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This Hour: Latest Iowa news, sports, business and entertainment

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Possible drowning investigated in southeast Iowa

SPERRY, Iowa (AP) - Southeast Iowa authorities are investigating the death of a 69-year-old man who was found unresponsive in a pond.

The Des Moines County Sheriff's Office says deputies were dispatched Monday night to a residence on 180th Street in Sperry. Sheriff Mike Johnstone told The Hawk Eye ( ) that the man was taken to Great River Medical Center in West Burlington, where he was pronounced dead.

The sheriff's office identified him Tuesday as Richard Duane Dowell, of Burlington.

Johnstone says there is no indication that a crime was involved in the man's death and that, so far, it appears to be a drowning. Autopsy results are pending.


Speakers: Iowa's medical marijuana law needs work

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Speakers at an administrative hearing say they're frustrated at the difficulty in obtaining a marijuana extract despite Iowa's new law.

The Des Moines Register reports ( ) Sally Gaer, of West Des Moines, and Kim Novy, of Altoona, made the comments Tuesday after a state Department of Public Health hearing on the issue. Both women say they have epileptic children who would benefit from the extract.

Gaer says the law, which decriminalizes possession of a marijuana extract for patients, offers no legal method for growing or selling the product in the state, and lawmakers are still working on issuing registration cards to allow residents to possess extract purchased in other states.

Health official Deborah Thompson says officials hope to issue registration cards by the end of the year.


Fired workforce judge seeks independent inquiry

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former chief judge for the state agency that hears unemployment cases says he was fired because he stood up to his boss, who asserted her bias toward employers and against unemployed workers.

Joe Walsh oversaw 15 unemployment appeals judges from 2010 until his dismissal in 2013.

On Tuesday, he told the Senate Government Oversight Committee that Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert pushed him to develop tip sheets to help businesses avoid paying unemployment. She was appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad.

Walsh called for an independent counsel to "fully investigate all of the Branstad administration's abuses of the administrative judiciary."

A workforce development spokeswoman wouldn't comment but noted Wahlert testifies before the panel Wednesday.

Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers noted Democrats lead the hearings, calling them "thinly veiled political circus."


Republicans question Hatch's legislative record

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Republicans are accusing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Hatch of using his legislative position to halt a bill that could have impacted his development business.

Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said Tuesday that as a state senator, Hatch sought to kill a bill that would have limited fees for developers receiving federal tax credits to build low-income housing.

Hatch's development company has built projects using these tax credits. Hatch's campaign called the accusations false, but declined to answer specific questions.

The bill cited by Republicans was referred to a subcommittee chaired by Hatch in 2013. The panel never met, meaning the bill did not advance.

A recent investigation by The Des Moines Register found that Hatch had followed development rules and had taken votes for and against his self-interest.


Dubuque police arrest man after hours atop roof

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Dubuque police arrested a man after spending hours coaxing him down from a roof.

The Telegraph Herald reports ( ) police arrested 49-year-old Donald A. Puccio on Monday afternoon after a standoff that lasted four hours.

The incident began Monday morning when police investigated a report that Puccio violated a no-contact order. He left before officers arrived, but police later were called to Puccio's home on a report of a man on the roof. His girlfriend says Puccio has psychological problems and was yelling at children.

Police blocked off streets while officers encouraged him to climb down.

Puccio was charged with two counts of violating a no-contact order and two counts of interference with official acts.

He was in the Dubuque County Jail.

It wasn't clear if he has an attorney.


Man pleads guilty to harassing police on Facebook

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) - A man has pleaded guilty to harassment for sending Facebook messages to a Burlington police officer.

The Hawk Eye reports ( ) 40-year-old Jesse Edward Whalen pleaded guilty to third-degree harassment Monday in Des Moines County Associate Court.

Court documents show that Whalen was upset with the way he thought the officer treated a relative during a July traffic stop. Officials say Whalen messaged the police officer on Facebook and called him several derogatory names.

Whalen was fined $300, plus $105 in surcharges and $60 in court costs.


Authorities release details from hospital shooting

WEST UNION, Iowa (AP) - The Department of Public Safety is releasing details about a weekend shooting at a northeast Iowa hospital that left an inmate dead.

The department Tuesday identified the Fayette County Jail inmate as 32-year-old Steven Harreld and the deputy as Jeremy Stiefel.

The Saturday incident happened at Palmer Lutheran Hospital in West Union, where Harreld had sought treatment. Stiefel released the inmate from his handcuffs as he changed into his jail clothes and was releasing his leg cuffs when Harreld attacked.

Harreld grabbed the deputy's gun and demanded his release. While searching for handcuff keys Stiefel reached his stun-gun-like device. Harreld shot Stiefel, who deployed the device.

Stiefel wore a ballistic vest and wasn't seriously hurt.

Harreld shot himself in this head and died. An autopsy ruled it a suicide.


Court broadens scope of Iowa death penalty retrial

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An appeals court says the death penalty retrial for an Iowa woman convicted of helping kill five people in 1993 will be broader than the trial judge wanted.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that jurors must first decide whether Angela Johnson is eligible for the death penalty, and then whether that should be imposed on each count.

The ruling is a victory for prosecutors because it will allows them to present more evidence against Johnson, who remains convicted of five counts of aiding and abetting murder.

U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett has ordered her a new sentencing trial, finding flaws with her defense. But he had limited the scope to determine solely whether Johnson should receive life in prison or the death penalty for each count.


U. Iowa president stands by firing of hockey coach

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - University of Iowa President Sally Mason says she stands by the controversial firing of women's field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum.

Mason told reporters Tuesday that she understands that Griesbaum was a successful coach with many supporters, but that she "also understand the reasons" why athletic director Gary Barta removed her.

Barta said this month that he fired the 14-year coach after an investigation identified concerns and issues in the program. One professor says Griesbaum created a culture of intimidation.

Giresbaum has said that a few former players have falsely accused her of mistreating them.

Current team members issued a statement last week expressing support for Griesbaum, and many former players, parents and even rival programs have called for her reinstatement.

Griesbaum's longtime assistant, Lisa Cellucci, has been named interim coach.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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