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DES MOINES, Iowa  —  Despite Channel 13’s repeated attempts to get a statement, State Senator Nate Boulton has refused to answer the question most people are asking: will he remain in the Iowa Senate?

The seat he’s at risk of losing is one Pam Dearden Conner hoped to win in 2016. Conner lost the primary for the Democratic nomination to Boulton by just 176 votes. The new allegations against Boulton coming less than two weeks before the primary election for governor caught Conner by surprise.

“I just heard rumors that, you know, there was rumors of sexual harassment,” said Conner. “But…as the months went on, it got closer to the campaign, I assumed if they were true, they would have came out.”

Conner knows the rigors of a campaign and feels bad for Boulton’s family and staff.

“I feel terrible for his wife and his family and all the people that has been on his campaign for the last year and worked their hearts out, and, you know, all of his supporters,” said Conner. “It’s very hard. I’ve worked on a lot of campaigns and I just feel bad for all of them. It has to be very disappointing to them. You know, it’s a lot to get in a campaign, to work hard. They have to be very disciplined, and that’s really how I feel about it.”

With Boulton’s future in question, Conner isn’t ruling out another run.

“I’m not ruling anything out,” she said. “We’ll just have to see how everything plays out, I guess.”

POLK COUNTY, Iowa  —  Hundreds of Iowans will share a park this weekend; the Memorial Day holiday marks the start of the camping season.

“I camped all last year and I think this is the hottest it’s been,” said camper Jason Latimer.

Latimer and his son plan to sweat it out at Cherry Glen Campground for the weekend.. The campground is packed with people ready to enjoy the holiday and the outdoors. The Latimers plan to keep cool with plenty of water, a dip in Saylorville Lake, and if it gets too warm, there’s always the RV.

“I can run both of my air conditioners at the same time, one in the bedroom and one in the main living area,” Latimer said.

From tennis camp in Rwanda to tennis star in Iowa. It’s the remarkable story of Habibu.

 

 

HABIBU: “MY FULL NAME IS HABIENZA MOISE, BUT I GO BY HABIBU.”

HABIBU HAS BEEN PAT OF THE VALLEY TENNIS TEAM ALL 4 YEARS.

HABIBU “I REALLY LOVE PLAYING TENNIS.”

COX: “HES JUST A FUN KID. GOOD NATURED, ALWAYS LIKES TO HAVE FUN. HARD WORKER.”

FOR THE 3RD TIME IN 4 YEARS HABIBU QUALIFIED FOR THE STATE TOURNAMENT.

COX: “THATS AN AWESOME FEAT CONSIDERING EVERYTHING ELSE HE’S BEEN DOING.”

AND CONSIDERING WHERE IT ALL STARTED.

HABIBU: “I’M FROM RWANDA, SMALL COUNTRY IN AFRICA.”

JULIE: “HONEST, KIND, SO MUCH ENERGY.”

JULIE GHRIST, FOUNDER OF ART OF CONSERVATION IN RWANDA WAS THE FIRST TO MEET HABIBU IN AFRICA AFTER STARTING A YOUTH SPORTS PROGRAM.

JULIE: ” HABIBU WAS ONE OF THE KEY PLAYERS OF ALL THE COMMUNITY KIDS, HE WAS ALWAYS THERE.”

WITH THE HELP OF JULIE AND THE LOCAL COMMUNITY HABIBU CAME TO DES MOINES IN 2013 FOR TENNIS CAMP.

HABIBU: “I CAME TO GET BETTER AT MY TENNIS GAME.”

BUT AFTER SUMMER CAMP, HABIBU WANTED TO STAY IN IOWA.

RAY: “EVERYDAY AFTER SCHOOL HABIBU WOULD RIDE HIS BIKE TO OUR HOUSE AFTER SCHOOL, HE WASNT IN SCHOOL.

SO THE BENNING FAMILY MADE A DECISION.

RAY: “ONE DAY CARRIE JUST DETERMINED, ‘HABIBU YOU’RE GOING TO MOVE IN TO OUR HOUSE’, THATS HOW IT HAPPENED.”

