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Tri-State News Updates

January 25, 2020

Latest Iowa News

Group’s video shows suffering at Iowa lawmaker’s pig farm

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An animal welfare group that gained access to an Iowa lawmaker’s hog farm has posted a video and photos online that show pigs suffering and even dying in what appear to be inhumane conditions. Members of California-based Direct Action Everywhere entered a hog farm owned by Iowa Sen. Ken Rozenboom last April through an unlocked door. Rozenboom says the farm was managed then by others who didn’t follow proper animal care protocols. He says his family is overseeing operations and properly caring for animals. Rozenboom managed a law passed last year that heightens trespass penalties for undercover operations on farms.

Fort Dodge man sentenced to life for killing 2 brothers

NEVADA, Iowa (AP) — A Fort Dodge man found guilty last month of the 2018 shooting deaths of two brothers has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The Messenger reports that 28-year-old Tanner King was sentenced Friday for two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of 34-year-old El Dominic and 37-year-old Marion Rhodes on Oct. 22, 2018. Police say Dominic’s body was found in an alley and his older brother’s body was found in a nearby apartment parking lot. Police say King also tried to kill another man by firing a shot at him but missed.

Company closing electric bus body plant in central Iowa

NEWTON, Iowa (AP) — Company officials say a central Iowa plant that produces bodies for electric buses is closing. TPI Composites announced Thursday that production at the Newton plant will be consolidated at a company plant in Warren, Rhode Island. The company says nearly all of the bus plant employees will be offered employment at the company’s wind blade facility in Newton or at other TPI facilities. Josh Syhlman is plant manager at TPI’s wind blade factory, and he told the Newton Daily News the bus plant had never reached adequate production and profitability levels.

Democrats struggle to build broad support on eve of voting

OSAGE, Iowa (AP) — With Iowa caucus voting just over a week away, each of the Democratic Party’s leading presidential candidates has glaring holes in his or her political bases. The gaps raise questions about the candidates’ ability to build a coalition like the one Barack Obama built. The Democratic Party’s last successful nominee relied largely on three core groups: young people, minorities and working-class whites. Polling and interviews with campaign officials suggest each of the leading Democratic candidates is showing weakness with one or more of those groups. That is concerning to Democratic officials who, above all, want to defeat President Donald Trump.

Iowa’s unemployment rate up slightly to 2.7% in December

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 2.7% in December. Iowa Workforce Development reported Friday the unemployment rate rose as both the number of people with and without jobs increased in the state. The December rate was up from a 2.6% in November and 2.4% a year ago. Iowa’s unemployment rate tied with Alabama for the nation’s ninth-lowest. The national unemployment rate in December was 3.5%.

Warren vows her organization will win primary, beat Trump

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Elizabeth Warren says she has more than 1,000 campaign staffers in 31 states and 100-plus field offices, offering a show of organizational strength that will help her win the Democratic presidential nomination. She says her broad organization will hurt President Donald Trump’s chances in key battlegrounds in November. The Massachusetts senator released a memo Friday on her “Roadmap to Win.” She says her campaign will be organized in all 50 states and seven U.S. territories before the Democratic National Convention in July. Warren is betting that a far-reaching organization can insulate her against poor performances in the early states while giving her built-in momentum if she does well.

Latest Illinois News
Police: Multiple hurt in cigar lounge shooting near Chicago
LISLE, Ill. (AP) — Police say multiple people have been injured following a shooting at a cigar lounge in the Chicago suburbs. Lisle police say the shooting happened just after 10 p.m. Friday at the Humidor Cigar Lounge. A statement from police says several victims needed life-saving aid. The number of people hurt and their current conditions weren’t immediately available. The statement indicated the suspect has been taken into custody and there’s no danger to the community. Lisle is west of Chicago, just north of Naperville.

Jury finds suburban Chicago man guilty of woman’s murder
CHICAGO (AP) — A suburban Chicago man has been found guilty in the death of woman during a 2017 burglary of her Hinsdale home. A DuPage County jury on Friday found 32-year-old Dominic Sanders of University Park guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Andrea Urban, who was beaten and her throat slashed. Prosecutors said the 51-year-old Urban was left to die as Sanders stole two rings. Cameras at a Melrose Park pawn shop recorded Sanders selling the rings for $440. Defense lawyers asserted there was no evidence linking Sanders to the murder. Sanders did confess to stealing rings from Urban’s home the day she was killed.

Marijuana stolen from an “amnesty box” at Chicago airport
CHICAGO (AP) — Authorities in Chicago have learned a traveler’s unwanted marijuana is someone else’s illegally obtained treasure. Chicago police say weed was stolen this week from a box placed at Midway International Airport for travelers who dispose of their marijuana before they board a plane. The “marijuana amnesty boxes” were placed at Midway and O’Hare International Airport after it became legal this year to possess marijuana in Illinois. Travelers may be headed to a destination where marijuana is illegal. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says an investigation Is underway and new, theft prevention boxes in coming weeks will replace the ones currently being used.

