KXEL Morning News for Thu. Oct. 22, 2020

KXEL Morning News for Thu. Oct. 22, 2020

A new Monmouth Poll released yesterday shows a shift in the presidential race in Iowa…Joe Biden leads Donald Trump 50-47 percent when high turnout likely voters are surveyed…that’s a change from a Trump lead in similar polls earlier this summer. The president still holds a lead over Biden 48-47 percent when registered voters are considered.  But since the poll has a margin of error of 4.4%, the race is truly a statistical dead heat. 

As for the U.S. Senate race in Iowa, Monmouth says it’s a dead heat among registered voters, 47-47 percent…but Greenfield holds a 49-47 percent lead among high turnout likely voters. Again, that’s all within the poll’s margin of error.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says her administration will try to convince federal auditors to allow its plan to spend $21 million in coronavirus relief funds on a long-planned information technology system. Reynolds says the state believes spending federal virus aid to purchase and implement a new accounting and human resources system for the executive branch is “an allowable expense.” State Auditor Rob Sand has said the use of federal funds for the Workday project is inappropriate. He warns that Iowa will be on the hook to repay $21 million to the federal government if it’s not diverted to an allowable use.

The latest USDA weekly report shows Iowa farmers once again staying well ahead of what is considered a typical harvest.  For soybeans, 90% have been harvested statewide, with the southern third of the state about all that’s left. That’s three weeks ahead of last year and two weeks ahead of the rolling average. Corn is also keeping pace with progress, the most seen in the third week of October in eight years with 65% complete.

With less than two weeks until Election Day, over 600,000 Iowans have already cast their ballot. According to the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office, voters have returned 608,326 absentee ballots as of October 21. That’s out of 842,459 that have been requested. A total of 576,599 absentee ballots were requested by Iowa voters for the 2018 general election…so more absentee ballots have already been returned than had even been requested two years ago.

An Iowa-based electric utility says it has idled nearly four dozen power-generating wind turbines after huge blades broke off of two turbines in recent weeks. MidAmerican Energy has paused the use of 46 turbines it has identified as having similar blades, which are about 177 feet long and weigh 18,000 pounds. The company acknowledged that one blade on a turbine near Paton fell Thursday into an empty field. In mid-September, another blade on a turbine near Adel crashed into a corn field. Similar incidents were reported in April and in October 2019 at Adair County wind farms. No one was hurt. MidAmerican says it has isolated the issue to blades made by Danish manufacturer Vestas and is working with Vestas.

It was a happy ending Tuesday after a two-year-old boy and his dog went missing in North Iowa. The Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office responded shortly before noon after the report of the missing boy and his dog in the 19000 block of 220th St. near Mason City. Mason City police K-9 Kilo and officer Duane Kemna started to track the scent and followed the track along a creek and through several acres of timber for just over half a mile. The boy was found in the northwest corner of a neighbor’s house sitting on a cinder block with the dog at his side. The boy had removed his wet socks, shoes and coat. The sheriff’s office said the family was outside working when the boy and the dog wandered off.