Archive for  November 23rd 2017

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DES MOINES, Iowa  —  Des Moines residents are still paying for the court settlement over an illegal tax, and it could mean extra money in your pocket in time for the holidays.

Tens of millions of dollars are waiting to be claimed by people who paid utilities in the city, and residents now have the chance to claim the money they may deserve.

“We’ve received about $11 million. We have 18 months to return it to the individuals that are on the list,” said Karen Austin, Iowa Deputy Treasurer.

The list includes names of Des Moines residents past and present who were forced to pay inflated franchise fees on their MidAmerican utility bills. In 2012, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld a ruling that allowed customers to receive their portion of the $32 million in refunds, despite those checks being mailed out a year ago.

Nearly $11 million belonging to 60,000 Iowans remains unclaimed. To cover the cost of the refunds, the city legally raised the fee, which means customers are already paying for their own refunds. Austin says the amount most people will receive by going to the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt website  could come in handy just in time for the holidays.

“For individuals, we’re averaging $100-300,” she said. “It is here and it is waiting for people to claim.”

Close to $1 million has already been paid out. In the event that someone has passed away, the heirs to that individual can collect the money, as well.

WAVERLY, Iowa  —  One seventh grader from eastern Iowa has the chance of a lifetime–to step on to the field at this year’s Super Bowl–but she needs the public’s help to get there.

Olivia Eckerman is a 7th grader at Waverly-Shell Rock Middle School. A gymnast and a dancer, Olivia entered a contest to be the next NFL Play 60 Super Kid.

“I am an athlete and I know the importance of eating healthy and getting active, so I wanted to encourage others to get active and eat healthy as well,” she said.

NFL Play 60 is an initiative designed to get kids active for at least 60 minutes a day to fight childhood obesity.

“Sadly, obesity is a problem, and getting active can help you feel better overall. If you start getting active now, as you get older you’ll just keep getting active because it’s your daily routine,” said Olivia.

The NFL Play 60 Super Kid gets to be on the field at this year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis to give the game ball to the referee before the coin toss. In order to be part of the competition, Olivia first had to submit a video of her personal touchdown celebration; that got her into the top 30. Next, she had to submit a 60-second video describing how she represented the Play 60 lifestyle.

“It’s been really fun, it’s also been really nerve-wracking because sometimes we’ll submit the video and it will be a while until we hear back,” said Olivia.

When she heard back from the judges, she was in the top eight.  She then had a 15-minute interview with the NFL, during which she discussed how she worked with her school to create a healthy environment by starting a walking club and holding weekly tastings of healthy food. That was enough to make her one of the top three finalists.

“Oh, it’s incredible, we’re very proud of her, most of all because she’s just being who she is. Just be yourself and that’s the best she can do,” said Olivia’s mother, Sue.

Now Olivia needs your help.  The winner will be selected through a combination of a popular vote and what they’ve submitted so far, with a third of the total score coming from the vote.  Olivia says she wants to win not just for the experience, but the platform it would give her.

“It would be super cool, and then I can just show a bunch of people if you try really hard you can do something that you want to do. I love to get active and I’d like to encourage others on a large scale to get active, as well,” she said.

Voting has already started and will end on December 5th. To vote for Olivia, go to