Arrests made in central Illlinois triple homicide
DANVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Authorities in central Illinois say they have arrested three teenagers in the slayings of three people in their 60s whose whose bodies were found this week inside a residence in the community of Danville. Eighteen-year-old Cloanger T.M. Robinson Jr. and a 16-year-old boy whose name hasn’t been released have been charged with first-degree murder. A 17-year-old boy whose name wasn’t released because of his age is charged with aggravated robbery.  Friday’s arrests come a day after the bodies of three people were found in a Danville residence. Police say preliminary autopsy results indicate they died from stab wounds and blunt force trauma.

Former coach who hid camera in bathroom gets 7-year sentence
CHICAGO (AP) — A former suburban Chicago youth volleyball coach who installed a hidden camera to record videos of children using an athletic training facility bathroom has been sentenced to just under seven years in federal prison. Michael Liedtke of Streamwood was sentenced Friday, five months after pleading guilty to one count of child pornography. But the 35-year-old Liedtke also admitted to installing a camera in the DuPage Training Academy, where he rented space.  At the time authorities said when they found the camera hidden above the bathroom’s ceiling tile, they also discovered it was connected to a computer in Liedtke’s office.

Chicago woman is 2nd US patient with new virus from China
WASHINGTON (AP) — The second U.S. patient sick with the new virus from China is a Chicago woman in her 60s. Health officials say the woman started feeling sick a few days after she returned home to Chicago early last week from a trip to China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the woman is doing well, but is hospitalized to prevent spread of the virus and anyone she had close contact with is being monitored. CDC officials say the risk to the U.S. public remains low but more cases are likely. The first U.S. case was a man in Washington state.

Army probes handling of Illinois sex assault complaints
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Army officials have launched an investigation into allegations that commanders of an Illinois-based reserve unit mishandled sexual assault complaints and protocols. Documents obtained by The Associated Press indicate that Maj. Gen. A.C. Roper has assigned investigators to look into allegations that commanders in the 416th Theater Engineer Command improperly opened internal investigations into at least two complaints. They are also accused of suspending a victim advocate after she alerted the Army to the probes and placing a victim on a firing range with someone she had accused of sexual harassment. Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth requested an investigation this month.

Official: Naval base ‘gate runner’ was just a base worker
GREAT LAKES, Ill. (AP) — Officials say a man who drove onto a naval station north of Chicago without showing credentials, leading to the base being locked down, turned out to be an employee who didn’t follow directions. John Sheppard, a spokesman for Naval Station Great Lakes, said in a news release that the man was caught a short time after entering the base shortly after 7 a.m. Friday. The base issued an initial warning on its Facebook page for personnel to “RUN, HIDE, FIGHT!” but it later described it as a “minor situation” and lifted the lockdown. Sheppard says the worker didn’t follow the gate sentry’s directions.

Family destroys Lake Michigan home before nature gets it
GANGES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The owners of a home along Lake Michigan decided to demolish it before nature did the job in western Michigan. Relentless waves and high water have scoured the lakeshore, destroying or threatening properties that have been in families for generations. Helen Curtis-Foster and family members decided to bring their house down in Allegan County’s Ganges Township, between Saugatuck and South Haven. The house was just feet away from the edge of a collapsing dune. Curtis-Foster says “we were in the fight against time.” She says, “It’s a sad thing.”

Small explosion prompts Chicago police station evacuation
CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago police station has been briefly evacuated after a small explosion in a computer room. No injuries were reported. Police say the explosion occurred around 3:10 a.m. Friday on the second floor of the Central District station in the South Loop and set off a small electrical fire. The Chicago Fire Department says the room has a system that disperses gas to control fires. Officers were evacuated from the station as fire crews aired the room out. About 20 minutes later, the room was deemed safe and officers were allowed back in.

Latest Wisconsin News
School stocks room with personal essentials, washer, dryer
THREE LAKES, Wis. (AP) — A school district in northern Wisconsin has refurbished an old photography dark room into a place where the basic needs of its students are met. Teachers at the Three Lakes School District raised money to furnish the room with a washer and dryer to help students who might not have access to one at home. WJFW-TV reports special education teacher Nicole Lewis makes sure the room is stocked with personal essentials such as shampoo, soap, deodorant, and toothbrushes. Lewis says students find it easier to concentrate on school work when their basic needs are met. The room is also stocked with spare clothing.

