- 6/18/13; West Hancock vs. Corwith Wesley Luverne Baseball will play varsity first at 5:45 p.m. No JV. :
HEALTH CARE-IOWA Iowa Democrats continue Medicaid expansion push DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Senate Democrats are proposing a Medicaid expansion with an opt-out provision in case federal funding levels change. Democratic Senate President Pam Jochum says Thursday that the plan would address concerns from Gov. Terry Branstad that the federal government can’t fulfill funding promises for a Medicaid expansion. Democrats argue that expanding Medicaid would provide better coverage to more low-income Iowa residents. Branstad says the cost is unsustainable for the federal government and questions the long-term cost to states. Branstad has offered an alternate plan called Healthy Iowa. This plan revamps an existing health program for low-income residents and would use state and federal funds to provide coverage. A spokesman for Branstad says he will work with Democrats, but continues to oppose an expansion.
GRAIN BIN ACCIDENT Iowa officials pull 2 men from grain bin (Information in the following story is from: KWWL-TV, http://www.kwwl.com ) WAVERLY, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say they’ve pulled two men from a grain bin in northeast Iowa but their conditions are unknown. The Iowa State Patrol says local and state officials arrived after 1 p.m. Thursday at Schneider’s Milling in Waverly, about 20 miles north of Waterloo.
KWWL-TV (http://bit.ly/13YDfAh ) reports the men were removed from the bin around 2:15 p.m. Authorities have not released their conditions. DES MOINES HOMICIDE Iowa teen sentenced for girlfriend’s death (Information in the following story is from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com ) DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Des Moines teenager convicted of killing his former girlfriend has been sentenced to several decades in prison. Raymond Benitez was sentenced Thursday to between 35 and 60 years in prison. He will be eligible for parole after 35 years. Prosecutors say Benitez used a crowbar last June to bludgeon 18-year-old Judy VanLo in her bedroom. Benitez pleaded guilty in February to second-degree murder and willful injury after reaching a plea deal. The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/YtInaE ) reports Benitez apologized in court to both his family and VanLo’s family. Court documents say VanLo told several people she was pregnant and that Benitez was the baby’s father. Benitez told police he had talked to VanLo about having an abortion.
TODDLER’S DEATH-WATERLOO Officials investigate toddler’s death in Waterloo WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) – Authorities are investigating the death of a 2-year-old girl found unresponsive in a northwest Iowa home. The Waterloo Police Department says officers responded Tuesday night to a report of a child not breathing. Kennadi Porter was taken to Allen Hospital, where she later was pronounced dead. Police say a friend of Kennadi’s mother was caring for the child at the time. Authorities have not released more information about the case. Results of an autopsy performed Wednesday are still pending.
IOWA SCHOOLS-STUDENT IDEAS Student group offers ideas for Iowa education DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A group of students in high school and college want education officials in Iowa to recruit qualified teachers and improve testing standards. The Iowa Learning Council presented those recommendations and others during a meeting Thursday with state leaders. Other ideas included a push for schools to encourage careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The state Department of Education leads the council of young people, which formed last year to draft an agenda of education reforms. Other recommendations included raising teacher salaries and creating a diploma seal that signifies a student is college and career ready. Branstad supports such measures under his education reform plan. Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass says the agency plans to keep the council in the future.
CHINESE PRESIDENT-IOWA Iowa governor congratulates new Chinese president DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad says Iowa is fortunate to have strong ties to the new president of China, which could create business opportunities. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds on Thursday congratulated Xi Jinping on assuming the presidency of the world’s most populous country. Branstad says Xi will be “someone who is very good to work with” and he looks forward to visiting him soon. Branstad’s ties to Xi date back to a 1985 diplomatic trip that Xi took to Iowa, during Branstad’s first stint as governor. Branstad visited with Xi on a trade mission in 2011. Xi returned to Iowa last year during a trip as vice president, stopping in Muscatine to meet with those who hosted him in 1985 and in Des Moines to meet with state leaders.
TRAIN DERAILMENT Officials say no injuries in Iowa train derailment (Information in the following story is from: KCCI-TV, http://www.kcci.com ) BOONE, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say no one was injured when a train derailed in central Iowa. The Union Pacific train derailed Thursday afternoon in Boone. Authorities are calling the derailment minor. Des Moines television station KCCI-TV (http://bit.ly/YtLuQ6 ) reports a hazmat crew was called off shortly after arriving on scene. Authorities have not released information about the extent of the derailment. The station reports the train’s tanker may have been carrying a chemical used for making synthetic rubber.
CENSUS-IOWA Census shows population dips in 65 Iowa counties DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Nearly two-thirds of Iowa’s counties lost population between 2011 and 2012 even as the state gained 10,089 overall. The latest U.S. Census estimates show that Iowa had 3,074,186 residents last year, but the population of 65 of the state’s 99 counties declined between 2011 and 2012. Many of the population declines were in rural areas where aging populations are dying off while younger residents move to urban areas in search of work. Fifty-five Iowa counties had more deaths than births in 2012. The biggest population gains in the state were reported in Polk, Johnson, Dallas, Scott and Linn counties, which are home to Des Moines, Iowa City, Davenport and Cedar Rapids.