Alliant Energy today announced plans to build two new power plants in Iowa — one billion dollars worth of investment. Alliant spokesman John Ruff.The utility calls their plan “Power Iowa”. In addition to building a new coal-fired plant AND a new natural-gas-powered plant, the utility plans to buy more “renewable” energy, improve transmission lines and boost energy efficiency projects.No specific sites have been selected for the new plants, and Ruff says they’ve looking for two “willing” host communities.Governor Tom Vilsack says the Alliant announcement is a result of the new state law, passed in June, which reduced red tape for utilities that want to build a new power plant in Iowa.Vilsack says the news couldn’t come at a better time when the state needs an economic boost.Utilities lobbied hard for the new law, saying no new power plants would be built in Iowa without it. Alliant’s plan calls for the new, natural-gas-fired power plant to be on-line by the summer of 2004.
Archives for November 2001
Educational events to make people more aware of AIDS and H-I-V are underway in a dozen or so Iowa cities today through the weekend. Saturday is World AIDS Day and American Red Cross chapters are holding a variety of events, including coloring book give-aways for very small children.Sharon Miller, the H-I-V-AIDS coordinator for the Central Iowa Red Cross chapter says the book for the five-and-under kids covers things like: if you know someone with AIDS, you can hug them, kiss them, share their popcorn and be their friend without a worry. Miller says the coloring books and activity books are targeting three age groups: five years and under, six to eight and nine to twelve. Miller says “storytime” events in Des Moines on Saturday will include H-I-V-AIDS-related stories. She says it’s never too early to start teaching a child important lessons like these.Miller says about 13-hundred Iowans are now living with H-I-V or AIDS. The fastest growing group of people who become infected in Iowa are black men and women and Hispanic heterosexual men.Red Cross chapters in many Iowa cities are having World AIDS Day events, including: Ames, Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Ottumwa, Oskaloosa, Mason City, Iowa City and Sioux City.
Governor Tom Vilsack wants to study tax exemptions, to see if Iowa could clear some from the books. Governor Vilsack wants the various tax breaks reviewed to see if those that stimulate economic activity can be sorted out from those that are pointless, wasteful or let the state lose too much revenue. A long list of tax credits, exemptions and deductions cost the state about four-point-three billion dollars a year according to a recent report from the department of revenue and finance. Governor Vilsack says he’d like to see it all reviewed.Speaking at the Farm Bureau’s annual meeting in Des Moines, the governor ridiculed a sales-tax exemption for “massage therapy” saying it’s cost the state half a million dollars. He says the 500-thousand dollars could, for example, be used for schools or the mental health system to take the burden off of property tax payers.Vilsack says a review of the state’s tax exemptions is even more important with the state’s current budget shortfall.
The Iowa Farm Bureau has a new president. Craig Lang of Brooklyn won a three-way race at the Farm Bureau’s annual convention, ousting Ed Wiederstein of Audubon who’d been president since 1995.Lang convened the Farm Bureau board yesterday afternoon for a quick meeting.Lang says the organization has several goals, such as property tax reform. He says a there needs to be a look at the total restructuring of taxes in Iowa.The Farm Bureau has over 150-thousand members in Iowa, and in a sign of the times, the organization’s leaders have started talking about the idea of consolidating counties. He says the money saved could be a benefit to taxpayers.The third candidate in the Iowa Farm Bureau’s presidential race was Craig Hill of Milo.
The looming bankruptcy of the nation’s largest energy company shouldn’t affect Iowans’ electric bills according to utility experts. The once-mighty Enron has massive debt, the price of its stock has tanked and a proposed merger has collapsed. Alliant Energy spokesman Dan Presser says their Iowa consumers shouldn’t worry the Enron situation means utility prices will spike.Presser says Alliant generates most of the power its Iowa consumers use, so customers’ bills should not be effected by the Enron situation. MidAmerican Energy spokesman Kevin Waetke says MidAmerican has purchased natural gas and electricity from Enron. Waetke says it’s a very small buy, so Enron’s financial condition should have little or no impact for MidAmerican’s Iowa customers.
