Former Maquoketa Chief: 40-Year-Old Murder Likely Never to be Solved

MAQUOKETA, Iowa (AP) — A former police investigator in eastern Iowa says officials are holding out little hope of solving the murder of an 84-year-old woman committed 40 years ago this week in Maquoketa. Hulda Fischer was found dead in her Maquoketa home on the evening of Feb. 25, 1975. A widow, Fischer had been strangled and repeatedly stabbed. Retired Maquoketa Police Chief Bob Andersen tells the Dubuque Telegraph Herald that he doesn’t think the case will ever be solved. Continue Reading

‘Performance Based’ University Funding Formula Questioned

Legislators are raising questions about the new “performance-based” formula for directing tax dollars to the three state-supported universities. The formula would shift more money to the University of Northern Iowa, where nearly 90 percent of students are Iowa residents, and the University of Iowa would get less money because its enrollment is nearly half Iowans and half out-of-staters. Representative Zach Nunn, a Republican from Bondurant, says it seems like a “shell game” to him. “I’m having a hard time appreciating where we’re giving (state tax dollars) to each of the Regents schools and then having one Regents school come back and plead that they, now, have been pillaged,” Nunn says. In the formula’s first year of implementation, the University of Iowa would get about 13 million dollars less and legislators are being asked to give the university that much extra money to fill the shortfall. Continue Reading

Insurance Cooperative to Shut Down this Weekend

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An insurance cooperative created to provide health care in Iowa and Nebraska will be formally liquidated this weekend. Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart said Thursday that a Polk County judge has agreed to approve the liquidation plan, which will be finalized on Saturday night. CoOportunity is a federally funded nonprofit established to provide health care in Iowa and Nebraska. Gerhart took the cooperative over after he determined the nonprofit’s claims would exceed its available cash. About 24,000 people still have CoOportunity plans in Iowa and Nebraska, with about 5,500 who bought coverage on the insurance exchange created as part of the Affordable Care Act. Continue Reading

Man wants Death Trial Delayed so he can Help Ailing Daughter

DECORAH, Iowa (AP) — A former Boone man charged with killing his wife in 2012 wants to delay his April trial so he can help his 5-year-old daughter recover from a bone marrow transplant. The Des Moines Register reports that 40-year-old Alexander Fazzino’s daughter, Coco, has leukemia and is scheduled to undergo the transplant on March 31. Court records say his trial is set to begin on April 13. Fazzino’s attorney filed the request for a delay on Wednesday. Court records don’t show that the judge has ruled on it yet. Continue Reading

Court Rejects Lawsuit in Dispute over Iowa Film Tax Credits

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court is upholding the state’s refusal to award tax credits claimed by the makers of a documentary tied to the “Field of Dreams” movie. The court on Friday upheld the dismissal of a breach of contract claim filed by investors who bankrolled “Ghost Player: Relive the Magic.” The dispute stems from an Iowa film tax credit program that was the nation’s most generous but abandoned in 2010 amid scandal. Documentary maker Joe Scherrman says he believed he was owed about $400,000 under a state contract signed in 2009, but the state offered $59,000 after disputing some expenses. His film tells the story of the Ghost Players, who play baseball and perform comedy at the Field of Dreams site in Dyersville and have traveled the world performing. Continue Reading

Iowa Companies Exported $15 Billion Last Year

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Commerce says Iowa companies exported a record $15.1 billion worth of merchandise last year which contributed to the nation’s record export level exceeding $2.3 trillion. In the report released Thursday the government says machinery led Iowa exports totaling about $3.6 billion in value. That was followed by food and related products and agricultural products. Canada was the leading destination for Iowa products followed by Mexico, Japan and China. More than 3,300 companies — by far most of them with fewer than 500 employees — exported goods in the most recent report. Continue Reading

Newly Licensed Lawyers Won’t Have to Take Iowa Law Course

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The state Supreme Court has decided that newly licensed lawyers won’t have to take a course on Iowa laws. The Des Moines Register reports that in an order issued Wednesday, Chief Justice Mark Cady said the requirement was too rigid. But he also said the court supported continuing legal education that focused on Iowa law and practice. The old course had been required of lawyers within a year of being admitted to the Iowa bar. It was criticized as time-consuming and unnecessary. Continue Reading

Iowa Exports Record $15 Billion Worth of Goods in 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Commerce says Iowa companies exported a record $15.1 billion worth of merchandise last year which contributed to the nation’s record export level exceeding $2.3 trillion. In the report released Thursday the government says machinery led Iowa exports totaling about $3.6 billion in value. That was followed by food and related products and agricultural products. Canada was the leading destination for Iowa products followed by Mexico, Japan and China. More than 3,300 companies — by far most of them with fewer than 500 employees — exported goods in the most recent report. Continue Reading

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Officials: Nearly 173K Iowans Possibly Hit by Data Breach

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A state insurance official says nearly 173,000 Iowans may have been affected by the recent data breach at health insurer Anthem Inc.

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart said Thursday that 172,727 policyholders in Iowa may have had their personal information compromised. The cyberattack into a database of more than 80 million people was discovered earlier this month. The health insurance provider says hackers gained access to names, birthdates, email addresses, Social Security numbers and other information of people who are currently covered or previously had coverage. Gerhart says Anthem will contact each person affected by the breach and inform them of available identity theft services and other protections. He says the Iowa Insurance Division continues to work with Anthem to monitor the situation. Continue Reading