USDA veterinarian: Bird flu outbreak could be 'devastating' ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief veterinary officer says the country's poultry industry may have to live with a deadly bird flu strain for several years and it could be devastating. Dr. John Clifford spoke Thursday in Minnesota, the state hit hardest by outbreaks that led to the deaths of over 2 million turkeys and chickens in the Midwest since early March. Clifford says that while new cases should drop close to zero once the weather warms up and kills off the H5N2 virus, there's "very likely" to be a resurgence this fall when the wild waterfowl that are natural carriers of avian influenza fly south for the winter. He says government and industry need to use the lull to learn and prepare.
Google seeks $1 billion expansion of Council Bluffs center COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Google Inc. wants to expand its Council Bluffs data center spending an additional $1 billion and doubling the size of its staff to 70. The California company is asking the state for an additional $19.8 million in tax refunds bringing its total tax incentives to more than $36 million. The company received nearly $17 million in tax incentives to build the first phase of its data center in exchange for a promise to employ 35 people. Google's total investment in Iowa will come to around $2 billion. The Iowa Economic Development Authority is to consider the project expansion Friday. Microsoft is spending about $2 billion to build two data centers in West Des Moines and Facebook has invested about $1 billion in two Altoona data centers.
Iowa native named to lead The Des Moines Register DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gannett Co. has hired an Iowa native as president and publisher of The Des Moines Register. The media company announced Thursday that David Chivers would lead the Register, the state's largest news gathering organization. The 39-year-old Chivers was born and raised in Des Moines, and his first job was delivering the Register. He replaces Rick Green, who is now president and publisher of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Chivers also will have strategic and financial oversight of the Iowa City Press-Citizen, St. Cloud Times in Minnesota, Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Springfield News-Leader in Missouri and The Baxter Bulletin in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Chivers most recently worked as chief digital officer at Jostens, which sells yearbooks and class rings. He's also worked at The Wall Street Journal and Meredith Corporation.
Lab worker says ex-lawmaker's DNA found in wife's room GARNER, Iowa (AP) — A lab worker says the DNA of a former Iowa lawmaker accused of sexually abusing his wife who suffered from dementia was found on her quilt and bed sheets, but not on the woman's clothing. Amy Pollpeter, an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation crime lab employee, said Thursday that she tested for 78-year-old Henry Rayhons' DNA in samples taken from his wife's room at a Garner nursing home. Rayhons, accused of having sex with his wife in May after being told his wife was no longer mentally capable of consenting, is charged with third-degree sexual abuse. Pollpeter testified that her testing wasn't able to determine how old stains on the sheet or quilt were, which Rayhons' defense attorney says had previously been on the married couple's bed.
Des Moines appeals directive to remove traffic camera DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The city of Des Moines has appealed an Iowa Department of Transportation order to remove its automated speed camera. City Attorney John Lester filed the appeal Thursday seeking a reversal of the department's March 17 directive to uninstall the camera on Interstate 235, a highway that runs through Des Moines. According to a DOT report, Des Moines' camera location had a low crash rate before the cameras went up, contrary to rules dictating that cameras target "high-crash or high-risk locations." But the appeal claims the site has the highest level of traffic flow in the state and complies with DOT regulations. Iowa is the only state in the nation that allows the permanent installation of cameras along interstate roads or highways managed by the state.
Cedar Rapids police search for suspect in nonprofit burglary CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities are searching for a suspect in a burglary at a Cedar Rapids nonprofit. Cedar Rapids spokesman Greg Buelow said Thursday that the burglary occurred Saturday at the Boys and Girls Club of Cedar Rapids Polk Unit. Police say the suspect broke into the building and stole electronics and the Boys and Girls Club van. While inside, authorities say the suspect urinated and defecated on sporting equipment. No arrests have been made in the case. The Cedar Rapids Police Department has released surveillance footage and photos of the suspect.
Survey suggests economy slowing in rural areas of 10 states OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The economic outlook for rural areas of 10 states in the Plains and the West remained negative in April even though it improved slightly from the previous month. Creighton University's Rural Mainstreet index grew to 46 in April from March's 43.6, but any score below 50 suggests a decline. The indexes range between 0 and 100. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the strong U.S. dollar continues to hurt exports of agriculture and energy products. And demand for farmland remains weak, so land prices are declining. The farm equipment sales index sits at 15.6, up slightly from March's 15.2, but well below the neutral level of 50. Bankers from rural areas of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.
NYC Mayor visits Iowa to talk about income inequality DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling income disparity a "profound challenge facing our country." De Blasio appeared Thursday at Drake University in Iowa the invitation of former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin. He spoke before about 50 people. Among his proposals to address income inequality were raising the minimum wage and offering paid sick leave to all workers. De Blasio is seeking to be a voice for the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, alongside U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts. His efforts to raise his national profile include making a play for the 2016 Democratic National Convention and hosting a meeting of liberals at the mayor's residence, Gracie Mansion, this month. The first-term mayor took heat this week for not immediately endorsing Hillary Rodham Clinton for president.
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