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Increased Missouri River Runoff Expected This Year, Branstad Tries to Stop Trial, 12:06

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060719 1206‘

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says we can expect increased runoff for the Upper Missouri River Basin this year because snow is melting very slowly 

The forecast for the upper basin this year is now nearly 200 percent above average.

The Corps’ Kevin Grode (GROE-dee) says if that level is reached, 2019 would be the second highest runoff year on record in more than 120 years.

((0606grode 0:16) While there are many comparisons to 2011, the big difference between 2019 and 2011 is that mountain snowpack was much above average in 2011. It’s about average in 2019.

Grode (GROE-dee) adds mountain snowpack is melting slower than normal because temperatures have been colder than usual up north this time of year.

The flow of untreated wastewater into the Little Sioux River in Cherokee County has been stopped.

The city of Quimby on Monday reported to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources that a sewer force main under the river had broken and 15,000-20,000 gallons of wastewater was flowing into the river each day.

A federal trial began yesterday for a state-run school for delinquent teenage boys. An expert witness testified that The Boys State Training School in Eldora school has failed to meet professional standards for screening and treating mental illness. 

The School is accused of using unconstitutional and illegal practices to treat mental illness in the class action lawsuit filed by Disability Rights Iowa. 

Child psychiatrist Pamela McPherson testified yesterday that the school’s program has limited oversight from licensed mental health professionals. She also said its frequent use of solitary confinement and physical restraints could worsen the health of mentally ill students’. McPherson evaluated the school last year – and said at least half the boys have a diagnosed mental illness and are being treated with prescription medication. 

The Iowa Board of Regents has extended contracts and raised some payments in order to keep all three university system presidents on the job.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that the regents took the action Thursday for the presidents at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa State University in Ames and the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

The board approved contract extensions through June 2023 for University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld and Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen. Northern Iowa President Mark Nook's contract was extended through June 2025, with the option to renew for an additional two years.

They won't receive salary increases, but regents opted to extend and, in some cases, increase payments to their deferred contribution plans.

The Iowa Board of Regents approved a 4 % tuition increase for Iowa's public universities.  The University of Northern Iowa was excluded from that hike. 

The attorney for former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has filed an unusual request to the state Supreme Court that seeks to stop a civil trial now in its third day, arguing rulings by a judge are unconstitutional. 

Branstad attorney Frank Harty says that the trial judge is allowing Christopher Godfrey to put on trial Branstad's positions on gay marriage and the Republican Party's "anti-gay" views.

Branstad and two former staff members were sued by former Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner Christopher Godfrey, who claims he was pressured to quit after Branstad took over as governor in 2010 and cut his pay cut by a third. Godfrey claims it was because he's gay. Branstad denies he knew Godfrey was gay.

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