Eastern Iowa man sentenced to life for killing cab driver

IOWA CITY (AP) — An eastern Iowa man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of an Iowa City cab driver.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that 42-year-old Curtis Cortez Jones was sentenced Friday after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder in November for the 2017 death of Ricky Lillie.

Jones maintained his innocence in a statement read to the sentencing judge. Lillie's mother said in a victim statement that she wishes Iowa had the death penalty.

Jones is also charged in the fatal shooting of Iowa City bail bondsman Jonathan Wieseler. That trial is scheduled to begin on Friday at the Polk County Courthouse. Both trials were moved because of intense publicity.

Eastern Iowa siblings get probation for sham marriage scheme

WATERLOO (AP) — An eastern Iowa man has been turned over to immigration authorities and his sister sentenced to probation after they set up a sham marriage to keep the man in the United States.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that 27-year-old Selmir Salkanovic, of Waterloo, was accused of marrying a U.S. citizen purely to obtain an upgraded immigration status after he overstayed a tourism visa.

His sister, Sanela Dedic, was accused of paying off an unidentified American woman to be the bride in the fake marriage. The siblings pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud.

Dedic allegedly offered to pay the woman $5,000 and gave her a Ford Taurus. She also allegedly asked the woman to fill out immigration paperwork and travel to Omaha, Nebraska, for a hearing for her brother.

Northern Iowa nature center to get $386K in renovations

MASON CITY (AP) — A northern Iowa nature center is getting $386,000 in renovations this year.

The Globe Gazette reports that the Lime Creek Nature Center announced plans to replace the center's original main-level exhibits with "museum-quality," ''interactive" and "durable" ones that will highlight the area's natural resources and the unique features and history of the Lime Creek Conservation Area. It's also designed to provide an engaging educational experience for visitors.

The nature center opened in 1984 and was one of the first in Iowa. It features displays that include mounted animals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and natural resources as well as an auditorium and library.

Managers say some of the center's current displays are outdated and deteriorating.