DES MOINES (AP) — Iowa's governor has ordered all state flags to be lowered to honor those killed and injured at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Gov. Kim Reynolds' order was issued in conjunction with President Donald Trump's order to lower all United States flags to half-staff until sunset Monday.
Flags will be at half-staff on all public buildings, grounds and facilities throughout the state.
Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly their flags at half-staff as well.
2 men injured in blaze at Waterloo residence
WATERLOO (AP) — Authorities say two men suffered minor injuries after a fire broke out in a Waterloo duplex.
Waterloo Battalion Chief Mike Moore says smoke alarms awakened at least one of the residents around 1:20 a.m. Friday, and she alerted other people in the building. The two men were treated at a hospital for smoke inhalation and minor burns. Two other occupants were not injured.
Firefighters limited the flames inside to just the bedroom where the fire began, but there was considerable damage to the front of the structure.
The fire cause is being investigated.
Man accused of killing grandparents said competent for trial
MASON CITY (AP) — A man accused of stabbing to death his grandparents in the Mason City home they shared has been ruled competent for trial.
A judge said in a Cerro Gordo County District Court filing Tuesday that 25-year-old Codie Matz will be able to understand the proceedings and assist in his defense. In December his attorneys filed court documents saying it "appears the defendant is suffering from a mental disorder."
Matz's trial is scheduled to begin March 27. He's pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutors say he killed 61-year-old Kenneth Hackbart and 64-year-old Kathleen Hackbart. Officers found their bodies Nov. 7.
Department says Iowa inmate struck officer in head
CORALVILLE (AP) — The Iowa Corrections Department says an inmate struck a correctional officer at the Iowa Medical Classification Center in Coralville.
The assault occurred around 2:05 p.m. Thursday. The officer handcuffed the inmate and then moved inside a cell to help move him, because the inmate uses a wheelchair. The department says the inmate then used both fists to strike the officer once on the side of his head.
The officer suffered bruising and scratches from the strike and a headache. He was taken to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for examination.
The names of those involved have not been released.
Tentative settlement reached in Sioux City casino lawsuit
SIOUX CITY (AP) — A tentative settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed over nearly $1.8 million in unpaid revenue-sharing funds from the former Argosy Sioux City riverboat casino.
The Sioux City Journal reports that attorneys notified a U.S. magistrate last week of the tentative deal. The terms have not been disclosed.
The nonprofit Community Action Agency sued the Belle of Sioux City, which operated the Argosy, and Belle's parent company, Penn National Gaming, on behalf of itself and other nonprofits that had received grants from Missouri River Historical Development Inc. That organization was the state-licensed nonprofit group that collected and distributed a portion of Argosy gambling profits to charitable and civic organizations.
Prosecutors say they've held plea talks in kidnapping case
CHICAGO (AP) — Prosecutors say they've held talks on a possible plea deal with the suspect charged with kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois scholar from China.
Prosecutors disclosed the talks in an Urbana federal court filing, which offered no additional details. They recently said they'll seek the death penalty for Brendt Christensen, citing how he allegedly tortured 26-year-old Yingying Zhang before killing her. Her body hasn't been found.
Such pretrial talks are not unusual. They often involve defendants offering cooperation for a lesser sentence. But what Christensen could offer and whether prosecutors would be willing to recommend a punishment other than death isn't clear.
Wednesday's filing focused on a request to unseal certain court papers. In addressing that issue, prosecutors revealed the talks.
Trial is set for April 2, 2019.
Judge OKs evaluation for Illinois teen accused in shooting
CHARLESTON, Ill. (AP) — A psychiatrist says an Illinois teenager accused in a high school shooting that injured one student in September suffers from a defiance disorder and other conditions for which he can't be treated at the state's Juvenile Justice Department.
The Mattoon Journal-Gazette and (Charleston) Times-Courier reports that a judge approved an evaluation by a state agency for the 15-year-old. But Judge Matt Sullivan said the teen will remain in the custody of the Juvenile Justice Department and won't be moved to the Department of Human Services for possible placement in a treatment facility.
The teen is charged with aggravated battery with a firearm in the Sept. 20 shooting at Mattoon High School. Psychiatrist Lawrence Jeckel testified that the boy was motivated in part by "perceived bullying" but also acts as a bully himself.
Authorities investigate suspicious death of 45-year-old man
CRESTON (AP) — Authorities are investigating what they say is the suspicious death of a 45-year-old man in southern Iowa.
The Iowa Public Safety Department says Creston police officers sent Wednesday night to a Creston residence for a welfare check found the body of Paul Scheel. An autopsy has been ordered.
No arrests have been reported.
Court upholds surrogacy contracts as enforceable in Iowa
DES MOINES (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court says the birth mother of an 18-month-old girl, paid as a surrogate to have the baby, is not legally the child's parent.
The opinion issued Friday means the girl remains with the Cedar Rapids couple raising her. The child will not be turned over to the woman who gave her birth.
It's the first time the state's highest court determined surrogacy contracts in Iowa can be enforced.
The court says if the contracts were nullified it "would deprive infertile couples of the opportunity to raise their own biological children."
The case centers on Paul and Chantele Montover of Cedar Rapids who paid $13,000 to a Muscatine woman who wanted to keep the baby.
The court concluded Paul Montover, as the baby's biological father, gets permanent custody.
Former mayor invests in troubled Iowa neighborhood
DAVENPORT (AP) — A former mayor in Eastern Iowa is trying to revitalize a troubled neighborhood by encouraging more private investment with his move to the area.
In September, former Davenport mayor Ed Winborn and his wife, Sandy, purchased a home at auction in a Davenport neighborhood filled with grand but often empty houses.
Five of the 15 properties on the north side of the Winborns' block are listed by the Scott County Assessor's Office as owner-occupied.
Ed Winborn has also attempted to keep the city's core from deteriorating by bringing together a group of stakeholders last month.
Winborn called the meeting to brainstorm and identify other investors, including business owners, administrators of various trusts and representatives from local colleges.