State Senate Candidates Share Views During Legislative Forum
(Le Mars) — The candidates seeking the vacated State Senate District 3 seat faced off during a legislative forum held Wednesday morning and heard on KLEM radio. Republican Jim Carlin and Democrat Todd Wendt answered questions about economic development and tax break incentives, the budget shortfall, education, mental health and agriculture. Carlin says he is interested in tax reform for the state’s taxpayers.
Carlin also spoke about the need for better water quality, but adding any rules implemented must be fair to agriculture. He also spoke of being in favor of school vouchers.
Wendt, the former school superintendent for Le Mars Community School District, advocates for public education, saying it needs to be a priority for the state.
In his closing remarks, Wendt asked voters to select the person over the party.
The special election for the State Senate District 3 is scheduled for next Tuesday, December 12th.
Grocers Want To Dump Bottle Recycling Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Grocer and beverage manufacturing groups want to rewrite Iowa’s beverage container law and opt for a statewide recycling program instead.
The Des Moines Register reports that the Iowa Grocery Industry Association and the Iowa Beverage Association introduced a proposal Tuesday that would repeal the 5-cent bottle deposit law in exchange for an approach incentivizing curbside recycling. The associations plan to push the proposal in the Legislature’s 2018 session.
Under the proposal, the beverage industry would finance a fund to expand recycling and encourage landfills to include more bottles and cans in their efforts. Grocery stores would no longer need to redeem bottles and cans.
State figures show Iowa recovers 86 percent of its beverage containers.
Opponents worry that scrapping current law will create roadside litter issues and drop the high recycle rate.
Woodbury County Supervisors Vote Against Having Prayer At Meeting
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Woodbury County Board of Supervisors in northwest Iowa has voted against having a public prayer before opening a board meeting.
The Sioux City Journal reports that the board addressed the resolution by board Chairman Matthew Ung at its meeting Tuesday. It would have had supervisors take turns in choosing whether to lead a public prayer or hold a moment of silence. The resolution said the rest of the supervisors could not overturn the decision by the one making the choice.
The board’s current practice is to observe a moment of silence. The four supervisors who voted against allowing the public prayer all said they pray during the weekly moment of silence. But possible legal action over public prayers at public meetings was among the reasons raised against the resolution.
Cedar Rapids Elected New Mayor
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – An attorney who’s never run for public office has been elected mayor of Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second-largest city. Brad Hart took more than 54 percent of the votes in unofficial results from Tuesday’s election. He beat businesswoman Monica Vernon, a former Cedar Rapids City Council member. The two were the two top vote-getters in the November election but didn’t get enough to win outright. Hart will be replacing Ron Corbett, who’s leaving after eight years in office. He’s seeking the Republican nomination for governor in next year’s primary.
Train Derails, Spilling Ethanol
BARNUM, Iowa (AP) – A malfunctioning switching mechanism apparently caused six tankers filled with ethanol to derail in northern Iowa. The Fort Dodge Messenger reports the tankers were hauling the fuel from Valero Renewables-Fort Dodge on Tuesday night when they derailed. Lt. Tom Ubben, of the Fort Dodge Fire Department, says the cars were backing up when the switching mechanism caused them to leave the tracks. The tracks, located in the small community of Barnum, are owned by the Canadian National Railway. Railway spokesman Patrick Waldron says no one was injured and no ethanol spilled. Ubben says crews from Waterloo and Omaha, Nebraska, were called to the derailment Tuesday night and were using heavy machinery to move the cars off the rail line and transfer the ethanol to other containers. —
Former Town Officials Suing For Harassment
MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) – A former mayor and city clerk are seeking $250,000 in damages over harassment allegations following accusations they stole money from the now-defunct city in southeastern Iowa.
The 98-person city of Mount Union dissolved in March after a dispute over sewer bills.
The Hawk Eye reports that Mount Union’s former Mayor Dan Johnson and former City Clerk Linda Johnson testified in their defamation of character lawsuit in Henry County District Court on Tuesday. The lawsuit was filed against Mount Union in February 2016.
Dan Johnson requests $200,000 in damages, and his sister Linda requests $50,000. They allege verbal harassment and accusations of criminal activity began in 2010.
No individual was present to represent Mount Union. A state board will decide how damages will be paid if awarded.