Wednesday News, July 29
First Day of Fair Schedule
(Le Mars) -- As mentioned earlier, today marks the start of the Plymouth County Fair. Ann Schoenrock, Plymouth County Extension Co-Program Coordinator says today is when the young exhibitors will enter their livestock projects.
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Once the livestock is in their proper pens and stalls, Schoenrock says a livestock judging contest will then take place.
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Also at 1:00 p.m. is the judging of rabbits.
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Open class exhibits can be entered today between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. The bucket calf judging will begin at 6:00 p.m. and the entertainment at the grandstand consists of Figure 8 racing. But perhaps the highlight of the day will be the crowning of the new King and Queen to be held at the Pioneer Village stage at 7:00 p.m.
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Harvey Offers Philosophy On Agriculture
(Le Mars) -- During the Chamber Coffee held Tuesday at the Round Barn at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds, Akron farmer Brad Harvey was presented the Outstanding Service to Agriculture Award. Harvey, raises hogs and cattle and grows row crops. He is actively involved with many agricultural based organizations including Plymouth County Farm Bureau where at one time he served on the Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee. Harvey is a member of the Plymouth County Fairboard, as well as a Plymouth County Extension Board member. Harvey says he was pleasantly surprised at the honor.
Harvey has been farming for 28 years and he says during that time, agriculture has changed.
Harvey says more people are becoming generations removed from production agriculture, and as a result, more people are not fully aware and understanding the importance of agriculture.
The fair board director and award recipient says the Plymouth County fair serves as a nice venue to educate the public about agriculture.
Sioux City Man Pleads Not Guilty To Kidnapping
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - An 18-year-old Sioux City man has pleaded not guilty to kidnappings linked to a dispute over drug dealings.
The Sioux City Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1SMtVEv ) that Isaiah Mothershed entered his plea Monday in Woodbury County District Court. He's charged with two counts of kidnapping and two counts of willful injury.
Court documents say two people who went to buy marijuana from Mothershed on July 7 were bound and blindfolded by him after he accused them of helping another person steal his pot. The documents say he used a hot object to burn their faces and struck one of them with a shotgun.
The documents say Mothershed then forced them into the trunk of his car, but they escaped later when he stopped and left the car to go into a house.
Governor Branstad Extends Disaster Proclamation For Bird Flu
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has extended a state of disaster emergency through Aug. 30 in response to the bird flu outbreak in the state.
The declaration Tuesday is the third extension of the original disaster proclamation. It otherwise would have expired Friday.
The virus has infected more than 31.5 million birds in Iowa, mostly egg-laying chickens, making the state the hardest hit in the nation.
Branstad's declaration activates disaster response programs, allows the use of state supplies and makes other efforts to speed response efforts.
Branstad says disposal of dead birds and disinfection of barns has been completed and turkey farms are expected to be ready for restocking by the end of August. Some chicken operations may be ready for new birds in September.
Government Expected To Pay Nearly $200 Million on Bird Flu
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The federal government expects to spend $191 million to pay chicken and turkey farmers for birds lost to avian flu.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says that's in addition to the nearly $400 million spent on cleaning up dead birds and disinfecting barns. The government also is paying to research and stockpile a bird flu vaccine.
Vilsack spoke Tuesday at a bird flu conference in Des Moines where the poultry industry is talking about how to better respond if the disease returns.
Hardest hit by the outbreak this spring were Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska.
Vilsack says the USDA is preparing for recurrence of the virus spread by wild migrating birds and plans to ask Congress to consider a poultry disaster program similar to one that exists for livestock producers.
Branstad's Chief Of Staff Resigns
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad's chief of staff Matt Hinch says he is resigning for a career in the private sector.
Hinch announced his plans in a news release Wednesday, but did not provide details about his next job. His last day in the governor's office will be Aug. 7.
The 35-year-old Hinch has been serving in his current role since 2013. He is the second chief of staff to Branstad since the governor returned to public office in 2011.
In a statement Branstad called Hinch an "exceptional leader," noting his work on issues like student debt and infrastructure.
Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers says the governor will name a new chief of staff in the near future.
Minority Summit Looks At Criminal Justice
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State and community leaders say the state needs to reduce disparities in the number of minorities in Iowa's criminal justice system, and they hope an upcoming summit will focus attention on the issue.
Leaders including Gov. Terry Branstad spoke Wednesday at the Capitol while introducing the two-day summit in Ankeny in late August. The Iowa-Nebraska National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will host.
Iowa-Nebraska NAACP President Betty Andrews says data show Iowa incarcerates African Americans at a high rate.
Branstad, who will make his first appearance at the annual summit, says Iowa has made progress but more work is needed.
Topics at the summit include fair hiring practices and racial profiling. Community leaders say they hope previously introduced legislation on those issues will pick up momentum next session.
Charges Dropped Against Chinese Woman Suspected Of Stealing Trade Patents On Seed Corn
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A judge has dismissed charges against the wife of a Chinese billionaire accused of taking part in a scheme to steal trade secrets from U.S. corn companies.
The order signed Tuesday instructs the government to return Mo Yun's passport, meaning she can return to China.
Investigators allege that Mo, her brother and five other Chinese nationals were working for a seed subsidiary of China-based DBN Group when they stole seeds from Iowa cornfields and shipped them out of the country in 2011 and 2012.
Prosecutors asked that the charges be dropped against Mo after a judge ruled that investigators couldn't use partial instant messages found on her brother's computer.
Mo's husband is DBN Group Chairman Shao Genhou, who has a net worth estimated at $1.4 billion. He hasn't been charged.