DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A cool, rainy spring is easing dry conditions in parts of the nation's farm belt that saw the worst of last year's drought. But optimism is being tempered, as that weather pattern has kept anxious farmers in most of Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, and Wisconsin from planting.
The latest drought monitor released Thursday shows snowmelt and rain replenished ground moisture in parts of eastern Iowa, northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Central Iowa counties are improved but still short of moisture.
Rain has helped drought-parched areas of Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska, but many counties remain woefully dry. There is enough topsoil moisture in much of the farm belt to allow plants to emerge, but no deep moisture to rely on if the rain stops again.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) A group of humane societies has appealed a Dane County judge's ruling that wolf hunters can use dogs. The humane societies filed a lawsuit last year alleging the state Department of Natural Resources failed to impose any real restrictions on wolf hunters using dogs when the agency set up the framework for the wolf season. The societies argued the lack of regulations would create deadly wolf-dog brawls in the woods.
BROWNSDALE, Minn. (AP) The owner of a restaurant in small southern Minnesota city is offering a discount to customers `packing heat.' Steve Nagel owns Langtry Cafe in the Mower County community of Brownsdale. Nagel says every Thursday is ``conceal and carry day.'' Customers carrying their guns to the restaurant will get 15 percent off your meal. And if you carry a gun openly, it's a 25 percent discount.
Voters of Holmen, consider yourself warned...
You have a full year to decide how you really feel about fluoridation, before the village puts another fluoride referendum on the ballot. The village board has authorized a new referendum for April of 2014 to settle the future of fluoridation, which was approved by voters five years ago, but shut down by the board after only a few days of operation. Board members have debated since January about whether to switch from a liquid fluoride formula to a powder that's considered safer, but the board voted on Thursday to go back to the old system in use before the suspension. It could take a couple of months before fluoride goes back into Holmen's tap water.