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Iowa News

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Nearly 50 years after Iowa moved to reduce partisanship in its court system, Republicans who control the governor’s office and the Legislature say it’s time to give politicians greater control. Legislative leaders want to change how judges are chosen after being repeatedly frustrated by court rulings on topics like gay marriage and abortion. The Iowa proposal appears to be part of a national effort in conservative states to bring the courts into sync with the other branches of government.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A storm has buried much of Iowa and Nebraska under more than a half-foot of snow. The National Weather Service says just over 8 inches of snow had piled up in Des Moines by midday Sunday, with totals a little higher in parts of southwest Iowa. About 6 inches of snow was reported in the Omaha area. The weather service issued a winter weather advisory throughout Iowa and for northeast Nebraska.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A jury has convicted a Council Bluffs man on charges related to the death of a 16-month-old girl but acquitted him of murder. The Daily Nonpareil reports the jury on Friday found Javon Jennings guilty of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment resulting in death but not of murder. Jennings was charged in the death of 16-month-old Jazlynn Harshbarger, who died last April of blunt force trauma after suffering from numerous injuries.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Des Moines woman accused of trying to pin a murder on an innocent man has been found guilty of second-degree murder and other counts in the case. The Des Moines Register reports that 54-year-old Helen Jeanette Frazier was convicted Friday of the murder count, as well as two counts of malicious prosecution. Police say Frazier stabbed 55-year-old Andrea Brown to death Jan. 2, 2017 and implicated two men who had nothing to do with the slaying.

Wisconsin News

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A newspaper is reporting that Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers will propose decriminalizing marijuana in his plan for the next state budget. The Wisconsin State Journal reports Evers also will propose legalizing marijuana for medical conditions including cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain. Under the proposal, people with previous convictions for possessing small amounts of marijuana could have their records expunged. Evers has previously advocated decriminalizing marijuana.

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Police in Milwaukee say three people were shot inside a residence after an altercation escalated. The shooting happened around 3 a.m. Saturday. Police say a 45-year-old woman, a 32-year-old man and a 31-year-old man were shot. Police say the shooting happened after an altercation escalated between the suspect and one of the victims. All three victims were taken to a hospital. Police are searching for the suspect. The shooting remains under investigation.

MERRIMAC, Wis. (AP) – Authorities say a 50-year-old man died in a car fire after his car became stuck in the snow in the front yard of a Merrimac residence. Officials say Ricky J. Guillen, of Prairie Du Sac, had driven his 1994 Buick Park Avenue into the front yard of the residence on Cemetery Street about 5:30 p.m. Friday. Witnesses at the scene said that while Guillen was attempting to back out of the lawn, the vehicle started on fire. Bystanders attempted to remove Guillen from the vehicle but were unsuccessful.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Advocates say Wisconsin’s nearly 400 nursing facilities are in crisis due to a shortage of workers and the low Medicaid reimbursement rate. Health groups Wisconsin Health Care Association and LeadingAge Wisconsin have requested that lawmakers allocate about $83 million in the next two-year budget to help the state’s nursing facilities cover costs and avoid closure. The association’s CEO, John Vander Meer, tells Wisconsin Public Radio that 27 skilled nursing facilities have closed since 2016.

Illinois News

CHICAGO (AP) – The victims of an employee who started shooting after hearing he was being fired at a suburban Chicago industrial warehouse were co-workers. They included a plant manager whose wife says he texted her “I love you, I’ve been shot at work,” and an intern in his first day on the job. Thirty-seven-year-old Josh Pinkard had been plant manager at Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, Illinois, since the spring of 2018. Twenty-one-year-old Trevor Wehner was on his first day as an intern in human resources.

AURORA, Ill. (AP) – Police say a man who killed five co-workers at a suburban Chicago manufacturing plant had his state gun license permit revoked in 2014. But Aurora, Illinois, Police Chief Kristen Ziman says Gary Martin never gave up the handgun he used in the attack Friday. Illinois lawmakers who support more gun control measures say Martin was able to keep the gun because of a flaw in the 1968 law that requires residents to get a Firearm Owner’s Identification card to purchase firearms or ammunition.

AURORA, Ill. (AP) – More than 1,500 people braved snow and freezing drizzle to attend a prayer vigil for five co-workers who were fatally shot at a suburban Chicago manufacturing plant. The Rev. Dan Haas told those who gathered for the vigil Sunday outside Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, Illinois, that Friday’s “senseless killings” at the business left the victims’ families brokenhearted over lives that “were snuffed out way too short.”

CHICAGO (AP) – Chicago police say they still want to do a follow-up interview with Jussie Smollett about a reported attack that the “Empire” star says included his attackers yelling racial and homophobic slurs. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Saturday the investigation had “shifted” after detectives questioned two brothers about the attack and released them without charges.