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Library janitor steals computer, proceeds to destroy it

An Iowa public library janitor has been arrested after police say he stole a computer from work and destroyed it.

43-year-old Billy Matiyabo was arrested Thursday and charged with third-degree theft. He tells police he stole the computer from the Coralville Public Library after he used it to view inappropriate material in October following his shift. Police say he returned to work, stole the computer and then burned it.

The computer was valued at about $700. Police didn't say what Matiyabo used the computer to view.

Online jail records didn't indicate an attorney for Matiyabo.

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Elderly cyclist collides with flatbed truck, dies from injuries

Authorities say a 62-year-old cyclist in northern Iowa has died after colliding with a flatbed truck.

A Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa spokesman says 62-year-old Sally Bell of Clear Lake died from injuries in the Thursday crash.

The Iowa State Patrol says Bell and the truck crashed in an intersection near Fertile in Worth County.

No other injuries were reported.

No charges have been reported. Troopers are investigating.

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Locations : IowaWorth County
People : Sally Bell




 

Iowa child "protector" accused of hitting two children

A child protective services worker in eastern Iowa has been accused of assaulting two children at her Cedar Rapids home.

Court records show 38-year-old Virginia Jones faces charges of assault and assault causing bodily injury. A message left with her attorney was not immediately returned.

A criminal complaint says Jones hit an 8-year-old girl on her back, neck and legs. She is also accused of slapping a 13-year-old boy in the face and pulling his hair.

Jones works for the Linn County Department of Human Services. A county department spokeswoman directed any questions to the Iowa Department of Human Services.

Spokeswoman Amy Lorentzen McCoy declined to comment on the case, but noted that personnel action is confidential under state law.

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People : Amy Lorentzen McCoyVirginia Jones




 

Cashier takes baseball bat to robber, deters theft

Authorities say a cashier used a baseball bat to thwart an attempted robbery at a convenience store in Council Bluffs.

Council Bluffs police say a suspect with a large wrench entered a Kum & Go store shortly before 3 a.m. Thursday. A cashier told authorities the male suspect demanded money.

Police say the cashier instead grabbed a baseball bat and told the suspect to leave. The cashier swung at the suspect but never hit the man.

The suspect, who is accused of throwing items at the cashier, eventually fled on foot. Police say they're looking for the suspect.

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Two students suspected of involvement with school threats

Officials say two students are suspected of being involved in the threatening messages posted against their high school in a Des Moines suburb.

Southeast Polk Community School District Superintendent Craig Menozzi released the information in a statement Wednesday night.

Pleasant Hill police say they've identified persons of interest in the case, but they're still questioning several students.

A series of threats against Southeast Polk High School have been posted on a social media app over several days. Some of the threats have also been directed at Pleasant Hill police officers.

Authorities have stepped up their security presence at the school.

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Locations : Des Moines
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Anti-smoking activists call on Hy-Vee for help

Anti-smoking activists are launching a campaign calling on Iowa's largest grocery store chain to end tobacco sales at locations with pharmacies and clinics.

The Iowa Tobacco Prevention Alliance said Thursday that Hy-Vee, Inc. should stop selling cigarettes, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes to demonstrate its commitment to its customers' health.

The alliance noted that Hy-Vee is a leader of Iowa's "Healthiest State Initiative" and has taken many steps to focus on health and wellness. Executive director Jeneane Moody said selling tobacco products is inconsistent with those values.

She said the group went public with its campaign after Hy-Vee didn't respond to a letter requesting a meeting to discuss the issue.

A Hy-Vee spokeswoman said Thursday the company doesn't advertise tobacco products, but also doesn't believe it should police customers' personal choices.

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Waterloo woman reports break-in, attempted arson

Police are investigating a reported break-in and attempted arson at a woman's house in Waterloo.

Christi Sanders left her home for a few days to stay with relatives. When an uncle visited the home on Tuesday, he noticed that the natural gas on the stove had been turned on. Police say the uncle also discovered scorch marks on a couch from a fire that apparently burned itself out.

Waterloo Police Capt. David Mohlis says fire damage was limited to the couch. A 32-inch flat-screen television was taken from the home. Police say the intruder apparently entered through a window that had been broken days earlier by a child.

No arrests have been made.

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Pleasant Hill shooting victims, narrow escapee identified

Authorities have identified two men who were injured and another who narrowly escaped harm in a shooting in Pleasant Hill.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety says Zachary Whitehill and Mark Mitchell both suffered injuries in the incident Monday. Another man, Matthew Stephenson, was shot at but not hit.

Authorities have arrested 32-year-old Pete Jason Polson for the shootings. Authorities say Polson randomly targeted people while driving through the Des Moines suburb.

Polson faces two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault-willful injury, one count of intimidation with a dangerous weapon and one count of possession of a weapon as a felon.

Mark Mitchell is a civilian employee of the public safety department, but officials don't believe he was targeted because of his job.

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Trout introduced at Ada Hayden Lake in Ames

Officials say about 2,000 rainbow trout will be stocked at a lake in Ames.

The state Department of Natural Resources will stock Ada Hayden Lake with the trout Thursday. The trout will be added near a boat ramp on the north side of the lake.

The trout will range in length from 10 to 12 inches. Officials plan to install a net in the water below a bridge to keep the trout from migrating to the south lake.

The stocking is part of a state program that aims to introduce trout fishing to more people. This is the fourth year of trout stocking at the lake.

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Iowa man found outside White House with multiple weapons

An Iowa man is being held on a weapons charge after Secret Service officers say they found a hunting rifle, dozens of rounds of ammunition and a knife in his car parked near the White House.

The Secret Service says R.J. Kapheim, 41, was arrested on a charge of having an unregistered firearm.

Kapheim, from Davenport, Iowa, was arrested after he approached uniformed officers along 15th Street just before 1 p.m. Wednesday and explained that someone in Iowa told him to drive to the White House. He later showed them to his car parked nearby and let officers search the vehicle. The agency reports they found the rifle, ammunition and a 6-inch knife in the truck of his 2013 Volkswagen Passat.

It was unclear if Kapheim has a lawyer.

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Oskaloosa woman found guilty of killing daughter

A jury has found an Oskaloosa woman guilty of killing her young daughter earlier this year.

Jurors returned the verdict Wednesday afternoon against 21-year-old Alicia Ritenour in Mahaska County District Court. She was convicted of first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death.

Authorities went to Ritenour's apartment in January following a 911 call. Officers found 18-month-old Ava Ritenour dead. An autopsy showed she died of head trauma.

Ritenour will be sentenced on Jan. 2.

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Farewell Senator Tom!

Senator Chuck Grassley has offered an emotional farewell to longtime colleague Tom Harkin, who is retiring after three decades in the Senate. Grassley spoke on the Senate floor yesterday. The Republican Grassley and Democratic Harkin have served from Iowa together since the mid-1980s. Grassley noted that Wednesday was Harkin's 75th birthday.
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Crime story update

Authorities have identified two men who were injured and another who narrowly escaped harm in a shooting in Pleasant Hill.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety says Zachary Whitehill and Mark Mitchell both suffered injuries in the incident Monday. Another man, Matthew Stephenson, was shot at but not hit.

Authorities have arrested 32-year-old Pete Jason Polson for the shootings. Authorities say Polson randomly targeted people while driving through the Des Moines suburb.

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Arrest made afer school fire.

The Council Bluffs Community School District says a 14-year-old boy has been charged with first-degree arson in connection to a high school fire.

District officials said Wednesday that two boys were involved in the Tuesday incident at Abraham Lincoln High School. They say authorities interviewed a 15-year-old boy but he hasn't been charged.

No injuries were reported after sprinklers extinguished a football tackling dummy in the school field house. Students were evacuated for about 10 minutes while firefighters helped vent smoke.

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US Bank in question of breaking law, committing fraud

A judge is ordering a trial to determine whether U.S. Bank broke the law in its handling of customer funds of a brokerage that collapsed after a 20-year fraud scheme.

U.S. District Judge Linda Reade ruled Wednesday that jurors will decide federal regulators' claims related to the bank's relationship with now-defunct Peregrine Financial Group.

The founder of the Cedar Falls-based brokerage, Russell Wasendorf, is in prison after admitting to a $215 million fraud. Regulators are seeking $36 million in restitution from the bank.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission contends U.S. Bank violated rules that require financial institutions to segregate customer accounts.

The agency contends U.S. Bank accepted customer funds as security on loans it made to Wasendorf, and allowed him to transfer customer funds to pay other expenses.

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Iowa Board of Pharmacy considering medical marijuana

The Iowa Board of Pharmacy will consider again recommending changing state law to reclassify marijuana so it could be used to treat medical conditions.

The board is set to meet Wednesday. Members heard testimony on the issue Monday.

Currently, marijuana is classified under state law as both a Schedule I drug, meaning it is has no medical use, and as a Schedule II drug, which has medicinal value. Advocates want the drug to be moved only to the Schedule II category.

