Growlers, Sledding, And More Privacy at Military Funerals: New Laws Come into Effect Today

A number of new state laws go into effect today, addressing issues as diverse as sledding on city property and selling beer by the “growler.” Governor Branstad has yet to take action on about a dozen budget bills passed by the 2015 legislature, but the governor has approved a host of policy-related bills over the past several months. One offers new liability protections to cities that allow sledding on city-owned property like golf courses and parks. Another new state law doubles the size of the privacy zone around military funerals, to keep protesters farther away. Bars and convenience stores will now be able to sell customers with a vessel called a “growler” up to 72 ounces of carry-out beer. Continue Reading

Public Tip Leads to Iowa Fugitive Arrest in Mexico

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A tip from the public on the potential whereabouts of a longtime Iowa fugitive has led to his arrest in Mexico. The U.S. Marshals Service says authorities in Mexico arrested Mitchell Meyer on Monday. Authorities say Meyer was facing two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in 1999 when he was scheduled to appear for trial in Sioux City. He was released on bond but never appeared. A deputy marshal revisited the case in 2014 and offered information to local media. Continue Reading

Daniel and Natasha McCarty. Courtesy: Des Moines County Jail

Sperry Duo Arrested Following Unsuccessful Car Theft Attempt

Two Sperry residents were arrested Monday after unsuccessfully attempting to steal a vehicle in rural Des Moines County. At 4:40 Monday morning, Des Moines County Sheriff’s Department Officials say that 41 year old Daniel McCarty and 28 year old Natasha McCarty entered a black Toyota Camry that was parked on the side of the road in the 13000 block of Irish Ridge Road. The duo allegedly did extensive damage to the interior of the vehicle after apparently attempting to ‘hot-wire’ the vehicle, or, start it without a key. This attempt was not successful. The duo then used another vehicle to push the Camry for several miles before being discovered by the owner of the Camry. Continue Reading


BPD Chief: Police Will Take ‘Zero Tolerance’ Approach Towards Fireworks

Burlington Police are going to be out in force this Fourth of July, and they’re taking a zero tolerance policy towards fireworks. Burlington Police Chief Doug Beaird says that fireworks are not legal to set off in Iowa without a specific permit. “If you are caught discharging fireworks, you are going to get a ticket with a minimum fine of $250.” Beaird told the council, “We will have a zero-tolerance approach from this day forward.” In previous years, lack of resources prevented police from enforcing fireworks restrictions to the degree they wanted to. Continue Reading

Board of Regents Fires Spokeswoman

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The board that governs Iowa’s public universities has let go a 29-year employee who had been its spokeswoman for years. The Iowa Board of Regents confirmed Monday that communications director Sheila Doyle Koppin’s job has been eliminated. Her last day was Friday. The change comes after the board acknowledged last week it will also soon be cutting ties with Tom Evans, its longtime general counsel. Earlier this year, the board created a new senior communications director position. Continue Reading

Burlington City Manager will Likely Get a Raise

Burlington City Manager Jim Ferneau will likely be getting a tidy raise following a closed session meeting in which his performance was evaluated. The raise does not come as a surprise to many. Burlington Mayor Shane McCampbell told the council that Ferneau is, as it stands, being paid far less than other city managers in cities of similar size. “It’s a travesty.” McCampbell said, “I see this happen all the time: you have a good employee, and they’re really worth their weight in gold, and we aren’t giving them what they’re worth. Continue Reading

Former Iowa Student from China Arrested in China for Iowa Murder

AMES, Iowa (AP) — A former University of Iowa student from China has been charged in China with killing an Iowa State student whose body was found in her car trunk in Iowa City last fall. An Iowa City police news release issued Monday night says 23-year-old Xiangnan Li was arrested on June 19 in Wenzhou, China, to face a charge of intentional homicide. Li had returned to China following the slaying of 20-year-old Tong Shao (Tawng Shh-Ow), whose body was found Sept. 26. Authorities say she’d been asphyxiated. Continue Reading

Governor Extends Bird Flu Emergency

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has extended a state of disaster emergency through July 31 in response to the bird flu outbreak in the state. The declaration Monday was the second extension of the original disaster proclamation. It otherwise would have expired Wednesday. The virus has infected more than 31.5 million birds in Iowa, mostly egg-laying chickens, making the state the hardest hit in the nation. Branstad’s declaration activates disaster response programs, allows the use of state supplies and makes other efforts to speed response efforts. Continue Reading

Halverson's Encampment.

Burlington Officials Get Court Order Against Man Living in Tent Near Downtown

Burlington officials have successfully obtained a court order against a man who has been living in a tent on his property near downtown. Curtis Halverson has been camping on a vacant lot he owns since mid-April, building a large tent complex at the bottom of a hill on 8th Street. A judge yesterday in Des Moines County Court told Halverson he has a week to take the structure off of the property, or face a fine. Last month, city officials cited Halverson for violating a city ordinance that requires temporary structures to be removed within 30 days, and gave him until May 22 to take down the tent. Halverson says he’s been taking down his tent and camping by a river, and then returning to his property after about a week. Continue Reading