Sunday News, July 5
USDA Expands Loan Program
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's focus has traditionally been on food production, agriculture and natural resources but under the administration of President Barack Obama the USDA also has taken on a broader rural economic development role.
The agency has funded energy projects, small business loans, upgrades to power lines and high speed internet.
Some don't consider financial support for such rural development projects to be among the agency's fundamental roles but Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack disagrees.
Vilsack is now promoting newly available funding of up to $800,000 to support farmers markets and other local food initiatives.
The USDA since 2009 has invested $800 million in more than 29,000 local and regional food projects including investments in 1,000 local food projects in Iowa and 617 in Nebraska.
Boy Wounded By Stray Bullet While Watching Fireworks
COUNCIL BLUFFS ,Iowa (AP) - Council Bluffs Police say a bullet someone fired into the air wounded a 7-year-old boy who was watching fireworks with his grandparents.
When the boy started crying and complaining about shoulder pain Saturday night, his grandparents initially thought he'd been hurt by fireworks.
But while treating the wound, the boy's grandmother discovered a bullet in the wound, which was about 1/4-inch deep.
Police say the .223-caliber bullet was likely fired in another location and hit the boy's shoulder as it fell.
The boy was treated at a local hospital and released.
Escaped Inmate Captured In Illinois
FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) - A 25-year-old inmate who escaped from the Iowa State Penitentiary Sunday morning has been recaptured in Illinois.
The Iowa Corrections Department says Justin Kestner was arrested by the Illinois State Police just south of Geneseo, Illinois, on Sunday morning.
Kestner was more than 100 miles from the prison in Fort Madison, Iowa when he was caught.
Kestner was discovered missing from the prison during a 4:45 a.m. headcount. He was last seen during a 1:30 a.m. count.
Kestner is serving a 10 year prison sentence related to two charges of theft in Woodbury County.
Woman Hiding In Suitcase
CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) - A Coralville man has been arrested on suspicion of probation violation after an officer found a woman hiding inside a suitcase in his home.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that a probation officer was conducting a residence check at 29-year-old Ryan Leigh Ransom home on Wednesday.
Ransom told the officer that no one else was inside his home before the woman was found "hidden in a suitcase located in a closet." The officer also found drug paraphernalia hidden inside of her bra.
Ransom had been ordered to have no contact with the woman as part of his probation.
Ransom is also charged with possession of a controlled substance. He remained in the Muscatine County Jail on Saturday and could not be reached for comment.
Gun Shaped Cell Phone Cases Create Concerns
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Police in Sioux City are urging people not to use a cellphone case that looks like a gun, saying the device could be confused for the real thing.
Police Chief Doug Young tells the Sioux City Journal that the case could put people who carry it in danger.
The case is designed to hold a smartphone in what would be the barrel of a handgun. It includes a pistol handle and trigger guard.
Woodbury County Sheriff Dave Drew says the phone case looks like a real gun if it's tucked into a waistband or pocket to hide the phone and show only the handle.
Omaha Woman Steals Car, Involved In High Speed Chase, Crashes Into Utility Pole
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - An Omaha woman faces charges following a chase and single-vehicle crash in Council Bluffs, Iowa, earlier in the week.
The Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil reports that 26-year-old Jessica Hauger was arrested late Tuesday after the incident.
Police say Hauger sped away when an officer attempted to pull her over in Council Bluffs. Police say Hauger lost control of the car she was driving as she attempted to take the westbound Interstate 480 ramp and crashed into a utility pole.
Police say the car was reported stolen from Omaha. Hauger was arrested on suspicion of theft, failure to stop for emergency vehicles and other counts.
She remained in the Pottawattamie County Jail on a $5,000 bond and could not be reached Saturday for comment.