Tuesday, March 4, 2014

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Davenport man charged with stealing from Navy

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — A Davenport man has pleaded not guilty to charges he stole from the U.S. Navy by collecting housing assistance money he wasn't entitled to.

The Quad-City Times reports (http://bit.ly/1kVK1MIhttp://bit.ly/1kVK1MI ) 41-year-old Steven William Ashton pleaded not guilty to theft and other charges stemming from an investigation that began a year ago in Italy, where he was stationed as a civilian naval administrator.

A seven-count indictment accuses Ashton of collecting $360,000 in housing assistance he wasn't entitled to and then lying to authorities and creating false lease agreements after being questioned.

Federal agents arrested Ashton last week in Italy. He has been released from custody and is living with relatives in the Quad-Cities area before the May 5 trial begins.

He declined to comment Monday as he left the courthouse.


Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.comhttp://www.qctimes.com


President's budget proposes horse slaughter ban SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Animal protection advocates are applauding President Barack Obama for proposing a continued federal ban on commercial horse slaughter in the U.S.

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals senior vice president Nancy Perry on Tuesday urged Congress to adopt the proposal.

A measure approved earlier this year withholds money through September for Agriculture Department inspections necessary for slaughterhouses to process horse meat for human consumption.

The ban derailed a New Mexico company's plan to slaughter horses to export the meat to overseas consumers.

The president's budget proposed continuing the inspection funding prohibition through September 2015.

The last U.S. horse slaughterhouses closed in 2007 because Congress eliminated inspection funding. Plants in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa sought to resume horse slaughtering when federal money was restored in 2011.


Senate passes wage theft bill DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Employers must explain in writing how a worker will be paid and deductions to be taken from a paycheck in a bill the Iowa Senate has passed.

The Democrat-led bill, aimed at stopping the practice known as wage theft, passed on party lines 26-23 on Tuesday with Republicans voting against it. The bill moves to the GOP-led House where continued opposition is expected because Republicans see it as additional burdensome regulation for businesses.

Sen. Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, says 400 cases of wage theft already have been reported to state labor officials this year. He says the problem is significant among immigrant workers who don't fully understand wage laws and the bill helps ensure they'll get fully paid for their work.


Senate bill requires school radon gas tests DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate has passed a bill requiring school districts to test for the presence of radon gas.

The Democratic-led bill passed 35-14 after Sen. Matt McCoy, a Democrat from Des Moines, criticized it as watered down "like a warm bucket of spit."

McCoy supports the bill but is unhappy with changes that remove the requirement of certified testers and plans to reduce radon if found.

McCoy says fewer than 10 percent of Iowa schools are tested.

Sen. Tod Bowman, a Maquoketa Democrat, says the bill isn't perfect but will identify how many schools have radon.

Republican Sen. Mark Chelgren, of Ottumwa, says the bill which moves to the House, is improved because it removes mandates that were undue burdens.

The EPA recommends building testing for the radioactive gas.


Iowa declines to release records in stun-gun case DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The state is refusing to release records involving the case of a man who died after being shocked by deputies.

The Des Moines Register sought the records from the Sept. 22 incident in Northwood after Worth County Attorney Jeffrey Greve cleared officers of any wrongdoing.

The deputies shocked 39-year-old Michael Zubrod at least four times after responding to a complaint and finding him beating his girlfriend with a hammer and scissors. He also attacked a deputy.

After finally subduing Zubrod, he became unresponsive and couldn't be revived by paramedics.

The Register reported Tuesday that it (http://dmreg.co/1g883Q6http://dmreg.co/1g883Q6 ) sought records in the case after it was closed, but assistant attorney general Jeff Peterzalek said Iowa law lets public records remain secret after an investigation ends.

Peterzalek said it would be burdensome for agencies like the Division of Criminal Investigation to comply with such requests because of the hundreds of people who seek the information.

"You have to treat everyone the same," he said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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