Iowa State Patrolman Administers CPR in the Middle of Interstate

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Video footage from the dash camera of an Iowa State Patrol car shows a trooper administering CPR to a man in the middle of Interstate 35. The video obtained by Des Moines television station KCCI shows Trooper Tracy Bohlen following a swerving truck and approaching the vehicle with a hand on his gun when the vehicle stopped in the middle of the road at the eastern interchange of interstates 35, 80 and 235 in Des Moines. The footage then shows Bohlen beginning to deliver chest compressions to the driver, Patrick Roark, in the middle of the road before he could be transported to Mercy Medical Center. Roark tells KCCI he is still awaiting test results, but that doctors described what happened as a heart episode. Continue Reading

Branstad Moves to End Governor Sign-Off Requirement on Abortion

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad wants to end to a perplexing abortion restriction adopted in Iowa two years ago. The Republican governor’s proposed Health and Human Services budget doesn’t renew a requirement that he sign off on any payments for publicly funded abortions. Lawmakers adopted that policy, which effectively halted state reimbursements for abortion under Medicaid because providers stopped submitting the claims.

Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers says Tuesday the governor sought the change because Branstad hasn’t been asked to approve reimbursement. Republican Rep. Matt Windschitl says anti-abortion conservatives still want to ensure public funds don’t go to abortions. Iowa’s Medicaid program previously paid for a small number of abortions. Continue Reading

Big Drop in HIV Diagnoses in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa public health officials say the number of new HIV diagnoses fell dramatically last year, but it’s too soon to tell if the drop represents a sustained trend. The Iowa Department of Public Health announced Monday that new HIV diagnoses decreased 19 percent from 2013 to 2014. The 99 new diagnoses in 2014 were the fewest since 88 were diagnosed in 2003. HIV Surveillance Coordinator Jerry Harms says the department will need more data to determine if the drop is the start of a long downward trend but that the 2014 numbers were promising. At the end of 2014, there were 2,369 HIV-infected people living in Iowa. Continue Reading

Branstad Urges Anti-Bullying Bill Passage

Governor Branstad is urging his fellow Republicans in the Iowa House to pass the anti-bullying bill that has already cleared the Democratically-led Iowa Senate. “This bill passed with strong bipartisan support in the Senate 43-7,” Branstad says. “We think it’s critically important that the legislature be approved this year.” Branstad has proposed similar legislation in each of the past two years and, while it’s been identified as one of his top priorities, it has bogged down in the legislature. “I just think it’s critically important that we have action this year,” Branstad says. Continue Reading

Police Searching for Inmate Who Walked Away From Cedar Rapids Work Release

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Police are searching for a 36-year-old inmate who failed to return to a work release facility in Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids television station KCRG reports that Paul Hoff did who not return to the Lary Nelson Work Release Facility from his job Friday. He was two years into serving a 10 year sentence for intimidation with a dangerous weapon, theft and criminal mischief. Information on Hoff’s whereabouts should be reported to the Cedar Rapids Police Department or Linn County Sheriff’s Office. Continue Reading

Another Week Starts at Statehouse for Legislators Wrangling Over Budget

Legislators remain at odds over the main function of the Iowa General Assembly — coming up with a state spending plan. For example, the two parties have been wrangling since January over how much state aid to forward to Iowa’s public schools for the school year that begins in August. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says Republicans are “unwilling to compromise.” “It’s kind of messy for them,” Gronstal says. “Their leadership says: ‘We’ve drawn a line in the concrete…not the sand. Continue Reading

Iowa Residents Plead Guilty in Virginia Sex Trafficking Case

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Two Iowa residents have pleaded guilty in a federal sex trafficking case in Virginia. Laura Sorensen and Aldair Hodza entered the pleas Friday in federal court in Richmond to sex trafficking and transporting a person across state lines for prostitution. Court records show Sorensen and Hodza held a 20-year-old woman captive on a trip in December to Virginia and forced her to have sex with men who answered online ads. Prosecutors say the defendants tortured the woman with lit cigarettes and other heated objects, pierced her feet with nails and poured bleach into her wounds. Continue Reading

Chicken Coop

Branstad Declares State of Emergency as Bird Flu Spreads

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has declared a state of emergency due to a bird flu outbreak that’s forcing farms to kill more than 17 million chickens and turkeys. Branstad’s proclamation announced Friday will remain in effect until May 31 unless it’s terminated earlier. The proclamation activates disaster response and recovery procedures for Iowa’s homeland security and emergency management programs. It authorizes use of state money, supplies and equipment to track and monitor bird flu, establish restrictions around affected farms and rapidly detect cases. It also allows more time to dispose of poultry carcasses. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says it’s important to step up the response as the disease spreads. Continue Reading

Ernst Praises Pacific Trade Deal

US Senator Joni Ernst is praising a proposed trade deal that she hopes will improve Iowa’s international export industries. Ernst was in the senate chambers while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pushed congress to approve the Trans Pacific Partnership, a controversial free-trade deal. Ernst says the deal will improve the state’s economy and criticizes those who think the deal will cost American jobs. “Our ag economy, our manufacturing base, it continues to grow in Iowa as we open up additional markets,” Ernst told KBUR, “From what we’ve seen in recent years, we’ve seen growth, instead of a loss of jobs. Now, that isn’t to say that we haven’t had other areas where jobs may have moved, but overall we’ve seen a huge boost to our economy from international trade.” Continue Reading