propane

Buy Propane while it’s Cheap

While many Iowans have their air conditioners running during the heat of early August, one expert suggests they look ahead to wintertime and their home heating needs. Harold Hommes, a fuels analyst with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, says a very rapid rise in liquid propane prices last winter left many Iowans stunned and facing tough financial decisions… “We’re encouraging people to be prepared. Last year was truly an unusual situation that caught a lot of people off guard. We had prices bumping up in that $4 and $5 level and we certainly don’t want to see a repeat of that.” Continue Reading

target

Target Backs Same-Sex Marriage

Target Corp. is adding its name to a legal defense of gay marriage, joining other large companies that have taken a stand on same-sex unions. Target says it signed a court brief backing marriage equality in a pending case. Starbucks, Intel and Apple have publicly backed gay marriage advocates in court cases or ballot issues. Nearly all of Minnesota’s biggest corporations declined to take a position on the 2012 state referendum to ban gay marriage except for General Mills, which opposed the ban. Continue Reading

Trail Through Corn Field

Drones could be used for Agriculture

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, is the subject of much debate, but those remote-control flying robot-cameras may be the wave of the future — for farmers. Craig Hill, a farmer in Milo and president of the Iowa Farm Bureau, predicts the use of emerging technologies that give a farmer a full-color perspective on his fields from far above will prove quite successful for agriculture in the years ahead… “Eighty-percent of the use of drones in America will be for agriculture,” Hill says. “This will be a big feature and it actually could be an economic driver in agriculture, both in the services provided and in increased productivity.” Drones were a topic of conversation at last weekend’s third annual Iowa Farm Bureau economic summit, held in Ames. Continue Reading

dollar-tree-logo

Dollar Tree buying up Family Dollar Stores

Iowans who like to shop at stores where everything’s a dollar may soon see some changes. The Dollar Tree chain is buying rival Family Dollar for eight-and-a-half BILLION dollars. There are about 40 Dollar Trees in Iowa and around 20 Family Dollars. While the items at Dollar Tree all cost a buck or less, the Family Dollar stocks some items up to five-dollars, and higher. The new Dollar Tree chain will become North America’s biggest discount retailer. Continue Reading

ragbrai

Another RAGBRAI Rider Dies

A RAGBRAI rider was found dead inside his tent Thursday in Mason City. The man has been identified as 74-year-old George Brinkeroff of Sioux City. The cause of death has yet to be determined but a medical examiner says it appears the man died from natural causes. This is now the second person who has died on the ride this year. Continue Reading

des.m0723RAGBRAI.bsh

RAGBRAI rider died Monday

His identity has not been released, but a 63-year-old man died Monday during RAGBRAI.  

(photo from http://ragbrai.com/2014/07/22/photos-emmetsburg-to-forest-city/ )

According to the RAGBRAI website, he suffered from a medical issue and not from a traumatic injury. He was taken to a hospital in Emmetsburg where he later passed away. The last time someone died during the bike event was in 2010 when a cyclist collided with another rider. Within the 42 years RAGBRAI has taken place, 29 people have died during the event. Continue Reading

money in the hands

Low campaign funds for Hatch compared to Branstad

Jack Hatch, the Democratic candidate for governor, continues to trail Republican Governor Terry Branstad in fundraising. The single-largest individual contribution during the reporting period came from Josh Nelson of Spencer, the owner of a local phone company who wrote a 50-thousand dollar check to the Branstad campaign. John Smith, the C-E-O of a Cedar Rapids-based trucking company, wrote Branstad’s campaign a 25-thousand dollar check. Mark Falb of Dubuque, the executive of a textbook publishing company, also contributed 25-thousand dollars. Bruce Rastetter, the agribusinessman who was Branstad’s number-one contributor in 2010, wrote the campaign a 10-thousand dollar check earlier this month. Continue Reading

ambulance

Not enough Ambulances in Iowa

A newspaper report says 29 of Iowa’s 99 counties have no ambulance or only one capable of providing full-time, 24-hour-a-day service. These 29 counties are home to nearly 427,000 people. The Des Moines Register also says in its analysis of data from the Iowa Bureau of Emergency Medical Services that 14 Iowa counties have four or fewer emergency medical service agencies of any kind within their borders. Brian Donaldson is director of Sumner Emergency Medical Services, and he says part of the problem is that emergency medical services are not required of cities and counties. Donaldson says a 2007 study showed the relative risk of a rural victim dying in a crash is 15 times greater than in urban areas, after adjusting for other contributing factors. Continue Reading

Oil-Pipeline-Good-practices1

Potential Oil Pipeline across Iowa

Published reports say a Texas firm proposes constructing an oil pipeline that would cut diagonally through some 400 miles of Iowa farmland, crossing 17 counties in the state. The 11-hundred-mile pipeline would join the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota with an existing pipeline in southern Illinois. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin just learned of the proposal yesterday morning and says it’s too early to make a definitive statement on it until more detail is known… “Generally, I favor pipelines over rail. It’s cheaper and it’s safer. Continue Reading