Sale of Collins unit not expected to cut Cedar Rapids jobs

CEDAR RAPIDS (AP) — British-based BAE Systems will maintain a presence in the Cedar Rapids area after it completes a deal to acquire Collins Aerospace’s military GPS business, officials said.
BAE announced Monday that United Technologies Corp. had agreed to sell the GPS business for $1.925 billion. The company also has an agreement to buy Raytheon Co.’s airborne tactical radios business for $275 million.
The two purchases are conditioned on regulatory approvals and United Technologies’ completion of its $135 billion merger with Raytheon Co., The Gazette reported. The U.S. Department of Justice asked Collins Aerospace in October to divest its military GPS business in order to satisfy antitrust concerns.
Plans are for GPS business’s 675 employees to stay in their Collins Aerospace facilities in Cedar Rapids and Coralville until the deal closes, BAE Systems spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told the newspaper.
Those workers would become employees of BAE Systems after the merger, she said, and then transition to a new facility in the Cedar Rapids area. Hayden said a specific location and time frame have not yet been determined. BAE does not plan to lay off employees in integrating the Collins GPS business, she said.

Drug dealer who had pipe bomb and machine guns pleads guilty

CEDAR RAPIDS (AP) — A drug dealer who sold cocaine and guns from his downtown Cedar Rapids apartment has pleaded guilty, federal prosecutors said.
Raven Burkhow entered pleas last week to several charges, including conspiracy to sell drugs, use and possession of a firearm and possession of machine guns, a sawed-off shotgun and a pipe bomb, the prosecutors said. His sentencing hasn’t yet been scheduled.
Officers who searched his apartment seized 20 firearms, including machine guns and the shotgun; the pipe bomb; cocaine, silencers; and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
As part of his plea, prosecutors said, Burkhow agreed to forfeit items named in the indictment, including nearly $178,000 in cash, six gold bars, the firearms and the ammunition. Burkhow faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and a possible maximum of life.

Officials seek help finding who shot bald eagle found in Ankeny

ANKENY (AP) — Officials are asking for help in finding the person who shot a bald eagle found in Ankeny that later died.
Ankeny police notified state officials after finding a bald eagle that was sitting on the ground at a busy intersection, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. A wildlife rehabber managed to capture the eagle and noted blood coming from its mouth.
The eagle died within a few hours of being captured. An X-ray showed the eagle died because of a lead shot BB in its lungs.
Officials think the eagle may have been shot in northeast Ankeny on Jan. 2 or 3.
Bald eagles are protected by federal law.
A reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest of the shooter. Anyone with information can call 1-800-532-2020.

Police release names of 2 people killed in Sioux City crash

SIOUX CITY (AP) — Authorities have released the names of two people killed when the car they were in collided with a semitrailer in Sioux City.
The crash occurred around 9:30 p.m. Sunday. The eastbound car didn’t halt for a red light at an intersection and collided with the northbound semi, police said.
The two people have been identified as the driver, Jordan Lines, 19, and Rebecca Cedeno, 18. They lived in Sioux City.
Police have not released the name of the truck driver, who police say wasn’t injured.

Iowa wants expert review of pipeline expansion

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Iowa regulators want owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline to provide expert analysis to back up the company’s claim that doubling the line’s capacity won’t increase the likelihood of a spill, a requirement their counterparts in North Dakota haven’t imposed.
Texas-based Energy Transfer wants to double the capacity of the pipeline to as much as 1.1 million barrels daily to meet growing demand for oil shipments from North Dakota, and is seeking permission for additional pump stations in the Dakotas, Iowa and Illinois to do it. Commissioners in a South Dakota county last year approved a conditional use permit for a pumping station needed for the expansion. Permits in the other states are pending.
The Iowa Utilities Board last week ordered the company to “provide expert explanation of whether the increased flow will increase the amount of oil that will be released if a spill occurs.”
The nonpartisan panel, whose three members all were appointed by a Republican governor, also wants information on pipeline pressure levels currently and if the expansion occurs. The company also must provide “expert explanation” on the effect any additives to the oil would have on the longevity of the pipeline.
The $3.8 billion pipeline has been moving oil from the Dakotas through Iowa to Illinois for more than two years. It was subject to prolonged protests and hundreds of arrests during its construction in North Dakota in late 2016 and early 2017 because it crosses beneath the Missouri River, just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The tribe draws its water from the river and fears pollution. Energy Transfer insists the pipeline and its expansion are safe.
Tribal members are asking the North Dakota Public Service Commission to deny the expansion of the pipeline, saying it would “increase both the likelihood and severity of spill incidents.” The company said in court filings that its $40 million pump station built on a 23-acre site would produce only “minimal adverse effects on the environment and the citizens of North Dakota.”
The North Dakota PSC in November held a hearing on the proposed expansion that was overseen by an administrative law judge. The 17-hour-long hearing was held in Linton, a town of 1,000 along the pipeline’s path and near where a pump station would be placed to increase the line’s capacity from 600,000 barrels per day to as much as 1.1 million barrels. A barrel is 42 gallons.
The three-member, all-GOP elected North Dakota panel has scheduled a “work session” on Thursday in Bismarck to discuss issues raised at the hearing two months ago. PSC spokeswoman Stacy Eberl said no action on the permit request would be taken at the work session, which could extend to at least one more meeting.
Standing Rock attorney Timothy Purdon applauded the action by Iowa regulators requiring expert analysis to back up Energy Transfer’s claims.
“You can’t properly evaluate the safety of the pipeline without this information — and the tribe has asked for this stuff but it’s not part of the record in North Dakota,” Purdon said.