Army probes handling of Illinois sex assault complaints
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Army officials have launched an investigation into allegations that commanders of an Illinois-based reserve unit mishandled sexual assault complaints and protocols. Documents obtained by The Associated Press indicate that Maj. Gen. A.C. Roper has assigned investigators to look into allegations that commanders in the 416th Theater Engineer Command improperly opened internal investigations into at least two complaints. They are also accused of suspending a victim advocate after she alerted the Army to the probes and placing a victim on a firing range with someone she had accused of sexual harassment. Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth requested an investigation this month.

Whitburn resigns from UW System Board of Regents
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Regent Gerald Whitburn has resigned from the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. Whitburn notified Gov. Tony Evers and the UW System he is resigning from the board effective immediately. In a statement, Evers thanked Whitburn for his service and said he “will be missed on the Board of Regents.” UW System President Ray Cross says Whitburn’s dedication “has made the UW a better place for students to succeed and more accountable to the public.” Whitburn is a native of Merrill and retired chairman and CEO of Church Mutual Insurance Company in Merrill. The UW System serves about 170,000 students.

Family destroys Lake Michigan home before nature gets it
GANGES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The owners of a home along Lake Michigan decided to demolish it before nature did the job in western Michigan. Relentless waves and high water have scoured the lakeshore, destroying or threatening properties that have been in families for generations. Helen Curtis-Foster and family members decided to bring their house down in Allegan County’s Ganges Township, between Saugatuck and South Haven. The house was just feet away from the edge of a collapsing dune. Curtis-Foster says “we were in the fight against time.” She says, “It’s a sad thing.”

Over 100 state lawmakers accused of misconduct in 3 years
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — An Associated Press tally finds that state lawmakers across the U.S. have reached a troubling milestone for allegations of sexual misconduct. New complaints filed against Michigan state Sen. Peter Lucido have brought the total number of state legislators accused of sexual misconduct during the past three years to more than 100. The complaints have continued even as state legislatures have taken significant steps to try to prevent and investigate such behavior. An AP review shows that over the past two years states have enacted more than 75 laws targeting sexual harassment, abuse and assault within government or the private sector.

Evers calls lawmakers into special session on dairy crisis
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers has called the Republican-controlled Legislature into a special session next week to take up an $8.5 million package of bills designed to help rural Wisconsin. The state is in the middle of a crisis that’s caused the loss of one-third of the state’s dairy farms since 2011. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Thursday the bills would be referred to committees for hearings, but the Legislature will not be on the floor to vote on them next week. Vos was critical of Evers shortly after he unveiled the proposals, saying the governor had ignored rural Wisconsin until now.

Wisconsin lawmaker accuses Kaul of bullying to pass kit bill
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Republican lawmaker is accusing Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul of bullying him into passing a bill designed to prevent backlogs of untested rape kits. Kaul has been pressing Assembly Health Committee Chairman Joe Sanfelippo to follow through on a pledge to hold a hearing on the proposal. He accused the lawmaker Thursday of spreading misinformation about the bill. Sanfelippo responded that the bill doesn’t address any “hair-on-fire emergency”  Kaul is trying to bully his way into setting the agenda for the health committee.

Snowplow kills 2 walking along highway in Kansas
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A snowplow has killed two pedestrians in Kansas after winter storm coated roads across parts of the Midwest with snow. The collision involving a Riley County plow happened shortly after 5 a.m. Friday. The Kansas Highway Patrol says 22-year-old Stephen Toler and 20-year-old Jayden Rosa, both of Manhattan, were walking in a lane of U.S. 24 when they were struck by the snowplow north of the Kansas State University campus. The National Weather Service has issued winter weather advisories for parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and a large swath of Missouri.


Iowa News

January 24, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — With all eyes on Democrats as they prepare to cast their ballots in Iowa’s kickoff caucuses, President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is working to try to persuade Republican voters that they should turn out at their caucus sites, too. The push is complete with a presidential rally next week, GOP-led training sessions and a new video featuring the president’s daughter-in-law. It makes clear that the campaign is trying to avoid the optics of empty Republican rooms on caucus night juxtaposed with Democratic gatherings brimming with enthusiastic voters and keep the focus on Trump.

 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Environmental groups and community activists rallied at the Iowa Capitol to push lawmakers to consider halting the growth of hog farms in the state. Food and Water Watch and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement sponsored the Thursday event. They have sued the state, claiming it has violated its obligation to protect the Raccoon River from hog farm pollution. Activists at the rally called on lawmakers to consider a House bill introduced last year that would impose a moratorium on hog farm expansion. The bill sponsored by a group of Democrats was not assigned by Republican leaders to a subcommittee for discussion.

