Fugitive Coralville Lawyer May Have Gotten Help from Business Partner

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Investigators suspect a former Iowa lawyer facing fraud charges was getting help from an ex-business partner while he was on the run from the FBI. Search warrant documents unsealed Monday show investigators believe former Coralville attorney Dennis Bjorklund received financial and other assistance from Thomas Harbit, who worked as a substance abuse counselor at Bjorklund’s office. Bjorklund was captured in Colorado in April after five years as a fugitive. He’s charged with defrauding clients and evading taxes. Harbit has been living in Bjorklund’s former Coralville residence. Continue Reading

Former Lawmaker, Anti-Pipeline Activist Arrested After Refusing to Leave Governor’s Office

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former Iowa lawmaker has been arrested at the state Capitol after he refused to leave Gov. Terry Branstad’s office because he wanted to discuss eminent domain legislation. Iowa State Patrol troopers arrested Ed Fallon on Monday without incident after he waited hours to speak with Branstad in person or by phone. A Fallon spokesman says he faces a simple misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass. Fallon, a former gubernatorial candidate, says he wants Branstad’s verbal support for legislation that would expand rights for Iowa landowners whose property lies along the proposed Bakken pipeline that would transfer oil across the state. He wants the Legislature to approve a measure before adjourning. Continue Reading

Branstad Predicts Legislature Will Be In Session Until June

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad predicts the divided Iowa Legislature will negotiate the overall state budget until early June. Branstad told reporters Monday he expects lawmakers won’t adjourn until at least the first week of June. Lawmakers’ daily expense payments ended on May 1. The Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-led House are at odds over how much to spend during the fiscal year that begins July 1. Senate Democrats and Branstad have proposed an overall general fund budget of about $7.34 billion. Continue Reading

Storms Blow Through Central Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Strong storms damaged farm buildings across central Iowa, knocked down trees and toppled dozens of empty railcars. The storms caused damage in Decatur, Clarke, Dallas, Boone and Madison counties as it moved across the state early Sunday morning. The National Weather Service plans to send out teams to survey the damage on Monday. No major injuries were reported. Some of the most significant damage was reported west of Osceola where the empty coal cars were knocked over by wind. Continue Reading

$1 Million Ticket Sold in Iowa Lottery, No Winner Yet

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Someone purchased a Powerball ticket worth $1 million at a Des Moines supermarket before Saturday’s drawing. Iowa Lottery officials say the ticket purchased at Cash Saver matched five of the six numbers in the game. No one won Saturday’s jackpot of $110 million, so the prize will grow to $121 million for this Wednesday’s drawing. The ticket holder will have to contact Iowa Lottery officials to claim their prize. Continue Reading

Iowa Lawmakers Look to Slapback South Dakota Licensing Measure

One legislator says it’s time to send South Dakota a “louder message.” The state of South Dakota requires business and trade vehicles coming from Iowa to do work in South Dakota to buy a South Dakota license plate as well as its Iowa license plate. Senator Rick Bertrand of Sioux City explained the situation to his fellow Senators Thursday afternoon. “If any of our guys are spilling over into South Dakota, they are required to carry a South Dakota license plate on their van, so you’ve got the Iowa license plate and then they get the drill out and right on the back of the door,” Bertrand said, stopping at this point to try to replicate the sound of a power tool, “all four screws go in and they have to put a South Dakota license plate on the back of the van.” According to Bertrand, it’s a big issue for heating and air conditioning businesses, plumbers, electricians and locksmiths who are located in Iowa, but work on both sides of the border. Continue Reading

Two More Farms Test Positive for Bird Flu

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Two more Iowa farms have tested positive for bird flu. The Iowa Department of Agriculture says two northwest Iowa farms raising young chickens to eventually lay eggs likely have the virus. No estimate of numbers was immediately released for a farm in Sioux County, the 12th case in that county and one in Plymouth County, the first case there. Iowa has 52 bird flu cases in 14 counties. Nearly 25 million chickens and 970,000 turkeys will die. Continue Reading

Equine Herpesvirus Confirmed in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A virus known for attacking a horse’s nervous system has been confirmed at a stable in Iowa’s Warren County. The Iowa Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that the stable has several confirmed cases of a neurological disease associated with Equine Herpesvirus infections. Officials say the disease poses no threat to humans. The disease was detected at the Warren County stable when horses began to show symptoms including fever, decreased coordination, lethargy and inability to rise. A news release says the horses are being monitored and aren’t permitted to leave the stable. Continue Reading

Mice Could Be Spreading Bird Flu

A team of wildlife biologists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be trapping and testing small mammals and birds in Iowa for avian influenza over the next couple of weeks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are no confirmed cases of avian flu in mammals. But, USDA epidemiologist Dr. Brian McCluskey says small rodents could still play a role in the spread of the virus. “There’s actually evidence in the scientific literature that mice and other small rodents can actually carry the virus. Maybe not as a biological vector, but as a mechanical one, so the virus may be drug in on the animal itself,” McCluskey says. Continue Reading