Reynolds creating bureau designed to avoid school shootings

DES MOINES (AP) — Iowa will become the latest state to create an organization within state government designed to prevent school shootings under a plan announced Tuesday by Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Reynolds said she’s creating a Governor’s School Safety Bureau within the Iowa Department of Public Safety. It would cost $2 million to start and $1.5 million annually to operate, and Reynolds said she’s included needed funding in her legislative budget request.
“News headlines about school shootings and threats at unsuspecting communities across America are becoming all too common,” she said. “Although those headlines don’t often involve schools in Iowa, we can’t wait until they do to act.”
Full-time bureau instructors will train local law enforcement officers and school staff in identifying and responding quickly in a consistent way.
Reynolds’ plan calls for hiring two additional state agents with cyber training to identify and address early threats.
Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens said most school threats are made online through anonymous messaging systems or gaming platforms. The new agents will be trained to investigate, identify and act on such threats.
The plan also includes a 24-hour tip line, web-based application and app for smart phones to allow students to anonymously report tips.
Bayens said 13 other states have app-based anonymous reporting systems.

Brandon man who left mother in feces-filled home is sentenced

BRANDON (AP) — A man whose elderly mother was found in a feces-filled house with 18 dogs in northeast Iowa has been given jail time and probation. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported that David Rogers, 61, was sentenced last week to a year in jail with all but 60 days suspended. He also will have to serve two years of probation. He’d pleaded guilty to reckless dependent adult abuse with injury, two counts of animal neglect with serious injury or death and 11 counts of animal neglect. Rogers and his mother lived in a Brandon home and last August he went to a hospital for a lengthy stay without making arrangements for care of his mother or the dogs, authorities said. Buchanan County sheriff’s deputies called to the home later in the month found 18 dogs and four dog carcasses on the property. The house floor was covered in debris and several inches of feces, authorities said. A shower was filled with garbage and the remains of two dogs were found in the kitchen.

Defense asks to delay murder trial in Iowa student’s slaying

IOWA CITY (AP) — Defense lawyers for the man charged in the killing of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts are asking a judge to delay his trial.
Lawyers for Cristhian Bahena Rivera say they need to push back the Feb. 4 trial date so that they have time to appeal a judge’s ruling that allowed key evidence to be used against their client. The Iowa Supreme Court will consider whether to take the appeal before trial.
Rivera’s lawyers also say they would now like to depose several individuals recently added to the prosecution’s witness list, including Tibbetts’ boyfriend at the time of her July 2018 disappearance.
Rivera is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Tibbetts, who was 20 when she vanished while out for a run in her hometown of Brooklyn. He faces life in prison if convicted at trial, which will take place in Sioux City.
Investigators say Rivera, a dairy farm employee, led them to Tibbetts’ body in a cornfield in August 2018 after an interrogation. They also say Tibbetts’ blood was found in the trunk of Rivera’s car, which is seen on video driving near Tibbetts while she was running.
Prosecutors say there’s “no basis” for any delay in the trial.

Body of man in standoff found in fire-damaged home

WEST BURLINGTON (AP) — Authorities have recovered from a fire-damaged home the body of a man involved in a standoff with officers in southeast Iowa.
The body of 62-year-old Michael Kartel was found in his West Des Moines basement around 8 p.m. Monday, said Police Chief Jesse Logan. It was taken away for autopsy, Logan told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Officers were sent to Kartel’s home around 2:40 a.m. Monday to check on his welfare. Logan told The Hawk Eye that Kartel had assaulted a woman Friday and was threatening to assault her again.
Kartel brandished a shotgun when officers arrived, Logan said, so they backed away and called for backup. Officers heard shots inside the home, and the chief said Kartel also fired in the direction of officers, hitting none. No one fired back, Logan said.
Negotiators made little progress, Logan said, and a fire thought to have been set by Kartel was noticed around 2 p.m. Firefighters were kept from battling the flames because of the threat posed by Kartel until around 4:30 p.m., when officers concluded that he wasn’t hiding in wait.
Court records show Kartel had previous run-ins with authorities. He was awaiting prosecution on charges of harassment and driving while intoxicated.

Trial set for woman accused of slayings, firing at officers

COUNCIL BLUFFS (AP) — A February trial has been scheduled for a woman charged with the shooting deaths of two men and the attempted murders of two law officers in western Iowa.
Pottawattamie County court records say April Montello-Roberts, 44, of Shenandoah, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder of an officer, one count of burglary and one of robbery. Her trial is set to start Feb. 18 in Council Bluffs.
Montello-Roberts helped her boyfriend, 28-year-old Troy Petersen, of Essex, in the robbery and killing of 52-year-old Jerrot Clark last August, prosecutors have said. Days later, the pair escaped after a Council Bluffs officer tried to pull over their pickup truck.
They then randomly approached 51-year-old Steven Carlson’s home with a plan to take a hostage to use as leverage to escape police. Petersen instead shot and killed Carlson, authorities said.
The pair later crashed while fleeing from officers who reported being shot at. Petersen was shot dead in the wrecked truck by an officer who said he saw Petersen hold a handgun to Montello-Roberts’ head.