Archive for  June 2018

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OTTUMWA, Iowa  —  Crews are searching for a fisherman who is unaccounted for on the Des Moines River.

Officials say the Wapello County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to an area on the water known as Turkey Island, northwest of Ottumwa. The fisherman’s boat was found unoccupied and wedged into the riverbank shortly before 11 a.m. on Saturday.

The Ottumwa Fire Department and Iowa DNR officials also responded to the scene and are searching for the man with watercraft and sonar equipment. Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the sheriff’s office.

IOWA  —  Iowa’s Republican party now has a nominee for the state’s secretary of agriculture.

The race was sent to convention because neither of the five candidates received the 35% of votes needed to win the primary. Over the course of four voting rounds, the 1,100 delegates determined Mike Naig, the current ag secretary, is the winner of the nomination.

Before this was determined, all five candidates made their pitch as to why they should be the party’s nominee. In order to win, Naig needed to receive at least 50% of the vote.

“It’s critically important that we maintain conservative leadership at the Department of Ag and in the secretary’s office, and we must put our best foot forward in a very competitive race against a Democrat,” said Naig.

Naig said he will focus on inspiring the next generation of Iowans to pursue careers in agriculture. He will take on Democratic challenger Tim Gannon in November.

IOWA  —  A local Olympic hopeful isn’t letting the extreme heat get in the way of his dreams.

West Des Moines’ Zach Stoppelmoor is heading to Holland next month for the Inline World Speed Skating Championships. The Valley High School alum is one of six senior men representing the U.S.

On Friday, Stopplemoor got in some last minute training before heading oversees next week.

“I’m out here training two times a day, except for Saturday, it’s my only off day. And then I’m doing plyometrics separate from this, so I’m skating once a day, biking once a day, and then either plyometrics or I’m at the gym on top of that,” he said.

Stopplemoor says his goal is to win a world inline championship and then transition to ice speed skating with his eyes on making the U.S. Olympic team.

NEVADA, Iowa  —  A Nevada man charged in the death of his two-month-old infant is taking a plea deal.

On Friday, 29-year-old Calvin White pleaded guilty to one count of child endangerment resulting in death. White was originally charged with first degree murder after his baby was found not breathing on January 29th and died shortly after authorities arrived.

White remains held in the Story County Jail. His sentencing is set for July 23rd.

FORT DODGE, Iowa — “We were just sitting here getting rained out,” said Bradley Deling of Shore Side Lawn and Landscaping. “So, I was deciding on what to do with all the workers and we noticed the intersection down there was all full of water, and we were just watching the people either turn around or try to go for it.”

Bella Thoma decided to go for it.

“I was taking my daughter to daycare, and so we were coming down this street here and when we went across, there was a car in front of us and it went through it,” said Thoma. “So, I was like okay, well, I’m going to go through it too.”

“I saw her go through,” said Jacob Horn. “She was about half way through and let up on the gas, because she probably got nervous, and that’s when her car stalled out.”

Fortunately, Fort Dodge Police Officer Chris Weiland and some nearby good samaritans over at Shoreside Lawn and Landscaping were at the right place at the right time.

“Cop just came up and asked, he’s like hey, can we use one of your flatbeds to try and go get her, we`ll get her out the window and everything?” said Deling. “And we just went down there and got her.”

“I am very grateful that they came,” said Thoma. “Because I didn’t know what I was going to do.”

And while it wasn`t a life or death situation, it’s the thought and the heart behind the help, that meant just as much as the good deed itself.

“You know, some people are like, oh you could have gotten out and walked, but the whole point was, you know, the gratitude of them taking the time out of whatever they were doing,” said Thoma. “They came and they helped, because some people don’t even do that anymore.”

 

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CHICAGO (AP) — Entrepreneur Elon Musk said Thursday a high-speed transportation system that will whisk people between downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport at speeds of up to 150 mph could be operational in about three years.

Musk joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to formally announce that a Musk-owned enterprise, The Boring Company, was selected for the project and will fully fund it. They say electric vehicles will carry passengers through underground tunnels in about 12 minutes each way.

