Mason City man charged in motorcycle crash death of woman

MASON CITY — A Mason City man has been charged with vehicular homicide after being accused of causing a motorcycle crash that killed a Mason City woman in September.

Brandon Roy Kellar, 40, has been charged with felony vehicular homicide while operating under the influence. Police say Kellar was operating a motorcycle late on the night of Sept. 28 when he ran into the back of a car in Mason City. He and the woman riding with him, 36-year-old Shawn True, were thrown off the bike, killing True.

Kellar was arrested Thursday and has been released on a $25,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear Nov. 7 in Cerro Gordo County District Court.

If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

Des Moines man gets life for killing estranged wife

DES MOINES — A Des Moines man convicted last month of first-degree murder and burglary in the shooting death of his estranged wife has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Harold Dudley, 51, was sentenced Friday for the June 2017 death of 36-year-old Mary Dudley, of Des Moines.

Police had said officers were called to Mary Dudley's apartment building for reports of a shooting and found her dead at the scene. Harold Dudley admitted shooting her, but claimed the killing arose from a sudden quarrel and that he should be convicted of second-degree murder.

However, prosecutors showed videos that captured him peering around a corner at his wife's apartment holding a handgun before he kicked in her door and fired six times.

Study: Increasing minimum wage would benefit Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Raising the minimum wage in Illinois would help some residents out of poverty and increase economic activity, according to a new study by a local nonprofit.

The Illinois Economic Policy Institute said that would happen if the state raised minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $10, $13 or $15 an hour.

"By raising the minimum wage, Illinois can boost worker incomes, reduce income inequality, increase consumer spending, grow the economy, generate tax revenues, and decrease taxpayer costs for government assistance programs," the study said.

The study found increases would affect between 353,000 and 1.4 million workers, and grow the economy by between $5 billion and $19 billion a year.

"A lot of people don't recognize that raising the minimum wage saves taxpayers money," said Frank Manzo IV, policy director for the institute. "By raising the minimum wage you can reduce working poverty by a significant amount."

Critics of raising minimum wage say it would cause low-income workers to lose jobs or have fewer hours.

The study was done in collaboration with the University of Illinois' Project for Middle Class Renewal. It also examined Chicago, which increased minimum wage to $12 an hour as part of a gradual increase to $13.

"As they have phased in their minimum wage increase, the unemployment rate has not increased by more than surrounding suburbs that did not raise their minimum wage," Manzo said. "Employment growth is statistically the same for the city of Chicago as it is for the suburbs."

Illinois Chamber of Commerce president Todd Maisch criticized the policy institute for being biased and having a history of supporting increasing minimum wage. He said comparing job numbers between Chicago and the suburbs may not illustrate the whole picture.

"What is difficult about the minimum wage issue is that it's almost impossible to count the jobs that didn't get created and that is the real loss that happens when there is an artificial floor under wage rates," Maisch said.

Lawmakers last year approved a bill that would gradually raise Indiana's minimum wage to $15 an hour. Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the measure.

$4.5M grant to ease transition for Illinois foster-care adults

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois has received a $4.5 million grant to help older foster children make the transition to living on their own.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services announced the three-year award last week. It comes from national nonprofit organizations Youth Villages .

DCFS said statistics show young people in foster care are more likely than others to be homeless, unemployed or incarcerated as adults.

DCFS will work with Cook County organizations UCAN and Lawrence Hall and Hoyleton Youth and Family Services near St. Louis. The agencies will use Youth Villages' life-skills program called YV LifeSet to help young adults make the transition.

Illinois' grant is the largest of four totaling $10 million. Grants also went to the District of Columbia, Los Angeles County and Louisiana.