UPDATE: Missing Girl’s Backpack Found

The backpack of 15 year old Kathlynn Shepard has been recovered by a search team of police and dogs. Another backpack was also found that belonged to the 12 year old girl who had escaped. The backpacks were found several miles south of a hog confinement where the girls were taken. Kathlynn Shepard and the 12 year old were abducted earlier this week while walking home from school in Dayton. The alleged kidnapper is 42 year old Michael Klunder, who was found dead of self inflicting injuries just hours after the 12 year old had escaped. Continue Reading

IL Senate Okays Smart-Grid Plan Over Quinn’s Objections

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Senate has again approved a plan to address so-called Smart Grid technology over the objection of Gov. Pat Quinn.  

Senators voted 44-11 Tuesday to override Quinn’s veto earlier this month. Quinn claimed the bill undermined oversight and would force automatic rate hikes. Senate President John Cullerton disputed those claims. A three-fifths majority was needed. Continue Reading

Dubuque Man, “The Bishop,” Sent to Prison

CHICAGO (AP) — An Iowa letter carrier has been sentenced to 37 years in prison for sending dud pipe bombs with threatening letters signed “The Bishop.”  

U.S. District Judge Robert Dow issued the sentence Tuesday afternoon, saying John Tomkins “engaged in a reign of terror.” The 48-year-old Dubuque, Iowa man previously apologized, saying there were “no words to describe” his “shame.” Tomkins was trying to drive up the value of shares he owned. One package was sent to Denver and another to Kansas City, Mo. Continue Reading

IL Congressmen Seek Federal Disaster Relief

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois’ congressional delegation has asked President Obama to add 16 Illinois counties, including Henderson, Warren and McDonough in our area, to the list of those eligible to receive disaster aid after last month’s flooding.  

The letter was sent on Tuesday to support a similar request by Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday. Quinn cited reports from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency of more than 800 flood-damaged homes in the 16 counties, including 14 homes that were destroyed and 202 with major damage. The additional counties are Bureau, Crawford, Henderson, Knox, Livingston, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, Warren and Woodford. A disaster declaration allows people and businesses to apply for federal loans and reimbursements to help pay for storm and flood damage repairs. Continue Reading


Suspected Kidnapper Kills Himself; 15-Year Old Still Missing

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a man suspected of abducting two girls near an Iowa bus stop had committed suicide.  

Forty-two-year-old Michael Klunder was found dead Monday night at a rural property northeast of Dayton. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation did not release more details Tuesday about Klunder’s death. Dozens of federal, state and local law enforcement are searching by air, land and water for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard. She and a 12-year-old girl were taken near a bus stop in Dayton, about 60 miles north of Des Moines, on Monday afternoon after accepting a ride from a stranger. Continue Reading


Here Come the Crops

Farmers finally, for the first time this spring, got into the fields and planted some crops. The USDA crop report says they planted 9-million acres of corn and soybeans this past week. It also stated that 71% of corn was planted, which is behind the five year average of 92%. Delayed planting can be blamed on cold and rainy conditions. It’s estimated that farmers this year will pant close to 23 million acres of corn and soybeans. Continue Reading

5 Killed, 6 Injured in Southern IL Van Crash

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A coroner says the five people killed and six hospitalized after a van careened off of a southern Illinois freeway were men returning from a California religious event.  

Fayette County Coroner Bruce Bowen tells The Associated Press he’s trying to contact relatives of the five men who died at the scene of the wreck Monday morning on Interstate 70 about 70 miles east of St. Louis. Their names weren’t released. Continue Reading

Storm Lake Toddlers Fall from Window, Survive

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) — Two toddlers have survived falling about 15 feet from an apartment building in Storm Lake.  

Storm Lake Police announced Monday that the children, ages 2 and 4, pressed against a window screen in their apartment unit on the second floor and fell. The Sioux City Journal reports the children were treated and released from Buena Vista Regional Medical Center after the Friday afternoon incident. No criminal charges have been filed. Continue Reading

Special Session in Store for Iowa Legislature?

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — As lawmakers try to adjourn the legislative session, some wonder whether the best way to deal with a tough health debate is to skip the matter for now and hold a special session later.  

It’s been seven years since the Legislature held a special session, but they have been used sporadically over the years to address complex issues. In the past 50 years, lawmakers have joined for 15 special sessions. There were five years when two special sessions were called. This time around, some lawmakers think a discussion over whether to expand Medicaid may be too complicated to finish in the coming days. Continue Reading