DES MOINES (AP) — Authorities say seven people have been killed — including two teenage sisters — on Iowa roads as a winter storm swept the state Monday, leading to dozens of crashes and a 50- to 70-car pileup near Ames.
The Des Moines Register reports that 17-year-old Avery Arneson and 13-year-old Aiden Arneson, sisters from Decorah, died a two-vehicle crash around 8:30 a.m. Monday on a county road in northeast Iowa. Four other teens were injured and hospitalized in that crash.
In Cedar Rapids, two men died in a crash on Interstate 380. Killed were 24-year-old Jacolby Jesse Burks, of Cedar Rapids, and 21-year-old Devion Martel Luster, of Dixon, Illinois.
One person died and several people were critically injured in the pileup that closed Interstate 35 near Ames.
On I-80, police say a person was killed in a crash east of Grinnell around 1:20 p.m., and another person died and two others were injured at 1:40 p.m. near Durant.
University of Illinois to expand animal medicine program
URBANA, Ill. (AP) — A University of Illinois program that provides sterilization procedures at local animal shelters is planning to offer other types of veterinary care to pets living with families in need.
The News-Gazette reports that the expanded shelter medicine program will begin in July and offer services such as vaccinations, dental care, heartworm screenings and wellness exams. It's funded with the assistance of a three-year grant expected to total more than $500,000 from the Sally Lorraine Sedlak Vaughan Irrevocable Charitable Trust in Springfield.
Dr. G. Robert Weedon is the university veterinarian who leads the program. He says the new services aim to assist those who can't afford private practice veterinary care, rather than to take business away from veterinary practices.
Weedon says the care for the animals will be provided by supervised university veterinary students.
Animal protection, environment groups oppose new pork rules
DES MOINES (AP) — Labor, public health, environment and animal protection organizations are asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reject plans to change the way hogs are slaughtered and processed for meat.
Thirty-five organizations, including Compassion Over Killing, Friends of the Earth and Waterkeeper Alliance, asked Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Tuesday to reject the rules proposed last month.
The rules allow plant employees instead of government inspectors to determine which animals are slaughtered and allow increased line speeds.
The groups say the changes risk increased food contamination, worker injuries, animal abuse and water pollution.
The USDA says the rules don't risk food safety and improve industry practices, and the National Pork Producers says they increase efficiency, inspection effectiveness and the rapid adoption of new food-safety technologies.
The USDA is taking comments until April 2.
Sioux City businesses dispute over annual motorcycle rally
SIOUX CITY (AP) — Some business owners have asked Sioux City officials to deny requests to hold an annual motorcycle rally and concert fundraiser on their street, saying it drives away customers and has led to profit losses.
The Sioux City Journal reports that about seven local businesses are opposing a plan by Awesome Biker Nights to continue hosting its charity event on Historic Fourth Street. The Awesome Biker Nights committee requested Fourth Street closures for its festival at a City Council meeting Monday.
Julie Schoenherr owns SoHo Kitchen & Bar. She says the event discourages regular customers from dining and that her restaurant lost $12,000 in business last year.
Awesome Biker Nights officials say other Fourth Street businesses wish to participate, so moving to a different location would prove difficult.
The council deferred a decision until its meeting on Feb. 26.
Teen pleads guilty in fire that charred Iowa covered bridge
WINTERSET (AP) — A second person has pleaded guilty for a fire that destroyed a Madison County historic covered bridge featured on the cover of the novel "The Bridges of Madison County."
Cedar Rapids television station KCRG reports that 18-year-old Joel Davis pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree arson.
Davis told authorities that he and two others set fire to the Cedar Bridge in April last year. Rebuilding the bridge will cost more than $500,000. Davis is scheduled to be sentenced April 16.
Nineteen-year-old Alivia Bergmann also pleaded guilty to second-degree arson in December. She's set to be sentenced in May.
The bridge, located near Winterset, was also featured in the 1995 movie adaptation of "The Bridges of Madison County."
Attorneys general in several states oppose federal tips plan
CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys general in over a dozen states oppose a federal Department of Labor proposal to let employers control the tips of some hourly employees.
The attorneys general filed comments in opposition with federal officials on Monday.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan called the proposal that rescinds a 2011 rule "outrageous" and likened it to wage theft.
The plan applies to employees paid the federal minimum wage, which is $7.75 an hour. In Illinois, about half a million workers could be affected.
Attorneys general in the following states and the District of Columbia oppose the plan: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, Vermont and Virginia.
Wiretap records Illinois governor hopeful's comments on race
CHICAGO (AP) — Newly released FBI wiretaps captured Democratic Illinois governor candidate J.B. Pritzker telling then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich that a state lawmaker was the "least offensive" African American he could appoint to a U.S. Senate seat.
The Chicago Tribune published the previously unreleased recording from a decade-old investigation of Blagojevich late Monday. Blagojevich is now imprisoned for convictions that included trying to trade an appointment to Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat for campaign cash.
On the recording, Pritzker suggests Blagojevich appoint Secretary of State Jesse White rather than other African Americans. He says doing so "covers you on the African American thing."
Pritzker also is heard laughing as Blagojevich jokes about appointing Obama's minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Pritzker told the Tribune he's supported many minority candidates.
Sue, largest T. rex skeleton ever found, making a move
CHICAGO (AP) — The largest Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found is on the move.
Chicago's Field Museum began dismantling the skeleton named Sue on Monday. Crews are preparing to move the display to a new exhibit and bring in a cast of an even larger dinosaur.
Sue has been in the spacious Stanley Field Hall since 2000. Sue's handler, Bill Simpson, says that despite being the largest T. rex ever found, Sue looks puny beneath the 70-foot-high ceiling in the museum's main hall.
Simpson says Sue will appear in a new exhibition space in 2019, in a second-floor gallery, where it'll look better.
Sue is making way for a cast of a titanosaur, a plant-eating dinosaur that's three times the length of the T. rex. Its neck will stretch up to the second-floor balcony level.