Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert Indicted on Bank Charges

Federal prosecutors have announced bank-related charges against former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert. A statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago says the 73-year-old Illinois Republican is accused of structuring the withdrawal of $952,000 in cash in order to evade the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000. He’s also accused of lying to the FBI. Each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. From 2010 to 2014, Hastert withdrew a total of approximately $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts and provided it to a person identified only as Individual A, according to the indictment. Continue Reading

Omaha Officer Killed in Line of Duty Honored at her Funeral

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Family members of Omaha police officer Kerrie Orozco have mourned the slain woman at her funeral. Orozco had planned to celebrate her daughter leaving the hospital three months after being born prematurely. But the officer was fatally shot last Wednesday by a fugitive who was fatally wounded by another officer. The 29-year-old Orozco lived in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and was a native of nearby Walnut, Iowa. Continue Reading

No Straw Poll for Huckabee

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says he won’t participate in the Iowa Straw Poll, where he competed and placed second eight years ago. In an opinion piece published Thursday in The Des Moines Register, Huckabee said his resources are better spent on other efforts. He argued that the straw poll is likely to draw only conservative candidates and that the competition could weaken them. Huckabee has declared his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. In 2008, he won the Iowa caucuses but did not win the nomination. Continue Reading

Waco Biker Fight Started Over Parking Dispute

Texas police say a weekend shootout involving rival motorcycle gangs that killed nine people and injured 18 apparently began with a parking dispute and someone running over a gang member’s foot. Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said Tuesday that an uninvited group appeared for the meeting of a loose confederation of biker gangs held at a Twin Peaks restaurant on Sunday. He says one man was injured when a vehicle struck his foot. This caused a dispute that continued inside the restaurant, where fighting and then shooting began, before spilling back outside. Continue Reading

Rand Paul speaks at an event in Burlington in May.

Rand Paul Visits Burlington: First Presidential Candidate of the Season

The first official presidential candidate of the 2016 Electoral Campaign visited Burlington on Saturday. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul stopped by the Comfort Inn and Suites to speak to a capacity crowd of more than 150 supporters as part of a trip across the state. Paul is a fourth-year senator and eye doctor, and hopes to ignite a younger, more Libertarian-tinged group of conservatives with a message of small government and low spending. “Some of the Liberal Pundits will say ‘You don’t believe in any Government!’, and I say, ‘I believe in $3.3 trillion worth of Government, what’s coming in,'” Paul told the crowd, “I’ll spend what comes in, I just won’t spend what’s not coming in. I don’t think we get stronger as a country when we borrow money from China to send it to Pakistan. Continue Reading

Benghazi Chairman: State Dept. Blocking Clinton Testimony

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the House committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, says he can’t set a date for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s testimony because the State Department has not produced the needed documents. Republican Trey Gowdy of South Carolina wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday complaining about the department’s delay in providing emails and other documents the committee requested. Gowdy says his panel must have a complete record before it can question Clinton, a former secretary of state and current Democratic presidential candidate. Gowdy said the committee requested the documents more than six months ago. Gowdy had initially called for Clinton to testify next week on the attacks that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya. Continue Reading

Amtrak Service to Return to Northwest Corridor Following Deadly Crash

Amtrak’s top official says limited Northeast Corridor service will be restored Monday with full service returning by Tuesday. President and CEO Joseph Boardman spoke Thursday at the site where a train traveling at more than twice the speed limit flew off the tracks, killing eight people and injuring more than 200. Boardman also said a technology that could have prevented the crash will be installed throughout the Northeast Corridor by the end of the year. The technology known as positive train control has been installed on much of the corridor but not on the sharp curve in Philadelphia where the train derailed. Congress had set the end of the year as the deadline for PTC to be installed on all train tracks. Continue Reading

Corn and Soybean Crop Expected to Be Smaller This Year

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The government says farmers are expected to grow 13.6 billion bushels of corn this year, about 4 percent less than last year’s record crop. The estimate released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture assumes an average per-acre yield of nearly 167 bushels an acre, down from last year’s record 171 bushels. Soybean farmers are expected to grow nearly 3.85 billion bushels, down 3 percent from last year’s record crop. The soybean per-acre yield is projected at 46 bushels per acre, down 1.8 bushels from last year’s record. The USDA says farmers have started well this growing season with 75 percent of the corn crop planted, ahead of the five-year average of 57 percent. Continue Reading

George Zimmerman Shot in Florida

LAKE MARY, Fla. (AP) — A shooting incident involving George Zimmerman is the latest in a series of run-ins the former neighborhood watch volunteer has had with the law, random strangers and his ex-wife since he was acquitted of murder charges two years ago in the death of Trayvon Martin. Police say Zimmerman flagged down an officer to report Monday’s shooting in Lake Mary, Florida, and that a man with whom Zimmerman was involved in a road-rage encounter earlier this year also called 911 to report it. Police spokeswoman officer Bianca Gillett says no charges were filed immediately against the man, whom she identified as Matthew Apperson. Last September, Apperson said Zimmerman threatened to kill him during a road confrontation. Continue Reading