Obama Nominates US Magistrate to Iowa Federal Bench

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — President Barack Obama has nominated a U.S. magistrate to fill an opening on the federal bench in Iowa. Obama announced Tuesday he had nominated U.S. Magistrate Leonard Strand, of Sioux City, to replace U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett for the Northern District of Iowa. Strand was recommended by U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley will consider the nomination of Strand before it goes before the full Senate for its approval. Strand graduated from the University of Iowa law school in 1990 and had a private practice before becoming a magistrate judge in 2012. Continue Reading

Armed Veteran Standing Guard at Des Moines Military Recruitment Center

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An armed Army veteran says he’s doing what he can to protect a military recruiting center in Des Moines. KCCI-TV reports veteran Kim Paulsen was spending time Tuesday pacing in front of a recruiting office, located in a strip mall in east Des Moines. Paulsen was dressed in military fatigues and carried a rifle as he walked on a sidewalk between parked cars and the recruiting center. He says, “I feel I need to be here, doing this,” because of the shooting deaths last week of four Marines and one Navy sailor at a recruiting office in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Paulsen says he hopes his presence will prevent a similar attack on the Des Moines office, where military personnel are not armed. Continue Reading

Sex Offender Fails to Return to Sioux City Work-Release

Officials say a sex offender has failed to return to a work-release program in Sioux City. Iowa Department of Corrections spokesman Fred Scaletta said 25-year-old Michael William Euchner II did not return to the Sioux City Residential Treatment Facility on Tuesday. Euchner began serving a 10-year sentence in 2009 after being convicted of third-degree sex abuse. On June 14 he was sentenced as a lifetime sex offender with special supervision. Authorities say Euchner is 6 feet, 3 inches tall, weighs 250 pounds and has brown hair and a tattoo on his left hand. Continue Reading

Ag Secretary Won’t Declare Bird Flu Outbreak Over

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says he’s not ready to declare the Midwest bird flu outbreak over. While no new cases of the H5N2 virus have been detected over for over a month, Vilsack told The Associated Press on Monday that the threat hasn’t passed. Vilsack said poultry producers have caught a break thanks to the summer weather because warmer temperatures tend to kill the virus. But he also said his agency is aware of the need to be prepared in case the disease reappears this fall. He noted that USDA officials and poultry industry groups plan to meet in Iowa next week to discuss those plans. Continue Reading

Democratic Leaders Call for New Session on School Funding

Democratic leaders say are calling for a special legislative session to “support local schools.” Senate President Pam Jochum, a Democrat from Dubuque, criticized the Republican governor during a speech this weekend at an Iowa Democratic Party fundraiser. “We worked overtime this session to make sure Iowa’s children have a quality education,” Jochum said. “…That, my friends, was vetoed by Governor Branstad, the man who claims to be the education governor. The emperor has no clothes.” Continue Reading

Branstad Wants Security Overview Following Chattanooga Shooting

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad is asking the Iowa National Guard to review security at its facilities in Iowa, in the wake of last week’s shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Branstad on Monday asked Iowa National Guard Maj. Gen Timothy Orr to assess the protection for those working at the Guard’s military facilities and recruitment sites. The Republican governor also plans to ask the federal government to review the protections at all military facilities. He’ll make that request during a meeting this week in Washington for a group of governors who advise federal officials on security matters. Continue Reading

Questions Remain for Poultry Farmers Following Bird Flu

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The poultry farmers who lost millions of chickens and turkeys to the bird flu this spring are facing an uncertain future. The Des Moines Register reports the farmers aren’t sure when federal officials will allow them to start rebuilding their flocks or whether enough birds will be available. Dave Rettig is president of Rembrandt Foods in Spirit Lake, Iowa, which lost 8 million egg-laying hens. Rettig says the disease decimated the egg industry and who knows if it will return in the fall when birds migrate again. Rettig says it will take at least a year or two for the industry to rebuild flocks, and he’s not sure when his business will be allowed to resume. Continue Reading

Ex-Lotto Worker Convicted of Rigging 2010 Lotto Game

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former lottery security official has been found guilty of fraud for rigging a Hot Lotto game so he could win a $14 million jackpot. An Iowa jury on Monday convicted 52-year-old Eddie Tipton, of Norwalk. He faces up to five years in prison on each of the two counts when sentenced in September. Tipton’s lawyer says he’ll appeal. Tipton denied being involved, saying he wasn’t even in Iowa on Dec. Continue Reading

Two Hit by Drunk Driver on RAGBRAI

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — RAGBRAI has officially kicked off, but there was already an accident on the events first day. Authorities say two people participating in an annual bike ride across Iowa were struck and injured by an intoxicated driver. According to police, Bruce and Barbara Blair of Hudson, Wisconsin, were riding a tandem bike early Sunday morning as part of The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa — or RAGBRAI— when they were struck by 36-year-old Charryse Chavez of Sioux City. Police say Chavez ignored an officer controlling traffic at an intersection and drove through. Sioux City Police Sgt. Continue Reading