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Woman Dead Following Accident Near Donnellson

A woman is dead following a two-vehicle accident near Donnellson on Tuesday. An Iowa State Patrol Crash Report says that a woman, who’s name and age have not been released, was traveling south on US 218 when she moved to pass a semi-truck and returned to the right lane. Once in the right lane, she didn’t notice that the other semi-truck ahead of her was slowing down to turn. The woman’s vehicle slammed into the back of a semi-truck driven by 53 year old Steven Armstrong of Donnellson. The vehicle ended up underneath the semi trailer. Continue Reading

Emerald Ash Borer Moves Into Lee County

A highly destructive insect of ash trees has been confirmed in Fort Madison, bringing the number of confirmed counties in Iowa to twenty-six, making Lee County its latest victim. Emerald ash borer (EAB) is a small, metallic-green beetle that is responsible for killing tens of millions of ash trees in 25 states. Native to Asia, EAB was first discovered in the U.S. in Michigan in 2002 and Iowa in 2010. The larvae stage of this wood-boring insect burrow under the bark of ash trees, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients, ultimately causing the tree to die. EAB infested ash trees include thinning or dying branches in the top of a tree, evidence of woodpecker activity, S-shaped feeding galleries under dead or splitting bark, D-shaped exit holes, and water sprouts. Continue Reading

Justin Kester. Photo from the Iowa Department of Corrections

Prison Escapee Fought With Correctional Officers, Destroyed Property Before Escape

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa inmate repeatedly fought with correctional officers and destroyed property in the weeks before he managed to escape from a maximum-security prison. Prison records obtained by The Associated Press underscore the safety risk posed by convicted armed robber Justin Kestner, who escaped from the Iowa State Penitentiary early Sunday. Authorities say they’re fortunate Kestner was captured in Illinois without violence hours after his escape. The records show Kestner injured an officer June 12 by kicking him in the chest with both feet. And in April, Kestner destroyed many of his cell’s fixtures during an outburst in which he ended up being sprayed with chemical agents. Continue Reading

Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison Removes Inmates From Unit Where Escape Took Place

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa State Penitentiary has removed inmates from a lockdown unit where a maximum-security offender was able to escape his cell. Penitentiary spokeswoman Rebecca Bowker said Tuesday that 12 offenders in the unit known as the A-pod have been transferred elsewhere in the prison complex. Authorities are investigating how 25-year-old Justin Kestner escaped early Sunday from his cell on the unit, which features strict security measures and some of the most disruptive inmates in the state. The Iowa Department of Corrections says Kestner removed screws from an access cover to an enclosed space that has the building’s pipes. He then was able to maneuver through the space, go through a vent and onto the building’s roof. Continue Reading

Kahoka Auto Parts Store Completely Destroyed in Fire

Kahoka Police in Clark County, Missouri are investigating the cause of an early Tuesday morning fire that destroyed an auto parts store. Kahoka police chief Bill Conger tells WGEM-TV that the Missouri state fire marshall has been called in to figure out what started the fire at Ott’s Auto Supply. Conger says crews were called to Ott’s auto supply just before 2 a.m. and the building was already fully engulfed in flames. Conger says the building is still standing but it is considered a total loss. Continue Reading

A slight haze of smoke can be seen over the Mississippi in Downtown Burlington, all thanks to Canadian Wildfires.

Smoke Mostly Dissipates, Air Quality “Moderate”

The smoky, smelly air that came through Burlington yesterday as a result of Canadian Wildfires has mostly dissipated. Wildfires that have been raging in Canada and Alaska managed to affect parts of eastern Iowa yesterday. An area of high pressure that came through the area on Monday night forced the smoky air, which had been held aloft for weeks, down towards the ground, causing the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to declare the air quality for the area “Unhealthy” yesterday. Today the air quality index sits at “moderate”. Eastern Iowa had the worst air quality in the nation yesterday. Continue Reading

schoolboard

Burlington School Administrators Will Wear Body Cameras

Burlington Schools will become the first in the area where building administrators will wear body cameras during some private meetings with parents and students. In a press release from Burlington Superintendent Pat Coen, he says that the impetus for adding body cameras comes after Aldo Leopold Middle School Principal Mark Yeoman was accused of assaulting a student. Video evidence vindicated Yeoman, but the current cameras installed in the school only capture video, not audio, making it impossible to investigate allegations of verbal misconduct. Administrators will be given a script to read prior to turning on the device, informing the subjects of the intent to record the conversation and giving them the option to decline recording. Files will only be retained if they are deemed necessary. Continue Reading

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Shots Fired on Maple Street, Police Investigating

Shots were fired last night in the 300 block of Maple Street in Burlington. Burlington Police say that a vehicle was travelling in the 300 block of Maple Street when it passed by two pedestrians. One of those pedestrians shot at the vehicle as it passed. The vehicle was later found unoccupied in the South Hill Neighborhood. Police say no injuries have been reported so far and no arrests have been made. Continue Reading

Lee County Sheriff Encourages ‘Code Red’ System Enrollment

The Lee County “Code Red” Emergency Alert System came into play on Sunday when a 25 year old inmate escaped from the Iowa State Prison in Fort Madison. The system sends phone, text, or email alerts warning residents of danger in the area, but Lee County Sheriff Jim Sholl says that several residents have called the Sheriff’s departments complaining that they did not receive any alert. The “Code Red” system is an opt-in system. Sholl encourages citizens to enter their contact information into the Code Red database. A citizen can choose to receive notification via phone call, text message, email or any combination of those options. Continue Reading