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Friday News, July 17

Grassley Says He Is Skeptical Over Iran Nuclear Agreement


(Washington) -- U-S Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa told reporters during his weekly news conference, that he is skeptical about the proposed agreement with Iran.  Grassley says he has 60 days to further study the agreement, but what he has heard so far about the agreement over nuclear arms deal, he doesn't like the terms.  Grassley says it appears the United States conceded on too many issues.

(sot) Grassley-Iran





Ames Police Apprehend Wanted Man Since April

AMES, Iowa (AP) - A man police have been looking for since April on suspicion of false imprisonment and threatening reporters in Le Grand has been arrested in Ames.
27-year-old Chad Bryant was arrested Thursday evening at a car dealership after police responded to a report of a stolen car. Officials say when they spotted Bryant, he took off on foot and was eventually apprehended. 
Police say another man led officers on a high-speed chase that lasted about 30 minutes.
Bryant had been arrested on a false imprisonment charge after a 16-year-old told police he was held against his will at a residence by Bryant and several others.
KCCI-TV says Bryant pointed what looked like a rifle at its news crew and poured water over a cameraman's head outside a home following his arrest in April. Bryant left the home, prompting the search.




Work Force Employees Are Told To "Look Nice" For Governor Branstad

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Workforce Development director Beth Townsend is telling employees to look nice for Governor Terry Branstad's visit even though he's coming on Casual Friday.
Townsend told employees in an email that Branstad will visit the agency's headquarters Friday and wants to meet as many employees as he has time.
She says that employees should be "mindful of our dignitary's visit when coming to work" and "make sure you are in compliance with the dress code."
The code calls for business casual attire every day of the week except Fridays, when jeans, sweatshirts, athletic shoes, and flip-flops are allowed.
Branstad appointed Townsend earlier this year to run the agency, which had struggled with personnel disputes under former Director Teresa Wahlert. Townsend has made a number of personnel changes in recent months.





Public Information Board Wants More Information Regarding Accidental Shooting

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Public Information Board has voted to further review whether authorities must release records detailing the mistaken killing of a woman by a Burlington police officer.
The board voted Thursday to spend another month investigating complaints alleging authorities have repeatedly violated the open records law after the January shooting of Autumn Steele.
The board rejected recommendations from its executive director to dismiss complaints filed by Steele's family and the Hawk Eye newspaper in Burlington.
The Division of Criminal Investigation has released a 12-second video of Steele's shooting by officer Jesse Hill, who was responding to a domestic disturbance and meant to shoot at a growling family dog.  But the city, the county attorney and the DCI have declined to release additional video, a 911 call and investigative reports.





Accused Lottery Official's Attorney Rest His Case

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Attorneys for a former lottery worker accused of rigging a Hot Lotto game have rested their case in the man's fraud trial.
The defense for 52-year-old Eddie Tipton presented testimony Thursday for about an hour before resting their case. Closing arguments are scheduled Friday.
Tipton, a former information security director for the Multi-State Lottery Association, is accused of installing a computer program to pick numbers for a December 2010 Hot Lotto drawing. Prosecutors say he bought a ticket with those numbers and unsuccessfully tried to get others to cash the $14 million prize.
Tipton faces two counts of fraud. He denies the accusations.
Tipton's three siblings testified that a hooded man featured in a video of the ticket purchase is not their brother.





HSUS Questions USDA's Method Of Euthanizing Birds From Bird Flu

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it considers many factors when determining ways to euthanize large numbers of animals during a disease outbreak.
The agency released the statement Thursday in response to a letter from an animal rights group criticizing a USDA proposal to respond to a future outbreak of bird flu.
The Humane Society of The United States' letter focused on statements made by USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford during a Senate committee hearing last week.
Clifford said shutting off ventilation systems to barns when the highly contagious disease is found may be more humane and efficient than gassing or using foam to suffocate the birds. Those methods were used amid this year's outbreak.
The animal rights group says the latest idea is gruesome and should be scrapped.





States Call For Investigation Into Planned Parenthood Actions Of Selling Baby Parts

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The governors of Georgia and Indiana and Ohio's attorney general on Thursday ordered investigations of Planned Parenthood facilities in their states to determine if organs from aborted fetuses were being sold. 
The state investigations - as well as probes announced Wednesday by three Republican-led congressional committees - come in response to the release of an undercover video made by anti-abortion activists. The video shows Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical services, discussing procedures for providing fetal body parts to researchers. 
Planned Parenthood officials say Thursday that Nucatola has been "reprimanded." They did not elaborate. The organization's president, Cecile Richards, apologized for the tone of some of Nucatola's recorded statements.