The board recommended that the Legislature make such a change to state law in 2010, but no action was taken.

Lawmakers this year approved legislation that allows the use of oil derived from marijuana to treat chronic epilepsy.

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School district issues apology to hazing incident victims

School officials have issued an apology to victims of a 2011 hazing incident at a Greenfield high school.

The apology came as part of a settlement Tuesday from the incident in the high school's wrestling room.

Two students were originally charged with second-degree sexual abuse, but the charges were reduced to first-degree harassment. According to online court documents, the students pleaded guilty to the harassment charges.

The apology by Nodaway Valley Community School District was issued by superintendent Casey Berlau. He said in the statement that the district wants to apologize to the victims and their families for the assault that occurred while they were in the wrestling program.

Berlau said the district is making efforts to ensure another incident will not occur.

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Family of man shot by cops suing city, officers

The family of a Waterloo man who was shot and killed by police in 2012 is taking the city and officers to court.

The lawsuit was brought by the estate of Derrick Ambrose Jr. on the two-year anniversary of his death.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says the 22-year-old was seen with a gun outside New World League in Waterloo on Nov. 18, 2012. Investigators say Ambrose fled from Waterloo authorities and ignored commands to stop.

Authorities say Ambrose stumbled and fell, then rose and turned toward Officer Kyle Law, who shot him twice. Ambrose's pistol was later found in a yard, and investigators concluded that Ambrose likely tossed the gun moments before the shooting.

A grand jury declined to charge Law.

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People : Derrick Ambrose Jr.Kyle Law




 

Agency to access mandatory reports about prison sexual violence

The Iowa Public Information Board's leader says it's OK for an agency to charge more than $2,000 for access to mandatory reports about sexual violence in Iowa prisons.

Executive director Keith Luchtel said the charge by the Iowa Department of Corrections isn't excessive and complies with the open records law. The board will review his opinion Thursday.

The Marshall Project, a nonprofit that reports on the criminal justice system, is seeking sexual violent incident reports from states that were required under the Prison Rape Elimination Act.

Editor Bill Keller says Iowa's charge is far more than any of the 30 states that have responded. He says much larger states such as Texas made them available for free.

Keller says the group won't pay the charge, and is considering its options.

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Locations : IowaTexas
People : Bill KellerKeith Luchtel




 

Two people found dead in Iowa motel, authorities investigating

Authorities say they're investigating the deaths of two people found in a motel room in southeast Iowa.

Fairfield police say 20-year-old Alexandra Higdon and 24-year-old Casey Griffin were found unconscious Sunday morning at a Super 8 motel room. They were later pronounced dead.

The state medical examiner's office will conduct autopsies. Fairfield police are seeking help from the public in gathering information about the deaths.

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Locations : Iowa
People : Alexandra HigdonCasey Griffin




 

Iowa school bus crashes, eight students injured

Authorities say eight students have been injured following a school bus crash in southeast Iowa.

The Louisa County Sheriff's Office says the school bus exited a county road Tuesday morning after the driver lost control of the vehicle. The bus then rolled over.

The bus for the Louisa-Muscatine School District was carrying 10 students in elementary school and high school. Eight were transported to a Muscatine hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. It is unclear which students were injured, or the extent of their injuries.

State and county officials are investigating the cause of the crash. No charges have been filed against the driver of the bus.

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More charges against man behind Pleasant Hill shootings

Additional charges have been filed against a man accused of randomly shooting people in a Des Moines suburb.

Court records show 32-year-old Pete Jason Polson now faces several drug charges, including possession with intent to deliver. He remains at the Polk County jail, where his cash bond was increased to $840,000.

Polson already faces several charges in connection to a Monday morning shooting in Pleasant Hill, including two counts of attempted murder. Police say he injured two men in separate incidents during a 12-minute shooting spree. A third man was shot at but was not hurt.

Polson made an initial court appearance Tuesday morning. Online records do not list an attorney.

A preliminary hearing is set for Dec. 1.

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Locations : Des MoinesPolk County
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Mother pleads guilty to hoax of daughter's cancer diagnosis

A 30-year-old western Iowa mother has pleaded guilty to allegations that she devised an elaborate hoax about a diagnosis of cancer for her 5-year-old daughter.

On Monday Leatha Slauson pleaded guilty in Cass County District Court in Atlantic to two counts of child endangerment, one of administering harmful substances, one of theft and one of unlawful possession of a prescription drug. Prosecutors dropped other charges in exchange for her pleas. Her sentencing is set for Dec. 22.

Prosecutors say Slauson said on a Facebook page that her daughter Riley was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2013. Donations soon began pouring in. An investigation later determined that Riley was not sick.

Riley and her four siblings are staying with their father in Atlantic. Police say he's not connected to the hoax.

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Raccoon hunter accidentally shoots himself, sustains injuries

Iowa authorities say a man has been hospitalized after accidentally shooting himself while hunting raccoons.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says 20-year-old Kyle Fry of Edgewood is recovering from a non-life-threatening wound in a Dubuque hospital. Officials say he accidentally shot himself in the leg with a .22 caliber rifle over the weekend near Littleport in Clayton County. They say he was trying to get his tracking dogs away from the raccoons when the gun fired.

His condition is unclear.

Officials say criminal charges won't be filed because it was a hunting accident.

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Iowa man at work release facility on the loose

Authorities say an Iowa man under the state's work release program has escaped.

The state Department of Corrections says 23-year-old Alan Nigel Archibald, Jr. was placed on escape status Monday after he didn't return to the Fort Des Moines work release facility from a job assignment.

Since January 2011, Archibald has been serving a 10-year sentence for willful injury causing serious injury. He was transferred to the work release program in June.

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Des Moines schools placed under lock down after shootings

Officials in Des Moines say a high school, a middle school and an elementary school were briefly locked down because of a nearby shooting.

Des Moines Public Schools says East High School, Hiatt Middle School and Carver Community School were put on a partial lockdown Monday morning following reports of a nearby shooting. A partial lockdown means students are allowed to move around inside the schools.

Police say resource officers were dispatched to provide additional security.

The lockdown was later lifted. No suspects have been identified in the shooting, which police believe involved a dispute between several people. No injuries have been reported.

Authorities say there is no connection between the lockdown and shootings in nearby Pleasant Hill, which led to the cancellation of school for several area schools.

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Motorcycles destroyed after Iowa building catches fire

More than a dozen motorcycles have been destroyed in a fire at a Harley-Davidson dealership in Mason City.

Business owner Steve Minert says the Monday morning fire damaged a service support building and up to 20 motorcycles. It did not affect the business' two main showrooms.

No one was in the service support building at the time of the fire. The dealership is also not open on Mondays.

Fire officials are investigating the cause of the blaze. The business is expected to open Tuesday.

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Man aimlessly shoots, injures two people in Pleasant Hill

Authorities say they believe a man with a gun randomly opened fire and injured two people in a Des Moines suburb.

Pleasant Hill police say the man was taken into custody for questioning following the Monday morning shootings. Two men have been hospitalized.

Public Information Officer Adam Choat says the suspect has been linked to three scenes, including one where he allegedly fired at a man but no one was hurt. He says it appears all three men were not targeted prior to the shootings.

Authorities say the shootings are not related to threats made on social media against a local high school. Still, the Southeast Polk Community School District canceled classes following the shootings. Superintendent Craig Menozzi says classes likely will resume Tuesday.

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People : Adam ChoatCraig Menozzi




 

Southeast Polk cancels classes after Pleasant Hill shootings

A suburban Des Moines school district has canceled classes districtwide after two people were shot in nearby neighborhoods, though authorities say it's unclear whether the shootings are related to threats made against the local high school on social media.

Police in Pleasant Hill say two people were shot and wounded during attacks at separate homes Monday morning. A suspect is in custody, though authorities aren't releasing the names of the suspect or the two victims. The victims are hospitalized.

Police aren't releasing details about the threats, but say they were made on a social media app against Southeast Polk High School. Police initially planned to increase security at the school Monday, but the district has canceled classes for the day following the shootings.

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Marshalltown women die in Jasper County crash

The Iowa State Patrol says two people from Marshalltown have died and a boy has been injured in a one-vehicle crash.

Troopers say 58-year-old Micaela Rodriguez-Pizana was driving a Chevrolet Silverado over the weekend on Highway 65 in Jasper County when she lost control of the vehicle, which rolled into a ditch. Rodriguez-Pizana and 43-year-old passenger Maria Tiscareno were pronounced dead at the scene. Both were wearing seat belts.

A 16-year-old boy was injured and taken to a Des Moines hospital. His condition is unclear.

Authorities are investigating.

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Deputy utilizes snow tracks to capture eluding suspect

A deputy in southeast Iowa has caught a suspect who eluded authorities after a two-county chase by following tire tracks in the snow.

The 30-year-old man was arrested Sunday after a traffic stop led to the chase that reached speeds of more than 80 mph in Mahaska and Marion counties. Reed says the suspect raced through stop signs and drove through yards before disappearing.

