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More than 10,000 lose power in Thursday afternoon storm

WATERLOO — Wind gusts of up to 70 mph and nearly 3 inches of rain swept through the Cedar Valley on Thursday afternoon, causing widespread power outages, downed tree limbs and localized street flooding through parts of downtown.

Most of Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Janesville got more than 2 inches of rain in a thunderstorm that swept west to across Northeast Iowa, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Kenny Podrazik.

There were local reports of higher amounts: A weather spotter near Orange Elementary School reported 2.76 inches to KWWL, while a spotter just west of Janesville reported 3 inches to KCRG, Podrazik said.

“Anytime you get 2 to 3 inches of rain, you’re going to have some street flooding, possibly some flash flooding,” Podrazik said.

Waterloo saw flash flooding on a few downtown streets during the height of the storm, particularly on the east side of the Cedar River. Former Waterloo Police Chief Dan Trelka posted a photo of the flooding before it cleared up around 3 p.m. Thursday.

“Many streets and intersections are flooded and impassable,” he wrote.

Update at 3 PM: Downtown Waterloo is back open for business! I would avoid downtown Waterloo for the time being. Many streets and intersections are flooded and impassable.

Posted by Dan Trelka on Thursday, July 9, 2020

A spotter northwest of Cedar Falls reported a wind gust of 66 miles per hour at 12:40 p.m., and the Waterloo Regional Airport reported a gust of 70 miles per hour at 12:50 p.m., Podrazik said.

Black Hawk County Emergency Management coordinator Lori Glover said her office as of Thursday afternoon hadn’t yet heard of any major storm damage. She noted those reports are usually delayed.

But storm damage knocked out power to 10,416 customers as of 1:30 p.m. in MidAmerican Energy’s five-county area, said MidAmerican spokesperson Geoff Greenwood.

Black Hawk County’s share of the power outages was 8,121 at the peak, with 7,862 in Waterloo alone, Greenwood said.

“The severe weather that came through Waterloo caused some damage to our system — mostly wind and trees, but also some lightning damage,” he said.

Both line and tree crews were called in from as far away as Des Moines, Fort Dodge and Carroll to help get power restored.

As of 4:30 p.m., outages were down to about 1,000 customers, and Greenwood said he expected the bulk of those customers to be restored by Thursday evening.

“If somebody sees a line that’s down, assume that it’s energized. Don’t touch it, don’t approach it, give us a call,” Greenwood said. MidAmerican Energy’s number is (888) 427-5632.

Notwithstanding the damage and outages, Podrazik said the area, which has been “fairly dry” recently, can use the rain, particularly farm crops. He noted light rain could linger Thursday evening.

Another round of rain was in the forecast for Saturday afternoon.

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Abused Great Pyrenees pup is rescued with long healing road ahead

WATERLOO — Shiloh has already had an incredible journey, but the Great Pyrenees pup still has miles to go at Cedar Bend Humane Society.

The 8- to 10-month old rescued puppy has endured abuse and starvation and has undergone surgery to repair a broken femur after being hit by a car.

And then there is the bullet.

Veterinarians at Blue Pearl Pet Hospital in Des Moines discovered a rifle bullet lodged close to the dog’s spine in their pre-surgical examination, said Jessica Christensen, CBHS marketing and development director.

“Once Shiloh got to Blue Pearl, they were able to do a full-body X-ray and found the bullet. When you think of how devastating of a journey that he’s already had, that was something when our staff here found out — it was shocking,” she said.

It was a difficult but successful surgery to repair the broken femur with pins, but Blue Pearl vets chose not to remove the bullet. It had already healed over and scar tissue is forming around it.

The Great Pyrenees came to Cedar Bend as a stray. Originally the dog popped up on a local lost and found Facebook group, and volunteers spent weeks trying to catch the dog. Sightings were numerous around Cedar Falls Industrial Park, stretching all the way to the area near Hawkeye Community College, where the dog was struck by a car.

Waterloo Animal Control Services were able to rescue the dog and transport it to the shelter, Christensen said.

When Shiloh — name by one of his rescuers, Krystal Mergers — arrived at the shelter, the initial guess was the dog was 1 to 2 years old. He was emaciated and anemic, covered with fleas and hundreds of ticks, and because of his poor diet and condition, his teeth proved to be inaccurate in determining his real age.

X-rays showed that his growth plates were still open, so he is likely 8 to 10 months old.

“Shiloh was in really rough shape when he came to us. Along with everything else, he has double cherry eyes and Lyme disease and was in such obvious pain that pain medication was started right away,” Christensen explained.

Public response to Shiloh’s plight was generous and donations flooded into Cedar Bend to pay for the pup’s medical expenses. “We raised $2,000 to $3,000 really quickly and it gave us the money to provide pain meds, antibiotics, fluids and everything he needed right away,” she said, noting that additional donations are needed to pay for ongoing veterinary bills and recovery. Shiloh will need additional surgeries to correct his cherry eyes and for neutering.

In spite of his pain, “he’s an absolute lover. You wouldn’t believe after what Shiloh has gone through that he would be excited to see you. It’s wonderful to see him happy and loving and trusting of the staff, and wagging his tail for attention. This would be the first time he’s ever felt safe, and he’s ready to be loved.”

