Saturday News, March 1
Le Mars Fortunate Not To Have Many Water Line Breaks
(Le Mars) -- Several Iowa towns and cities have had a greater than normal number of water line breaks during this winter due to the extreme cold temperatures. Le Mars has had six lines needing repairs and according to Le Mars Water Department Superintendent, Gayle Sitzmann, Le Mars has been somewhat fortunate this winter.
Sitzmann anticipates seeing additional water lines break when spring thawing finally arrives.
The city water superintendent says they have been notified of several service lines that have been reported frozen.
Sitzmann says when service lines freeze, it becomes the responsibility of the homeowner or business owner, and not the city to make the necessary repairs.
Branstad Joins All Other Governors To Oppose National Guard Cuts
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is joining with the rest of the nation's governors to oppose any cuts to the National Guard.
Branstad said Friday that all 50 governors had signed a letter to President Barack Obama expressing concerns about proposed cuts to the Guard in the federal budget. The letter says that the Guard is a "cost-effective, operational force that is critical to our national security at home and abroad."
Branstad raised these issues with Obama this week during a meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington.
Branstad was reappointed this week as co-chair of the Council of Governors. The council was established in 2010 to strengthen collaboration between federal and state governments on national security issues. The president appoints the members, with equal representation from both political parties.
Deere And Co. C-E-O Looks For Pivotal Year
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The CEO of Deere & Co. says this year will be pivotal for the company as lower demand for farm equipment cuts sales but he is optimistic demand for construction equipment and other advanced machinery will strengthen.
Samuel Allen says 2013 was the company's third straight year of record profits, but net income is expected to decline next year by 7 percent to $3.3 billion.
Lower grain prices have left farmers with less cash for tractors and combines.
Allen believes a global population shift to urban areas will create demand for the company's technologically advanced farm equipment and will drive a need for roads, bridges and buildings and the construction equipment Deere makes.
He spoke Wednesday at the company's annual meeting in Moline, Ill.
Soderberg Hopes "Silver Alert" Bill Will Pass
(Le Mars) -- The Iowa Legislature has been combing through bills since the first deadline was imposed a week ago. State Representative Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars says the Iowa House has been passing bills in order to send to the Iowa Senate for its consideration, and vice versa. Soderberg says one bill that was passed by the Iowa House deals with the eligibilitiy of Medicaid.
The Le Mars state representative says the House also focused on what's become known as the Katelynn Shepard bill.
A week ago, Soderberg was concerned that the "Silver Alert" bill did not make it through the funnel deadline in the House of Representatives. However, the State Senate overwhelmingly passed the measure, and Soderberg says he has renewed hope for the bill.
Soderberg says he is particularly interested in the Silver Alert Bill after an elderly Moville man with dimentia issues went missing last August and still has not been found.
State Supreme Court Says Civil Rights Commission Can Enforce Rules
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court says the state's civil rights commission can enforce discrimination laws against employers who require workers to handle labor disputes through arbitration.
The court ruled Friday that the Iowa Civil Rights Commission can pursue a sex discrimination case against Rent-A-Center on behalf of a worker in Council Bluffs who claims the company did not accommodate her pregnancy.
Rent-A-Center had argued that the commission could not bring the case because the complaining worker, Nicole Henry, had signed a contract agreeing that all legal claims related to her employment would be decided by an arbitrator.
The high court rejected that argument in a 7-0 ruling. The court says the Iowa Civil Rights Commission has independent authority to enforce discrimination laws and was not a party to the arbitration agreement.
Alliant Energy Wants Farmers To Attend Pipeline Meeting
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Alliant Energy is encouraging farmers, land owners, tiling companies and contractors to attend a series of pipeline safety programs scheduled in March in four locations around the state.
The program is designed to inform those who work in agriculture about digging and operating safely near pipelines. It a partnership between Iowa One Call, the service that locates and marks underground pipes and wires, and the Iowa Pipeline Association, a utilities industry group that focuses on pipeline safety.
Meetings are scheduled for March 3 in Fort Dodge, March 4 in Mason City, March 5 in Williamsburg and March 11 in Glenwood.
They include a free dinner. Participants should sign up at the website: iowaonecall.com.
Legislature Passes New Regulations For Minors Using Tanning Beds
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Minors who head into tanning salons to bronze their skin could no longer use the facilities under a plan being considered by Iowa lawmakers.
A bill would order tanning salons to ban anyone under age 18 from using commercial tanning devices and would require salons to post and hand out written warnings to customers. The American Cancer Society says the earlier a person is exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning and other sources, the greater the risk of getting melanoma and other skin cancers later in life.
Democratic Sen. Herman Quirmbach, who sponsored the bill, says reducing the risk of skin cancer in any way is crucial.
But pro-tanning groups worry that the benefits associated with indoor tanning, such as vitamin D development, are being ignored.
Eagle Watch Sees Second Egg
RIVERDALE, Iowa (AP) - Two of the world's most-watched eagles have welcomed a second egg to their nest.
Viewers of the Alcoa EagleCam on Thursday spotted another egg in the nest of the eagles, dubbed Liberty and Justice.
The nest is on the property of the Alcoa Davenport Works in Riverdale, and for the past three years millions of Internet viewers have been able to watch streaming video of the eagles.
Company spokesman John Riches says Friday that Liberty laid the second egg about 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
Riches says the last egg usually comes within a week of the first egg, so that would mean any additional arrivals would come by Sunday.
The birds can be seen at alcoa.com/eaglecam.