State awards funding to Sioux Center firm planning expansion
(DES MOINES)–The Iowa Economic Development Board Thursday awarded funding to 17 companies that are planning or proposing expansion projects across the state. Some of the awards are designed to lure companies to Iowa from other states. Iowa Department of Economic Development spokesperson Kay Snyder says, combined, the projects would create 300 new jobs. The biggest award of just over three-point-two million dollars ($3.2 million) is directed toward one of the largest animal health companies in the world – Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica.
Split Rock Capital of Sheldon received 125-thousand dollars from the Iowa Demonstration Fund. The money will be used to develop a new, patent pending wind turbine technology. The Vertical Farm Tower will support utility grade and distributed wind generation projects.
According to state officials, Split Rock Capital intends to prove commercial viability of the utility grade wind turbines and then make the next generation wind turbines in Iowa.
The other projects or proposals awarded funding are located in Fort Madison, Marion, Hiawatha, Eldridge, Pella, Davenport, Ankeny, Huxley, Vinton, West Des Moines, Cedar Falls, and Clive.
Quality of life, private business are funding issues
(LE MARS)-The role of government in business and quality of life are issues dominating discussion about a spending decision for Plymouth County government.
Supervisors this week did not approve 50-thousand dollars requested by the Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation (LBIC) to assist with reopening a movie theatre in downtown Le Mars.
Supervisor Craig Anderson this week said while he was very supportive and intended to use the theatre, Anderson questioned whether he was hearing a very responsible, positive impact from the taxpayers who contacted him about the request. Anderson also questioned financing a business.
Neal Adler of the Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation recalled theatre buyer Eric Hilsabeck was asked to open a state-of-the-art theatre which increased costs 300-thousand dollars over Hilsabeck’s original plans. Quality of life was another of Adler’s points to supervisors this week.
Supervisors, including Mark Loutsch, talked of a plateful of financial issues, including a bridge project on Otter Avenue. Supervisor Don Kass said projected mental health fund shortages were part of the issue too.
Supervisor Gordon Greene described his motion to approve a five-year loan to the LBIC from county local option sales tax as strictly business.
Greene’s motion didn’t reach a vote because there was no second. Greene voted no when the board turned down the LBIC theatre request.
Barn damaged by fire near Hinton
(HINTON)–Fire damaged an older, wooden barn on an acreage southeast of Hinton Wednesday.
Hinton Fire Chief Chad Beck says about one-fourth of the unused building burned.
The cause of the fire on property owned by Lance Bollmeyer has not been determined. Beck says the barn could be repaired for use.
Fire fighters were called about eleven Wednesday morning and asked for assistance with manpower and water from the Merrill Department.
According to the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office fire log, the Merrill Department was out on the call for about an hour. Hinton fire fighters completed the call just after one Wednesday afternoon.
Traffic stop leads to forgery, identity theft charges
(ORANGE CITY)–A Minnesota man is being held in the Sioux County Jail after a traffic stop by a sheriff’s deputy near Hull.
The Sheriff’s Office released written information about felony charges of forgery and identify theft for 23-year-old Roque Marquez-Esteban of Worthington.
Marquez-Esteban was stopped four miles east of Hull Tuesday night. He was charged with driving without a license and failing to have insurance.
Authorities report their further investigation determined he had been working at Golden Crisp in Sioux Center using someone else’s identity.
Sac County Sheriff asks for information about Tennessee man
(SAC CITY)–Sac County’s Sheriff is asking for information about a man whose body was found in a towed car Tuesday.
According to Sheriff Ken McClure, the body of 46-year-old Earl James Ealey of Clarksville, Tennessee was found by a service station employee Tuesday.
The car with Ealey’s body was towed after it was reported blocking Highway 71 at the Sac-Buena Vista County line during a winter storm Saturday.
The vehicle was towed when it was completely covered with heavy, wet snow and all the doors were locked.
Initial autopsy results Thursday showed no signs of foul play.
Authorities say Ealey came to the area around November 10th to meet an old Army buddy. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sac County Sheriff’s office.
Man found shot to death in vehicle in Des Moines
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Des Moines police say a man found inside a vehicle at an apartment complex was shot to death, and a homicide investigation is under way.