Reed drove down a private road when he noticed the tracks in the freshly fallen snow. He said he then found the man, who surrendered without further incident.

The suspect hasn't been charged. No injuries were reported.

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Iowa soldiers prepare for trip to Africa to fight Ebola

About 80 soldiers in an Iowa Army National Guard unit may be sent to West Africa to help respond to the Ebola outbreak there.

The Iowa National Guard said Sunday that members of the 294th Area Support Medical Company are being notified that they may be deployed next spring for six months to a year.

The Iowa soldiers would provide medial support to the humanitarian effort to help. The deadly Ebola virus has killed more than 5,000 people since the outbreak began.

The National Guard says the Iowa solders would only provide care to Defense Department personnel and others sent to help, but they wouldn't be treating residents of West Africa.

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Iowa girl sleds into street, critically hurt from truck collision

A 6-year-old girl was critically hurt this weekend when she sledded into a street in Council Bluffs and was hit by a truck.

The incident happened just before 1 p.m. Saturday.

Council Bluffs Police say Kailey Maloney was sledding down the driveway of her grandfather's property. She was hit by a 2005 Chevrolet pickup truck after she slid into the street.

Maloney was taken to the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha for treatment of life-threatening injuries.

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Officials look to impose new groundwater use limits

State officials may impose new limits on groundwater use to protect the underground aquifer that supplies drinking water to a half-million Iowans.

Environmental leaders are concerned about the future of the Jordan aquifer that sits beneath most of Iowa because water use continues to grow.

The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission is scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss requiring additional conservation measures and possibly force some water users to seek other sources of water.

Marion Water Department manager Todd Steigerwaldt says the lower the aquifer sinks, the worse the water quality will be.

Since the 1970s, use of water in the aquifer has increased 72 percent to nearly 26 billion gallons last year. The growing ethanol industry has contributed significantly to the increase.

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Tama murder case attorneys looking to limit information

Attorneys on both sides of Dustin Jefferson's murder case want to limit what information jurors will hear when his trial begins next month.

Authorities say the 39-year-old Jefferson either killed or helped kill his wife, Kerry O'Clair Jefferson. She died in September 2013 after being stabbed in Tama. Jurors in May convicted Ginger Jefferson, Dustin's mother, of first-degree murder. That same day, law enforcement officials charged her son with the same crime.

Tama County Attorney Brent Heeren this week asked the court to bar any mention of O'Clair-Jefferson's drug use or abuse of alcohol and any evidence of related convictions.

Defense attorney Thomas Gaul wants the court to block statements about Jefferson's April 2010 arrest for domestic abuse assault.

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Facebook launches Altoona data center

Facebook has officially launched a data center in central Iowa.

The social media giant opened its doors Friday to showcase its 476,000-square-foot facility in Altoona, just outside of Des Moines. A second data center is under construction next door.

The first data center, which is officially online and serving live traffic, houses thousands of refrigerator-sized racks of computer servers, processors, hard drives and other equipment. It has 75 employees.

Facebook would not disclose the price of the first data center, but state officials said last year it was worth nearly $300 million. The state awarded $18 million in tax credits, and Altoona forgo property taxes for 20 years.

The data center is currently just one of four around the world. The others are located in North Carolina, Oregon and Sweden.

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North English elementary school implements lockdown

The English Valley Elementary school in North English implemented a lockdown and security measures after a man who appeared intoxicated and claimed to have a knife caused a disturbance in the school's office.

The Iowa County sheriff's office says 28-year-old Coty Schwochow (ShWOW-cow) entered the school office at 8:40 a.m. Friday and appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He told the staff he needed mental help. Staff members convinced him to leave the building and implemented previously practiced lockdown procedures while calling the sheriff.

Schwochow unsuccessfully attempted to re-enter the building.

Sheriff Robert Rotter says he was taken for a mental evaluation and charges could be filed.

No one was injured and no children were in the office at the time.

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People : Coty SchwochowRobert Rotter




 

Northern Iowa home fire kills one person

Officials say a person has died in a fire that damaged a home in northern Mahaska County.

The blaze in Taintor was reported about 7 p.m. Thursday and was fought by fire crews from several departments. The small community sits about five miles northwest of New Sharon.

Ron Humphrey with the State Fire Marshal Division said that he couldn't provide any details about the body but said investigators were still at the scene.

New Sharon Fire Chief Steven Gerard says another person who escaped from the house reported that the fire appeared to have started in the kitchen.

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Woman given life in prison for kidnapping, beating

A Des Moines woman has been sentenced to life in prison for her role in the kidnapping and beating of a man found in the trunk of a car.

Fifty-three-year-old Debra Oliver was sentenced Thursday for the beating of 61-year-old Ronald Carris, who suffered brain injuries that left him in need of 24-hour care. She was convicted in October of first-degree kidnapping, attempted murder and willful injury.

Police say Oliver and John Deering kidnapped Carris in April and beat him in the head with a brick because they wanted money. He called police while in the trunk of the car and officers used the cellphone signal to locate him.

Deering was convicted in the kidnapping and beating in August and was sentenced to life in prison.

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Iowa elderly couple killed in collision with two semitrailers

An 88-year-old man and his 84-year-old wife have been killed in collisions with two semitrailers at an intersection in northern Iowa's Kossuth County.

The Iowa State Patrol says the accident occurred around 4 p.m. Thursday on the southern edge of Bancroft.

The patrol says a minivan driven by Edward Foertsch, of Algona, was headed south on a county road when it failed to stop at an intersection. The minivan soon was struck by an eastbound truck driven by 42-year-old Brooke Strom, of Wells, Minnesota. The impact spun the minivan into the path of a truck driven by 60-year-old Terry Alt, of Algona.

Foertsch and his wife, Agnes Foertsch, were pronounced dead at the scene. The patrol says the truckers were unhurt.

The accident is being investigated.

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Death of baby at mobile home under investigation

State, Des Moines County and Burlington agencies are investigating what's being called the suspicious death of a 22-day-old baby at his parents' mobile home north of Burlington.

Emergency crews were sent to the Green Acres Mobile Home Court north of Burlington around 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Sheriff Mike Johnstone says the boy's father had called 911.

Johnstone says the child's death at his home "does look suspicious." He declined to name the baby's parents.

Officials say an autopsy has been done, but results may not be available for months.

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Woman responsible for cancer hoax accepts plea deal

Prosecutors say a western Iowa mother accused of lying about her young daughter's cancer diagnosis has accepted a plea deal.

Cass County Attorney Daniel Feistner said late Thursday that 30-year-old Leatha Slauson took the deal but the details of it won't be released until Monday. It's unclear how Slauson will plead or what penalties she could face.

Slauson is accused of telling her community that her 5-year-old daughter had terminal cancer and collecting donations for her treatment. An investigation this year determined the child was not sick. Slauson previously pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including child endangerment.

The child and her siblings have remained in the custody of their father since Slauson's arrest in Aug. 21.

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Locations : Iowa
People : Daniel FeistnerLeatha Slauson




 

Pedestrian hit, killed by car on interstate off-ramp

The Linn County Sheriff's Office says a pedestrian has been fatally struck by a car on an interstate off-ramp.

The man was killed Thursday night when a car was exiting Interstate 380. They say he was crossing the ramp when he was hit. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

His identity hasn't been released. No other injuries were reported.

Authorities are investigating the accident.

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Grinnell muffler plant closing leaves 75 people jobless

A Minnesota company will close a Grinnell manufacturing plant, putting about 75 people out of work.

Bloomington-based Donaldson Company announced Wednesday it would close the plant, which produces mufflers and other exhaust products for off-road equipment. The plant has been in operation since 1952.

Company chief executive officer Bill Cook says the decision to close the plant was made because of diesel emission regulations that have prompted customers to shift from mufflers to other emission control systems. That shift has reduced demand for mufflers.

The company says employment levels will drop as work is moved to other Donaldson plants.

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Apartment complex fire sends three to hospital with injuries

Dubuque firefighters say three people have been taken to a hospital after a blaze at an apartment complex.

Fire Chief Rick Steines says flames broke out Wednesday night at the Sheridan Village Apartments. He says the fire appeared to originate on the top floor but it's unclear what started it.

Two people were taken to a hospital after suffering from smoke inhalation. Another person suffered a cut wrist. Their identities haven't been released.

Fire officials are investigating.

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Officer accused of using excessive force receives trial date

A February trial date has been set for a former Des Moines police officer accused of excessive force.

The trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 9 for Colin Boone. Earlier this month a federal jury acquitted Boone of falsifying records, but the jury couldn't agree on whether he used excessive force after a traffic accident in February 2013. Boone was accused of kicking Orville Hill in the face and then leaving the incident out of an official report.

Hill testified that he crashed his vehicle into a barrier in Des Moines after having a seizure. Videos show Boone kicking at Hill while he was struggling on the ground with four officers. Boone was fired in May 2013 for inappropriate use of force.

