KXEL Morning News for Mon. Sep. 14, 2020

KXEL Morning News for Mon. Sep. 14, 2020

Authorities in Black Hawk County were looking for a convict who did not return from work release yesterday morning. The inmate, now considered an escapee, is 33-year-old Dennis George Devore III. Devore was convicted of Domestic Abuse Assault along with additional crimes. Devore is 5’6″ and weighs 208 pounds. He had been in the work release program for just three weeks.

President Trump announced Saturday he would give the nation’s ethanol industry a boost by approving the use of existing gas station pumps to distribute 15% ethanol-blended fuel (E-15) instead of 10% (E-10). The move comes after the President had a conversation with U.S. Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa earlier this year. The President phoned Senator Ernst Saturday morning to relay the news. Sen. Ernst praised the President’s decision, calling it a win for Iowa’s critical ethanol industry and corn growers. Democrats, however, called it a last-minute election year stunt.

A son of the president, Donald Trump, Jr., will hold a campaign rally in western Iowa today. The ‘Make America Great Again’ rally is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Treynor Community Center in that Pottawattamie County town. Tickets are free to get in, but you must request them online. I’ll be talking with Donald Trump, Jr., while he is in Iowa this afternoon; you can hear the conversation tomorrow in the 10 o’clock hour of KXEL Live & Local.

The City of Cedar Rapids announced Saturday afternoon that free pet food donated by several agencies for storm victims had run out in just 45 minutes. They had hoped to hand out food all weekend. The city is working with partners to determine if another drive can be set up in the coming days.

Cedar Rapids Police say three teens were taken into custody Friday night after a police chase and shots being fired. It all started just before 9:30 p.m. when residents reported hearing gunshots in the 1100 block of 11th Street NW. Officers found bullets had hit a garage and shell casings were found nearby. Later, an officer spotted a suspect vehicle and tried to pull it over. But the driver sped away. The chase ended near Sharon Lane and Broadmore Road NW. Four teens were inside the vehicle that was reportedly stolen from Cedar Falls–two 15-year-old girls, a 17-year-old boy and a 14-year-old boy. Three of the four were taken into custody. No one was hurt in the shots fired incident or the police pursuit.

The Southeast Polk football team came to Cedar Rapids to play football against Jefferson…and started things off by presenting them with a check for $5,050. The money raised will go back to the Cedar Rapids community to help with derecho relief. Jefferson and Southeast Polk made a last minute scheduling adjustment earlier in the week. Jefferson was originally scheduled to play Kennedy, but the Cougars were under quarantine due to COVID-19.

Students at Crossroads Park Elementary in West Des Moines could be out of the classroom for two weeks. This after more than a third of the school’s staff was absent, quarantined for either COVID-19 infection or exposed to an infection. School leaders now say they will begin remote learning this week for all students, and have applied for a waiver from state officials for distance learning to continue for at least two weeks, the normal quarantine period.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said Friday he won’t investigate Linn County or its auditor regarding issues with absentee ballot request forms. Miller acknowledged concerns outlined by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, who said Linn County Auditor Joel Miller deliberately caused the ‘personal information,’ of thousands of Iowa voters to be acquired without a legitimate purpose—namely, for sending 140,000 pre-filled absentee ballot request forms, which a judge has declared were sent in violation of state law and rendered invalid. But after reviewing the facts, the attorney general said he decided not to proceed with an investigation of Miller, a fellow Democrat.

Gov. Kim Reynolds indicated Friday she may act allow bars in six counties, including Black Hawk, to reopen early. The governor last month declared a public health emergency that closed bars in Black Hawk, Dallas, Johnson, Linn, Polk and Story counties until at least Sept. 20, a week from today. Restaurants that serve alcohol were allowed to remain open but must stop serving alcoholic beverages after 10 p.m. Reynolds took the action to slow the spread of COVID-19,  especially among people in the 19- to 24-year-old age range. She said she’d review the data early this week to see if a reopening of the bars is warranted.

Iowa’s prison population is below 8,000 for the first time in 20 years as officials try to stem coronavirus outbreaks at several facilities. Iowa’s nine prisons had 7,406 offenders as of Friday morning—still about 500 above the system’s capacity, but well below the nearly 8,500 offenders the system held in early April. With nearly 1,100 fewer offenders, prison officials have been able to quarantine inmates with the virus and create “presumptive positive units” for others who have been exposed. The 10 percent reduction in Iowa was caused, in part, by the state expediting parole for older or sicker offenders, but also by delays in court proceedings and requests by the prison system for county jails to hold some offenders longer…all due to COVID-19.