Governor Branstad Assesses Tornado Damage

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad is heading to Calhoun County to assess tornado damage. Branstad said Monday that he was going to the region to see how cleanup was going. On Sunday night a tornado tore the roof from a high school in Lake City as about 150 students, family and faculty attended an awards ceremony. Branstad said no one was hurt, but the state has been working to clear debris from roads and clean up other damage. Branstad said the state was ready to help the community in any way necessary. Continue Reading

Budget Haggling Continues in Statehouse

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Budget haggling continues in the Iowa Legislature, as lawmakers seek a compromise financial deal for the next fiscal year. Leaders in the Republican-led House and Democratic-majority Senate were working to resolve their differences Monday. The two sides must agree on an overall spending level and how much new money to provide for K-12 education. A compromise could include an increase in basic aid for K-12 schools, plus a one-time payment. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Council Bluffs Democrat, says he would “love to get done” with the budget this week, which would mean they could adjourn. Continue Reading

Ernst Plans Retirement from National Guard

First-term Republican Senator Joni Ernst is pondering retirement — from the Iowa National Guard. “This will be breaking news, probably, to my chain of command,” Ernst said. Ernst made the announcement Friday during taping of the “Iowa Press” program that aired Friday on Iowa Public Television. Ernst says it’s been “very hard” to balance her work as a senator, her obligation to the Guard and her desire to spend time with her husband and teenage daughter. “I had drill last weekend, so spent a day on the road visiting a number of counties on Friday. Continue Reading

Both Iowa and Nebraska High on Puppy Mill List

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Nebraska and Iowa rank high on a list of states with what are described as some of the worst puppy mills. A report from the Humane Society of the United States says Nebraska ranks third on “The Horrible Hundred 2015″ list, with 14 of the breeders. Iowa ranks fourth with 11 breeders on the list. The list was led by Missouri, with 23, and Kansas, with 16. The society says its list doesn’t include all of the worst breeders. Continue Reading

Several Key Legislative Priorities in Limbo

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Two of Gov. Terry Branstad’s key priorities remain unresolved as the Iowa Legislature winds down this session. Branstad announced in January that he wanted lawmakers to update Iowa’s anti-bullying law and pass legislation to expand high-speed Internet. The Senate approved an anti-bullying bill but it remains in limbo in the House. A broadband bill passed in the House but it’s still making its way through the Senate. Time is running out to advance the bills. Continue Reading

Tornados Strike Central Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Severe storms have prompted reports of tornadoes in central Iowa. Meterologist Frank Boksa with the Des Moines office of the National Weather Service says an apparent tornado hit Lake City, in Calhoun County, on Sunday night and authorities have reported structural damage and uprooted trees. Boksa says a school was damaged and multiple roofs were blown off houses. There were no immediate reports of fatalities or injuries. A tornado was also reported in Pocahontas County. Continue Reading

Bird Flu Claims 4 Million More Chickens

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa agriculture officials say bird flu will claim an additional 4 million Iowa egg-laying chickens on two more farms in a county already hit by the disease. Officials are waiting for preliminary tests on two farms in Wright County to be confirmed. The county earlier reported a farm with 2.8 million chickens affected. Iowa’s chicken loss is approaching 25 million, more than 40 percent of the state’s egg-laying flock. Officials on Friday also announced detection of the virus on five more turkey farms, including one with 42,000 birds. Continue Reading

Firey Chain Reaction Crash on I-80 Leaves About 30 Injured

WILLIAMSBURG, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say up to 30 people have been injured in a fiery chain-reaction crash along westbound Interstate 80 near Williamsburg. No one was killed. Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Nate Luding says it started Friday afternoon when a semitrailer on the side of the road caught fire. As traffic slowed, cars began to crash. Continue Reading

Mom May Get Severe Weather This Mothers Day

Mother Nature may be very busy on Mother’s Day. After a full week of stormy weather, forecasters say Iowans see a brief break from the clouds Friday, while the rains will return tomorrow. Meteorologist Kurt Kotenberg, at the National Weather Service, says it appears likely much of the state may see severe weather on Sunday. “It will probably start to get potentially bad early afternoon especially through the early evening,” Kotenberg says. “One of the things we’ll be working on today is to narrow it down to a more specific area. Continue Reading