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CBJ Report: Corn growers applaud Trump reversal on tweaking RFS

KGAN - CBJ Report
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Corn growers applaud Trump reversal on tweaking RFS

Renewable fuel advocates praised Iowa's senators this week for their influence in President Donald Trump's decision Tuesday not to go forward with changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) sought by oil refiners.

"The nation's corn growers thank Senator Chuck Grassley, Senator Joni Ernst and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue for their advocacy and steadfast support for farmers, rural communities and renewable fuels. We greatly appreciate their efforts," said Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association's Corn Board, in a release. "With the expectation that the administration was preparing to take drastic actions to unravel the RFS, farmers are very pleased those actions have been set aside and strongly encourage the administration to keep the president's commitment to America's farmers and leave the RFS intact."

The White House was expected to announce proposed changes to the RFS this week after months of negotiations between representatives of the petroleum and renewable fuels industries. The deal was expected to ease pressure on petroleum refiners by allowing their biofuels exports to count toward the annual volume quotas of the renewable fuel standard. As a concession to biofuels producers, it would have expanded sales of high-ethanol fuel blends.

Prices for renewable fuel credits soared in morning trading on Wednesday in response to the announcement.

Pilot Travel Center set to open in Cedar Rapids

Pilot Flying J announced today that it will open its Pilot Travel Center at 8950 Earhart Lane SW in Cedar Rapids this month.

The travel center features numerous amenities and will add approximately 70 local jobs to the community.

"We're thrilled to serve the Cedar Rapids community and contribute to the local economy with our new travel center," said Ken Parent, president of Pilot Flying J, in a release. "Our goal at Pilot Flying J is to connect people and places with comfort, care and a smile at every stop. Both Cedar Rapids residents and those traveling through the Linn County area will soon be able to enjoy the convenience and amenities of this Pilot Travel Center."

Among the amenities offered at the Pilot Travel Center are:

  • 10 gasoline fueling positions and six diesel lanes with high-speed pumps for quicker refueling
  • PJ Fresh, fast casual food offerings, including hand-stretched PJ Fresh Pizza, soup, salads, sandwiches, home-style hot food, and additional freshly prepared cold food offerings
  • Arby's
  • Dunkin Donuts Express
  • Western Union
  • Driver's lounge
  • CAT Scale
  • A public laundry

The new facility bring Pilot Flying J's network of stores in Iowa to 18 locations, including travel centers and dealers. The combined network of more than 750 Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers across North America serves more than 1.6 million customers daily.

Alli Center to serve as incubator for counselors and therapists

Access to mental health services, particularly for children and young adults, is a growing concern for many Iowa families and communities. A new counseling practice in Coralville employs a unique business model that not only serves current needs - including Medicaid and Medicare clients - but also helps prepare the next generation of counselors and psychotherapists.

Co-founded earlier this year by Jason Knight and Zara Wanlass, the Alli ("ally") Center's mission is to provide high quality psychotherapy services to Iowa City, Coralville and surrounding communities while contributing to the success of new practitioners entering the field.

"It's not a business model we've seen elsewhere," stated Mr. Knight, a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW), "but we believe it's sustainable and is the right thing to do.

"We will be offering critical workforce training to newly graduated practitioners, which will result in more Iowans prospering in health care careers and more professionals available to meet client needs. Just as important, we are committed to serving Medicaid clients, who often have difficulty locating providers who accept government insurance."

In Iowa, Mr. Knight explained, each new Masters of Social Work graduate (LMSW) must complete 4,000 hours - roughly two years - of supervised work in a group practice to qualify for the higher-level LISW licensing. In the Alli Center model, Medicaid patients will receive therapy from LMSWs, whose work will be supervised by the more experienced LISWs, who will see a mix of publicly and privately insured clients. In addition to the required supervision, Alli Center will provide a livable wage, benefits and other forms of job training.

"We will function almost like a medical residency program," Mr. Knight stated. "Once our LMSW team members have completed their supervised training, they will be ready to take the next step in their careers, perhaps choosing to join another group practice or set up on their own. As that time approaches, we'll talk about their goals, educate them about best business practices and help them thrive in whatever direction they wish to go."

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For more information about the Alli Center, visit

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