Archive for  November 2017

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DES MOINES, Iowa — “I looked on camera and there`s three guys running down my driveway and they had guns,” said Tommy Rhodes. “So, I don`t use my front door, so I went out to see what was going on, thinking it was police, maybe (they) needed something, they were looking for somebody.”

It happened at 8:11 PM on Tuesday Night. Rhodes didn’t know what was going on. His girlfriend and two month-old daughter were also inside the home at the time.

“And, I come out my backdoor and I get a gun shoved in my face for no reason, and it stunned me and I was looking around, trying to see if there`s more people,” said Rhodes. “There`s nobody around. It was just him and he`s yelling at me, telling me to get on the ground and I didn`t want to get on the ground.”

So, Rhodes tried to find out who he was dealing with.

“I was asking who are you?” said Rhodes. “Who are you with? And he wouldn`t tell me and then he finally put his gun down and then he asked me to come to the front of the house with him and then that`s when they found out that I`m not the guy they`re looking for. And that`s when I found out they`re bail bondsmen.”

Rhodes says he doesn’t know the person the bounty hunters were looking for.

“After they found out and looked at their phones, that it wasn`t me…and they finally realized I ain`t the guy, this ain`t the house,” said Rhodes. “And I told them I got cameras and they all just started walking away.”

Police say there’s a gray area when it comes bail bondsmen and bounty hunters and the industry could probably benefit from some more oversight.

“You can very clearly see that the deficiencies in that industry are usually when it comes to training, you know, training and procedures,” said Sergeant Paul Parizek, Public Information Officer for the Des Moines Police Department. “You can know the law inside and out, but if your people all aren`t trained, you know, the appropriate way to behave and do their job, particularly, when it comes to you know the safety aspect, somewhere your wires are gonna get crossed and something bad`s gonna happen one of these days.”

Police say the only recourse in a situation like this, for someone like Tommy Rhodes, may be civil. Rhodes says he is now reaching out to lawyers and considering filing a lawsuit against the bail bondsmen who he identifies as CSI Bail Bonds Custom Solutions Investigations in Indianola.

WHO-TV Channel 13 News reached out to CSI to ask them about this incident and they said they had no comment.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Local and statewide sexual harassment victim advocacy groups say they have seen an increase in victims coming forward and speaking out since the start of the #MeToo movement.

While high – profile and powerful men are taking center stage for sexual harassment accusations, advocates say we shouldn’t ignore those who are not in the spotlight.

“It might be a co – worker who makes jokes that make you uncomfortable or who is touchy feely with people inside your office. That`s where it starts. It doesn`t happen overnight with just the powerful and monied individuals doing it,” says associate director for the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Kerri True – Funk.

The blurred lines between what is and is not considered sexual harassment is actually quite clear according to the organization.

“It’s about the unwanted component.  The difference between consensual sex and rape is whether or not somebody says that the act is okay and the same thing goes for sexual harassment,” she says.

Sexual harassment is defined as someone making repeated and unwanted sexual advances, comments or even touching. The increase in reports made to advocacy groups comes during a time of what experts say is culture shift. Advocates say now victims feel safe to share their stories because others are too. True – Funk says if the alleged acts didn’t happen recently, it doesn’t mean victims their lose their credibility.

“It is safer for them now. For them it’s like there is some sort of believe that wouldn`t have been as safe for them three days, three weeks, three months ago. They really feel like today is a day they can talk about it. It’s really about the victim feeling safe and feeling empowered to back that moment.”

On Wednesday, NBC News fired Today Show host, Matt Lauer amid sexual harassment allegations. The accuser’s lawyer claims the harassment began three years ago while both she and Lauer were on assignment in Sochi, Russia for the Winter Olympics.

Local advocacy groups say anytime a victim chooses to come forward is the right time despite statute of limitation laws. Under Iowa law, the statute of limitation is ten years in criminal cases. In civil cases its only three years.

Legal experts urge people who feel like they are being harassed to document the incidents. They also encourage work places to review their harassment policies with employees.

