Breakthrough Possible in IA Health Coverage Talks

Key legislators say there could be a breakthrough in negotiations over exactly how the state may ensure more low-income working Iowans get health care coverage.  

Democrats have been pushing to use available federal dollars to expand the government’s Medicaid program to provide coverage to up to 150-thousand uninsured Iowans. Republican Governor Terry Branstad’s proposed alternative creates a whole new “Healthy Iowa Plan” the is heavily subsidized by the state and federal government and requires a monthly premium payment from the roughly 90-thousand uninsured Iowans it’s designed to cover.   State Rep. Dave Heaton(R-Mt. Pleasant) says once everyone is on “the same wavelength” negotiations may take off. Legislators have a host of issues to resolve before their 2013 session can end — and lawmakers will come back to the capitol next week to continue debate on this topic and a host of others. Continue Reading

60 injured, 5 critical after Connecticut commuter trains collide in 'major derailment'

Two commuter trains serving New York City collided in Connecticut during Friday’s evening rush hour, sending 60 people to the hospital, including five critically injured and one very critically injured, Gov. Dannel Malloy said. There were no reports of fatalities. The Metro-North Railroad, a commuter line serving the northern suburbs, referred in a news release to a “major derailment” near Fairfield, just outside Bridgeport. It said emergency workers were at the scene of the accident, which came shortly after 6 p.m.

“We’re most concerned about the injured and ultimately reopening the system,” Malloy said from the scene about three hours after the crash. He said there was no reason to believe it was anything other than an accident. Continue Reading

Alaska volcano shoots ash 15,000 feet into the air

One of Alaska’s most restless volcanoes has shot an ash cloud 15,000 feet into the air in an ongoing eruption that has drawn attention from a nearby community but isn’t expected to threaten air traffic. An air traffic controller in the region says small planes have flown around the plume from Pavlof Volcano. Ash would have to rise tens of thousands of feet to threaten larger planes. The eruption began Monday, and a photograph shows lava spraying out. Air traffic controller John Maxwell says residents in the small community of Cold Bay, about 40 miles from Pavlof, are concerned that ash could damage their power generators. Continue Reading

Feds: More time needed to indict Tsarnaev

Federal prosecutors say they’ll ask for more time to indict Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR’ tsahr-NEYE’-ehv). Prosecutors said Friday they will not indict Tsranaev within the 30-day period prescribed the Federal Speedy Trial Act. Sunday marks 30 days since Tsarnaev was arrested following the April 15 bombing. Prosecutors didn’t specify under which exception they’d seek an extension. Earlier Friday a judge denied a request from Tsarnaev’s attorneys seeking to take periodic photos of him while he recovers from wounds sustained prior to his arrest. Continue Reading

DA to retry Central Texas man in deadly '86 fire

Prosecutors plan to retry a Central Texas man whose 25-year-old conviction for setting a fire that killed his two young stepsons was set aside due to issues raised later with the science used to find him guilty. Ed Graf’s murder conviction was set aside in March by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. His case is one of several flagged by a state panel that’s examining possible problems with arson investigations in criminal cases. McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna said Friday that he intended to pursue another trial against Graf. Reyna said prosecutors would not seek the death penalty. Continue Reading

Longtime girlfriend of James "Whitey" Bulger has 8-year sentence upheld in Mass.

The longtime girlfriend of reputed gangster James “Whitey” Bulger lost her bid to reduce the eight-year prison sentence she received for helping Bulger during his 16 years as a fugitive. A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Friday that it found no basis to change the sentence that Catherine Greig received after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy to commit identity fraud. The panel included retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter. Bulger, the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, fled Boston in late 1994 and remained a fugitive until he and Greig were captured together in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011. Prosecutors say Greig helped Bulger in multiple ways while he was hiding from law enforcement. Continue Reading

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Midwest Gas Prices Spike

As the Memorial Day weekend approaches, so do higher gas prices. The reason midwest residents are seeing a spike in gas prices today can be blamed on outages and maintenance at several oil refineries. This means for shortages that will boost the price all around the region. It’s so far affected Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. Iowa drivers today are paying around $3.67 for regular gas. Continue Reading

1 sailor dead, others injured in training accident

Officials say one U.S. Navy sailor was killed and several others were hurt in a training exercise at Fort Knox in Kentucky. Fort Knox spokesman Ryan Brus said Friday morning that the accident happened Wednesday night and involved members of a Naval branch at the post in central Kentucky. Brus had no other details and referred calls to U.S. Navy Lt. David Lloyd. Lloyd did not immediately return a call to The Associated Press. Fort Knox is about 50 miles southwest of Louisville and is home to about 14,000 military personnel, including active duty members and reserves. Continue Reading

Florida man accused of staging home invasion in attack on wife

A central Florida man is in jail after deputies say he wore a disguise while slashing his wife’s face, then made up a story about a home invasion to cover up his actions. But Volusia County Sheriff’s investigators say 29-year-old Timorthy Hunter confessed after they confronted him with inconsistencies in his story. He remained in the Volusia County Jail without bond on Friday. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports deputies found Kristin Sottosanti with multiple cuts on her face after she called 911 Wednesday night. She told them a masked man had come into her house and slashed her face. Continue Reading