Washington, D.C. — Iowa’s two U.S. Senators, Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley want answers on how a suspected al Qaeda leader, who is wanted for murder in the deaths of two Iraqi police officers, was able to receive refugee status in the United States.

Ali Yousif Ahmed Al-Nouri was admitted as a refugee in 2008 and later obtained full U.S. citizenship. He was arrested recently, after a federal magistrate issued a warrant for his arrest. The warrant was based on an extradition request from the government of Iraq on charges of killing two Iraqi police officers in 2006.

Ernst and Grassley sent a letter to the State Department, FBI and Citizenship and Immigration Services, seeking a briefing to allow them to better understand how al-Nouri was able to enter this country pretending to be a refugee, as well as the national security implications of letting a member of a terrorist organization to not only enter the U.S., but gain full citizenship.

To read the letter sent by Senators Ernst and Grassley, CLICK HERE.

February 15, 2020 - 12:54 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — A celebration kicked off Friday to mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote.

Doris Kelley is the chair of the celebration committee.

Kelley says they took some time to come up with the theme.

Kelley says the “hard won” part is the 70 years it took fighting to get the vote. And the “not done” part is the work to continue gaining equality for women in a number of areas.

The opening event was Friday morning in Ames.

Statewide Iowa — Iowa officials are sanctioning the owner of an insurance agency in Missouri a second time for what the Iowa Insurance Division describes as misleading mailers.

John A. McAfee owns McAfee and Associates in Hannibal, Missouri. Officials in the Iowa Insurance Division say his insurance agency mailed deceptive materials to Iowans.

A year ago, state officials told McAfee he was not to send mailers to any Iowa address that
create a false impression the mailer was sent by the government. Last February, McAfee was ordered to pay five-thousand dollars to Iowa’s Consumer Education and Litigation Fund. He’s now been ordered to pay a total of 10-thousand dollars in civil penalties, plus 18-hundred dollars more to the State of Iowa to cover the cost of the investigation.

A news release from the Iowa Insurance Division says McAfee’s mailers were sent to generate marketing leads for life insurance, but that information was not disclosed on the mailers. The person answering the phone at McAfee’s agency in Hannibal asked that reporters not call the agency again for comment.

Image from KIWA Image Archive

February 15, 2020 - 11:14 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — A bill to let more potent medical marijuana products be sold in Iowa has cleared initial review in the Iowa House, but the bill also would limit the total amount of THC patients could be sold over a 90 day period.

Representative John Forbes, a Democrat from Urbandale, says some patients are already taking more THC over a three-month period than the bill would allow.

Governor Reynolds vetoed a bill last year after members of a state advisory board raised objections. THIS bill would implement the board’s latest recommendation, a limit of four-and-a-half grams of THC over 90 days. Republican Representative Jarad Klein of Keota says he’ll keep discussing the THC limit with the advisory board and the governor.

The bill is now eligible for consideration in a House committee. Under the state’s medical cannabis program, there are licensed growers, producers and sellers of medical marijuana to Iowans with a limited number of medical condition like Multiple Sclerosis and chronic epilepsy.

Northwest Iowa — Scammers continue to try to find ways to separate you from your money. The electric bill scam is raising its head again, say Alliant Energy officials.

We’ve heard it before. Alliant says they have reports again of customers in Wisconsin and Iowa receiving calls from scammers pretending to be Alliant Energy. These callers threaten to cut off power in a few hours unless immediate payment is made.

Alliant Energy spokesperson Mike Wagner says that’s just not how they do business. They do NOT call customers and demand immediate payment.

He says they also do not ask for payment over email.

According to Wagner, scammers can make it appear that the calls are coming from Alliant Energy. Some scammers may provide a different phone number that spoofs their answering system and automated menu.

Again, he says Alliant Energy’s official phone number is 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4268), and that is the only number to call.

According to Wagner, the power is in the hands of the customer. (no pun intended)

Wagner says that if you receive a call like this:

§ STOP: Scammers are counting on you being too alarmed to check your account status. Hang up the phone.

§ THINK: Chances are you do not owe the amount the scammers claim.

§ CHECK: Visit Alliant’s website or call. He says they can tell you how much is due and when.

That website again is alliantenergy.com. The phone number is 1-800-ALLIANT, which in digits is 1-800-255-4268.