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Ex-Iowa senator tests postitive for marijuana for third time

A probation officer says former Iowa Sen. Kent Sorenson has now tested positive three times for marijuana in his system while awaiting sentencing in a campaign money case.

Federal court documents filed Wednesday reveal that two urine samples from Sorensen tested positive for the presence of marijuana on Oct. 7 and Oct. 21. An earlier test on Sept. 30 also found the drug in his system.

Probation officer Priscilla Davidson writes that a toxicologist with an outside laboratory believes the most recent tests were from fresh drug use, which Sorenson has denied.

Sorenson pleaded guilty in August to concealing payments he received to work for Michele Bachmann's 2012 presidential campaign. He also kept quiet a $25,000 check and additional payments he negotiated to switch allegiances to Ron Paul's campaign.

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People : Kent SorensonMichele BachmannPriscilla DavidsonRon Paul




 

Autopsy complete on deceased ISU student found in trunk

A medical examiner's office says an autopsy report has been completed on an Iowa State University student found dead in her car in September.

Mike Hensch, administrator of the Johnson County Medical Examiner Department, says an autopsy report on the body of 20-year-old Tong Shao was submitted Oct. 31 to the Iowa City Police Department and the Johnson County Attorney's Office.

His office is complying with a request by the Iowa City Police Department to not release information about the cause of death.

Shao's body was found on Sept. 26 in the trunk of her car. Authorities say they're looking for 23-year-old Xiangnan Li (zi-ON'-nan Lee), a friend of Shao's. Authorities say he may have information about the circumstance surrounding her death.

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People : Mike HenschTong ShaoXiangnan Li




 

Mason City man hits school bus, three other vehicles

A Mason City man faces multiple charges after police say his car struck three vehicles, including a school bus.

Police say 23-year-old Eric Sombright was behind a school bus Tuesday morning when his car slid on ice and hit the bus.

Sombright is accused of driving around the bus and fleeing the scene. Police say he then ran a stop sign and struck two other vehicles.

There were no students on the school bus at the time. There were no injuries reported in the other crashes.

Sombright faces multiple charges, including having no driver's license and failing to obey a traffic control device. Court records do not list an attorney.

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Giraffe at Blank Park Zoo euthanized after health issues

Officials say an aging giraffe at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines was euthanized due to health complications.

Chad Comer, the zoo's animal curator, says 21-year-old Shani had severe ligament and joint problems that were depleting her quality of life. She was euthanized earlier this month. Zoo staff held a private memorial for the animal.

Shani was one of four giraffes at the zoo. She was part of an exhibit that allowed zoo visitors to feed giraffes.

The animal was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1993. She was moved to Des Moines in 1996. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums says female giraffes typically live about 16 years.

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Meskwaki assistant chief fired for comments toward minor

An assistant chief for a tribal police department in Iowa has been fired after making inappropriate comments about the looks of teenage daughters of two subordinate officers.

Documents released Wednesday show Jason Dunagan, assistant chief of the Meswaki National Police Department, commented "nice belly button ring" and "nice tan" on a Snapchat photograph posted online by a lieutenant's 16-year-old daughter.

Dunagan called the 14-year-old daughter of a detective "hot" when the detective had a picture of her on his phone, and joked that she'd be turning 16 soon.

Records show Dunagan also showed explicit sexual photographs to colleagues.

Dunagan said Wednesday he saw nothing inappropriate in his comments toward the teenage girls, saying he was friendly on social media with one and didn't know the other was his colleague's daughter.

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Des Moines fire results in hospital visit for one person

One person has been injured in a fire that damaged a commercial building just north of Des Moines.

Fire crews from several area departments were dispatched after 6 p.m. Tuesday. The building had housed the I-80 Flea Market, which closed in August.

The injured person was taken to a Des Moines hospital for treatment.

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Attempted robbery turns into shootout between robber, neighbor

Des Moines police say no one has been seriously injured after a man exchanged gunfire with a group of men who robbed his neighbor's home.

Three or four men entered a family's home on Tuesday night and ordered a man and a woman to lie on the ground. The man tells police he was struck in the head with what he thinks was a pistol before he ran to his neighbor's house.

Police say the neighbor and the burglars exchanged gunfire before the group left.

The man was treated at the scene and the woman was uninjured.

Police say two guns were stolen from the home. They are searching for the suspects.

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Attempted hit-and-run on cop car halted by police

Cedar Rapids police have arrested a driver who they say crashed into a police cruiser and tried to run away.

The officer was responding to a call on Tuesday night when a white car turned around a corner and struck the back of the patrol vehicle. Police say the driver of the car fled on foot but was later caught.

No injuries were reported.

The driver's identity hasn't been released. No charges have been reported.

Police say they are investigating.

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Elementary students deal Pokemon cards, ammunition

Authorities in western Iowa say an elementary school student traded a bullet for Pokemon cards with another student on a school bus.

Titan Hill Intermediate School Principal Kent Stopak tells The Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil that officials are deciding whether the second grade student will be disciplined. He says the children made the trade on Friday. The parent of the child that received the .22-caliber bullet called the school on Monday.

Stopak says the Lewis Central Community School District considers age and intent when determining disciplinary action. He says he believes the child made an innocent mistake and no student was threatened or harmed.

Council Bluffs Police say the law doesn't require parents to keep children away from ammunition.

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Three arrested, one at-large after Iowa college lockdown

Authorities say three people have been arrested in connection to a lockdown at a community college campus in Fort Dodge.

The Fort Dodge Police Department says the three people each face one count of aiding and abetting second-degree robbery. Court records do not indicate formal charges have been filed.

Authorities are looking for a fourth suspect.

Iowa Central Community College was placed on lockdown for about three hours Monday after a student reported that an armed man entered her dorm room.

Police say the student reported that several males entered her room while she and others were inside. She said at least one of the males displayed a firearm. The males soon left the room.

No shots and no injuries were reported.

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Drug charge dropped against Des Moines pharmacy owner

A misdemeanor drug charge has been dismissed against a Des Moines pharmacy owner convicted of illegally selling painkillers.

A Polk County district judge on Monday dismissed a misdemeanor charge of illegal possession of prescription drugs against Mark Graziano.

The misdemeanor charge was filed in August after an expired bottle of antacid pills was found in a car Graziano was driving. The county attorney's office, which filed the charge, asked that it be dismissed.

Graziano pleaded guilty on Thursday to two federal felony counts of drug conspiracy and tax evasion, after he admitted to illegally selling about 700,000 hydrocodone pills. The plea deal dropped 16 other charges. He and another man convicted in the case will be sentenced in February.

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Boy hurt after collision between tractor and semitrailer

A 13-year-old boy has been injured in a collision between a tractor and a semitrailer hauling grain in northern Iowa.

The accident occurred around 10:15 a.m. Saturday a few miles west of Riceville on Iowa Highway 9.

Mitchell County sheriff's deputy Jeff Huftalin says Cole Byrnes, of Riceville, was turning left off the highway into a field when his tractor was struck by the grain truck, which was trying to pass the tractor. Byrnes was taken to Mitchell County Regional Health Center in Osage.

Huftalin says charges probably will be filed against the truck driver.

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Iowa City cops injured after accidental shooting while cleaning guns

The Iowa City Police Department says two officers have been injured after a gun fired while they were cleaning their service weapons.

Police say the officers were transported to an area hospital on Monday night where they were treated for unspecified injuries and released. They say the officers were performing standard cleaning and maintenance of their guns when the accident occurred.

Police didn't say how the gun went off. The officers' identities haven't been released.

The department is conducting an internal investigation.

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Iowa community college lifts lockdown after gun report

A community college in north-central Iowa says it has lifted a lockdown issued after a gun was reported on campus.

Iowa Central Community College says the lockdown was lifted Monday night after officials determined there was enough evidence that suspects had left the campus in Fort Dodge.

Officials called the cause of the lockdown an isolated incident. They did not elaborate.

No arrests have been made. No injuries were reported.

A message on the school's website says evening classes were canceled.

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Fire engulfs auto parts store, firefighters struggle to keep up

Authorities say multiple fire departments are battling a blaze at an auto parts store in Des Moines.

Sgt. Brandon Bracelin, public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff's Office, says the fire near the intersection of Interstate 80 and 35 was reported Monday afternoon. About six fire departments were actively trying to contain the fire as of 6 p.m.

Bracelin says one person has been injured and was sent to a hospital, but additional information was not available.

The fire caused heavy smoke in the air. Air quality control officials have been sent to the scene. Nearby residents have been instructed to stay inside to avoid the smoke.

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Man suspected of arson, attempting to steal gasoline

A northern Iowa man faces charges on suspicion of starting a fire while trying to steal gasoline.

The Fayette County Sheriff's Office says Aaron Hickman, of Postville, faces charges of second-degree criminal mischief and third-degree criminal mischief. Court records do not list an attorney.

Hickman is accused of drilling a hole in a van's tank in Elgin on Oct. 23 in an attempt to steal gasoline. The fuel ignited in the process, causing the van to catch fire. A nearby building also sustained damage.

