Wednesday Afternoon News, February 18
Woman Pleads Guilty To Hiding Jamal Dean After Officer Shooting
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A woman has pleaded guilty to lying to investigators of a man's whereabouts in the hours after he shot a Sioux City police officer.
Kimberly Smith of Sioux City pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to defraud the United States by obstruction or interfering with governmental functions.
Smith admitted that Jamal Dean arrived at her residence in 2013 shortly after shooting officer Kevin McCormick during a traffic stop. She helped Dean's father, Levon Dean, hide the vehicle he used to pick up his son near the shooting scene.
Smith later told police she hadn't seen Jamal Dean that day.
Dean's father has pleaded guilty to helping his son evade arrest.
Jamal Dean has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the shooting, but was also sentenced to life in prison by judge for his other crimes.
Iowa Farm Bureau Lobbies Legislature For Increase In Fuel Tax
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Members of an influential farming group are lobbying lawmakers to approve a fuel tax increase to pay for road improvements.
Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill said Wednesday that 200 members of his group were in the Capitol, talking to legislators. Hill appeared at a news conference where a national transportation research group released a report detailing weaknesses with Iowa's bridges and roads.
The report says 27 percent of Iowa's urban roads and highways are in poor condition and that 21 percent of Iowa's bridges are structurally deficient.
Lawmakers in the state House and Senate are reviewing bills that would raise the state fuel tax by 10 cents a gallon to pay for roads. The governor and legislative leaders have offered support for providing more money for infrastructure.
House Bill To Allow Community Colleges To Hire Adjunct Teachers
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A House panel has approved a bill that would allow Iowa community colleges to expand teaching hours for certain adjunct professors.
Members of an education subcommittee approved the bill Wednesday. It now moves to a full committee for review. Similar legislation failed to advance in the House last session.
Adjunct professors are currently allowed to work up to 35 hours per week. This bill would expand it to 40 hours for certain adjunct professors.
Rep. Josh Byrnes, a Republican from Osage, is sponsor of the bill. He says it would help community colleges seeking to slightly expand an instructor's hours.
Melissa Peterson with the Iowa State Education Association says she wants to make sure the bill doesn't encourage community colleges to hire more adjunct professors instead of full-time faculty.
Waverly Closes Bridge
WAVERLY, Iowa (AP) - The city of Waverly has closed the aging Third Street Bridge over concerns about its condition.
The city closed the bridge Friday due to bridge's significant corrosion.
City engineer Mike Cherry expressed frustration at a council meeting on Monday about the lack of action on the structure that was built in 1917. In 2003, a panel studied the bridge and looked at options to renovate it as a pedestrian bridge, relocate it or replace it. No action was taken after the study was completed.
Cherry says that repairs would be costly. He also says that the structure's load and lane restrictions would likely disqualify it from receiving state funding.
The state would likely provide funding to replace the bridge.