The Iowa Voter Registration Commission is moving ahead with plans to let all eligible Iowa voters with a state-issued photo I-D register to vote online, but it will be up to the Iowa Department of Transportation to determine just when it can start. Carol Olson, the Deputy Secretary of State in charge of elections, says D-O-T officials expect a new on-line voter registration system to be ready in the first quarter of 2016 — which means it may not be up in time for the 2016 Iowa Caucuses. Most Iowans are able to go online to renew their driver’s license and they can register to vote during that process, but the D-O-T is developing a separate system that would allow someone who either has a valid Iowa driver’s license or an I-D card issued by the D-O-T to go online, enter their identification number and register to vote at any time, not just when they’re renewing their license. The majority of states that have online voter registration go through the state motor vehicle department and Olson says it makes sense for Iowa to do the same rather than have the Iowa secretary of state’s office create a whole new online voter registration system. The websites for the Iowa secretary of state’s office and for Iowa’s 99 county auditors will link to the D-O-T’s online voter registration system, once it’s up and running. Continue Reading
CHARITON, Iowa (AP) — A 45-year-old man suspected in the shooting of a woman in southern Iowa has been arrested in Missouri. The Iowa Public Safety Department says Robert Graham was taken into custody on Monday night at Poosey State Park in northern Missouri. A jailer said Graham remained at Livingston County Jail on Tuesday morning. Authorities say 33-year-old Gayle Darrah was shot Friday outside her home in Chariton. She was taken to a local hospital and then to a Des Moines hospital, where she remains in critical condition. Continue Reading
A Dallas, Texas based company proposing to build a crude oil pipeline that would cross 18 Iowa counties, including Lee, and 10 in Illinois, including Hancock, will file for a permit to build with the Iowa Utilities Board later this month. Energy Transfer Partners Senior Vice President Joey Mahmoud says the company has permission from 80 percent of landowners along the proposed route to survey. If the petition is approved, he says the company will seek eminent domain powers to survey the rest of the land. Iowans have spoken out in favor and against the project so far in public information sessions held by the state. Opinions also vary outside the state. Continue Reading
Cedar Falls hosted a visit from President Barack Obama yesterday (Wednesday). He praised the community’s efforts to improve broadband access, making Cedar Falls Iowa’s first so-called gigabit-city. Around 200 people crowded into a garage at Cedar Falls Utilities to hear the president’s 20-minute long speech. Obama said 45-million Americans lack access to high speed internet service and there are millions more who live in locations where there’s only one choice for their broadband service. Cedar Falls Utilities provides broadband and cable to the Cedar Valley, as it does water, electricity and natural gas. Continue Reading
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says he will work this year to improve Iowa’s roads and Internet infrastructure and to combat school bullying. Branstad says in his prepared 2015 Condition of the State speech to the Iowa General Assembly on Tuesday that Iowa’s roads and bridges face an uncertain future and the state needs to fix them. He has proposed a slightly larger general fund budget for the next fiscal year of $7.3 billion. It includes additional funding for schools and to support a tuition freeze at state universities. Branstad says the budget will be tight, but fair. Continue Reading
CENTERVILLE, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a 2-year-old girl has died after being struck by her grandfather’s vehicle as he moved it in his driveway in southern Iowa. A news release from the Appanoose County Sheriff’s Office says the accident occurred around 2:20 p.m. Monday at a property on the southeast side of Centerville. The release says 68-year-old Robert Broshar had left the little girl inside his home as he went out to start and warm up his sport utility vehicle. The release says Broshar didn’t know his granddaughter had come outside as he began to move the SUV. The Sheriff’s Office says Broshar drove her to Mercy Medical Center in Centerville, where she later died. Continue Reading
A manhunt is underway for a suspected killer in southeast Iowa.
The public is being asked to help in the search for an Ottumwa man who’s wanted in connection with a murder in Ottumwa early Sunday morning. Twenty-four-year-old Dustin William McDanel is wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of 25-year-old Roger Wiseman Junior, also of Ottumwa. The shooting occurred shortly before 2:30 in the 400 block of North Market. Wiseman was taken to Ottumwa Regional Health center where he died a short time later, after he sustained several gunshot wounds. Continue Reading
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The state commission overseeing voting is moving forward on a proposed rule that would start online voter registration in Iowa. The Iowa Voter Registration Commission held a public hearing Tuesday on the rule that would let qualified voters with a driver’s license or photo ID issued by the Iowa Department of Transportation to register to vote on a website. It’s a process used in 17 other states. Commissioner Charlie Smithson says it will benefit 94 percent of the population of Iowa with minimal cost. Voter rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa asked at the hearing for changes in the rule. Continue Reading
Iowa’s 43 ethanol plants produced three-point-nine billion gallons of the corn-based fuel in 2014, a new record. Monte Shaw is executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and says U.S. ethanol exports jumped 31 percent this year. Shaw says domestic ethanol production could have jumped even higher if the federal government hadn’t delayed its decision on the so-called Renewable Fuels Standard, which sets the level of ethanol required to be blended into gasoline. Ethanol production had leveled off in the past couple of years, but Shaw sees growth ahead. Iowa is the nation’s top ethanol-producing state. Continue Reading
South China Sea tensions flare at Asia security talks
KUALA LAMPUR: China was on a diplomatic collision course with some of its neighbours and the United States over its controversial island-building, as regional security talks opened today in Kuala Lumpur.