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Iowa News

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The proliferation of digital tools that can make text and email messages vanish may be welcome to Americans seeking to guard their privacy, but open government advocates fear they are being misused by public officials. Some are using them to conduct business in secret and evade transparency laws. Whether communications on those platforms should be part of the public record is a growing but unsettled debate in states across the country.

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) – Workplace safety officials are investigating the fatal injury of a man at a manufacturing plant in north-central Iowa’s Fort Dodge. The Messenger reports that the man died after being hit by and pinned under a steel beam Thursday evening. Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman Deborah Babb says the beam was being erected as part of a construction project at CJ Bio American in Fort Dodge when the accident happened. Babb declined to release the victim’s name.

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) – Businesses and volunteers are pitching in to provide more than cleanup in the wake of the destructive tornadoes that swept through three cities in central Iowa earlier this week. Organizations were helping and housing injured pets and a meatpacking plant was providing hot meals to residents in need Saturday in Marshalltown. The city of 27,000 people suffered the most damage during the Thursday storms, which surprised residents and weather forecasters.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A newspaper’s analysis shows Iowa has spent nearly $500 million in public money in the past decade to support private schools and home-school programs. The Des Moines Register found that state money goes toward supporting private-school operations through busing assistance, textbook purchases, special education funding and scholarship support. The state also offers a tax credit for those who pay private-school tuition.

Wisconsin News

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Officials at the two amphibious vehicle tour operators in the Wisconsin Dells say they have no plans to change the way they are operating. Seventeen people were killed Thursday when a similar tourist boat sank in stormy weather in Missouri. Original Wisconsin Ducks general manager Dan Gavinski and Army Ducks general manager Jason Field say their companies have operated safely for decades. They say tours are postponed if bad weather is forecast.

CHICAGO (AP) – The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for a missing sailor some seven hours after he fell off a yacht that had just started the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac. The sailor was identified as Jon Santarelli, 53, of Chicago.

UNDATED (AP) – A private inspector who warned a Missouri duck boat company about safety flaws more than a year ago says the biggest problem with the watercraft is the canopy that can trap people underneath during bad weather. Steve Paul, owner of the Test Drive Technologies inspection service in St. Louis, said Saturday that he issued a written report for the company in August. It discussed the risk of engine failure in addition to the problems with the boats’ canopies in inclement weather.

CEDARBURG, Wis. (AP) – A Wisconsin business is hiring former inmates and helping them succeed. WUWM-FM reports that all the employees at Harrigan Solutions have served time. The Cedarburg company contracts with Harley-Davidson to service the machines that create motorcycle parts. Company owner Bill Harrigan says he hopes to give former inmates a chance to show that they’ve changed.

Illinois News

CHICAGO (AP) – Gov. Bruce Rauner has named his former general counsel to serve on the Illinois Racing Board. Rauner announced Friday he appointed Jason Barclay of Hinsdale to the board, which regulates horse racing and wagering. The position pays about $12,500 per year. Rauner says Barclay served on the Indiana Horse Racing Commission prior to moving to Illinois, where he was the top lawyer for the governor’s office before leaving for the private sector.

BRANSON, Mo. (AP) – A former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board says duck boats aren’t designed for commercial recreational use. James Hall said Saturday that the boat’s design makes the World War II-era vessels prone to the kind of accidents that led to the sinking of a duck boat Thursday on a Missouri lake. The sinking killed 17 people. Hall says he doesn’t believe there’s a way to make the amphibious vessels safe, particularly in bad weather.

CHICAGO (AP) – The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for a missing sailor some seven hours after he fell off a yacht that had just started the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac. The sailor was identified as Jon Santarelli, 53, of Chicago.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation to better protect state workers in vulnerable positions. The amendment to the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act requires law enforcement agencies “to make all reasonable efforts to assist” Department of Children and Family Services workers when requested. The legislation was introduced in February, a week after DCFS worker Pamela Knight died from injuries suffered when attacked as she was trying to take a child into protective custody.

McDonald’s Workers Charged After Fight

A fight between workers at a Dubuque fast food restaurant led to charges for both of the men involved. According to Dubuque Police, the incident happened a few minutes before 7:00 Wednesday evening. 58-year-old Curtis Jeffers and 56-year-old Lazarick Childs were both working at the McDonald’s on Iowa Street when they began arguing. Childs says he was trying to tell Jeffers how to do something when Jeffers “got in his face” and the two began fighting. Jeffers told police that Childs had hit him “out of nowhere” while the two were talking. Both men were arrested and have been charged with Disorderly Conduct.

Wanted Man Found with Cocaine, Marijuana, Several Types of Pills

A Dubuque man wanted on several charges was found with multiple varieties of drugs when he was taken into custody this week. 35-year-old Andrew Gansemer was pulled over by a Dubuque Police officer on Monday afternoon. The officer recognized Gansemer and knew he had outstanding warrants for burglary, criminal mischief, and child endangerment charges. As Gansemer was being arrested, the officer found a small bag of cocaine in Gansemer’s shorts. Police searched the vehicle and found more cocaine, multiple containers of marijuana, and at least five different kinds of prescription drugs. In addition to his previous charges, Gansemer has had five new charges added against him, including counts of Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Cocaine, and Unlawful Possession of a Prescription Drug. Those new charges alone carry a maximum penalty of more than four years in prison.