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Jason Parrott

Southeast Iowa Correspondent

Jason is the Southeast Iowa News Correspondent. He established Tri States Public Radio's news bureau in Keokuk in September 2003.  The bureau has moved from his apartment to the Hotel Iowa before landing in its current location at the Daily Gate City newspaper at 1016 Main.  Jason provides short- and long-form news coverage from southeast Iowa, northeast Missouri, and portions of west-central Illinois. Jason covers multiple governmental boards including the Keokuk City Council, the Lee County Board of Supervisors and the Burlington School Board. Jason was born in Burlington, IA and grew up in neighboring Henderson County before graduating from Monmouth High School.  He graduated from WIU in 2002 with Bachelor’s Degrees in Communications and History.  While in Macomb, he was a member of the WIU Track & Field team, serving as Captain during his senior year. Jason received his Master’s Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield in 2003. He and his wife Jamie, a middle school teacher, have called Quincy home since 2007.  They have two dogs (Howie and Sadie), one nephew and several god-children. During Jason’s free time, he enjoys watching sports, spending time with friends, playing fantasy football and traveling to the Lake of the Ozarks with his wife.

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A former employee filed a lawsuit against Iowa Fertilizer Company, claiming sex discrimination, unequal pay, and sexual harassment. She also claims her termination from the production plant in Lee County violates state law.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

The City of Keokuk said a data breach on Jan. 30 resulted in the release of personal information of current and former city employees and elected leaders. The city said it is working with law enforcement to determine who is behind the breach.

Janet Smith / Keokuk Union Depot Foundation

The effort to restore the Keokuk Union Depot has crossed a major milestone. The depot'a foundation announced this week that it has exceeded its goal for a capital campaign to restore the building's roof.

A special election will be held Tuesday, February 6, for residents of the Harmony and Van Buren School Districts in southeast Iowa. They are being asked to decide whether the districts should reorganize into a single school district.

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State Rep. Jerry Kearns (D-Keokuk) announced Tuesday afternoon that the 2018 legislative session will be his last. He said the time is right to step aside and allow a new voice to speak for southeast Iowa in Des Moines.

Chuck Vandenberg/PenCityCurrent.com

A Burlington man was sentenced this week to 50 years in prison for shooting a man at point blank range in February 2017 and dumping his body in a park in Lee County.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

The organization that owns the land where the former Unitarian Church in Keokuk once stood is now suing the company that tore down the church in December.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Siemens Gamesa announced Wednesday morning that it is permanently laying off 195 hourly workers and 7 salaried employees at its wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in Fort Madison.

John Lovretta / Burlington Hawkeye

The prosecution and defense are now asking the court to set a new date for the sentencing of Ben Trane. Trane was convicted last month of child endangerment, assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, and sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist during his time as owner and operator of Midwest Academy.

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Des Moines County continues to inch closer to building a brand new indoor sports complex. Just what that complex will look like remains to be seen.

FMAAA

The Fort Madison Area Arts Association's downtown gallery is filled with the works of some of the youngest artists in southeast Iowa as part of the organization's annual "Budding Artists Exhibition." A reception will be held Saturday, January 20, from 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. at the gallery.

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The city of Burlington is delaying the potential sale of its soon-to-be former police station for a couple weeks at the request of the buyer.

The Central Lee School District's facilities advisory committee recommended about $13.3 million in additions and upgrades to the campus outside Donnellson. It appears voters will have the final say in whether the proposal becomes a reality.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Governor Bruce Rauner wrapped up a week-long stay at the Illinois Veterans Home (IVH) in Quincy Wednesday morning with a news conference. He used the platform to show his support for the residents and the staff and to call for some significant infrastructure improvements at the facility.

Stacy Weber

Ross Braden experienced deja vu Tuesday morning as he took the oath of office as Lee County Attorney for the second time in less than twelve months. Braden said he is excited for the opportunity to return to the job.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore said the entire community is proud of the Illinois Veterans Home and the care its residents receive from the facility's more than 500 employees. He said that's evident from the more than 12,000 volunteer hours donated to the state-run facility last year.

John Lovretta / Burlington Hawkeye

Ben Trane was found guilty Friday morning of child endangerment, sexual exploitation of a child by a counselor, and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. He is the former owner of Midwest Academy, a boarding school for troubled teens that was located near Keokuk.  He will be sentenced in about eight weeks.

Jury deliberations will resume Friday morning in the criminal trial of Ben Trane. He is the former owner of Midwest Academy, a shuttered boarding school in Lee County for troubled teens, who is charged with sexual abuse and child endangerment.

John Lovretta / Burlington Hawkeye

Ben Trane testified for nearly 3 ½ hours Wednesday afternoon in his criminal trial in Keokuk. He’s accused of sexual abuse and child endangerment during his time as owner of Midwest Academy, a shuttered boarding school for troubled teens in Lee County.

The Lee County Board on Tuesday accepted the resignation of County Attorney Clinton Boddicker, who is stepping down after being appointed a District Associate Judge in southeast Iowa. Boddicker told the board that his successor should be Assistant County Attorney Ross Braden.

John Lovretta / Burlington Hawkeye

The sexual abuse and child endangerment trial of Ben Trane enters its 6th day Tuesday in the south Lee County Courthouse in Keokuk. Jurors heard from seven witnesses Monday, including state employees and law enforcement agents who investigated Midwest Academy.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Questions about the future of the former Unitarian Church in Keokuk were settled Wednesday morning when the operator of a large, yellow backhoe started crunching the building's brick exterior with a giant metal claw. The city said a clean demolition was the most feasible option, compared to trying to salvage aspects of the more than 125-year-old structure.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Denise Timmins sat up from her chair and walked in front of the newly seated jury at about 3:00 p.m. Wednesday in the south Lee County Courthouse's district courtroom. She proceeded to read the criminal charges against Ben Trane and then begin her opening statement.

The criminal trial of Ben Trane began Tuesday morning with a standing-room only crowd of roughly 85 potential jurors in the second floor courtroom in the South Lee County Courthouse in Keokuk. At the end of the day, the selection process was not complete and the jury pool was significantly smaller.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

The city of Keokuk said Wednesday afternoon that the demolition of the former Unitarian Church would get underway as soon as the firm hired to tear down the building is ready. This comes roughly 48 hours after a judge dissolved the temporary injunction blocking the demolition of the vacant, run-down church at the corner of 4th and High Streets.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

The former owner of Midwest Academy said the shuttered boarding school near Keokuk has no money and no assets. Ben Trane said he had to sign everything over to his landlord shortly after the school closed in early 2016.

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Michael Greenwald won Tuesday's run-off election for the 5th Ward seat on the Keokuk City Council with 85 votes, defeating Steve Rairden, who received 34 votes.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

A member of the Lee County Board says he's frustrated by the rising cost to repair one of the county's courthouses. Ron Fedler is even suggesting that residents should be allowed to vote on future improvements.

District Court Judge John Linn, Tuesday, rejected the prosecution’s request to move the trial of Ben Trane out of south Lee County. Trane is accused of child and sexual abuse during his time as owner and operator of Midwest Academy.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

CEO Mark Richardson jokingly said Tuesday that the groundbreaking ceremony for Great River Health Systems' new nearly $7 million clinic in Keokuk was supposed to be held the day before, but he thought it would be too warm. That drew laughter from the roughly 30 people in attendance who huddled together as a bitter wind whipped around them.

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