A former Iowa felon charged with illegally voting is expected to fight the charge Tuesday at the first jury trial stemming from a statewide crackdown on election-related crimes. Kelli Jo Griffin of Montrose is scheduled to stand trial for perjury in Lee County. Prosecutors say that she signed an affidavit falsely claiming that she was not an ineligible felon when she voted in the Nov. 5 municipal election. Prosecutors say she remained on probation for a 2008 felony drug conviction and didn’t have voting rights then. Continue Reading
The slick snow covered roads yesterday claimed the life of an Illinois man in Hancock County. According to a press release, 59-year-old Daniel Johnson of Belvidere was driving north on Illinois Route 96 , just south of Nauvoo, when he lost control on the slick roadway and slide off the right side of the street. He then struck a tree, veered back across both lanes, and drove off the left side of the road, and over an embankment. Johnson died from his injuries. The investigation also reveled that he was not wearing his seat belt. Continue Reading
A 16-million dollar restoration project at Lake Darling State Park near Brighton (southwest of Washington) is nearly complete.
Chad Dolan, a fisheries biologist in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, who manages the property, says the gate for the lake’s dam was set in mid-February. Lake Darling was named for “Ding” Darling, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Des Moines Register cartoonist who founded the National Wildlife Federation. Darling himself set the gate for the lake’s original dam in 1950. The lake was drained in 2008. Continue Reading
The Iowa Utilities Board has approved a 135-and-a-half million dollar rate increase for MidAmerican Energy customers.
Rob Hillesland, a spokesman for the board, says regulators agreed to the increase due to a “wide range of factors,” including increased operating costs. The increase is to be phased-in over three years, however last August the board gave MidAmerican the go-ahead to temporarily start boosting utility bills, by an average of about two-dollars-and-73 cents a month. Increases in years two and three will be in the same range. The deal is not yet final. Continue Reading
Many Iowans are looking forward to spring and warmer weather as March begins.
State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says it appears the statewide average temperature for the month of February was around 12.8 degrees. The normal average temperature for February in Iowa is around 24. Although February has been the coldest month of this winter, Hillaker says December and January also had well below normal temperatures. The three months combined make this the ninth coldest winter in Iowa history. Continue Reading
Some Iowa schools may soon see changes in how they administer free and reduced-price meal programs.
U-S Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says a new proposal calls for schools in high-poverty areas to serve free breakfast and lunch to -all- students, not just those who qualify under the current guidelines. Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, says the program change would see free meals provided for all children in certain schools where now about 40-percent of the students qualify.
While it stands to reason that feeding more students would increase costs, Vilsack says the change is designed to save money.
The U-S Department of Agriculture says nine-million children in 22-thousand schools nationwide would qualify. Continue Reading
The newly-created statue of Iowa native and Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug will be installed in the U.S. Capitol March 25th, on what would have been Borlaug’s 100th birthday. Borlaug, who died in the fall of 2010, grew up in Cresco and went on to develop higher-yielding, drought-resistant varieties of wheat that are credited with saving billions of people from starvation. Each state has two statues in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall and Iowa legislators voted a few years ago to have Borlaug’s likeness will replace the statue of a Civil War-era hero from Iowa. A sculptor from South Dakota has created a statue of Borlaug at work, standing in a field of wheat, taking notes. The base of the statue is made of Iowa limestone. Continue Reading
It’s been a rough winter so far for the Village of Oquawka. They’ve had a water main break and a number of homes have frozen pipes. Oquawka’s Volunteer Fire Department Chief Troy Jern says they are asking for bottled water for their residents…. “Due to frigid cold weather, some of the residents of Oquawka have frozen water lines. I think there are about 30 that don’t have water.” Continue Reading
A car rear-ended a LaHarpe School Bus on Webster Road in Hancock County this morning. No one, including the 12 children on the bus, was hurt. It happened just before 7:30 just north of County Road 2400 North. Illinois troopers say the bus driver, 50-year-old Donna Nell of Blandinsville, had stopped at the railroad tracks to make sure it was safe to cross, when a 2012 Chevy, driven by 28-year-old Travis Sanderson of Carthage, slid on the snowy road into the back of the bus. The bigger vehicle suffered minor damage, but Sanderson’s car had major damage to it’s front end and had to be towed from the scene. Continue Reading