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Iowa News

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is highlighting family and children’s issues as she introduces herself to Iowa Democrats. It’s her first visit to the early-voting state as a 2020 Democratic presidential prospect. Unlike some of her potential rivals, the New York senator was starting from scratch in a state where few Democratic activists have a strong impression of her. One Sioux City Democrat said she was impressed by what she saw in Gillibrand, noting her “soft-spoken passion.”

ADEL, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa couple convicted in the starvation death of their 16-year-old adopted daughter will likely spend the rest of their lives in prison. A judge Friday sentenced 41-year-old Misty Jo Bousman Ray to a life sentence with no possibility of parole and her husband, 43-year-old Marc Ray, to 80 years in prison. They were arrested following the May 2017 death of Sabrina Ray, who weighed only 56 pounds when she died.

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) – An eastern Iowa man who tried to organize the killings of witnesses from behind bars so they couldn’t testify against him has been sentenced to at least 50 years in prison. The Muscatine Journal reports that 38-year-old old Justin Lee DeWitt was sentenced Friday in Muscatine County District Court for three counts of attempted murder.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Department of Transportation says road conditions are deteriorating in northern Iowa as a winter storm sweeps the Midwest for a second straight weekend. The department says visibility is below a half mile in many locations, with snow and winds of up to 20 mph hitting areas like Mason City and Clear Lake. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for Friday afternoon into Saturday for all of eastern Iowa, with high winds and snow up to 8 inches in northeastern Iowa.

Wisconsin News

SCOTT, Wis. (AP) – Authorities say the pilot of a small plane was injured after making an emergency landing in northeast Wisconsin. The Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office says the accident happened at about 3:30 p.m. Friday in the town of Scott. Authorities say the pilot called 911 when his 1959 Piper Cub lost power and had to make an emergency landing.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Foxconn Technology Group didn’t create enough jobs in Wisconsin in 2018 to immediately claim state job-creation tax credits. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the electronics giant finished the year with 178 full-time employees, 82 short of the minimum required to claim credits.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The investment funds for most Wisconsin public workers and retirees shrunk slightly last year. The State of Wisconsin Investment Board reported Friday that preliminary data shows the Core Fund shrunk about 7 percent. The gross rate of return was -3.3 percent. The five-year return is 5.2 percent. The more volatile Variable Fund shrunk about 1.1 percent. Its gross return rate was -7.9 percent. Its five-year return is 5.9 percent.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A federal judge says top Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature violated the First Amendment when they blocked a liberal advocacy group from seeing their Twitter feeds. The judge sided with the group One Wisconsin Now on Friday. The judge ruled that the legislators acted in their official government capacity when they created their Twitter accounts, and therefore the interactive portions of their accounts were public forums.

Illinois News

CHICAGO (AP) – The family of Laquan McDonald is lamenting the sentence given to the Chicago police officer who killed the teenager. Jason Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder in October. On Friday, he got less than seven years in prison and could serve as little as half of that. McDonald’s great uncle says the sentence reduced McDonald’s life to that of “a second-class citizen” and that it suggests that black and white people are subject to different laws.

CHICAGO (AP) – A winter storm is inching its way toward New England after dumping snow and slowing travel for residents in the Midwest and Plains states. The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for the weekend from the Dakotas, across the Great Lakes states and into the Northeast. Forecasters at one point said conditions in New England “could approach blizzard criteria.” Authorities in Omaha closed Eppley Airfield after freezing rain caused a plane to slide off a runway. No one was hurt.

CHICAGO (AP) – The Archdiocese of Chicago has removed from ministry the former longtime superintendent of its Maryville Academy for troubled children while it investigates allegations he sexual abused minors. The archdiocese says the allegations date to 2002-03 when the Rev. John Smyth was completing a 33-year-tenure as superintendent of the academy in suburban Des Plaines. Smyth’s attorney, Frank DiFranco, told the Chicago Tribune the accusations are false.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed a law allowing him to pay 15 percent more to his cabinet and assistant directors of agencies. Pritzker took action Friday on his first order of business before even taking office on Monday. He urged Democrats who control the General Assembly last week to increase salaries for top jobs like the Transportation secretary and prisons-systems director to $172,500 from $150,000.