AP top news in Iowa at 3:58 p.m. CST

Iowa State Troopers target busy interstatesDES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Drivers are more likely to be stopped by the Iowa State Patrol in one of five counties that are home to busy stretches of Interstate 80.

The Des Moines Register analyzed five years of reports (http://dmreg.co/1eMyugdhttp://dmreg.co/1eMyugd ) to determine the Patrol’s interdiction team writes the most tickets in Pottawattamie, Poweshiek, Cass, Iowa and Dallas counties.

The records show that more than 17,000 tickets or warnings were issued in those counties from 2008 to 2012. About 22,000 tickets and warnings were issued by the team in that time.

The busiest location for traffic stops in Iowa was near mile marker 5 on I-80 not far from the Nebraska border. The specially trained troopers issued 785 tickets and warnings there.


Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.comhttp://www.desmoinesregister.com


Iowa State Trooper shoots suspect to end chaseCOUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A man who fled police in western Iowa at speeds up to 100 mph is recovering after being shot at by a state trooper in Council Bluffs.

Iowa officials say the incident began around 7 a.m. Sunday when a state trooper tried to pull over a man driving a stolen vehicle.

During the chase, the trooper ‘s car went into a ditch on U.S. Highway 275 northeast of Lake Manawa. Officials say the trooper fired when the suspect drove at the trooper.

The suspect’s SUV rolled onto its side, and he was arrested and taken to an Omaha hospital. Authorities say the suspect had a warrant out for his arrest.

The trooper was not hurt in the incident, but he will remain on paid leave while it is investigated.


Fast food manager fired after photo posted onlineDES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The manager of an Iowa fast food restaurant lost her job after a customer posted pictures of the woman making food in the kitchen while sweaty and barefoot from mowing the lawn.

The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/1cTQAKUhttp://dmreg.co/1cTQAKU ) 31-year-old Melinda Halvorsen was fired from the Taco John’s restaurant in Charles City in August.

Halvorsen recently lost her appeal to collect unemployment benefits because officials ruled she violated health codes and hurt the restaurant’s business.

Franchise owner Linda Johnson says business has declined more than 25 percent since the Aug. 8 incident.

The customer’s photo showed Halvorsen came right into the kitchen after mowing the lawn and prepared food. Johnson says security footage showed that Halvorsen also didn’t’ pay for the food she made for herself and her friends that day.


Iowa lawmaker still seeking medical marijuana lawDES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Legalizing medical marijuana will again be debated in the upcoming legislative session, though Iowa lawmakers have so far been loath to embrace a policy that is spreading in much of the country.

Democratic Sen. Joe Bolkcom, of Iowa City, said he will pursue legislation seeking to legalize medical marijuana in 2014. Bolkcom noted similar efforts have failed over the past decade, even as some Midwestern states have embraced medical marijuana.

“I think we’re a cautious state, we have some conservative views on this issue,” Bolkcom said. “I think what has been missing in Iowa is the compelling stories and recently, people are courageously coming forward and are sharing stories about not getting the care they need.”

Bolkcom said he plans to offer two bills in the next session — one that would reclassify marijuana as a drug with medical benefits and one that would create a medical marijuana program modeled on the system in New Mexico. That program features strict oversight for patients seeking the drug for medical purposes.

A total of 20 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have legalized medical marijuana, which advocates say eases the symptoms of illnesses like cancer, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Among nearby states, Michigan has a medical marijuana program and Illinois is set to start one in 2014. But in general, most of the states with medical marijuana laws are clustered in the eastern and western parts of the country.

“Iowa is one of those states in which you see activity from time to time, but it doesn’t have any motion. You’ll see that in the South and the plains/Midwestern states,” said Karmen Hanson, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, who tracks this issue. “You don’t see a lot of action on these bills in those areas.”

Marijuana remains classified as an illegal drug at the federal level, but President Barack Obama’s administration has made it clear to federal prosecutors that it is not worth their time to go after people using medical marijuana in compliance with state laws.


Muscatine charity hopes to reopen soon after fireMUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) — Organizers of a Muscatine charity that suffered fire damage last week expect to reopen in time to accept holiday donations and distribute the clothes and household items to needy families.

The Muscatine Journal reports (http://bit.ly/InScnahttp://bit.ly/InScna ) the managers of Jessica Faye’s Closet expect to reopen soon, but first they have to find a new location.

The building that housed the charity run by the Jesus Mission Church in Muscatine was damaged by fire Wednesday and some of the items sustained smoke damage.

The organization was established in honor of Jessica Faye Peine, a 5-year-old Muscatine girl who died in December 1998 after being hit by a car. Jessica’s parents donated her Christmas presents to the church that year, so they could be distributed to other children.

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