 

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  Typing is a necessary skill in today’s digital age, but if it were not for donations like those coming in on Giving Tuesday to Urban Dreams, a Des Moines human service organization, Jallisa Hill may not be job-ready.

“Very thankful for it, very humble experience. I didn’t know how to type before. I taught myself how to type here,” she said.

Jalissa, among others, entered Urban Dreams’ 10-month job training program, which partners with local businesses like Wells Fargo and Broadlawns, helping urban communities find work. It’s a boost Dennis Henderson, who works with Broadlawns, believes can make all the difference.

“They are homeless now but just a job away or an opportunity away from being off the streets,” he said, adding, “that allows them to get a career instead of just a job, and it changes people’s lives forever.”

Urban Dreams Executive Director Izaah Knox says that change can continue to grow from pocket change, thanks to a new partnership with Soft Giving.

“Soft Giving is an organization that was actually started in Des Moines, and when you give to an organization, all the change from your debit card or your credit card automatically just rounds up to the nearest dollar.”

While Soft Giving requires your bank account information to begin donating, it touts bank-level security for users and you can limit how often you give. Knox said, “You can easily set a limit, and it just easily rounds your change up to the nearest dollar and then donates to the organization.”

Giving local helped Urban Dreams see Jallisa’s growth firsthand.

“She just has grown leaps and bounds by going through this 10-month program that we have. She has impressed us so much that we are hiring her,” said Knox.

Now, with a full-time job as office manager, Jallisa looks forward to seeing the donations that helped her now help others.

“To feed the homeless outside and get hats on them, clothes on them, scarves, mittens, stuff they can’t afford to buy for themselves.”

To donate your change to Urban Dreams, click here.

WINTERSET, Iowa  —  “We get all kinds of calls, ranging from accidents to dog bites to domestics, shots fired,” said Sergeant Kory Heckstein. “We deal with it all down here.”

Madison County Sheriff’s deputies like Sgt. Heckstein deal with it all, and often alone.

“A lot of times you’re by yourself,” said Sgt. Heckstein. “You deal with what you get, as you get it, and safety is a big concern, not just for officers, but also for the community. And our response time, if we’re tied up with one call, we could be backed up 2, 3, 4 calls. Our county is 550 square miles and to get from one point to the next, it can take a period of time.”

Sometimes, depending on the call, Winterset Police or State Troopers will help out if they’re close by–but that takes time.

“Sometimes your backup’s 15, 20 minutes away, and you’re alone.”

Being alone can lead to some dicey situations, like one instance five years ago when two taxi drivers from Des Moines brought a resident from the county home from the bar one night.

“The bill was $60,” said Sgt. Heckstein. “He had $30 on his person, went in the house to get the additional money, came out with a pistol, fired 16 rounds into the air, in the ground. The taxi drivers fled to a neighbor’s residence and waited for me to get there. I got there and was talking to him in the roadway and the same subject walked 200 yards to where we were standing with an AK-47 and came around the house.”

Fortunately, the man surrendered and was taken into custody.

“You have to have the proper mindset,” said Sgt. Heckstein. “You can’t be scared. You just gotta deal with what you get. A lot of it comes down to talking to people. It gets stressful.”

The population of Madison County as of the last census was 15,679. Sheriff Jason Barnes estimates that population to be at at least 17,000 now. Sheriff Barnes says the sheriff’s office handles an average of 650 calls for service a month.

The office just hired two deputies in the last four months, but those deputies replaced two who retired. Sheriff Barnes says he could still use two more deputies with the steady rise in calls and investigations. Sheriff Barnes says the County Board of Supervisors is very supportive and he’s confident they will give his office what it needs going forward. The sheriff says the board is aware of the problem and the issue is brought up at every budget hearing.

IOWA  —  The state of Iowa is facing a lawsuit over the treatment of juveniles at a state-run home.

The suit alleges dozens have been mistreated at the Iowa State Training School for Boys in Eldora. The Des Moines Register reports the suit was filed by Disability Rights Iowa and a New York nonprofit called Children’s Rights Inc. They cite the use of isolation rooms at the school, as well as juveniles being denied mental health services.

The lawsuit names the school’s superintendent Mark Day and Iowa DHS director Jerry Foxhoven.