JULIE: “ALL OF IT WAS REMARKABLE, HOW HE HAD ENOUGH COURAGE TO GET IN THERE, HARDLY SPOKE ANY ENGLISH.”

THE PAST 4 YEARS HABIBU HAS BEEN PART OF THE BENNING FAMILY.

HABIBU: “I FEEL LIKE I’M BACK HOME. THEY’RE LIKE MY REAL PARENTS. THEY TREAT ME THE SAME AS THEIR KIDS.”

JULIE “I’M COMPLETELY FILLED WITH JOY, HAPPINESS, MAKES ME WANT TO CRY.”

RAY: “I REALLY KNEW HE WAS PART OF THE FAMILY WHEN HE AND MY YOUNGER DAUGHTER CHARLOTTE HAD A HUGE ARGUMENT OVER THE CHANNEL CHANGER AND WHO WAS GOING TO CONTROL THE CHANNEL CHANGER.”

MOVING FROM RWANDA TO THE USA PRESENTS OBVIOUS CHALLENGES. LANGUAGE, WEATHER, EVEN SOCIAL ACTIVITIES AT SCHOOL. HABIBU’S PERSONALITY HELPED HIM FIT IN QUICKLY, BUT EXPLAINING THINGS TO HIS PARENTS HALFWAY ACROSS THE WORLD CAN BE A CHALLENGE.

HABIBU: “I TOLD THEM ABOUT HOMECOMING THEY SEE ONE OF MY PHOTOS FOR HOMECOMING CANDIDATE AND SEE ME SITTING IN THE BACK OF A CONVERTIBLE WITH A GIRL. MY PARENTS THINK I WAS GETTING MARRIED! THEY DIDNT UNDERSTAND.”

JULIE: “HE BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN PEOPLE.”

RAY: “HE BREAKS DOWN BARRIERS WITH HIS PERSONALITY AND SMILE

JOHN: “DOES HE EVER NOT SMILE?” Julie: “NO I THINK YOU HAVE THE RIGHT ASSESSMENT, THAT’S HOW I GOT TO KNOW THIS DARLING KID.”

AND WHILE TENNIS OPENED A DOOR TO THE U.S. HABIBU HAS BECOME AN EVEN BETTER ATHLETE IN CROSS COUNTRY AND TRACK.

HABIBU: “MY PLANS ARE TO GO TO IOWA CENTRAL , SAD THINKING I DON’T KNOW IF I’LL PLAY TENNIS, BUT I’LL BE DOING CROSS COUNTRY AND TRACK.”

FROM RWANDA TO THE USA.

HABIBU: “I’M VERY THANKFUL.”

JULIE: “IM AMAZED BY WHAT KIND OF PERSON HE IS.”

RAY: “HE KNOWS HE’S A VERY LUCKY PERSON, I THINK HE WILL DO SOMETHING MAGNIFICENT TO PAYBACK WHAT HE’S BEEN GIVEN.”

IT STARTS WITH A SMILE. JOHN SEARS CHANNEL 13 SPORTS.>

KEITH MURPHY:
“HABIBU GRADUATED LAST WEEKEND. HE’S ALREADY STARTED A FUNDRAISING EFFORT TO RAISE MONEY TO PURCHASE TENNIS BALLS FOR HIS TEAM BACK IN RWANDA. YOU’LL FIND THE FACEBOOK LINK BELOW.”

https://www.facebook.com/ibirunga/

DES MOINES, Iowa–The top Iowa Democrat in the senate wants one of her members who is dealing with the aftermath of sexual misconduct scandal to resign or she has threatened to support an investigation into his past.

Thursday morning, Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen, a Des Moines Democrat, issued a statement that called for State Senator Nate Boulton, who is also a Des Moines Democrat, to resign his position. Wednesday, the Des Moines Register published a story where three women alleged that Boulton touched them inappropriately during different occasions back when he was in law school more than a decade ago and more recently in 2015, as he prepared a run for the senate.

