Amtrak Service to Return to Northwest Corridor Following Deadly Crash

Amtrak’s top official says limited Northeast Corridor service will be restored Monday with full service returning by Tuesday. President and CEO Joseph Boardman spoke Thursday at the site where a train traveling at more than twice the speed limit flew off the tracks, killing eight people and injuring more than 200. Boardman also said a technology that could have prevented the crash will be installed throughout the Northeast Corridor by the end of the year. The technology known as positive train control has been installed on much of the corridor but not on the sharp curve in Philadelphia where the train derailed. Congress had set the end of the year as the deadline for PTC to be installed on all train tracks. Continue Reading

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Urges Consumers to Report Financial Scams

The Iowa Insurance Commissioner is urging the targets and victims of insurance or financial scams to report suspected fraudsters to the proper authorities. Commissioner Nick Gerhart appeared on the KBUR Talkshow on Thursday. He says that fraudsters, claiming to represent Government entities, Banks, or Medical Companies, are calling, emailing, and even snailmailing potential victims, attempting to trick them into giving out personal information. But you don’t have to be a victim. Gerhart says it’s easy to check with the Iowa Insurance Commission if you question the legitimacy of a group. Continue Reading

Rand Paul Coming to Burlington This Saturday, Clinton Heads to Iowa

Several presidential candidates are heading to Iowa. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, a GOP contender, will be in Burlington on Saturday at the Comfort Inn and Suites for a meet and greet starting at 9:00am, it’s part of a day long road trip that includes stops in Fairfield, Oskaloosa and Des Moines. Hillary Clinton is scheduled to be back in Iowa next week. According to a campaign spokesperson, Clinton will spend Monday and Tuesday here. The events will similar to her stops in Iowa last month — small venues and small crowds. Continue Reading

Equine Herpesvirus Confirmed in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A virus known for attacking a horse’s nervous system has been confirmed at a stable in Iowa’s Warren County. The Iowa Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that the stable has several confirmed cases of a neurological disease associated with Equine Herpesvirus infections. Officials say the disease poses no threat to humans. The disease was detected at the Warren County stable when horses began to show symptoms including fever, decreased coordination, lethargy and inability to rise. A news release says the horses are being monitored and aren’t permitted to leave the stable. Continue Reading

Mice Could Be Spreading Bird Flu

A team of wildlife biologists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be trapping and testing small mammals and birds in Iowa for avian influenza over the next couple of weeks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are no confirmed cases of avian flu in mammals. But, USDA epidemiologist Dr. Brian McCluskey says small rodents could still play a role in the spread of the virus. “There’s actually evidence in the scientific literature that mice and other small rodents can actually carry the virus. Maybe not as a biological vector, but as a mechanical one, so the virus may be drug in on the animal itself,” McCluskey says. Continue Reading

Randall Payne. Courtesy: Des Moines County Jail

Rural Burlington Man Charged with Murdering Infant Son

A Rural Burlington man has been arrested and formally charged with the November killing of his 22 day old son. 23 year old Randall Thomas Payne was arrested Wednesday by Des Moines County Sheriff’s Deputies, the crux of a seven month long investigation into the death of his infant son, Carter Joseph Payne. The infant was found dead by emergency personnel on November 9th at Green Acres Mobile Home Court in rural Des Moines County, having suffered major serious injuries. Payne himself called 911, reporting that the child was not breathing. Payne is being held on $1 million bond, awaiting an appearance in court this morning. Continue Reading

Corn and Soybean Crop Expected to Be Smaller This Year

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The government says farmers are expected to grow 13.6 billion bushels of corn this year, about 4 percent less than last year’s record crop. The estimate released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture assumes an average per-acre yield of nearly 167 bushels an acre, down from last year’s record 171 bushels. Soybean farmers are expected to grow nearly 3.85 billion bushels, down 3 percent from last year’s record crop. The soybean per-acre yield is projected at 46 bushels per acre, down 1.8 bushels from last year’s record. The USDA says farmers have started well this growing season with 75 percent of the corn crop planted, ahead of the five-year average of 57 percent. Continue Reading

Fuel Tax Money Will Be Used to Fund Four-Lane US-61

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Transportation officials say an increase in Iowa’s fuel tax will help support a five-year plan to improve roads and bridges in the state. The state Department of Transportation submitted a $3.2 billion proposal to an agency commission Tuesday. The commission will meet in June. A draft report of the plan states money from a law that increased Iowa’s fuel tax by 10 cents per gallon in March will be used “100 percent” on critical road and bridge construction projects. It also pledges to use some of that money for four-lane construction on parts of U.S. Highways 20, 30 and 61. Continue Reading

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Ed Fallon: Allegations of Misconduct By Pipeline Officials “Very Damaging”

Former state legislator, radio host, and notable anti-pipeline activist Ed Fallon says that he’s heard the taped conversations between Montrose landowner Hughie Tweedy and a representative from Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Bakken Oil Pipeline Project…the recording that Tweedy says contains proof that the representative offered him a prostitute in return for land rights. Fallon says that Tweedy’s allegations are true. “I have confidence that what was recorded was very damaging, specifically to the person who made the offer of prostitutes,” Fallon told KBUR on Wednesday. Tweedy claims that he’s been harassed by pipeline representatives for months, all of them seeking an easement through his property in order to install the pipeline. He says that a pipeline official offered him not once, but three times the services of an 18 year old prostitute in return for the land rights, and claims to have a recording of the pipeline official making that offer. Continue Reading