Just as Much Corn but Fewer Soybeans for Iowa this Year

The U-S-D-A spring planting survey shows farmers across the country intend to plant a little more corn and slightly less soybeans in the upcoming growing season.  

 

Iowa goes slightly against that trend. The state was the top corn producer in the nation last year and estimates show farmers will plant the same 14-point-two-million acres in corn planted last year.   Iowa soybean acres are expected to increase by one-percent to nine-point-four-million acres. Overall, the report says 97-point-three million acres will be planted to corn this year compared to 97-point-two million last year. Bean acreage is projected at 77-point-one-million acres, compared to 77-point-two million in 2012. Continue Reading

California Chick-fil-A gives free food to gay marriage supporters at rally

A California Chick-fil-A surprised gay marriage supportersat a rally by passing out free meals coupons, despite the fast food chain’s COO’s outspoken stance against same-sex marriage. The Los Angeles Daily News reports Corey Braun, the owner and operator of a franchise in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., says he felt the gathering was an opportunity to show hospitality to members of his community, regardless of their beliefs. “I wanted to show that Chick-fil-A doesn’t discriminate against anybody,” Braun told the Los Angeles Daily News. “We serve everyone. We’re happy to serve the community and this was an opportunity to have this group come in and show them our hospitality regardless of their beliefs, sexual orientation, or whatever.” Continue Reading

Calif. border patrol officer allowed illegal immigrants into US for bribes

A California border patrol agentpled guilty Thursday to taking bribes in exchange for letting illegal immigrants into the U.S.

According to court records, Hector Rodriguez confessed that from 2010 until his arrest on July 13, 2012 he received bribes such as cash, luxury vehicles and the use of an apartment for allowing illegal immigrants to pass through his inspected lane at the San Ysidro Port-of-Entry. Rodriguez confessed to receiving the bribes from Gerardo Rodriguez and Maria Guerrero, his co-defendants in the case. Records state that in one instance, Gerardo Rodriguez drove a vehicle containing 8 illegal aliens and codefendant Vanessa Moya drove a vehicle containing 6 illegal aliens through Hector Rodriguez’s inspection lane. To conceal the smuggling, Rodriguez would enter false information about who was driving the vehicle and the number of occupants into the government database. Hector Rodriguez was charged with conspiracy to bring illegal aliens in for financial gain and to receive bribes, bringing in aliens for financial gain, and bribery. Continue Reading

Former executive chef at Virginia governor's mansion indicted on embezzlement charges

The former chef at Virginia’s executive mansion has been indicted on embezzlement charges amid a continuing criminal investigation into his tenure as head of kitchen operations for the governor and first family. Todd Schneider was arrested Thursday on four felony embezzlement counts. The indictments handed up March 20 allege that Schneider embezzled property valued at $200 or more from the state in July, September and December of 2011 and in January of 2012. The indictments contain no further details. The 52-year-old Schneider, now a Sarasota, Fla., resident, turned himself in to the Virginia State Police and was released on a $2,000 personal recognizance bond. Continue Reading

Prosecutors say they are not ready to agree to Holmes guilty plea in theater shooting

Prosecutors in the Colorado theater shooting on Thursday rejected an offer from suspect James Holmes to plead guilty in exchange for avoiding the death penalty and accused defense lawyers of a serious breach of court rules by making the offer public. In a scathing court document, prosecutors said the defense has repeatedly refused to give them the information they need to evaluate the plea offer, so the offer can’t be considered genuine. No plea agreement exists, prosecutors said, and one “is extremely unlikely based on the present information available to the prosecution.” They also said anyone reading news stories about the offer would inevitably conclude “the defendant knows that he is guilty, the defense attorneys know that he is guilty, and that both of them know that he was not criminally insane.” Neither the defense nor the prosecution immediately returned phone calls Thursday. Continue Reading

12 Dead in Damascus University Cafeteria Bombing

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Mortar shells have hit a cafeteria at Damascus University in Syria.  

And according to state media and a Syrian official, at least 12 people have been killed, with 20 others wounded. Rebels began firing shells at the capital earlier this year, and the attacks have become increasingly common in recent weeks. A government-run TV station showed footage of tables and chairs turned upside down, shattered glass and blood on the floor. Continue Reading

U-S Says Nuke-Ready Bombers Complete S. Korean Training

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The U.S military says two nuclear-capable B-2 bombers have completed a training mission in South Korea amid threats from North Korea that include nuclear strikes on Washington and Seoul.  

The statement Thursday by U.S. Forces Korea is an unusual confirmation. It follows an earlier U.S. announcement that nuclear-capable B-52 bombers participated in ongoing U.S.-South Korean military drills. The U.S. says the B-2 stealth bombers flew from a U.S. air base and dropped munitions on a South Korean island range before returning home. The announcement will likely draw a strong response from Pyongyang. Continue Reading

Warrants Released in Newtown Shooting Reveal Arsenal

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Warrants released in the investigation of the Newtown school shooting reveal that an arsenal of weapons including guns, a gun safe with shotgun shells, a bayonet and several swords were found in the home of the gunman.  

Investigators also found articles on other shootings and a holiday card containing a check made out to Adam Lanza for the purchase of a firearm, authored by his mother, Nancy Lanza. And investigators found books about living with autism and Asperger’s syndrome, as well as an NRA guide to pistol shooting. Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother inside their Newtown home on Dec. Continue Reading

U of IL and Building, Food Service Workers Reach Tentative Deal

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The union representing about 800 building and food service workers who went on strike at the University of Illinois this month says it has reached a tentative deal with the school.  

Adam Rosen is a spokesman for the Service Employees International Union. He said yesterday the union’s bargaining committee recommended that employees approve the four-year offer from the university. A vote is set for today and tomorrow. Continue Reading