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General Dynamics Electric Boat / U.S. Navy

There is a new USS Iowa. The Virginia-class nuclear-power fast-attack submarine was named Wednesday afternoon at Iowa State University’s Memorial Union.  It is the third naval vessel to have this name.

Flickr / David Wade Couch

The Iowa bicycling community will be closely watching a court trial in Benton County tomorrow. Cyclist Matt Phippen was biking on a country road back in March. He says the driver of a white Dodge pickup truck passed him in an aggressively close manner.

Steven Payne, the driver of the pickup, was fined for the incident. He refuses to pay the $270 in fees and therefore is headed to court. 

Drug Drop-Off

Sep 1, 2015
CFPD

The Cedar Falls Police Department is now taking back unused, unwanted and expired prescription drugs at a collection box in the lobby at the City Hall. Police Captain Craig Berte says the bright white re-purposed post office mailbox is available 24-7. He says “it’s totally anonymous, the only reason we’re checking it is we’re dumping it when it gets full.”

Photo by Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

Chert Hollow Farm sits nestled between rows of tall trees and a nearby stream in central Missouri. Eric and Joanna Reuter have been running the organic farm since 2006. That means they don't plant genetically modified crops and can only use a few approved kinds of chemicals and fertilizers.

"We've traditionally raised about an acre and a half of pretty intensively managed produce, so it's a very productive acre and a half," Eric Reuter said. "We're really into cropping things."

Joyce Russell/IPR

Governor Branstad is minimizing complaints about the private firms selected to manage Iowa’s more than four billion dollar Medicaid program that provides health care for Iowa’s poor and disabled.  

A Des Moines Register investigation shows fraud and mismanagement by the firms in other states.       

The state is scheduled to turn over management of the giant program to the four companies starting in January.    But three firms that didn’t win the contracts are requesting a review of the bidding process, which they call haphazard.  

Joyce Russell/IPR file

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says he is not joining the calls for President Obama to cancel an upcoming state visit by the President of China.  Republican Presidential candidates Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, and Carly Fiorina are among those saying Obama should cancel Xi Jinping’s state visit next month because of what they call China’s efforts to undermine U.S. interests.  On Friday, Branstad said President Xi is an old friend and that relationship has been good for Iowa.

Harvest Public Media file photo by Kristofor Husted

Some of the nation's largest farm groups are cheering after a federal judge blocked implementation Thursday of new rules governing water pollution.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson issued a preliminary injunction delaying the rules, which had been set to take effect Friday, saying that the Environmental Protection Agency had overstepped its bounds. Thirteen states sued the agency, seeking to prevent implementation, and Erickson said the "states are likely to succeed in their claim."

Flickr / Jimmy Emerson, DVM

The state of Iowa has completed an audit of the City of Casey, after a probable arson destroyed many of the town's financial records in August last year, the night before state auditors were scheduled to visit. Auditor of State Mary Mosiman says nearly $300,000 was misspent in Casey from July 2008 to October 2014. 

Photo by Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Breaking up is a hard thing to do. It's even harder when you're a publicly traded, multinational seed or chemical conglomerate. Monsanto, the St. Louis-based seed company that produces the widely-used herbicide RoundUp, had to learn that lesson the hard way. The world's largest seed company announced Wednesday that after months of wooing, it's no longer pursuing Switzerland-based Syngenta, the world's largest producer of farm chemicals. The courtship began in early summer 2015 when Monsanto made an initial bid to purchase Syngenta's chemical operations.

Photo by Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

Kendra Lawson doesn’t have the typical schedule of a nine year old.  With just a week of summer left, she spent her days working with her dad and mom on the farm and preparing her pigs to show at the state fair.

Here in central Missouri, the Lawson family raises cattle and pigs with a lot of help from Kendra. I met her at her house near Centralia, Mo., where she had just come back from helping her dad in the hay fields.

Asya Acka/Radio Iowa

Democratic candidate for President Hillary Clinton rolled out her plans for rural America during a stop in Ankeny Wednesday.  

