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News Briefs

Nov 28, 2016

Ash tree killer found in 39th Iowa county: Clarke County

OSCEOLA (AP) — State officials say an invasive insect that kills ash trees has been discovered in Clarke County, raising the total in Iowa to 39 counties.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture said today that an emerald ash borer larva was found in a city-owned tree in Osceola

The insects have killed tens of millions of ash trees and have been confirmed in 28 states. They are native to Asia and were first reported in the U.S. in Michigan in 2002. The insects were first detected in Iowa in 2010.


Man found in lake dies at hospital

GALT (AP) — Authorities say a 55-year-old man has died after being pulled from a northern Iowa lake.

Wright County officers sent to Big Wall Lake Thursday afternoon to check a report about someone in distress found the man face down in about 2.5 feet of water around 200 yards from shore. He was treated at the scene, but authorities say he succumbed later at a hospital. Authorities think he died from exposure and hypothermia.

The Iowa Natural Resources Department identified him as Kevin Simons, who lived in Fort Dodge.

The department’s Ken Lonneman said today that officials don’t know what Simons was doing in the lake.


Interim director named to Iowa’s transportation agency

DES MOINES (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has named an interim director to oversee Iowa’s transportation department after its last leader resigned.

The governor’s office says Mark Lowe will formally take over the Iowa Department of Transportation on Tuesday. Lowe gave an agency budget presentation today following an announcement of his new post.

Lowe replaces Paul Trombino, who resigned earlier this month. Trombino, whose last day on the job is today, says he stepped down so he could consider taking a private sector job.

Lowe has led Iowa DOT’s motor vehicle division since 2009, and he previously served as the department’s general counsel. There is no timeline for naming a new Iowa DOT director, though officials are now accepting applications.


Iowa medical cannabis oil supporters hope for law expansion

DES MOINES (AP) — Medical marijuana supporters are hopeful the Iowa Legislature could expand the state’s limited cannabis oil law.

The Des Moines Register reports that Republican Rep. Clel Baudler plans to propose a bill that would allow the production and distribution of medical cannabis oil in Iowa.

The Legislature passed a law in 2014 that allows Iowa residents to possess cannabis oil for the treatment of epilepsy. That law is set to expire in July. A separate law currently makes it illegal to manufacture or distribute that oil in the state, while federal law prohibits its transportation across state lines.

Threase Harms, who lobbies on behalf of the Epilepsy Foundation and the upper Midwest chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, says the organizations will continue to try and educate lawmakers about the issue to build broader support.


18-year-old killed ‘gravel surfing’

BURLINGTON (AP) — Relatives say an 18-year-old died after falling under a car he was holding onto while it was traveling down a gravel road on the southwest side of Burlington.

Clayton Connelly of Burlington was injured around 1 a.m. Thursday. He was taken by private vehicle to a West Burlington hospital and then transferred to an Iowa City hospital. The Des Moines County Sheriff’s Office says he died there

The Hawk Eye reports that Connelly’s family said he’d been “gravel surfing” with friends. Gravel surfers hold onto vehicles and slide along the surface as the vehicles move down gravel roads.The Sheriff’s Office says Connelly exited the vehicle while it was moving.

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