Iowa Farmland Values
AMES, Iowa (AP) — The average price of Iowa farmland fell nearly 9
percent in the past year but still remains far above prices seen a
A report shows prices fell 8.9 percent to an average of $7,943 an acre.
The Des Moines Register reports that despite the drop, the average
price is more than double prices seen a decade ago.
Michael Duffy, a retired Iowa State professor who conducted the survey,
says the farmland value decline is due to commodity prices and farm
income "settling back to more expected levels."
It was the second time since 1999 that the survey showed farmland prices had declined.
Scott County had the highest average farmland price.
Former Clarke University Employee Accused of Stealing from School
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A former Clarke University employee has been
accused of stealing more than $300,000 from the school in a book vendor
James Spaulding, a former bookstore manager at Clarke, faces one count
of mail fraud and two counts of filing a false tax return.
Authorities say Spaulding submitted invoices to buy books from a
company he established with a friend. He is accused of issuing checks
for invoices and would later receive cashier's checks.
A hearing in the case is scheduled today.
Clarke University reported the theft in April 2013 after an internal review of vendors.
Dunkel Appointed to Lead Economic Growth Committee in Iowa House
Des Moines, Iowa – House Democratic Leader Mark Smith of Marshalltown
has appointed Representative Nancy Dunkel as the Ranking Member of the
House Economic Growth Committee for the 2015 Legislative Session.
Dunkel will also serve on the Appropriations, Agriculture, Veterans
Affairs and Transportation Budget Subcommittee.
Two Injured in Dubuque County Crash
Authorities have identified two people who were injured in a crash
Monday evening at the intersection of Highway 151 and Monestary Road.
According to the Dubuque County Sheriff's Office, 62-year-old Roger
Halverson of Cresco was westbound on Skyline Road when he failed to
yield the right-of-way while crossing 151. His pickup collided with a
southbound car driven by 30-year-old Ben Meyer of Bernard. Halverson
was taken to a Dubuque hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Meyer was transferred to University Hospitals in Iowa City. His
condition was unknown. That crash happened around 5:30 p.m. Monday.
Green Bay-Based Company Acquires Lumber Specialties
Green Bay-based US LBM Holdings has announced the acquisition of Lumber
Specialties. L.T. Gibson, President & CEO of US LBM, says
they are very pleased to have Lumber Specialties join the company and
further their reach and abilities for truss and panel products. Lumber
Specialties President Dennis Westhoff said the new partnership will
allow them to continue to grow as a company and improve operations.
Lumber Specialties was founded in Dyersville in 1983 with 10 employees.
It now has almost 220 at facilities in Dyersville and Story City. US
LBM Holdings is a collection of 17 building material distributors with
more than 90 locations in 19 states.
Iowa Museum Receives 16 Baby Turtles Confiscated at Airport
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Officials for a Dubuque museum say they've
received 16 baby turtles that were confiscated at an airport in Alaska.
The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque says
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confiscated the turtles at an
airport in Anchorage, Alaska. They arrived at the museum on Wednesday.
More than 200 turtles were recovered at the airport after being packed
inside boots in luggage. The museum says federal officials thwarted a
plan to illegally export them to China.
The museum says it received wood turtles, Blanding's turtles and loggerhead musk turtles.
Some of the turtles will be on display after a quarantine period.
Museum officials gave eight turtles to officials at Mines of Spain
Recreation Area and Maquoketa Caves State Park.
Chief: Councilman, Firefighter Save Iowa Man
MAQUOKETA, Iowa (AP) — A fire chief in eastern Iowa says an off-duty
firefighter and a city councilman have saved a man in a wheelchair from
a burning home.
Maquoketa Fire Chief Mark Beck says the pair rescued Harvey Untiedt on
Sunday after a fire started near his Christmas tree. Beck says
firefighter Matt Tranel and Councilman Corey Simonson live nearby and
went into the house before firefighters arrived.
Beck says smoke in the air reached down to their knees when they
entered. The men found Untiedt coughing in the kitchen and helped him
It's unclear what started the fire.
Eight People Taken to Hospital Following Highway 20 Crash near Peosta
Eight people were taken to the hospital following a crash near Peosta
Sunday afternoon. Authorities say 19-year-old Robert Borley, of
Dubuque, was northbound on Dutch Lane Road when he failed to stop at
Highway 20. His pickup continued through the intersection and into the
path of a westbound vehicle. A passenger in Borley's truck, 20-year-old
Justin Bell, was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening
injuries. An adult passenger and six children in the other vehicle were
taken in for treatment of minor injuries. Borley was cited for failing
to stop at a stop sign and operating too fast for road conditions. That
crash happened around 1:45 p.m. Sunday.
3 Juveniles from Independence Crash SUV
INDEPENDENCE — Authorities say three juveniles who ran away from the
Four Oaks facility in Independence Saturday night lead law enforcement
on a high-speed chase in a stolen vehicle. Independence police say Four
Oaks staffed notified them the three males left about 7:15 p.m. and
were located at the Casey’s General Store near Highway 20. They drove
off westbound on Highway 20 before turning south on Interstate 380 in
Black Hawk County. The pursuit ended when the SUV crashed and rolled
into a ditch at the bottom of an exit ramp onto Highway 150 near
Urbana. They were taken to a Cedar Rapids hospital with what police
called non-life threatening injuries. Police said the SUV was stolen
from a home in Independence, and numerous charges are pending.
