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Friday Afternoon News, August 28

Environmental Protection Agency To Begin Enforcing WOTUS Rules

(Le Mars) -- Today, (Friday) was to be the date when the Environmental Protection Agency was to begin enforcing the new rules of the Waters of the United States, under the Clean Water Act. However, a North Dakota federal court, yesterday, placed an injunction on the enforcement of the rules established by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers.  Chris Gruenhagen serves as the Iowa Farm Bureau's Government Relations Counsel. She says there is a question whether the E-P-A will honor the injunction nationwide, or just within the federal district.  Gruenhagen says the EPA expanded the definition and ruling so it could account for all waters.

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Gruenhagen says the new ruling is part of the Clean Water Act.

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The Farm Bureau official says the EPA is even wanting to including erosion gullies as tributaries after a hard rain.

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U-S Senator Chuck Grassley says Congress would like to take away the EPA's powers of the enforcement of the Waters of the United States rules.  However, Grassley admits that is highly unlikely.  Instead, Grassley says Congress hopes to do the second best thing.

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Critics say the rules of The Waters of the United States would hurt agriculture since it would regulate even the smallest amounts of standing water found in ditches and other areas.  Grassley says since the EPA has expanded the definition of navigational waters, and he claims nearly every portion of Iowa would be adversely affected.

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So far, 27 states have filed a lawsuit against the E-P-A and the Army Corps of Engineers hoping to stop the new rules.  Gruenhagen says Iowa has not yet joined in on the lawsuit, but she says the state still has time, and she is hopeful that Iowa will join other states to challenge the ruling.

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Group Opposes Veterans Memorial

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (AP) - A group says a veterans memorial in a Knoxville city park that shows a plywood cutout of a soldier kneeling next to a cross amounts to a government endorsement of Christianity.
The Americans United for Church and State is asking the city for the removal of the cross.
The memorial's creator, 67-year-old Vietnam War veteran Al Larsen, tells The Des Moines Register that he didn't intend for the cross to have a religious connotation.
He says the cross is meant to represent a grave marker, similar to the rows of white crosses at a France cemetery, where more than 9,000 American World War II troops are buried.
The Knoxville mayor says the City Council will decide on whether to remove the memorial during a September meeting.

 

 

 

 

University Of Iowa To Forbid Catcalls

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Student government leaders at the University of Iowa have launched a campaign to reduce catcalling, saying that the shouts are a form of sexual harassment.
Television station KCRG reports that shuttles used during the recruitment process for fraternities and sororities at the university will display anti-catcalling posters.
Student Government Vice President Morgan Brittain says the vehicles' drivers have been asked to be on the lookout for instances of catcalling and to address them.
The initiative first launched last spring as part of a national effort called "It's On Us," aimed at ending sexual violence on college campuses.
Sophomore student Autumn Domres says catcalling is a problem she often sees in downtown Iowa City.

 

 

 

 

Pella Electrical Cooperative Drops Fees To Install Solar Panels

PELLA, Iowa (AP) - Facing a backlash, a rural Iowa power co-operative is dropping a plan to charge customers who install solar panels on their homes a special $85 monthly charge.
The Pella Cooperative Electric Association withdrew its proposal Thursday in a filing with the Iowa Utilities Board.
The plan had angered customers who have or were planning to install solar generation systems that would connect with the utility's distribution system. Environmental groups and solar energy backers were also opposed, calling the charge discriminatory.
In a news release, the association insists the plan was justified because it covered solar customers' true cost of service.
But the group says that it has withdrawn the plan until "we can better educate our members and the community as to the fair and equitable recovery of fixed costs."

 

 

 

 

MidAmerican Energy To Build Wind Farms In Ida And O'Brien Counties

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - MidAmerican Energy says it will build its next two wind farms in northwest Iowa.
The company says there will be 134 generators at the Ida County site and 104 at the site in O'Brien County, providing a combined capacity of 552 megawatts. The estimated investment for the two projects is $900 million.
A MidAmerican vice president, Mike Gehringer, says that by the end of the year, more of MidAmerican's electricity will come from wind than from any other single source. MidAmerican spokeswoman Ruth Comer says that by the end of 2016, when both projects are completed, the Berkshire Hathaway-owned company will have more than 2,000 wind turbines across Iowa.

 


   

Friday News, August 28

Former Remsen-Union Teacher Charged With Sexual Relations With Student

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Sheriff's Office has issued a news release relating to an investigation that they have been conducting since April.  The investigation was assisted by the Remsen Police Department and pertained to a criminal case involving a teacher and a student at Remsen-Union Community School.  The investigation revealed that a male student, age 17, attending Remsen-Union Community School had a sexual relationship with a female teacher employed with the Remsen-Union school district.  Warrants were issued for 24 year old Samantha Kohls of Remsen.  Kohls has been charged with two counts of an employee of a school district engaging in sexual conduct with a student of the Remsen-Union school district.  Both counts are aggravated misdemeanors.  Bond of $2,000 has been set.  On August 27th, Samantha Kohls, who now resides in Cedar Falls, Iowa, turned herself in to the Plymouth County jail, and posted bond and was released.