Clinton addressed a crowd of about 250 in the FFA building at Des Moines Area Community College,  with a John Deere tractor as a backdrop. 

“I know it’s a little unusual for a candidate for President to be making a speech about this at a community college instead of a barn or bale of hay,” Clinton says.  “But at least we got a tractor,” she joked.

MorphoTrust USA

Iowa is the first state to test out mobile driver’s licenses. The Iowa Department of Transportation has rolled out a pilot program that allows users to pull up the ID on their smartphones.

Up to 100 Iowa DOT employees are testing out the new software, produced by MorphoTrust USA. The biometrics and identity technology company is headquartered in Billerica, MA. 

At the moment, the digital licenses are only compatible with newer iPhones. Eventually the application will be formatted for other smartphones.

Dubuque Telegraph Herald

Rail car traffic has increased dramatically across the state with the transport of grain, ethanol, and tractor parts and in the future, perhaps hazardous pipeline materials.  Much of the time the journey is made without incident, but if there’s trouble, those who respond want to be prepared. With more trains covering greater amounts of track, those in charge of safety want to be sure they’re ready in case of an emergency.  This past February, an 81-car Canadian Pacific train went off the tracks near Dubuque and caught fire.

Photo by Amy Mayer

The rural economy across the Midwest could take a hit this year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects a 36 percent drop in net farm income, according to economic forecasts released Tuesday.

Lower prices for wheat, corn, soybeans and hogs will hurt many Midwest farms, though USDA economist Mitchell Morehart says the impact could be lessened on some farms thanks to lower production costs. Fuel and feed expenses are both lower this year, though labor is higher.

Photo by Amy Mayer/IPR

Farmers and agriculture officials are gearing up for another round of bird flu this fall, an outbreak they fear could be worse than the devastating spring crisis that hit turkeys and egg-laying hens in the Midwest, wiped out entire farms and sent egg prices sky-high.

The potential target of the highly pathogenic avian flu this fall could be broilers, or meat chickens, as the outbreaks have been triggered and carried by wild birds, which will be flying south in great numbers this fall through several U.S. flyways.

Boston Police Department

Two Iowa men are being held without bail in Boston, pending a dangerousness hearing on September 1. Boston Police say 18-year-old Kevin Norton of Ames and 27-year-old James Stumbo of Boone drove more than 20 hours to the Pokémon World Championships in Boston.

The two were arrested late Friday night after a search of the men’s vehicle turned up guns, several hundred rounds of ammunition, and a hunting knife.

IPR's Pat Blank

Lime Springs Beef, a new 15- thousand square foot meat processing plant near the Minnesota border will open soon. Spokesperson Kyle Wooters says what they need now are employees.  He says they’ll hold two job fairs this week.

“We’re looking for all people in the plant, production workers," Wooters says.  "We’re looking to hire about 40 or 50 of those and shipping and grading and office support staff."

Photo by Amy Mayer

 

In the Midwest, agriculture can be such a strong lure that there are some farm kids without farms.

Ally Babcock lives with her family in a modern subdivision in Ames, Iowa. Tucked under the home’s back deck is a tiny barn space, enough room for her sheep and rabbits.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz delivered one red meat applause line after another to a receptive crowd today at the Des Moines Register soapbox at the Iowa State Fair.  

Cruz is  running for the Republican nomination for president.   Like other conservative candidates, he wants to dismantle most of the federal government, repeal Obamacare, and secure the borders.   

He says the fatal shooting of servicemembers at recruiting centers in Tennessee should never happen again.

Asya Akca

Republicans in the Iowa House have chosen Clear Lake Representative Linda Upmeyer to be the next Speaker of the House, and the first woman to hold the position.     Upmeyer will take over from current speaker, Hiwawatha Republican  Kraig Paulsen.  

The top Democrat in the House was quick to criticize the new leadership.   And Upmeyer’s Republican opponent for the top spot says his party needs some fresh ideas.  