Here is Petersen’s statement:

“Sexual harassment is unacceptable whether it occurs in a social or professional setting. What we have learned in the last 24 hours
makes it clear to me that Senator Boulton should also resign his position in the Iowa Senate.
“If he chooses not to do so, I will support a full, independent investigation into allegations against him.”
Boulton quit 

State Senator Liz Mathis, a Cedar Rapids Democrat, followed Petersen’s release with her own message on Twitter.

Boulton didn’t address his senate seat in his campaign statement Thursday morning when he ended his campaign for governor.
Here is his statement:

“I am so proud of the campaign that my staff, my supporters, and I ran in the past year,” said Boulton. “I was and still am inspired every day by the people who have chosen to fight alongside me in the Senate and on the campaign trail to share a positive vision forward for this incredible state of Iowa.”

“Democrats must win in November so we can begin to turn our state around,” said Boulton. “We join together to support the nominee and elect Democrats up and down the ticket. I will do all II can to support that mission and will never stop fighting for progressive causes.”

“These the last 48 hours have been trying. I again offer an apology to those whom I have harmed in any way. It is my hope there is some positive that can come from this moment as we strive to be the better people we can be in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. I know that will be my task moving on from here.”

“Thank you to everyone who stood with me in this campaign, especially the countless working families of the labor movement who joined me in this race and must now continue to fight for their way of life in this state. While I depart this campaign for governor with a heavy heart, I remain resolved to the greater cause creating a future Iowa we all can be proud to call our home.”

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price released a statement that supported Boulton’s decision to drop out of the race for governor but he stopped short of calling for Boulton to also leave the senate.

Here is Price’s statement:

“The Iowa Democratic Party has always been and will always be a place where everyone is welcome and included in the process of making our state and country a better place. Standing up for those who have been marginalized, forgotten, or ignored is a core value of the Democratic Party, as such, we as a community have a special obligation to strongly condemn every incident of sexual harassment, particularly when it occurs within our own party.

I admire those who had the courage to step forward, and I believe Senator Boulton did the right thing by suspending his campaign. We hope that he will prioritize the values of the Iowa Democratic Party, and every Democrat we represent, as he makes his decision about his future. Whatever decision he makes, we support a full and thorough investigation by the Iowa Senate into this matter.

We can and must do better.

This is not the end of the conversation. We firmly believe that the events of the last 24 hours are a step towards creating the social change we so desperately need; but, it won’t happen without folks like you stepping up to be part of the solution. Please help us move forward.”

DES MOINES, Iowa — “I saw Nate put his hand on Sharon`s back and then move it down to her butt, ” said Ash Bruxvoort. “Then Sharon and I made eye contact and I remember thinking like, what is that about?”

Bruxvoort says the alleged inappropriate contact happened in November of 2015, at Wooly’s, at an event called “Drag King.” Bruxvoort says she and her friend Sharon Wegner, met at the Continental beforehand, and that’s where they ran into Boulton.

“She (Sharon) introduced me to Nate Boulton there that night,” said Bruxvoort. Bruxvoort says Boulton and his wife decided they would join her and Wegner to attend the event.

“Then we were at Wooly’s, I was getting a drink and everybody else including Nate`s wife, so Nate, Sharon, some other people that we know I think, were all standing in a circle,” recounted Bruxvoort.

That’s when Bruxvoort says she witnessed inappropriate touching by Boulton.

“I was observing Sharon obviously felt uncomfortable with Nate and felt in a position that she felt like she could not say stop touching me, and you would think that her pulling away from him and his wife being there would be enough for him to know that it was time to stop touching her,” said Bruxvoort.

Bruxvoort says Sharon didn’t feel comfortable speaking out at the time.

“He was openly campaigning at the time,” said Bruxvoort. “He was a powerful lawyer in Des Moines. Sharon is also an attorney. He for sure has power and women are just base level at a lower level than men are, and so when you’re a professional trying to move up in your career, you have to work with these men who are going to be powerful men.”

But Bruxvoort says times have changed.

“It`s just easier to not rock the boat and I think we have to remember, this was three years ago,” said Bruxvoort. “Things were really different back then. There wasn’t this huge wave of women coming forward. There weren’t all of these people coming out in support of these women.”

