Friday News, June 5
Log Cabin Scheduled To Move Today (Friday)
(Le Mars) -- At long last, the Joy Hollow log cabin may actually make the move from the Plymouth County fairgrounds to the Plymouth County Historical Museum today. Officials say the proper permits have been obtained, trees have been trimmed, and the cabin's foundation has been erected at the museum site. The move has been delayed numerous times due to weather, and proper permits not issued. Should the cabin actually move across town today, it would be five days past the deadline the fair board told the museum that the cabin would need to be removed. The cabin's move is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. this morning. Officials estimate it will take at least two hours to move the 115 year old log cabin across town.
Legislature May Adjourn Soon
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers are on the brink of adjournment after approving bills late into the night.
The Republican-controlled House and Democratic-led Senate backed budgets for economic development, agriculture, administration and infrastructure spending Thursday. They also approved a plan that seeks to support broadband infrastructure in the state.
Lawmakers are hoping to adjourn soon. They've agreed to a spending plan of about $7.3 billion for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The tentative deal includes $7.17 billion in ongoing spending, plus $135 million in one-time payments for items such as schools, universities and Medicaid. Lawmakers had originally estimated the one-time spending at $125 million.
Several budget bills still await final approval before the lawmakers can adjourn for the year.
Regents To Hold Tuition Freeze For Fall, But Uncertain For Spring
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter says tuition will be frozen at state universities for the fall semester, but he is not detailing what will happen in the spring.
At a board meeting Thursday, Rastetter said a tuition freeze would continue at the three public universities for the fall. But he said officials will need to assess if the institutions have enough state funding to maintain the freeze in the spring.
Under a compromise spending plan developed by the Republican-led House and Democratic-controlled Senate, universities will get a funding increase, but not the full $8.8 million requested to maintain a third year of tuition freezes.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal says he hopes the tuition freeze will continue in the spring.
Judge Says Speed Cameras Can Remain On Interstate 235
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A federal judge has denied a request to turn off the speed enforcement cameras on Interstate 235 in Des Moines.
A judge ruled Thursday that removing the cameras "might create a more hazardous traffic condition at the camera location."
A lawsuit was filed against the city in March that argued the cameras violate motorists' fundamental right to travel granted by the U.S. and Iowa constitutions.
The suit also says the cameras entrap motorists and that the equipment used to enforce speed limits fails to meet national standards.
The judge is set to hear arguments to dismiss the case June 18.
The Iowa Department of Transportation has separately ordered the Des Moines to turn off the cameras because they were not making roads safer. City officials say they will fight the order in court.
Bird Flu Cases Start To Decline
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - There are no additional bird flu cases in Iowa giving hundreds of state and federal workers and hired contractors a chance to catch up with the backlog of birds to be euthanized.
Iowa Department of Agriculture officials say they expect to have all turkeys exposed to the H5N2 virus euthanized and composting by the end of the day Thursday. That's about 1.2 million turkeys.
Of the nearly 28 million chickens exposed to the virus, about 24 million have been euthanized. Disposal using composting, on-site burial, incineration and placement in landfills, continues.
Officials believe warmer temperatures will kill the virus and Iowa is expected to have highs in the 80s for the next seven days.
Minnesota reported one new case on a turkey farm.
Grassley Says USDA Has Been Slow To Act On Bird Flu Virus
(Washington) -- Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley addressed the bird flu issue during his weekly news conference. Grassley says the U-S Department of Agriculture has been slow to respond to Iowa's poultry producers request for action.
Grassley worries that when the time comes for producers to re-populate their barns, the federal government will be slow on action during that time.
The republican senator is also critical of the U-S-D-A's inability to help producers with the disposal of the millions of dead bird carcasses.
Grassley says that he and Senator Joni Ernst have been visiting with Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas to schedule public hearings regarding the bird flu, but so far, nothing has been scheduled on the Senate calendar.
Meth Manufacturer Sentenced To 20 Years
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. attorney says an eastern Iowa man who caused a fire the damaged six mobile homes while attempting to manufacture meth has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Linda Reade on Thursday sentenced 27-year-old Michael Lala to prison after he pleaded guilty in January to attempting to manufacture meth.
In a plea agreement, Lala acknowledged that in November 2013 he was cooking meth in a mobile home in Hiawatha when a bottle tipped over, causing a fire that destroyed the structure and damaged five neighboring mobile homes.
In the agreement, Lala also admitted making meth many times between 2012 and 2014.
After his 20 years in prison, Lala must serve three years of supervision. There is no parole in the federal system.
Coralville Man Claims Justification To Kidnapping Step Daughter
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Court documents say a 48-year-old Coralville man will claim justification in defending himself against accusations that he abducted his 10-year-old stepdaughter.
Kenneth Johns is accused of kidnapping the girl from a Solon home in early March. Johns' attorney filed documents Wednesday that say Johns intends to "rely on the defense of justification" in contesting a kidnapping charge.
The girl's mother, 44-year-old Shelly Johns, in April pleaded guilty to child endangerment charges. Criminal complaints say Shelly Johns burned her daughter's face with a cigarette, smacked her, kicked her and pulled her hair. Police also say Shelly Johns kept drugs inside the house where she lived with the girl and used them in her presence. The girl's disappearance prompted a state-wide Amber alert.