Saturday News, May 23
Memorial Day Weekend To See Heavy Traffic
(Le Mars) -- The Triple-A Motor Club is estimating more than 37 million people will take to the nation's highways and by-ways during this long Memorial Day weekend, and you can be certain the various law enforcement agencies will be watching how you drive. Iowa State Patrol trooper, Vince Kurtz says Memorial Day Weekend is always a busy time on the roads, and he reminds motorists to "buckle up".
Remsen To Host Photo Exhibit "Remembering Our Fallen Soldiers"
(Remsen) -- For the next week a traveling photo exhibit entitled "Remembering Our Fallen Soldiers" will be on display at the old Remsen city hall gymnasium. Janine Klein is the director of library services for the city of Remsen, which is hosting the exhibit. She says the exhibit stretches for 40 linear feet.
Townhall Meetings To Address Bird Flu
(Sioux Center) -- Iowa Senator Joni Ernst is hosting a series of town hall forums addressing the the bird flu epidemic. The forums are scheduled for today, Saturday and will take place at Osceola, Lyon, and Sioux Counties. Joining the forums will be Iowa Republican 4th District Congressman Steve King, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, and various state representatives and state senators. The meetings are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at the Cooperative Energy at Sibley, 11:15 a.m. at the Rock Rapids Public Library, and at 1:45 p.m. at the DeJager Student Activities Center at Dordt College in Sioux Center.
Diesel Fuel Spill At Storm Lake
STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Diesel fuel has accidentally spilled into Storm Lake in northern Iowa, but officials say it's a small amount that's not expected to affect wildlife or recreational use.
Julie Sievers with the state Department of Natural Resources says the spill occurred briefly Friday as officials with the city of Storm Lake added fuel into an apparatus that pumps excess soil from the lake bed. It's unclear what caused the spill.
It's also unclear how much fuel spilled, but Sievers estimates it will be less than 20 gallons.
DNR is working with city officials to clean up the spill with booms before Friday night. Sievers says wildlife and recreational use should not be affected, though people have been told to avoid areas with a visible sheen on the water.
Egg Production Drops Due To Bird Flu
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa egg production for April fell 8 percent from the month before and 4 percent from a year ago as the bird flu claimed millions of egg-laying hens.
The first case was found in Iowa chickens around April 20th so the decline reflected in the U.S. Department of Agriculture monthly report reflects only some infected farms. The June 22nd report will show a more complete picture. The virus has spread to 63 farms killing more than 21 million egg-layers.
The average number of layers on hand was 56.1 million in April, 5 percent lower than the year before.
The loss drove egg prices to a record on Friday. Midwest large eggs reached $2.32 a dozen. Commodity market analyst Urner Barry says the previous record was $2.27 set on December 4th.
Egg Prices Soar
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Egg prices surged to a record on Friday, a month after bird flu was first detected in the chicken flock in Iowa, the nation's leading egg producer.
Midwest large eggs reached $2.32 a dozen.
Rick Brown, a senior vice president for Urner Barry, a commodity market analyst says that's a 95 percent increase in the month since bird flu first hit Iowa chickens. He says the previous record was $2.27 set on December 4th.
Eggs used to make ice cream, mayonnaise and other processed foods set a record Friday of $2.13 a dozen, up 238 percent from the selling price of April 22nd around the date Iowa's first chicken farm tested positive.
More than 21 million of Iowa's egg-laying hens have been killed.
Pocahontas Turkey Farm Latest Bird Flu Victim
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa agriculture officials say an additional turkey farm in Pocahontas County has tested positive for bird flu. If confirmed, the case will be the third in that county. The case brings the Iowa total to 64 farms with bird flu.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture estimates 21,000 turkeys on the farm. Iowa has just over 1 million turkeys already killed or to be euthanized as a result of the virus.
Iowa will lose more than 25 million birds, mostly chickens, as a result of the disease which first surfaced just over a month ago.
The spread of the disease seems to be slowing with fewer new cases reported daily. Minnesota reported no new cases Friday, the seventh day with no new cases reported.
Legislators Say Progress Is Being Made On Education Funding Bill, But No Agreement
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers say they've made progress in determining how much to spend on the state's overall budget, including K through 12 education.
Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal say they're optimistic, despite not reaching a deal Friday following another round of meetings at the Capitol. Paulsen of Hiawatha predicted lawmakers could be debating budget bills as early as Wednesday. Gronstal of Council Bluffs also indicated his office was communicating with various departments over proposed numbers.
But neither lawmaker elaborated on potential concessions over the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1st. The Senate and Governor Terry Branstad have proposed overall general fund budgets of about $7.34 billion. House Republicans want to spend $7.17 billion. For schools, the two sides are about $50 million apart.
Economic Development Authority Approves Business Incentives
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The department that oversees economic development in Iowa says it has approved investment funding that will eventually create more than 1,300 jobs in the state.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority says its board awarded money and tax benefits Friday to six companies expected to add jobs and expand projects.
The investment will help projects or proposed projects in Cedar Rapids, Colfax, Fort Dodge, Sioux City, Urbandale and Waterloo.
Department officials estimate the awards will create nearly $392 million in new capital investment in the state.