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Iowa News

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A jury has awarded a former Iowa workers’ compensation commissioner $1.5 million, concluding the state and former Gov. Terry Branstad discriminated against him because he’s gay and that a pay cut was retaliation for refusing to quit. Jurors in the civil trial found Monday that Chris Godfrey proved Branstad’s attempts to get him to quit and cut his pay in 2011 were discriminatory and deprived him of his rights.

BANCROFT, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say two people found dead in Bancroft last week were homicide victims and that a third person also found there had killed himself. Officials on Monday identified the bodies found Friday in a home as 22-year-old Mason Alrik Cederwall, 30-year-old Amy Lynn Manna and 30-year-old Austin James Bernhard. The Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office determined Cederwall and Manna were shot to death and classified their deaths as homicides. Bernhard’s died was classified a suicide.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s Iowa senior adviser is departing his 2020 presidential campaign, leaving Booker without one of his top staffers in a key early voting state. Iowa senior adviser Joe O’Hern confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday that he departed the campaign last week for personal reasons. O’Hern is widely known among Iowa’s political class as a seasoned organizer with a deep understanding of the caucus process. Booker’s campaign declined to comment on the departure.

HUDSON, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say two people were killed when the vehicle they were in crashed off a Black Hawk County road. The crash occurred a little before 9:30 a.m. Sunday just southwest of Hudson. Deputies sent to the scene found the vehicle in a field and noted that it appeared to have rolled several times. The driver and a passenger, both of Reinbeck, were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver was identified as 33-year-old Kimberly Hoskins, and the passenger was identified as 32-year-old Tobi Vanhauen.

Wisconsin News

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he won’t run for office in 2022 after he accepted a full-time job running a national conservative youth organization. Walker tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in a story published Monday that the job as president of the Young America’s Foundation will prevent him from running for his old job as governor or for U.S. Senate in 2022.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul is looking for public comment as he drafts legal opinions. Kaul announced Monday that he’s set up a new website where people can comment on pending requests for attorney general opinions. All commentary will be subject to the state’s open records law.

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) – Duluth City Council is taking steps to ensure the safety of its residents following the reconstruction of a refinery that exploded in neighboring Superior, Wisconsin. Flying shrapnel in the Husky Energy oil refinery explosion just missed a tank of hydrogen fluoride, which can be deadly if inhaled. The Minnesota Public Radio News reports that the council will vote Monday on a resolution asking the Environmental Protection Agency to examine hydrogen fluoride usage at the rebuilt Husky refinery.

UNION GROVE, Wis. (AP) – A former Wisconsin dairy princess convicted of killing her ex-boyfriend’s fiancee in a case featured in a made-for-TV movie is about to be released from prison. The Wisconsin Parole Commission has granted release for 50-year-old Lori Esker. Esker will be released Tuesday from a correctional facility. Esker was convicted in 1990 of first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Lisa Cihaski. The 21-year-old woman was strangled with a belt in a car in a Rib Mountain motel parking lot in 1989.

Illinois News

CHICAGO (AP) – R&B singer R. Kelly is expected to appear in a Chicago federal courtroom on charges that he recruited girls and women to have illegal sex with him and then covered up the crimes by paying and threatening the victims and witnesses. Federal judges were supposed to meet Monday in Chicago to figure out how to proceed in the case that involves separate indictments out of Chicago and New York but that will be discussed Tuesday before Kelly is arraigned.

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) – The sister of a former University of Illinois student convicted of killing a Chinese scholar told a jury deciding whether he should be executed that he was a “very gentle person” who never raised his voice. Andrea Christensen was the last witness that lawyers for Brendt Christensen called to the stand Monday. The defense plans to rest its case in the penalty phase on Tuesday. Christensen did not testify.

CHICAGO (AP) – The father of a pregnant Chicago postal worker says police have hit a “brick wall,” and he’s urging the public to share any information about his daughter’s disappearance last fall. Kierra Coles had called in sick last Oct. 2, but she was last seen that day wearing her U.S. Postal Service uniform. Kierra Coles had called in sick last Oct. 2, but she was last seen that day wearing her uniform. WBBM-TV says Coles’ family and the Postal Service are offering more than $46,000 in rewards.

CHICAGO (AP) – An expert from Florida has been summoned to Chicago to help authorities catch an elusive alligator in a public lagoon. Sections of Humboldt Park are closed Monday while the search continues for the gator, which is at least 4 feet long. Investigators confirmed the sighting last week but don’t know what’s it doing in Chicago. Frank Robb of St. Augustine, Florida, arrived on Sunday and immediately began assessing the park and lagoon.