Arlington Couple Facing Livestock Neglect Charges
WEST UNION, Iowa (AP) — Charges of livestock neglect and failure to
properly dispose of animal carcasses have been brought against an
The charges are simple misdemeanors against 50-year-old Duane John Landis and 49-year-old Margaret Ann Landis.
The charges stem from an investigation that began when Fayette County
sheriff's deputies executed a search warrant on the Landis property. At
the time, five horses were removed from the property.
The newspaper says deputies also worked with the Landises to make sure
carcasses found on the property had been properly disposed of.
Dubuque Looks to Limit Sledding
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Those wanting to enjoy some sledding in Dubuque this winter might soon find their options limited.
The Dubuque City Council will consider an ordinance restricting sledding on public property to two city parks.
If adopted, sledding would only be allowed at Allison-Henderson Park and Bunker Hill Golf Course.
City Attorney Barry Lindahl says the move is necessary to reduce
liability risk to the city. Lindahl says municipalities are largely
indemnified against lawsuits related to skateboarding and bicycling
injuries, but that no such protections exist for sledding, skiing and
Early School Start
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Education says it will
stop granting automatic waivers to school districts seeking to start
Department director Brad Buck sent a letter Friday to state education leaders saying the change is effective immediately.
The announcement came shortly after Gov. Terry Branstad sent a letter
to Buck asking that officials only grant a waiver if a school district
demonstrates a "significant negative educational impact" of beginning
classes on time, as required by law.
Districts must start school no earlier than the calendar week that
includes Sept. 1. But nearly all of them receive waivers to begin
Branstad's letter says starting earlier "unnecessarily interferes" with families' plans, seasonal hiring and the State Fair.
Western Dubuque Discussing PK-4 Class Sizes
The Western Dubuque School Board has received an update on class sizes
as they look to even those class sizes in grades Pre-K through 4.
Currently, elementary class sizes in the district vary by as many at 13
students per classroom. The board was presented with three options for
providing more equitable class sizes and consistent class sections. One
option would include redrawing attendance center boundary lines with a
limit on waivers. Another option would realign building grade levels
with no boundary line changes. The third option would involve moving an
entire grade if there was a lack of building space. Community
presentations will be held in January, with a decision expected at the
March board meeting.
Teen Taken into Custody after Bomb Threat in Iowa
ARLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a 16-year-old has been taken
into custody following a bomb threat at a northeast Iowa high school.
The Fayette County Sheriff's Office says the male teenager was taken
into custody after a handwritten message about a bomb threat was found
Wednesday morning at Starmont High School in Arlington. Authorities did
not find a bomb and no injuries were reported.
The student, who was later released to a guardian, faces a felony
charge of threats. He will be referred to juvenile authorities.
Railroad Settles Mississippi River Oil Spill Claim
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A railroad company has agreed to pay $625,000
000 to cover environmental costs related to a 2008 derailment that
caused an oil spill in the Mississippi River between Iowa and Wisconsin.
Canadian Pacific would make the payment without admitting wrongdoing to
settle a civil complaint filed Tuesday by the state of Iowa and the
United States government. The proposed settlement faces a 30-day
The complaint alleges that derailed locomotives spewed 4,400 gallons of
diesel oil and other petroleum products onto the shoreline near
Guttenberg, Iowa and into the river. It allegedly resulted in the loss
of mussels that are considered endangered and damage to other aquatic
life. The complaint says Canadian Pacific took steps to clean up the
oil but wasn't able "to remediate the entire area affected."
Fisherman Saved after Falling Through Ice
A fisherman was saved after falling through the ice in Guttenberg on
Sunday. Ron Hillers was also fishing when he heard a noise and spotted
the man in the water, hanging on to the ice. Hillers and others were
able to pull him out. The unidentified man was taken to Guttenberg
Municipal Hospital for treatment.
Dubuque County Officials Looking at Options to Improve Safey at Railroad Crossing near Dyersville
Dubuque County officials are looking into options to improve safety
measures at a railroad crossing near Dyersville. Following a crash last
month, county engineer Bret Wilkinson has been asked to study if the
county could place a stop sign on Olde Hawkeye Road at the intersection
with Wuchter Road, which would include a right turn-no stop for those
turning on to Wuchter Road. They say it would alert drivers of the
route to Highway 20 and deter them from continuing on the dead-end
road. They will also consider adding other warning signs at the
Boy Dies after Being Hit by Skid Loader
A young boy has died after being hit by a skid loader in rural
Manchester. Authorities received a call at 8:14 p.m. Friday that
3-year-old Colton Meyer had been struck by a skid loader at 1283 240th
Street. That accident remains under investigation by the Delaware
County Sheriff's Office.
Dubuque County Sheriff's Office Update on Car vs. Train Accident
The Dubuque County Sheriff's Office has released an update on the
investigation of a fatal car vs. train accident near Dyersville.
According to to preliminary investigation, 62-year-old Mary Bouillion,
of Corallville, was impaired at the time and that may have been a
contributing factor in the crash. There is no indication that a GPS
device was being used at the time and was not a contributing factor.
Edgewood Man Dies in Crash Near Strawberry Point
Authorities are investigating a crash that killed an Edgewood man
earlier this week. Clayton County Sheriff's officials said Wednesday
that 21-year-old Matthew Belk was westbound on 390th Street near
Strawberry Point when his vehicle lost control, struck and embankment
in the ditch and rolled, landing in a field. Belk, who was ejected, was
pronounced dead at the scene. A passerby who spotted Belk's vehicle in
the ditch notified authorities of the crash at approximately 10 a.m.