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Regional News

January 18, 2021

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus in Iowa has dipped below 500 for the first time since October. The Iowa Department of Public Health said 474 people were being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals Saturday, down from 505 on Friday. The last time the number of people hospitalized was below 500 was on Oct. 18. The state reported 730 new cases and two deaths Sunday to give Iowa a total of 304,852 cases and 4,323 deaths since the pandemic began. Over the past week, Iowa has been reporting an average of 941.43 new cases per day.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A judge has dismissed nine felony counts filed against a Black Lives Matter leader in Iowa charged with shining a laser pointer in the eyes of police officers during an August protest. Judge Paul Miller ruled Thursday that the Johnson County Attorney’s Office violated Matè Farrakhan Muhammad’s speedy trial rights by waiting 46 days after his arrest to file a formal charging document, one more day than allowed by law. Miller ruled that six aggravated misdemeanor assault counts related to the same allegations can proceed since they were filed weeks after his arrest. Muhammad has changed his name since his arrest, when he went by the name Matthew Bruce.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A white military veteran shot and wounded a 15-year-old Black girl during a tense confrontation at a rally in support of President Donald Trump in Iowa last month. Michael McKinney is charged with attempted murder in the Dec. 6 shooting in Des Moines. McKinney, who was heavily armed and wearing body armor, told police he fired in self-defense. He has posted on Facebook in support of the far-right Proud Boys and against Black Lives Matter. Authorities haven’t mentioned the Trump rally or the race of those involved in news releases detailing the shooting, suggesting it was traffic-related. The driver’s mother says the crowd of Trump supporters subjected her daughter and the other girls to racist abuse.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Powerball jackpot will grow to an estimated $730 million after there were no winners Saturday for the lottery’s top prize. The results come as there was also no winner of the Mega Millions jackpot on Friday. That top prize is now estimated at $850 million. It’s been nearly two years since a lottery jackpot has grown so large. The Powerball’s $730 million top prize would be the fifth-largest ever if a lottery player strikes big in Wednesday’s drawing. The Mega Millions’ $850 million jackpot would be the third-largest ever for the drawing on Tuesday.

 

Here is the latest Wisconsin news from The Associated Press 

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s top health official who has led the state throughout the coronavirus pandemic is leaving for a job with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under incoming President Joe Biden. Andrea Palm, secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, has been nominated as deputy secretary of the federal agency. Palm will work to fulfill Biden’s pledge to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines and speed up the rate of vaccinations. Palm’s last day at the Wisconsin agency is Wednesday. Evers says Karen Timberlake, who served as DHS secretary under former Gov. Jim Doyle during the 2009 swine flu pandemic, will serve as interim secretary.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Authorities say the actions of an intoxicated man who drove his vehicle up the stairs of the Wisconsin Capitol grounds did not appear to be politically motivated. Police say 44-year-old Willie Burks, of Madison, drove up the exterior steps on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and around the exterior of statehouse just before 9:30 p.m. He then left the capitol grounds and drove against traffic before parking his vehicle. Burks was arrested for his third drunken driving offense and taken to the Dane County Jail. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that Madison Police Lt. David Jugovich says there was no indication of a threat to the Capitol, which is under increased security by state and local police and the National Guard.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Wisconsin health officials are confirming 1,606 new cases of the coronavirus, out of nearly 7,000 people tested in the last day. Nearly 522,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. The COVID Tracking Project reports that over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases in the state has remained mostly constant around 2,591 per day. One in every 320 people in Wisconsin tested positive in the past week. Officials on Sunday reported one new death, for a total of 5,451 fatalities.

CUDAHY, Wis. (AP) — Authorities say a Cudahy police officer shot and wounded an armed person after police responded to two separate 911 calls about a disturbance at an apartment complex. Cudahy police say the incident happened shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday, after police received emergency calls first about shots being fired and then about a suicidal person with a firearm. It’s not clear what led to the shooting. Police say officers provided life-saving measures before the person was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. No officers were injured during the incident, which remains under investigation.

 

Here is the latest Illinois news from The Associated Press 

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois has collected $62 million from legalized marijuana sales that’s earmarked for helping minority businesses and neighborhood development, but the money hasn’t been spent yet. The Chicago Tribune reports problems with the state’s system to hand out new cannabis business licenses and numerous requests for help as among the reasons. Sales of recreational marijuana began in January 2020 and more than $175 million has been collected in taxes through December, according to the state’s Department of Revenue.

UNDATED (AP) — Vermont is facing at least its second lawsuit in four months over a voucher program that allows students in communities that don’t have schools or are not part of supervisory unions to attend schools of their choice. Four Vermont families are suing the state and their school districts. An attorney at the Liberty Justice Center, a nonprofit Chicago-based law firm that fights for school choice, says it’s unfair to only offer the tuition benefit to some Vermont families. If the lawsuit succeeds, the nonprofit says it will file legal challenges in other states with similar programs. But critics say the lawsuit is a veiled attempt to get a case to the U.S. Supreme Court to get more public funding into private education, including religious schools.

CHICAGO (AP) — Authorities say a 61-year-old woman became the fourth person to die from a series of shootings this month by a Chicago gunman who was later killed in a police shootout. The Cook County medical examiner’s office says Marta Torres, of Evanston, died Saturday, a week after she and the others were shot during a series of shootings over a roughly four-hour period. Three others died and three were wounded in the attacks, which started on Chicago’s South Side and ended in Evanston, just north of the city. The gunman, 32-year-old Jason Nightengale, died in a shootout with Evanston police.

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago museum is kicking off a year-long series by a Mexican audio artist who’s been called one of the “living masters of political theater.” The exhibit featuring Guillermo Gómez-Peña starts Jan. 27 and will stream twice each month. The content, live and archived programs, will be available through a partnership between  Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Public Media Institute and the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art.  The artist has described the art as delving into “the multiple pandemics of racism, sexism, xenophobia and neo-colonialism,” particularly in the years President Donald Trump has been in office.