walnuttwig

Another Invasive Insect Heading to Iowa

While Iowans are seeing the first ash trees cut down to slow the spread of the emerald ash borer, yet another invading insect is causing a stir as it could threaten our walnut trees. Robin Pruisner, an entomologist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, says the pest called the walnut twig beetle is being found in nearby states, but it hasn’t been found in Iowa — yet. “Research is ongoing on how to protect walnut trees,” Pruisner says. “We just don’t have a lot of answers. This is even newer than the emerald ash borer at this point in time.” Continue Reading

gun

4 Shot and Killed in Chicago After a Warm Weekend

Chicago’s warmest weekend of the year was also its most violent. Four people were shot and killed between Friday afternoon and Sunday night on the city’s South and West sides — the first a 17-year-old girl on the city’s South Side on Friday afternoon — and more than 30 were wounded. The other homicide victims include a 32-year-old man, a 20-year-old man and a 34-year-old man. Among those most seriously wounded is a 24-year-old mother of two who was shot twice in the head. The number of shootings typically increases when the temperatures climb and more people are outside. Continue Reading

Marijuana

Branstad Interested in Limited Medical Marijuana Bill

Governor Terry Branstad is giving his first indication that he would be open to signing a limited medical marijuana bill into law this legislative session. Branstad recently met with parents who want to use an oil derived from marijuana to help their children who have seizures. Branstad, a Republican, says he’s talked with the governor of Utah, who approved such a law… “One of our big problems today is people abusing prescription drugs that are meant for somebody else. We don’t want to create more problems –we don’t want unintended consequences, but, it looks like we could end up with something that is very limited in focus like was passed recently in Utah and Alabama. Continue Reading

Nat’l/World Headlines from the Associated Press

PERTH, Australia (AP) — A ship carrying a black box detector is expected to take a few days to reach the current Indian Ocean area where the search for a missing Malaysian airliner continues.  

Ships have recovered some debris but none has been confirmed as part of the missing aircraft. In Malaysia relatives of Chinese passengers today demanded an apology and more information from the government.  

PARIS (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry was on his way home from the Middle East and on a fuel stop in Ireland when he ordered a course change back to Paris. He’s to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Russian ambassador’s residence to again discuss the Ukraine crisis. Continue Reading

barge

Frozen Mississippi Delays Barge Traffic by a Month

Barge operators say persistent ice in the Mississippi River is delaying traffic along the water by a month. The Telegraph Herald reports some operators begin sending their barges up and down the river in early March. But the bitter cold this winter and frigid start to the spring has changed the schedule. The National Weather Service says the Mississippi still has ice in a stretch of river that extends from Minneapolis to Clinton, Iowa. The depth of the ice varies from 5-10 inches. Continue Reading

barge

Frozen Mississippi Delays Barge Traffic by a Month

 Barge operators say persistent ice in the Mississippi River is delaying traffic along the water by a month. The Telegraph Herald reports some operators begin sending their barges up and down the river in early March. But the bitter cold this winter and frigid start to the spring has changed the schedule. The National Weather Service says the Mississippi still has ice in a stretch of river that extends from Minneapolis to Clinton, Iowa. The depth of the ice varies from 5-10 inches. Continue Reading

DSCN2551

NOAA Predicts Cool Iowa Spring and Delayed Flooding

Our area was mentioned in a national teleconference this morning by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) when speaking about the potential flood risk for this Spring. NOAA’s acting director, Robbert Hartman: “Specific rivers at risk include the Mississippi River between Davenport and Burlington, Iowa, the Illinois River between Beardstown and Henry Illinois, as well as many smaller rivers in this region.” He also said that our flooding will most likely be delayed… “The continuation of winter weather, along with the above average snow pack, frozen ground, and thick ice coverage on streams and rivers, will delay spring flooding into April in the upper Midwest.” Temperatures for our spring are predicted to be lower than normal. Continue Reading

spring

Spring Begins Tomorrow!

Many people have been counting down the days, and tomorrow it will be here. After a harsh winter, Thursday March 20th is the beginning of Spring, the date of the vernal equinox, or spring equinox, in the northern hemisphere. Unfortunately, according to Kerry Koonce from Iowa Workforce Development, warmer temperatures won’t immediately signal the start of construction in many towns… “The ground, they’re saying, is frozen so deep that that’s really going to have an impact on when some of them get started.” She says things probably won’t pick up until we get into April. Continue Reading

JOBS

Iowa Unemployment Increases a Tiny Bit

It wasn’t a drastic change, but the unemployment rate in Iowa moved up to 4.3% in January. In December unemployment was at 4.2%. Last January however, Iowa was at 5.0%, so we are seeing an improvement. Overall in the U.S., unemployment fell to 6.6% from 6.7% in December. It’s the lowest national rate since October 2008. Continue Reading