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

Iowa Public Information Board to Hold Hearing on Steele Shooting

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Public Information Board is expected to determine whether an investigation into the fatal police shooting of a Burlington woman should be made public. The Hawk Eye reports that the board will meet on Thursday in response to complaints filed by the newspaper as well as an attorney for the family of Autumn Steele. The newspaper, KBUR, and Steele’s family filed separate public records requests related to the shooting of 34-year-old Steele by Burlington police officer Jesse Hill, but the requests were denied with the exception of the release of a 12 second body-cam video depicting the shooting. Authorities say Hill accidentally shot Steele in the chest and arm after he was attacked by the family dog while trying to break up a fight between the couple. Steele had just been released from jail for assaulting her husband. Continue Reading

Rain Swamps Area, Kills One

Rain was not kind to the Lee County Fair over the weekend. Heavy Rain on Saturday and Sunday forced the cancellation of the Demolition Derby as well as the Tractor Pulls–which had already been rescheduled earlier. But, organizers are going to give it another shot: The Demolition Derby has been rescheduled for next Saturday. Heavy rain over the weekend caused major headaches across the region. Cars were stuck on Roosevelt Street, roads were closed throughout Des Moines County. Continue Reading