Iowa City expands hate crime law

IOWA CITY — Iowa City leaders have expanded the city’s hate crime law to include harassment and trespassing.

The City Council passed the expanded ordinance earlier this month. A news release from the city says state law covering hate crimes names only assault, arson and criminal mischief. The new city ordinance adds both harassment and trespassing when committed because of a person’s race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability or marital status.

City officials say the expansion is in response to an increase in hate crimes in recent years, which jumped from six reports in 2017 to 14 in 2018.

Under the new Iowa City ordinance, a first offense for a hate crime carries a fine of between $300 and $625 and up to seven days in jail. A second offense is a $625 fine and 30 days in jail.

3 people found dead in Bancroft home

BANCROFT, Iowa — North-central Iowa law enforcement officials say three people have been found dead in Bancroft.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said in a news release that the Kossuth County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call Friday morning reporting two people found dead in a Bancroft home.

Bancroft police officers who were first to arrive at the home also found a third person there dead.

Police did not immediately release other details. Officials have only said there is no ongoing threat to the public.

Former ISU leader to get $4.5 million

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn University has agreed to pay its departed president $4.5 million over a period of three years, documents outlining the separation agreement show.

The deal reported Saturday means the university will pay Steven Leath more than double the $625,000 annual salary he would have earned if he remained Auburn’s president. Before coming to Auburn, Leath had served as president of Iowa State University.

Asked for comment Saturday, Auburn spokesman Brian Keeter said: “Auburn and Dr. Leath together agreed to part ways. The board is grateful to Dr. Leath for his dedication to Auburn and wishes him and Mrs. Leath all the best.”

Swimming advisory issued for Iowa lake

VENTURA, Iowa — A swimming advisory has been issued for McIntosh Woods State Park in north-central Iowa due to E. coli contamination.

A sample taken at the lake near Ventura in Cerro Gordo County exceeded a safe amount of the bacteria found in fecal matter.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said for that reason, swimming is not recommended at the lake.

The swimming advisory is among five issued throughout Iowa after this past week’s sampling. Others include beaches at Prairie Rose, Lake Darling, Backbone and Green Valley state parks.

Rockford officials plan $7 million renovation

ROCKFORD, Ill. — Rockford officials plan a $7 million renovation of a vacant industrial building to hold the police department’s property and evidence unit, crime-scene investigations and a shooting range.

The city will borrow money to rehab the structure it purchased for $600,000.

The move will allow the police department to exit the downtown public safety building. Winnebago County terminated the city’s lease there in March and gave the department a year to move out.

CTA: Buttons to aid pregnant women

CHICAGO — The Chicago Transit Authority is planning to issue buttons to pregnant women to encourage other riders to offer up their seats.

The program is expected to launch later this year, the CTA said.

“The details of the CTA program — specific launch date, distribution plan, button design — are close to being finalized,” CTA spokesman Brian Steele said.

The Associated Press

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