MEGA MILLIONS JACKPOT
Sales brisk for Friday's $400M Mega Millions game
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Sales are brisk for Mega Millions tickets across the country as people dream of winning a $400 million jackpot.
Lottery officials in Virginia, the lead state for the Mega Millions game, say sales are expected to reach $104 million for Friday night's drawing since the last drawing Tuesday. That's about five times the sales when the jackpot is $15 million, the starting point after a jackpot is won.
Mega Millions officials will meet Friday morning to decide whether to increase the jackpot ahead of the 11 p.m. Eastern time drawing.
So far about 32 percent of the possible combinations of numbers have been sold.
The winning ticket must match the six numbers drawn.
Mega Millions is played in 43 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Car driver dies in collision with Iowa school bus
COLFAX, Iowa (AP) - The driver of a car that crashed into the back of an Iowa school bus has died.
Jasper County authorities say the accident occurred around 4 p.m. Thursday on County Highway F48 between Colfax and Newton. The school bus didn't have any students aboard because they'd already been dropped off.
Authorities say the car rammed into the back of the bus and burst into flames that spread to the bus. Another vehicle ran into the car. The sheriff's office said in a news release Friday that the two people in that vehicle and the bus driver were treated at the scene but not hospitalized.
Sheriff John Halferty says officers and motorists used fire extinguishers while trying in vain to put out the blaze. The driver's name hasn't been released.
NURSING HOME EVACUATED
Water leak forces Norwalk nursing home evacuation
NORWALK, Iowa (AP) - A water leak has forced the evacuation of 43 patients from a suburban Des Moines nursing home.
The Norwalk Fire Department says firefighters were dispatched to the Norwalk Nursing & Rehabilitation Center home about 1 p.m. Thursday. They found water flowing through the ceiling in the dining room and heading down hallways toward patient rooms.
Sixteen of the patients were placed in ambulances and taken to care facilities in various locations in the Des Moines area. The remaining 27 patients were transported in buses or wheelchair vans.
The department says the cause of the water leak was a disconnected coupling on a supply pipe for the fire sprinkler system.
CAR CHASE LIMITS-DES MOINES
Des Moines chief issues specific rules on chases
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines' police chief has issued an updated policy that outlines when officers must end vehicle pursuits.
The Des Moines Register says the revamped chase policy was sent to officers last week.
The revisions include nine specific points on how to begin and end chases and the responsibilities of each vehicle and agency involved in a pursuit.
Among the revisions is a new rule that only marked patrol vehicles may participate in chases. Also, a chase must end if the vehicle being pursued heads the wrong way on a highway, divided road or one-way street. Officer can use a parallel road to follow the suspect vehicle and resume the chase later.
CEDAR FALLS HOUSE CONVERSIONS
Cedar Falls may ban converting homes to apartments
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - Cedar Falls officials are considering banning property owners from converting single-family houses into multi-unit apartment buildings.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports the city's Planning and Zoning Commission may draft an ordinance to stop such conversions in an effort to beautify neighborhoods and meet residents' concerns.
City Planner Marty Ryan says when large homes are converted into apartments, neighbors aren't happy about it. They complain about conversions hurting their neighborhood's appearance and problems with parking.
Some landlords are objecting to the proposal. They say that some houses up for sale are too big for most families and that if splitting them into apartments isn't allowed, the houses will be allowed to deteriorate.
Ryan said planners will begin working on an ordinance that would need City Council approval before becoming law.
FEWER REST AREAS-IOWA
Iowa to close some rest areas along interstates
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State officials have decided to save some money by shutting down some rest areas along Iowa's interstates.
Iowa Transportation Department director Paul Trombino told The Des Moines Register that the agency won't replace two rest areas in Dallas County that will be demolished for an interchange project in 2015. It's unclear yet what will happen to the 38 other full-service rest areas.
Trombino says there will be fewer of them in the future, "there is no question about that."
The 40 rest areas cost the state about $6.1 million annually to operate.
Delia Meier is senior vice president of the Iowa 80 Truckstop near Walcott, and she says she'd be thrilled to have any additional customers who might stop there if some rest areas were to be closed.
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