Authorities say Hickman left the scene and drove to Clermont to try to steal gas again from another vehicle.

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Bond set at $1 million for teen arrested for shooting death

A 17-year-old arrested in connection to the shooting death of a man in Des Moines is being held on $1 million cash bond.

The teen was arrested Saturday morning following the death of 24-year-old Aaron Michael McHenry, of Rockford, Illinois. He faces a first-degree murder charge and is being held at the Marshall County Jail in Marshalltown.

Authorities say the teen fatally shot McHenry, who was found Friday with at least one gunshot wound to the head. Police say the shooting may have been related to narcotics.

The teen is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 19.

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Dahl's Foods grocery chain files for bankruptcy

Dahl's Foods Inc. has filed for bankruptcy and has announced its sale to a Kansas grocery organization.

The Des Moines-based company said in a news release Monday that it filed its petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 protection in Des Moines. It also said it's agreed to be acquired by Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc., of Kansas City, Kansas. Financial details were not disclosed.

Associated Wholesale Grocers is a member-owned wholesale grocery cooperative serving more than 3,000 retail member stores.

Dahl's said in August that it would close a West Des Moines store and in May announced closing of stores in Ames and Ankeny.

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Cancer patient receives unforgettable treat from Garth Brooks

A woman battling breast cancer has been given a gift she won't soon forget while attending a Garth Brooks' concert in the Twin Cities over the weekend.

Teresa Shaw and her daughter traveled from Iowa to see Brooks' show in Minneapolis last Friday. Shaw brought a sign that read "Chemo this morning. Garth tonight. Enjoy the dance."

And it was during Brooks' hit song "The Dance" that Shaw found herself front and center, next to the stage. Brooks walked over and started singing to her, then handed her his guitar and kissed her on the forehead.

The performer took Shaw's sign and held it up for the audience, telling her that he and everyone in the audience were sending her strength to beat her cancer.

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Airborne motorcycle collides with Fort Dodge man

A 30-year-old man has been struck by an airborne motorcycle at an off-road facility near Fort Dodge.

The accident occurred at Gypsum City Off-Highway Vehicle Park around 3 p.m. Sunday.

Dakota Drish with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says Mitchell Frank, of Fort Dodge, had gone onto the track on the back of a jump to help a driver. Frank then was struck in the head by a motorcycle that came over the jump.

Frank was flown for treatment at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. Drish says the driver of the motorcycle that struck Frank was not injured.

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Iowa man has rollover, thrown and killed in car accident

A Waverly man has died in a crash in northeastern Iowa.

The crash happened Saturday night in Nashua.

The 9:35 p.m. crash killed 27-year-old Matthew Nichols, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Iowa State Patrol says Nichols was southbound on a Nashua street when he failed to negotiate a curve and went into the east ditch. The vehicle rolled twice and hit a utility pole. Investigators say Nichols was thrown from the vehicle.

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Vandalized veterans memorial cleaned up, restored

A group of volunteers have cleaned up and restored a veterans memorial in front of the Jones County Courthouse in Anamosa that was heavily vandalized last week.

The group gathered Saturday morning to repair the damage — just in time for Veterans Day on Tuesday.

The damage was discovered early last Tuesday. Officials say an American flag and other flags that stood around the memorial were stolen or cut up. Those included flags for Iowa and prisoners of war as well as flags for each military branch.

There is still work to be done to fully restore the memorial, but donations have already started coming in. In all, the restoration is expected to cost $2,000.

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Pregnant dog takes flight, found with full litter of pups

A frantic hunt for a runaway, pregnant dog ended happily when searchers found the black lab mix in an Iowa garage — nursing a brand-new litter of puppies.

The hubbub began when the dog, which was being flown from Texas to a Wisconsin rescue shelter, slipped out of her harness and fled during a stop at the Winterset, Iowa airport on Friday.

Crews searched for the dog, named Ava, overnight. She was found just before noon Saturday in a Winterset home's garage.

And she wasn't alone. Ava had given birth to nine puppies.

Ava and her pups are expected to complete their trip to Wisconsin this week.

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Missing fisherman found dead in Saylorville Lake

Iowa authorities have found the body of a missing fisherman in Saylorville Lake.

The Polk County Sheriff's office says authorities went to the lake around 12:45 a.m. Saturday after two of the three men on the boat reached shore and called for help.

The man who died was Matthew Roth of Oronoco, Minn. Authorities say he was bow fishing with his brother, Nathan Roth, and their friend, William Earls of Omaha.

Rescuers searched for Roth's body until about 3:15 a.m. initially before suspending the effort until morning. His body was found Saturday afternoon.

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Fort Dodge Airport to begin commercial flights in February

The Fort Dodge airport will again be able to offer commercial flights in February.

Air Choice One will begin offering trips to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport on Feb. 23.

Airline spokeswoman Cassie Davison says that date was chosen because of all the work involved in getting ready to serve a new location.

Rhonda Chambers, the airport's director of aviation, says the entire Fort Dodge community has been waiting a long time for the return of flights.

More than a year will have passed since Great Lakes Airlines stopped flights last February 1 because of a lack of pilots.

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Substance abuse program supervisor arrested for drunken driving

An Iowa worker who oversees substance abuse programs has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.

50-year-old Jeff Gronstal was arrested early Friday morning.

Polk County Sheriff's spokeswoman Jana Abens says a deputy stopped Gronstal's truck because its registration was expired. When talking to the driver, the deputy smelled alcohol so he began sobriety tests.

Abens says the deputy noticed that Gronstal had trouble keeping his balance during the tests. Gronstal told the deputy his health issues related to cancer might affect the tests.

Gronstal has worked for the state for 25 years. His job involves licensing and regulating substance abuse and gambling treatment programs.

State officials say they will review the situation.

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Des Moines body found in driveway, police investigating

Des Moines police are investigating the death of a man whose body was found in a driveway.

Police say they received a call about 4:30 p.m. Friday about four to five shots being fired. At about this time, they received another call about a shooting victim who was down in a driveway.

Officers and medics responded and found the man's body.

Police were interviewing at least three witnesses at headquarters but no suspects were immediately identified.

The identity of the dead man will be released after relatives are notified.

It was the eighth homicide investigated by Des Moines police this year.

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Iowa fish kill stemmed from Des Moines County lake

Officials have linked a fish kill in southeast Iowa to a Des Moines County lake.

The state Department of Natural Resources says an investigator found a white material flowing from Big Hollow Creek into Flint Creek north of Burlington on Tuesday. There were several locations with dead and dying fish.

Investigators determined the material came from a pool below the Big Hallow Lake that belongs to the Des Moines County Conservation Board.

Officials say a conservation board employee opened an overflow gate on the lake Monday afternoon, causing the 178-acre lake to lower by one foot and releasing low oxygen sediment.

More than 250 dead fish have been counted, but officials believe the fish kill is limited to the first two miles in Big Hallow Creek directly below the lake.

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Former Des Moines nurse surrenders license after incident

An ex-nurse at a Des Moines veteran's hospital has agreed to surrender his license after admitting to turning off equipment that would have alerted staff to a patient's low blood-oxygen level.

65-year-old Michael Deal died last March at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital after oxygen levels in his blood dropped.

Nurse Bernard Nesbit was fired following the incident and had sought unemployment benefits, which were later denied. He said he turned off the alarms because they went off even if patients weren't in distress.

Iowa Board of Nursing records show Nesbit agreed to give up his state license for at least a year to settle an ethics charge. Nesbit has declined to comment.

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Teenager who thought brother was goblin found not guilty

An Iowa teenager who claimed he killed his 5-year-old foster brother because he thought the child was a goblin has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Harrison County District Court Judge Kathleen Kilnoski issued her ruling Friday in the bench trial of Cody Metzker-Madsen, who was charged with first-degree murder in the August 2013 death of Dominic Elkins.

Authorities say Metzker-Madsen killed Dominic while the two played outside of their home in western Iowa. Metzker-Madsen was 17 when the boy's body was found at the bottom of a ravine.

Metzker-Madsen told the judge during the trial that he believed he was in a fantasy world and thought he was killing a goblin instead of Dominic.

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Pharmacy owner pleads guilty to illegal selling charges

A Des Moines pharmacy owner accused of illegally selling tens of thousands of addictive painkillers has pleaded guilty to charges as part of a deal with prosecutors.

Mark Graziano said Thursday in court that his popular pharmacy was a major source of narcotic pills for drug dealers. He pleaded guilty to two federal felony counts of drug conspiracy and tax evasion.

The plea deal drops 16 charges and recommends a few years in a minimum-security prison camp.

Graziano's pharmacy was raided in 2012 amid allegations that he and another man, Michael Enloe, illegally sold about 700,000 hydrocodone pills. For years, Graziano denied any wrongdoing. Enloe pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of conspiracy to distribute drugs.

Graziano and Enloe will be sentenced in February.

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Man given two months in prison for torturing, killing bald eagle

An Iowa man has been given 60 days in prison for torturing and killing a bald eagle.

