Obama Arrives In New York

Obama Signs Farm Bill

President Obama signed the 2014 Farm Bill into law Friday in East Lansing, Michigan. The president told the crowd gathered for the event that the long overdue bill doesn’t just help farmers… “Secretary Vilsack calls it a jobs bill, an innovation bill, an infrastructure bill, a research bill, a conservation bill,” Obama said. “It’s like a Swiss Army knife.” The legislation strips out controversial direct payment subsidies to farmers and bulks up subsidized crop insurance… Continue Reading

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Alliant Energy Warns Iowans of Scam

Alliant Energy is warning its customers in Iowa about a new scam. Utility spokesman Justin Foss says a couple of customers in Mason City say they’ve been approached by someone claiming to be with Alliant and saying they had to pay their bill on the spot… “Somebody came to the door and demanded they be paid in cash or that the person go buy a pre-paid debit card and hand that over right away or their electricity would be disconnected.” Foss says they do not go door-to-door demanding payment. Foss says if you get someone at your door or on the phone demanding immediate payment and it sounds suspicious, it’s likely bogus. Continue Reading

cityhall

Burlington Council Agrees to 42-Cent Tax Increase

The Burlington City Council agreed last night to raise property taxes 42-cents-per-thousand dollars.    

It had been considering a 60-cent increase. Here’s what will be cut…

Police Department- $20,000

Fire Department- $25,000

Demolition Fund- $30,000

(potentially) The Bees- $25,000

Maintaining of two parking lots- $65,000

$46,000-plus over two years by requiring 48 non-union city workers to contribute 2.5% of their salaries to their health insurance premiums.

The Library will not be cut again, but may in fiscal year ’16. Continue Reading

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Water Main Break

The water was flowing downhill fast, and luckily hasn’t caused any traffic accidents yet. There was a water main break near the intersection of Division and Central early this afternoon and it’s currently still being worked on. As of 2:30pm, the Burlington water department says it could be another 2-3 hours before it’s fixed. Traffic is down to two lanes so drive with caution. It’s still unclear what caused the break. Continue Reading

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Downtown Burlington Grows

Within the past year, Westland Mall in West Burlington has said good-bye to Diamond Daves, the Broadway, and soon McGregors and the Hallmark store. To be fair, there is a new store opening at the mall called Justice, which is a clothing store that targets “tweens”. Downtown Burlington has been in this position as well, but is starting to turn around according to Doreen Roy, who serves on the Downtown Partners Board of Directors.. “You know, everything goes through an ebb and flow. Obviously we had our downtown businesses do very well years back. Continue Reading

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Craigslist “Murderer Wanted Ad” from Iowa

 An Iowa woman has been sentenced to more than 7 years in prison for using a Craigslist help-wanted ad to solicit someone to kill her father. U.S. District Judge Linda Reade gave the 87-month prison term Wednesday to 23-year-old Megan Schmidt of Dubuque. Schmidt pleaded guilty in November to using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire. In a plea agreement, Schmidt admitted that she posted Craigslist ads seeking someone to do a “one-time job” for $10,000. She later told one man who responded that she wanted her father dead and that it would be best to “either shoot or stab him because he is a bigger man.” Continue Reading

law

Judge Orders Juvenile Home Reopened

A district court judge has ruled the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo should be reopened. The judge ruled Governor Branstad over-stepped his authority when he ordered the home closed in mid-January. Four Democrats in the legislature and the president of the union that has represented the home’s workers filed the lawsuit challenging the closure. AFSCME president Danny Homan says the governor should “immediately comply” with the judge’s order and reopen the home. House Democratic Leader Mark Smith is calling on Branstad to work with legislators on a bill that would improve services for the state’s most troubled teens, including girls sent to the Juvenile Home. Continue Reading

duckcall

2014 Mississippi Valley Calling Classic Saturday

Duck callers from around the country will swarm to Burlington this Saturday for the 2014 Mississippi Valley Calling Classic. Organizer of the event, Curt Diewold, says this Saturday’s Calling Classic is one of the nations’s top calling contests and attracts people from all over… “We pull people from coast to coast, border to border. We have a group of gentlemen traveling from Canada. They’ve been coming down 10 years in a row to this event.” Continue Reading

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An Evening of Snow Plowing Tonight in Burlington

Countless crews are out and about today, plowing snow and trying to keep our streets, roads, and parking lots clear. In Burlington, Chris Clements of the City’s Public Works Department brought us up to speed… “We’re probably looking at late this evening and tomorrow morning before we get through all the streets. We’re in emergencies right now and the secondaries.” Residential areas will be plowed this evening and early tomorrow morning. Continue Reading

Trail Through Corn Field

Farm Bill Passes Senate, Ready for Obama’s Signature

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a five-year Farm Bill on a vote of 68-32. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey is relieved the measure is finally headed to President Obama, who is expected to sign the bill into law… “It’s certainly a relief to finally have a Farm Bill after a long run. It could’ve and should’ve probably been done in 2012.” The $500 billion Farm Bill will end direct payments to farmers… Continue Reading