FOOD STAMP COSTS
Accepting food stamps to cost some Iowa retailers
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Human Services is warning that some Iowa businesses will have to pay for equipment and supplies, or pay transaction fees, to accept food stamp payments.
The agency says the change comes courtesy of this year's federal farm bill that passed in February.
Before the legislation, Iowa used federal funds to provide equipment and pay transaction costs for retailers who averaged $100 per month or more in food stamp transactions. Under the new farm bill, the agency says, that's no longer allowed.
DHS says the change will affect about 1,100 retailers in Iowa who use the state-provided equipment.
Business donates tools to replace stolen ones
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - The house-building nonprofit Habitat for Humanity has received a bit of charity of its own.
The Telegraph Herald reports that Dubuque farm supply business Theisen's donated tools to the group to replace those recently stolen.
Thieves stole all of Habitat for Humanity's power tools left in a trailer parked at a Dubuque construction site. The tools, including a circular saw, belt sander and table saw, valued at more than $3,800 were taken sometime between July 12 and July 16. The equipment was bought using a $5,000 grant the group had received.
The charity has insurance to cover the structure it's building and liability for volunteers. Charity officials say that its insurance costs would be unaffordable if the policy were extended to cover the group's tools.
Spike in heroin deaths alarms Iowa authorities
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities in eastern Iowa's Johnson County are reporting a dramatic increase in the number of heroin overdose deaths.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that in the first six months of this year, 10 heroin-related deaths have occurred in Johnson County. That's a 233 percent increase from all deaths caused by the drug last year, according to data from the Johnson County Medical Examiner.
Officials speculate the increase could be related to a growing number of people addicted to prescription painkillers who are turning to heroin as a cheaper, stronger alternative. Officials also blame eastern Iowa's close proximity to major drug suppliers in Chicago.
Federal, state and local officials gathered in Iowa City earlier this month to begin addressing the jump in heroin use and deaths.
Polk County Jail refusing immigration detainers
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Polk County Jail is now among the growing list of local law enforcement agencies that are no longer honoring federal requests to hold suspected immigrants in jail without a warrant.
The Des Moines Register reports that Polk County Sheriff Bill McCarthy issued the order in early June.
The 48-hour immigration detainers are issued to local law enforcement by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. They ask that immigrants who have been arrested be held for two days after they would normally be released to give federal officials time to initiate an investigation and take the person into custody for deportation, if necessary.
The practice is under scrutiny, and several agencies around the country have stopped complying with the requests.
Council Bluffs park to fight invasive plants
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Officials in western Iowa will consider seeking a $200,000 state grant to help remove invasive trees and plants taking over a Council Bluffs park.
The Daily Nonpareil reports that non-native trees and plants - like black locust, buckthorn and Ohio buckeye- have crowded out native species in Fairmount Park.
Parks Director Larry Foster will ask the Council Bluffs City Council on Monday give him the go-ahead to seek the grant.
Foster wants a 28-acre section of the park to go back to oak savannah and understory trees, as well as Loess prairies.
Wood chips from the removed trees would be used to surface a nature trail within the park that would connect with a nearby neighborhood trail to the restored area
2 sentenced to up to 50 years for beating death
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Two 19-year-old Des Moines men have been sentenced to up to 50 years in prison for the beating death of another man last year.
The Des Moines Register reports that James Alon Shorter and Yarvon Nathaniel Russell were sentenced Friday. Both were found guilty in May of second-degree murder in the Aug. 25 beating death of Richard Daughenbaugh.
Court records say Daughenbaugh was killed after he honked his horn at a group of men. Shorter and Russell were among four men initially charged with first-degree murder in the death.
Kent Anthony Tyler III was convicted of second-degree murder in December and is serving a 50-year sentence. Another man, Le'Prese Derrion Williams, was acquitted by a jury in May.
Fish absent from Iowa for 80 years discovered
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The unexpected discovery of a sunfish near Muscatine not seen in Iowa in more than 80 years has fish experts perplexed and excited.
Last month while collecting fish for an educational program, an Iowa Department of Natural Resources fisheries technician netted what appears to be the first longear sunfish identified in Iowa waters since 1932. It was taken from a pond at the Fairport Fish Hatchery along the Mississippi River. On Wednesday, two more suspected longear sunfish were found in a hatchery pond.
Fish experts say anytime an uncommon species is documented it's exciting.
DNA tests will confirm the species. The longear sunfish grows to 7 inches long, weighs up to 4½ ounces and is considered one of the most beautiful freshwater fish species by some fish experts.
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