ByChristopher Walljasper/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
When nearly 300 Americans submitted comments this summer on the USDA’s pilot plan to bring high speed broadband internet to rural America, they mentioned the great opportunities reliable internet connectivity could bring. But they also voiced skepticism over the agency’s proposed plans for the project, which has been in the works for nearly a year.
Voters showed strong interest in this year’s mid-term election in Iowa, so much so that one county ran out of ballots, election officials from across the state said when IowaWatch contacted them today.
A new Iowa City voter who recently passed a test to become a U.S. citizen but had not yet participated in a swearing-in ceremony almost lost a chance to vote Tuesday. But County Auditor Travis Weipert tracked the voter down so that the voter could return to the polling place and cast a ballot. “I’m one of those who, I want you to vote if you’re a U.S. citizen,” Weipert said Tuesday night. The voter, at the IC22 precinct at Shimek Elementary School in Johnson County, was questioned about being eligible to vote when registering at the precinct. One of the first questions when registering asks if the person registering is a U.S. citizen.
Henry County, Iowa, ran out of ballots during the Tuesday mid-term elections. Auditor Shelly Barber told IowaWatch she only ordered enough ballots for 90 percent of the county’s registered voters, based off the turnout in the 2014 midterm election. SUPPORT NON-PROFIT JOURNALISM, DOUBLE YOUR DONATION WITH NEWSMATCH
But some precincts ran out by the end of Tuesday morning, she said. In lieu of ballots, voters across the county ended up using OpenElect Voting Interface (OVI) and OpenElect Voting Optical Scan (OVO) machines provided for blind or handicapped voters to cast their ballots. “People are a little testy if they have to wait,” Barber said.
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Iowa’s race for secretary of agriculture and land stewardship has gotten strong attention this year for several reasons, including:
a trade war with China affecting the sale of soybeans to that country,
dropping commodity prices,
a need for farm labor, and
the fact that neither the Republican nor Democrat seeking the seat held it at the beginning of this year. Incumbent Republican Mike Naig ascended to the seat earlier this year after Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Bill Northey resigned to become an undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Naig had worked since 2013 as a deputy in Northey’s office before Gov. Kim Reynolds appointed him to complete Northey’s term. “I bring all of that experience. I bring all of the, having traveled the state now for the last seven, eight months as the secretary interacting with Iowans.
Scientific and anecdotal evidence suggests that a person who abuses animals also has a higher likelihood of hurting other people. And that insight has begun fueling a push, at the state and federal levels, to slap a no-gun penalty on anyone convicted of animal cruelty, this Fairwarning.org report tells us.
Youths entrusted to Washington state’s foster-care system have endured “abusive” practices in a jail-like Iowa group home that inappropriately used painful physical restraints on children, according to a new report by a government-designated watchdog group in Washington.
Some Americans may think their country is divided politically more than ever but political acrimony was more serious, and sometimes violent, in other times in U.S. history, former long-time U.S. congressman James Leach, of Iowa, said in an IowaWatch interview. Listen to the interview in this podcast.
Small family-run farms that raise organically, without genetically modifying crops or by reducing their use of pesticides and antibiotics, are such a small part of the federal government’s definition of a family farm that they often are lost in the crowd when it comes to government and industry support.