Blago’s Lawyers Argue for New Trial

CHICAGO (AP) — Rod Blagojevich’s lawyers laid out a final set of arguments in writing before they step before appellate judges next week to argue that the imprisoned ex-governor deserves a new trial. The 33-page filing with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals repeats arguments made before, including that trial Judge James Zagel displayed bias against Blagojevich. The brief was posted late Monday. The defense and prosecution will get 30 minutes each to deliver oral arguments before a three-judge panel Dec. 13. Continue Reading

Unions Say They’ll Sue to Stop IL Pension Fix

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The fight over how to address Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation pension shortfall is likely to move to the courts following passage of a landmark bill. The Illinois Legislature approved a measure Tuesday to eliminate the state’s $100 billion unfunded pension liability by cutting benefits for workers and retirees. Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign it promptly. Public employee unions say they’ll file a lawsuit if the Chicago Democrat signs it. Continue Reading

Winter Weather on the Way; Foggy Here Now

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A wintry storm that heaped snow on the Rockies has pushed east into northern Nebraska and northwest Iowa. The National Weather Service said Wednesday that 10.5 inches of snow has been recorded over 18 hours in Valentine, which sits near the South Dakota state line in northwest Nebraska. To the east in Boyd County, 5.4 inches was recorded in Butte. The National Weather Service says the snow is moving slowly out of the area, but the cold remains. Continue Reading

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Iowa Car Dealers Upset with Possible Fee Increase

Iowa car and truck dealers are planning to fight a possible fee increase for vehicle registrations. By raising the fee by 1%, the DOT believes it would generate an estimated $60 million more each year for road maintenance and construction. Local car dealers such as owner of Deery Brothers in West Burlington, Brad Deery, is completely against the proposed hike.. “I disagree with that increase. I think it’s a bad move. Continue Reading

Alone on Thanksgiving? You Don’t Have to Be

If you’re alone on Thanksgiving, it doesn’t mean you have to be lonely.  

While many Iowans will be spending the day with family and friends, many others will be making alternative plans. Beverly Flaxington, a therapist and human behavior coach, says Iowans can stave off the holiday blues by finding positive ways to occupy their time — like volunteering.  Flaxington says don’t let the Thanksgiving funk snowball, as everyone has to be alone at one point or another. Her best advice on how to get through the holiday season is to not let all the hype get larger than life. 

While it’s pretty hard to avoid all of the holiday hoopla, don’t fall into self pity, get upset and catch a bad case of the blues.  It’s not looking at the world through rose-colored glasses but instead, she says, filtering the same information in a new way to bring a more positive outlook. If you’re having an extreme case of the blues, Flaxington recommends talking about it with a doctor or a professional therapist. Continue Reading

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Tow Boat Sinks and Leaking Oil into the Mississippi

The tow boat which sank in the Mississippi River in LeClaire, a community near the Quad Citites, continues to leak oil into the river. As of last night, Lt. Colin Fogarty with the US Coast Gaurd reported about 900 gallons have escaped the tow boat, which is just a small portion considering the boat had about 100,000 gallons of petroleum on board. The boat will remain there until Saturday, when the Salvage Company will attemt to remove it. Iowa American Water says your drinking water is still safe to drink. Continue Reading

Racing-Gaming Commission to Keep Ohorilko

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has voted to keep administrator Brian Ohorilko  in the position for another four years.  

 

The commission named Ohorilko to the post to replace Jack Ketterer who retired in March of 2012, and commission chair Jeff Lamberti of Ankeny says the transition has been smooth. Ohorilko took over as the commission has dealt with disputes over the Sioux City and the Davenport casinos moving to land-based operations. They are also preparing to consider new licenses in Johnson and Greene Counties. The commission has recommended that Ohorilko be given a 10-percent raise from his current salary of 142-thousand-555. Continue Reading

Iowa a Big Bird in Turkey Production

There are roughly 130 turkey farms in Iowa that have been busy preparing for this week as Thanksgiving Day draws near. Iowa Turkey Federation Executive Director Gretta Irwin says Iowa ranks ninth nationwide in turkey production. Iowa ranks fifth in the country for turkey processing as Hillshire Brands in Storm Lake and West Liberty Foods in West Liberty, combined, process over 15.5 million turkeys annually. Irwin says Iowans will find great prices on turkeys as they prepare for the Thanksgiving Day meal.   The Iowa Turkey Federation’s website was recently revamped and includes a host of tips and ideas for preparing turkeys. Governor Terry Branstad will uphold an annual tradition today (Monday), by pardoning two Iowa-grown turkeys during a ceremony at Terrace Hill. Continue Reading

Fatal I-88 Shooting by IL DNR Officer

 STERLING, Ill. (AP) _ Illinois Conservation Police say an officer shot and killed a motorist who pinned an Illinois State Police trooper with his vehicle during a traffic stop.  
The shooting happened Friday along Interstate 88 near Sterling after the trooper stopped the motorist. Illinois conservation police say the driver made a u-turn, striking and pinning the state trooper against his squad car. The
conservation officer also responded to the scene and saw the pinned trooper.   The Daily Gazette reports that conservation police say the officer then shot the driver, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Continue Reading