Iowa Senator Seeks Ceiling on Corporate Tax Credits

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa Senate Democrat has introduced legislation intended to halt the last transfer of state tax credits to the fertilizer plant being built south of Wever in Lee County. Sen. Joe Bolkcom, of Iowa City, proposed a bill Tuesday meant to prevent Orascom, an Egyptian multinational corporation, from requesting a final $25 million tax credit installment.  

In 2012, Gov. Terry Branstad promised the company $100 million in investment tax credits, in addition to other federal, state and local incentives, in exchange for the creation of 165 permanent jobs in Iowa. Bolkcom’s proposal would cap the amount of investment tax credits any corporation can receive at $75 million.   Bolkcom said in a statement that this is Iowa’s last chance to avoid “needlessly” giving away more money. Continue Reading

Maquoketa Police Officer Shot (UPDATED)

The Iowa Department of Public Safety says a police officer has been wounded during a traffic stop in eastern Iowa. The department says the Maquoketa officer was shot after making a traffic stop around 2:50 a.m. today. The shooter fled the scene and was later found dead in his overturned pickup truck. Police identified him as 30-year-old Aaron Scott of Wyoming, Iowa. Injuries to the police officer were not life-threatening. Continue Reading

RWJ Foundation Says Sioux Co. Healthiest in IA, Appanoose Least Healthy

A new report ranks the overall health of all 99 Iowa counties. The study used some 30 factors to compile the rankings, things like childhood poverty, smoking, college attendance, physical activity and access to physicians. Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, says Sioux County, in far northwest Iowa, ranked as the state’s healthiest county.  The study found Appanoose County, in southeast Iowa on the Missouri border, was the least healthy Iowa county. While Sioux County ranks as Iowa’s healthiest county, the rest of the top five are: Winneshiek, Chickasaw, Lyon and Mitchell at number-five. Continue Reading

Illinois Headlines from the Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — With a sign-up deadline just days away, Governor Pat Quinn is urging Illinoisans to enroll for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.  

Quinn appeared at an enrollment event at Chicago’s Broadway Armory yesterday. He says if you don’t have health insurance, now is the time “to take action and get covered.”  

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Transit Authority says it expects to reopen the O’Hare International Airport station today after last week’s derailment of a Blue Line train. The CTA says crews have been working around the clock to restore service to the station. Continue Reading

Iowa Headlines from the Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has visited a grove of trees donated by Iowans to the victims of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Branstad joined Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to visit the site on Friday.  

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Former state Representative Danny Carroll has been elected the new chairman of the Iowa Republican Party. Carroll, of Grinnell, was elected Saturday by the Iowa GOP’s Central Committee. He had been chosen in February as the party’s co-chairman to replace David Fischer, who stepped down last month to run for the Iowa Senate. Continue Reading

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Wapello Resident Guilty of Child Porn

A former Wapello resident was sentenced today to 120 months of prison time after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. The investigation started in July of 2011 when a Scott County Deputy and member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force participated in an online investigation of the possession of child porn. During their search they discovered images on a computer belonging to 39-year-old Shannon Watson of Wapello. A search warrant was conducted at Watson’s home and the computer was taken in for a forensic examination where they found over 300 images of child pornography. After serving 120 months in prison, Watson is ordered to serve 15 years of supervised release and to pay $100 towards the Crime Victims Fund. Continue Reading

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GPC to Pay Record Environmental Fine

A district court judge on Thursday ordered Grain Processing Corporation of Muscatine to pay $1.5 million, the largest civil penalty ever paid to the state for environmental violations.  

The plant processes grain into ethanol and various feed, industrial and food products.   A release from the Iowa Attorney General’s office states the judge’s order includes an “unprecedented provision” requiring GPC to convert its boilers from coal-fired to natural gas-fired, which will reduce more than 12,000 tons of air pollutant emissions per year.  

The company estimates the changes will cost between $15-17 million in capital expenses, plus $1 million per year in operating costs, and $4-12 million per year in increased fuel costs. Continue Reading

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Body Found in Mississippi River Near Keokuk

Authorities in Keokuk pulled a body from the Mississippi River yesterday afternoon near the Lock and Dam 19. They have said that it was a man, but have not identified him yet. An autopsy is currently being conducted. Workers at the Keokuk electric power plant were the ones who spotted the body. Continue Reading

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Older Illinois Inmates Could Be Released Early

Legislation working its way through the Illinois House would allow some prison inmates over the age of 50 to be released early. Supporters say it would reduce overcrowding and save money because older prisoners can cost more to house. The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports that the measure would apply to inmates who have served more than 25 years of their sentence. A committee passed the measure Tuesday and sent it to the full House. Opponents told committee members the proposal would violate the rights of crime victims.

Mary Kay Mace is the mother of a student killed in a mass shooting at Northern Illinois University in 2008. Continue Reading