 

 

 

Plymouth County 4-H Volunteer Inducted Into Iowa 4-H Hall Of Fame

(Des Moines) -- A Plymouth County 4-H Volunteer was inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame during a recognition ceremony held during the Iowa State Fair.  For more than 25 years Dennis Baldwin has assisted with the Plymouth County 4-H sheep show.  In July of 1988, Dennis’s son Chad showed lambs in his first sheep show.  This began a long association with the Plymouth County Fair and the sheep department.  Within a few years, Baldwin was asked to join the sheep committee and the rest is history.
In 1999, Dennis was nominated to a term on the 4-H & Youth Committee and ended up serving 9 years.  He also took part in the Food Stand Sub-committee and helped renovate it in 2005 to give it a new look and make it more efficient.  Baldwin was also instrumental in fundraising to erect the Clock Tower that sits on the Plymouth County Fairgrounds.  A 4-H Family cookbook was published and sold to raise the funds and then construct the tower.
Baldwin was elected to the Plymouth County Fair board.  He enjoyed his six years of service and received the “Rookie of the Year” award in 2004 and “Fair man of the Year” award in 2005.
In February of 2011, Baldwin took over the duties of sheep superintendent.  He led the sheep committee for the past four years.  In the late 1990’s – early 2000’s, the sheep show reached its peak with over 300 lambs and 50 exhibitors. 
Counties select inductees for their exceptional work in contributing to the lives of 4-H members and the overall 4-H program, said Ann Schoenrock, County Program and Youth Coordinator.  Many inductees served as club leaders, youth mentors, fair superintendents or fair board members, Iowa State University Extension county council members, county youth council members, fair judges, financial supporters, chaperones or ISU Extension and Outreach staff members. The inductees have demonstrated dedication, encouragement, commitment and guidance to Iowa’s 4-H’ers through the years.

 

 

 

 

EPA To Begin Enforcing Waters Of The United States Rules

(Le Mars) -- Today is the date when the Environmental Protection Agency enacts the new rules of the Waters of the United States. U-S Senator Chuck Grassley says Congress would like to take away the EPA's powers of the enforcement of the Waters of the United States rules.  However, Grassley admits that is highly unlikely.  Instead, Grassley says Congress hopes to do the second best thing.

(sot) Grassley WOTUS1

Critics say the rules of The Waters of the United States would hurt agriculture since it would regulate even the smallest amounts of standing water found in ditches and other areas.  Grassley says the EPA has expanded the definition of navigational waters, and he claims nearly every portion of Iowa would be adversely affected.

(sot) Grassley WOTUS2

 

 

 

Three People Saved From House Fire

CLIVE, Iowa (AP) - Three people alerted by passers-by have escaped from a residential fire in the Des Moines suburb of Clive.
Clive Fire Chief Rick Roe credited two Staff Sgt. Bret Perry and another, unnamed man for saving the three people's lives on Thursday.
Perry told The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/1fKbjIj ) that he was on his way to work at the U.S. Army recruiting office in Urbandale when he noticed smoke coming from the residence. He says he rammed through the front door and soon found two residents sleeping on the top floor. Perry says the other man followed him into the building and awakened a resident on the bottom floor. 
An investigation showed the fire started from improperly discarded smoking materials on the back deck. Roe estimates about $30,000 in damage to the home.
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Grain Cooperative Employee Dies In Grain Bin Accident

FARNHAMVILLE, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa cooperative says one of its employees has died after entering a grain bin filled with soybeans.
Farmers Cooperative Company in Farnhamville says Bret Steck entered the grain bin around 9 a.m. Thursday for routine cleaning. They say in a statement he became "engulfed" in soybeans.
Emergency responders removed Steck shortly before 11 a.m. Thursday.
The company says Steck entered the bin with proper supervision. They say authorities will conduct an investigation.

 

 

 

Tractor Roll Over Claims Life

LOST NATION, Iowa (AP) - A person has died in a tractor rollover accident in rural Clinton County.
According to Clinton County Sheriff's Sgt. Paul Hammond, deputies responded to a report of a tractor accident at a farm in Lost Nation around 4:45 p.m. Thursday. Hammond said the driver of the tractor had been mowing an embankment when a rear wheel dropped off the edge of the embankment, causing the vehicle to roll. He said the driver was pinned underneath.
Authorities have not released the name of the person killed in the accident.
An investigation is ongoing.

 

 

 

 

Insurance Commissioner Fines Texas Company For Fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's insurance commissioner is ordering a Texas company to repay over $2 million he says was defrauded from Iowa residents.
Commissioner Nick Gerhart announced Thursday that he had ordered Carson Energy, Incorporated to repay money to 14 Iowa residents. A news release says they were defrauded with "unregistered gas and oil investments." Gerhart's office seeks to protect people from fraud.
The order names the Austin-based company and three current or former staffers. The company may request a hearing on the charges.
Senior Vice President Michael Johnson says the accusations are false. He says the company will fight the charges and expressed confidence it would be resolved.
According to the order, company representatives called prospective Iowa investors, touting a "low risk, high potential oil and gas project."



 

 

   

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