Drone Protesters Gather at DM Air Nat’l Guard Base

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Protesters have gathered at the Iowa Air National Guard Base in Des Moines to decry the use of drones in war.  

The Saturday morning rally was organized by the Midwest Veterans for Peace and Catholic Workers. Organizers, including former Des Moines priest Frank Cordaro, described the rally as a civil disobedience action and expected some participants to be arrested. The protesters are rallying against the use of unmanned drones to carry out military strikes. Critics have charged that drone strikes cause widespread civilian deaths and are conducted with inadequate oversight. Continue Reading

Military Sexual Assaults an Iowa Problem Too

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa lawmakers aren’t waiting for Congress to toughen laws against sexual assaults in the military.  

They have begun their own effort to hold the state National Guard accountable for such abuses. The U.S. Senate recently approved legislation to better protect victims, and the trial of an Army general in North Carolina has been widely covered. But state Senator Steve Sodders says it’s not just a national problem. He proposed legislation to improve the handling of sexual assault cases by the Iowa National Guard. Continue Reading

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Bright Green Chicago River Marks St. Patrick’s Weekend

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago River is glowing a bright emerald green as the city continues its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Thousands of cheering onlookers clustered along downtown bridges as members of Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union Local 130 began dumping containers of dye into the river from motorboats Saturday morning. The annual tradition began at 9:30 a.m. and immediately precedes the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Continue Reading

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Local Measles Outbreak

A small outbreak of the Measles has been confirmed in this area. The report comes from McDonough County in Illinois, the home of Western Illinois University. Symptoms include a cough, high fever, runny nose and a rash that appears a week or two after exposure. The Measles Virus is highly contagious and is spread through the air.   Continue Reading

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Officials Lobby for Iowa Gas Tax Increase Today

Dozens of county officials from around the state are at the capitol in Des Moines today, lobbying legislators on issues — like the gas tax. Carl Mattes of Humboldt, a member of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, supports an increase in the state gas tax…. “We’re going to have to do something or our bridges and roads are going to fall apart. We need to kick and scream until we get something done — some kind of financing.” Mattes faults the governor for failing to “step up” and call on legislators to pass a gas tax increase. Continue Reading

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Riot in Fairfield

Authorities in southeast Iowa say they’re investigating why dozens of people at a campus that practices meditation allegedly attacked a county sheriff inside a car. The Jefferson County Attorney’s Office says a group of at least 70 people surrounded Sheriff Gregg Morton while he was in his marked patrol vehicle Tuesday morning at a pandit campus near Fairfield. Morton says the group pushed the car back and forth and threw rocks at it. Morton and responding officers were not injured in the incident. The Fairfield Ledger reports that authorities were assisting personnel in escorting a pandit leader off the property. Continue Reading

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Iowa State Fair Announces Grandstand Music

The Iowa State Fair has once again lined up a number of very popular music acts for their Grandstand.  So far, the fair will welcome the Goo Goo Dolls, Daughtry, Forigner, Styx, Chevelle, Halestorm, Lady Antebellum, Billy Curington, Florida Georgia Line, Jake Owen, the Eli Young Band, and contemporary christian artists, the Newsboys. Marketing Director, Lori Chappel, told us that this year, they seem to be ahead of schedule… “This is one of the earliest that we’ve had our grandstand line-up complete.” The last two acts will be announced very soon. Continue Reading

Missouri Looks at Recreational Pot

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Most Missouri adults would be able to buy and use recreational marijuana under a bill being considered by a state House panel.  

The measure would let people older than 21 produce, sell, distribute and use pot. The legislation would allow the state to adopt regulations on marijuana distribution and to levy an excise tax up to 25 percent of the drug’s cost. It is sponsored by Democratic Rep. Chris Kelly, of Columbia. Continue Reading

IL Ed. Boss Says Funding Cuts Could Force Closings

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The head of the Illinois State Board of Education says proposed cuts in education funding could be “devastating” to school districts.  

State superintendent Christopher Koch’s comments were reported by the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers. He says if the proposed cuts are approved, some districts might “not make it through the school year.” The ISBE is asking for a $1 billion increase in funding, while a preliminary revenue blueprint shows a potential $1 billion decrease. Continue Reading