Flooding closes George Wyth State Park
(WATERLOO) — George Wyth State Park in Black Hawk County will be closed at 6 p.m. Tuesday due to flooding from the Cedar River. Kevin Szcodronski, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau, says campers who have reservations are being contacted and offered a full refund. The weather forecast may allow for the park and campground to be reopened on Saturday morning. The campground status updates will be available by calling the George Wyth State Park office number 319-232-5505. Szcodronski says campers have option of taking a wait and see approach until later in the week when they can either have a refund for the nights the campground is closed or cancel the entire reservation.
Railroad employees rescued following derailment
(CHARLES CITY) — Rescuers called to the scene of a train derailment found the train's engineer and conductor atop one of the derailed locomotives in an area surrounded by rising floodwaters. No one was injured in the late Monday night derailment of the Canadian Pacific train, and the rail workers were safely rescued. Railroad spokesman Ed Greenberg says the derailment was caused by a washed-out rail line. Five cars — four of them carrying ethanol — derailed. Railroad inspectors say none of the ethanol leaked.
Suspect in Webster County abduction case found dead
(DAYTON) — Police say a man they believe abducted two girls from a bus stop in central Iowa has been found dead, and one of the girls remains missing. Authorities say the body of 42-year-old Michael Klunder was found Monday night at a rural property northeast of Dayton. His cause of death has not been released. Police continue to search Tuesday for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard. She and a 12-year-old girl were taken from a Dayton bus stop Monday. Police say they believe Klunder lured the girls into his truck under false pretenses. The 12-year-old later escaped and was found when she walked out of woods near a farmhouse in Boone County. Federal, state and local law enforcement as well as volunteers are now searching for the 15-year-old.
Judge set to sentence 'The Bishop' dud-pipe bomber
(CHICAGO) — A small-town Iowa letter carrier will soon learn his sentence for sending dud pipe bombs with threatening letters signed "The Bishop." A federal judge in Chicago put off announcing a sentence for John Tomkins until Tuesday after hearing arguments about an appropriate penalty last month. At that hearing, the 48-year-old Dubuque man apologized and said there were "no words to describe" his "shame." Tomkins was trying to drive up the value of shares he owned. Jurors convicted Tomkins of multiple charges last year. The most serious is for use of a destructive device while mailing threatening communications. It carries a mandatory sentence of at least 30 years. Tomkins said last month the mandatory minimum sentence was unfair. Prosecutors urged the judge to impose a sentence of around 45 years.
Growers making up for lost time in planting corn
(ST. LOUIS) — Corn growers across the Midwest have made up for lost time in a big way from a slow start to planting season after a waterlogged spring. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says 71 percent of the corn crop in key grain states is sowed. That's up from just 28 percent a week ago, though the pace remains behind the average of the previous five years of 79 percent. Huge strides are being made in Iowa, where the 71 percent of the state's corn crop is in the ground is more than quadruple where it stood a week ago. Three-quarters of Illinois' corn crop is sown, as is 70 percent of the crop in neighboring Missouri. At this time last year, nearly all the corn crop had been planted.
Legislative leaders making progress to end session
(DES MOINES) — Iowa legislative leaders say they're getting close to wrapping up the 2013 session. Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, of Hiawatha, says Tuesday that lawmakers are working out compromise deals on key issues. He says "there's a very real possibility that we are done tomorrow." Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-majority Senate are seeking agreement on education policy, property tax cuts and low income health care. Paulsen says they are making progress on all fronts, though he declined to discuss details. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Democrat from Council Bluffs, also says there are "hopeful signs." There were no floor debates in either chamber Tuesday. Leaders and members negotiating on key issues worked behind closed doors. The rest of the members are expected back in Des Moines on Wednesday.
House delays voting on one-time spending bill
(DES MOINES) — Debate in the state House on one-time spending proposals has been postponed until later this week. Republican Speaker Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha gaveled-in to a sparsely populated House on Tuesday but then quickly adjourned until Wednesday morning. A House staffer says all 99 members won't be called back to vote until compromises have been reached on education reform, property tax and other outstanding budgets. The bill that was set for debate Tuesday in the House includes about $91 million in state money to increase funding for the police officer retirement fund. The Iowa Senate also adjourned until Wednesday morning. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Democrat from Council Bluffs, says he hopes to start voting on key issues on Wednesday.
Branstad to visit Civil War site in Mississippi
(DES MOINES) — Gov. Terry Branstad is heading to the Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi later this week for a re-dedication of the Iowa State Memorial. Branstad will participate in the re-dedication Saturday morning. He says he expects thousands of people to be there to commemorate Iowans who fought in the battles and siege of Vicksburg in 1862 and 1863. More than 30,000 Iowa troops participated in the fighting. Branstad says he wants to show his appreciation and respect for that service. Branstad and the Iowa General Assembly last year approved $320,000 in funding to restore the memorial. Dedicated in 1906, the Greek-Doric monument features white granite block columns and bronze panels telling the story of Iowa residents' service in the battles.