W. Illinois’ New Philadelphia to be Considered for National Park

BARRY, Ill. (AP) — The U.S. House has passed a measure looking to study Illinois’ New Philadelphia Town Site as a possible national park.  

U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock of Peoria sponsored the measure. The site in western Illinois was the first town planned and founded by an African-American. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a National Historic Landmark and is included on the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Continue Reading

No More E-Cigs for Kids?

In a little less than 24 hours, both the Iowa Senate and House voted to ban the sale of all types of electronic cigarettes to minors, even if there’s NO nicotine in the product.  

Possession of an e-cigarette would be a crime for a minor, too, if the bill becomes law. Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, says marketers are targeting the under-18 crowd with fruit- and candy-flavored e-cigarettes that don’t contain nicotine. Dotzler says it’s important for state legislators to act, since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recently-announced regulations don’t address the non-nicotine e-cigarettes being sold to minors. Senator Joe Bolkcom (BOWL-kum), a Democrat from Iowa City, unsuccessfully argued legislators should tax and regulate e-cigarettes just like regular cigarettes. Continue Reading

IA Cannabis Oil Bill Slowly Making its Way Through Legislature

A Republican-led committee in the Iowa House has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would let patients with “intractable” epilepsy go out-of-state and come back with 32 ounces of cannabis oil as a treatment for their condition.  

Republican Representative Clel Baudler of Greenfield has been a long-time opponent of legalizing marijuana for general medical purposes, but he urged the committee to pass this bill.  The bill passed the House Public Safety Committee on a 13 to five vote and Baudler was one of the “yes” votes. Representative Jarad Klein, a Republican from Washington, says this bill sends a “good message” to Iowans that the two political parties can “work together” to address problems.

Representative John Forbes, a Democrat from Urbandale who is a pharmacist, estimates about 100 patients in Iowa who are currently taking powerful prescription drugs that, ultimately, reduce their lifespan, will be able to get a recommendation from a neurologist for cannabis oil. Karen Sales of Ankeny has an 11-year-old son with a chromosome abnormality that has caused his intractable epilepsy. Continue Reading

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Illinois State Police Cracking Down on Western Illinois

During the month of May, which is only a couple days away, the Illinois State Police will conduct alcohol Countermeasure enforcement patrols in McDonough County. The purpose is to prevent and enforce violations associated with impaired driving. Across the county, an average of one alcohol related death occurs every 51 minutes. Continue Reading

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One Dead After Head on Collision in Niota, Illinois

One person is dead after a head on collision today in Niota, Illinois. 63-year-old Frank Palm of Niota was west bound on IL. Route 9/96 in Hancock County when he attempted to turn left in front of 33-year-old Amber Armitage of Dallas City who was east bound. They collided head on. Both vehicles came to a rest in the intersection. Continue Reading

GOP U-S Senate Candidates Answer Family Leader Questions

Four Republicans competing for their party’s 2014 U.S. Senate nomination gathered at Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny for a forum.  

The first question invited each candidate to describe a time or event in their life that shaped them into the person they are today. Matt Whitaker said it was when he met his wife, Marci. Mark Jacobs talked of going through a period of self-reflection after retiring three years ago and sitting down at one point to write his own obituary. Joni Ernst said her formative life experience came when she went on a college exchange to a collective farm in the Ukraine. Continue Reading

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Iowa Champion Tree Found Toppled on Arbor Day

On this Arbor Day, there’s discouraging news that one of Iowa’s two national champion trees is damaged beyond repair. A team of tree experts went to a remote area near Pikes Peak State Park in northeast Iowa this week, intending to save the black ash tree and instead, found it broken into pieces. Mark Rouw says he was stunned. “I was really kind of in disbelief, but there’s no denying it, it was down, it’s gone,” Rouw says. “We’ve lost a national champion in Iowa and we don’t have many of those. Continue Reading

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FM Man Could Serve 10 Years in Prison for Weed

Lee County’s Narcotics Task Force has arrested a Ft. Madison man on felony and misdemeanor drug charges, and they are NOT meth-related. 33-year old Robert Gram (of 2314 Avenue I) was apprehended late last week at his home and charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver within 1,000 Feet of a School and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. If he’s convicted of both counts, Gram could go to prison for more than 10 years. Continue Reading

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IA Dems Revisit Absentee Caucus Voting

Leaders of the Iowa Democratic Party are opening a discussion about how absentee voting might be allowed during the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.  

Iowa Democratic Party chairman Scott Brennan says under the current rules, you must be present at your precinct on Caucus night in order to vote in the event which serves as the kick-off for the presidential nominating season. Critics say that disenfranchises Iowa soldiers who are on active duty and older Iowans who don’t want to venture out on a cold winter evening, plus Iowans who cannot get time off work to attend the Caucuses. Brennan has asked Norman Sterzenbach, the party’s former executive director, to conduct a “listening tour” to talk to “hundreds, if not thousands” of Iowans about how absentee voting might be incorporated in the Caucuses.  

Absentee voting in the Caucuses has been discussed in the past, but abandoned for several reasons. Continue Reading