State of Emergency Declared in Quincy Following Storms

QUINCY, Ill. (AP) — The mayor of Quincy says his city will remain under a state of emergency for the time being after it was struck by a strong thunderstorm. Mayor Kyle Moore said Tuesday that the main streets in Quincy are blocked with fallen trees and live wires. He says those streets should be passable by Wednesday morning and neighborhood streets later in the week. A powerful thunderstorm with winds as high as 70 mph tore through the Quincy area Monday night damaging homes and knocking out power to tens of thousands in Adams County. Continue Reading

Hastert Attorney: Misconduct Allegations Complicate Case

CHICAGO (AP) — A lawyer for former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert says media reports of alleged past misconduct have severely complicated the hush-money case. Attorney Thomas Green told a federal judge during a Tuesday status hearing that the allegations are “an 800-pound gorilla” in the room. A May indictment says Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million to someone the document identifies only as “Individual A” to hide past misconduct. The Associated Press and other media, citing anonymous sources, have reported the payments were intended to conceal claims of sexual misconduct decades ago. The allegations are not mentioned in the indictment, and Green said he doesn’t know how to wrestle with that issue. Continue Reading

Illinois Lawmakers to Duke it Out Over Budget Veto Override

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Senate returns to Springfield Tuesday facing a critical decision about whether to try to reverse Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the state budget. Democrats who have majority control of the Senate will also consider when to take a vote on a temporary, one-month budget plan the House returned last week. Lawmakers are locked in a struggle with the Republican governor over a yearlong spending plan for the state. The new fiscal year is two weeks old and there still isn’t authority to spend money for state programs.

Democrats sent Rauner a budget in June they acknowledged is $4 billion out of balance. Continue Reading

Branstad: Democrats Won’t Succeed in Convening Special Session

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Branstad says a Democratic effort to hold a special legislative session to override his budget vetoes will not succeed. Democratic leaders in the Iowa Senate announced Monday that they were formally reaching out to members to see if they will support a special session. Branstad vetoed several key budget compromises, including nearly $56 million in one-time funding for education. But Branstad said Monday that lawmakers will not be able to get the necessary support from two-thirds of members for such a session. He said Republicans would not want to come back for a fight on education funding. Continue Reading

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Fire Burns 8th Street Apartment Complex

An afternoon fire caused around $20,000 in damages to an 8th street apartment complex on Monday. Burlington Fire Officials say that the blaze began at around 1:00pm at 255 South 8th Street. Upon the fire crews arrival, they found flames coming from the front door and window. Firefighters were able to make a quick knock down of the fire and confirm that the occupants were out of the building. The 4-unit wood frame apartment building, owned by Troy Wilson, sustained an estimated $20,000 in damages to the first floor apartment occupied by Edward Perkins. Continue Reading

Gunnison to Close South of Division

The Public Works Directors Office announced effective immediately, Monday, July 13, 2015 Gunnison Street just south of the Division Street intersection will be closed to traffic. This will create a safe work zone so the City Contractor can continue storm sewer work on the 2015 MASL Sewer Separation Project. This portion of the work is expected to take one to two weeks weather permitting. Continue Reading

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AFSCME Files Suit Over Mental Health Facility Closures

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The head of Iowa’s largest public employee union and 20 lawmakers have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Terry Branstad over the closings of two mental health centers. Danny Homan, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, announced Monday that he and lawmakers filed the lawsuit in Polk County District Court. The suit names Branstad and Charles Palmer, the director of the state Department of Human Services. The lawsuit claims the closings this year of facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant were illegal because Iowa law requires the state to operate them. Branstad’s spokesman Jimmy Centers says Homan is resistant to change. Continue Reading

Iowa’s Governor’s Mansion to Undergo Renovations

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The backyard of Iowa’s historic governor’s mansion is about to get a major facelift, with a new reflecting pool and vintage style greenhouse. Jeff Boeyink, a former chief of staff to Gov. Terry Branstad who heads up a fundraising effort for Terrace Hill, says both projects will be privately funded. He says the goal is to complete them by next summer, when Des Moines will host a meeting of the National Governor’s Association,

The project will convert a 1920s swimming pool that was filled in with sand and topsoil more than ten years ago into a decorative shallow reflecting pool. These improvements come after several years of work on the historic home. A new kitchen, updated restrooms and an energy-efficient heating and cooling system are among the recent updates. Continue Reading

Man Crashes into Ottumwa Stadium Building

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) — Police say they plan to ticket a motorist who crashed into an Ottumwa stadium building. The Ottumwa Courier reports that the driver went through a chain-link fence at Schafer Stadium in Ottumwa on Saturday and struck the facility’s newest building. Ottumwa Police Sgt. Noah Aljets says the car was traveling between 35 and 40 mph just before the crash. Aljets says the building wasn’t seriously damaged. Continue Reading