District Court Judge John A. Jarvey sentenced 36-year-old Jason John Thomas, of What Cheer, on Thursday for taking and possessing a bald eagle. He was ordered to serve one year of supervised release and pay a $2,000 fine.

Thomas was accused of killing the eagle in March 2011 while he boated on the South Skunk River in Mahaska County. An affidavit says he pursued the bird by boat and eventually pinned it under a log and hit it with a stick.

As part of his supervised release, Thomas will perform 80 hours of community service. He will not be allowed to hunt.

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Intoxicated minor kills two in crash, man faces felony charges

An Iowa man accused of providing alcohol to a teenager before a fatal car crash faces felony charges.

21-year-old Matthias V. Stork, of Breda, is charged with two counts of supplying alcohol resulting in death. Court records show he has pleaded not guilty.

Stork is accused of giving beer to a 17-year-old prior to a two-vehicle crash in late August. The teen survived, but 16-year-olds Bailey Jacobsen and Lindsey Quirk, both of Wall Lake, were killed.

Authorities say the surviving teen's blood alcohol level was above the legal limit for minors driving. The teen is facing vehicular homicide charges.

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Man accused of punching, stabbing says it was to defend daughter

A 55-year-old Burlington man is accused of punching and stabbing someone who he said called his daughter names and used profane language.

William Lane is charged with misdemeanor aggravated assault and is due back in court on Nov. 13. Online court records don't list the name of Lane's attorney.

Officers were sent to a Burlington home Tuesday to investigate a reported stabbing. Michael Payne told the officers that Lane had become upset with him because Lane thought Payne had disrespected Lane's 31-year-old daughter. Lane told the officers that Payne had called his daughter names and used profane language toward her.

Lane acknowledged exchanging punches with Payne but denied using a knife.

Payne was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

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Teen who killed brother says he thought he killed a goblin

An Iowa teenager has testified that when he killed his 5-year-old foster brother, he was in a fantasy world and thought he was killing a goblin.

Cody Metzker-Madsen told the western Iowa courtroom on Wednesday that he visits a world only he can reach whenever he plays with someone. He says he didn't realize until afterward that what he thought was a goblin was actually his foster brother, Dominic Elkins.

His lawyer is using an insanity defense.

Authorities say Metzker-Madsen killed Dominic last year while the two were playing outside of their home near Logan. Metzker-Madsen was 17 at the time.

The boy's body was found at the bottom of a ravine. An autopsy showed he died of blunt-force head injuries and drowning.

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Hunter seriously hurt after shooting himself during coyote search

Iowa authorities say a man has been seriously injured after accidentally shooting himself while hunting for coyotes.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the elderly man was stepping out of his truck in a harvested cornfield west of Dunlap when he tripped and fell on Wednesday evening. Officials say the high-powered rifle he was carrying shot a bullet into his abdomen.

The man was flown to an Omaha hospital. His identity hasn't been released.

DNR officials are investigating.

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Seven Iowa individuals arrested for aiding convicted shooter

Authorities say seven people have been arrested in Sioux City, suspected of aiding a man who shot a police officer.

A spokesman for federal prosecutors, Tim Duax, on Wednesday declined to identify the seven or address the specific charges against them.

Jamal Dean, the man who shot officer Kevin McCormick, fled Sioux City after the April 29, 2013, shooting. He was arrested five days later during a traffic stop in Riviera, Texas, 105 miles from the Mexican border.

Although McCormick's police vehicle was riddled with bullets and he was shot in the head, he wasn't seriously injured. He's returned to work.

Dean later pleaded guilty to attempted murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

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Man given maximum ten years prison for sexual abuse of girl

A 29-year-old Iowa man has been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl.

Daniel Ward of Pleasant Hill was found guilty of third-degree sexual abuse after charges of kidnapping, lascivious acts with a child and enticing a minor were dropped. It's unclear why the charges were removed.

Authorities say Ward met the girl on a messaging application called Kik. They say he took her to a Carlisle park before assaulting her.

A judge sentenced him to an indeterminate prison sentence of no more than 10 years. He will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release.

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Iowa man convicted of strangulation, murder of 'best friend'

A Davenport man has been convicted of first-degree murder in the strangulation death of a man he called his best friend.

A Scott County judge found 36-year-old Stephen A. Boeding guilty Wednesday. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 4.

Boeding said in a taped police interview played at his bench trial that he choked 48-year-old Kevin O'Connell on May 23, 2013. A bench trial means Boeding waved a jury trial.

Authorities found O'Connell's body 12 days later and suspected he died of natural causes. His body was later exhumed and an autopsy confirmed he was strangled.

Boeding testified at his trial that the men were best friends. He said they were drinking at O'Connell's apartment when Boeding blacked out. He claimed an insanity defense and self-defense.

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Construction worker killed after machinery flipped into water

Officials in southeast Iowa say a construction worker was killed when his machinery overturned and submerged underwater.

Officials with the Iowa Army and Ammunition Plant say 31-year-old Troy Snaadt was using an excavator Tuesday morning along the bank of Lake Mathes in Middletown when the equipment overturned.

A dive team later recovered Snaadt's body. A company spokeswoman says an investigation into his death is ongoing.

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Man's trial for assaulting cop who later shot him delayed

A trial has been delayed for a northeast Iowa man accused of assaulting a police officer before the officer shot him.

A trial date of Jan. 6 has been set for 28-year-old Zachary Church. He's charged with assault on a peace officer and possession of marijuana for sale. His trial had been scheduled to begin Tuesday.

Cedar Falls officer Bob Anderson has said he approached Church while Church was asleep behind the wheel of a running car on Dec. 25. Anderson reported that Church suddenly began punching him. Anderson said he felt himself losing consciousness and warned Church that he would shoot him if he didn't stop. Anderson then shot Church twice.

Church has pleaded not guilty.

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Pest control worker accused of bugging woman's home

A southwest Iowa pest control worker is accused of planting audio recording devices in a woman's home.

Red Oak police say 38-year-old Aaron Johnson was arrested Monday and charged with misdemeanor electronic and/or mechanical eavesdropping and with being a felon in possession of a firearm, which is a felony. Online court records don't list the name of his attorney.

The woman reported that she found one of the audio bugs, and then authorities found another in her bedroom. She says the only person granted access to her residence was the pest control technician.

Police say a search of Johnson's home turned up similar devices, computer equipment and guns and ammunition.

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Northwood murder trial scheduled for next May

A May trial has been scheduled for a 40-year-old Northwood man accused of killing his former girlfriend last year.

Tyrone Washington Jr. is charged with stabbing to death 30-year-old Justine Smith. Washington's trial is set to begin May 11 in Fort Dodge. The trial was moved to Webster County from Worth County after Washington's lawyer argued that with so few blacks in Worth County, Washington, who is black, wouldn't be judged by a jury of his peers.

The Webster County trial was delayed from Oct. 20 to give Washington's lawyer more time to investigate the number of blacks on juries in Webster County.

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Iowa woman makes plea deal in child sexual assault

A 50-year-old northern Iowa woman has made a plea deal in a child sex abuse case.

Diana Guido, of Goldfield, has agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge of sex abuse. She's expected to make the plea at a hearing on Nov. 26 in Wright County District Court in Clarion. Prosecutors have agreed to drop related misdemeanor charges in exchange for her plea.

Her trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday.

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Iowa veterans memorial damaged via vandalism

Vandals have damaged a veterans memorial that stands in front of the Jones County Courthouse in Anamosa.

County auditor Janine Sulzner discovered the damage a little after 6 a.m. Tuesday. An American flag and other flags that stood around the memorial were stolen or cut up. They included flags for Iowa and prisoners of war as well as flags for each military branch.

Sulzner says the flags are being replaced.

No arrests have been reported.

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Task force presents lawmakers with new student testing

An education task force says it will present Iowa lawmakers with recommendations for implementing new state testing for students.

The Assessment Task Force said Tuesday it was endorsing the Smarter Balanced assessments for public and accredited nonpublic schools starting with the 2016-17 school year.

The assessments were developed by a consortium of states. The task force says it will be aimed at monitoring student progress in mathematics and reading.

The recommendations come amid heightened interest in Iowa's system for student testing. Gov. Terry Branstad recently removed the state from an organization developing an assessment system for the Common Core education standards.

The task force is made up of more than 20 education leaders. It will present a final report in January to the Legislature and education leaders.

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Iowa elementary school fire causes class, voting issues

A fire at an eastern Iowa elementary school has prompted evacuation of the building and relocation of a polling place on election day.

Jones County Sheriff Greg Graver says the small fire was reported Tuesday afternoon at Olin Elementary School. It was quickly contained and no injuries were reported.

At the time of the fire, the school's library was serving as a polling place on election day. The Jones County Auditor's office says voters were moved a short time later to the local American Legion Post in the community of about 700 people.

Students were evacuated and released to their parents. The school will be closed Wednesday for smoke cleanup.

