Saturday Afternoon News, January 23
Trump Speaks At Sioux Center
SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says his supporters are so loyal they would stick with him even if he stood in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shot somebody.
Trump was addressing a rally Saturday at a Christian school, Dordt College, in Sioux Center, Iowa.
In addition to criticizing his rivals, Trump went after conservative radio host Glenn Beck, who will be appearing at two rallies with Ted Cruz later in the day.
Beck is among nearly two dozen conservative thinkers who penned anti-Trump essays for National Review magazine.
Cruz is Trump's most serious challenger in early-voting Iowa.
Several Republican contenders are in the state this weekend, with just nine days to go before Iowa's caucuses open the voting in the 2016 campaign.
Des Moines Schools Fire Bus Driver And Aide
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Des Moines Public School District has fired a school bus aide and a driver over what officials say was the physical abuse of a special-needs student.
The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/1PLblLa ) that Nov. 4 surveillance video from the bus shows the aide yelling at the crying student, saying he was "too big to be crying." The video shows the boy repeatedly standing because the straps of his seat belt had not been properly tightened.
School officials say that when the aide saw the boy stand up, she pushed him against the bus wall, pressing his face into a window for the rest of the ride.
Official fired the aide and the driver on Dec. 1. Officials say the driver was fired for not intervening.
Construction Worker Recovers After Falling From Bridge
KNOXVILLE, Iowa (AP) - A construction worker is recovering after falling from a southern Iowa bridge and being trapped under ice.
The accident happened near Knoxville around 9 a.m. Friday.
Knoxville Fire Chief Jim Mitchell says the 57-year-old man was working on the Asa Marshall Bridge south of Knoxville when he fell 11 feet and through an icy stream underneath. His co-workers pulled him from the water using a crane.
He was taken to a Knoxville hospital and later brought to a Des Moines hospital for overnight observation.
Mitchell says the man was in the water for around 30 seconds. His injuries are from a combination of hitting the ice and being in the cold water.
Federal Judge Sides With Students With Logo Lawsuit Against Iowa State University
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A federal judge has ruled that Iowa State University violated the free speech rights of student members of a pro-marijuana student group by barring them from using a university logo on T-shirts.
Judge James Gritzner on Friday granted members of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws a permanent injunction. It means ISU administrators cannot use a trademark policy to prevent the organization from printing shirts depicting a marijuana leaf.
Former presidents of the group Erin Furleigh and Paul Gerlich sued in July 2014 alleging ISU withdrew approval of a marijuana-themed T-shirt featuring the school's Cy mascot under pressure from donors and lawmakers.
A spokesman for the attorney general's office says ISU is reviewing options including an appeal.
The students' attorney says they can now pursue monetary damages.
Judge Decides Against Suit To Stop Iowa Medicaid Privatization Plan
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A judge has declined to halt Iowa's efforts to turn over management of its Medicaid program to private insurers.
Two companies failing to win bids to help administer the program sued seeking to halt the transition to managed care which is now expected to begin in March.
Aetna Better Health and Meridian Health Plan claimed the bidding process was rigged and the state should do it over again. They were joined by WellCare, which initially won a contract but was disqualified in December for unfair bidding practices.
Polk County judge Robert Blink says in his ruling Friday the companies failed to show they'd suffer irreparable harm if the plan went forward and further delaying implementation would cause confusion and uncertainty for the 560,000 Medicaid members and their medical providers.
Man Pleads Guilty To Two Murders
CRESTON, Iowa (AP) - A man representing himself in court has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the December killings of two people in southern Iowa.
Union County Attorney Tim Kenyon says 37-year-old Jerry Dillinger represented himself in court Friday and pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of Dillinger's former sister-in-law, Loretta Dillinger, and another person, whom Dillinger identified as Michael Robinson.
Loretta Dillinger's body was found Dec. 2 in a farm pond near Lorimor.
A second body was found near a house in Thayer. The identity of that body hadn't been confirmed by DNA testing, but Dillinger said in court it was Robinson, who was in a relationship with a Dillinger family member.
Dillinger asked to be sentenced immediately and received two consecutive life terms.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa has received a nearly $97 million federal grant to tackle the state's water quality and flood challenges.
Gov. Terry Branstad, along with state and local leaders, announced Friday that the state was awarded the money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in order to help speed up flood reduction and water quality efforts in Iowa's key watersheds over the next five years.
A key component of the grant will be to advance a project within the Bee Branch Watershed in Dubuque to repair flood-damaged homes and make them more resilient to floods.
Iowa is among 13 states and cities to receive the award, which is a part of the Natural Disaster Resilience Competition. The state was awarded the fourth-largest grant of any applicant.
Iowa Has 1.22 Million Head Of Cattle On Feed
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new U.S. Department of Agriculture report says the number of cattle and calves in large Iowa feedlots is unchanged from last year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the number of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with capacities of 1,000 or more head totaled about 1.22 million on Jan. 1 - the same total as Jan. 1, 2015. However, the total is up 3 percent from December.
Cattle placements during December totaled 185,000 head, a decrease of 16 percent from November and down 8 percent from December 2014. About 142,000 fed cattle were marketed for the month of December, up 14 percent from the previous year.