Shiloh will be placed for adoption after he is fully recovered.

Trump taxes kept private

WASHINGTON — Rejecting President Donald Trump’s complaints that he’s being harassed, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday in favor of a New York prosecutor’s demands for the billionaire president’s tax records. But in good political news for Trump, his taxes and other financial records almost certainly will be kept out of the public eye at least until after the November election.

In a separate case, the justices kept a hold on banking and other documents about Trump, family members and his businesses that Congress has been seeking for more than a year. The court said that while Congress has significant power to demand the president’s personal information, it is not limitless.

The court turned away the broadest arguments by Trump’s lawyers and the Justice Department that the president is immune from investigation while he holds office or that a prosecutor must show a greater need than normal to obtain the tax records. But it is unclear when a lower court judge might order the Manhattan district attorney’s subpoena to be enforced.

Trump is the only president in modern times who has refused to make his tax returns public, and before he was elected he promised to release them. He didn’t embrace Thursday’s outcome as a victory even though it is likely to prevent his opponents in Congress from obtaining potentially embarrassing personal and business records ahead of Election Day.

In fact, the increasing likelihood that a grand jury will eventually get to examine the documents drove the president into a public rage. He lashed out declaring that “It’s a pure witch hunt, it’s a hoax” and calling New York, where he has lived most of his life, “a hellhole.”

The documents have the potential to reveal details on everything from possible misdeeds to the true nature of the president’s vaunted wealth — not to mention uncomfortable disclosures about how he’s spent his money and how much he’s given to charity.

The rejection of Trump’s claims of presidential immunity marked the latest instance where his broad assertion of executive power has been rejected.

Trump’s two high court appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, joined the majority in both cases along with Chief Justice John Roberts and the four liberal justices. Roberts wrote both opinions.

“Congressional subpoenas for information from the President, however, implicate special concerns regarding the separation of powers. The courts below did not take adequate account of those concerns,” Roberts wrote in the congressional case.

But Roberts also wrote that Trump was asking for too much. “The standards proposed by the President and the Solicitor General—if applied outside the context of privileged information—would risk seriously impeding Congress in carrying out its responsibilities,” the chief justice wrote.

The ruling returns the congressional case to lower courts, with no clear prospect for when it might ultimately be resolved.

Promising to keep pressing the case in the lower courts, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday’s decision “is not good news for President Trump.”

“The Court has reaffirmed the Congress’s authority to conduct oversight on behalf of the American people,” Pelosi said in a statement.

The tax returns case also is headed back to a lower court. Mazars USA, Trump’s accounting firm, holds the tax returns and has indicated it would comply with a court order. Because the grand jury process is confidential, Trump’s taxes normally would not be made public.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said his investigation, on hold while the court fight played out, will now resume.

Even with his broadest arguments rejected, Jay Sekulow, Trump’s personal lawyer, said he was pleased that the “Supreme Court has temporarily blocked both Congress and New York prosecutors from obtaining the President’s financial records. We will now proceed to raise additional Constitutional and legal issues in the lower courts.”

Justice Samuel Alito, who dissented with Justice Clarence Thomas in both cases, warned that future presidents would suffer because of the decision about Trump’s taxes.

“While the decision will of course have a direct effect on President Trump, what the Court holds today will also affect all future Presidents—which is to say, it will affect the Presidency, and that is a matter of great and lasting importance to the Nation,” Alito wrote.

Also, the court ruled Thursday that a large chunk of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation, a decision that state and federal officials have warned could throw Oklahoma into chaos.

The court’s 5-4 decision, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, means that Oklahoma prosecutors lack the authority to pursue criminal cases against American Indian defendants in parts of Oklahoma that include most of Tulsa, the state’s second-largest city.

“On the far end of the Trail of Tears was a promise. Forced to leave their ancestral lands in Georgia and Alabama, the Creek Nation received assurances that their new lands in the West would be secure forever. ... Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian reservation for purposes of federal criminal law. Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word,” Gorsuch wrote in a decision joined by the court’s liberal members.

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Unclaimed $500,000 Powerball ticket sold in Waterloo

WATERLOO — Someone is walking around with half a million dollars in their pocket thanks to a winning Powerball ticket — and the Iowa Lottery is searching for them.

The ticket — which was within one number of Wednesday’s $69.3 million jackpot — is worth $500,000. But the winner has not yet come forward, lottery officials said Thursday.

Winners have a full year — 365 days — to claim the prize. Prizes of that amount must be claimed at Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive.

The ticket was bought at the Guddi Mart at 306 Byron Ave. in Waterloo.

It matched four of the first five numbers and also matched the Powerball, which normally would amount to $50,000. But the winner also paid an extra $1 to add the Power Play option, which multiplied their winnings to $500,000.

The ticket was one of three nationwide to win half a million dollars. The other two were sold in New Jersey and Puerto Rico.

Guddi Mart will receive $500 from the Iowa Lottery for selling the winning ticket.

Wednesday’s winning numbers were 3-10-34-36-62 and Powerball 5. The Power Play number was 10.

No one matched all six numbers, lottery officials said, so the jackpot rises to an estimated $79 million annuity or $63 million cash option for Saturday’s drawing.