Sgt. Jeff Edwards says 36-year-old LaCarlton Henderson of Des Moines was found in a sport utility vehicle in the parking lot around 7:30 a.m. Thursday.
Edwards says he was shot in the head. No other details were immediately released.
Suspect’s family ‘shocked’ by Iowa store killings
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The family of a Minnesota teenager accused of killing two store clerks in northern Iowa is expressing condolences to the victims’ families.
In a statement, the parents of 17-year-old Michael Swanson say “nothing has prepared us for this type of a tragedy.”
Swanson’s parents say they previously sought assistance for their son and “are struggling to make sense of his actions.”
The teenager from St. Louis Park is charged in Monday night’s shooting deaths at convenience stores in Algona and Humboldt. The victims Vicky Bowman-Hall and Sheila Myers were shot about an hour apart.
KCCI-TV says an attorney for Swanson’s family released the statement. It says the family will not make any additional comments.
Appeals Court judge calls for transparency
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A Court of Appeals judge says making Iowa’s judge-selection process more open to public scrutiny might ease suspicion of the courts that contributed to the ouster of three Supreme Court justices this month.
Speaking Thursday on a conference call sponsored by the Iowa State Bar Association, Judge Mary Tabor maintained that officials should consider making applications for judge positions open to public scrutiny. Under the current system, the applications of those seeking appointments as judges are kept confidential.
She called such a change a modest step that could give people more insight into the people who are applying to be judges.
Voters on Nov. 2 removed three justices after a campaign noting their support for a unanimous decision that legalized gay marriage in Iowa.
New Iowa GOP House speaker names key leaders
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Incoming House Speaker Kraig Paulsen has named key leaders to committees in the Iowa Legislature.
Republicans will control the House by a 60-40 margin when lawmakers convene January.
Paulsen, a Hiawatha Republican, has named Rep. Chris Hagenow, of Windsor Heights, to head the Government Oversight Committee. Rep. Rich Anderson, of Clarinda, will chair the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Greg Forristall, of Macedonia, will run the House Education Committee.
Lawmakers must draw new congressional and legislative districts to reflect population shifts recorded in the new census. The issue is being closely followed because Iowa will lose a seat in Congress because of stagnant population growth.
Arkansas company moving Iowa plant
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Arkansas-based River Bend Industries is closing its plastics factory in North Liberty and investing $1 million to expand and upgrade its plant about 35 miles west in Victor.
The Des Moines Register says the company will move machinery and employees.
The North Liberty plant has about 60 workers, and River Bend President Ron Embree says all have been offered jobs. In addition, five to 10 workers will be added.
Embree cites the current economic environment for the decision.
The company expects the work to begin immediately.
River Bend, based in Fort Smith, Ark., purchased Victor Plastics in 2008.
Victor Plastics was in bankruptcy court when River Bend bought it, saving dozens of jobs.
Fed: Iowa farmland up 13 percent in past year
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago shows the value of Iowa farmland rose 13 percent from October 2009 to this past October, stimulated by rising corn and soybean prices.
The survey is based on 227 bankers in its five-state district. The Chicago Fed doesn’t put a dollar amount of land values.
From July to October, corn prices rose from $3.50 per bushel to over $5 a bushel and soybeans climbed from $9 per bushel to $13.
According to the Des Moines Register, Chicago Fed economist David Oppendahl says the surge in farmland values is fueled by projected increases in farm income.
An annual survey by Iowa State University in September showed Iowa farmland values rose 8.5 percent from September 2009 to a statewide average of $4,518.
UI expects to up costs from 2008 flood
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) University of Iowa officials are bracing for higher-than-expected costs from the historic flooding in 2008.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen says Doug True, the university’s vice president for finance, expects to release a new estimate early next year that exceeds the current projection of $743 million. One reason, he says, is higher than expected costs of protecting campus utilities from future flooding.
The 2008 flood knocked more than 20 building out of commission, including Hancher Auditorium and the art and music buildings.
In an October report to the Iowa Board of Regents, the university had spent $155 million so far on flood recovery.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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