WINTERSET, Iowa  —  It’s the big race of the year.  But instead of tires screeching or hooves galloping, it will be feathers flying at the Topeka Classic.  Pigeon racers from across the Midwest will flock to Kansas for the Super Bowl for birds.

John Shaw is making his return to competition after a two year break.

“I just feed them and water them and tell them to come home,” said Shaw.

Nestled among the trees and farm fields in Winterset, his pigeons rule the roost.  Leading up to race day, he takes his old birds out to stretch their wings.

“OK boys, let’s put on a good show now.  I want you guys to go straight home,”  he instructed.

After a few flaps of freedom, his released birds get their bearings and head for him.  Some days, they beat him home.

Today wasn’t one of them.

“Just three out of 20. Evidently a hawk hit them and they scattered,” said Shaw.

He has plenty of time to wait for the rest of the flock to return to the coop.  Like many of the members of the Des Moines Invitational Racing Pigeon Club, he’s retired.  Finding someone to take under his wing, hasn’t been easy.

“Nobody, nobody. There’s nobody that crazy,” he joked.

“The younger generation just doesn’t have time for it.  They all have their cell phone and they’re always playing on them,”  added Shaw.

A different kind of winged racer is competing for the younger generation’s attention.

“Drone racing is definitely up and coming.  Over the past couple of years, the hobby has really exploded with popularity,” explained Will Dobbins.

Dobbins is the president of 515 FPV, the local drone racing club.

“It is a lot of fun.  It is a huge adrenaline rush.  I liken it to riding a motorcycle absolutely crazy on the curvy windy roads but when you crash it only hurts your wallet,” Dobbins said.

Goggled racers battle it out on the course with their motorized birds that can go from zero to 70 almost immediately.  In this hobby, a typical race only lasts a few minutes and younger flyers have the advantage behind the controls.

“It’s like a video game in that you’re just doing hand-eye coordination on a screen,” said Dobbins.

Shaw’s high flying stakes have been around for centuries and races are measured in hours and hundreds of miles.

“The best part is when you’re sitting out here waiting and you look at your clock- and think- if that bird is flying 50 miles an hour, or 65 miles an hour, and you look and here he comes,” he said.

This seasoned bird racer doesn’t care if he wins.  The best part is having his pigeons fly home.

“There’s something special about them,” said Shaw.

IOWA  —  In November, Channel 13’s Dave Price looked into the price of safety for Iowa students regarding seatbelts on school buses, examining the cost to add them to districts’ buses and whether drivers thought they would be beneficial. Now, in response to several school bus crashes, the National Transportation Safety Board says both shoulder and lap belts should be installed on all new buses.

A demonstration from the NTSB explains the reasoning behind this decision. Footage from a crash simulation shows test dummies being launched from their seats into the roof of the bus during a roll-over crash. This shows students are much more protected and held tightly in their seats when seatbelts are installed.

The Des Moines School District is already taking the NTSB’s advice. Last year, officials ordered eight new buses, all with seatbelts. The district’s former transportation director, Todd Liston, says the additional expense is worth the cost.

“Seatbelts add an extra layer of safety on there, but it’s a very expensive layer,” Liston said.

Adding seatbelts increases the cost of a new bus by $9,000, and retrofitting older buses would cost $15,000 each. At this point, the NTSB is only recommending seatbelts, not making them requirements.

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  In 2017, Des Moines’ homicide rate was the highest it has been in decades, which shook the community to its core. As a result, local rapper Will Keeps decided to use his music to fight back against the violence.

Sgt. Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department said the city saw 25 homicides total last year.

“It’s the highest number we’ve had in close to 30 years. It’s definitely not something we are proud of, but again, the police can only do so much,” he said. “There’s a lot of frustration when our detectives don’t get cooperation, when they get people lying to them or turning their backs on them or shutting doors in their face. They may only see that part, we see the victim side of it, also.”

The violence pushed Keeps to use his music as a tool to reach the community.

“There was a lot of killing going on. A lot of drive-by shootings. A lot of young people dying. A lot of innocent people dying, and I just want it to stop. I didn’t care about what people thought about me, I didn’t care about what the streets thought of me. I just wanted people to have a voice and let them know there are people that are really working hard to try and stop the violence in our city,” Keeps said.

