Oklahoma school district reportedly pays $125,000 to family after teacher had sex with student

Jul 25, 2017 3

An Oklahoma school district reportedly settled a lawsuit over a 31-year-old English teacher who had sex with an eight-grade student.

The student’s family was paid $125,000, The Daily Mail reported.

The Oklahoman reported in June that Jennifer Caswell pleaded guilty to second-degree rape and other charges in Harmon County District Court. Sentencing was set for Aug. 31.

The boy’s father said in a federal lawsuit that local school officials let Caswell resign and keep her teaching credentials. He was seeking $1 million for pain, suffering and his son’s mental and emotional anguish. The district denies wrongdoing.

The father alleged at least two people saw Caswell engaged in sexual acts with his son in her classroom, when she taught under the name Jennifer Sexton.

After she resigned in April 2014, she had sex with the boy in a vehicle, her house and the boy’s father’s house, according to prosecutors. After the woman followed him to Mississippi, where he had been sent to say with his mother, the boy began cooperating with authorities.

The boy was 15 at the time of the crimes. The paper reported that Caswell was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

“The district’s overall position is that they acted appropriately once they were aware of an issue,” lawyer Andy Fugitt told the newspaper.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Too Much Moisture Hurting Indiana Soybean Yields

Jul 24, 2017 0

Too Much Moisture Hurting Indiana Soybean Yields

Rod King

Many parts of Indiana continue to get hit with 2, 3, and 4-inch rain events. This, on top of already saturated soils, is hurting soybean growth and root development. According to Rod King, with Brodbeck Seeds, “We just do not have a good root system under this crop.” He said, in many fields, the soil is so waterlogged that there is not enough oxygen for the plants.

He told HAT the lack of good root structure is keeping soybeans short and hurting yield potential, “In saturated soils, the root systems don’t grow well and, thus, the nitrogen fixation system does not develop. The lack of nutrient and nitrogen uptake is leading to small plants and, in some cases, the crop is moving backward.”

While there are some areas of the state where the beans look good, in many areas King says yields are going to be below average, “I am not very optimistic about yield, even if we get some dry conditions. Without a good strong plant, we cannot produce yield.”

In the latest USDA report, 47% of the Indiana soybeans were rated as good to excellent while 53% were rated fair to poor, with 5% of that being rated as very poor. Nationally, 57% of the soybeans were rated as good to excellent, down from the 61% a week ago.

King says corn pollination, overall, has been generally good and disease pressure has not been excessive. “The pollination I have seen has gone very well,” he stated.

According to USDA, 67% of Indiana corn is silking, slightly behind the average.  Indiana corn is rated as 47% good to excellent, but still the lowest rating in the Eastern Corn Belt.

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Too Much Moisture Hurting Indiana Soybean Yields

Jul 24, 2017 4

Too Much Moisture Hurting Indiana Soybean Yields

Rod King

Many parts of Indiana continue to get hit with 2, 3, and 4-inch rain events. This, on top of already saturated soils, is hurting soybean growth and root development. According to Rod King, with Brodbeck Seeds, “We just do not have a good root system under this crop.” He said, in many fields, the soil is so waterlogged that there is not enough oxygen for the plants.

He told HAT the lack of good root structure is keeping soybeans short and hurting yield potential, “In saturated soils, the root systems don’t grow well and, thus, the nitrogen fixation system does not develop. The lack of nutrient and nitrogen uptake is leading to small plants and, in some cases, the crop is moving backward.”

While there are some areas of the state where the beans look good, in many areas King says yields are going to be below average, “I am not very optimistic about yield, even if we get some dry conditions. Without a good strong plant, we cannot produce yield.”

In the latest USDA report, 47% of the Indiana soybeans were rated as good to excellent while 53% were rated fair to poor, with 5% of that being rated as very poor. Nationally, 57% of the soybeans were rated as good to excellent, down from the 61% a week ago.

King says corn pollination, overall, has been generally good and disease pressure has not been excessive. “The pollination I have seen has gone very well,” he stated.

