Growlers, Sledding, And More Privacy at Military Funerals: New Laws Come into Effect Today

A number of new state laws go into effect today, addressing issues as diverse as sledding on city property and selling beer by the “growler.” Governor Branstad has yet to take action on about a dozen budget bills passed by the 2015 legislature, but the governor has approved a host of policy-related bills over the past several months. One offers new liability protections to cities that allow sledding on city-owned property like golf courses and parks. Another new state law doubles the size of the privacy zone around military funerals, to keep protesters farther away. Bars and convenience stores will now be able to sell customers with a vessel called a “growler” up to 72 ounces of carry-out beer. Continue Reading

Public Tip Leads to Iowa Fugitive Arrest in Mexico

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A tip from the public on the potential whereabouts of a longtime Iowa fugitive has led to his arrest in Mexico. The U.S. Marshals Service says authorities in Mexico arrested Mitchell Meyer on Monday. Authorities say Meyer was facing two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in 1999 when he was scheduled to appear for trial in Sioux City. He was released on bond but never appeared. A deputy marshal revisited the case in 2014 and offered information to local media. Continue Reading

Board of Regents Fires Spokeswoman

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The board that governs Iowa’s public universities has let go a 29-year employee who had been its spokeswoman for years. The Iowa Board of Regents confirmed Monday that communications director Sheila Doyle Koppin’s job has been eliminated. Her last day was Friday. The change comes after the board acknowledged last week it will also soon be cutting ties with Tom Evans, its longtime general counsel. Earlier this year, the board created a new senior communications director position. Continue Reading

Former Iowa Student from China Arrested in China for Iowa Murder

AMES, Iowa (AP) — A former University of Iowa student from China has been charged in China with killing an Iowa State student whose body was found in her car trunk in Iowa City last fall. An Iowa City police news release issued Monday night says 23-year-old Xiangnan Li was arrested on June 19 in Wenzhou, China, to face a charge of intentional homicide. Li had returned to China following the slaying of 20-year-old Tong Shao (Tawng Shh-Ow), whose body was found Sept. 26. Authorities say she’d been asphyxiated. Continue Reading

Governor Extends Bird Flu Emergency

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has extended a state of disaster emergency through July 31 in response to the bird flu outbreak in the state. The declaration Monday was the second extension of the original disaster proclamation. It otherwise would have expired Wednesday. The virus has infected more than 31.5 million birds in Iowa, mostly egg-laying chickens, making the state the hardest hit in the nation. Branstad’s declaration activates disaster response programs, allows the use of state supplies and makes other efforts to speed response efforts. Continue Reading

Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau: Drunk Driving Accidents Common On 4th of July Weekend

The upcoming holiday weekend is typically one of the most dangerous times of the year for traffic crashes involving alcohol. Alex Murphy, spokesman for the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, says the Fourth of July weekend last year was marred by multiple fatal accidents around the state. “Seven people were killed on Iowa roadways and one of those was alcohol related,” Murphy said. In 2013, six people were killed on Iowa roadways over the Independence Day weekend and three of those crashes were alcohol related. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports in 2013, the most recent year in which data is available, 512 people were killed, nationwide in motor vehicle crashes over the Fourth of July holiday. Continue Reading

Marshalltown Man Facing Charges After Allegedly Hiding Meth in Prosthetic Leg

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a Marshalltown man jailed on federal drug charges had hidden methamphetamine inside his prosthetic leg. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that 40-year-old Jason Gauthier will remain in jail until his trial on a charge of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Authorities say the charge stems from his arrest on June 17, when officers found the meth in his artificial leg. One of Gauthier’s legs was amputated above the knee following a 1994 car accident. Gauthier and six others were charged earlier this month when authorities say they busted a meth ring that included operations in Waterloo. Continue Reading

Bird Flu Outbreak Affecting 4-H Events

CENTRAL CITY, Iowa (AP) — The ongoing bird flu outbreak has forced competitors at poultry events in the state to prepare educational displays and leave their birds at home. But the 79 participants in this weekend’s Linn County competition got to meet Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey. Northey visited the fair Saturday to speak about poultry health and the bird flu. He encouraged the young people who developed 4-H projects and told them he was glad they were interested in agriculture. Iowa, Nebraska and many other states where bird flu has been found decided to prohibit poultry events this year to help limit the spread of the disease. Continue Reading

Dubuque Man Wins Big On Two Scratch-Off Games in the Same Day

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A 75-year-old Dubuque man has scratched off two winning tickets in one day. One was worth $100,000, the other $930. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports that Ken Broadwell bought both of his Tuesday winners at the same convenience store in Dubuque. He said Wednesday that he intends to “buy my real estate up at the cemetery and a headstone,” and that he is thinking about buying a new vehicle. Continue Reading