IL Storms Concentrated West, South of Chicago

 CHICAGO (AP) _ Thunderstorms that punched through northern Illinois overnight caused significant wind damage, mainly in rural areas west and south of Chicago.  
 The National Weather Service says intense winds estimated to have reached 70-80 mph in some areas snapped large trees at their trunks or uprooted them entirely.  Barns were destroyed in northern Kankakee County.  
 The storms that began Wednesday afternoon produced hail and heavy rain that
caused some flash flooding. There were also reports of possible tornados from
police and trained storm observers, including in the village of Paw Paw in Lee
County and to the north in the Rockford area.  
     Nearly 11,000 customers were still without power Thursday. Continue Reading

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Several Tornadoes, Some Damage, No Derecho

BELMOND, Iowa (AP) _ Weather officials say multiple tornadoes touched ground late yesterday(wed) afternoon and early last(wed) nite in northern Iowa, causing damage to homes and businesses. The National Weather Service says spotters reported yesterday at least two tornados on the ground alongside one another near Hampton in Franklin County. Another tornado was reported near Belmond in nearby Wright County…and there were funnel clouds sighted near Winthrop, Durango, Key West, St. Donatus and Peosta…all in Iowa…and near Galena and Hanover in northwest Illinois. Continue Reading

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Gov. Signs Largest Tax Cut in Iowa History

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has signed the largest tax cut in Iowa history. The signing ceremony was today in Hiawatha at Hawkeye Ready Mix Concrete. Branstad said today that the tax relief bill will put more money in the pockets of Iowa families, and make it easier for Iowa businesses to invest and grow in the state. Over 10 years, the bill will provide an estimated $4.4-billion in property tax relief to Iowa’s hardworking taxpayers. Also according to a press release from the governors office, every class of property will see permanent property tax relief. Continue Reading

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New “Choose Life” Iowa License Plates

If you ordered a “Choose Life” Iowa license plate, you’ll be hearing from your local county treasurer soon because the plates have arrived. On the left side of the plate, there is a crayon drawing of two children. Underneath it, in a crayon font, are the words “Choose Life”. The plates are available at all county offices across Iowa. You can also order them online. Continue Reading

Branstad, Dem and GOP Lawmakers to Witness PropTax Reform Bill Signing

Iowa’s Republican governor and legislators from both parties will gather later today (Wednesday) to witness the signing of legislation that cuts taxes for property owners and income taxpayers. 

 

The bill signing ceremony will be staged in Hiawatha, the home of Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, and Governor Terry Branstad says it’s a way of giving Paulsen “credit” for his work on the tax package.   The governor has invited Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal to the event and Gronstal’s been invited to make a brief speech for the occasion, too. The bill includes a new tax credit for commercial property owners as well as a 10 percent roll-back of commercial property tax rates over the next two years. Property taxes on apartments and other “multi-residential” properties will eventually be cut in half. The legislation creates a new income tax credit that returns some of the state budget surplus to taxpayers. It’ll be worth about 60 dollars next year. Continue Reading

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Woman Arrested 396 Times

After being arrested 396 times in 35 years, 51-year-old Shermain Miles of Chicago, has been ordered to get mental health and substance treatment. The treatment is a deal with prosecutors. Miles has been in the Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln since December for violating parole. She appeared in court today to plead guilty to charges she attacked a city alderman, trespassing, and public drinking- each a separate case. Miles is homeless and has dozens of convictions for felonies and misdemeanors. Continue Reading

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Branstad Questions Criminal Sentencing Rules

In the wake of the murder of 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is questioning Iowa’s criminal sentencing rules. Branstad says it’s appropriate to review the state’s sentencing provisions. Alleged kidnapper and murderer, Michael Klunder was released from prison in 2011 after serving 20 years for convictions in two separate Iowa kidnappings. Branstad acknowledged this and think’s the state needs to make some provisions to it’s sentencing. Klunder could only be held for so long under state law. Continue Reading

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Mississippi River Still Above Flood Stage

The flooded river is slowly going down but it will be some time before everything is completely back to normal. Today many spots around the area are still above flood stage. The waterway has crested through Iowa, southern Missouri, and Illinois, but still many farmlands are underwater, as well as roads. The National Weather Service says it could be late June before the Mississippi is fully back within it’s banks. Continue Reading