Iowa Congressman Greg Ganske is critical of Senator Tom Harkin’s stance on the bill that provides “trade promotion authority” to the President, what used to be called “fast track” negotiating authority. Ganske, a republican, is looking to win Harkin’s senate seat in November.Ganske says Harkin voted Tuesday against moving the bill forward in the Senate, an indication Ganske says that Harkin is going to vote against the bill. Ganske was also critical of Iowa Democrat Congressman Leonard Boswell’s vote against the bill.Ganske says Boswell chose to take the “union side” in his vote, instead of voting for Iowa farmers. Boswell said he was concerned about the child labor provisions in the bill, but Ganske says the bill can only go so far and still be effective. A spokesman for Senator Harkin says Harkin voted for the trade promotion bill when it first left the Senate. He says Harkin voted against bringing the bill forward now so it wouldn’t bump the Medicare issue out. Harkin’s spokesman says the Senator hasn’t decided yet how he’ll vote on the final bill.
Archives for July 2002
The investigation continues into a bizarre assault in Grinnell last night. Witnesses say a man wearing a black ski mask came running of an alley downtown and attacked one man in a group of friends who were talking. He punched the victim in the ear. Police say the masked attacker had to run through the crowd to get to the victim, who was treated and released at the local hospital for a serious injury to his ear. The masked man took off on foot and they’re still looking for him.
The Sioux City Ball Corporation plant is closing and consolidating its operations into the Ball plant in Ames. Patty Heagle, the head of the Sioux City economic development division, says the consolidation of the plastic container maker is part of an ongoing process.Heagle says the closing of the Ball plant is not an indication that the economy of the area is experiencing a downturn.The closing of the Sioux City plant will put 75 people out of work. The company will offer them a severance package.
Aides to First District Congressional candidate Ann Hutchinson say she’s never called her opponent, Republican Congressman Jim Nussle, as “Jimmy.”Nussle formally kicked off his re-election campaign this morning, and complained that Hutchinson has repeatedly called him “Jimmy.” Hutchinson campaign manager Kellie Larkin says that’s not true. Larkin says Hutchinson has never called Nussle “Jimmy” and all campaign news releases refer to him as either Congressman Jim Nussle or, on second reference, Nussle.Nussle says only his “dearly departed” grandmother and mother have the right to call him “Jimmy.” Donna Smith of Dubuque, Nussle’s democrat opponent the past two elections, called him “Jimmy” repeatedly. Nussle also charged today that Hutchinson is refusing to address the issues. Larkin says that’s ludicrous, saying Hutchinson has been talking about the issues for months.Nussle was first elected to Congress in 1990 and at that time supported term limits. Larkin points out if his idea had become law back then, he’d be retiring from Congress this year rather than seeking another term.
In day two of the girls state softball tournament, sixth-ranked West Des Moines Dowling scored their lone run in the sixth as the Maroons edged cross-metro rival and seventh-rated Des Moines East 1-0. Dowling coach John Wilkinson has been happy with his team’s defense, as they’ve gone several games without an error.East had a runner on third with no outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Dowling held on to secure the victory. Wilkinson was coaching against East coach Bob Ligouri — the two are friends — and Wilkinson says the situation was tough on the heart. Ligouri had been the coach of Dowling last year and Wilkinson was his assistant.Wilkinson was relieved to get away with a one-run victory between two-ranked teams matching up in the first round.Dowling will face Cedar Rapids Jefferson in Thursday’s semifinals, as Jefferson shut out Urbandale 3-0. Beth Tharp socked a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the seventh to give Bettendorf a four-to-three win over Sioux City Heelan in a Class 3-A quarterfinal match-up. Bettendorf coach Scott Lammers was happy with the result saying they got a great pitching performance.Bettendorf trailed three-to-one going into the bottom of the seventh, and Lammers told his team to go out there and give it their all.It was Bettendorf’s first appearance at state in over two decades.Bettendorf will face top-ranked North Scott in the semifinals Thursday. North Scott rallied back from a 4-2 deficit in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game and then win in the 12th inning 5-4 over 20th-ranked Fort Dodge. Clear Lake scored all their runs in the second inning to give the Lions a three-to-nothing win over Red Oak in a Class 2-A quarterfinal Tuesday night. Megan Keefe pitched a three-hit shutout for Clear Lake, and she says it’s been a tough road to get to the semis.Keefe has steadily improved her play, leading Clear Lake to six straight tournament wins, including upset wins over number three Forest City, tenth-ranked Estherville/Lincoln Central and number 19 Spirit Lake.Clear Lake coach Josh Byrnes says his team has accomplished a lot in the last few weeks, without any pressure of being ranked and the target.Clear Lake held off a Red Oak rally in the fifth as the Lions tagged out Red Oak outfielder Margo Woods in a run-down between third and home. Byrnes says that play helped keep the momentum going Clear Lake’s way.Clear Lake will face Independence in one of the Class 2-A semifinals on Thursday night. The Mustangs’ Keely McKernan socked a three-run homer in the fifth inning, helping lift Independence to a five-to-one victory over Williamsburg. Independence coach Lyle Hosch says his seniors stepped up.Hosch says his team needs to continue its good offense and defense.Hosch says at this point the players know their goals, and more practice won’t help.Belmond-Klemme will face Clear Creek/Amana in Thursday night’s other semifinal.