Hancock County authorities have made a second arrest in the slaying of an elderly Corwith widower. 75-year-old Dale Kelling was found dead in his home Tuesday night, with 20-year-old Jason Matthew Hiveley being arrested Wednesday night in his hometown of Clarion. Yesterday, Creig Clayton Shelton of Goldfield, who turns 19 today, was arrested in Clarion. Hancock County attorney Karen Kaufmann says it was an excellent investigation by the sheriff’s office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. Hancock County Sheriff Robert Gerdes says there are no known connections between Kelling and the suspects, with the preliminary findings showing Kelling was the victim of a botched robbery that ended up as a murder.Gerdes says people in small Iowa towns like Corwith sometimes get a false sense of security about their homes and belongings.Hively remains in the Hancock County Jail on $500-thousand bond, with a preliminary hearing slated for next Tuesday. Shelton makes his initial court appearance this afternoon in Hancock County District Court.
Iowa State opens its own tournament tonight with a game against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. It’ll mark the Cyclones first game without sophomore guard Jake Sullivan who will be out four to six weeks after he suffered a sprained ligament in his right knee during the opening minutes of a victory over Savannah State.Cyclone coach Larry Eustachy says they have to find help in the guard court until Sullivan can return, as Sullivan has been playing 40 minutes a game.Eustachy says the guards will be tested by Wisconsin-Milwaukee and first-year coach and former Iowa assistant Bruce Pearle. He says Pearle is a disciple of Coach Tom Davis and will press all through the game.Eustachy says with the losses from last season and now the temporary loss of Sullivan, there will be some growing pains ahead.
The Iowa Grocery Industry Association is making another attempt to change Iowa’s 23-year-old bottle deposit law. Members of the association will ask customers to sign a petition calling on legislators to adopt a new “comprehensive” recycling law that includes cans. Bob Kramer is the president of the Fareway Food Store chain headquartered in Boone.Kramer says they want to re-shape the law through education and participation in the interest of food safety and comprehensive recycling. Kramer says a majority of the containers sold with deposits are cans. He says the nickel deposit on those cans only serves to take care of a small amount of the trash thrown along Iowa’s roadways.He says one alternative is doing away with the deposit and instituting a one-cent recycling tax. Kramer says they haven’t come up with a definite plan, but the best result would have Iowans putting cans in their recycling bins at the curb. Ron Pearson, the C-E-O of the Hy-Vee food stores, says the cans pose a real health threat to stores.Pearson says the cans can carry listeria, e-coli, salmonella and other diseases. Pearson though, says while the threat is present, there’s never been a case of listeria linked directly to returned cans.Pearson says it’s hard to trace the cause of listeria, but he says we should be thinking about the threat in light of what’s happening in out society. Pearson says they don’t want to wipe out the recycling of the cans, they just want to change how it’s done.Pearson says a change in Iowa’s law could even increase the amount of cans that’re recycled — which is currently 93-percent. Opposition groups dispute that claim, saying litter along roadways would increase if the deposit is repealed.
Nearly 100 Newton-area workers will soon be out of a job. About 90 Seabury and Smith workers in Newton will lose their jobs at the end of January. Seabury and Smith is an insurance and business services firm. The laid-off workers processed claims for Phen-Fen, the diet drug which caused severe health problems. Just about 30 workers will remain in the Newton office after the layoffs.
“Seasons of Sharing” and “Women Empowering Women” are two names being used by what the Iowa Attorney General’s office says is the state’s latest pyramid scheme. A-G spokesman Bob Brammer says this scam is focused in central Iowa, in communities including Boone, Ankeny and Des Moines.Brammer says this scheme involved people “giving” money to other people in large sums, with very poor odds of getting a return from up the pyramid.Some groups claim this type of “pyramid” is legal in Iowa. Brammer says that’s simply not true. He says while Iowa doesn’t have an “anti-pyramid” statute, it does have the Consumer Fraud Act which prohibits this type of activity.Two people from Des Moines and two from Boone are being subpoenaed who allegedly were promoting the “gifting” program. Their names are not being released.