Tuesday Afternoon News, July 16
3200 License Plates Get Pass For Speeding, Red Light Cameras
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - State data shows that more than 3,200 license plates have been issued to local, state and federal agencies with a designation that allows them to avoid tickets from Iowa traffic cameras.
A recent speeding incident involving Gov. Terry Branstad's state SUV has revealed how cities give a break to some government vehicles caught on red light and speed cameras.
Several cities said they do not issue tickets to drivers whose plates are not included in police databases because they're conducting undercover or sensitive work.
Iowa Department of Transportation data requested by The Associated Press shows that 350 agencies have been issued at least one license plate with that designation, ranging from small police departments to the Transportation Security Administration.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources leads the way with 210.
Environmental Groups Want Tougher Water Quality Rules
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Environmental groups pushing the federal government to take over enforcement of Clean Water Act regulations in Iowa say Gov. Terry Branstad has lobbied the EPA on behalf of farmers, ignoring the fact that water in Iowa's rivers is worsening
due to manure spills and farm runoff.
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement says Tuesday it has obtained a letter from Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds through a Freedom of Information Act request. The letter shows Branstad and
Reynolds wrote to top EPA officials in Washington in May, stepping over the EPA's regional office in Kansas City, which is negotiating with Iowa DNR about stricter livestock enforcement.
Branstad and Reynolds express "strong concern" about proposed increased farm regulation.
The EPA has been pushing Iowa for stricter enforcement for a year.
Newell Man Drowns
(Storm Lake) -- Buena Vista County authorities responded to an emergency call regarding a possible drowning at Sturchler's Pit of rural route Newell on Monday. Authorities were notified of the incident at about 8:12 p.m. An adult male had entered the water at Sturchler's Pit and was swimming. The victim slipped beneath the water and did not resurface. Witnesses on scene entered the water and attempted to locate the male, but were unsuccessful. Rescue units were dispatched to the scene and a search was conducted. At about 9:40 p.m. the body of the missing man was recovered. He has been identified as 49 year old Kurtis Kruse of Newell, Iowa. The victim's body has been transported to the State Medical Examiner's office in Ankeny, Iowa.
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have released the name of a 19-year-old Waterloo man who went missing while floating down the Cedar River in eastern Iowa.
The Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office identified him as Andre Tims. Authorities say Tims was floating with several other people on Sunday evening when they hit debris in the river near Black Hawk
Park, which sits northwest of Cedar Falls.
Searchers are using a sonar-equipped boat and are still looking along the banks.
Davenport Woman Drowns In Mississippi River
DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - A preliminary ruling on the death of a 29-year-old Davenport woman is that she drowned.
The body of Jennifer Cooney was pulled from the Mississippi River on Friday morning, about 200 yards downstream from the Crescent Bridge.
Davenport Assistant Police Chief Don Schaeffer says the death was either an accident or a suicide because no visible signs of other injuries were found during an autopsy.
The Quad-City Times says the death investigation is continuing.
Emerald Ash Borer Located In Iowa Trees
BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) - Officials say an insect that's killed millions of ash trees has been found in a second Iowa location.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture said in a news release Tuesday that an emerald ash borer was found in a tree in the southeastern Iowa city of Burlington.
The first sighting was made in 2010 in northeast Iowa, on Henderson Island in the Mississippi River.
Emerald ash borers are native to Asia and were first detected in Michigan in 2002. Since then the insects have killed more than 50 million ash trees as the infestation moves from state to state.
The borer can spread when infested logs or firewood are moved from one area to another. In Nebraska officials have begun a voluntary firewood restriction to help stem the tree onslaught.