World War II veteran remains return to Iowa after 70 years

THOMPSON — The remains of a World War II soldier killed in action have returned home to Iowa after more than 70 years buried as an unknown at an American military cemetery in France.

Iowa Army National Guard members fired a 21-gun salute Saturday to honor Army Pvt. Donald Brown, who was buried at a cemetery in Thompson.

Brown died in 1944 when his tank was destroyed by enemy fire near Cambernon, France. But his remains were unable to be identified. His name was recorded alongside other missing veterans at an American Battle Monuments Commission site in France.

Brown's remains were accounted for in June after family members submitted DNA for testing.

His niece, Alison Conrad, said she regrets that no one from Brown's generation could see the burial.

Man imprisoned for ethanol plant investment scam

CEDAR RAPIDS — A northern Iowa businessman accused of an ethanol plant scam has been imprisoned.

Court records show Darrell Smith, of Forest City, was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids to 14 years and seven months in prison. He'd pleaded guilty to wire fraud and identity theft. Smith also was ordered to pay restitution of nearly $1.06 million.

Federal officials said the charges are related to Smith's investment of clients' money into an ethanol plant in Hopkinton. Officials said on several occasions, Smith transferred money from clients' accounts — against their will and without their knowledge — into his bioenergy fund. Investigators said he used either pre-signed, blank authorization forms or forged his clients' signatures.

He'd also been imprisoned for failing to pay employment taxes.

Workers rally amid White House push for postal changes

CHICAGO — Postal workers and their supporters spent part of the Columbus Day holiday protesting what they see as a White House push to make the U.S. Postal Service private.

In Chicago, workers rallied Monday near a downtown post office, carrying signs reading "U.S. Mail, Not For Sale" and "We Belong To The People, Not Corporate America."

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump established a task force to study why the Postal Service is losing money. His executive order said it is on "an unsustainable financial path and must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout." But no final decisions have been made yet.

In Washington, American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein told a crowd that privatization will mean less service and higher costs to taxpayers.

Alligator-like animal found in Lake Michigan near Chicago

WAUKEGAN, Ill. — A wildlife worker says a four-foot long caiman found in Lake Michigan near Chicago would've been lucky to live a couple more weeks.

The alligator-like animal was spotted Monday morning by kayaker fishing for salmon off the Waukegan shore. Chicago resident David Castaneda tells the Lake County News-Sun was shocked by the discovery and wasn't sure whether it was a real animal or a toy.

Animal control workers helped rescue the caiman, whose mouth was taped shut. It was taken to the Wildlife Discovery Center in nearby Lake Forest.

Center curator Rob Carmichael said the caiman wouldn't have survived as Lake Michigan keeps getting colder. Carmichael said it is unknown how long the caiman was in the lake and it will be checked out by a veterinarian.