Ashford University to Shutter Clinton Campus

CLINTON, Iowa (AP) — Ashford University has announced that it will close its Clinton campus next year, surprising several leaders in the community who say they’re sad to see it go. The chairman of the school’s board of directors said in a Thursday statement that the Clinton campus hasn’t been able to resolve an ongoing enrollment shortfall. The Quad-City Times (http://bit.ly/1LZPL8u ) reports that the school’s online education center will continue and won’t be affected by the closure. The president and CEO of the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce says that he’s saddened over the university’s plans to shutter the campus. The university was one of Clinton’s larger employers. Continue Reading

Stopgap Illinois Budget Passes House

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A stopgap Illinois budget padded with guaranteed state-employee paychecks for July has won House approval but the change delays its delivery to the governor. The $2.3 billion plan that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner opposes was endorsed 71-19 Thursday. It must return to the Senate for concurrence because of the pay provision. The previous version included just emergency expenses. Continue Reading

Safe Filled With Cash Found in Ankeny

ANKENY, Iowa (AP) — Police in the Des Moines suburb of Ankeny are holding a safe filled with somebody’s cash. A construction company worker spotted the safe Tuesday morning in a field near the 1100 block of Southwest State Street in Ankeny. He turned it over to police. Ankeny evidence technician David Billings says the safe is small enough to be carried by one person and says the money is packaged in a way that the owner can identify. Billings says officers are checking local cases of stolen safes. Continue Reading

Groups Submit Written Statements Against Pipeline Project

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Groups opposing plans to build an oil pipeline across Iowa say organizers have submitted more than 2,600 written statements against the project. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition gathered Thursday in Des Moines to submit paperwork to the Iowa Utilities Board. The board has authority to approve plans for the pipeline, which would transport up to 570,000 barrels of crude oil daily from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to a distribution center in Illinois. The groups say the pipeline will affect the rights of landowners and hurt the environment. The project was proposed by Dakota Access, LLC, a unit of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners. Continue Reading

Obama Rejects Branstad’s Request for Bird Flu Disaster Declaration

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Governor Terry Branstad’s request for a federal disaster declaration to respond to the bird flu outbreak has been denied. The governor had sought a major disaster declaration from President Barack Obama for the four counties most impacted by the virus. In a letter from federal authorities dated Tuesday, the request was rejected. The letter said the damage was “not of such severity and magnitude” that it could not be handled by the state. The virus has infected more than 31.5 million birds in Iowa, mostly egg-laying chickens, making the state the hardest hit in the nation. Continue Reading

Authorities Arrest Waterloo Work Release Escapees

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have apprehended two inmates who had been listed as escaped from the Iowa prison work release facility in Waterloo. An Iowa Corrections Department news release says 23-year-old Darius Caston was caught around 6 p.m. Monday. He’s been serving a 20-year sentence since May 28, 2010, after convictions for willful injury and intimidation with a dangerous weapon. Caston was transferred to the work release facility on May 1. Another department news release says 20-year-old Jared Brooks was caught around 10 p.m. Monday. Continue Reading

Branstad Explains Education Veto

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says there was no way to ensure schools would have abided by a call to not use one-time money for ongoing expenses, leading him to veto that part of a budget bill. Branstad also told reporters Tuesday he doesn’t think Democrats will get enough Republican support to call a special session to vote again on the budget. The Legislature recently sought $135 million in a spending bill that included nearly $56 million for K-12 education. Branstad cut that in a veto, arguing he opposes one-time spending for ongoing expenses. Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, of Hiawatha, says language in the bill specified the money would go to one-time expenses, but Branstad says that wouldn’t have been enforceable. Continue Reading

Iowa Democrats Seeking Special Budget Session

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The brother of a man who died after being transferred from a Clarinda mental hospital closed by the state is blaming his death on the move to a private center. The Des Moines Register reports 65-year-old Robert Hanson Jr. died July 1 at a Des Moines Hospital. He’d been among fewer than 20 patients in the Clarinda hospital’s geriatric program when Gov. Terry Branstad closed the center and another mental hospital in Mount Pleasant. Hanson, who suffered brain damage in the 1980s, was moved to a Perry nursing home June 8. His brother, Tim Hanson, says he became severely dehydrated and was transferred to a Des Moines hospital, where he died. Continue Reading

Branstad Defends Budget Vetoes

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says he vetoed several appropriations approved by lawmakers because he opposes one-time spending for ongoing expenses. Branstad said Monday that he has long been clear about his concerns over such budgeting practices. Last week, he vetoed much of a one-time spending bill backed by the legislature, which included nearly $56 million for K-12 education. Democrats and education leaders are criticizing the move, saying it will hurt schools. Branstad says he has made other investments in education. Continue Reading