The battle over records from the Planned Parenthood clinic in Storm Lake remains at a stalemate. A district judge ruled the agency must turn over the requested records of pregnancy tests by August 17th to the Buena Vista County Sheriff’s Department. The records are being sought in connection with the investigation of the death of a newborn baby, discovered May 30th at a recycling center south of Storm Lake. Planned Parenthood director Jill June says they’re hoping to get a higher court ruling before the deadline.She says they’re preparing papers to ask for a stay from the Iowa Supreme Court. And they want the ruling overturned. Buena Vista County officials says the records the seek are not confidential medical records.June says they’re disputing that claim and say releasing the records would be a violation of state law. June says the attempt to get the records is a shot in the dark.She says there are no suspects or any indication linking the baby to the clinic. The department has requested the names, addresses, and birth dates of women whose pregnancy tests were positive at the Storm Lake clinic between August 15th and May 30th.
The former I-and-M Railroad is now under the management of a South Dakota company that’s gotten the go-ahead to buy and run it. Dakota Minnesota and Eastern railroad C-E-O Kevin Schieffer says there are still two railroads on paper, or three counting the Iowa-Chicago-and-Eastern holding company that runs it all. He says the regulatory process requires the federal government’s blessing before they can all be run as a single entity. Schieffer says the acquisition gives grain shippers access to valuable terminals in Chicago, Kansas City and the Twin Cities. He says there are more competitive options now, like the ability to take grain from South Dakota right to Iowa processors for the first time. He says they can ship right to the major rail gateways of Chicago and Kansas City, a major breakthrough for ag producers. A report by the USDA’s agricultural marketing service says the railroad merger has the potential to significantly reshape the competitive dynamics for grain shipped by the two railroads. Before the deal, DM-and-E could only interchange with three other railroads. Now it will have thirty interchange points, and contact with every major railroad in the U.S. Based on 2000 estimates, the railroad will carry 75-thousand carloads of farm products and 37-thousand carloads of food and other products.
A national survey ranks Iowa 44th among the 50 states for small business. The 2002 “Small Business Survival Index” compared states based on 20 factors including personal and business taxes, property and estate taxes, utility costs, and the number of state employees. Darrel McKigney, a spokesman for the Small Business Survival Committee, says Iowa has fairly high taxes, from capital gains and corporate income tax rates to above-average property taxes and what he calls labor taxes. He says a state minimum wage is just another kind of tax on business since it raises costs and it allows no adjustments between places with a high cost-of-living and those where it’s low. McKigney says though it’s placed 44th overall, Iowa has several factors that reflect well. He says utility costs are low, sales and excise taxes are below average and the state gas tax is about average. He says Iowa’s not a bad state, he says, but has some factors that drag it down. The group’s website lists factors used to rank the states, and counts a right-to-work law as a plus. McKigney says the skyrocketing cost of health care is a factor that hurts small businesses in many states. He says many small businesses can’t buy into big health insurance packages, and some options are limited, like “medical savings accounts.” At the bottom of the rankings are Minnesota, Maine, Hawaii and the District of Columbia. South Dakota’s ranked number-one. McKigney, a conservative former state lawmaker who once headed the anti-tax Minnesota Taxpayers League, says the Small Business Survival Committee wants states to “free up the marketplace” with fewer regulations.
An Independence woman who was scheduled to go on trial next month for killing her live-in boyfriend has entered a plea bargain.Debra Wierck was scheduled for trial August 14th in Buchanan County but pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of manslaughter and assault. She faces 20 years in prison and will be sentenced in September. Wierck is accused of stabbing 38-year-old Robert Taylor to death in February at the home they shared.
The second man wanted for a late Friday robbery in rural Scott County is behind bars — and so is his mother. Twenty-seven-year-old Gordon Haynes Jr. of Davenport is being held in the Grant County, Wisconsin, jail. He faces Iowa robbery charges and Wisconsin weapons charges. His mother also is in custody. Forty-nine-year-old Linda Haynes of Davenport is charged with being an accessory after the fact, an aggravated misdemeanor. She allegedly provided transportation to her son, concealed him and gave officers false information. One of the alleged robbers, 18-year-old Matthew McCoy of Bettendorf, was arrested after driving into a ditch while being pursued by an Eldridge police officer shortly after the robbery.