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At first, the winner of a $40 million jackpot says he couldn’t believe he won the lottery on April Fools’ Day. Earl Lape, a 61-year-old retired mechanic from Dubuque, Iowa, said he thought it was a joke. He believed it only after confirming his winning Lotto America ticket with a convenience store clerk. Claiming his winnings Monday, Lape said: “I laughed. I thought it was April Fools’.” He opted to take his winnings in cash: a cool $21.28 million. The $40 million prize winnings would've been paid over 29 years. Lape said he'll use the money to help his family, and will make donations to benefit children with medical issues.

Overnight rain helped firefighters get control of two wildfires Monday after they burned nearly 700 acres in Nebraska near the Missouri River. Nebraska officials said after Gov. Jim Pillen surveyed the damage that the fire near Beaver Lake was about 90% contained while the other fire near Waconda Lake was about 85% contained. Both fires started over the weekend after sparks blew across the Missouri River from Iowa.But the fires didn't grow much overnight Sunday thanks to the rain and diminishing winds as firefighters worked to control it. It wasn't immediately clear how many acres burned in Iowa, but firefighters there were able to extinguish the fire while it remained in a wildlife area.

Eds: The Iowa editorial roundup will not move this week due to a lack of editorials of state-wide interest. We will resume the roundup at its normal time on Monday, April 16, 2023.

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office has paused its practice of paying for emergency contraception, and in rare cases abortions, for victims of sexual assault. The move has drawn criticism from some victim advocates. Federal regulations and state law require Iowa to pay many of the expenses for sexual assault victims who seek medical help, including treatment for sexually transmitted infections. Under the previous attorney general, Democrat Tom Miller, Iowa’s victim compensation fund also paid for the so-called “morning after” pill, as well as other treatments to prevent pregnancy. The Des Moines Register reports that a spokeswoman for Republican Attorney General Brenna Bird, who defeated Miller in November, said those payments are on hold as part of a review of victim services.

The driver of a car died after the vehicle slammed into a home in Iowa and burst into flames. KCCI-TV reports that the accident happened around 1:30 a.m. Saturday in Ankeny. Police say the people in the house got out safely, but the driver of the car was trapped and died in the fire. The driver’s name has not been released. The residents of the house and two police officers were treated for smoke inhalation but not hospitalized. The house was badly damaged and police said it was left structurally unstable. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Federal regulators say railroads need to re-examine how they assemble their trains. The call comes after string of derailments in recent years that were partly caused by the way empty and loaded cars were mixed together with locomotives. Heavy cars at the back of a train can push and pull against empty cars in the middle of a train as it goes over hills and around corners. Those forces have become more of a problem as the industry increasingly relies on longer trains with a mix of all kinds of freight aboard. The Federal Railroad Administration cited six derailments since 2021 where those forces were a factor.

LSU’s national champion women’s basketball team will accept an invitation from President Joe Biden to visit the White House. University spokesman Michael Bonnette confirmed LSU’s intentions on the matter on Thursday, a day after Tigers star forward Angel Reese suggested during a podcast interview that her team should celebrate their title with former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama rather than President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden. Reese made the suggestion after saying she was not inclined to accept an apology from Jill Biden for suggesting that both LSU and runner-up Iowa be invited to the White House. President Biden did not follow through on that idea, inviting only LSU and men’s national champion Connecticut.

Deadly storms in the past two weeks unleashed dozens of tornadoes that killed at least 63 people and damaged or destroyed hundreds of people's homes. An average of 1,200 tornadoes hit the country yearly, and a recent study shows the United States will probably get more killer supercells that spawn tornadoes and hail as the world warms. But the National Severe Storms Laboratory says tornadoes can happen any time of year and have been reported in all 50 states. If your home is destroyed or severely damaged, make sure you're safe first. Then check resources to figure out what to do next.

Authorities say five people were killed when a tornado tore through an area of rural southeastern Missouri before dawn on Wednesday. The twister caused significant destruction in and around the small communities of Glen Allen and Grassy, about 50 miles south of St. Louis. The tornado was spawned by a large storm system moving through the Midwest and South. That system was the third in a series of massive storms to strike the nation's heartland over the past two weeks, and the storms have killed at least 65 people. Just last weekend, confirmed or suspected tornadoes in at least eight states laid waste to neighborhoods across a broad swath of the country.

First lady Jill Biden’s walk-back of her suggestion that runner-up Iowa should join NCAA women’s basketball champion LSU for a visit to the White House doesn't sit well with Angel Reese. The Tigers star said on The Paper Route Podcast the Tigers should celebrate their title with Barack and Michelle Obama rather than with President Joe Biden and his wife. Jill Biden attended Sunday's 102-85 LSU victory. She said Monday that as part of the longstanding tradition of having champions visit the White House, the Hawkeyes should come as well because they played such a good game.

