Jury begins deliberating Wisconsin kidnapping case
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The jury is deliberating the case of a Colorado woman accused of kidnapping her newborn nephew in Wisconsin and leaving him at an Iowa gas station in frigid temperatures.
The attorney for thirty-one-year-old Kristen Smith said Thursday the government is misinterpreting her motives.
Prosecutors say she took 4-day-old Kayden Powell from the Town of Beloit in February. As police closed in, she put him inside a plastic tote and left him at an Iowa gas station.
Smith says Kayden's father asked her to take him because the parents were moving in with her soon.
Prosecutors say Smith was actually scheming to pass the boy off as her own.
Defense attorney Matthew Noel said Smith already has four children and a stepchild, so she'd have no need to steal a child.
Gaming commission: no new licenses for 3 years
JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - The commission that oversees casino licenses in Iowa says it will not consider new projects for the next few years it but stopped short of imposing a formal moratorium.
Commission Chairman Jeff Lamberti says he's not interested in new proposals for the remaining three years of his term on the commission. The other four commissioners agreed.
He says he wants to see how casinos opening in Sioux City, Jefferson and Davenport in the next few years operate before considering anything new.
Commissioners could change their minds if significant market changes occur or the Legislature revises gambling laws.
The commission approved a new casino for Jefferson in June, the state's 19th state-regulated casino. Iowa also has three operated by American Indian tribes.
Recent studies indicate Iowa's casino market is saturated.
Cool summer not good news for Dubuque pools
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Many Iowans are enjoying the state's relatively cool summer, but not those who operate swimming pools.
In Dubuque, attendance at two city pools is down more than 30 percent. The temperature hasn't reached 90 degrees in Dubuque this summer.
As Dubuque Aquatics Director Janna Beau put it, "It's beautiful park weather, not necessarily beautiful pool weather."
At Dubuque's Flora Pool, the 19,000 visitors in July was about 10,000 behind the totals in July 2013.
Staffers can close the pools if they don't have 30 visitors in the first two hours after opening. The pools also won't open if the temperature is below 60 degrees.
MISSOURI VALLEY PARK
W. Iowa park reopens after extensive restoration
MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa (AP) - A western Iowa state park has reopened after three years of work to repair and improve the park after devastating flooding in 2011.
The Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil reports the Wilson Island State Recreation Area near Missouri Valley will reopen Monday morning.
The state spent about $3 million to clean up and rebuild the park, which was damaged during months of flooding by the Missouri River.
The work included eliminating many flood-prone sites, changing the "first-to-flood" sites to nonelectric, and bringing electricity to other sites. The park also has a new shower house, two new dump stations, two new picnic shelters and a new park office.
The reopening was delayed by a June 3 storm that slammed the park with 4 inches of rain, high winds and baseball-sized hail.
Iowa's largest solar farm to open
KALONA, Iowa (AP) - Officials will gather to mark the opening of Iowa's largest solar farm.
Local, state and federal leaders were celebrating the operation Thursday in a ceremony near Kalona.
The Des Moines Register reports the farm is expected to generate enough energy to power about 120 homes. It adds about 2,900 solar panels to the region's growing base of sun-powered energy.
Eagle Point Solar of Dubuque built and owns the farm. But Farmers Electric Cooperative will buy the power and take possession after a decade.
Another energy cooperative has said it's looking at options for a $1.5 million array. It would be home to 1,200 solar panels near St. Ansgar.
SEX OFFENDER-COMMITMENT ACTION
Iowa sex offender facing commitment proceedings
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Iowa prosecutors want to keep custody of a 53-year-old inmate so he can be committed for treatment of a sex disorder.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier says Bruce Baker, formerly of Waterloo, is being held pending a Sept. 23 trial date on the state's commitment proposal. The state says Baker suffers from sexual sadism and a personality disorder that makes him likely to commit more sex offenses.
Baker has remained in custody since he finished his prison sentence on July 14. He'd been imprisoned on kidnapping and sex abuse charges. Prosecutors say that in February 1991, while on parole for previous crime, Baker took a woman to his home in Waterloo, bound her with duct tape and raped her while displaying a knife.
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