Authorities Arrest Waterloo Work Release Escapees

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have apprehended two inmates who had been listed as escaped from the Iowa prison work release facility in Waterloo. An Iowa Corrections Department news release says 23-year-old Darius Caston was caught around 6 p.m. Monday. He’s been serving a 20-year sentence since May 28, 2010, after convictions for willful injury and intimidation with a dangerous weapon. Caston was transferred to the work release facility on May 1. Another department news release says 20-year-old Jared Brooks was caught around 10 p.m. Monday. Continue Reading

Federal Judge Revokes Washington Redskins Trademark

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the Patent and Trademark Office to cancel registration of the Washington Redskins’ trademark, ruling that the team name may be disparaging to Native Americans. The ruling Wednesday by Judge Gerald Bruce Lee affirms an earlier finding by an administrative appeal board. In his 70-page ruling, Lee emphasized that the organization is still free to use the name if it wishes — the team would just lose some legal protections that go along with federal registration of a trademark. The team had sued to overturn a ruling against it by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. 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

Branstad Explains Education Veto

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says there was no way to ensure schools would have abided by a call to not use one-time money for ongoing expenses, leading him to veto that part of a budget bill. Branstad also told reporters Tuesday he doesn’t think Democrats will get enough Republican support to call a special session to vote again on the budget. The Legislature recently sought $135 million in a spending bill that included nearly $56 million for K-12 education. Branstad cut that in a veto, arguing he opposes one-time spending for ongoing expenses. Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, of Hiawatha, says language in the bill specified the money would go to one-time expenses, but Branstad says that wouldn’t have been enforceable. 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

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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