Parizek said out of the 25 homicide cases, only four are still open.

“There’s always, on these open cases, you can always look and you can pretty much see that there’s one common denominator, and that’s somebody knows something and they’re not telling,” said Parizek.

Keeps believes people aren’t speaking up because they’re afraid.

“Fear. The streets has put fear into our youth and into our community. If you say something, you’re a snitch,” he explained.

He wants to change that narrative with his music video called “Droppin.”

“I wanted to show in that video that they are trying to, people are out there trying to help. You have to stop listening to the streets who are trying to brainwash you into thinking there’s no one out there that can help us,” Keeps said.

Local law enforcement and Governor Kim Reynolds came together to be a part of the video.

“It was a good way for us to reach some kids we might not be able to reach just with our police commentary. Will’s got a way of automatically legitimizing us a little bit to some people who don’t think that we understand or think we really care about the issues that they’re dealing with,” Parizek said.

Parizek said the officers involved in the video want to make sure people understand the emotion connected with the violence and loss.

“It’s the families that get torn apart that hits you the most,” he said. “We’ve seen that within our organization on too many occasions within the past two years. The families and the crushing sorrow and the constant lingering.”

One moment in particular motivated Keeps to make his music video.

“There was a friend of the family, his name is Terry Harris, and he got shot in his own home in front of his little brother, and he was real good friends with my kids. And when he died, it really hurt them a lot,” he said.

Terry Harris died June 9th, 2015, at 16 years old.

“Terry was the life of house. He was exciting. He was about the music. He was our DJ. He was just goofy, silly, so that was him,” Terry’s sister Ashley McGregor said.

McGregor said their lives changed forever that day.

“In June it will be three years. So one day at a time. I don’t know if you ever get over anything like that because he will never be back,” she said.

The man who killed Harris, Kenneth Moore, is serving time for second degree murder, but McGregor said her life will never return to normal.

“As far as closure goes, I don’t know what closure is when you lose somebody so close to you,” she said. “I mean, I’m really going to say that, like, him going to jail and getting served time, that’s what he deserves, was to go to prison. So of course that was comforting a little, I guess, but it didn’t bring our brother back. It’s not going to. It’s not going to bring our lives back to where it was.”

McGregor hopes this will serve as a wake up call to the young people committing these crimes.

“I think it really starts in our homes, but hopefully somebody can reach out and get through to the kids because it’s a lot. And money and materialistic crap just doesn’t equal up to the lives you’re tearing up and the families,” she said. “The boy doesn’t know at all how much he took from our home. He didn’t know what that life meant to all of us.”

Keeps said he’s trying to reach impressionable kids by visiting schools and being someone in whom they can confide.

“There’s a lot of kids that are alive. That are looking for people to be there for them. Be able to talk to them. Be able to help them. I don’t want it to where they die and then all of a sudden everybody comes together. Why we gotta die first for everybody to come together? Why can’t we come together alive?”

Keeps recently started his nonprofit, Starts Right Here, to reach more kids at schools all over central Iowa and empower them to be more than the violent example.

Click here to watch Keeps’ newest music video called “Get It,” featuring students from the Des Moines Public School District.

MICHIGAN  —  A Michigan veteran is about to celebrate a major milestone, and you can help make it special.

Ike Fabela will celebrate his 100th birthday on June 6th. The WWII veteran has one wish for his birthday this year: to receive 100 birthday cards. His family says since word has spread, he has been anxiously checking his mail every day, looking for cards from well-wishers across the country.

Birthday cards for Ike can be mailed to the following address:

Ike Fabela
C/O Nick Rodgers
PO Box 3112
Montrose, MI 48457

IOWA  —  Iowa is joining the call for drug manufacturers to be held accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic.

Attorney General Tom Miller joined 38 other state attorneys general in asking lawmakers to pass stiffer penalties for opioid producers. They argue manufacturers have a duty to prevent drugs from entering the illicit market and those who fail to report suspicious transactions or maintain effective controls should face steeper penalties.