Iowa House Votes for Sweeping Gun Legislation Reform–Again

The Iowa House has again overwhelmingly voted to let children of any age handle and shoot a handgun if they’re being supervised by a parent. House members put that proposal and several other gun-related matters in an amendment and tacked that amendment onto a bill that cleared the Iowa Senate last week. The Senate bill would merely legalize gun silencers that suppress the sound of a gunshot. The bill passed the House on a 73 to 25 vote. “Government has no business dictating to the parents when they should be allowed to teach their children about their constitutional rights and proper firearm safety,” said Representative Matt Windschtil of Missouri Valley. Continue Reading

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Civil War Ended 150 Years Ago Today; Observations Planned

It was 150 years ago today that Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army of Virginia to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse. That occasion will be marked today in Downtown Burlington as the bells will toll throughout the city at 4:30pm–the exact time of the surrender, which ended the American Civil War. Russ Fry, Des Moines County’s preeminent Historian, says that Burlington played a big role in the war as a training area for Union Troops. “All up and down the river, people would come and end up in Burlington for training, and then head off to war,” Fry said on the KBUR talk show on Tuesday. 1,300 soldiers from Burlington fought during the war, including nine generals, one of which, John C. Breckinridge, served as the Confederate War Secretary. Continue Reading

Possible Presidential Candidates to Speak in Mount Pleasant Thursday

Campaign Season getting into full swing tonight. Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant will be hosting prospective presidential candidates Rick Perry, the former Governor of Texas, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former Senator Rick Santorum, and former Arkansas Governor and Fox News talk show host Mike Huckabee. The program begins at 6:30 tonight. Doors open at 5:30. Admission is free. Continue Reading

Shot Fired During Warren Co. Domestic Dispute

The Warren County Sheriff’s Department says that a shot was fired during a domestic dispute in rural Alexis, Illinois. Authorities say that a fight between a husband and wife, apparently over chores, turned violent, with both parties apparently physically assaulting each other. At some point, the female victim grabbed a firearm and shot through a door. Nobody was hit. The incident occurred in the 2700 block of 90th Street, just west of Alexis. Continue Reading

Fire At Alfagomma Contained to Vacuum Unit

A fire at the Alfagomma Factory on West Avenue was contained to a large vacuum unit. Burlington Fire officials say that the unit, which removes debris from several interconnected peices of large machinery, caught fire Tuesday when a spark from a power tool would up inside the dust collector, igniting the contents. Upon firefighters arrival, white smoke was showing from the building. The fire was contained to the vaccuum unit, which suffered major damage. The building itself was undamaged. Continue Reading

Division Street Resurfacing Project Gets Green Light

Sections of Division Street in Burlington will be resurfaced this year. The Burlington City Council approved the $564,000 project during a Monday night City Council meeting. The street will be resurfaced from Leebrick to Marshall, and from Central to 6th Street. The project will utilize Hot Mix Asphalt. Work will be conducted by OMG Construction. Continue Reading

Iowa DOT Officials Announce Highway 34 Off-ramp Closures, Lane Restrictions

Intermittent lane restrictions and offramp closures on US 34 through Burlington have been announced by the Iowa Department of Transportation. Iowa DOT officials in Mount Pleasant say that road work will require the restrictions starting on April 15th–next Wednesday. Construction is expected to be completed in Mid-May. Iowa DOT reminds motorists to drive with caution and obey all work zone speed limits. Fines for moving violations are doubled in work zones. Continue Reading

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West Burlington School District Voters Reject Tax Levy, Elect Hockett to School Board

West Burlington Voters shot down a proposed tax levy during a special election yesterday. The levy, known as a Voted Physical Plant and Equipment Levy, or “PPEL”, would have increased the city’s voted PPEL from .64 cents for every $1,000 in taxable valuation to $1.34 for every $1,000 in taxable valuation. It failed, with 66% of voters voting against the levy, and only 34% voting for proposal. The tax levy was designed to help fund the district’s 1 to 1 computer initiative, which allows every student in the district access to a computer, with older students getting personal computers to take home with them. Superintendent David Schmitt says that the program will still be funded regardless of the levy, with money coming out of several other funds to cover costs. Continue Reading

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Mount Pleasant MHI Permanently Lays Off Three Dozen Workers

The senator who represents Mount Pleasant is lamenting the now permanent layoffs of workers at the two state-run Mental Health Institutes in southern Iowa. Senator Rich Taylor, a Democrat from Mount Pleasant, notes that Monday was the last day for three dozen workers at the M-H-I in his town. “What a tragic mistake I think we’re making in this state by closing these MHIs down and it’s not that I don’t think that maybe we could do something different,” Taylor says. “It’s mainly that we’re just not ready.” Some legislators have suggested the closure of the state-run institutes for patients with acute mental illness needed to be delayed until adequate alternatives were in place, but Governor Branstad on Monday made it clear he believes he had the authority as chief executive of state government to close the facilities now. Continue Reading