Friday News, July 3
Branstad Vetoes One-time Education Funding Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has vetoed $55.7 million in one-time education funding as well as a bipartisan deal to keep two state mental health institutes open.
Branstad announced the vetoes late Thursday, as he approved a slew of budget bills. Branstad approved much of the more than $7 billion in spending that was passed in the Republican-led House and Democratic-controlled Senate.
The legislative agreement included an increase in ongoing money for K-12 education, as well as the one-time payment.
The fate of the two mental health institutes - in Mount Pleasant and Clarinda - was hotly debated. After Branstad sought to end funding for the facilities, lawmakers reached a deal to keep the Mount Pleasant center open and to seek a private provider to run the other.
Law Enforcement Out In Full Force During Holiday Weekend
(Le Mars) -- With the long Independence Day weekend, law enforcement agencies expect to see large crowds on the highways, at the lakes, and even in the parks. Because of the anticipated crowds, law enforcement agencies will have a greater presence during this holiday weekend. Jeff Morrison serves as a Game Warden and Conservation Officer with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. His jurisdiction includes the Iowa Great Lakes of East and West Okoboji, Spirit Lake, and the Lower Gar. Morrison says there will be additional D-N-R officers patrolling the lakes this weekend, and with the anticipated crowded waterways, Morrison says he is most concerned about safety.
Morrison says the D-N-R will be watching boaters to see if they will be wearing life jackets.
Drunk boaters will also be a priority for the D-N-R during the holiday weekend. Morrison says the limits are the same on water as they are on the highways.
Morrison says you will not lose your driver's license if you are charged with intoxication, but you will lose your boating privileges.
Iowa State Patrol Trooper Vince Kurtz says the State Patrol will be out in force on the highways during the holiday weekend. He says they will be watching for distracted drivers, speeding, seat belt usage, and also intoxicated drivers. He points to an alarming statistic from last year's 4th of July holiday.
Plymouth County Park Ranger Derek Christoffel says campers are quickly filling the available spaces at the Hillview Recreational Area near Hinton. He says all the cabins are filled for the weekend, as well as many of the camping sites. Christoffel explains what he will be watching during this weekend.
Christoffel reminds campers that fireworks are not permitted at the county or state parks.
Federal Government To Monitor Wild Fowl For Bird Flu Virus
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The federal government has announced plans to step up monitoring of wild birds for avian influenza this fall to provide an early warning of any resurgence of a disease that devastated poultry farms in the Upper Midwest.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued plans Thursday aimed at minimizing the impacts on domestic poultry flocks if any bird flu viruses return or mutate in migrating waterfowl and other wild birds.
Federal and state biologists will collect around 41,000 samples from apparently healthy wild birds from targeted areas across the country, mostly from ducks shot by hunters.
The H5N2 strain has cost poultry producers around 48 million birds, hitting Iowa egg producers and Minnesota turkey growers especially hard.
Former Mall Security Guard Pleas Not Guilty To Killing Woman
CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) - A former security guard has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of a 20-year-old coworker shot dead inside a busy Iowa mall.
Court records show 22-year-old Alexander Kozak entered the plea in writing on Thursday through his attorney.
Investigators say Kozak shot Andrea Farrington multiple times June 12th at the Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville, killing her. The shooting prompted a chaotic scene in which some shoppers fled and others went on lockdown.
Kozak worked as a mall security guard but quit his job earlier in the day. Investigators say he went to his North Liberty home to retrieve a gun and returned to shoot Farrington, who worked at a children's museum at the mall.
Kozak was arrested during a traffic stop near Davenport after the shooting.
New Resident Has Speeding Tickets Dismissed
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A newcomer to the Cedar Rapids area had 10 of 11 speeding tickets dismissed after telling police that he didn't know he could get cited by the traffic camera system deployed on Interstate 380.
Alexander Hartman moved to Marion a few weeks ago and was stunned when he found the stack of tickets in his mail. He told Cedar Rapids television station KCRG (http://bit.ly/1dBtlvc ) that he thinks being ticketed was "wrong, because people should know what's going on before it happens."
He says he called the Cedar Rapids Police Department and soon had all but the first of the 11 tickets dismissed.
Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman says police want to give every driver an opportunity to correct behaviors before he or she is fined hundreds of dollars.