Emanuel called the new transit system “the fast lane to Chicago’s future,” and said it will create jobs and make the city more competitive.

He scoffed at critics who question the still-unproven technology or the city’s ability to achieve what’s been a goal at City Hall for more than a decade. He noted there were doubters when the city set out to reverse the flow of the Chicago River or build the first skyscraper — other seemingly impossible tasks the city now boasts of having accomplished.

“Chicago is always looking at what’s possible and then making it achievable,” Emanuel said. “There are doubters along the way all the time who sit on the sideline and then when the thing gets built and opportunities come and the job growth happens you can’t find them.”

Musk, who’s CEO of electric car maker Tesla and aerospace company SpaceX, noted he’s successfully completed other “pretty tricky” projects .

He said he expects the company will begin digging the dual tunnels after it’s received all the necessary regulatory approvals, a process he expects to take a few months. Once construction begins he’d like to see the system operational in 18 months to two years, but said it should be no more than three years.

“This is a different thing that we’re doing, it’s a hard thing, it’s a new thing,” Musk said. “I’d hope that you’d cheer us on, because if we succeed it’s going to be a great thing for the city, and if we fail, well I guess me and others will lose a bunch of money.”

Thursday’s news conference was held in the mothballed shell of an underground station that the city constructed years ago. The site, in a downtown development known as Block 37, will serve as the downtown station for the new express service. The Boring Company will create a new station at O’Hare.

Vehicles will depart the airport and downtown as often as every 30 seconds, and each vehicle will accommodate up to 16 passengers and their luggage.

The 12-minute ride — which Emanuel equated to “three songs on your iPod” — compares to the roughly 40 minutes it currently takes to make it from O’Hare to the city via the Chicago Transportation Authority’s Blue Line train. The alternative — by road — can take more than twice as long.

The company plans to collect ticket and advertising revenue, and Deputy Mayor Robert Rivkin said the estimated fare will be $20 to $25 per ride, which is significantly less than a taxi ride to or from the airport. A Blue Line ticket from O’Hare costs $5.

Making the long-discussed express route a reality — and at no cost to taxpayers — would be a major accomplishment for Emanuel, who’s seeking his third term next year. The project’s timeline will allow him to campaign on the initiative, with its success or failure unknown until well past the election.

Some critics already have emerged. Alderman Scott Waguespack, a member of the City Council’s progressive caucus, said Emanuel was again putting the interests of billionaires and big corporations ahead of the needs of neighborhoods and taxpayers. He said the caucus is demanding hearings on the “potential boondoggle.”

In May, Musk said a tunnel built under a Los Angeles suburb to test a transportation system was almost complete and that the public would be offered free rides in a few months. Musk also touted a possible high-speed tunnel project connecting Washington, D.C., and New York last summer.

Musk’s flagship electric car company Tesla Inc. struggled last year to turn an annual profit for the first time in its 15 years of doing business. Musk announced Tuesday that Tesla would be laying off about 3,600 workers mainly from its salaried ranks as it slashes costs. He said the cuts amount to about 9 percent of the company’s workforce of 40,000.

For nearly all of its history, Tesla has put up losses while investing heavily in technology, manufacturing plants and an extensive car-charging network.

CNN contributed to this article

FORT ATKINSON, Iowa- The Fort Atkinson State Preserve got a visit from the members of the Iowa Natural Resources Commission, as well as a number of staff members from the Department of Natural Resources. The Commission often visits DNR- run facilities while heading to a monthly meeting. In June the Commission meets at Luther College in nearby Decorah.

The Fort was built in 1840 six years before Iowa became a state.

“This is the only Fort remaining in Iowa that was built before statehood,” said Jeff Hildebrand, who runs the Volga Recreation Area, along with Ft. Atkinson. “The original structures, the canon house, in the south west corner, and the magazine bunker over there and the North Barricks are all origninal structures.”

The Fort was built by the US Government to help calm tensions among indian tribes in the region.