A man has been sentenced to life in prison for fatally beating his ex-girlfriend’s mother with a golf club. The Des Moines Register reports that 31-year-old Mark David Russell, of Fort Dodge, will not be eligible for parole under the sentence imposed Monday. Jurors found him guilty in February of first-degree murder in the 2020 killing of 45-year-old Angela Mcleod. In addition to the life sentence, Russell was ordered to pay $150,000 to Mcleod’s family and have no contact with them for at least five years.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced $40 million in grants to extend high-speed internet to extremely remote farms, homes and businesses in New Mexico. The former Iowa governor made the announcement Monday as Joe Biden and top administration officials travel the country to buttress the president’s message on investments and economic growth. In Albuquerque, members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation said recent and new public spending on high-speed internet in remote New Mexico communities will help farms find new efficiencies through precision mapping of topography, nutrients and moisture. The grants stem from the $1 billion infrastructure law signed by Biden in 2021.

Iowa lottery officials say someone bought a winning $40 million Lotto America ticket in Dubuque on Saturday. The ticket was sold at Eichman's a restaurant and convenience store. The winner could claim a $40.03 million annuity or a $21.28 million cash option. That was a record jackpot for the lottery game, with the previous high being $22.82 million in March 2018. The winning numbers were: 2-38-43-46-51 and Star Ball@ 7. Eichman's will receive $5,000 for selling the winning ticket.

LSU won its first basketball title in school history, overcoming Caitlin Clark and Iowa 102-85 in the national championship game. The victory made Kim Mulkey the first women’s coach to win national championships at two different schools. She won three at Baylor before leaving for LSU two years ago. Her four titles gave her the third most all-time behind Geno Auriemma’s 11 and Pat Summitt’s eight. Mulkey has never lost in a championship game. Angel Reese had 15 points and 10 rebounds for LSU and was honored as the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. Clark scored 30 points to finish the tournament with 191, breaking Sheryl Swoopes' record of 177 set in 1993.


Caitlin Clark had another sensational game with 41 points to help Iowa spoil South Carolina’s perfect season with a 77-73 victory in the Final Four. The spectacular junior guard set a record for the highest-scoring semifinal game and became the first women’s player to post back-to-back 40-point games in the NCAA Tournament. She now has the Hawkeyes in a spot they’ve never been in before — one victory away from a national championship. They’ll have to beat another SEC team to do that as Iowa will face LSU in the title game on Sunday afternoon after the Tigers beat Virginia Tech in the other national semifinal. The loss ended a tremendous season for the defending champion Gamecocks. They finished 36-1.

A monster storm system has torn through the South and Midwest, spawning deadly weather including tornadoes that shredded homes and shopping centers in Arkansas, collapsed a theater roof during a heavy metal concert in Illinois and made a fatal sweep into rural Indiana. At least one person was killed and more than two dozen were hurt, some critically, in the Little Rock area during Friday’s storm. The town of Wynne in northeastern Arkansas also was devastated and officials reported two dead there, along with destroyed homes and people trapped in the debris. Authorities say a theater roof collapsed during a tornado in Belvidere, Illinois, killing one person and injuring 28. The emergency management director of Sullivan County, Indiana, says the storm has caused three fatalities there.

LSU is going to the women's national championship game for the first time. Alexis Morris scored 27 points, Angel Reese had 24 and the Tigers beat top-seeded Virginia Tech 79-72 in a national semifinal game. The Tigers are in their second season since coach Kim Mulkey returned to her home state to take over an LSU program that once lost five consecutive national semifinal games. LSU will play Sunday against the winner of the South Carolina-Iowa semifinal. Elizabeth Kitley had 18 points for Virginia Tech, the ACC champion that was in the Final Four for the first time.

A Florida teenager has documented how it feels to be young and transgender for a film set to debut at a festival as transgender people around the world celebrate visibility and lawmakers across the country look to restrict their rights and care. The film “You're Loved” debuts Friday at a time when access to gender-affirming care for transgender and nonbinary young people is under assault across the United States. The film was produced and directed by 19-year-old Carys Mullins, who is gender non-conforming and uses she and they pronouns. Mullins hopes their documentary shows transgender people that they are loved and seen.

The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld a man's murder conviction in the 1979 killing of an 18-year-old Cedar Rapids woman. The court on Friday denied the appeal of Jerry Lee Burns, who was convicted in 2020 of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Michelle Martinko. Burns argued in his appeal that investigators had violated his privacy rights by not getting a warrant in 2018 before obtaining his DNA from a straw that he had thrown away. The DNA matched blood found on Martinko's dress. But the court ruled Burns could not have had a reasonable expectation of privacy when he discarded the straw.

New Hampshire voters would decide whether to enshrine the state's first-in-the-nation presidential primary in their constitution under a bill passed by the state Senate. If 60% of the House agrees, voters would be asked in November 2024 whether to add language to the constitution mirroring an existing state law that requires the primary to be held at least seven days before any similar contest. It was one of two bills passed by the Senate as a rebuke to the Democratic National Committee, which last month approved replacing the Iowa caucus with the South Carolina primary in the leadoff position in 2024 and having New Hampshire share the second slot with Nevada.

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