Cedar Rapids Officials Not Done with Casino Push

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett says the next stop in trying to win a casino for his city could be in Des Moines.  

State regulators voted 4-1 last month against awarding a license to developers for a proposed casino in downtown Cedar Rapids. Corbett is a former legislator, and says getting such issues passed in the legislature isn’t always easy, though he says lawmakers have recently reached agreement on things like property tax reform and education reform. Racing and Gaming commissioners said they feared the impact of a new casino on existing facilities and Corbett sees that argument coming up again at the capitol. He says they would push the case for a more open system of handing out gambling licenses. Continue Reading

fire

Gov. Branstad Says He’ll Double “First Responders” Tax Credit

Governor Branstad intends to sign a bill into law that will double a tax credit for volunteer fire fighters and others who volunteer to be “first responders” in Iowa.  

The current tax credit of 50-dollars that was established in 2012 will go up to 100 dollars. The bill also extends the credit to reserve peace officers and to professional fire fighters who volunteer for other departments as well. Representative Roger Thomas, a Democrat from Elkader, says a one-hundred-dollar tax credit is a small way to recognize those who perform a valuable service. Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, says these hard-working Iowans deserve this credit. Continue Reading

Climate Change Talks in DM

Members of a White House task force to address climate change met in Des Moines Wednesday following previous gatherings in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.  

The group is composed of federal officials, eight governors, and various local and tribal leaders. Co-chair Mike Boots, who leads the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said the task force will be submitting new recommendations to the President in the fall — outlining how best to work with local governments in combatting climate change. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said climate change is already affecting farmers in the Midwest.  He said that contributes to the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Continue Reading

Marijuana

Possible Pot Burgers in Ottumwa

AP-Police are investigating an Iowa couple’s report that they found marijuana among the layers on their double cheeseburgers. The couple told police they bought the burgers at the McDonald’s drive-thru on Richmond Street in Ottumwa on April 26. Ottumwa police Lt. Jason Bell says they reported that, after taking at least a bite each, they noticed plant material that smelled and looked like pot. The two told the restaurant management about what they found and then contacted Ottumwa police. A sample of the substance has been sent to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation for testing. Continue Reading

argyle

Missing Boater Found in Argyle Lake

The body of a missing boater found early this morning on Argyle Lake near Colchester, Illinois has been identified as 22-year old Derrick Hull of Coatsburg, Illinois. McDonough County Sheriff Rick VanBrooker told WGEM News that Hull and 22-year old Dustin Tanjerose of Camp Point had been in a Jon boat that began taking on water and sank late yesterday afternoon. Tanjerose swam to shore, but told authorities he couldn’t find Hull, who he reported missing at 5:45 pm. Crews found Hull’s body around 12:30 this morning using sonar detection. Continue Reading

traffic-cameras

State Starts Study of TrafCam Reports

It will be at least one month before the Department of Transportation makes any decision on the first traffic camera reports.  

New rules required cities with speed or red-light cameras along state roadways to submit a report by May 1st to show how the cameras are being used to improve traffic safety. The director of the D-O-T’s office of traffic and safety, Steve Gent, told the Transportation Commission 10 cities or counties have the cameras and six — Davenport, Muscatine, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Council Bluffs and Sioux City — filed reports. Clive did not file a report as the city has decided to shut down its cameras in June. Windsor Heights and Fort Dodge also did not file reports. Continue Reading

police-sirens

Domestic Abuse-Assault in New London on Mothers Day

A 37-year old New London-area man will face charges of False Imprisonment and Domestic Abuse-Assault, for allegedly forcing his wife to the floor at rifle-point and handcuffing her on Mothers Day at their home on 172nd Street. Eric Wade has been ordered to stay away from his wife and kids until his case has been resolved. Continue Reading

Last Chance for Input on Livestock Feeding Rules

The public comment period is wrapping up on proposed new rules for the regulation of livestock feeding operations with the final hearing tonight(Tues) in Washington, Iowa.  

The proposed rules would bring Iowa’s animal feeding operations into compliance with federal regulations. The Iowa Farm Bureau is in support of the permit changes, but clean water advocates say they don’t go far enough. Four meetings were held last week, and around 60 people packed into a conference room at the Wallace State Office Building to speak out against rules.  

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement vice president, Vern Tigges says while the number of animal confinement operations has grown in Iowa, the number of inspectors has decreased. Continue Reading

tornado

Tornado Assessments Conducted Today

Damage assessment teams from the National Weather Service are fanning out in several locations across Iowa, surveying the destruction from Sunday night’s severe storms.

–Tornado in Donnellson, Iowa. (photo by Blake Martin)

The weather system brought winds up to 70 miles an hour, large hail, heavy rain and flash flooding, along with as many as three tornadoes. Meteorologist Kurt Kotenberg, at the National Weather Service office in Johnston, says one team is heading to Guthrie Center and Lake Panorama, to the west of Des Moines, in Dallas and Guthrie counties. “We’ve gotten lots of reports and pictures of significant damage, some big trees down,” Kotenberg says. “There’s a 50-foot pine tree which had about a 14-inch diameter that was snapped in half. Continue Reading