News Minute: Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Pr - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

News Minute: Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 2:40 p.m. CST

Updated:

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The executive director of Iowa's state-run broadband network and two subordinates have been fired after state auditors discovered a range of misspending and cronyism during his tenure. A report by State Auditor Mary Mosiman released Thursday says that Iowa Communications Network executive director Ric Lumbard improperly awarded jobs and contracts to individuals associated with a Christian ministry he also leads.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Key senators and farm groups are trying to fix a provision slipped into the federal tax overhaul that gave an unexpected tax break to farmers who sell their crops to cooperatives instead of private buyers. Observers say it's not clear yet whether a fix can pass, given the partisan divide on Capitol Hill. The provision was added in the final days of debate over the tax bill.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A woman accused of passing counterfeit cash at a Sioux City casino has been given two years of probation. Court records say 28-year-old Jackelen Hartsock, of Le Mars, pleaded guilty Tuesday to forgery after prosecutors dropped a theft charge as part of a plea agreement.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Declining numbers in a new monthly survey of bankers suggests the economy remains weak in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states. The overall economic index for the region dropped to 46.8 this month, compared with the December reading of 47.8. Survey organizers say any score below 50 suggests a shrinking economy in the months ahead. However, Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says "year-over-year indices are trending higher." The January number a year ago was 42.8.

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