Doin' Shots!

Aug 19, 2015
University of Oregon

When you invite college age students to do shots, you’re likely to get their attention. Iowa Health Department officials are making that suggestion, but of course they mean vaccinations not alcohol. State Medical Director Patricia Quinlisk says probably the most important immunization to get is the one that protects against meningitis which can cause death.

Joyce Russell/IPR

  Former Texas Governor Rick Perry drew a crowd on the state fairground’s grand concourse today, taking his turn at the Des Moines Register’s Soapbox and making his case he should be the Republican nominee for President.     He drew cheers with a strong anti-Washington message.  

 “I think what this country needs is a proven leader day in and day out who will go to the Oval Office and make Washington D.C. as inconsequential as we can make it,” Perry says.   “I can do this.”     

He says Washington’s only role should be to secure the borders, and to build up the military:

IPR file photo by Amy Mayer

A lawsuit alleging illegal spending of Pork Checkoff money is moving forward, following a federal appeals court decision. Iowa hog farmer Harvey Dillenburg along with the Humane Society of the United States and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, an environmental group, sued U.S.

John Pemble / IPR

 CM: Governor, you’ve been spending a lot of time in Iowa, even before you initially announced that you were running for president. All this time here, two to three words, how do you describe Iowa?

SW: A lot like Wisconsin.

CM: That’s four words, but we’ll take it, I guess. You said in the debate during your campaign for reelection that you would do four years as governor. What made you change your mind to decide to get into the race?

Joyce Russell/IPR

  Ohio Governor and Republican candidate for President John Kasich attracted a crowd of about a hundred people at the Iowa State Fair today, taking his turn on the Des Moines Register’s Soapbox.      

Rain forced the event inside.  

Kasich is appealing to moderates rather than conservatives in the race for the Republican nomination.

“I ran for office because I thought I could make a difference,” Kasich says.   “I’m a Republican but it has always been my vehicle and never been my master.”  

Iowa Public Radio / Joyce Russell

Democrat Jim Mowrer is running for Congress again, but this time in Iowa’s Third Congressional District. He resigned from his position as vice-chair of the Iowa Democratic Party this morning.

Last year, the Iraq War Veteran and father of two sons unsuccessfully tried to unseat Fourth District Congressman Steve King. King captured nearly 62-percent of the vote.

Since that time Mowrer relocated from Boone to Des Moines. He has one primary challenger, Clive businessman Desmund Adams.

They both hope to defeat freshman Republican Congressman David Young. 

John Pemble/IPR

A foot long Corn Dogs with an large chunk of batter from one of many Campbells Concessions stands.  Campbells has been a vendor at the Iowa State Fair since 1954 when they were called Mel Little Concessions, and a Corn Dog was known as Poncho Dogs. 8/14/2015 Photo by John Pemble

Iowa Public Radio / John Pemble

It was more than 90 degrees at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday. Luckily for the presidential candidates stumping at the Des Moines Register's Soapbox in long-sleeved dress shirts, there was also a slight breeze.

The first speaker of the day was former Sen. Rick Santorum. The Pennsylvania Republican told a crowd of roughly 150-200 people that he was the only presidential candidate who was on the Islamic State's enemy list.

Photo by Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, is attempting to swallow up the chemical operations of Syngenta, the world’s biggest producer of pesticides and other farm inputs. The proposed deal signals a change in focus for the agricultural giant, and could have ripple effects across farm country.

By its own admission, Monsanto lags behind in chemistry research. To correct that, and possibly find new ways to combine chemicals and biotech crops, Monsanto wants to buy the Swiss chemical company.

My Farm Roots: Room to Roam

Aug 13, 2015
Photo by Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media

The Matthew family farm, M&M&m Farms, outside of La Harpe, Ill., looks different from the farms surrounding it. It’s not filled with neat rows of soybeans or lines of corn that’s over-my-head high in late July. The Matthew’s place is a bit more disorganized and far more diverse.

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