Over the summer, Disability Rights Iowa released a report accusing the school of using excessive punishment methods. Foxhoven defended its practices, saying they were necessary due to the history of violence for some residents.

“These are kids who may have killed somebody, even. They might be convicted of murder or serious assaults. These are kids who have a bad criminal history. We don’t swaddle them because of that, but when they become violent and it puts other kids at risk, we are going to try and protect the other kids,” Foxhoven said.

Richard Shults, the DHS administrator in charge of mental health services, is also a defendant in the lawsuit.

AMES, Iowa  —  Iowa State University has announced a new contract for the school’s head football coach.

Matt Campbell has agreed to a six-year contract worth $22.5 million. This means his guaranteed annual salary will increase from $2.1 million to $3.5 million. The university’s athletics department has also agreed to another $1 million to provide Campbell’s staff incremental raises.

In a Monday evening press release, Campbell said, “I want to thank Jamie (Pollard) for respecting my desire to hold off these conversations until our regular season ended and also for being proactive in supporting the needs of my staff and team as we build a legacy at Iowa State University. The commitment that he and Iowa State have made to us – including some exciting facility enhancements on the horizon – has been critical to my vision for our team going forward.”

This year, Campbell led the Cyclones to a 7-5 overall and 5-4 mark in Big 12 play, which matches the school record for conference wins in a season. Iowa State is also bowl-eligible for the first time in five years, and later this week the Clones will find out their destination.

“We are just getting started at Iowa State,” said Campbell in the release. “To see our culture rapidly developing in concert with some excellent incoming recruits, we are developing a foundation for a program on the brink of success. Most importantly, I want to continue this journey and take Iowa State and its fan base to levels it has never reached. Now, it’s time to hit the recruiting trail and continue to build on what has been achieved this season.”

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  Meredith has announced a deal to purchase Time Inc.

The media company will buy the publisher of Time, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune magazines for $2.8 billion. The all-cash deal is being backed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. The pair are considered conservative political powerhouses, but Meredith says they won’t have a role in editorial or management.

Meredith held unsuccessful talks to buy Time earlier this year and in 2013.

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  Food Bank of Iowa CEO Michelle Book talks peanut butter, donations, volunteers, and her prediction in this week’s Quick Six.

Iowa State lost a heart-breaker at Kansas State, 20 to 19.

The Cyclones led 19-7 in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t hold off a K-State rally, which was helped by controversial non-penalty calls.

We have complete highlights and post-game coverage from Michael Admire in Manhattan.

Iowa State finishes the regular season 7-5, and waits for word where the Cyclones will play their bowl game.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa– A popular Metro performer was able to show off his talents to millions when he appeared on The Voice, after getting cut he’s now bringing his voice back to Des Moines.

Chris Weaver went to Central College and lived in Des Moines for eight years.

We watched him take the stage at Lutheran Church of Hope, the place where he says it all started.

“I was one of the worship leaders here and we used to do auditions and so that was always fun. There was that time we gave a yes or a no on the spot, who knew that this would be preparing me for my life on The Voice.  I hated it and I always dreaded telling someone no, but now I know what that’s like,” Weaver said.

Last week, Weaver was told ‘NO’ and was voted off The Voice.

Since then he’s preformed in Des Moines once, and says it was overwhelming to see so many people show up.

“It was nuts, and I think the most amazing thing about it was there were people from college, people from church, and just friends, it was nuts,” Weaver said.

It’s those people Weaver says that motivated him throughout the competition.

“It wasn’t until I landed in Iowa that I felt this thing come over me and I said OK I am going to keep on doing this. There is this energy in this state that is like no other, it just amazes me. There is such a home feeling you can’t go anywhere else and get that,” Weaver said.

But the road to success hasn’t been easy, he hopes he can motivate people to never give up and to follow their dreams.

“I can remember this time last year, I didn’t know what I was going to eat, I was broke because I followed my dream and didn’t give up. The door opened and I always tell people you can only hear so many no’s before a yes, you only have one life, live it,” Weaver said.

Weaver eventually wants to move back to the Metro to teach kids how to sing.