ANHYDROUS AMMONIA LEAK
Iowa officials: Anhydrous ammonia tank leak stopped
COLLINS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities in central Iowa say crews have stopped a leak that sent plumes of dangerous anhydrous ammonia into an area around Collins.
Hazardous materials crews were called around 11 a.m. Tuesday to Landus Cooperative, where a 30,000-gallon tank of anhydrous ammonia leaked. The Story County Sheriff’s Office says first responders immediately evacuated an area in the southeast corner of Collins.
A news release by the sheriff’s office says the leak was contained around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and the evacuation order lifted. No injuries were reported.
Anhydrous ammonia is a farm fertilizer that is stored under pressure as a liquid, but becomes a lethal, suffocating gas when released from pressure. Even thin fumes can cause breathing difficulty and irritation to eyes, nose or throat.
CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION-APPOINTMENT
Iowa Civil Rights Commission gets new executive director
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines lawyer working for Iowa Workforce Development as an administrative law judge has been named the new director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.
Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday she appointed Elizabeth Johnson of Altoona to head the commission responsible for enforcing state civil rights laws designed to prohibit discrimination in employment, public accommodations and education.
Johnson was a civil rights specialist at the commission before she took her current job.
She begins Aug. 26 as commission executive director, a job subject to Iowa Senate confirmation.
The commission’s interim director Linda Grathwohl left on July 25 without giving a reason other than planning to return to a position at Iowa Legal Aid.
The previous permanent commission executive Kristin Johnson had the job for 3½ years. She resigned Jan. 2 as Reynolds began her first full term as governor.
Buttiegieg says rural Americans embrace immigrants they know
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (BOO’-tuh-juhj) says rural Americans embrace immigration when they see it as the solution to their employment needs and a shrinking population.
The South Bend, Indiana, mayor discussed his rural economic policy proposal with reporters Tuesday while taking a walk through the Iowa State Fair. His proposal calls for towns and counties, and not just corporations, to be able to seek employment visas.
Buttigieg says if residents are part of the decision to invite immigrants to their communities, “it does change the way we look at things,” and they are less likely to fear outsiders.
Buttigieg has embarked on a three-day trip through Iowa, including rural counties carried by Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and Republican Donald Trump in 2016.
SPORTS GAMBLING-DEBT COLLECTION
Panel delays collecting debt from sports gambling winnings
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A legislative committee has delayed a portion of new sports gambling rules that would allow the state to collect some the winnings of those who owe child support, back taxes or criminal debt.
The Iowa Administrative Rules Review Committee on Monday approved a request by the state’s casinos to delay that portion of the rules to allow lawmakers next year to clarify how they want debts collected from sports gambling winnings.
The bill creating sports betting didn’t specify how casinos should collect debts, and the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission rules regulating sports betting were written in a way that casinos say do not meet federal guidelines.
They asked the committee to delay that portion of the rules until lawmakers could draft a bill to conform to federal law.
Democratic Sen. Rob Hogg voted against the delay, saying people who owe child support, back taxes or criminal debt to the state should pay up.
Iowa’s legalized sports betting starts Thursday.
TRIBAL CASINO FIGHT
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska win another legal battle over casino
CARTER LAKE, Iowa (AP) — The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska has scored another legal win in its fight to keep its casino in western Iowa open.
U.S. District Judge Stephanie Rose on Monday rejected motions in a lawsuit by the states of Iowa and Nebraska and the Iowa city of Council Bluffs seeking to derail the casino. The motions sought to amend Rose’s order earlier this year in which she required the National Indian Gaming Commission to revisit its 2017 ruling giving the tribe the right to build the Prairie Flower Casino on land it owns in Carter Lake.
Attorneys for Nebraska, Iowa and Council Bluffs had wanted the judge to declare that her order had vacated the commission’s 2017 ruling, which likely would have required the casino to shut down as litigation dragged on.
An Iowa city’s leaders promise to work with unnamed company
(Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com)
MAQUOKETA, Iowa (AP) — The leaders of an eastern Iowa city have promised to work with a company they know little about — including its name — but that could bring up to 200 new manufacturing jobs to town.
The Telegraph Herald reports that city of Maquoketa leaders signed a nonbinding letter of intent to the company that says that if Maquoketa were chosen for the project, city leaders will propose a development agreement. The objective is to have that agreement in place “within the next 120 days, if not sooner.”
Nic Hockenberry is director of Jackson County Economic Alliance, and Hockenberry says “this isn’t usually how it works if you’re being considered for a site, but we take all inquiries seriously.”
The city would provide the land and help install utilities to the site, if the city were chosen.