According to USDA, 67% of Indiana corn is silking, slightly behind the average.  Indiana corn is rated as 47% good to excellent, but still the lowest rating in the Eastern Corn Belt.

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House Ag Ready to Hear NAFTA Witnesses

Jul 24, 2017 4
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House Ag NAFTA hearing

Congress moves into full NAFTA mode this week as the House Agriculture Committee opens a public hearing to prepare for renegotiations of the North American Free Trade agreement. Chairman Michael Conaway of Texas says trade and agriculture go hand in hand, so agriculture needs to make sure its interests are known and reflected in any new agreement.

“Trade is a big part of what is important to the success of production agriculture, and so with the renegotiation of NAFTA, which is entirely appropriate, we need to be sure that ag interests are well represented at the table throughout that full negotiation, much like they were with TPP during those negotiations.”

The hearing is set for 10 AM Wednesday.

“We’ll have a good slate of witnesses to talk to us and hopefully highlight the need that this NAFTA renegotiation take into consideration all the aspects of trade as it relates to agriculture in the United States.”

Conaway added, “The administration has already outlined key objectives for ag, such as expanding market opportunities and tightening enforcement, and I look forward to hearing from our witnesses about opportunities to achieve the best deal possible for American agriculture.”

Wednesday’s committee hearing is called Renegotiating NAFTA: Opportunities for Agriculture.

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House Ag Ready to Hear NAFTA Witnesses

Jul 24, 2017 0
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House Ag NAFTA hearing

Congress moves into full NAFTA mode this week as the House Agriculture Committee opens a public hearing to prepare for renegotiations of the North American Free Trade agreement. Chairman Michael Conaway of Texas says trade and agriculture go hand in hand, so agriculture needs to make sure its interests are known and reflected in any new agreement.

“Trade is a big part of what is important to the success of production agriculture, and so with the renegotiation of NAFTA, which is entirely appropriate, we need to be sure that ag interests are well represented at the table throughout that full negotiation, much like they were with TPP during those negotiations.”

The hearing is set for 10 AM Wednesday.

“We’ll have a good slate of witnesses to talk to us and hopefully highlight the need that this NAFTA renegotiation take into consideration all the aspects of trade as it relates to agriculture in the United States.”

Conaway added, “The administration has already outlined key objectives for ag, such as expanding market opportunities and tightening enforcement, and I look forward to hearing from our witnesses about opportunities to achieve the best deal possible for American agriculture.”

Wednesday’s committee hearing is called Renegotiating NAFTA: Opportunities for Agriculture.

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Drought, Prices Weaken Rural Midwest Bankers’ Outlook

Jul 24, 2017 5
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After rising to growth neutral for two straight months, the Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index fell below the 50.0 thresholds for July, according to the latest monthly survey of bank CEOs in 10 Midwestern states. The index, which ranges between 0 and 100, tumbled to 40.7, its lowest level since November of last year, and down from 50.0 in June. Organizer Ernie Goss says drought conditions and weak grain prices are to blame, as they have attributed negatively to economic conditions.

For the month, the July farmland and ranchland-price index sank to 36.6 from June’s 40.0. The July farm equipment-sales index fell to 20.0 from 26.2 in June. Borrowing by farmers was very strong for July as the loan-volume index climbed to 81.5, the second highest reading on record, and up from 78.3 in June. Finally, the confidence index, which reflects expectations for the economy six months out, slumped to a weak 38.4 from 48.9 in June, indicating a continued pessimistic outlook among bankers.

Source: NAFB News Service

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Rain Continues to Stall Indiana Fieldwork

Jul 24, 2017 5

High temperatures and localized heavy rainfalls delayed harvest progress and spraying activities, according to Greg Matli, Indiana State Statistician for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Though the beginning of the week was mostly dry and hot, rain storms moved across the state towards the end of the week, leading to localized flooding and very humid air. The statewide average temperature was 77.8 degrees, 2.2 degrees above normal. Statewide precipitation was 1.77 inches, above average by 0.75 inches. There were 4.3 days available for fieldwork for the week ending July 23 up 0.8 days from the previous week.