Graver says the fire was caused by a boxed fan in an old locker room. It remains under investigation.

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Des Moines private school planning massive expansion

A Des Moines private school plans to spend up to $4.5 million on a gymnasium and new classroom wing.

The private, secular Bergman Academy outlined its plans Tuesday to the city's Urban Design Review Board. The board gave its preliminary approval but questioned plans to remove 10 to 15 trees.

The expansion will cost $3.5 million to $4.5 million and include a 12,000 square-foot wing with eight classrooms and a 6,000 square-foot gym and auditorium.

The proposal is subject to city review because the school leases its property from the city. It's located in the former Science Center of Iowa building in Greenwood Park.

School marketing director Michaela Tamisiea says the school has raised about $650,000 and is seeking a grant from Prairie Meadows.

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Marshalltown won't be receiving cancer center

A state council has denied the approval of a certificate sought by a new Marshalltown hospital to operate a cancer treatment center.

The State Health Facilities Council voted 3-1 to deny the certificate for the Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center. The hospital's CEO, John Hughes, says it's disappointing that the panel rejected them but respects their process.

Leaders with the hospital say one of the main reasons they wanted to open the center was to decrease the travel burden on cancer patients and offer treatment locally.

Council chairman Bill Thatcher says Marshalltown hospital's center would have been too close to Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, which already offers high-quality services.

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Waterloo man charged with murder in shooting death

Waterloo police have charged a man with first-degree murder in the death of a man whose body was found in September in a rural area of Black Hawk County.

Police arrested 43-year-old Anthony Albert Tronca in connection with the shooting death of 44-year-old Ronald Dean Randall, of Waterloo.

Randall was reported missing Sept. 9, and his body was found three days later in a rural area south of Washburn. An autopsy showed he died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Investigators believe Randall was shot in Waterloo and that his body was taken to the rural spot.

Tronca was arrested at the Black Hawk County Jail, where he has been held since Sept. 16 on unrelated gun and drug charges.

Online records didn't list his attorney.

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Man pleads guilty after breaking arm in attempted vent escape

A man who broke his arm while climbing out of a vent at the Webster County Jail has pleaded guilty to escaping.

32-year-old George Johnson entered the plea Monday on charges of escape from custody and second-degree criminal mischief.

Johnson and another man escaped the jail in Fort Dodge in August while doing laundry. They used sheets they tied together as a makeshift rope to escape through a vent. Johnson fell three stories and was taken to an area hospital.

The other man was captured a few days later and has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for the escape.

Johnson faces up to 15 years in prison on each charge when he is sentenced later this month.

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Three-vehicle accident results in Boone County death

The Iowa State Patrol says one person has died in a three-vehicle highway crash.

Thirty-seven-year-old Matthew Graham was pronounced dead at the scene Monday on Highway 17 in Boone County. Troopers say the Webster City man was slowing to make a left turn when a 32-year-old woman hit him from behind. The impact sent Graham's car into oncoming traffic, where a 70-year-old man hit him.

The other drivers were taken to an area hospital. Their conditions are unclear.

Troopers are investigating the crash.

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FINAL NUMBERS IN MARSHALL COUNTY KEY ELECTION RACES:

State Represntative 71st District: Winner--- (D) Mark Smith (54.73%)
Runner-Up--- (R) Jane Jech (45.18%)

State Represntative 72nd District: Winner--- (R) Dean Fisher (62.28%)
Runner-Up--- (D) Ben Westphal (37.59%)


Marshall County Board of Supervisors: Winner--- (R) Dave Thompson (36.11%)
Winner--- (R) Bill Patten (34.11%)
Runner-Up--- (D) Sue Blaisdell (29.33%)
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Election day finally here, polls open till late evening

Polls have opened in Iowa for an election in which voters will choose a new U.S. senator and decide races for governor, the U.S. House and legislative positions.

Polls opened Tuesday at 7 a.m. and voting will continue until 9 p.m.

More than 400,000 Iowans got an early start on voting by submitting absentee ballots.

The election comes after months of campaigning and thousands of television advertisements, many focused on the Senate contest between Democrat Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst.

Voters also will decide whether Republican Gov. Terry Branstad wins a sixth term, making him the nation's longest serving governor. He's running against Democrat Jack Hatch.

Several of Iowa's U.S. Houses also are competitive.

And the election will decide which party controls the Iowa House and Senate.

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People : Bruce BraleyJack HatchJoni ErnstTerry Branstad




 

Central Iowa community to receive jobs with coming fish farm

A company is planning to build a large indoor fish farming operation in Webster City that will employ 150 people.

VeroBlue Farms is preparing to purchase two buildings in the central Iowa city, including the former Beam Building more commonly known as the Kenco Building.

The company's president, Keith Driver, says the 270,000-square-foot building will have about 215 fish tanks that can each store about 10,000 gallons of water. Driver says about 20,000 pounds of fish each year can be raised in each tank.

The fishing farm will raise Barramundi, which Driver says is meaty and popular in Australia.

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Locations : Central IowaIowaWebster City
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Story City council votes against I-35 ramp truck stop

The City Council has voted against a truck stop at the Story City ramp off Interstate 35.

People jammed the council meeting Monday night and shared their concerns before the vote.

Opponents said the truck stop would mean an increase in pollution and crime, including sex trafficking. Supporters said the truck stop would spur economic growth and bring about 50 new jobs to town.

Mayor Mike Jensen says he had favored building the truck stop because his city needs the development, but he now thinks that "with all the oppositions and the emotions in this, the council made the right decision."

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Iowa man given five years in prison after getting shot in chase

An Iowa man who was shot by a state trooper following a high-speed car chase has been sentenced to five years in prison.

29-year-old Michael Lee was sentenced after pleading guilty to charges including felony eluding and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Lee says he was high on synthetic marijuana when he led officers on the 2013 chase in Council Bluffs that reached speeds of 100 mph. He says he doesn't remember what happened before waking up in the hospital.

Authorities say Lee tried to run over a trooper who had crashed his car. The trooper fired multiple shots into Lee's vehicle and hit him at least once. The chase ended when another trooper rammed and flipped Lee's vehicle.

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Charges files against inmate who raped woman at gunpoint

Davenport police have issued additional charges against an inmate who they say raped a woman at gunpoint and forced her to withdraw cash from an ATM.

19-year-old Gary Marshall was being held in the Scott County Jail Tuesday on a $1 million bond. He was originally arrested in September on burglary charges and was charged last week with felonies including first-degree kidnapping and second-degree sexual abuse.

Police say Marshall broke into the victim's apartment in September and sexually assaulted her at gunpoint. They say he forced her to drive to an ATM and remove money from her account before taking her back to the apartment and assaulting her again.

Online jail records didn't indicate an attorney for Marshall.

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Jasper County man killed in escape attempt identified

The Iowa State Patrol has identified a man who was fatally struck by a vehicle after troopers say he fled from a patrol car into traffic while handcuffed.

Authorities say 36-year-old Matthew Lentzkow of Newton died Saturday on Interstate 80 in Jasper County. A trooper pulled him over on suspicion of operating while intoxicated.

The trooper was taking an inventory of Lentzkow's vehicle when Lentzkow escaped from the patrol car. The trooper says Lentzkow was able to get out of his seat belt and the car while his hands were bound behind his back.

A vehicle hit Lentzkow on the highway and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The trooper has been placed on paid administrative leave while state investigators review the case.

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Ernst considers 'good looking' remark from Harkin inappropriate

Retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin is apologizing for calling Republican Joni Ernst attractive, but "wrong for the state of Iowa."

Harkin, who is supporting Democrat Bruce Braley to succeed him, made the remarks at a recent Democratic dinner. Video of the speech was posted on the Buzzfeed website Sunday.

In the video, Harkin says it doesn't matter if Ernst is "as good looking as Taylor Swift or as nice as Mr. Rogers," if she's going to be a conservative vote in the Senate.

Ernst decried the remark as sexist, saying he would not have made the same comments about a male candidate.

In a statement released Monday, Harkin said he "shouldn't have said those things," and that he regrets "any time someone feels offended by what I have said."

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People : Bruce BraleyJoni ErnstTaylor SwiftTom Harkin




 

Young teen girl lights school bathroom on fire, faces charges

A 14-year-old girl faces a first-degree arson charge in connection to a small fire at a middle school in northeast Iowa.

Evansdale Fire Chief Kent Smock said Monday that the girl was taken into custody. The case has been sent to the juvenile court system.

The small fire was reported on Oct. 22 inside a bathroom at Bunger Middle School in Evansdale. No injuries were reported.

The fire caused school officials to dismiss students and staff.

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Half century prison sentence held up for Iowa man

An Iowa judge has upheld a 50-year prison sentence for a man convicted of robbery and attempted murder.

District Court Judge Thomas Bitter issued the sentence Monday against 76-year-old Eddie Chest. It is identical to one handed down by another district court judge.

Chest was sentenced in 2011 to two consecutive 25-year prison terms for first-degree robbery and attempted murder in the 2009 shooting of Dubuque police Lt. Scott Baxter.

