Home News Monday Afternoon News, March 20th

Monday Afternoon News, March 20th


Deputy Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig To Address Agri-Business Luncheon

(Le Mars) — This week marks National Agriculture Week with Tuesday slated as National Agriculture Day. The Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee will again host its annual Agri-business luncheon at the Le Mars Convention Center on Tuesday. This year’s keynote luncheon speaker is Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. Naig was raised on a livestock and crops farm near Emmetsburg. He says his address will reflect and look ahead on Iowa agriculture.


Naig says Iowa agriculture depends heavily on trade. This coming week both he, and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey will be traveling to two separate foreign nations with the focus on Iowa agricultural commodities.

Naig says everyone should appreciate agriculture since it has a far-reach on the state’s economy.

The deputy agriculture secretary points to the state’s latest revenue estimation numbers and ties it to agriculture.


Auburn University Announces ISU’s Leath As New President

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) – Auburn University is hiring Iowa State president Steven Leath as its new president.
Auburn trustees voted Monday to name Leath as the replacement for Jay Gogue, who plans to retire this summer.
Leath has recently been under fire for his use of university aircraft at Iowa State.
Last month, officials decided against filing criminal charges against Leath following an investigation into whether he broke the law with his use of school aircraft.
That review began after an audit found Leath used university planes for medical appointments in Minnesota, personal flight lessons and trips home to North Carolina. He has now reimbursed the university for the flights.
Auburn picked Leath after a search that didn’t include an announcement of finalists. Some say the selection process should have been more transparent.
President Steven Leath’s departure will leave Iowa State University seeking a new leader as it faces budget cuts, enrollment growth and fallout from controversies.
Leath’s move to Auburn will end his 5 1/2 year tenure at Iowa State, which saw the school’s enrollment surge past 36,000 students.
In recent months, Leath faced criticism after he acknowledged he used university planes for trips that mixed personal and official business.
The Board of Regents rejected calls to sanction or fire Leath. His most important backer, Board President Bruce Rastetter, announced last month that he’s leaving the board.
Leath has three years left on his contract, which guaranteed a $525,000 salary.
Lawmakers have cut millions from Iowa State’s budget in recent months.


Democratic State Senator Questions Iowa Dept Of Human Services Actions

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Democratic lawmaker has criticized a state agency director for declining to send staff to an informal committee meeting about how the department handles child abuse investigations.
Sen. Matt McCoy says Iowa Department of Human Services Director Charles Palmer lied about the agency’s ability to attend and answer questions at the Monday meeting, led by Democrats on the Senate Government Oversight Committee.
McCoy says he’s looking into DHS following high-profile cases involving the death of a 16-year-old girl and abuse of another teenager. He also wants to look into abuse at a state institution.
McCoy has criticized the GOP committee chairman for not holding oversight meetings so far this year.
McCoy has also criticized Gov. Terry Branstad, alleging he hasn’t done enough to investigate the department. Branstad on Monday accused McCoy of politicizing the issue.
A DHS spokeswoman declined to comment beyond Branstad’s response.


Iowa Islamic Leader Troubled About A Racist Letter

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A leader of the Islamic Center of Des Moines plans to meet with authorities to discuss a threatening note found in the center’s mail.
Dr. Samir Shams is president of the center, and he says he found the handwritten note Sunday morning. The writer said Muslims were a “vile” people and said President Donald Trump would “do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews.” The note was signed only “Americans for a Better Way.”
Shams says Muslims have to take such notes seriously. He says he plans to meet Monday with the FBI.
The Iowa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called in a news release for a hate crime investigation. The council says similar messages have been sent to other mosques in Iowa and other states.