February 14, 2020 - 3:24 pm - Posted in News

Boone, Iowa — The Iowa DNR reports a drop in the number of deer taken by hunters this year. DNR Wildlife Biologist, Tyler Harms, says the drop coincides with a drop in the number of hunters.

The deer taken dropped to 94 thousand — compared to nearly 108-thousand the year before. Harms says an outbreak of disease is likely behind the drop in license sales.

Harms says some hunters want to help the deer recover from such outbreaks.

Harms says he expects future deer season will return to harvests of 100-thousand or more.

The state also reported the most positive tests for Chronic Wasting Disease this season since it started the testing. Harms says that is also a concern.

Harms says hunters have been very helpful in trying to manage the spread of C-W-D. He says they can continue to do that by following some simple steps.

He says transporting the carcasses of deer that are infected can spread the disease.

Des Moines, Iowa — The 32 Republicans in the Iowa Senate have endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment that says the state’s founding document does not protect abortion rights. Senator Zach Whiting is a Republican from Spirit Lake.

All 18 Democrats in the Senate, including Senator Eric Giddens of Cedar Falls, voted against the proposal.

Republican Senator Randy Feenstra of Hull, who is running for Congress, says the proposal leaves it up to voters to decide if women should have a right to an abortion.

Senator Jackie Smith, a Democrat from Sioux City, says the proposed amendment is an extreme attack on women and their health care.

A similar proposal did not come up for a vote in the Republican-led Senate last year — and Thursday night, Governor Kim Reynolds tweeted her thanks for this year’s Senate action. If the House passes the proposed amendment this session, it’ll have to be passed again in 2021 or 2022 before it could be submitted to a vote of the people.

February 14, 2020 - 1:45 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — (RI) — A northern Iowa farmer who’s been in the legislature nearly 12 years is proposing a new “corn state” license plate design. Senator Tim Kapucian of Keystone has drafted a bill that would carry out his vision.

Kapucian says when he saw how popular the state’s new “black out” speciality license plates have been, he decided to ask his fellow legislators to embrace this idea. Kapucian expects plenty of farmers to be interested in getting one of these plates for their pick-ups.

Kapucian’s neighbor has a license plate collection. It includes a mid-1950s black-and-white plate that has “THE CORN STATE” in capital letters at the bottom of the plate.

Kapucian’s plate plan has cleared a Senate subcommittee. His bill would have to pass through at least five other steps in the legislative process before it could be sent to the governor for review.

Sheldon, Iowa — If you qualify, you may be able to take a couple of basic courses for free at Northwest Iowa Community College.

Norma Azpeitia, a Career Pathways Navigator and Academic Specialist at NCC tells us about the opportunity.

She says they are very basic courses to get you started on your way to becoming a welder or machinist.

She tells us the college is also providing other support, and when the courses are done, they’ll even help you meet some possible employers.

Northwest Iowa Community College is receiving some grants to help them offer the courses.

According to Azpeitia, English language learners are welcome, and no high school diploma is needed. However, you must attend the informational meeting on Monday, February 24 at 6pm in room C328 Building C to be eligible for the opportunity. Free pizza will be served to those who attend.

To RSVP for the informational meeting or if you have any questions you are invited to call 712-631-5500 or email mlovan@nwicc.edu.

February 13, 2020 - 3:09 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — There’s disagreement among Republicans at the statehouse over how many state tax dollars to forward to Iowa’s public schools for the next academic year. Republicans in the Iowa Senate favor a two-point-one percent increase in per pupil spending. Senator Amy Sinclair is a Republican from Allerton.

Republican Governor Kim Reynolds and Republicans in the House favor slightly more, a two-and-a-half percent increase. Representative Cecil Dolecheck of Mount Ayr and the other Republicans in the House voted for the higher number earlier this week.

Democrats, who are in the minority in the legislature, argued the state can afford to spend more on schools, and should do so. Representative Mary Mascher, a Democrat from Iowa City, says the state’s facing a crisis in public education.

Senator Julian Garrett, a Republican from Indianola, says more money isn’t always the answer.

Senator Eric Giddens, a Democrat from Waterloo, says more than a third of Iowa school districts will get LESS money from the state next year because their enrollment is shrinking.

Representative Ras Smith, a Democrat from Waterloo, says Iowa schools are falling behind.

Iowa school districts must certify their spending plans for the next academic year by April 15th, so this state funding decision is key for local decision makers, Iowa school boards and school administrators.