LOCKDOWN-SCHOOLS Iowa high school evacuated after email threat (Information in the following story is from: KCCI-TV, http://www.kcci.com) BOONE, Iowa (AP) – Authorities in central Iowa say they kept a high school evacuated and briefly placed several other schools on lockdown because they received an unconfirmed threat. Television station KCCI reports the threat Monday was an unconfirmed report of an intruder at Boone High School. Officials say the threat was received by email. The station reports a fire drill was under way at the school and the evacuation was continued following the threat. The Boone Community School District says other schools were placed on lockdown as a precaution. Authorities searched the school room-by-room. No injuries were reported. High school students were taken to a local YMCA, where parents were later able to pick them up. Buses later took other students home.
DRUNKEN TODDLER Iowa mom gets sentence in drunk toddler case (Information in the following story is from: KCRG-TV, http://www.kcrg.com) IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa City mother arrested after her toddler son was found legally drunk has been given a suspended prison sentence of up to 10 years. Cedar Rapids television station KCRG-TV reports the sentence means Natasha Kriener will only go to prison if she violates the conditions of her three-year probation term. She has already served 104 days behind bars. Kriener pleaded guilty in November to felony child endangerment and neglect or abandonment charges. She was set to go to trial in September, but failed to appear for a hearing and disappeared for nearly three months. She was later arrested on a warrant. Kriener was charged in February after doctors found the toddler had a blood-alcohol level of .09 percent, above the state’s legal limit of .08 percent.
IOWA EDUCATION-SURVEY Democrats point to survey, seek money for schools DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Democratic lawmakers say a survey they sent to superintendents shows many expect teacher layoffs and class size increases if the Legislature doesn’t increase state aid by a March 1 deadline. Sen. Herman Quirmbach and Rep. Sharon Steckman held a news conference Monday to announce results of a survey sent to 348 school districts. They are Democratic leaders in education committees. They say 206 superintendents responded. Of them, 57 percent say they expected teacher layoffs, 72 percent expected class size increases and 68 percent thought they would postpone ordering school materials if lawmakers didn’t increase state aid to schools by March. Lawmakers have missed a March 1 deadline for setting allowable revenue growth in the past. Quirmbach says state aid should be decided before taking up Gov. Terry Branstad’s education reforms.
IOWA SLAYING Iowa man pleads not guilty to slaying, kidnapping (Information in the following story is from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com) EARLY, Iowa (AP) – A 21-year-old Iowa man has pleaded not guilty to charges of killing his mother and kidnapping another woman. The Sioux City Journal reports Kirk Levin submitted a written plea Monday. He faces charges of first-degree murder and third-degree kidnapping. Prosecutors say Levin repeatedly stabbed his mother, Marilyn Schmitt, at her farmhouse in Early on Jan. 3. They say he then kidnapped a 21-year-old woman who he tied up and put in the trunk of a car. The woman escaped after Levin drove into a ditch. Levin had been released from prison days earlier after serving time for burglary charges. Gov. Terry Branstad’s spokesman has defended the state’s release of Levin.
TRAIN ACCIDENT Iowa man injured after machinery struck by train WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) – Authorities in northeast Iowa say a man was injured when the machinery he was driving was hit by a train. The Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office says Rick Wermerskirchen of Waterloo was driving a county-owned road grader that was crossing railroad tracks Monday near Jesup. A Canadian National Railroad train then hit the road grader. The 51-year-old Wermerskirchen, a county employee, was transported to Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo with multiple injuries. Authorities say the injuries are not life-threatening. Authorities are still investigating the accident.
NATIONAL GUARD-SENDOFF Iowa National Guard holds sendoff ceremony (Information in the following story is from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com) OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) – A sendoff ceremony has been held for 100 members of the Iowa National Guard headed to Afghanistan. The Des Moines Register reports the Guard hosted the ceremony Monday at Indian Hills Community College for 100 members of the Ottumwa-based 833rd Engineer Company. It included a brief formal ceremony and prayer by guard commanders. Soldiers then boarded a pair of charter buses. The unit will first report to Fort Bliss, Texas, before deploying to Afghanistan to execute mobility missions and reduce minefields and explosive devices.