Bibler Trial Delayed…Again
(Le Mars) — The trial for Thomas Bibler is being delayed one more time. Trial was set to begin on January 30th, but following a status hearing held on Friday, Judge Jeff Neary has ordered the new trial date for May 15th. Bibler is accused of stabbing his sister, Shannon Bogh, to death back in June of 2016. Bibler’s
defense attorney asked for the extension due to the introduction of a new expert witness. Judge Neary has ordered the defense to formally identify and designate the expert witness to the State no later than February 9th. The expert witness written reports should be provided to the State no later than March 30th, with
the deposition to be conducted by April 6th.
Senate Republicans Propose Cutting Higher Education Budget
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.
Study Calls For Moratorium On Livestock Expansion 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. Senator David Johnson of Ocheyden, this past week introduced 15 bills in the state senate calling for a revision of the livestock matrix system.
Johnson, the only Independent party senator, believes there should be more local control to approve building permits.
Following Water Quality Bill, Legislature Devoting Work In Committees
(Des Moines) — Other than the water quality bill that was passed on Tuesday by the Iowa House, not much other legislative action took place during the third week of the Iowa General Assembly. Le Mars Republican House Representative,
Chuck Holz says a lot of work has been devoted to committee work during this past week.
Holz tells what will be next on the agenda for state lawmakers.
Holz talks about the work being conducted on the committees he serves.
Holz serves on the House Agriculture, Commerce, Economic Growth, and Labor committees.
Johnsons Named “All-American Pork Producers”
(Des Moines) — Plymouth County pork producers, Ben and Janelle Johnson of rural Ireton were honored this past week at the Iowa Pork Congress during the annual Master Pork Producers Banquet. The Johnson’s, were given the honor of “All-American Pork Producer,” which is the top award presented to a pork producer. In order to be eligible, the nominee must have already achieved the honorable status of being a “Master Pork Producer” and also under the age of 40. The Johnson’s raise 4800 head of hogs. Ben comments on their pork production operation.
Janelle works with the Plymouth County Extension office, but also devotes time for the family operation.
Ben says he has been around swine production since he was a young boy, and says he knew from an early age he wanted to be a pork producer. The Johnson’s are active members and directors of the Plymouth County Pork Producers Association, and they participate in the Plymouth County “Adopt a Pig” program, plus, they open their farm to young people, exposing them to the farming lifestyle. They say it is important to educate young people about pork production and agriculture.
Ben says his philosophy with agriculture is he wants others to know that farmers care about their animals, and their land, and they strive to protect both aspects of their livelihood.
Also honored during the Iowa Pork Congress Annual Awards Banquet was Steve Schroeder of rural Remsen. Schroeder was named as a “Master Pork Producer.”
West Des Moines Woman Given Life Sentence For Daughter’s Death
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa woman convicted of murder in the starvation death of her 16-year-old daughter has been given three life sentences.
The sentences were handed down Friday to 43-year-old Nicole Finn of West Des Moines. She was convicted last month of first-degree murder and three counts of kidnapping.
Authorities say Natalie Finn weighed only 85 pounds when she died in October 2016. Experts testified that her siblings, Mikayla and Jaden, were at risk of starving to death as well and spent months recovering after Natalie suffered cardiac arrest.
Finn’s ex-husband, Joe Finn II, has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, neglect or abandonment and child endangerment. He wasn’t living with the rest of the family when Natalie died. His trial begins April 30.
Clive Walgreens Evacuated Due To Illness Of Employees and Customers
CLIVE, Iowa (AP) – A suburban Des Moines Walgreens has been forced to evacuate after several people inside became ill.
The incident happened Friday afternoon. Hazmat crews were called to a Walgreens on University Avenue in Clive after several people became ill in the pharmacy area of the store.
The Des Moines Register reports that six people in the store were taken to a hospital.
Television station KCCI reports that Walgreens employees posted a sign outside the drive-thru pharmacy reading, “GAS LEAK. Sorry for the inconvenience. Will be back later.”
People in the store were reportedly vomiting and suffered headaches and dizziness. Investigators found no carbon monoxide or natural gas in the store.