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Lee-wire
AP
Dow plunges in worst day for stocks since 2011

NEW YORK — The Dow Jones industrial average plunged more than 1,100 points Monday as stocks took their worst loss in six and a half years. Two days of steep losses have erased the market's gains from the start of this year and ended a period of record-setting calm for stocks.

Banks fared the worst as bond yields and interest rates nosedived. Health care, technology and industrial companies all took outsize losses and energy companies sank with oil prices.

At its lowest ebb, the Dow was down 1,597 points from Friday's close. That came during a 15-minute stretch where the 30-stock index lost 700 points and then gained them back.

Market pros have been predicting a pullback for some time, noting that declines of 10 percent or more are common during bull markets. There hasn't been one in two years, and by many measures stocks had been looking expensive.

"It's like a kid at a child's party who, after an afternoon of cake and ice cream, eats one more cookie and that puts them over the edge," said David Kelly, the chief global strategist for JPMorgan Asset Management.

Kelly said the signs of inflation and rising rates are not as bad as they looked, but after the market's big gains in 2017 and early 2018, stocks were overdue for a drop.

The Dow finished down 1,175.21 points, or 4.6 percent, at 24,345.75.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index, the benchmark most professional investors and many index funds use, skidded 113.19 points, or 4.1 percent, to 2,648.94. That was its biggest loss since August 2011, when stocks were reeling as investors were fearful about European government debt and the U.S. had its credit downgraded after the debt ceiling impasse.

The Nasdaq composite fell 273.42 points, or 3.8 percent, to 6,967.53. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks sank 56.18 points, or 3.6 percent, for 1,491.09.

The slump began on Friday as investors worried that creeping signs of higher inflation and interest rates could derail the U.S. economy along with the market's record-setting rally. Energy companies, banks, and industrial firms are taking some of the worst losses.

The S&P 500 has fallen 7.8 percent since January 26, when it set its latest record high. Investors are worried about evidence of rising inflation in the U.S. Increased inflation might push the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates more quickly, which could slow down economic growth by making it make it more expensive for people and businesses to borrow money. And bond yields haven't been this high in years. That's making bonds more appealing to investors compared with stocks.

The stock market has been unusually calm for more than a year. The combination of economic growth in the U.S. and other major economies, low interest rates, and support from central banks meant stocks could keep rising steadily without a lot of bumps along the way. Experts have been warning that that wouldn't last forever.

As bad as Monday's drop is, the market saw worse days during the financial crisis. The Dow's 777-point plunge in September 2008 was equivalent to 7 percent, far bigger than Monday's decline.

Stocks hadn't suffered a 5 percent drop since the two days after Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016. They recovered those losses within days.

The last 10 percent drop for markets came in early 2016, when oil prices were plunging as investors worried about a drop in global growth, which could have sharply reduced demand. U.S. crude hit a low of about $26 a barrel in February of that year. A drop of 10 percent from a peak is referred to on Wall Street as a "correction."

Banks had some of the biggest losses on the market Monday. Wells Fargo sank $5.91, or 9.2 percent, to $58.16. Late Friday the Fed said it will freeze Wells Fargo's assets at the level where they stood at the end of last year until it can demonstrate improved internal controls. The San Francisco bank also agreed to remove four directors from its board.

Stocks in Europe also fell. Leading political parties in Germany, which is the largest economy in Europe, have struggled to form a government. Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Union bloc and the center-left Social Democrats are still in talks about extending their alliance of the past four years.

Britain's FTSE 100 lost 1.5 percent while France's CAC 40 slid 1.5 percent. The DAX in Germany shed 0.8 percent.


Hytrek
Keep on the honey side of life
Vandalism among reasons for buzz about beekeeping

SIOUX CITY -- It's always a pleasant experience for those of us who take a more cynical view of things to encounter the optimists out there who choose to find the positive side of negative situations.

By now, most Siouxlanders are familiar with Justin and Tori Englehardt, who believed their Wild Hill Honey business was wiped out when they discovered on Dec. 28 that vandals had destroyed their 50 beehives, resulting in the death of half a million bees.

The story struck a nerve with people and went viral, quickly spreading across the internet. Soon, hundreds of people from across the country had donated more than $30,000, a sum that will enable the Englehardts to rebuild their Sioux City business and resume operations in the spring. (Police have since arrested two boys, ages 12 and 13, on charges of criminal mischief and burglary.)

You could almost feel the positive vibes from all those generous donors willing to help a Sioux City couple most of them had never met.

Those vibes continue to reverberate.

On Thursday night, Dordt College agriculture professor Duane Bajema hosted the first session of a Beginning Beekeeping course at the Iowa State University Extension's Woodbury County office in Sioux City.

He said earlier in the day that he had received 13 registrations. More than 35 people showed up that night.

