Potential GOP Presidential Candidates Talk at Ag Summit

The prospective G-O-P presidential candidates at today’s Iowa Ag Summit were pressed to express their opinions on everything from federal policies that have boosted ethanol production to expanded trade with Cuba.  

Each candidate answered a series of questions from event host Bruce Rastetter, an Iowa agribusinessman. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie criticized President Obama for failing to “execute” the Renewable Fuels Standard for 2014 and 2015. “Certainly anybody who’s a competant president would get that done in their administration. It should get done and I support it getting done.” Continue Reading

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Amber Alert Cancelled, Man Arrested

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have canceled an Amber Alert after a hearing-impaired 9-year-old eastern Iowa girl was found. Capt. Gary Kramer with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that Brianna Crane was found early Sunday and “appears to be in good health.” Authorities say someone dropped the girl off with law enforcement around 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Then Davenport Police arrested the 48-year-old man suspected of taking the girl around 9:30 Sunday morning at a home in Davenport. Kramer says authorities are investigating what happened. Continue Reading

Protestors Distrupt Iowa Ag Summit

Earlier in the morning, a small group of protesters armed with a bullhorn gathered across the street from the event hall. PETA protesters dressed as pigs mingled with activists unhappy about the influence of money in politics, but most of the protesters were Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement members.  

Rod Wilson, a farmer from Springville, Iowa, said he started protesting against cheap commodity prices in the 1960s and things have only gotten worse. “This is not about bad crop farmers. This is about crop farming being destroyed in Iowa. Continue Reading

Burned Maquoketa Man Died at Hospital, Authorities Say

MAQUOKETA, Iowa (AP) — A Maquoketa man has died after being severely burned in a fire at his auto shop. Authorities say 75-year-old James “Jim” Bealer died Sunday at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports that Maquoketa Police Chief Brad Koranda says officers responded to a caller on Feb. 26 who said a man’s clothing had caught fire. Koranda says Bealer had been using a blowtorch at his shop. Continue Reading

Man Accused of Posing as Actor Pleads Guilty to Child Porn

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A man accused of posing as an actor from the “Twilight” movies to entice girls in Iowa has pleaded guilty to federal possession of child pornography charges. U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt says 33-year-old David LaVera, of San Diego, entered his plea deal Thursday. It calls for 63 months in federal prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release. An attorney for LaVera didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment. In his plea deal, LaVera said he knowingly possessed child pornography that he had produced in Newton, Iowa, using a hidden camera. Continue Reading

New London Woman Accused of Elaborate Dating Site Scam

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — A southeast Iowa woman has been accused of scramming more than $17,000 from a South Carolina woman in a dating website ruse. The Hawk Eye reports that 46-year-old Doris Warth, of New London, is charged with felony theft. Jail records say she remained in custody on Friday. Her attorney didn’t immediately return an Associated Press call seeking comments on her case. Court documents say Warth told investigators that she’d used a military-oriented dating website in the scheme. Continue Reading

Governor’s Priorities in Place as Legislature hits Deadline

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — With the bipartisan approval of a fuel tax increase out of the way, Gov. Terry Branstad is hoping to win backing for two other legislative priorities — an anti-bullying bill and an effort to expand broadband internet access. Both bills were set to move forward as the Legislature approached a Friday procedural deadline, while some other more partisan legislation appeared dead Thursday. Branstad said he was pleased that his agenda is moving ahead in the Legislature. Under legislative rules, known as “funnel week,” Friday is the deadline for most bills to receive committee-level approval in the state House or Senate. Some bills are not subject to this deadline, like budget bills, and legislative leaders could always revive a bill later in the session. Continue Reading

Bill Would Require Public Officials to Post Contact Information

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Senate committee has approved a bill that would require contact information for elected public officials in Iowa to be published online in a timely manner. A state government committee approved the bill unanimously Thursday. It now heads to the full Senate for consideration. The bill would require an entity to post contact information for an elected public official within 30 days of the official’s swearing in to the position. A public official includes lawmakers, county board supervisors, city council members and board members of a school district. Continue Reading

Gun Laws Would Make Youth Firearm Possession Legal, Remove Public Access to Gun Owners List

Bills that deal with a variety of gun-related issues have cleared committees in both the House and Senate this week.  

For example, legislators are moving to make the names and addresses of Iowans who have permits to carry a weapon accessible only to law enforcement. The Iowa Newspaper Association argues that information should remain a public record. Representative Matt Windschitl of Missouri Valley counters that a quarter of a million Iowans have gun permits. “That’s a lot of people’s names and home addresses out there that don’t need to be made public in the newspaper,” Windschitl said this week. Continue Reading