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New “Choose Life” Iowa License Plates

If you ordered a “Choose Life” Iowa license plate, you’ll be hearing from your local county treasurer soon because the plates have arrived. On the left side of the plate, there is a crayon drawing of two children. Underneath it, in a crayon font, are the words “Choose Life”. The plates are available at all county offices across Iowa. You can also order them online. Continue Reading

Branstad, Dem and GOP Lawmakers to Witness PropTax Reform Bill Signing

Iowa’s Republican governor and legislators from both parties will gather later today (Wednesday) to witness the signing of legislation that cuts taxes for property owners and income taxpayers. 

 

The bill signing ceremony will be staged in Hiawatha, the home of Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, and Governor Terry Branstad says it’s a way of giving Paulsen “credit” for his work on the tax package.   The governor has invited Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal to the event and Gronstal’s been invited to make a brief speech for the occasion, too. The bill includes a new tax credit for commercial property owners as well as a 10 percent roll-back of commercial property tax rates over the next two years. Property taxes on apartments and other “multi-residential” properties will eventually be cut in half. The legislation creates a new income tax credit that returns some of the state budget surplus to taxpayers. It’ll be worth about 60 dollars next year. Continue Reading

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Woman Arrested 396 Times

After being arrested 396 times in 35 years, 51-year-old Shermain Miles of Chicago, has been ordered to get mental health and substance treatment. The treatment is a deal with prosecutors. Miles has been in the Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln since December for violating parole. She appeared in court today to plead guilty to charges she attacked a city alderman, trespassing, and public drinking- each a separate case. Miles is homeless and has dozens of convictions for felonies and misdemeanors. Continue Reading

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Branstad Questions Criminal Sentencing Rules

In the wake of the murder of 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is questioning Iowa’s criminal sentencing rules. Branstad says it’s appropriate to review the state’s sentencing provisions. Alleged kidnapper and murderer, Michael Klunder was released from prison in 2011 after serving 20 years for convictions in two separate Iowa kidnappings. Branstad acknowledged this and think’s the state needs to make some provisions to it’s sentencing. Klunder could only be held for so long under state law. Continue Reading

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Mississippi River Still Above Flood Stage

The flooded river is slowly going down but it will be some time before everything is completely back to normal. Today many spots around the area are still above flood stage. The waterway has crested through Iowa, southern Missouri, and Illinois, but still many farmlands are underwater, as well as roads. The National Weather Service says it could be late June before the Mississippi is fully back within it’s banks. Continue Reading

IL Prison Official Resigns in Face of Harassment Probe

CHICAGO (AP) — A director with the Illinois Department of Corrections has resigned following investigations of sexual harassment.  

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports Ty J. Bates was the deputy director for the department’s southern district and resigned Friday. Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer says Bates was at the center of two recent investigations. He says the investigations showed that Bates violated the department’s sexual harassment policies but it did not amount to the legal definition sexual harassment. Bates resigned after his disciplinary action was announced. Continue Reading

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Family of Abducted, then Murdered, Iowa Teen Speaks Out

The family of an abducted Iowa teenager has released a statement after authorities confirmed the 15-year-old’s death.  

Kathlynn Shepard’s father said Sunday that the teen’s family has “lost part of its soul,” but that Kathylnn is now in a better place and safe from predators. Kathylnn was described as an innocent, caring and fun-loving child. The State Medical Examiner and Department of Criminal Investigation said Sunday that an autopsy had confirmed that a body found Friday night in Boone County was Kathylnn’s. It also confirmed that she died of blunt force trauma. Continue Reading

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Branstad Wants Alternatives to Gas-Tax Hike

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says he wants to find
alternatives to raising the state fuel tax to pay for road improvements.  
 Branstad made the statement Friday during a taping of the public television
program, “Iowa Press.” Branstad says he’d like to explore other options, such
as allocating money from a state infrastructure fund or using some sales tax
revenues.  
 Branstad says there isn’t public support to raise the fuel tax and that he
doesn’t want to increase it as fuel prices are rising.  
 Iowa’s fuel tax _now 22 cents per gallon for gasoline including fees _ hasn’t
been raised since 1989. A commission appointed by Branstad in 2011 recommended
an increase of 8 to 10 cents a gallon to boost funding for the state’s network
of bridges and roads. Continue Reading