 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A resolution amending the Iowa Constitution to declare there is no right to an abortion in the state has passed a Senate committee, making it eligible for floor debate. The measure passed Thursday with only Republican votes from the Senate State Government Committee. Republican Sen. Jake Chapman has long been disturbed by a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court ruling that gave women the right to control their bodies. He calls the decision judicial tyranny and says the amendment restores the people’s voice. The amendment must pass the legislature this year, again next year and then would go to voters as early as 2022.

 

ADEL, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa State Patrol says a California man has been arrested after a traffic stop along Interstate 80 southwest of Des Moines turned up more than 430 pounds of marijuana. Television station KCCI reports that a trooper stopped a sport utility vehicle on suspicion of a traffic violation Wednesday night and searched the SUV after smelling a strong odor of raw marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. The search uncovered three large duffle bags containing 258 pounds of THC edibles and five large duffle bags containing about 173 pounds of high-grade marijuana. The 32-year-old driver from Los Angeles was arrested.


Illinois News

January 24, 2020

CHICAGO (AP) — A 7-year prison sentence has been handed the operator of Chicago convenience store who sold illegal synthetic marijuana laced with rat poisoning. Fouad Masoud pleaded guilty last year to selling the illegal substance from his King Mini Mart on Chicago’s West Side. In sentencing Masoud on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Manish Shah said the emergence of greedy black-market profiteers selling K2 likely contributed to a public health crisis that contributed to hospitalizations and deaths. During the hearing, a victim testified he started urinating blood soon after smoking the synthetic pot he bought at Masoud’s store and was hospitalized.

 

DANVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Three men have been found dead in a central Illinois home in what police say may be a triple homicide. Danville police say they responded to a report of subjects down inside the residence. There they found the bodies of three men ranging in age from 60 to 67 years old. Vermillion County Coroner Jane McFadden identified the victims as 65-year-old Nathaniel Gentry; 60-year-old Anthony D. Jones and 67-year-old Cordell Reed Sr., all of Danville. In a statement, McFadden said autopsies of the men are scheduled for Friday.

 

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police have ended a program trying to predict people most likely to be victims or perpetrators of gun crime. That’s according to a watchdog report released Thursday that warned the department of serious flaws in the program. Chicago Police began using the method in 2012, using a formula developed by researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology and backed by $3.8 million in federal grants. The formula created a list of people deemed most likely to commit or be victimized by a shooting. Police departments around the country have been criticized for similar programs aiming to predict where crime will occur and who is likely to commit it.

 

CHICAGO (AP) — Four hospitals on Chicago’s South Side have announced a tentative plan to merge into a single health care system. The $1.1 billion plan announced Thursday by South Shore Hospital, Mercy Hospital & Medical Center, Advocate Trinity Hospital and St. Bernard Hospital calls for the construction of one new hospital and a network of community health centers. The plan must be presented at meetings beginning next month in communities currently served by the hospitals. St. Bernard Hospital CEO Charles Holland says working individually, the hospitals won’t be able to provide sustained, quality care in some of Chicago’s most impoverished communities.


Wisconsin News

January 24, 2020

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin tax collections are expected to come in more than $818 million above projections made last summer, an increase that will fuel the push to cut taxes in an election year. Republicans who control the Legislature are discussing a tax cut, while Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has been more cautious and voiced concerns about meeting other priorities and warding against a future economic downturn. Any tax cut that the Legislature approves would have to be signed by Evers before becoming law. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released the latest revenue forecast Thursday. The net increase to the state’s general fund is $452 million.

 

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ plan to create a nonpartisan redistricting commission to draw the state’s electoral maps next year may put pressure on the Republicans who control the Legislature, but it won’t force them to change their plans for next year. Republican leaders showed no signs of taking a different approach to redistricting following Evers’ announcement of the plan during his State of the State speech Wednesday. The Legislature is empowered under the state constitution with redrawing maps every decade.  Advocates for nonpartisan redistricting say the Evers plan would force Republicans to consider more balanced alternatives.

 

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Republican lawmaker is accusing Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul of bullying him into passing a bill designed to prevent backlogs of untested rape kits. Kaul has been pressing Assembly Health Committee Chairman Joe Sanfelippo to follow through on a pledge to hold a hearing on the proposal. He accused the lawmaker Thursday of spreading misinformation about the bill. Sanfelippo responded that the bill doesn’t address any “hair-on-fire emergency”  Kaul is trying to bully his way into setting the agenda for the health committee.

 

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers has called the Republican-controlled Legislature into a special session next week to take up an $8.5 million package of bills designed to help rural Wisconsin. The state is in the middle of a crisis that’s caused the loss of one-third of the state’s dairy farms since 2011. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Thursday the bills would be referred to committees for hearings, but the Legislature will not be on the floor to vote on them next week. Vos was critical of Evers shortly after he unveiled the proposals, saying the governor had ignored rural Wisconsin until now.