Missing Iowa woman reward fund at nearly $316,000

BROOKLYN — The reward fund offered for the safe return of a missing University of Iowa student has grown to nearly $316,000.

A spokesman for Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa said Thursday the organization has passed on more than 830 tips to authorities investigating the disappearance of Mollie Tibbetts.

Tibbetts' father has suggested she might have been abducted from her boyfriend Dalton Jack's home in Brooklyn. The 20-year-old Tibbetts was seen jogging July 18 and her family reported her missing the next day.

Jack's brother, Blake, told Fox News there were no signs of struggle at the home, adding that Tibbetts is "small, but she would have done something" if she had been attacked.

Dalton Jack says he received a Snapchat message from Tibbetts July 18, after she would have returned from her run. Authorities haven't found her Fitbit or cellphone.

Iowa Supreme Court hears arguments in voter ID law appeal

DES MOINES — The Iowa Supreme Court has heard arguments about a legal challenge to a new state voter identification law and a judge's ruling that puts several aspects of absentee voting in the law on hold.

Under an injunction issued in July by a judge the state is prohibited from shortening the time to cast absentee ballots from 40 days to 29 days. It is also be barred from requiring that absentee ballots include a voter verification number and from allowing ballots to be thrown out when a local election official determines the voter's signature doesn't match one on file.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate's appeal asks the court to overturn the injunction.

Arguments Thursday focused on whether the law causes harm by disenfranchising voters, especially Latinos who vote absentee in large numbers.

A lawyer for the state says there was no indication in the June primary that voters couldn't handle the new restrictions.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady said at the end of arguments that "it's an important question that needs a quick answer."

Illinois GOP rebukes Bustos opponent for conspiracy theories

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Illinois Republican leaders are disavowing a second of the party's congressional candidates over contentious views they've promoted.

The state GOP chairman and other party officials say they're withdrawing support for candidate Bill Fawell after reviewing conspiracy theories about the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2012 Sandy Hook mass school shooting that he posted to social media. Fawell is the GOP challenger to Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos in northwestern Illinois' 17th congressional district.

GOP Chairman Tim Schneider calls Fawell a liar whose comments have hurt those affected by tragic events.

Fawell said he tries to present alternate theories and that he's never received any Republican Party support.

Schneider previously denounced outspoken Holocaust denier Arthur Jones, who's the GOP nominee against Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski for a Chicago-area seat.

Labor Department monitoring Illinois State Fair ride safety

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois officials will make routine inspections of all amusement rides at the Illinois State Fair .

The Illinois Department of Labor reported Wednesday that inspectors will be reviewing 65 rides at the state fair's Carnival Midway, Adventure Village, and Happy Hollow pavilions. The state fair opens Thursday and closes Aug. 19.

Chris Wieneke is assistant Labor Department director. He says unannounced safety checks will be made as well as a precaution.

The department recommends that riders follow all safety rules and instructions from ride attendants. Parents should be aware of general safety guidelines offered by the Labor Department.