“The treaty of 1825 established a neutral line just to keep the Sioux, and Sauk and Fox, from battling because there was an on-going feud between them,” said Hildebrand. “Just the history of the Fort is amazing, not so much because there were no battles fought here, there were no skirmishes. but just what was going on with in the country the time that this is operating.”

“I am very very impressed with the Fort Atkinson area and with the Fort, and the amount of wonderful community support that we see here,” said Margo Underwood, of Clear Lake, who serves as Chair of the Natural Resources Commission. “We try to take four tours a year and really get out and see some of the different areas where we have projects and different activities going on.”

The Fort gates are open 6am to 10:30 at night. There is a museum located in the barracks building. It contains artifacts used at the Fort. It also has maps showing the Iowa Territory. The Museum is only open by appointment.

If you would like more information on the Fort Atkinson State Preserve, click here.

 

DES MOINES, Iowa — Seeing people live unsheltered in the cold conditions of Winter broke the heart of Melissa O’Neil, CEO of Central Iowa Shelter & Services. O’Neil expressed that sentiment to local leaders at the time. The desire to do better inspired a plan for what is being called phase 2 housing for the chronically homeless.

“The number of chronically homeless individuals at that time was around a 107 people,” said O’Neil. “We now, as of last Tuesday, had roughly 56 individuals who are chronically homeless and 26 of those individuals are residing here at CISS.”

The plan that’s been devised by community leaders is to build 24 housing units out of shipping containers near the shelter.

“That model was based off of the railroad and the shipping containers that were used on the railroad,” said O’Neil.

O’neil explained how it will work.

“They`ll be a bridge that comes from our parking lot, out to a platform,” said O’Neil. “The same security pieces will be in place, and process will be in place, that we have in our existing facility to this platform and then residents will check in and they`ll be able to walk out.”

During the Winter season, Ako Abdul-Samad fed the homeless population living near the shelter, and he hopes that the plan to build 24 new housing units in that area is only the beginning of things to come.

“I think this has to be the beginning,” said Abdul-Samad. “I think let Iowa take the leadership, to actually create a village, you know? I mean, we build what housing complexes and everything in a matter of time. We could take these units, actually build a city for temporary housing to help individuals to get on their feet, to relocate, to be able to provide the services that are necessary.”

FORT DODGE, Iowa  —  A soybean field served as an emergency landing strip in Fort Dodge on Tuesday.

“I came outside just to be nosy and walked up to the field and noticed that there was a plane that did a nice nose dive,” said witness Leah Hovey. “It sounded like the engine gave out right before the crash.”

Police say that’s exactly what happened. The pilot left the Fort Dodge Airport and traveled about 800 feet into the air before having engine problems. The pilot managed to turn around, but was unable to glide back to the airport.

Police say the pilot spotted the field and even attempted to land with the wheels between the rows to avoid damaging the crops. The tires sunk into the dirt, flipping the plane onto its nose.

The pilot suffered a few scratches, but declined medical treatment.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa  —  “Sunday morning I got up, went to pay my house bill, or house payment, and I had no money,” said Katie Beghtel of Des Moines. “My card was declined. I couldn’t figure out why, because I knew I had plenty of money to make it.”

Beghtel took to The People of Des Moines Facebook page to warn the community after she said her bank account had been wiped out, thanks to a skimmer at the ATM at Greater Iowa Credit Union at the corner of 22nd St. and Westown Parkway in West Des Moines.

Police say between eight to ten people have come forward to report their information has been compromised. Officials have released surveillance photos of a suspect from May 25th when they located a skimmer at the Casey’s on the corner of University and 22nd St. in West Des Moines.

How does the scam work?

“What investigators are telling me in this instance is it appears it may have been a bluetooth reader on the skimmer,” said Lieutenant Anthony Giampolo of the West Des Moines Police Department. “What happens is you and I can go in and put our bank card in, and information is gathered, probably sent to another iPad or some other device, and yes they do, they are known to make other cards and then access our information that way.”

Anyone with information regarding the suspect is asked to contact police.

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