Thursday News, November 21
Ag Economist Predicts Grain Farmers To See Lean Times
(Le Mars) -- An Iowa State University Extension Ag Economist is predicting lean times may lie ahead for grain producers. Chad Hart spoke in Le Mars on Wednesday and he told ag lenders, farm managers, crop insurance agents, and producers that despite the delayed planting due to the cool and wet spring, this year's harvest is set to break records. Hart told the group that the United States could produce a 14 billion bushel crop. The reason, according to the ISU grain marketing specialist is because so many non-traditional corn producing states expanded their corn acreage and are having the best year ever. Hart doesn't believe the recent EPA decision will have a long term negative impact upon the corn and ethanol industry, rather he sees the entire fuel demand consumption showing a lower trend in the future, and that may have more of an impact on the ethanol demand. Hart says grain exports may be strong, up until the time South America starts to harvest its crop.
Wellmark Pokes Fun At National Health Care Plan Through Ads
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's insurance commissioner has no problem with ads by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield that make fun of technical problems with the federal online marketplace program.
CoOportunity Health, a Wellmark competitor, has raised questions about the ads as examples "of questionable market conduct."
Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart says that he sees nothing illegal about the ads from Wellmark, the state's dominant health insurer. The ads urge people to skip the government's troubled health insurance marketplace at healthcare.gov and check its site instead.
The ads don't say consumers who use Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield wouldn't be eligible for new public subsidies. The subsidies may be used only for policies from insurers participating in the new marketplace. Wellmark isn't participating.
Volunteers Needed To Check Weather
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are recruiting people to help monitor the state's weather as part of a volunteer network.
The state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship says data on rain, hail and snow that's collected by volunteers will be used for flood forecasting, scientific research and general weather interest.
The department's state climatology office works with the National Weather Service in Des Moines to make sure the data are immediately available for free online.
Volunteers just need 4-inch-diameter rain gauges and suitable locations for the gauges.
The Colorado Climate Center established the volunteer network in 1998, and it's available in all 50 states and Canada. Iowa joined in 2007 and has more than 300 registered volunteers.
Diesel Engine Operators May Qualify For Grant
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Owners of construction vehicles with older diesel engines in nine Iowa counties may apply for a federal rebate to help replace the vehicles or retrofit older vehicles with new cleaner burning engines.
The Environmental Protection Agency is making $2 million available for public and private owners of construction vehicles. Those in Black Hawk, Harrison, Johnson, Linn, Mills, Polk, Pottawattamie, Scott, and Woodbury counties may apply for the money.
The EPA says the rebates target counties facing air quality challenges.
Since diesel engines in construction equipment can last for decades, the EPA program is geared toward replacing older less efficient engines that emit more pollutants with newer less polluting engines.
EPA will accept applications until Jan. 15 and anticipates awarding the rebates in February.
West Des Moines Police Identify Woman Who Drove Into Lake
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have identified the body of a woman whose car plunged into a lake following a high-speed chase with West Des Moines police.
Police say 51-year-old Brenda Lea Hatfield, of Des Moines, died after her car went into the water early Wednesday.
An officer says he noticed a car driving recklessly and tried to stop the driver. The car sped away and eventually drove down a dead end street. The officer later saw fresh tire tracks in the direction of Crystal Lake on the Des Moines Water Works property.
A dive team searched for the car and pulled it from the lake. Police found Hatfield inside.
Police say the incident remains under investigation.
Man Bites Deputy
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities in central Iowa say a man faces multiple charges for biting a deputy and trying to avoid arrest.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office says 18-year-old Devin Joseph Emery Enos was stopped Wednesday afternoon for driving a stolen vehicle.
A deputy attempted to place Enos into custody, but the teenager allegedly began struggling with the officer. Enos is accused of biting the deputy before being placed into arrest.
Enos was charged with a previous warrant for attempted burglary. He also faces charges of theft, assault on a police officer causing injury, interference with official acts causing injury and no driver's license.
Enos remains at the Polk County Jail. Court records do not list an attorney.