Illinois State Athletic Staffers Among 7 Dead in Plane Crash

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State University says its associate head basketball coach and a deputy athletic director are among seven people who died in a plane crash in central Illinois. University President Larry Dietz confirmed Tuesday that assistant coach Torrey Ward and Aaron Leetch, the athletic department’s deputy director for external relations, were killed in the early-morning crash. Dietz made the announcement in an email to students, faculty and staff, saying “words cannot fully express the grief that is felt.” Ward and Leetch were on a small plane that crashed near Bloomington, Illinois, on the way back from the NCAA basketball tournament in Indianapolis. Continue Reading

Entire Barn Stolen in Welton

WELTON, Iowa (AP) — An investigation of a barn theft in Welton has come to a standstill, for now. The Quad-City Times reports that according to the Clinton County Sheriff’s office, there are no suspects in the case of who stole a barn from the Ruggeberg farm. Sally Ruggeberg discovered that thieves had cut 24-foot-long sections of beams, walls and floors from the 100-year-old barn on March 10. Ruggeberg believes that it was a crew that dismantled the barn, and they likely used power tools and a generator because electricity had been turned off at the property last fall. Deputy Tom Christoffersen said Friday that a surveillance camera had been set up on the property to collect evidence if the thieves returned, but they never did. Continue Reading

Branstad, Reynolds to Head Up Foreign Trade Trips

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will both lead foreign trade trips this year as they seek to grow Iowa’s exports. At a Monday news conference, they announced that Reynolds will go to Brazil later this month and Branstad will visit South Korea in September. Branstad said trips like these are vital for Iowa’s companies as they seek to trade with foreign countries. Iowa already exports goods to both countries and Branstad has been on trade missions to both locations in the past. Branstad and Reynolds will be joined by a group of business leaders on each trip. Continue Reading

Iowa Trial to Weigh Whether Wife was Able to Consent to Sex

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former Iowa lawmaker is set to stand trial on charges that he sexually assaulted his wife when she was longer capable of legally consenting to have sex. Henry Rayhons’ trial is scheduled to start on Wednesday. His wife Donna Lou Rayhons died last August, days before he was formally charged. Donna Lou Rayhons was moved into a nursing home last year, suffering from dementia. Soon after, staff told Henry Rayhons at a meeting that his wife was no longer capable of legally consenting to have sex. Continue Reading

Sen. Grassley has Concerns About Iran Agreement

Senator Chuck Grassley is voicing some doubts about the preliminary agreement that President Obama calls the “best bet, by far” to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon. However, Grassley is withholding final judgement until the deal is final. “Just like you ought to read a bill before you vote for it, I think you ought to read a document before you comment on it,” Grassley says. “I can say that I’m skeptical, not based upon just the last 18 months of negotiation, but also based upon going eve back to the Bush Administration that there were so many times the Iranian government promised to deliver certain things and certain agreements would be reached they backed off.” Grassley says he’s concerned that Iran has resisted on-the-spot inspections of their nuclear facilities. Continue Reading

Escaped Emu Evades Police in Western Iowa

CRESCENT, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say they weren’t able to capture an emu they spotted when on patrol in western Iowa. The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office says deputies saw the bird around 9:35 a.m. Thursday in Crescent. They followed the emu to a nearby rock quarry while they waited for its owner to arrive from Honey Creek, but the bird fled toward an area where authorities say they couldn’t follow it. Chief Deputy John Reynolds tells the Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil

that officials were in “hot pursuit” of the bird but were unable to get it back to its owner. Authorities believe the emu has been loose for a few days. Continue Reading

Iowa Court: Poor Defendants get Counsel in Misdemeanor Cases

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court says poor defendants have a right to legal representation in simple misdemeanor cases that carry possible jail time. State Appellate Defender Mark Smith says Friday’s ruling will affect people charged with offenses such as shoplifting and public intoxication. He says it’s particularly important for crimes in which potential punishments are enhanced for subsequent offenses. The decision will not affect the majority of simple misdemeanors, such as traffic violations, because they don’t carry jail time. The ruling dismisses a theft conviction against Archaletta Young in Polk County. Continue Reading


Iowa House Committee to Examine Civil Forfeiture Abuses

The Government Oversight Committee in the Iowa House is planning to conduct a review of the state’s civil forfeiture laws after a newspaper investigation raised what one lawmaker calls “significant concerns.” A Des Moines Register investigation found law enforcement in Iowa has used civil forfeiture laws to seize 43 MILLION dollars in the past six years — sometimes without ever arresting the person involved or charging them with a crime. Representative Mary Wolfe , a Democrat from Clinton, says the newspaper’s report has sparked posts on her Facebook page. “I wasn’t aware of just quite how grievous the situation was in some counties,” Wolfe says. “I know certainly on my Facebook that’s certainly blown up and people are appalled.” Continue Reading

Survey Shows Iowa Farmland Values have Fallen Since 2014

After many years of increases, a new survey shows the value of Iowa farmland is dropping. The report from the Iowa Realtors Land Institute compared land prices from March 1st of 2014 to March 1st of this year. Institute spokesman Kyle Hansen, of Nevada, says statewide land values fell by an average of 11-percent, though cropland values didn’t drop quite as far. “We actually saw a decrease of 7.6% across the state on all tillable acres,” Hansen says. “We’ve seen anywhere from a 30 to 40% reduction in our commodity prices, our corn and soybeans, over the last 12 to 18 months and that has now definitely influenced the land market.” Continue Reading