Friday Afternoon News, October 10
Soybean Harvest Progressing In Plymouth County
(Kingsley) -- Harvest is now underway in Plymouth County, and according to Chris Pedersen who manages the Farmers Cooperative Elevator in Kingsley, it is still early for corn, but the soybean harvest has had good yield results.
Pedersen says the farmers around the southeast corner of Plymouth County were not adversely affected by an early season frost of nearly ten days ago.
This year's crop has been slow to mature, and the grain merchandiser says he has seen a slower start to the harvest.
Pedersen says this year's harvest volume should be close to last year's, however, he says farmers are concerned about the drop of commodity prices.
Sioux City Officials Trying To Decide What To Do With Riverfront Property
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Now that the former Argosy riverboat casino is being removed, Sioux City officials are beginning to consider options for the soon-to-be vacant riverfront space.
The riverboat pulled away from its dock earlier this week. City officials say some ideas, such as a fishing pier or retail shops, have been tossed around for the site, but that nothing's final yet. They say they're in no hurry to immediately pick a new use for the site leased to the former casino operator for the past 21 years.
Mayor Bob Scott says a final decision likely won't come until next year.
Two barges that housed casino offices still remain on the Sioux City riverfront. The vessels' owner says workers have been putting in 11-hour days in dismantling the barges.
Insurance Commissioner Says Few People Will Be Affected From Insurance Rates Rising
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A state regulator says less than 2 percent of Iowans will be hit by state-approved health insurance rate increases.
The Iowa Insurance Division said Wednesday that it had approved 2015 increases averaging 8.7 percent to 19 percent for Iowans who bought individual policies from Coventry Healthcare, Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield, and CoOportunity Health.
The department says the increases were justified, in part by costs associated with the federal Affordable Care Act.
Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart says that Iowa's overall health insurance climate is stable, with most premium increases being relatively small.
MidAmerican To Expand Wind Farms
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - MidAmerican Energy Company says it plans to develop a wind farm in southwest Iowa and expand another operation in northwest Iowa.
The Des Moines-based company announced Friday it plans to build the wind farm in Adams County and expand an existing farm in O'Brien County.
MidAmerican estimates the developments would cost up to $280 million and result in 67 new turbines.
If approved by the Iowa Utilities Board, the utility expects construction could begin next summer and be completed in 2015.
The turbine blades will be manufactured at a Siemens Energy plant in Fort Madison.
MidAmerican says the projects will generate more than $40 million in property tax revenue over the next 30 years plus payments to landowners.
MidAmerican also has projects underway in Grundy, Madison, O'Brien and Webster counties.
Ernst Adds $6 Million To Campaign Bank Account
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst has over $3 million in the bank going into the final stretch of the competitive campaign.
Ernst announced Friday that she raised $6 million between July 1 and Sept. 30. Of that, $302,000 went to pay off debt from her primary campaign. She concluded the financial quarter with $3.2 million in cash.
Ernst is locked in a tight race against Democrat Bruce Braley. She substantially outraised him in the latest quarter. Braley's campaign said last week he had raised $2.8 million in the same time period. Braley's campaign declined to say how much cash he has left.
Full campaign finance reports are due to federal authorities on Oct. 15.