A master beekeeper who has kept bees for more than 40 years, Bajema has seen interest in bees rise in recent years as more stories circulate about the disappearance of honeybees and the negative effect that losing pollinators could have on agriculture.

He watched with interest as news of the vandalism to Wild Hill Honey spread throughout the beekeeping world. Vandalism is nothing new to beekeepers, he said as he listed bees' top predators as bears, skunks, opossums and humans.

The first three on that list will eat bees or their honey. The fourth on the list ... well, some humans tend to do stupid things like destroy beehives.

"It happens," Bajema said. "Kids dare one another. In the meantime, the beekeeper is the victim."

Usually, you don't hear about such incidents. The Sioux City case was an exception, and Bajema takes an optimists' view of the situation.

"You always try to find the positive in negative things," he said.

That positive could be found Thursday night as he asked those attending his class why they were there.

Many said they'd always been interested in bees and thought it would be an interesting, fun hobby. Others want to keep bees so they can harvest their own honey. A couple people mentioned their desire to help save bees, to make a positive impact on the environment by enabling the small pollinators to do their work.

Mark Garlick and Patti Fravel know people who either currently or in the past kept bees, so they already had some interest in beekeeping. The married couple decided in December, after seeing news reports of the vandalism, that it was time to put their thoughts into action.

"We were really spitting mad about that, and we decided maybe we need to learn a little more about (beekeeping)," Garlick said.

Fravel said the apple and pear trees on their small acreage outside Sioux City will be a good bee environment. Garlick enjoys listening to the soft buzzing of the bees that cover their lavender bush every year when it blooms.

Both enjoy honey and appreciate bees' role in nature. That's why the news of the vandalism upset them, Garlick said.

"I was so startled by the stories," he said. "I was so astonished I felt that strongly."

So they decided to do what they could in their little corner of the world to make a positive out of a negative event.

"It would be a small thing to help the environment," Garlick said.

Bajema senses similar feelings out there. More people, he said, are beginning to associate beehives not with bee stings, but with pollination and its importance to our food supply.

It's a positive response by humans that gives a cynic a more optimistic outlook on bees and their future in the environment.


Iowa
Iowa legislators look to temper budget cuts

Schneider

Hagenow

DES MOINES — Republicans who control the Iowa Legislature said Monday they are close to agreeing on a deal to balance the current year state budget without cutting as deeply as a $52 million plan the Senate earlier recommended.

While lawmakers come closer to reaching a compromise on this year’s spending, Gov. Kim Reynolds indicated she’s likely to approve an agreement they already struck to boost state aid for K-12 schools by 1 percent for this coming academic year — less than she wanted. However, the governor said she’s optimistic legislators will help districts in other ways by addressing such issues as transportation costs and extending an existing SAVE penny sales tax for construction needs.

Last month, Senate Republicans proposed the $52 million cuts by June 30 to address a projected revenue shortfall that requires further belt-tightening for state universities and community colleges, courts, human services and economic development.

However, Sen. Charles Schneider, R-West Des Moines, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said Monday “there are a couple (proposed cuts in spending) that I know we’ll need to come down from from our initial deappropriate request” based upon ongoing talks with majority House Republicans and the governor.

For instance, he said, there was concerns proposed cuts to the state Department of Human Services likely would mean the agency would have to lay off social service case workers “and we don’t want that, so we know we’ll have to revise that number downwards.”

Schneider said legislators aren’t convinced the judicial branch would need to close clerk of court offices in 30 counties to absorb the Senate-proposed cuts — as the branch has asserted — but added, “that being said, I do think the number that we initially suggested for the courts will have to come down as well.”

GOP legislators already have said the midyear adjustments will hold harmless K-12 schools, Medicaid and public safety programs.

So Schneider said they likely won’t be able to count on the cushion of an ending balance of $35 million for the state’s $7.2 billion budget. That cushion is now where much of the adjustments would have to be made.

Reynolds last month called for $34.7 million in cuts and adjustments to be made the erase the projected shortfall.

House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow, R-Windsor Heights, said House Republicans are “very close” to finalizing their de-appropriations strategy, adding “we’re eager to move forward and I think we’ve made very good progress.”

The Legislature was not in session Monday so members could participate in their local caucuses. But majority Republicans in both chambers plan this week to meet a Thursday deadline for passing a 1 percent boost in state K-12 funding for the next school year and sending it to Reynolds.

Asked at her weekly news conference Monday if she would accept a K-12 state aid increase lower than she had requested Jan. 9, the governor said, “I think we can make it work, but I think it’s part of a larger picture and I don’t think you can talk about it in isolation.”

Reynolds said she has been given “every indication” the Legislature also will address other funding concerns for schools yet his session.

