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Wednesday Afternoon News, August 13

Blacks Discrimination

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawyers representing black workers are asking the Iowa Supreme Court to reconsider the decision throwing out a class-action lawsuit challenging executive branch hiring practices.
     In a petition Monday, the attorneys say the decision last month found evidence showing blacks were disadvantaged in hiring and promotion decisions but left them "without a collective remedy to address those wrongs."
     At a minimum, they say the court should reinstate the lawsuit to focus on eight departments where the state's own expert found racial disparities in hiring.
     The justices rejected the lawsuit, ruling that the employees and applicants failed to prove which specific hiring practices disadvantaged them.
     The plaintiffs' lawyers say that outcome isn't in line with the court's history of landmark equality rulings dating back to slavery.
     The court rarely grants rehearing requests.


Gun Found In Baggage At Des Moines Airport

     DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A loaded gun and an extra magazine have been found by security officials at the Des Moines airport.
     The Transportation Security Administration says the weapon and magazine were found Monday morning in an Ankeny man's carry-on bag at a security checkpoint. Des Moines police cited the owner, 57-year-old Charles Scott, of Ankeny.
     Scott told police he'd put the gun in the bag after returning from a trip to Montana and forgot the gun was in the bag when he went to the airport on Monday.
     TSA says it's the third firearm its agents have found this year during security screening at the airport.
     Firearms may be transported in checked baggage but not in carry-on bags.


Officials Release Additional Information On Medical Helicopter Crash

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Federal investigators have released more information about a north Iowa helicopter crash that killed three medical workers.
    A National Transportation Safety Board report details circumstances of the January 2013 crash near Ventura. The Mercy Air Med helicopter carrying a pilot, nurse and paramedic was on its way to pick up a patient in Emmetsburg when it crashed into a farm field.
     Investigators focused on weather conditions at the time of the crash. The report says witnesses and first responders reported mist, drizzle, freezing precipitation and icy roads. Investigators said the helicopter wasn't certified for such conditions.
     Investigators will use the report to determine a probable cause of the crash.


Davenport Development

 DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - A Davenport building partnership has announced a $50 million plan to create an urban community college campus and build housing downtown.
     Restoration St. Louis and Eastern Iowa Community Colleges are teaming up to bring a campus and 80 apartments to downtown Davenport. The project also includes restorations of the Capitol Theatre and the Kahl Building.
     The Capitol Theatre will be transformed into a movie theater, while the Kahl Building will be renovated to house the apartment units.
     The senior vice president of development for Restoration St. Louis says the project will provide amenities and retail locations that will make the downtown area more attractive.
     Eastern Iowa's board of trustees signed a letter of intent Tuesday to move forward with development.


Prisoners Sue State Over Religious Rights

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A federal judge says two Iowa prison inmates must be provided nightly meals and chapel time during Ramadan and allowed the same religious accommodations as other Muslims.
     The inmates, Michael Williams-El and James Blair-Bey, sued prison officials in 2012 when they were at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison.
     Magistrate Judge Thomas Shields says in a Tuesday ruling federal law requires the men to be able to participate in their religion. He says prison officials may prevent them from taking scented oil into cells for security reasons and are not required to replace beans with soy or other meat substitutes.
     The men identify themselves Moorish Islam. In 2012 they were denied participation in Ramadan activities by the prison Imam who says their beliefs are contrary to traditional Islam.




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