These guys get everywhere... Picture from Mayfly.org

“Citizen Scientists” Tapped to Help Monitor Mayflies

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials are recruiting “citizen scientists” to gather field data to help better predict when millions of the mayflies will swarm the banks of the Mississippi River. A website and smartphone apps have been developed to allow volunteers to gather and submit field observations. A fisheries biologist with the agency tells the La Crosse Tribune that the technology will allow those with little training to record standardized observations that will be uploaded to public databases available to scientists. The chief visitor services manager for the Upper Mississippi River Fish and Wildlife Refuge says the approach aims to collect data and encourage people to visit the 240,000-acre refuge. Continue Reading

Loud ‘Boom’ Heard in Lee County

Lee County Sheriff Jim Sholl says that they aren’t sure exactly what caused a loud booming noise heard in Lee County Thursday morning. At least ten calls were made in to the LeeCom dispatch center regarding the noise, but Sholl said that no source has been identified. In 2008, similar booms occurred in Lee County. Military aircraft flying at extremely high altitudes can sometimes produce sonic booms on the ground. The Federal Aviation Administration is looking into the case to determine whether or not any military aircraft were in the area yesterday morning. Continue Reading

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BPD Chief Gives Tips on Staying Safe from Police Impersonators

A report of a man impersonating a police officer in Henry County has some member of the community on edge, concerned about how to determine whether or not they’re being pulled over by a real cop. Burlington Police Chief Doug Beaird stopped by the KBUR Talkshow on Thursday to clear up concerns. He says that the police are aware of the situation and that there are plenty of things you can do to keep yourself safe during traffic stops. “We always recommend, especially if it’s at night, and even if there are flashing lights behind you, don’t give the impression that you’re eluding the police but try to get yourself into a well-lit area,” Beaird told hosts Steve Hexom and Rob Sussman. Beaird also says that police tend to follow a very typical procedure when interacting with those they pull over. Continue Reading

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Rockford, IL Man Tapped for West Burlington Fire Chief Position

West Burlington has found the man they want as fire chief. The West Burlington City Council extended a conditional offer of employment to Andrew Pieri during a Wednesday night city council meeting. Pieri currently works as the Planning and Building inspector in Rockford, Illinois. West Burlington Mayor Hans Trousil says that Pieri was picked over two in-house candidates due to his building inspection experience, as the fire chief position in West Burlington doubles as the building inspector. If he accepts the offer, Pieri will step into the shoes left by the late Mike Heim, who passed away unexpectedly in March after five years on the job. Continue Reading

US District Attorney Could Take Up Autumn Steele Case

Federal officials might be looking in to the accidental January police shooting that killed a 34 year old woman in Burlington. In a response to a letter penned by Gina Colbert, the mother of Autumn Steele, US Senator Grassley writes that he’s forwarded information about the case to the US Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, Nicholas Klinefeldt. It’s not known whether or not Klinefeldt will take up the case. Steele was shot on January 6th when Burlington Police Officer Jesse Hill was responding to a domestic dispute between Steele and her husband when the couples dog apparently attacked Hill. While attempting to shoot the dog with his firearm, Hill slipped on the snow, accidentally firing and hitting Steele in the chest. Continue Reading

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Suspect in Custody, Victim Safe As Burlington Police Defuse Hostage Situation

Burlington Police defused a hostage situation last night in the 100 block of South 7th Street, and now a 40 year old man is in custody. Burlington Police Lt. Adam Schaefer says in a news release that officers received a call at around 11:25 pm last night that an adult male was holding a juvenile hostage at knifepoint on the second floor of the residence. Officers arrived and after several minutes of communicating with Jody Michael Hummer, managed to take him into custody after persuading him to throw the knife away. Hummer is charged with False Imprisonment and Possession of a Controlled Substance. The juvenile sustained minor, non-life threatening injuries during the incident. Continue Reading

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Burlington Mayor: “Temporary” Memorials to Crime Victims Should Be Limited

Burlington Mayor Shane McCampbell says that long-standing “temporary” memorials to crime victims–while OK in the short term, are creating problems in the long term for members in the community. McCampbell spoke during a Monday city council meeting, referencing one such temporary memorial in the South Hill Neighborhood. “It’s not fair to the family who has to move all that stuff to cut the grass.” McCampbell said, “And I just don’t want to [see reminders all] through town that a crime was committed there. To be respectful, I think that, yes, if someone wants to do that, we should put a limit on it.” Continue Reading

Derek Westwater. Courtesy: Lee Co. Narcotics Taskforce

Keokuk Man Facing 185 Years in Prison on Meth Charges

A Keokuk man could be facing the rest of his natural life in prison if convicted on meth charges. The Lee County narcotics Task Force says that 30 year old Derek Alexander Westwater was arrested Tuesday in the 300 Block of Main Street after a Keokuk Police Officer was attempting to serve an arrest warrant on Westwater. Once Westwater was in custody, items related to methamphetamine production and distribution were discovered. Westwater is charged with Manufacture of Methamphetamine in Excess of Five Grams within 1000 Feet of a Public Park, two counts of Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance within 1000 Feet of a Public Park, and Reciept of a Precursor Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Westwater has two previous Meth-related convictions against him, one in 2008, the other in 2009. Continue Reading

14 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Arrested After Being Found Driving Stolen Car

Two Juveniles are in custody after a Burlington Police officer spotted them driving a car that was reported stolen on Sunday. At around 3:00 am on Tuesday, an officer discovered 14 year old Alan Thomas and 16 year old Trayvon Ashby driving a stolen 2006 Chevy Malibu. When the officer attempted to pull over the car, the juveniles stopped the car and fled on foot near Central and Valley. After a brief foot chase, both boys were taken into custody. The younger Thomas, who was driving the car, is charged with operating a motor vehicle without consent, having no valid drivers license, and interference with official acts causing injury after a Des Moines County Sheriff’s deputy received a minor injuring during the foot chase. Continue Reading