Dixon, IL Residents Turn Out in Force to Focus on Spending $40-Million

DIXON, Ill. (AP) — Lowering taxes, cutting sewer rates and fixing the city swimming pool were among Dixon residents’ suggestions for how the northern Illinois city should spend a $40 million legal settlement.  

The city will receive the money as part of an out-of-court settlement involving former Comptroller Rita Crundwell. She stole almost $54 million from the city over two decades to fund a lavish lifestyle and horse-breeding operation. Sauk Valley Media reports that more than 200 people attended a town hall meeting on Thursday night, where officials focused on the city’s progress since federal authorities arrested Crundwell in April 2012. Continue Reading

Young Woman’s Body Found Near Hannibal Still Unidentified

HANNIBAL, Mo. (AP) — Nearly four weeks after the remains of a young woman were found in the Mississippi River in northeast Missouri, officials still have no idea about her identity. A national database is being enlisted to help solve the puzzle. Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Shinn told the Quincy, Ill., Herald-Whig that the young woman found Sept. 15 near Hannibal is almost certainly not from the area. Continue Reading

Former Chi-Town Trader Pleads Guilty to Fraud

CHICAGO (AP) — A former Chicago trader who was charged in one of the city’s largest-ever financial fraud cases is pleading guilty as part of a deal with prosecutors.  

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Charles Mosley’s plea caps his sentence at 10 years behind bars. He had faced up to 370 years in prison if he was convicted in the $500 million fraud scheme. Prosecutors say the 49-year-old from Vernon Hills and Eric Bloom, the former CEO of Sentinel Management Group, defrauded more than 70 customers before the firm collapsed. Mosley will cooperate with prosecutors in their case against Bloom. Continue Reading

Federal Shutdown Affects IL Outdoorsmen

CHICAGO (AP) — The partial shutdown of the federal government has made more than 128,000 acres of wildlife refuges and other lands off limits in Illinois.  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Saturday that it has closed lands and facilities nationwide. In Illinois, the agency has shut eight national wildlife refuges, as well as offices and facilities located throughout the state. It has canceled all recreational activities at those locations, including hunting, fishing, environmental education and public events. Throughout its eight-state Midwest region, the agency has put more than 800 employees on unpaid furlough and closed more than 1.2 million acres of federal public land. Continue Reading

Rare October Twisters Damage NW Iowa

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — An emergency management official says tornadoes destroyed nearly two dozen farmsteads in northwestern Iowa’s Woodbury County, and some 60 more have been damaged.  

County Emergency Management Director Gary Brown said Saturday that 20 farmsteads were destroyed in Friday night’s powerful storms.

Brown says the storms cut a path 35 miles long through the county, from Sloan to Pierson. Despite the massive damage, no one was killed. Only person suffered minor injuries in a car accident associated with the storm. Brown says at least a couple of hundred residences along the storm’s path are without power, mostly in rural areas. Continue Reading

Iowa DOT Proposes New Rules for TrafficCams

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa transportation officials will take on the controversial issue of automated traffic cameras this week with proposed new rules designed to give them control over whether speed and red light cameras are placed on highways and interstates they oversee.  

Iowa is the only state allowing automated cameras to be permanently installed on state-run highways. The Iowa Department of Transportation on Tuesday will present proposed rules to a legislative committee at the Capitol. The rules require cities and counties to prove there’s a critical safety issue at a specific location before cameras would be allowed. Republican Sen. Brad Zaun says the rules are fine, but he’ll introduce a bill again this year to ban traffic cameras. Continue Reading

AshBorer

Emerald Ash Borer Found Again in Eastern Iowa

The emerald ash borer has been confirmed in a fourth location in the state after a resident of Mechanicsville in Cedar County called to report a tree that didn’t look right. Department of Agriculture state entomologist, Robin Pruisner, says it’s evident the emerald ash borer population has now grown enough that it has become easier to find. The bug kills all species of ash trees was first found in May of 2010 in Allamakee County in northeast Iowa. Confirmed cases where then found in 2012 in Des Moines County in July and Jefferson County in August. Pruisner says the Cedar County infestation has them rethinking the plan to try and control the bug… Continue Reading

IA On-Line Insurance Exchange Still Overloaded

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Technology snags that kept people from successfully buying insurance in the new exchanges set up by the federal government are continuing into a second day. Some consumers have turned to insurance companies offering polices for information. West Des Moines-based CoOportunity Health, which sells policies in Iowa and Nebraska, says it hit a daily high for website hits Tuesday with more than 500 people logging in to get quotes and about 100 people calling the company’s toll-free call center. Cliff Gold, the company’s chief operating officer, says people likely turned to insurer websites when they couldn’t access the federal government’s site. He says he’s been telling people to wait a week or two. Continue Reading

Iowa Guard Furloughs 1,000 Plus

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa National Guard says more than 1,000 full-time employees have been furloughed because of the partial government shutdown. The Guard says most of the furloughed employees are federal technicians that are uniformed members of the Guard. About 45 are civilian federal government employees. Colonel Greg Hapgood says about 50 employees remain on duty. The shutdown began Tuesday. Continue Reading