Dyersville Acted Legally on “Field of Dreams” Zoning Change

DYERSVILLE, Iowa (AP) — A judge has ruled that Dyersville officials acted legally in approving a zoning change for a proposed baseball complex at the “Field of Dreams” movie site. The Telegraph Herald reports that residents seeking to block the development say they’ll appeal. District Court Judge Thomas Bitter’s ruling, which was made public Monday, stemmed from a March trial over the council’s decision to rezone the site from an agricultural space to a commercial space. The move paved the way for the planned development of a 24-field youth baseball and softball complex. The council approved the rezoning in 2012. Continue Reading

No Clear Timetable for Legislative Adjournment

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — While the timetable for adjournment in the Iowa Legislature remains up in the air, lawmakers in many other states have more clear schedules to follow. Leaders in the Republican-led House and Democratic-majority Senate reported to the state Capitol on Wednesday as they continue to negotiate a budget deal. The timing for conclusion is unclear. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Democrat from Council Bluffs, says there was still a “serious gap” between the two sides. Daily expense payments for lawmakers ended May 1, but the real final deadline is July 1, when the new budget year starts. Continue Reading

JOBS

Iowa Unemployment at Lowest Level in Seven Years

A record number of Iowans were working last month, according to a new report from Iowa Workforce Development. I-W-D spokesman Ed Wallace says the state’s jobless rate in April dropped to 3.8-percent, down from 4-percent in March. “This is the lowest Iowa unemployment rate in 7 years,” Wallace said. The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,647,700 in April. That’s 600 higher than March and 23,700 higher than one year ago. Continue Reading

Legislators Still Trying to Find Common Ground

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Legislative leaders are back in the Iowa Capitol trying to resolve their budget differences so they can adjourn for the year. After the holiday weekend, a handful of lawmakers reported for duty Tuesday. Leaders and some committee chairs were set to continue budget negotiations. The Republican-led House and Democratic-majority Senate must determine an overall spending level and how much new money to provide to K-12 education. Democrats are seeking to spend more than Republicans. Continue Reading

Two More Cases of Bird Flu Suspected, Brings Number of Cases to 66

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — State officials say there are two probable cases of bird flu in Adair and Webster counties in Iowa. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship says initial testing at two commercial laying operations were positive for bird flu. The operations have a combined total of about 1.1 million birds. The agency said Monday if the disease is confirmed, all birds on the properties will be euthanized. It would also mean there are now 66 cases of the disease in Iowa. Continue Reading

Educators Frustrated With Budget Delays

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — As budget talks drag on in the state Capitol, educators are growing increasingly frustrated. School funding has been a central point of conflict throughout the legislative session, with the Democratic-led Senate seeking to provide more new dollars than the Republican-controlled House for the 2015-2016 academic year. The two sides are about $50 million apart on funding. Paul Gausman, superintendent of the Sioux City Community School District, says his district removed about 20 instructional assistant jobs from its payroll as it waits for word about additional money. David Benson, superintendent for the Cedar Rapids Community School District, says the impasse has forced his district to keep about 30 teaching jobs on hold. Continue Reading

No Injuries Following Eastern IA Train Derailment

BELLE PLAINE, Iowa (AP) — Officials say no one was injured when 23 cars of a Union Pacific train traveling through the eastern Iowa town of Belle Plaine derailed. Cedar Rapids television station KCRG reports the derailment happened around 11:20 p.m. Friday. A Union Pacific spokesman said the cars were part of a 125-car train being pulled by three locomotives traveling from Nebraska to Illinois. The spokesman says eight of the derailed car were loaded with soda ash, used in household cleaners, windshields and cellphones

Three cars were filled with lumber, another three contained animal feed and four contained flour, diced tomatoes, frozen fish and sodium bicarbonate. The five remaining derailed cars were empty. Continue Reading

Iowa Department of Corrections: Two Inmates Now Listed as ‘Escaped’

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Two Iowa inmates have been listed as escaped from state work release facilities. Iowa Corrections Department news releases said Monday that 51-year-old Llewellyn Roberts escaped from the facility in Marshalltown and 26-year-old Eric Livingston from the Waterloo facility. The department says Roberts didn’t return from furlough and was listed as escaped on Sunday. His parole supervision was transferred to work release on April 3 following parole revocation. His five-year sentence for domestic assault in Tama County began on Aug. Continue Reading

Little Tiny Steps Made Toward Resolving State Budget Dilemma

Iowa lawmakers got an extra early start to this Memorial Day weekend. Senators have not met to debate at all this week and most of the 100 members of the Iowa House gathered for just one day to vote on bills. However, legislative leaders have been holding countless private meetings this week with Governor Terry Branstad’s top staff, to try to draft a spending plan for state government operations. Lawmakers face a looming deadline of July 1st. That’s the first day of the next fiscal year and there’s no budget plan in place. Continue Reading