shell-gas-station-pump

Gas Prices Starting to Ease

U.S gas prices have fallen a bit for the first time in 13 weeks. Some analysts at AAA are saying gas prices for the spring season may have already peaked, or are close to doing so. Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, GasBuddy.com reports that motorists may pay a bit less at the pump than they did this time last year. According to the GasBuddy blog…”many of the factors that contributed to a 35cts gal spike in 2014 prices have run their collective course. All U.S. distribution terminals have now transitioned from “winter” to “summer” grades of gasoline, and about 90% of all U.S. spring refinery maintenance has been successfully concluded.” Continue Reading

No-Money

Republicans Block Minimum Wage Bill

Senate Republicans have blocked an election-year bill by Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin that would have raised the federal minimum wage. Harkin is a Democrat and he chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He says his bill would gradually raise the wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.00 over a period of 30 months. In addition to raising the wage nearly three dollars an hour, Harkin’s measure also calls for automatic annual increases in the wage to offset inflation. Harkin says if the wage hike was approved, it would have given consumers another 35-billion dollars to spend at local businesses, helping boost jobs and production. Continue Reading

Corn

Rain Prevent Farmers from Planting

The U-S-D-A crop report says the rains have kept farmers out of the fields, but improved the soil moisture in most areas. Soil temperatures remain a concern for farmers planting in northern Iowa. The report says 15-percent of the projected state corn crop has been planted — which is 13-percent ahead of last year — but 18-percent behind the five year average. Some corn has started to emerge. Soybean planting has yet to fully take off as there were just scattered reports of beans being planted last week. Continue Reading

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