Iowa Residents Plead Guilty in Virginia Sex Trafficking Case

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Two Iowa residents have pleaded guilty in a federal sex trafficking case in Virginia. Laura Sorensen and Aldair Hodza entered the pleas Friday in federal court in Richmond to sex trafficking and transporting a person across state lines for prostitution. Court records show Sorensen and Hodza held a 20-year-old woman captive on a trip in December to Virginia and forced her to have sex with men who answered online ads. Prosecutors say the defendants tortured the woman with lit cigarettes and other heated objects, pierced her feet with nails and poured bleach into her wounds. Continue Reading

Chicken Coop

Branstad Declares State of Emergency as Bird Flu Spreads

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has declared a state of emergency due to a bird flu outbreak that’s forcing farms to kill more than 17 million chickens and turkeys. Branstad’s proclamation announced Friday will remain in effect until May 31 unless it’s terminated earlier. The proclamation activates disaster response and recovery procedures for Iowa’s homeland security and emergency management programs. It authorizes use of state money, supplies and equipment to track and monitor bird flu, establish restrictions around affected farms and rapidly detect cases. It also allows more time to dispose of poultry carcasses. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says it’s important to step up the response as the disease spreads. Continue Reading

Ernst Praises Pacific Trade Deal

US Senator Joni Ernst is praising a proposed trade deal that she hopes will improve Iowa’s international export industries. Ernst was in the senate chambers while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pushed congress to approve the Trans Pacific Partnership, a controversial free-trade deal. Ernst says the deal will improve the state’s economy and criticizes those who think the deal will cost American jobs. “Our ag economy, our manufacturing base, it continues to grow in Iowa as we open up additional markets,” Ernst told KBUR, “From what we’ve seen in recent years, we’ve seen growth, instead of a loss of jobs. Now, that isn’t to say that we haven’t had other areas where jobs may have moved, but overall we’ve seen a huge boost to our economy from international trade.” Continue Reading

Lee County Narcotics Taskforce Continues Crackdown With Fifth Drug Arrest in Five Days

The Lee County Narcotics Taskforce has arrested yet another person on drug charges–the fifth in five days. 30 year old John Edward Glasgow of Hamilton, Illinois was arrested at the Hancock County, Illinois, Sheriff’s Office on a felony drug warrant out of Lee County. He’s charged with Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine and faces up to 25 years in state prison. The arrest stems from a long investigation by the Lee County Narcotics taskforce into allegations that Glasgow was involved in local drug trade. Continue Reading

Darren Miller. Courtesy: Des Moines County Jail

Burlington Man Kicks, Tries To Bite Sheriff’s Deputies Following Car Chase

A Burlington man is in the Des Moines County Jail after Sheriff Deputies responded to a call of a man acting strange and ended up having to struggle with an extremely uncooperative suspect after a car chase on Thursday evening. Deputies first responded to a report of a man harassing a resident on 192nd Street, insisting on giving the residents dog water and constantly asking for a cigarette. When deputies caught up with 38 year old Darren Miller, he allegedly took off his in car, driving into a field and on top of a levy. He moved back on the road and quickly lost control of his vehicle, ending up in a ditch. Miller left his car after the accident and began moving towards police, allegedly shouting profane threats. Continue Reading

Breaking News Logo

6 Baltimore Police Officers Charged in Death of Freddie Gray

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore’s top prosecutor announced criminal charges Friday against all six officers suspended after a man suffered a fatal spinal injury in police custody. The announcement came after nearly two weeks of growing anger over Freddie Gray’s death, and only hours after she received the results of a police investigation. State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced the stiffest charge — second-degree depraved heart murder — against the driver of the police van. Other officers faced charges of involuntary manslaughter, assault and illegal arrest. Mosby said the switchblade officers accused Gray of illegally carrying clipped inside his pants pocket was in fact a legal knife, and no justification for his arrest. Continue Reading

Orascom Plant

Following Layoffs, Ads Being Run in Texas for Iowa Fertilizer Plant Construction

A southeast Iowa legislator is questioning why ads are being run in Texas to hire workers for the construction of the Iowa Fertilizer Plant in Wever. Orascom, an Egyptian company, is getting about half a billion dollars in local, state and federal incentives for construction of the plant. Senator Tom Courtney, a Democrat from Burlington, says over half of the 25-hundred construction workers on the site were laid off recently when Orascom fired the main subcontractor on the project. “In Texas, there’s a posting up down there from a non-union company that said come to Iowa, lots of great jobs at the fertilizer plant in Iowa from now until about probably Christmas,” Courtney says. Bond holders were notified last week that a company hired to work on electrical and mechanical elements in the fertilizer plant was fired on Friday, April 17th. Continue Reading

Wright County, Home to 15 Million Chickens, Declares State of Emergency As Bird Flu Spreads

CLARION, Iowa (AP) — A north-central Iowa county with the state’s largest chicken population has declared a state of emergency as a pre-emptive strike to keep out bird flu. Wright County Supervisor Stan Watne says about 15 million chickens are housed in 20 locations across the county. Even though the closest confirmed bird flu case is about 80 miles west, the supervisors decided Thursday to take unprecedented emergency action in advance of a disaster. The emergency declaration, usually used when a tornado strikes or a river floods, allows the three supervisors to set up an incident command and create an action plan. It may include road closures to reroute trucks carrying poultry from outside the county away from local chicken barns. Continue Reading

City Council Members (From L to R) Becky Anderson, Mayor Shane McCampbell, Bob Fleming, Tim Scott, and Jim Davidson place dots next to large lists containing the city's priorities on Thursday.

New Police Station, Improved Parking Downtown Among City Priorities

The Burlington City Council prioritized the building of a new police station and improving downtown parking during a Thursday night goal setting session. Mayor Shane McCampbell and members of the council met for around four hours with Jeff Schott, director of the University of Iowa Institute of Public Affairs. The Council looked at what they’ve been doing right over the past several years and what still needs to be done to improve the city of Burlington. Laying out a large list of concerns, the council selected two “high priority” concerns to tackle and several “medium priority” concerns. High concerns were building a new police station to replace the aging and deteriorating structure downtown, and improving overall parking in the downtown area to be more conducive to business and land development. Continue Reading