ag Officials Fear The Deadly Disease May Return

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - No new bird flu cases have been reported in nearly a week on commercial farms in Minnesota and Iowa.

That has farmers, scientists and government officials hopeful the worst outbreak of bird flu in the U.S. is winding down, though they know it doesn't mean the outbreak is over.

Farmers are finishing the disposal of turkey and chicken carcasses, disinfecting the barns and preparing to restock with new birds.

And scientists trying to develop an effective vaccine, determine how the H5N2 virus evaded biosecurity measures and to establish what can be done to prevent a repeat.

The first turkey barn that was infected in Minnesota is restocking, and Iowa officials say they hope to begin to do the same in several weeks.



Supreme Court Says You Can Be Drunk On Your Porch

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court has affirmed the right to be drunk on your front porch.

The court ruled Friday in the case of Patience Paye, who appealed her 2013 public intoxication conviction.

Paye called police after fighting with her boyfriend and met officers on the front porch of her Waterloo home. While investigating the domestic assault complaint an officer questioned Paye about whether she'd been drinking.

A test revealed her blood alcohol concentration at 0.267 percent, more than three times the amount considered drunk for driving.

She was charged and convicted. But she appealed, saying her front porch isn't a public place.

The Supreme Court agreed, declaring the front steps of a private residence not a public place if the homeowner hasn't invited the general public to be there.




Tests Show Identity Of Man And Missing Child

BETHANY, Mo. (AP) - A sheriff says dental records have confirmed one of the bodies found in burned car in northwest Missouri was that of a man linked to the disappearance of his young son.

Harrison County Sheriff Josh Eckeron says the body was identified Thursday as 33-year-old Elvis Habibovic. DNA is being used to determine whether a second body found in the car was Habibovic's 9-month-old son, Logan.

The two bodies were found in the car Tuesday at a conservation area about 10 miles northeast of Bethany, Missouri.

Authorities had issued an Amber alert for the boy after his father didn't return him to his mother's home in Urbandale, Iowa.

Eckerson says authorities believe Habibovic piped exhaust into the car but an official cause of death is pending.




Iowa City Bans E-Cigarettes

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The City Council has scheduled a vote next week on banning electronic cigarettes from many public places in Iowa City.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that because e-cigarettes are not covered by state law, the council will consider an ordinance Tuesday that would ban their use in all places where it already is illegal to smoke tobacco products, under state and city laws.

State law bars smoking in certain public spaces, places of employment and city buildings. Iowa City has expanded that ban to municipal parking ramps, the pedestrian mall and certain areas of city parks.

Under a policy taking effect Aug. 24, the University of Iowa is expanding its smoke-free policy to include e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that deliver flavoring and nicotine via inhaled water vapor.




Northern Iowa And Iowa State Enter Agreement On Patents

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - The University of Northern Iowa has entered a formal agreement with another college to help oversee its patent and business plans.

Officials with both schools say the agreement will create new opportunities for commercializing inventions created on campus.

A University of Northern Iowa official says the number of ideas being pitched at the school has held fairly steady over the past few years. He says as patents, licenses and profits emerge from the new partnership with Iowa State University, he expects faculty and staff to be inspired to share more of their ideas.

The University of Northern Iowa earlier this month signed the agreement with Iowa State.



Friday News, June 12

Tractor Ride Explores Plymouth County

(Le Mars) -- They come from all over.  Case, John Deere, International Harvester, Oliver, Massey-Ferguson, Minneapolis-Moline, Farmall, Allis Chambers, and plenty of other familiar tractor companies make up the 165 tractors ready to explore Plymouth County roads during the 16th annual tractor ride as being sponsored by a Spencer, Iowa radio station.

Gary Hoefling of Spencer has participated on all but three of the tractor rides.  His profession is working on tractor carberators, and his hobby is restoring antique tractors.  He says he drives in the tractor ride as a mini vacation.


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Hoefling will be driving a 1965 John Deere, but it isn't painted and polished.  As he says the tractor has its "work clothes on" and Hoefling says the tractor has gone through a bit of transformation.


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Hoefling's son, Nicholas will join him on the tractor ride for the first time. He also will be driving an older John Deere tractor.


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Hoefling says he won't be bothered by the cool weather, or the mud that may splatter, and he summarizes his thoughts about the tractor ride.


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The tractors, representing all types of brands, colors, models, and makes are ready to head south toward Hinton and Kingsley today, along the way they will stop at the old Union school building.Saturday morning, the farm machines will explore the eastern portion of the county as they make stops in Remsen, Granville, and Oyens.  The tractor cavalcade began their Plymouth County journey starting at 7:30 a.m.. Heading out of town, the tractors will follow 4th Avenue to 12th Street, and then follow county road K-49.