Thursday Afternoon News, July 16

Rain Amounts Vary Across County

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County was fortunate to receive some showers last evening, but how much depends upon where you lived.  At the KLEM offices located on 2nd Avenue Northwest in Le Mars, our rain gauge measured .81 one-hundredths of an inch.  However, we received numerous phone calls from various listeners telling us about different amounts.  In the area in the far northwest corner of the county near Craig, listerners report having received only 15 one-hundredths of an inch.  Residents living on the southern edge of Le Mars report having two-plus inches of rain.  Still there were those living east of Merrill and towards Remsen that reported having any where from three inches up to five inches of rain.






Medical Cannabis Cards

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa has spent more than $100,000 to create and issue registration cards to about 50 people getting cannabis oil under the state's medical marijuana program.
The Iowa Department of Transportation last fall asked Massachusetts-based MorphoTrust USA to design and create the cards, which were approved last year by the state Legislature.
According to documents obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request, MorphoTrust USA billed the Transportation Department $115,000 for its work. It was paid for through the state general fund.
Agency spokeswoman Melissa Spiegel said the cost was reasonable based on similar work on other cards.
The card program has faced criticism that it's cumbersome and largely useless.






Branstad Declares Additional Counties As Disaster Areas

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has issued another disaster proclamation in response to recent severe weather in Iowa.
Branstad says in a press release that he signed a proclamation of disaster emergency Wednesday for Jefferson and Wayne counties in the southern half of the state. The areas were affected by severe storms and flooding toward the end of June.
The proclamation allows officials to use state resources to respond to effects from the severe weather. Branstad made similar proclamations for other Iowa counties last month.





Sioux City Library Shuts Down Due To Flooding

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The main library branch in Sioux City has reopened, a day after street flooding caused by a water main break shut it down.
The  Wilbur Aalfs Library branch was forced to close Wednesday.
The water main break was on the east side of the building under a sidewalk. Library director Betsy Thompson says the break flooded parts of the sidewalk and a nearby alley, but the interior of the library wasn't affected.
The decision to close was made because the library had no running water or air conditioning as crews worked to stop the flow of water and repair the main.





Bankers Survey

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A new survey suggests modest economic growth ahead in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states, but the predicted decline in farm income this year remains a concern.
The overall Rural Mainstreet economic index inched into positive territory in July at 53.4. In June the index registered a neutral score of 50.
The index has risen for four months. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the trend is encouraging, but the bankers surveyed still aren't very optimistic. The confidence index remained in negative territory at 46.6 after improving from June's 45.9.
The survey indexes range from 0 to 100. Any score below 50 suggests decline in that factor in the months ahead.
Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.





University Of Iowa To Hire Communications Consultant

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa college says it'll spend up to $145,000 to hire an Atlanta-based consultant to oversee its strategic communications for the next six months.
The move comes after the University of Iowa's vice president of strategic communications, Joe Brennan, announced last month that he was leaving for a similar post at a New York college.
The Iowa school confirmed to the Iowa City Press-Citizen on Tuesday that it's contracting with Terri Goren of Goren & Associates.
Goren will be paid $20,000 per month with a $25,000 cap on flight, meals and reimbursement. She won't be an official college employee but rather an independent contractor. Her contract expires Dec. 31.
A school spokeswoman says that Brennan's last day is scheduled for Aug. 3, but that Goren's contract began July 1.





Drug Court Closes

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Budget concerns have led officials in western Iowa to announce a plan to shut down the region's drug court.
The Fourth Judicial District drug court will shut down on Oct. 1.
Drug court started in January 2000. It offers people who are convicted of drug felonies a chance to complete a rehabilitation program instead of going to jail. If they are successful, the charges can be wiped from their records.
District director Kip Shanks says there are about 40 offenders in the program, which is no longer accepting applications.
Shanks says the program cost $250,000 a year to run, but funds allocated to his department for 2016 did not cover both drug court costs and employee raises.




Mall Of The Bluffs Up For Sale

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Mall of the Bluffs in Council Bluffs will be sold at auction.
The  property, which sold for $8.5 million in 2013 to Namdar Realty Group of Great Neck, N.Y., is listed on with a $1.5 million opening bid.
The auction runs for three days starting Aug. 3.
Namdar leasing manager Chiam Wiater confirmed that the main 492,000-square-foot building is for sale. 
Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh says other properties on the grounds are for sale, but not as part of the auction.






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