Bitter Cold Temperatures Covers Much Of The United States
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Bone-chilling cold gripped the middle of the U.S. as 2018 began, breaking low temperature records, icing some New Year’s celebrations and leading to at least two deaths attributed to exposure to the elements.
The National Weather Service issued wind chill advisories for Monday covering a vast area from South Texas all the way to Canada and from Montana and Wyoming in the west through New England in the east.
Dangerously low temperatures enveloped eight Midwest states including parts of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Nebraska along with nearly all of Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota.
The weather service said Omaha’s temperature low of 15 below zero (-9 Celsius) before midnight broke a record that had stood since 1884.
Governor Reynolds Eases Up On Propane Delivery Restrictions
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is temporarily easing some regulations on propane delivery as cold weather drives demand up.
Reynolds signed a proclamation Friday to suspend some restrictions on the hours crews and drivers can work delivering propane. A release from the governor’s office says extreme weather conditions have contributed to low
supplies of propane.
The proclamation expires Wednesday.
Vilsack Comments On Trade Agreements
Former Iowa Governor and U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is wrapping up his first year as president of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Vilsack says uncertainty about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement is not good for agriculture and he’s hoping to see more trade progress from the Trump
administration in 2018.
“Certainly, for the dairy industry, we’ve seen a substantial expansion of dairy sales in Mexico – our number one market,” Vilsack says. “We’d like to see more opportunity to sell in Canada. We think this negotiation has the chance of opening up that market.” The U.S., Mexico and Canada are scheduled to return to the bargaining table for a fifth time to renegotiate NAFTA late this month (January). Vilsack says pulling out of NAFTA, which the president has threatened to do, would be devastating for the ag economy.
“There’s a tendency to talk about trade as if every industry in the
country is either plus or minus. The reality is some industries benefit from trade and some industries have been hurt,” Vilsack said. “Clearly, these negotiations need to make sure that we preserve, for the industries that are doing well, the benefits of trade and that would certainly include agriculture.”
President Trump, shortly after he took office, withdrew the U.S. from the Trans Pacific Partnership. Vilsack says that’s created “opportunities for competitors” and challenges for the dairy industry.
“We have to have more people representing U.S. dairy in many of the Asian countries that were party to the TPP agreement, as well as in China and taking full advantage of our relationship in Japan and South Korea,” Vilsack said. “But, we need more people, we need more partnerships, and we need more
focus and more passion. And over the course of the next year or so, I think you’re going to see the organization that I’m part of try to be part of that effort to move exports forward.” The 67-year-old Vilsack became president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council in February of 2017 after serving eight years as the leader of the USDA.
Fatal Fire In Waterloo
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) – A 63-year-old man has died after a weekend house fire in Waterloo, Iowa.
The Waterloo fire department said a neighbor reported the fire in the 100 block of Madison Street late Saturday night.
The only resident of the home, Robert Smiley, was taken to a hospital after the blaze, but he did not survive.
Waterloo Fire Battalion Chief Ben Petersen said the cold weather made it difficult for firefighters who found the closest hydrant frozen. But firefighters were able to find another hydrant down the street and contain the blaze.
Investigators are working to determine what caused the fire.
Million Dollar Powerball Lottery Ticket Sold In Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Powerball ticket sold in Iowa is worth $1 million.
Iowa Lottery officials say the ticket matched the first five numbers in Saturday’s drawing, so it earned a $1 million prize even though it fell short of the jackpot.
The ticket was sold at a Kum & Go convenience store in Colfax, Iowa.
No one matched all six numbers in Saturday’s drawing, so the jackpot will grow to roughly $440 million for Wednesday.