Court: Iowa Casino Doesn’t Have to Pay $41M Jackpot Error

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Illinois grandmother’s incredible luck has run out. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday that a Waterloo casino does not have to pay Pauline McKee the $41 million she thought she won in 2011 while playing a penny slot machine. The court says the game’s rules capped jackpots at $10,000 and didn’t allow bonuses. The court says the message that appeared indicating McKee won a $41.8 million legacy bonus “was a gratuitous promise” that the casino wasn’t obligated to pay. The Antioch, Illinois grandmother of 13 hit the bonus while gambling on a Miss Kitty slot machine at the Isle Casino Hotel during a family reunion. Continue Reading

Iowa Law Tries to Ensure Adult Children Can See Sick Parents

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A year after the children of radio personality Casey Kasem had to seek court action to see their ailing father, a new Iowa law aims to ensure that adult children can see their sick parents — granting them visitation rights unless the person’s guardian goes to court to stop them. Gov. Terry Branstad signed the bill Friday. The law gives an adult with a legal guardian — someone who cannot manage their own affairs — the right to receive visits from family members and others they have previously expressed interest in seeing. Sen. Rob Hogg said he started working on the issue after hearing from a constituent having difficulty visiting her brother. The legislation was backed by Kasem’s daughter, Kerri Kasem, who appeared on Iowa radio to advocate for it. Continue Reading

Another Iowa Turkey Farm Succumbs to Bird Flu

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Agriculture says a turkey farm in Sac County has become the third farm in Iowa to have confirmed cases of bird flu. The farm’s 34,000 turkeys will be killed to contain the virus. The farm is within a six-mile monitoring zone of the first turkey farm identified in Iowa to have the H5N2 virus. Sac County is the adjacent county south of Buena Vista County where a farm with 27,000 turkeys was confirmed to have the virus on April 13. An egg-laying facility with 3.8 million chickens in Osceola County northwest of the turkey farms also has the virus. Continue Reading

Iowa House Passes Broadband Internet Bill

The Iowa House has passed a bill that would set up a state-run grant program to expand broadband access in Iowa, although no state money is committed and the program will only get going if the state gets federal tax dollars for it. The bill WOULD set up a new, 10-year-long property tax exemption for companies that extend high-speed broadband service in “unserved or underserved areas” of the state. Representative Peter Cownie, a Republican from West Des Moines, has been trying for the past couple of years to craft some sort of state effort to expand broadband. “I think this bill is a first step and a good step in the right direction,” Cownie says. “…The internet is a way of life for Iowans and for Iowa to reach its full potential, we need better connectivity to it.” Continue Reading

House Passes Transportation Budget

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa House has passed a $365.2 million transportation bill, one of several budget bills requiring floor votes before the end of the legislative session. The Republican-controlled House voted 93-2 Tuesday in support of the budget, which would cover the fiscal years ending in 2016 and 2017. It now heads to the Democratic-led Senate. The bill’s funding will go to the Iowa Department of Transportation, which oversees expenses for the state’s motor vehicle division and its highway division, among other things. Money for the department will come from two road funds that do not collect from the state’s general fund. Continue Reading