Gov. Branstad’s lawyer tries to dismiss lawsuitDES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lawyers for Gov. Terry Branstad want a discrimination lawsuit against the governor dismissed in federal court, arguing Tuesday that the suit was the same as one previously filed in state court.
Branstad’s attorneys appeared in U.S. District Court in Des Moines to seek the dismissal. They said the suit filed by Iowa Workers Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey this year is similar to one he filed in state court last year. Godfrey alleges that Branstad and top staffers discriminated against him because he’s gay.
“This case has been in state court for 18 months,” said Branstad’s attorney George A. LaMarca. “It’s simply another bite at the apple and there’s no reason why we should have two parallel cases.”
But Godfrey’s attorney, Roxanne Conlin, says the systems are different and that she routinely files in state and federal court for these types of cases.
“There is no danger of duplication or different outcomes,” Conlin said.
Godfrey, who oversees disputes between injured workers and their employers in Iowa, sued in January 2012. Godfrey charges that the governor cut his salary by nearly $40,000 after he declined to resign.
The state suit is on hold until the Iowa Supreme Court rules on whether state officials have immunity against defamation.
Man agrees to plea deal in Iowa man’s deathSPENCER, Iowa (AP) — A man accused of killing a northwest Iowa man during a fight has agreed to a plea deal that lowers his charges.
The Sioux City Journal reports (http://bit.ly/18LpHIhhttp://bit.ly/18LpHIh ) 23-year-old Chase Foote pleaded guilty Monday to felony involuntary manslaughter and misdemeanor charges of public intoxication and assault causing bodily injury. He was later sentenced to up to seven years in prison.
Foote originally faced charges of second-degree murder and willful injury in connection with the death of 44-year-old Jefferson Wilbur, of Dickens.
The newspaper reports Wilbur’s badly beaten body was found in September. He died two months later at a hospital.
Foote must pay $150,000 to Wilbur’s estate as part of the sentence.
Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.comhttp://www.siouxcityjournal.com
Iowa DCI: Sheriff’s deputy sexually abused teenROCK RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A former sheriff’s deputy in northwest Iowa has been accused of sexually abusing a teenager.
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office says 35-year-old Christopher Wayne Lincecum was arrested Tuesday and charged with third-degree sexual abuse.
The department began investigating Lincecum at the end of June. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says Lincecum had inappropriate sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl on one of two occasions when the victim went on a ride-along with Lincecum while he worked.
Officials say Lincecum was booked and subsequently bonded out. Court records do not list an attorney.
The department says Lincecum left the department in the spring due to an unrelated matter. Additional information was not provided.
Salad pegged in Iowa, Neb. cyclospora outbreakLINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Iowa and Nebraska health officials said Tuesday that a prepackaged salad mix is the source of a cyclospora outbreak that sickened more than 178 people in both states.
Cyclospora is a rare parasite that causes a lengthy gastrointestinal illness. Outbreaks of the same illness have been reported elsewhere in the U.S., but it’s not clear that illnesses in any other states are linked to prepackaged salad mix. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said not all of the illnesses can be linked to that source.
Nebraska officials said the salad mix included iceberg and romaine lettuce, along with red cabbage and carrots, and came through national distribution chains. A spokeswoman for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services said the agency was still trying to identify the specific brand or brands.
Local health departments are working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to identify exactly where the contamination originated in the food production chain and where the product was distributed.
The Centers for Disease Control says 372 cases of the cyclospora infection, which causes diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms, have been reported in 15 states: Iowa, Texas, Nebraska, Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey and Ohio.
The CDC said at least 21 people have been hospitalized and most of the reported illnesses occurred from mid-June to early July. The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration are investigating the cyclospora infections but have not yet pointed to a source.
“CDC is still actively pursuing all leads and hasn’t implicated any single food item as the cause of the outbreak in all states,” said CDC spokeswoman Sharon Hoskins. “We’re still not sure if the cases in all of the states are linked to the same outbreak.”
Iowa board will consider school start date planDES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Starting classes before September would be more difficult for Iowa school districts under a proposal that the State Board of Education will consider Thursday.
The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/14ghmyfhttp://dmreg.co/14ghmyf ) that the Iowa Department of Education proposed the new rule, which would address an issue highlighted by Gov. Terry Branstad.
State law now requires districts to start school no earlier than the calendar week that includes Sept. 1, but most districts seek waivers allowing them to begin earlier. Branstad has called the current policy too lax and said starting school earlier hurts Iowa’s tourism industry.
State officials note that in the 2012-13 school year, all but eight of the state’s 348 school districts received waivers to start early.
Matt Adams, assistant superintendent for Ankeny schools, said his district plans to begin classes Aug. 15. Such a start time lets students complete their first semester before winter break, he said.
“We, as a school district, know what goals we want to accomplish, and having the ability to create a school calendar can really help you accomplish your goals,” Adams said.
The new rule would require districts wanting to start up to seven days early to have school boards hold public hearings and approve resolutions saying a later start date would harm education.