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CNN’s “Hero of the Year” in Keokuk Tomorrow

CNN’s Hero of the Year, Chad Pregracke, will be in Keokuk Thursday. Most in our area know Pregracke best for his MIssissippi River Clean-Up efforts during the summer. He’s the founder of Living Lands & Waters, located in the Quad Cities. It’s the only industrial strength river clean-up organization in America. Thursday Greater Keokuk Young Professionals will host a dinner and speech from Pregrake at Lake Cooper Event Center starting with a social hour at 5:30pm. Continue Reading

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IFA Offers Home Buyer Tax Credits to Iowans

The Iowa Finance Authority is now offering some first-time Iowa home buyers a tax credit of up to two-thousand dollars a year, for the life of their 30-year mortgage.  

Twenty years ago congress passed a law allowing states to set up this kind of a program and Iowa is doing it for the first time in 2014. Iowa Finance Authority director Dave Jamison says his agency will issue a certificate for that tax credit on mortgages that are handled by a lender participating in the program. Home sales that closed after February 3rd of this year are eligible. There are income limits as to which first-time home buyers are eligible, as well as limits on the price of homes they buy, but Jamison estimates 585 Iowa home buyers will be eligible in 2014. Continue Reading

Trail Through Corn Field

More Beans, Less Corn, the 2014 Prediction

Iowa farmers expect to plant 11-percent more soybeans this spring compared to 2013.  

That’s according to a new survey by AgriSource — a grain marketing, commodity brokerage and crop insurance company. Keith Gehling of AgriSource says the plans by Iowa farmers to plant 10.3 million acres of soybean are based on several factors. Iowa farmers expect to plant 13.3 million acres of corn, down 2.2-percent compared to last year. However, Gehling says many farmers will wait until later this spring to make final planting decisions. Continue Reading

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New Legislation to Increase Animal Abuse Penalties

Pets would be better protected and animal abuse offenders punished more severely under legislation being discussed by Iowa lawmakers. Republican Rep. Bobby Kauffman, of Wilton, says he hopes to prevent animal abuse by increasing criminal penalties. Des Moines Democratic Sen. Janet Petersen says she backs a proposal to include pets in domestic abuse protective orders in hopes of compelling victims to leave dangerous situations more quickly, rather than remain out of fear that an abuser will hurt a pet. The measure also could better protect pets in such situations. Lobbyists are also pushing for a bill in the Senate to ban the slaughter of horses, but lawmakers so far haven’t introduced such a bill. Continue Reading

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Branstad Won’t Open Juvenile Home Until Renovated

The chairman of the task force Governor Terry Branstad asked to review the Iowa Juvenile Home’s operations last year says the facility is “unsafe” and should not be reopened without significant renovations. The governor Thursday asked the Iowa Supreme Court to overturn a district court judge’s order that the Iowa Juvenile Home for girls be reopened. Jerry Foxhoven, the chairman of the task force Branstad asked to review the home’s operations last year, says the living conditions on that Toledo campus are “terrible.”… “The cottages are old, old, old.” According to Foxhoven, the state would refuse to license any privately-run facility that had the same kind of living conditions… Continue Reading

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Alliant Energy Warns Iowans of Scam

Alliant Energy is warning its customers in Iowa about a new scam. Utility spokesman Justin Foss says a couple of customers in Mason City say they’ve been approached by someone claiming to be with Alliant and saying they had to pay their bill on the spot… “Somebody came to the door and demanded they be paid in cash or that the person go buy a pre-paid debit card and hand that over right away or their electricity would be disconnected.” Foss says they do not go door-to-door demanding payment. Foss says if you get someone at your door or on the phone demanding immediate payment and it sounds suspicious, it’s likely bogus. Continue Reading

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IA Legislative Subcommittees Debate Bullying

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Bullying victims, school superintendents and other officials have testified before Iowa lawmakers to advocate for anti-bullying and anti-harassment legislation in the state.  

Education subcommittees in the House and Senate debated bills Thursday to address bullying situations in Iowa schools. Both will go before their respective education committees. The bills require that parents receive notification on instances of bullying. It would allow school officials to respond to cases of cyberbullying as they affect students within schools, and ensure training for officials to handle the situations. Continue Reading

I-74 Hit & Run Driver in the Wind: Redington

BETTENDORF, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say they may never know the identity of the driver whose illegal lane change led to a 31-car pileup on the Interstate 74 bridge in Bettendorf.  

Bettendorf spokeswoman Lauran Haldeman told the Quad-City Times the driver abruptly changed lanes to reach an exit ramp on Monday morning, cutting in front of another motorist. The driver then left the area, leaving behind a series of chain-reaction crashes. Bettendorf Police Chief Phil Redington says the motorist who was cut off slammed on her brakes and managed to avoid a crash, but she was then struck from behind. Redington says the driver who caused the crashes could be cited with illegal lane change, but police have no description of the vehicle. Continue Reading

Families of Victims of NW IL Grain Bin Tragedy Get $16-Million

MOUNT CARROLL, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois jury has awarded $16 million to the families of two teenagers who died in a 2010 grain bin accident.  

The Carroll County jury reached its judgment after a 13-day trial, awarding $8 million each to the families of 19-year-old Alejandro Pacas and 14-year-old Wyatt Whitebread. The workers were in a Haasbach LLC grain bin to help the corn flow while machinery was running. The pair became trapped in corn more than 30 feet deep along with a third worker who was rescued after six hours. Continue Reading