Chest appealed and the Iowa Court of Appeals later ordered another judge to issue a new sentence. The appeals court said statements by the assistant Dubuque County attorney during sentencing improperly presented Chest's plea deal.

Bitter on Monday said his sentence was based on Chest's criminal history and the seriousness of the crime.

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People : Eddie ChestScott BaxterThomas Bitter




 

East Marshall schools weighing location changes

East Marshall Schools will be holding a public forum to discuss possible changes in school locations. According to District Officials, East Marshall wants the public's input on the possibility of three different relocation options.
The first option involves relocating all schools to the city of LeGrand, where the high school currently sits. The second option is to make Gilman home to pre-k through 5th grade and make LeGrand the site for 6th-12th graders. The third and final option is to keep the three campuses, which reside in 3 cities (Gilman, Laurel, and LeGrand) where they are.
The public is warmly encouraged to take part in this public forum. It will take place inside the middle school gym in Gilman tonight at 6:30pm.
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Jasper County man killed while trying to run from cops

A man who'd been pulled over on Interstate 80 in central Iowa has been fatally struck by a passing vehicle.

Authorities say the man was struck a little after 5 a.m. Saturday near mile marker 161 in Jasper County. An Iowa state trooper had taken the man into custody on suspicion of operating while intoxicated. A patrol report says the trooper was inventorying the man's vehicle when the man tried to flee by running across the interstate. A vehicle soon hit him.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene. His name hasn't been released.

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Fire burns five acres of Fort Dodge city park

Firefighters have extinguished a blaze that burned through nearly 5 acres of a city park in Fort Dodge.

The two-alarm fire broke out on Sunday at Oleson Park. Fort Dodge Fire Chief Kent Hulett says it took a little more than two hours for 13 firefighters to put out the flames.

No structures were burned and no injuries were reported.

Hulett says city workers still need to cut down some trees.

It's unclear what started the fire.

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Child tumbles into grain wagon, critcally injured

The Benton County Sheriff's Office says a 12-year-old girl has been critically injured after falling into a grain wagon.

Deputies say the girl and a 9-year-old child were playing on the wagon on Sunday afternoon as the girl's father was unloading it. They say she was nearly suffocated in 600 bushels of corn.

First responders were able to remove her from the wagon and no other injuries were reported.

The girl was taken to a Cedar Rapids hospital.

It's unclear how she fell into the wagon. Authorities are investigating.

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Iowa restaurant offering rewards to no-cell customers

A northwest Iowa restaurant is offering its customers an incentive to put away their cell phones and talk to each other.

Sneaky's Chicken promises a 10 percent discount to customers who give up their cell phones while eating dinner at the restaurant on Wednesdays.

Owner Dave Ferris and his daughter, general manager Christy Wright, came up with the idea after they noticed a decline in conversation among customers who seemed preoccupied with their cell phones.

Wright says nearly all their customers participate in the promotion by putting their phones in a box their server brings to the table.

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Fish kill investigation begins after hog manure spill

Iowa authorities are investigating a fish kill that was caused by manure from a hog confinement farm spilling into the Little Cedar River near Stacyville.

The state Department of Natural Resources says about 5,000 gallons of manure flowed into the creek after a hose broke. The spill was reported around 11 p.m. Friday.

The hose was being used to apply manure from Pronet Farms to a field.

Authorities say beaver dams on the river helped slow the flow of the manure. More than 100,000 gallons had been pumped out of the stream by Saturday afternoon to contain the manure.

Dead fish were found along a half mile of the river. Biologists will follow up and assess the damage to the fish population.

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Stun gun used, arrest made on owner of blazing home

Authorities say an Evansdale man was hit with a stun gun and arrested following a fire at his home.

Authorities say the 33-year-old owner was agitated and couldn't be calmed at the scene, and police eventually used a stun gun to subdue him.

Fire Chief Kent Smock says the man was arrested on suspicion of interfering with official acts and a pair of probation violation warrants.

The American Red Cross was called in to help an adult and at least three children. No injuries were reported in the blaze.

Investigators are still looking into the cause of the fire.

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Iowa teen given fifty years in prison after vicious carjacking

A Des Moines teenager involved in a violent carjacking has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for his role.

17-year-old Lashaun Murray was sentenced to two 25-year prison sentences, to be served one after the other.

Prosecutors say Murray and two other teens accosted several drivers in Des Moines in February 2013 in an attempt to steal a car. The last victim, Michael Wasike, was severely beaten and suffered permanent brain damage.

In June, 17-year-old Terrance Cheeks was sentenced to 50 years and 18-year-old Kenneth Barry was sentenced to 20 years in prison for their roles.

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People : Kenneth BarryLashaun MurrayMichael WasikeTerrance Cheeks




 

Young girl's death under investigation after drug discovery

Des Moines police are investigating the death of a 5-year-old girl.

The girl was found dead Oct. 7 inside a downtown apartment littered with illegal drugs.

Des Moines Police spokesman Sgt. Jason Halifax says the girl showed no signs of trauma and had no known pre-existing conditions that would lead to her death.

A police report shows $1,500 in marijuana, cocaine, morphine and ecstasy tablets were found inside the apartment. Police said they also found counterfeit cash and measuring containers with cocaine residue.

Police are waiting for the toxicology reports to determine the girl's cause of death.

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Fort Dodge shooter gets life behind bars

A Fort Dodge man convicted in August of first-degree murder for the 2011 shooting of a man at a party has been sentenced to life in prison.

28-year-old Derrick McElroy said at his sentencing hearing Friday he's sorry for what happened but did not take responsibility. He indicated he'll appeal his conviction and seek a new trial.

McElroy was convicted of first-degree murder on Aug. 19 for shooting Brandyn Preston in May 2011. Preston died eight months later from injuries he sustained in the shooting.

Preston's stepmother, Valerie Newsome, made a statement on behalf of the entire family about how the murder has changed their lives.

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People : Derrick McElroyValerie Newsome




 

Iowa water park shooter owns up to arson, assault, weapon charges

A Florida man has pleaded guilty to arson, intimidation with a dangerous weapon and assault while participating in a felony in connection with August incidents in which two people were shot at the FunCity water park in Burlington.

26-year-old Donald Devon Watkins, of Miami, admitted to shooting the two people, firing shots at an apartment complex and setting fire to his car.

The people who were shot recovered.

Watkins is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 29. He could get up to 40 years in prison.

Another man, also from Miami, awaits trial on charges including arson and intimidation with a dangerous weapon.

Authorities say Watkins and the other man moved to Burlington to work on a fertilizer plant under construction near Wever.

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Bedbug issues in Des Moines lead to major lawsuit

A class-action lawsuit has been filed accusing the city of Des Moines of not properly handling an extended bedbug infestation at a housing complex.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday. It claims the city's public housing agency put Royal View Manor residents in bad living conditions by not eradicating the bugs or warning residents about them. The suit says the pests were found in 2007 and were reported several times to the Des Moines Municipal Housing Agency.

City Attorney Jeff Lester declined to comment on the case Friday because he hasn't received the lawsuit yet.

The suit involves 55 current and former residents. The apartment complex has 200 units for low-income elderly and disabled people.

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Senate candidate Ernst's bus hits wildlife

Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst had to send her campaign bus for repairs this week after it hit a deer in southeast Iowa.

At a campaign stop Friday in West Des Moines, Ernst said the bus hit the deer Wednesday night as they were driving into Bloomfield. Sen. John McCain was on the bus as well as Ernst.

No one riding on the bus was hurt, but the vehicle was damaged. Ernst said she hopes to get it back on the road soon.

Ernst said she immediately knew what had happened, noting she had "hit a deer before."

Ernst has been touring the state in the bus as she competes with Democrat Bruce Braley for Iowa's open Senate seat.

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People : Bruce BraleyJohn McCainJoni Ernst




 

Man responsible for death of two adults, one toddler sentenced

A Texas driver who killed two adults and a toddler in an Iowa crash has been sentenced to 75 years in prison.

A judge delivered the sentence to 40-year-old Raul Salazar. Salazar pleaded guilty in September to three counts of vehicular homicide in exchange for prosecutors dropping charges of preventing apprehension and drunken driving. The judge sentenced him to 25 years for each homicide charge.

Authorities say Salazar didn't stop at a stop sign in Benton County in August 2013 and hit a car carrying the three victims with his truck. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

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Van plunges into construction vehicle, cause one death

Iowa troopers say one person has died and another has been injured after a van crashed into a construction vehicle on a highway.

The Iowa State Patrol reports Tom Frerichs of Charles City died after the van he was a passenger in struck the back of a road maintainer near Nora Springs.

A trooper says the maintainer was grading the shoulder of the highway when it was hit. The 69-year-old van driver was flown to a Mason City hospital. The construction worker wasn't seriously injured.

It's unclear what caused the crash.

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Locations : Charles CityIowa
People : Nora SpringsTom Frerichs