ICON Ag And Turf Hosts "Play Day"

(Le Mars) -- Hundreds of children, being accompanied by their parents, enjoyed the "Day of Play" late Thursday afternoon as hosted by the farm equipment dealer ICON Ag and Turf of Le Mars, Iowa. The rain may have pushed the event indoors, but it did not dampen the spirits of children of all ages, and children at heart from participating.  ICON Ag and Turf provided for several activities that kept the children interested and active.  Children could ride on a John Deere train being pulled of course by a John Deere lawnmower.  A sand box was provided for those imagining themselves as soil excavators. Meanwhile, across the shop area was a race track where young kids could operate a small version of the ultra terrain Gator vehicle.  Tucked away in another area of the maintenance shop area was a large inflatable, resembling a skid loader, allowing the children to bounce like a trampoline.  In the center of the area, normally designated to repair tractors, combine harvesters, and other farm equipment were tables set up for children to create crafts, get their face painted, and have removable tattoos placed on their cheeks. Every where a person would look, you would see long lines of people waiting for their turn at each activity. Several children took advantage of sitting on the seat of a John Deere lawnmower with hands on the steering wheel, perhaps imagining themselves operating the larger tractors parked outside.  Inside the main showroom and lobby, people were busy purchasing a John Deere toy, or buying some type of John Deere clothing.  Refreshments consisting of hot dogs, chips, and sodas along with soft served ice cream completed the enjoyment for everyone.
Gehlen Catholic Wins National Quiz Bowl Competition

(Chicago) -- The Gehlen Catholic Quiz Bowl Team was crowned “Small-School Champions” at the National Academic Championships (NAC).  The team competed June 6th through the 8th at the Chicago site.  “Small Schools” are defined as those schools competing at Nationals with an enrollment of 500 or fewer students in grades 10-12 and a non-selective admissions policy for all three regions including New Orleans; Washington, D.C.; and Chicago.
Nationally, the team received recognition as an impressive rookie team due to their victories over the Plano, Texas, and Detroit (Michigan) Jesuit teams during Gehlen Catholic’s advancement in the Chicago Final Four.
At each of the three regions/locations, approximately 100 teams competed.  The 100 teams were comprised of 32 high school varsity and additional junior varsity and junior high teams.  The schools included a mix of both private and public secondary schools.
Gehlen Catholic’s Quiz Bowl Team won 7 of the 9 competitions, which included 6 prelims and 3 playoff matches.  The prelims ran approximately 25-30 minutes each.  The playoff matches took between 35-40 minutes each.
Junior, Megan Kellen, stated the NAC featured more audio questions than previous competitions.
Seniors, Jozef Lamfers and Aaron Stoll, indicated the NAC’s questions were comparable in difficulty to the KCAU/Morningside College High School Quiz Bowl Competitions and harder than many of the local high school competitions. The “Stump the Experts” Rounds utilized questions at the college level.
Senior, David Puhl, recalled the most exciting competition.  During the first round of the playoffs, Gehlen Catholic faced Plano, Texas.  Plano, who was recognized for their accomplishments in the past by the NAC moderator, swept the first quarter by 100 points.  Gehlen Catholic came back in the second quarter and scored 50 points more than Plano, thanks to the increased level of difficulty of the bonus questions.  At the end of the four quarters, Gehlen Catholic was declared the winner, beating Plano by a total of 20 points. Gehlen Catholic’s Quiz Bowl team consisted of: Seniors:  Nathan Klein, David Puhl, Jozef Lamfers, Drew Dickman (all of LeMars) and Aaron Stoll (Ashton); Megan Kellen (Alton), Liam Murphy and TJ Kruse (both of LeMars), and Andrew Kordick (Hospers); Sebastian Buman and Carter Sitzmann (both of LeMars).
The NAC competitors included David Puhl, Nathan Klein, Drew Dickman, Jozef Lamfers, Megan Kellen, and Aaron Stoll.

Senator Grassley Hopes Feds Stay Away Of Nitrate Lawsuit Against Iowa Counties

(Washington) -- Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says it would be wrong for the federal government to intervene with a possible lawsuit between the Des Moines Water Works and three northwest Iowa counties over the the level of nitrates found in the Raccoon River.

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The republican Senator says he believes the Obama Administration is aware of the pending lawsuit and is possibly hoping for the Des Moines Water Works to win the lawsuit that has been filed against Sac, Buena Vista, and Calhoun counties.  Grassley says if the Des Moines Water Works is successful with its suit, it would set a dangerous precedence.
Also during the senator's news conference, he commented on the EPA's ruling relating to the Waters of the United States.  Grassley says the Senate Environmental Committee passed a bill this week that would stop the funding to the Environmental Protection Committee from enforcement of the rules for the Waters of the United States policy.

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Grassley also announced that the Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a public hearing on the bird flu scheduled for July 7th.  Grassley says the hearing will take place at our nation's capital.  He didn't think Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman, Pat Roberts would  schedule any field hearings within the states.
Emmet County Authorities Find Evidence From Shooting Incident

ESTHERVILLE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they've recovered a gun likely used in the slaying of a man in northern Iowa.
The Emmet County Sheriff's Office said in a news release Thursday that the gun, shell casings and other evidence were found during searches and that the items have been sent to a state laboratory for criminal analysis.
The office also says 18-year-old Lee Christensen, the man suspected of killing 19-year-old Thomas Bortvit, has waived extradition proceedings and soon will be returned to Emmet County from Minneapolis. Christensen was arrested there on Sunday. Bortvit's body was found earlier in the day in a rural area of Emmet County.
Online court records weren't available to indicate whether Christensen has an attorney who could comment on his arrest. Christensen has been charged with first-degree murder.



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