For fiscal 2019, Reynolds had proposed a 1.5 percent increase in K-12 state aid, or $54 million, and statutory flexibility to allow districts to use another $35 million previously earmarked for class-size reduction as they see fit.

She said she believes that a SAVE extension and inequities in transportation and per-pupil funding will be addressed before lawmakers adjourn.

“Education has been and will continue to be a priority of this administration,” she said. “We have demonstrated it’s a priority and I think we’re going to continue doing that moving forward.”


Tim Hynds, Sioux City Journal 

Reynolds


Jim Lee, Sioux City Journal 

Austin Rozeboom of Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley wrestles Mason Vaas of MOC-Floyd Valley at 145 during sectional wrestling action in Sergeant Bluff Saturday.


Govt-and-politics
featured
Dispute over Awesome Biker Nights location continues

SIOUX CITY | A pair of Historic Fourth Street District business owners representing a half-dozen more voiced concerns Monday about high participation fees, limited access to storefronts and loss of business during Awesome Biker Nights events. 

SoHo Kitchen & Bar owner Julie Schoenherr and M's on Fourth co-owner Dan Myers explained how the event keeps many of their regular customers from coming to eat at their establishments while their attempts to sell beer and snacks inside the event area don't bring enough return on investment. 

"We lost $12,000 in business that weekend," Schoenherr told the City Council of last year's event. "I don't know about you, but I can't afford $12,000 to be taken out of my business. I'm sorry, I can't." 

Schoenherr

At least seven Historic Fourth Street businesses are opposing a plan by Awesome Biker Nights to continue holding its annual motorcycle rally and concert fundraiser on the street in front of their businesses. 

The Awesome Biker Nights committee during Monday's council meeting brought forward a request for closures on Fourth Street for its 19th festival in mid-June. After over an hour of discussion between businesses and committee members, the council deferred taking action until its Feb. 26 meeting.

In the interim, the council asked the Awesome Biker Nights committee to meet with local businesses to work toward a compromise.

Mayor Bob Scott told the committee he thought moving to a new location may not only help resolve the issue but also help the committee earn more profit from its own beer sales due to less business competition. 

"I think you guys do a great job, but is it worth the fight at the end of the day is the question I would ask myself," he said. 

Ian Richardson / Provided 

Scott

Organizers of the charity event are requesting to remain on Historic Fourth Street after receiving a letter listing several Historic Fourth businesses that asked the group to move the event elsewhere. 

The letter, dated Nov. 28 and sent to the Awesome Biker Nights committee and to city leaders, said those businesses supported the event's work for charity but didn't want their street and storefronts blocked by the biker rally.

At least 10 businesses have since come out in support of the event continuing on Fourth Street. 

At issue is both the limited access to storefronts when barriers are put up during the events and the $1,500 fee businesses must pay to participate in the event. Schoenherr and Myers both said they lost significant business because regular customers don't come to eat at their restaurants during the event. They said there is only limited profit available from beer and snack sales they participate in inside the event confines due to smaller crowds, the number of vendors and Awesome Biker Nights' own beer tents.

Awesome Biker Nights committee chairman Brian Hall said the participation fee helps the committee pay for security at its events, which is required by city ordinance. 

"That's a $14,000 price tag. If we could relieve some of that, we could help relieve some of the costs to these businesses," he said. 

Provided 

Hall

Hall added that moving the street closure to a different spot of Fourth Street so as not include the opposing businesses would be difficult, since other businesses on the same block wish to participate. 

Asked by the council, Myers said a compromise could possibly include better access to the front door of his business, a reduced fee for businesses and Awesome Biker Nights agreeing not to compete with beer sales. Schoenherr agreed that could be a starting point.

Councilwoman Rhonda Capron offered to mediate a discussion between the committee and the business owners. She said she believed reducing the participation fee to $750 and limiting Awesome Biker Nights to one competing beer tent would be feasible. 

KKaufman / Provided 

Capron

Council members lamented that the committee and businesses hadn't yet been able to resolve the issue. 

"It just really troubles me that you all haven't sat at the same table," Councilman Alex Watters said. "I think it's silly that the City Council is where we're negotiating this and mediating it. It should have been done long before coming before council, as far as I'm concerned."

Watters

Parks and Recreation manager Angel Wallace said Awesome Biker Nights had already reserved the Anderson Dance Pavilion as a backup plan and had inquired about the Long Lines Family Recreation Center and Tyson Events Center parking lots. 


Schoenherr


TGallagher / Provided 

Grady Gallagher, left, then a senior at Buena Vista University, speaks with Brandon Graham, of the Philadelphia Eagles, during a flight they shared in December 2014. On Sunday, Graham caused Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to fumble, a play that helped ensure a victory for the Eagles in Super Bowl LII.