Audit questions Waukee school district
WAUKEE (AP) — A special state audit report says Waukee Community School District administrators improperly used state credit cards and spent nearly $129,000 on items and services that "were not in the taxpayers' best interest."
The report issued Thursday says the items included nearly $28,000 for lounge chairs and furniture for the superintendent's office and more than $83,000 on district administrators' retreats.
District officials didn't immediately return calls from The Associated Press.
The report says the audit covered July 1, 2013, through Dec. 31, 2017, and was conducted in response to lawmakers' and residents' concerns about the district's chief operating officer.
In May the district reached a lawsuit settlement with the second of two former employees who had reported what they say was misconduct by the officer, Eric Rose. The district superintendent has denied the allegations.
Ex-college dean charged
CRESTON (AP) — A former Iowa community college dean has been arrested after an audit found she spent thousands of dollars in public funds for her wedding, personal travel and other purchases.
Police in Creston arrested Beth Kulow, the former dean of students at Southwestern Community College, on Monday on three counts of second-degree theft and falsifying public records. She allegedly embezzled $15,000 between 2015 and 2018 and submitted an altered email to cover her tracks when questioned.
The misspending included nine travel-related expenses that weren't related to college business and dozens more for personal items, including expenses related to her 2017 wedding.
The college hired outside auditors to Kulow's spending after learning that she claimed to have attended a training in Ohio that never occurred. College President Barb Crittenden told board members last month that Kulow admitted two trips and several purchases were personal in nature and she reimbursed the college.
Kulow, 35, has been released from jail pending a court appearance next week.
20-year-old assault charge dropped
BURLINGTON (AP) — Prosecutors have dropped an assault charge filed against an Iowa man more than 20 years ago.
Forty-one-year-old Dawarn Moncrief turned up as a passenger in a car stopped Aug. 30 in Burlington for an illegal license plate. He was arrested on drug charges unrelated to the June 27, 1998, stabbing of another man in Burlington.
The Hawk Eye reports that prosecutor Justin Stonerook told the court in a filing last week that many of the witnesses have died or moved away and can't be found, making it impossible to prove the assault charge.
Moncrief is awaiting trial later this month on new assault charges and is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 4 on convictions for the drug possession charges filed after his Aug. 30 arrest.
Iowa changes jurors notification
SIOUX CITY (AP) — Iowa has changed the way it's notifying potential jurors.
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The Sioux City Journal reports that the state announced Monday that residents will no longer receive paper questionnaires in the mail with the summonses. They'll be getting postcards instead with information on how to complete the questionnaires online.
State court administrator Todd Nuccio says the state expects the change will raise the response rate from potential jurors because they will be able to complete the questionnaires electronically at any time.
Iowans previously could complete the questionnaires online or they could fill them out and mail them back to the clerk of court's offices in their counties.
2nd teen dies after crash of stolen car
DES MOINES (AP) — Des Moines authorities say a second teenager has died after the stolen car he was driving crashed into a delivery van.
Police identified him Wednesday night as 17-year-old Des Moines resident Jair Sanchez-Banos. His passenger, 16-year-old Des Moines resident Emilio Esteban Garcia, died earlier.
The car was reported stolen a little after 8:10 p.m. Monday after it was left running unattended. A vehicle matching its description was seen about 30 minutes later where gunshots rang out several blocks northwest.
Police say an officer soon spotted the suspect vehicle and tried to pull it over. It raced away but crashed into a U.S. Postal Service van and then into trees and fencing. A gun was recovered from the car.
Police say the van driver was not injured.
Bettendorf residents to vote on $30M school bond
BETTENDORF (AP) — Bettendorf school district patrons are being asked to approve a $30 million bond issue to renovate several school buildings.
The vote on Tuesday comes after the Bettendorf Community School District board approved the bond issue earlier this year. The Quad-City Times reports that the money will be used to remodel, renovate or improve the district's high school and middle school, as well as Herbert Hoover, Paul Norton and Neil Armstrong elementary schools.
Superintendent Mike Raso says that if the bond is approved, the projects will be completed in phases over 3-to-6 years. He says if the bond doesn't pass, it will take between 12 and 15 years to accomplish everything on the list.
Grassley all in for Trump in 2020
DES MOINES (AP) — Sen. Chuck Grassley says he will not support any Republican challenger to President Donald Trump in the primary ahead of the 2020 election.
Grassley said Wednesday he will be supporting Trump.
He says anyone is welcome to campaign in Iowa, which holds the first in the nation caucus, "but Chuck Grassley won't be appearing with them."
Grassley, first elected in 1980 and soon to become the Senate's most senior Republican, credits Trump with keeping campaign promises that include signing a tax cut, getting European nations to pay more for their own defense and fighting for improved free trade through his tariff battles with China and other trade partners.
Outgoing Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he's seriously considering challenging Trump for the 2020 GOP presidential nomination.