Iowa News

Officials report new probable case of bird flu in Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Officials say there's another probable case of bird flu in Iowa. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship said Wednesday it's responding to a probable case of bird flu at a commercial laying operation in Wright County in northern Iowa. Initial testing was positive for the disease. If confirmed, the operation's estimated 1 million birds will be euthanized. The announcement comes a day after the department said other probable cases were reported in Adair and Webster counties. More than 26 million birds have been affected by bird flu in the state. Neighboring Nebraska and Minnesota have also announced new cases of the disease.

Iowa adjournment rules differ from many other states
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — While the timetable for adjournment in the Iowa Legislature remains up in the air, lawmakers in many other states have more clear schedules to follow. Leaders in the Republican-led House and Democratic-majority Senate reported to the state Capitol on Wednesday as they continue to negotiate a budget deal. The timing for conclusion is unclear. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Democrat from Council Bluffs, says there was still a "serious gap" between the two sides. Daily expense payments for lawmakers ended May 1st, but the real final deadline is July 1st, when the new budget year starts. In many other states there are more strict rules regarding the number of days to meet or a fixed time to finish work. Still, there can be ways to work around those rules.

Iowa's unemployment rate drops to 3.8 percent in April
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa's unemployment rate has dropped from 4 percent in March to 3.8 percent in April. Iowa Workforce Development announced the rate Wednesday, noting that despite a decrease of 1,700 nonfarm jobs in sectors like manufacturing, government and trade and transportation, 23,700 more people are working in the state than a year ago. There are currently about 1.6 million people employed in Iowa. The department says the drop in nonfarm jobs since March is linked to seasonal and education-related work. Construction work increased by 2,400 jobs. Iowa's unemployment rate was 4.4 percent one year ago. Nationally, the unemployment rate for April was 5.4 percent.

Waterloo schools using art to encourage end to violence
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Twelve Waterloo schools are using art to help promote peace following a recent rash of shootings and stabbings. The idea behind the Stop the Violence project began with art teacher Will Overstreet, who wanted to do something after learning of three gunfire incidents in a 24-hour period last month. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that Overstreet emailed other art teachers in the district, with many agreeing to enlist their students to help with the project. Students in Overstreet's after-school art club have helped create a peace sign that stands more than six feet tall. They also are working on weaving strips of plastic material through the fencing on the back of the stands at Hellman Field. The material will spell out "We Need Leaders" when it's finished.

2 people arrested in SW Iowa death of 3-year-old girl
BEDFORD, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have arrested two people in the death of a 3-year-old girl in the southwest Iowa city of Bedford. The Iowa Department of Public Safety announced Wednesday that child endangerment charges were filed Friday against the girl's father, 25-year-old Charles Hall, and his girlfriend, 25-year-old April Clair. Hall is from Chicago and Clair is from Bedford. Both remained in custody Wednesday. The Taylor County Sheriff's Office responded to a call Friday and found the girl unresponsive. The Taylor County medical examiner later pronounced her dead. Hall's attorney, Scott Sobel, declined to comment. A phone listed for Clair's attorney rang busy on several calls and didn't go to voice mail. The Department of Public Safety and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation are assisting Taylor County in the case.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press