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Branstad: Trump “Unlikely” to Wind Up Republican Nominee

Governor Terry Branstad doesn’t think it’s “likely” that Donald Trump will wind up being the Republican Party’s presidential nominee next year. “It’s way early and polls at this point in time tend to reflect name recognition,” Branstad says. “And, obviously, he’s a TV personality who has a lot of recognition, but there’s a lot of really good candidates in this race.” Trump is tops in several recent national polls and a couple of recent surveys focusing solely on Iowa Caucus-goers found Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in the lead, with Trump surging into second place. “I don’t think he’s going to be the nominee, but you know he, like any other candidate, has an opportunity to express their viewpoint,” Branstad says. Continue Reading

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Tuition Freezes at Regent Schools Could End in the Spring

The three years of tuition freezes at the three state universities could be coming to an end. Materials released by the Board of Regents propose a three percent tuition increase for the spring semester of 2016 at the University of Iowa, Northern Iowa and Iowa State University. Board president Bruce Rastetter said in June they would hold the line on tuition for the fall, but said a freeze for the spring was up in the air after the 2015 Iowa Legislature approved only a portion of the funding they were asking for. Legislators approve six-point-five million dollars in funding, while the regents had requested 21-point-seven million. The proposal says the increase would add 100 dollars to the cost of tuition for full-time undergraduate students. Continue Reading

Johnson County Plan to Raise Minimum Wage ‘Unlawful’, Says Labor Commissioner

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s labor commissioner says the Johnson County plan to raise the minimum wage to more than $10 an hour would be unlawful. Labor Commissioner Michael Mauro told the Iowa City Press-Citizen on Monday that employers always have discretion to pay more than minimum wage, but he says a county mandate would be unconstitutional because it would be inconsistent with state law. He says it would take a court challenge to prevent the county board from setting a new rate. Last week the county Board of Supervisors decided to seek a county ordinance that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2017, using three hikes of 95 cents an hour, starting on Nov. 1. Continue Reading

Police Searching for Woman Who Escaped Police Custody in Dubuque

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Police are searching for a woman who escaped police custody in Dubuque. The Telegraph Herald reports 42-year-old Jennifer L. Williams escaped custody Monday morning. According to Lt. Scott Baxter, officers responded to a residence to arrest Williams on several warrants. Baxter said the woman was handcuffed behind her back and placed in the back of a patrol vehicle. Williams managed to open the squad car’s back door and flee on foot while the arresting officer was outside the vehicle talking to another person. Continue Reading

Eastern Iowa Man Given Probation for Torturing Cat

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An eastern Iowa man accused of torturing his roommate’s cat last year has been given probation. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports 21-year-old Leo Nopoulos, of West Liberty, was sentenced Monday to two years of probation under supervision on charges of animal torture and animal abuse. He also received 30 days in jail on a separate drunken driving charge from an arrest in May. Nopoulos pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges in connection with the October 2014 torture of his roommate’s cat. A video showed the man abusing the cat named Fritz for more than three hours. Continue Reading

Second Alabama Man Facing Illegal Hunting Charges in Iowa

A second Alabama man is now facing sentencing for his role in illegal deer hunts here in Iowa. Sixty-three-year-old Kinsman Wolfe of Montgomery, Alabama was convicted of two counts of unlawful sale of wildlife and one count of conspiracy to commit the unlawful sale of wildlife. Court records show Wolfe helped Robert Wilkins of Semmes, Alabama as a guide for hunts of white-tailed dear in Lucas County. Those involved in the hunts were not from Iowa and did not have hunting licenses or deer tags. The capes and antlers of deer taken in Iowa were illegally transported to Alabama. Continue Reading

Nitrate Removal Costing Des Moines Water Works $1.5m

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The water utility serving 500,000 customers in central Iowa says it has spent more than $1.5 million since December to remove nitrate from the water to keep it within safe drinking limits. Des Moines Water Works draws some water from the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers, both of which have had nitrate levels above the 10 milligrams per liter allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in recent months. Water Works CEO Bill Stowe says he’s preparing plans that include spending up to $183 million for new nitrate removal equipment that can keep up with higher levels coming from farms.

The utility is suing three upstream counties claiming farm drainage tiles contribute to high nitrates. Farm groups campaigning against the lawsuit did not immediately reply to messages. Continue Reading

Davenport Stabbing Victim Dies

A Davenport stabbing victim has died. Davenport police say 62-year-old Claude Hanson died last Tuesday at a Davenport hospital. Police announced his death in a Friday news release. Cops say an autopsy is being scheduled to reveal the cause of death. Though an investigation is still underway, police say some arrests have been made. Continue Reading

Adventureland Banning Selfie Sticks

ALTOONA, Iowa (AP) — A popular phone gadget that’s been banned from amusement parks throughout the country has now been banned in Adventureland Park in Altoona, Iowa. Des Moines television station KCCI says selfie sticks weren’t just becoming a safety concern for people trying to use them on rides. Adventureland spokeswoman Molly Vincent says guests often complained about people using them during shows and walking with them in crowded areas. Adventureland’s ban started earlier this month after Disney parks announced their ban. Earlier this week, Six Flags theme parks also banned the long metal poles used to take smartphone pictures at more than arm’s length. Continue Reading