Tuesday Afternoon News, August 6
Branstad Appoints New Education Director
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has named the superintendent of a small Polk County school district as director of the Iowa Department of Education.
Branstad announced Tuesday that he'd appointed 44-year-old Brad Buck to head the department.
He will replace Jason Glass, who left the position in June to take a job with a Colorado school district.
Buck has worked as superintendent of the 1,300-student Saydel school district since July 2011. He previously was an administrator in the Waukee, Hudson and North Mahaska school districts.
He began his education career in 1992 as a middle school science teacher in Ankeny.
Branstad says Buck has the skills to implement education reforms approved by the 2013 Legislature, including a teacher leadership program that will be phased in over several years.
Trucking Company Fined For Sexual Harassment
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A judge has ordered the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to pay an Iowa trucking company $4.7 million in legal costs for bringing frivolous claims during a six-year sexual harassment lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge Linda Reade's judgment for CRST Van Expedited is believed to be the largest-ever fee sanction against EEOC.
EEOC spokeswoman Christine Nazer said Tuesday the agency is "deeply disappointed" in last week's ruling and considering an appeal.
EEOC sued Cedar Rapids-based CRST in 2007 on behalf of female employees who had allegedly suffered sexual harassment by male drivers and trainers.
CRST paid $50,000 to settle one woman's claim, but more than 250 others were dismissed. Reade says EEOC brought 153 "unreasonable or groundless" claims and made an unsupported allegation that CRST had a practice of tolerating harassment.
Des Moines Construction Accident
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A construction worker from Marshalltown has been seriously injured after being run over by an excavator on Interstate 80/35, just north of Des Moines.
The Iowa State Patrol says 50-year-old Trinidad Banderas was hurt Monday night in a construction zone in the interstate's westbound lanes.
Excavator driver Jason Uhlenhopp, of Allison, didn't see Banderas as he walked in front of the equipment, which then ran over the worker with its front tires.
Banderas was taken to a Des Moines hospital.
The state patrol says charges against the 41-year-old driver aren't expected.
Suspect Caught In Woman's Death
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they have captured a possible suspect in the death of a woman who was found injured Monday at a northern Iowa park.
Division of Criminal Investigation agent Mike Krapfl said Tuesday an autopsy is being conducted to determine the woman's cause of death, which appears to be foul play.
Krapfl said 39-year-old Tyrone Washington Jr. is considered a possible suspect in the death. He's being held in Scott County on traffic charges.
The woman called 911 seeking help before noon Monday at Swensrud Park in Northwood. She was found by deputies suffering injuries, and later died at a hospital.
Washington was captured four hours later near Walcott in eastern Iowa after a pursuit with a state trooper. Authorities say Washington was driving the victim's 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix.
Court Rules Inmates Don't Need To Be Compensated
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A federal appeals court has ruled the state doesn't have to compensate inmates who were held beyond their proper release date.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mahaska County sex offender Richard Scott and other inmates.
They argued they were held too long under a 2011 Iowa Supreme Court decision dealing with credit for time served when probation has been revoked.
The ruling prompted officials to release 551 inmates and recalculate release dates for 2,588 others.
The class action lawsuit was filed against Corrections Department Director John Baldwin, seeking compensatory damages.
The Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday Baldwin was protected from liability, ending the case because government entities can't be defendants in federal lawsuits.
Scott's attorney, Jeff Lipman, couldn't be reached for comment.