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NEWS 3.18.22

Jeff Fortenberry
U.S. Congress

A prosecutor says Nebraska lawmaker Jeff Fortenberry Nebraska lied to federal authorities about illegal campaign contributions from a Nigerian-born billionaire. But a defense attorney says the case is built on faulty evidence and assumptions by investigators intent on charging the U.S. Congressman. A jury of eight women and four men heard the competing versions of events at opening arguments in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Thursday. The conservative nine-term congressman faces allegations he lied to federal investigators about an illegal $30,000 contribution from 2016, which he denies. Prosecutors say Fortenberry followed an “illegal path” of lies and concealment.

Major party candidates for state and federal office have until 5 p.m. today to deliver their nominating petitions to the Secretary of State’s office in Des Moines.

In order to run in November’s General Election, Republicans and Democrats either have to win their party’s primary election in June or be nominated at party conventions in the following weeks. Most candidates haven’t procrastinated and have already dropped off binders full of petition sheets signed by eligible Iowa voters.

The number of petition signatures varies based on the office a candidate seeks. Candidates for governor and the U.S. Senate have to submit at least 3500 petition signatures and have to show they’ve collected at least 100 signatures from 19 counties.

Under new rules, candidates from other political parties have to submit petition signatures by today’s deadline to qualify for the November ballot. By the close of business Thursday, the Libertarian Party has candidates running for governor and lieutenant governor and four legislative seats. Four other candidates who intend to run for state offices in November are listed as “no party” or independent candidates.

Candidates for county offices have until next Friday, March 25th, to deliver their nominating petitions to the auditor’s office in their county.

Proposals Governor Kim Reynolds unveiled earlier this year have stalled in the legislature, including her call to reduce the number of weeks Iowans may receive unemployment benefits.

Reynolds told reporters she’s working with lawmakers to come up with a compromise to get that “across the finish line.”

Democratic leaders say the proposed cut in unemployment benefits for laid-off workers has stalled because a recent Des Moines Register Iowa Poll found 53% of likely voters oppose the idea.

Sioux City had one of its least snowy winters on record this year.

Mike Gillispie is a hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls. He says the dry winter means farmers will have to depend on spring precipitation for moisture.

"Hopefully, as we get into April and again at that April to May time period, whether it's rain or snow at this point doesn't really matter. We just need some water.))

Luckily, local agronomists say the region’s soil moisture storage is in better shape than last year. Northwest Iowa will only need around 10 to 15 inches of rainfall throughout the growing season. About four inches has fallen this season.

There’s low risk of flooding along the Missouri River this spring.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration predicts that drought conditions in the western region of the state will persist this year. Hydrologist Kevin Lowe says those dry conditions are driving down the risk of floods.

“I believe that the hardest hit folks will be the ones that depend on Mother Nature to get them water, farmers ranchers. I would expect it would take another year of drought to where cities have to worry about intakes along the river.”

Lowe says the dry conditions have been ongoing for two years. Almost eighty percent of the Missouri River Basin is facing drought conditions. Lowe says it’s not likely they will improve in the coming months.

Iowa’s two U.S. Senators introduced the tornado act after more than a dozen twisters hit the state on March 5th. Many in central Iowa received warnings later than intended due to a National weather Service glitch that caused warning delays of about seven minutes.

Investigators say a woman shot by a Sioux City man earlier this week came to the home to try and get money to buy methamphetamine.

Twenty-one-year-old Carlos Mejia is in jail on a $40,000 bond and faces several charges including attempted murder. The shooting happened on Monday afternoon near 19th and Ingleside Avenue. He originally told authorities the victim broke into his house with a knife. The victim is recovering.

The Dordt University women’s basketball team plays tonight in the NAIA National Tournament. The Defenders play Campbellsville at 6 p.m. Friday at Tyson Events Center. Morningside has moved onto the quarterfinals and will play Southeastern from Florida at 1 p.m. tomorrow.

Sheila Brummer returns to her radio roots as a Reporter/Special Projects Producer for Siouxland Public Media KWIT-KOJI.
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