Tuesday News, November 18
Supervisors To Discuss Joint Urban Renewal Area
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to meet this morning at the County Courthouse Boardroom. The Supervisors will hear from Ron Kneip of Kneip Investments seeking a residential rebate agreement. County Conservation Executive Director, Nick Beeck will appear before the supervisors to submit the Plymouth County Conservation Board's annual report, and County engineer, Tom Rohe is scheduled to appear before the supervisors to review and receive final approval for two construction projects. The supervisors are scheduled to adjourn for lunch which is the County's annual Thanksgiving dinner. Following lunch, the supervisors will reconvene to discuss the city of Le Mars Debt Certification in the Joint Urban Renewal Area.
City Council Will Also Address Joint Urban Renewal Area
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council will discuss the Joint Urban Renewal project and its restructuring during its Tuesday meeting. In other action, the city council will discuss it municipal bonds in accordance with new rules by the Securities Exchange Commission. The city has contacted the Dorsey and Whitney firm from Des Moines to assist with reviewing all past bond issues and to file the request for amnesty. Amnesty must be requested prior to December 1st.
Senate Expected To Vote On International Oil Pipeline Today
(Washington) -- The U-S Senate is expected to vote on the proposed XL Keystone oil pipeline today. The Obama Administration, along with Senate majority leader Harry Reid, have been able to delay the vote until now. Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says he favors the construction of the oil pipeline.
The House of Representatives passed a similar measure this past Friday.
Des Moines Man Arrested Following Random Shootings
PLEASANT HILL, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a man who drove around a Des Moines suburb and randomly opened fire is charged with attempted murder.
Pleasant Hill Public Information Officer Adam Choat says 32-year-old Pete Jason Polson faces several charges stemming from Monday morning's shootings, including two counts of attempted murder. Two men have been hospitalized.
Choat says Polson has been linked to three shootings within a 12-minute span. A third man was fired at but was not hurt. Choat says the victims appear to have been randomly targeted.
The Southeast Polk Community School District canceled classes following the shootings. Superintendent Craig Menozzi says classes likely will resume Tuesday.
Authorities say the shootings aren't related to earlier threats made on social media against a local high school.
Des Moines Schools In Lockdown
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials in Des Moines say a high school, a middle school and an elementary school were briefly locked down because of a nearby shooting.
Des Moines Public Schools says East High School, Hiatt Middle School and Carver Community School were put on a partial lockdown Monday morning following reports of a nearby shooting. A partial lockdown means students are allowed to move around inside the schools.
Police say resource officers were dispatched to provide additional security.
The lockdown was later lifted. No suspects have been identified in the shooting, which police believe involved a dispute between several people. No injuries have been reported.
Authorities say there is no connection between the lockdown and shootings in nearby Pleasant Hill, which led to the cancellation of school for several area schools.
Iowa Public Information Board Appoints New Executive Director
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The board meant to promote openness in Iowa government has named a government lawyer with experience in election and campaign law as its next executive director.
The Iowa Public Information Board said Monday that Charlie Smithson would succeed Keith Luchtel on Dec. 1.
Luchtel, an attorney, served as executive director since the board started operating last year but is stepping down. The board enforces Iowa's open meetings and records laws.
Smithson has served as legal counsel and legislative liason under Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz since 2012. But he's probably best known for serving as executive director of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board from 1998 to 2010.
Board Chair Robert Andeweg says Smithson has great management experience and "knows his way around the Statehouse."
Mason City Man Given Two Years Probation After Stealing From Motel
MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 55-year-old northern Iowa man has been given two years of probation for stealing from a hotel in Mason City where he'd been working as general manager.
On Monday morning, Robert Walker also was given a deferred judgment and 40 hours of community service. Under the deferred judgment, Walker's conviction will be expunged from his record if he successfully completes probation.
He'd pleaded guilty to felony theft after prosecutors dismissed two other charges. Prosecutors say Walker stole from the Holiday Inn Express from September to December 2013.
Judge Gregg Rosenbladt said at Walker's sentencing hearing that Walker posed no threat to the community and told him that, "You are just about squeaky clean except for this one incident."
Farmers File Lawsuits Against Syngenta
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - More farmers are filing lawsuits against agrochemicals giant Syngenta in a legal battle tied to the sale of a genetically modified corn seed.
Agrisure Viptera is genetically altered to kill corn-eating bugs and is approved by the United States. It was marketed to farmers in 2011.
But China, a major corn market that refuses to buy genetically modified crops it hasn't tested, had not agreed to import it. It began rejecting U.S. corn last year when Viptera was detected.
More than 50 lawsuits have been filed and hundreds more are being prepared. The lawsuits say losing China as a buyer has cost corn farmers more than $1 billion.
Syngenta says the lawsuits are without merit and upholds the right of farmers to use approved new technologies.
State Corn Harvest Nearing Completion
(Des Moines) -- The latest weekly crop report shows the state's corn harvest had slowed down due to the cold temperatures and snow. Still, Iowa farmers have been able to harvest 92 percent of the corn, which is equal to 2013, but two days ahead of the five-year average. This was the first time this season the corn harvest was ahead of normal pace. The corn harvest in south central Iowa continues to trail behind the rest of the state with only 79 percent complete. The state's soybean harvest is all but completed with 98 percent harvested.
Farm Credit Official Predicts Land Values To Still Be Strong
(Kansas City) -- While land prices in many parts of the Midwest have come down from their record highs, there are no indications they’re going to collapse. Doug Stark, president and CEO of Omaha-based Farm Credit Services of America, says there’s still a lot of strength under farmland overall.
But Stark says if the profitability in farming remains low—and interest rates start to rise—it’s likely to have a dampening effect on land prices going forward.
Farm Credit Services of America serves farmers in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.