Low Conversion in Iowa for the REAL ID Program

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Many licensed drivers in Iowa have not converted their identification to a version that is designed to help reduce identity theft and fraud. The Sioux City Journal reports two years after Iowa implemented the REAL ID program, only about 250,000 of Iowa’s 2.1 million licensed drivers have switched to identification that may be needed in the future to enter some federal buildings or board a plane. Mark Lowe, the director of the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Division, says he is not surprised by the low number, and that the department needs to continue its awareness campaign to increase conversion. REAL ID was adopted in 2005, in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, to help states verify the identities of people applying for driver’s licenses and cut down on identity theft. Continue Reading

Jetliner Makes Emergency Landing in Iowa

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A San Francisco-bound jet has made an unscheduled stop in Sioux City to get help for an ailing crew member. JetBlue Airways says in a news release that Flight 415 from New York City made a priority landing at 7:25 p.m. Sunday because of a medical issue on board. Airline spokesman Morgan Johnston said Monday morning that it was his understanding that the first officer was taken to a local hospital for treatment and has already been discharged. The flight of the Airbus A-321 carrying 159 passengers and six crew members originated at John F. Kennedy Airport. Johnston says another plane and crew were sent to Sioux City to carry the passengers on to San Francisco International. Continue Reading

One Killed, Two Seriously Injured in Keokuk County Accident

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa State Patrol says it’s investigating after a 17-year-old girl was killed and two people were injured in a two-vehicle wreck over the weekend in Keokuk County. Spokesman Sgt. Nathan Ludwig of the state patrol says the Saturday accident occurred when a vehicle driving northbound ran a stop sign and collided with a westbound vehicle at an intersection. The driver of the westbound vehicle was Bethanne Cooksey of Hedrick, and she died in the crash. Two others were seriously injured in the accident and are in the hospital. Continue Reading

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75 MPH Speed Limit Hike Dies in Senate

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa drivers will stay out of the fast lane for now, after lawmakers did not advance a bill that would have boosted the speed limit on interstate highways, bringing it in line with many nearby states. The bill sought to raise the speed limit on interstate highways to 75 mph, up from the current limit of 70 mph. It died in the state Senate several days ago, amid questions about the safety ramifications. That means Iowa drivers will continue at slower speeds than those behind the wheel in many nearby states. Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota all have speed limits of 75 mph. Continue Reading

Potential GOP Presidential Candidates Talk at Ag Summit

The prospective G-O-P presidential candidates at today’s Iowa Ag Summit were pressed to express their opinions on everything from federal policies that have boosted ethanol production to expanded trade with Cuba.  

Each candidate answered a series of questions from event host Bruce Rastetter, an Iowa agribusinessman. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie criticized President Obama for failing to “execute” the Renewable Fuels Standard for 2014 and 2015. “Certainly anybody who’s a competant president would get that done in their administration. It should get done and I support it getting done.” Continue Reading

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Amber Alert Cancelled, Man Arrested

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have canceled an Amber Alert after a hearing-impaired 9-year-old eastern Iowa girl was found. Capt. Gary Kramer with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that Brianna Crane was found early Sunday and “appears to be in good health.” Authorities say someone dropped the girl off with law enforcement around 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Then Davenport Police arrested the 48-year-old man suspected of taking the girl around 9:30 Sunday morning at a home in Davenport. Kramer says authorities are investigating what happened. Continue Reading

Protestors Distrupt Iowa Ag Summit

Earlier in the morning, a small group of protesters armed with a bullhorn gathered across the street from the event hall. PETA protesters dressed as pigs mingled with activists unhappy about the influence of money in politics, but most of the protesters were Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement members.  

Rod Wilson, a farmer from Springville, Iowa, said he started protesting against cheap commodity prices in the 1960s and things have only gotten worse. “This is not about bad crop farmers. This is about crop farming being destroyed in Iowa. Continue Reading

Burned Maquoketa Man Died at Hospital, Authorities Say

MAQUOKETA, Iowa (AP) — A Maquoketa man has died after being severely burned in a fire at his auto shop. Authorities say 75-year-old James “Jim” Bealer died Sunday at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports that Maquoketa Police Chief Brad Koranda says officers responded to a caller on Feb. 26 who said a man’s clothing had caught fire. Koranda says Bealer had been using a blowtorch at his shop. Continue Reading

Man Accused of Posing as Actor Pleads Guilty to Child Porn

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A man accused of posing as an actor from the “Twilight” movies to entice girls in Iowa has pleaded guilty to federal possession of child pornography charges. U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt says 33-year-old David LaVera, of San Diego, entered his plea deal Thursday. It calls for 63 months in federal prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release. An attorney for LaVera didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment. In his plea deal, LaVera said he knowingly possessed child pornography that he had produced in Newton, Iowa, using a hidden camera. Continue Reading