Home News Friday Afternoon News, December 28

Friday Afternoon News, December 28

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SIOUX CITY EXPLOSION

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Two men were injured in an explosion at a Sioux City landfill.
Assistant Fire Chief Dan Cougill told the Sioux City Journal the men injured Thursday were employees of Gill Hauling, which operates the city-owned landfill.
Emergency responders were called to the landfill about noon and found an explosion and fire had damaged an office area of the scale house, where trucks weigh the garbage they’re hauling. Cougill says the building also is a collection point for household hazardous materials.
Cougill says he didn’t know how seriously the men were injured. Their names weren’t released.
Cougill says the explosion may have been caused by a buildup of methane.

ELECTION 2020-IOWA DEMOCRATS

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Barack Obama’s earliest supporters in Iowa are setting aside the romance of his surprise 2008 caucus victory and focusing on who can seize the presidency from Donald Trump.
In Iowa, where Democrats look back wistfully on his Cinderella rise, uniform antipathy for Trump and the divisive 2016 Democratic caucuses between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have party activists thinking more with their heads than their hearts at the onset of the 2020 campaign.
Some say it’s foolish to try to recreate the Obama phenomenon. Cedar Rapids Obama organizer Dale Todd says such an effort would be “false.”
As many as two dozen Democrats may be vying for support in the caucuses, scheduled for February 2020, a little more than 13 months away.

COLD CASE-ARREST

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – The attorney for a man charged with the 1979 slaying of a Cedar Rapids high school student says his client will plead not guilty.
Leon Spies is the attorney for Jerry Lynn Burns, and Spies told The Des Moines Register Thursday that Burns will enter the plea at his arraignment. The 64-year-old Burns is being held on $5 million bail .
Police arrested the Manchester resident on Dec. 19, charging him with first-degree murder 39 years to the day after 18-year-old Michelle Martinko was killed. Her body was found early the next day inside her family’s car parked at a shopping mall.
She had stab wounds to her face and chest.
Police say they matched a blood sample from the crime scene with a sample taken from the suspect.

OBIT-CULVER

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – John C. Culver, a Democrat who represented Iowa in Congress during the Vietnam War era, has died at age 86.
Longtime friend Jim Larew said Culver died late Wednesday at his home near Washington after a long bout of chronic illness.
Culver was a Cedar Rapids lawyer and former aide to Sen. Ted Kennedy when he was elected to the House in 1964. After a decade in the House, he was elected to an open Senate seat in 1974. He served one term before losing to Sen. Chuck Grassley in the 1980 election.
Culver is also the father of former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, who served from 2007 to 2011.
After leaving public service, Culver practiced law and was involved with the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

ALDERMAN ARRESTED

EAST MOLINE, Ill. (AP) – An East Moline alderman has been arrested in Iowa on misdemeanor charges of public intoxication and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The Quad City Times reports that Alderman Jose Roberto “JR” Rico was questioned Wednesday night by officers who, in response to a call about a disruptive and intoxicated man at a Davenport bar, found Rico staggering, slurring his words and smelling of alcohol. Officers found a glass pipe in his jacket that smelled of marijuana and contained burnt residue and he was taken into custody after he refused to take a breathalyzer test.
On Thursday, the newspaper reported that Rico says that he’s not sure what happened and is talking to his doctor to determine if prescription drugs played a role in his behavior Wednesday.

RAILROAD CROSSING-IOWA

CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) – A judge has rejected the city of Coralville’s request to build a new railroad crossing to accommodate future development near the Coral Ridge Mall.
Administrative Law Judge Jonathan Gallagher sided with the Iowa Interstate Railroad, which opposed Coralville’s plan to establish the crossing near Lowe’s west of Coral Ridge Avenue.
The city requested permission to build the crossing after negotiations with the railroad failed.
Coralville says the crossing would provide a second access point for emergency vehicles into land that’s expected to be developed commercially in the future. The railroad argued the plan would be challenging from an engineering perspective and that the city has several nearby crossings.
In a Dec. 18 ruling, Gallagher says the city’s request to use eminent domain is premature. He says the city has no specific development plans or details on the infrastructure changes and costs that building a crossing would require.

AP-WF-12-28-18 1221GMT