I-74 Hit & Run Driver in the Wind: Redington

BETTENDORF, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say they may never know the identity of the driver whose illegal lane change led to a 31-car pileup on the Interstate 74 bridge in Bettendorf.  

Bettendorf spokeswoman Lauran Haldeman told the Quad-City Times the driver abruptly changed lanes to reach an exit ramp on Monday morning, cutting in front of another motorist. The driver then left the area, leaving behind a series of chain-reaction crashes. Bettendorf Police Chief Phil Redington says the motorist who was cut off slammed on her brakes and managed to avoid a crash, but she was then struck from behind. Redington says the driver who caused the crashes could be cited with illegal lane change, but police have no description of the vehicle. Continue Reading

Families of Victims of NW IL Grain Bin Tragedy Get $16-Million

MOUNT CARROLL, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois jury has awarded $16 million to the families of two teenagers who died in a 2010 grain bin accident.  

The Carroll County jury reached its judgment after a 13-day trial, awarding $8 million each to the families of 19-year-old Alejandro Pacas and 14-year-old Wyatt Whitebread. The workers were in a Haasbach LLC grain bin to help the corn flow while machinery was running. The pair became trapped in corn more than 30 feet deep along with a third worker who was rescued after six hours. Continue Reading

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Bronze Reagan Statue to be Built on Rock Riverfront

DIXON, Ill. (AP) — Lee County, Illinois officials will try to raise $200,000 to build a bronze statue of a young Ronald Reagan near the beach where he once worked as a lifeguard. 

The Dixon Telegraph reports the statue would be 7 feet fall and be installed in Lowell Park, where Reagan spent summers working as a lifeguard. The Illinois native who went on to become the nation’s 40th president was credited with saving 77 people from the Rock River. The statue would be created by Highland Park sculptor Gary Tillery. It will show the nation’s 40th president running toward the river to rescue a swimmer. Continue Reading

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Craigslist “Murderer Wanted Ad” from Iowa

 An Iowa woman has been sentenced to more than 7 years in prison for using a Craigslist help-wanted ad to solicit someone to kill her father. U.S. District Judge Linda Reade gave the 87-month prison term Wednesday to 23-year-old Megan Schmidt of Dubuque. Schmidt pleaded guilty in November to using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire. In a plea agreement, Schmidt admitted that she posted Craigslist ads seeking someone to do a “one-time job” for $10,000. She later told one man who responded that she wanted her father dead and that it would be best to “either shoot or stab him because he is a bigger man.” Continue Reading

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Judge Orders Juvenile Home Reopened

A district court judge has ruled the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo should be reopened. The judge ruled Governor Branstad over-stepped his authority when he ordered the home closed in mid-January. Four Democrats in the legislature and the president of the union that has represented the home’s workers filed the lawsuit challenging the closure. AFSCME president Danny Homan says the governor should “immediately comply” with the judge’s order and reopen the home. House Democratic Leader Mark Smith is calling on Branstad to work with legislators on a bill that would improve services for the state’s most troubled teens, including girls sent to the Juvenile Home. Continue Reading

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Here Comes the Snow

Forecasters say much of Iowa is seeing snowflakes fly today while south-central Iowa could get as much as eight or nine inches of snow by Wednesday morning. Meteorologist Jim Lee at the National Weather Service says there will be snow off-and-on much of the day, with heavier snow late this afternoon. By this evening, he says the big problem will be the winds whipping up the new-fallen flakes… “We’re looking for increasing northwest-to-north winds tonight, particularly after sunset, reaching speeds of 15 to 25 miles an hour with higher gusts tonight,” Lee says. “We’re not expecting blizzard conditions but we will see some blowing and drifting of snow that will primarily effect travel.” Continue Reading

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Branstad’s Office Moves to Ease Propane Shortage

GOVERNOR TERRY BRANSTAD FRIDAY DECLARED A PROCLAMATION OF DISASTER AND ENERGY EMERGENCY, DUE TO THE RECORD HIGH DEMAND FOR PROPANE THROUGHOUT THE UPPER MIDWEST. IN ADDITION, THE U-S DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN & HEALTH SERVICES HAS RELEASED A SECOND LOW-INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM(LI-HEAP)APPROPRIATION OF 7.4-MILLION DOLLARS TO THE STATE OF IOWA, TO HELP FAMILIES HEAT THEIR HOMES DURING THE COLD WEATHER. BRANSTAD AND LT. GOVERNOR KIM REYNOLDS ALSO LAUNCHED THE PROPANE SHORTAGE & HEATING ASSISTANCE WEBPAGE. Continue Reading

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Winter Storm Coming for SE Iowa

Much of Southeast Iowa and West Central Illinois are in for another dose of snow tonight and tomorrow. There is a “Winter Weather Advisory” from 6 o’clock tonight until 6pm tomorrow. The greatest snow intensity is expected between midnight and noon Saturday. 5-7 inches of snow is expected. Increasing winds may lead to drifting snow Saturday afternoon and evening, so be careful when traveling. Continue Reading

Dec. 17 airpower summary: Reapers touch enemy forces

IA Legislature to Take Up Drone Use

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa lawmakers have begun considering limits to the use of drones in Iowa. A subcommittee of the House Public Safety Committee discussed the issue Thursday and planned to make changes to a bill before approving the measure. The current proposal would allow law enforcement agencies and state officials to use drones only under certain circumstances, including life-threatening emergencies. Rep. Jerry Klein, a Republican from Keota, says increased accessibility and improved technology sparked a need for drone restrictions. Ankeny police chief Gary Mikulec says restricting drone use could impair effective law enforcement. Continue Reading