Body Found In Gravel Pit
DUNLAP, Iowa (AP) – Iowa authorities say the body of a man pulled from a dump truck that had been submerged under water in a sand pit was that of a Minnesota resident.
Harrison County officials identified the man Friday as 38-year old Christopher McMullen, of Madelia, Minnesota.
Rescue workers were called Thursday morning to Hallett Materials just south of Dunlap on reports of a missing truck and driver. Sometime later, crews discovered the truck under ice and water in the pit. The driver – now identified as McMullen – had been trapped inside the truck.
His body was recovered Thursday afternoon.
Report Released On School Bus Fatal Fire
OAKLAND, Iowa (AP) – A preliminary report on a school bus fire in western Iowa that killed the driver and a teenage passenger says the fire started in the engine compartment after the bus became stuck in a ditch.
The Omaha World-Herald reports that the preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board was issued Friday.
The Dec. 12 fire killed 16-year-old Megan Klindt and 74-year-old Donnie Hendricks.
Friday’s report found that Hendricks was backing the bus out of Klindt’s rural driveway when the bus’ right rear wheels dropped into a 3-foot-deep ditch.
As Hendricks tried to drive out of the ditch, a fire began in the engine compartment and spread to the passenger compartment.
The report says it is unknown why Hendricks and Klindt did not exit the bus.
State Senate Proposes Cuts To Higher Education Schools
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Senate Republicans have proposed $50 million in mid- year cuts to Iowa’s roughly $7.2 billion state budget, including a reduction of more than $24 million in higher education spending.
A Senate budget committee is expected Thursday to vote on the cuts, which impact the budget year running through June. The full Senate must still consider them before several votes in the House.
Leaders in the Republican-controlled chambers had indicated they would cut beyond the nearly $30 million spending reductions proposed by GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds. They say it’s to avoid extra cuts if future budget projections are down.
There’s disagreement between Republicans over the reductions, though lawmakers declined to offer specifics.
The Senate plan released Thursday cuts about $19.3 million from Iowa’s three public universities and $5.4 million from community colleges.
Report Calls For New Regulatory Rules On Livestock Facilities
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A new report on the rapid expansion of hog farms in Iowa concludes the state’s regulatory system is failing to protect the environment and public health for the sake of profit by the politically powerful livestock industry.
The report released Thursday by retired University of Iowa professors James Merchant and David Osterberg recommends a moratorium on new construction until an improved permitting process can be implemented.
The pork industry acknowledges rapid growth but considers it good for farmers and the economy.
Eldon McAfee, an agriculture law attorney for the Iowa Pork Producers Association, says environmental and health concerns are being addressed by the current system. He says a moratorium would devastate the industry and Iowa’s economy, adding it’s unneeded because the current permit system has worked for 16 years.