School Officials Concerned About Motorists Passing Stopped School Buses
(Le Mars) — Driving past a stopped school bus with its stop sign extended and flashing lights on, is against the law, and it continues to be a problem for the Le Mars Community School District. School superintendent Dr. Steve Webner informed the school board during its meeting held Monday evening the number of violations this year is on pace with last year.
Iowa legislators recently increased the fines and penalties as a result of Kayden’s Law when a youngster was killed due to a motorist passing a stopped school bus at Northwood, Iowa. Webner was asked if there have been any convictions because of the violators, and he responded by saying “there have been a few.” He reminded the school board of the penalties for passing a stopped school bus.
Webner says part of the problem is not all the buses are equipped with a camera to capture the image of the violator. He says it then depends on the word of the school bus driver to get the license plate number and make and model of the vehicle, or if there were other witnesses. Webner calls the problem the worst safety concern for the school.
The Le Mars Community school superintendent says the problem occurs more in town than in the rural areas. School officials have notified local police about the safety concerns. Webner says the school intends to start a campaign drawing attention of the problem beginning with a letter to parents in the monthly newsletter.
Blackout License Plates Prove To Be Popular
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A new Iowa specialty license plate with white lettering over a black background is now the state’s most popular.
The Iowa Department of Transportation has issued more than 46,000 “Blackout” plates since July 1.
That makes it the state’s most popular specialty license plate, surpassing the University of Iowa plate that 30,088 plates in circulation.
Iowa DOT officials say approximately 30% of the Blackout plates are personalized.
Plymouth County Treasurer, Shelly Sitzmann says the blackout license plates are also popular in Plymouth County, having issued more than 300 of the new plates.
In September, the Blackout plates were so popular that some counties in the state ran out of them. Sitzmann says the generated revenue from the new popular license plates go to help finance road construction projects.
An additional $25 covers the cost for a personalized plate.
DOT officials say the plates have generated nearly $2 million in revenue for road and bridge projects.
Military Contractors Merger May Mean Cedar Rapids To Lose Jobs
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – Federal antitrust regulators reviewing the proposed merger of defense contractors United Technologies Corp. and Raytheon have requested that United Technologies unit Collins Aerospace sell its Cedar Rapids-based military GPS business.
The Gazette reports that the GPS business employs hundreds in Cedar Rapids.
In a Monday email, employees were notified that regulatory agencies asked the company to explore the divestiture of the Rockwell Collins operation “to satisfy certain competitive concerns.”
Phil Jasper with Collins Aerospace said in the email that the company has not yet determined a buyer or timing for a transaction.
Jasper says employees who might be affected will be notified this week.
Collins Aerospace, headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida, was created last year with the merger of UTC Aerospace Systems and Rockwell Collins.
Authorities Investigate Gender Revealing Explosion
WAUKEE, Iowa (AP) – Authorities are investigating another explosion at an Iowa gender reveal party that happened one day after a blast at a similar gathering killed a 56-year-old woman in a nearby community.
Authorities say no one was injured in the explosion Sunday in rural Waukee, a Des Moines suburb, but they are looking into unconfirmed claims that the blast broke a neighbor’s windows.
Waukee Fire Capt. Tomme Tysdal says the Waukee explosion came from a commercially available gender reveal kit, unlike the homemade device that killed Pamela Kreimeyer on Saturday near Knoxville, a town 45 miles (74 kilometers) away.
Authorities say Kreimeyer died instantly when her family’s device exploded, hitting her in the head from 45 feet (14 meters) away.
Gender reveal parties with attention-grabbing efforts such as explosives have become increasingly common nationally and popular on social media.
Council Bluffs Police Identify Dead Body
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Police in Council Bluffs have identified a person whose body was found wrapped in a sheet near downtown.
Police said in a news release Tuesday that an autopsy showed the body is that of 35-year-old William Josephtong Dut, of Council Bluffs. Police have not revealed how Dut died, but have said his death is suspicious and that police continue to investigate.
Officers were called to the scene shortly before 9 a.m. Monday.
Authorities are asking anyone with information to contact Council Bluffs police.
Iowa City Man Arrested For Murder Of His Wife
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The husband of an Iowa health care administrator has been charged with first-degree murder in her April death.
Records show that 67-year-old Iowa City businessman Roy Browning, Jr. was arrested and booked at the Johnson County Jail on Monday.
Browning is charged in the death of his wife of 42 years, JoEllen Browning, who was found dead at their home on April 5.
Authorities say she died from “sharp force injuries ” inflicted by an assailant. JoEllen Browning had been the director of operating budgets at University of Iowa Health Care, where she had worked for decades.
Detectives from the Division of Criminal Investigation and the Iowa City Police Department had worked on the case for months.
An affidavit alleges that Roy Browning hid financial problems from his wife and that he purchased gloves and towels from a paint store the day before she was reported dead.
USDA Says Rules For Growing Hemp Will Be Released Soon
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – U.S. agriculture officials say a rule that allows farmers to legally grow hemp will be finalized this week.
It’s a move that many states have awaited for months so they can begin widespread hemp production.
The rule establishes requirements for licensing, maintaining records on the land where hemp will be grown, testing the levels of the ingredient in marijuana that causes a high, and disposal of plants that don’t meet the requirements.
The rule also makes hemp producers eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, including insurance coverage.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Tuesday that the USDA will publish an interim final rule Thursday that formalizes the hemp program approved in the 2018 farm bill.
States and Native American tribes can now submit plans for hemp production for USDA approval.