MidAmerican Energy Granted $135.5-Mil. Rate Hike

The Iowa Utilities Board has approved a 135-and-a-half million dollar rate increase for MidAmerican Energy customers.  

Rob Hillesland, a spokesman for the board, says regulators agreed to the increase due to a “wide range of factors,” including increased operating costs. The increase is to be phased-in over three years, however last August the board gave MidAmerican the go-ahead to temporarily start boosting utility bills, by an average of about two-dollars-and-73 cents a month. Increases in years two and three will be in the same range. The deal is not yet final. Continue Reading


6th Snowiest Winter in Iowa History; 9th Coldest

Many Iowans are looking forward to spring and warmer weather as March begins.  

State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says it appears the statewide average temperature for the month of February was around 12.8 degrees.   The normal average temperature for February in Iowa is around 24. Although February has been the coldest month of this winter, Hillaker says December and January also had well below normal temperatures. The three months combined make this the ninth coldest winter in Iowa history. Continue Reading

New USDA Meals Program Would Serve More

Some Iowa schools may soon see changes in how they administer free and reduced-price meal programs.


U-S Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says a new proposal calls for schools in high-poverty areas to serve free breakfast and lunch to -all- students, not just those who qualify under the current guidelines.   Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, says the program change would see free meals provided for all children in certain schools where now about 40-percent of the students qualify.  


While it stands to reason that feeding more students would increase costs, Vilsack says the change is designed to save money.  


The U-S Department of Agriculture says nine-million children in 22-thousand schools nationwide would qualify. Continue Reading

Borlaug Statue Going to D-C as Harlan Likeness Returns

The newly-created statue of Iowa native and Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug will be installed in the U.S. Capitol March 25th, on what would have been Borlaug’s 100th birthday. Borlaug, who died in the fall of 2010, grew up in Cresco and went on to develop higher-yielding, drought-resistant varieties of wheat that are credited with saving billions of people from starvation. Each state has two statues in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall and Iowa legislators voted a few years ago to have Borlaug’s likeness will replace the statue of a Civil War-era hero from Iowa. A sculptor from South Dakota has created a statue of Borlaug at work, standing in a field of wheat, taking notes.   The base of the statue is made of Iowa limestone. Continue Reading


Oquawka Needs Bottled Water

It’s been a rough winter so far for the Village of Oquawka. They’ve had a water main break and a number of homes have frozen pipes. Oquawka’s Volunteer Fire Department Chief Troy Jern says they are asking for bottled water for their residents…. “Due to frigid cold weather, some of the residents of Oquawka have frozen water lines. I think there are about 30 that don’t have water.” Continue Reading


Car Rear-Ends LaHarpe School Bus

A car rear-ended a LaHarpe School Bus on Webster Road in Hancock County this morning. No one, including the 12 children on the bus, was hurt. It happened just before 7:30 just north of County Road 2400 North. Illinois troopers say the bus driver, 50-year-old Donna Nell of Blandinsville, had stopped at the railroad tracks to make sure it was safe to cross, when a 2012 Chevy, driven by 28-year-old Travis Sanderson of Carthage, slid on the snowy road into the back of the bus. The bigger vehicle suffered minor damage, but Sanderson’s car had major damage to it’s front end and had to be towed from the scene. Continue Reading


State Senate Bill Would Add Pets to “No-Contact” Orders

The Iowa Senate has approved legislation that would allow pets to be included on a “no-contact order” in alleged cases of domestic violence.  

Senator Janet Pedersen, a Democrat from Des Moines, says 68 percent of battered women report their pets were beaten, too.   Senators also voted Monday to dramatically extend the amount of time victims of child sexual abuse have to file a lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator, or report the abuse to authorities. Senator Steve Sodders, a Democrat from State Center, is also a deputy sheriff. Under current law, once a victim of sex abuse turns 18, they have a decade to file a civil lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator. Continue Reading


Miller-Meeks to Challenge Lobesack

 Mariannette Miller-Meeks says she’ll seek the Republican nomination to Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District in her third try for the House seat. Miller-Meeks announced Sunday night that she’d seek the seat now held by Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack. Miller-Meeks, of Ottumwa, ran against Loebsack and lost in 2010 and 2008. In announcing her campaign, Miller-Meeks called Washington a “dysfunctional mess” that needs someone with her experience to bring people together. She also criticized the Affordable Care Act. Continue Reading


Hundreds of Animals Saved from SE Iowa Hoarder

A nonprofit animal group says it’s assisting authorities in the recovery of hundreds of animals from a small southeast Iowa city. The Animal Rescue League of Iowa said yesterday that nearly 300 living animals and more than 50 dead animals have been taken from Drakesville in Davis County. Many are barn animals and include 30 different species. Stephanie Filer with the rescue league tells The Des Moines Register that the situation appears to be in connection to a hoarder. Additional information was not released. Continue Reading