Friday News, September 11
Orange City Tulip Festival Selects Queen's Candidates
(Orange City) -- The 2016 Orange City Tulip Court was elected on Wednesday. Tulip Court members for the 76th annual Tulip Festival include: Maddie Christy, daughter of Greg and Michelle Christy; Grace DeHaan, daughter of Brent and Patti DeHaan; Ava Grossmann, daughter of Jonathan and Glenda Grossmann; Kelsey Lang, daughter of Chris and Sherry Lang; and Kaylee Puttmann, daughter of Shannon and Kristen Puttman. A Queen's tea and pageant will be held on November 16th to crown the 2016 Tulip Queen. The Queen and her court will serve as ambassadors for Orange City's 76th Annual Tulip Festival, slated for May 19-21.
Grassley Opposes Iranian Nuclear Arms Deal
(Washington) -- The U-S Senate has been debating the Iranian nuclear arms deal. Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley stood at the podium and informed his Senate colleagues he opposes the deal saying it would ultimately give Iran nuclear arms. Grassley says Americans and Iowans overwhelmingly oppose the deal with Iran.
Grassley says after studying the nuclear agreement he came to the conclusion the Iranians were gaining too much power and the United States was forfeiting too much leverage it once had on Iran.
In his floor speech, Grassley says history has proven the Iranians cannot be trusted. He says the economic sanctions placed on Iran were doing some good, but now the U-S has lost its position of strength.
The Iowa Republican Senator says he is troubled with the inspection portion of the agreement, saying nuclear inspectors will not have complete and free access to Iran's nuclear storage and components.
Grassley says the deal has too many "side" agreements that are not being presented to the public's attention. He urged his Senate colleagues to vote against the agreement.
Grassley says the United States now has enemies that don't fear us, and we have friends and allies that don't follow us, because they question our credibility. Grassley says the proposed agreement has too many shortcomings, and it will make the world a more dangerous place, and he says it will fail to make the United States and our friends safer.
Storm Lake School District Wants To Sell Old Elementary Building
STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Facing the prospect of paying for a new boiler, the Storm Lake school district has put an old elementary school building up for sale.
South Elementary School hasn't been used for classes in eight years, but its auditorium has been rented out for sports and other activities. Superintendent Carl Turner says those rentals have brought in about $30,000 a year, well short of the annual maintenance costs of $80,000.
The board decided to sell the building once it learned that the new boiler it needed could cost the district $100,000. Officials are hoping for a quick sale so the building doesn't sit too long and fall into disrepair, requiring demolition.
Iowa Schools Not Meeting Standards Under "No Child Left Behind"
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new report says more Iowa schools and districts are falling short of annual targets set through the No Child Left Behind law, and state officials say they want revisions to the federal benchmarks.
The report released Thursday says more than 1,000 schools out of roughly 1,330 in the state did not meet certain targets on student population and demographics. There was an increase in the number of schools considered "in need of assistance" on certain progress.
Department Director Ryan Wise says despite the report, he feels the majority of Iowa schools and districts are not failing. He says the law must be revised on the congressional level to develop a better system of accountability.
Several states have been granted waivers from components of the law, which passed in 2001.
Two Iowa Counties Expanding Psychiatric Hospitals
DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - Officials in two Iowa counties are considering separate plans for new or expanded psychiatric hospitals.
The Broadlawns Medical Center in Polk County plans to expand its in-patient psychiatric unit to help address a shortage of services for people with serious mental illnesses. It now has 30 psychiatric beds and plans to add 14 more.
The Des Moines area now has about 130 in-patient psychiatric beds at four hospitals, including Broadlawns.
It appeared this summer that the area would've gained more after company Strategic Behavioral Health LLC expressed interest in opening a psychiatric hospital. But the company now says it wants to build the facility in Davenport, which is in Scott County.
A majority of Scott County supervisors say they're inclined to back the company's efforts to build the 72-bed hospital.
Iowa State University Students Living With Bats
AMES, Iowa (AP) - Six Iowa State University students living in a rented home in Ames have been vaccinated for rabies after officials learned they have collectively killed 23 bats in their home.
The students were vaccinated Tuesday night.
Ames Animal Control supervisor Ron Edwards told the students and their girlfriends to get vaccinated once he learned how many bats they had been exposed to. One bat tested negative for rabies.
Twenty-one-year-old Quinn Nordland said a roommate found the first bat in the basement Aug. 30, and another one the next morning. The bats kept continued to appear and the students would walk the hallways at night with tennis rackets to combat the animals.
The students said the infestation has persisted despite reporting it to their landlord. Mike Fresco of First Property Management said a company has been hired to find a solution to the problem.
USDA Funding Program To Include More Fuel Blending Pumps
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it is sending money to 21 states including Iowa and Nebraska to help them install more gas pumps that can provide higher blends of ethanol fuel.
A typical gas pump delivers fuel with 10 percent ethanol but the USDA is encouraging the use of higher blends of the corn-based fuel such as 15 percent ethanol, which the government says can be safely used in cars built in 2001 or later.
Iowa expects to get funding to add 187 blender pumps, which allow customers to choose from various blends of ethanol from E15 to higher blends used in flex-fuel vehicles including E20 and E30, and E85.
The USDA says Nebraska will get funding to add 80 blender pumps and Minnesota will add 620.