Home News Wednesday Afternoon News, July 31st

Wednesday Afternoon News, July 31st


Plymouth Energy Ethanol Plant Suspends Production

(Des Moines) — A local ethanol plant has suspended production “until further notice.” Plymouth Energy in Merrill is one of at least 10 ethanol plants in the country to temporarily shut down. Three others have closed.
Monte Shaw is executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

Shaw says this supply-demand imbalance is caused by waivers federal officials are granting big oil companies — so refiners don’t have to blend as much ethanol into gasoline.

Shaw says the past 18 months have been a very rough on the industry.

The board of Plymouth Energy issued a statement, saying all existing corn contracts will be honored and they hope to resume production “in the not too distant future.” A coalition of groups representing ag and biofuels interests today (Wednesday) asked a federal court to allow a 2018 lawsuit challenging the E-P-A’s management of renewable fuels policy to proceed.
Shaw says if E-P-A policy doesn’t change over the next few months, more ethanol plant managers may consider temporarily shutting down production.

Shaw says if the E-P-A were to adhere to the rules outlined by the Renewable Fuels Standard, there would be an “immediate impact” on corn prices and ethanol production would quickly rebound.



Foxhoven To File Wrongful Dismissal Lawsuit

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A lawyer for the ousted Iowa Department of Human Services director says he’ll file a legal claim alleging he was the victim of whistleblower retaliation.
Attorney Tom Duff confirmed Wednesday that he’s representing Jerry Foxhoven, who was asked to step down by Gov. Kim Reynolds last month.
Duff said that Foxhoven plans to announce Thursday that he’s filing a wrongful termination claim with the State Appeals Board, the first step toward pursuing a lawsuit against state government.
Duff says that Foxhoven objected to a request to continue to have his agency fund most of the salary of the governor’s deputy chief of staff, Paige Thorson. Duff says that Foxhoven believed the arrangement made sense when he approved it in 2018. But he said that, by June, Foxhoven believed Thorson was no longer furthering the agency’s interests.
Duff says that Foxhoven wanted a legal opinion before moving forward with the arrangement.
A spokesman for Reynolds has said that Foxhoven never raised any such concerns and that he was let go because she wanted to move in a new direction.



Lottery Sets Record

CLIVE, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Lottery has posted record results for fiscal 2019, which ended June 30.
Lottery officials say in a news release that sales, prizes to players and retail commissions all set records for the year.
Preliminary figures released Wednesday show the generated a record $92.8 million in proceeds to state causes for the year. The sales record was $390.9 million, while prizes to players totaled a record $241.9 million. Lottery sales commissions to the retail locations that sell its tickets totaled $25.4 million.
The unaudited results show that sales increased 5.4% from the previous year.
Scratch-game sales in Iowa have set records each year since fiscal 2015 and did so again this past year: $250.6 million.



Reward For Cousins Killer Now At $50,000

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) – A reward has been doubled to $50,000 for information leading to an arrest in the slayings of two Iowa cousins.
Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers said Tuesday the increase was possible because of a donation from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. Waterloo Police Department investigator Brice Lippert coordinates the Crime Stoppers
program, and he says the Crime Stoppers reward is separate from another reward being offered for a conviction in the case.
Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins were 10 and 8 when they disappeared in Evansdale on July 13, 2012. Their abandoned bikes were later located on a trail near Meyers Lake in Evansdale. Hunters found their bodies at Seven Bridges Park in rural Bremer County, about 25 miles (40.2 kilometers) from
where they disappeared, on Dec. 5, 2012.



Authorities Recover Farmer’s Body From Riverbank

MONDAMIN, Iowa (AP) – Western Iowa authorities have recovered the body of a farmer who died after his tractor flipped over atop him when it ran off a riverbank edge into the Missouri River.
The tractor was spotted by people searching for the man Tuesday evening a little more than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) northwest of Mondamin. The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office says the farmer had been working along the riverbank since 8 a.m., getting the land ready for cattle. It’s unclear when
the accident occurred.
The man’s name hasn’t been released.



Two People Rescued From Des Moines River

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say two people were rescued after their inflatable raft overturned on a river in downtown Des Moines.
Des Moines Fire Department spokesman Chris Clement says raft was upended Monday night as it went over a low-head dam on the Des Moines River near the Scott Avenue Bridge.
The two clung to rescue ropes dropped and struggled to keep their heads above the onrushing water despite wearing life jackets. Police say rescuers shouted instructions and encouragement as they pulled mightily to maneuver
the man and woman onto a concrete structure and safety.
The two were taken to a hospital and soon released. Authorities have not given out the pair’s names.