Regionally, corn was 65% silked in the North, 64% in Central, and 77% in the South. Corn was 3% doughed in the North, 4% in Central, and 14% in the South. Corn rated in good to excellent condition was 55% in the North, 40% in Central, and 48% in the South. Soybeans were 65% blooming in the North, 70% in Central, and 67% in the South. Soybeans were 22% setting pods in the North, 27% in Central, and 38% in the South. Soybeans rated in good to excellent condition were 56% in the North, 41% in Central, and 48% in the South.

Weather patterns varied throughout the State, with the heaviest amounts falling in Northwest and South Central Indiana, which left both corn and soybeans in standing water.

Early planted soybeans appeared to be showing signs of improvement despite the rains, while late planted soybeans appear yellowed and stunted in some areas. Farmers applied fungicide to corn fields, due to the increase in rust from the hot and humid weather. Weed pressures have increased and have been challenging to remove given the above average rainfall.

Some pastures have been overrun with various weeds. Many acres of hay and straw were cut, but some were unable to be baled from the storm systems at the tail end of the week.

There were concerns about heat stress on livestock. Mint, cucumber, and potato harvest made decent progress this week. Wheat harvest is wrapping up throughout the State. Other activities included harvesting rye, hauling grain, attending county fairs, and mowing roadsides when the weather allowed.

Source: NASS

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Senate Committee Blocks E15 Bill

Jul 24, 2017 4
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The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has halted a bill that would have allowed gasoline with 15 percent ethanol to be sold year-round. The bill was co-sponsored by Republican Senators Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, along with Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana. Despite the bipartisan support, the legislation was unable to muster enough support in the committee. Committee leaders announced Friday that there would be no action on the bill before the August recess. It also remains unclear whether the legislation will be resurrected sometime in the fall.

Ethanol groups say the fight for year-round E15 sales does not end with the failure of support for the bill. Further, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said in May that the EPA was working to determine whether the agency had the authority to allow year-round sales of E15 fuels.

Source: NAFB News Service

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Senate Committee Blocks E15 Bill

Jul 24, 2017 4
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The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has halted a bill that would have allowed gasoline with 15 percent ethanol to be sold year-round. The bill was co-sponsored by Republican Senators Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, along with Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana. Despite the bipartisan support, the legislation was unable to muster enough support in the committee. Committee leaders announced Friday that there would be no action on the bill before the August recess. It also remains unclear whether the legislation will be resurrected sometime in the fall.

Ethanol groups say the fight for year-round E15 sales does not end with the failure of support for the bill. Further, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said in May that the EPA was working to determine whether the agency had the authority to allow year-round sales of E15 fuels.

Source: NAFB News Service

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Daily Beast writer apologizes for tweet directed at Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Jul 24, 2017 1

The Daily Beast writer who called White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders a “butch queen” on Twitter Friday apologized for the offensive comments.

Ira Madison, a culture writer who has also written for GQ and New York magazine, issued his mea culpa on Twitter on Monday. 

“Apologies to Sarah H. Sanders for the ill-judged joke tweeted Fri, deleted this AM,” wrote Madison. “I didn’t mean to offend anyone & I’m sorry that I did!”

Twitter users continued to call him out for the offensive tweet.

“Apologies are great, but not doing in the first place is even better,” wrote one user. “Try to put your nice cap on next time.”

Others were not buying into his sincerity.

According to Urban Dictionary, a “butch queen” is a gay man that is “neither extremely feminine, nor extremely masculine and can easily portray both mannerisms.”

“So sexist and misogynistic comments are acceptable as long as they’re aimed at Conservative women,” wrote one user on Twitter when tweet first went viral on Monday morning. “Thanks for clarifying those rules.”

Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture at the Media Research Center, called the tweet “disgusting.”

“Since The Daily Beast says it values ‘an inclusive culture, committed to the public good,’ I assume this is the last time Ira Madison III will be writing for them,” Gainor told Fox News. “It goes to a larger point. Liberals get away with personal attacks that would ruin the careers of people on the right. This is demented, but watch how little attention it gets from the national press.”

The Daily Beast did not immediately respond to requests for comment.