Saturday News, November 14
Land Sales Continue To Fetch High Bids Despite Low Commodity Prices
(Hospers) -- Despite low agricultural commodity prices, land still seems to be in high demand with buyers willing to spend near record levels. At a Sioux County land auction held on Friday near Hospers, a tract of 154 acres sold at $17,300 an acre. Jim Klein of Remsen was the auctioneer for the sale. He says the land sold is of high quality with a history of being very productive.
Klein says the land was sold to a local neighboring farmer that had land already adjacent to the land that sold.
The price per acre is not a record for Sioux County land sales, as a parcel of land sold for more than $20,000 an acre nearly two years ago, but as Klein says, with lower grain prices, the expectation would be that land values would also decline.
Sioux County is a leader in livestock and poultry production, and Klein believes one reason for the high demand for land is so farmers have somewhere to dispose manure.
Klein says the tract of land did bring several bidders at the start of the sale. He says this was the highest price paid for land that he has had a role in selling.
Raccoon River Still Has High Level Of Nitrates
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A report from Agriculture's Clean Water Alliance says half of the 45 monitoring sites on the Raccoon River in central Iowa are showing the highest average nitrate levels in 10 years of data collection.
The data on the river, which is a source of drinking water for 500,000 central Iowa residents, was included in the agribusiness group's Thursday report.
The group's executive director Roger Wolf says significant amounts of rain this year has stripped nitrogen from the state's farm fields, and nitrate levels have fluctuated in recent years due to shifts between wet and dry growing condition. He said many factors influence water quality, but that weather is a particular driving force.
Jennifer Terry, environmental advocacy leader for Des Moines Water Works, says the group's report shows "continued water degradation."
Sheldahl Issues Bottled Water Advisory
SHELDAHL, Iowa (AP) - The central Iowa city of Sheldahl has issued a bottled water advisory after testing found concentrations of nitrate more than twice the maximum level considered safe.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says officials issued the advisory Friday after the DNR found nitrate levels of just over 2 milligrams per liter of water. The sample was taken November 4th but a laboratory didn't notify the DNR within 24 hours as required.
The city is flushing its water system. The DNR is conducting additional tests.
The water is considered safe for adults and children older than 6 months but can be dangerous for younger children.
The DNR didn't identify the cause of the problem, but high nitrate levels have been a persistent problem, in part because of fertilizer runoff from farms.
Inmate Dies While In Prison
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 61-year-old inmate serving time at a maximum security prison in Iowa has died of natural causes.
The Iowa Department of Corrections says Lawrence Raymond Dawson died Thursday at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.
Officials say Dawson died of natural causes from liver cancer.
Dawson was assigned to the Anamosa State Penitentiary in Cedar Rapids. He had been sentenced to serve a total of 80 years for sex abuse and assault convictions. He began one of his sentences in 1983.
Inmate Sentenced To Additional Time After Attempted Murder Another Inmate
CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa inmate accused of trying to kill another inmate has been sentenced to additional time in prison.
22-year-old Michael Swanson was sentenced this month to 25 years in prison following a guilty plea of attempted murder.
A criminal complaint says Swanson slashed an inmate in the neck at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville in November 2014. The victim required stiches for several cuts.
Swanson was serving two life sentences at the time for the 2010 shooting deaths of 47-year-old Vicky Bowman-Hall and 61-year-old Sheila Myers. The women were working at separate convenience stores at the time of their deaths.
Swanson was 17 at the time, and he is awaiting a resentencing hearing following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on juvenile sentencing.