Saturday News, December 20
New Vegetable Oil Refinery Approved
(Sioux City)--BOTH STATE AND WOODBURY COUNTY OFFICIALS GAVE THEIR APPROVAL FRIDAY TO A PROPOSED 90-MILLION DOLLAR VEGETABLE OIL REFINERY PROJECT IN SGT. BLUFF FOR AG PROCESSING INCORPORATED.
FIRST THE IOWA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY APPROVED THE AGP PROJECT BY GRANTING THE COMPANY $152-THOUSAND DOLLARS IN DIRECT ASSISTANCE PLUS TAX CREDITS THROUGH THE HIGH QUALITY JOBS PROGRAM.
WOODBURY SUPERVISORS THEN MET WITH AGP OFFICIALS AND APPROVED A SEVEN YEAR TAX ABATEMENT SCHEDULE FOR THE PROJECT BASED ON A MINIMUM ASSESSED PROPERTY VALUE OF 14 AND A HALF MILLION DOLLARS.
SUPERVISORS CHAIRMAN GEORGE BOYKIN SAYS THE AGP EXPANSION WILL PROVIDE A NUMBER OF BENEFITS IN THE COUNTY:
AGP WILL CONSTRUCT THE VEGETABLE OIL REFINERY NEXT TO THEIR EXISTING SOYBEAN PROCESSING AND BIODIESEL PLANTS.
COMPANY VICE PRESIDENT CAL MEYER SAYS SGT. BLUFF WAS THE BEST CHOICE TO BUILD THE FACILITY:
MEYER SAYS AROUND 20 GOOD PAYING JOBS WILL BE CREATED WITH THE EXPANSION;
SUPERVISOR MARK MONSON SAYS THIS WILL BE A BENEFIT TO AREA FARMERS:
A NEW WATER COOLING TOWER IS PART OF THE PROJECT AND A NEW TANK FARM WOULD ALSO BE BUILT FOR THE FINISHED SALAD OIL.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE PROJECT WILL BEGIN BY JUNE WITH COMPLETION SET FOR THE SPRING OF 2017.
Unemployment Rate Drops
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's unemployment rate dropped in November but remains slightly higher than the rate a year ago.
Iowa Workforce Development announced Friday that the November unemployment rate was 4.3 percent, down from 4.5 percent in October. The November 2013 rate was 4.2 percent.
The agency says the number of unemployed residents dropped to 73,900 in November.
The number of residents with jobs was nearly 1.64 million.
Iowa's unemployment rate remained significantly lower than the national rate of 5.8 percent in November.
Attorney General Will Look Into Drowning Death
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley says U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will personally review the case of an Iowa man who drowned while in a Missouri state trooper's custody.
Grassley said Friday he recently spoke with Holder about 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson's drowning in late May on the Lake of the Ozarks. He says the attorney general told him he would personally review information about the case before providing it to staff attorneys at the U.S. Justice Department.
Witnesses say Ellingson had been detained on suspicion of boating while intoxicated. He was handcuffed when he slipped through a life jacket and drowned.
A jury ruled the death an accident during a coroner's inquest in September. Ellingson's family says there are unanswered questions about the circumstances of the death.
Latham Gives Advice To House And Senate
(Washington DC)--Retiring Congressman Tom Latham is offering this advice to those who'll serve in the U.S. House and Senate next year: "do some big things" in 2015.
House Speaker John Boehner (BAY-ner) and President Obama were rumored to be on the verge of what was called a "grand bargain" a few years ago, but the deal fell through. Latham and Boehner have become best friends during their time in congress over the last 20 years and Latham says he's told his friend to "think big" and seize "the opportunity of a lifetime."
With the 2016 presidential campaign essentially underway today, Latham cautions that "it's going to be difficult" for a "big deal" to emerge.
Republicans will hold a huge majority in the U.S. House and the G-O-P will take over control of the U.S. Senate in January. Latham suggests a good first step would be for the president to sit down and start negotiating with congressional leaders from both parties.
Latham decided about a year ago that he would not seek reelection in 2014. Latham, who is 66, describes serving in congress as the "honor of his life." He plans to vacation "somewhere warm" and talk with his wife about what part-time work he might choose to take in the future.