Archive for  October 2018

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OSKALOOSA, Iowa-When Jake and Gwen Ferguson built a new house, they realized the old house on their place, still had some use left. Instead, they gave the house to Habitat for Humanity of Mahaska County.

“We were trying to look for anyway that we can still get some use out of the place, for somebody, we got a hold of habitat and they were open to the idea,” said Jake Ferguson. “We thought that the old house still had a good life left in it for somebody, so this way somebody will get to raise their family in it.”

Habitat for Humanity took the donation, but needed to move the structure 15 miles, to a site at 1201 1st Ave. West. Habitat of Mahaska purchased two lots at that location from the City. One lot has a home going up. The other has a foundation dug for the donated house.

“We are in the process of selecting a family now, “ said Tiffany Anderson of Habitat for Humanity of Mahaska County. “We are hoping to announce that family next month.”

The group hopes to have a family residing in the moved home, by Christmas.

“We have four applicants in the running for this home,” said Anderson. “Their income has to be between 30 and 60 per cent of the median income for Oskaloosa.”

The new owner will be required to put seat equity into this house. Even thought it is already built, there is work needing to be done.

 

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — Mother nature can quickly bring humility.  “There isn’t one of us that isn’t one disaster away from going down on our knees,” said Pam Strobbe, board president for the House of Compassion.

The EF-3 tornado made Marshalltown buckle in July and continues to dig into the community heading towards November.  “You have families now where money they’ve saved for Christmas is now being put into building a home,” said House of Compassion director March Running.

The House of Compassion typically assists homeless and low-income families year round with daily necessities, warm meals and showers.  The tornado added another layer of need within the community.  Running said, “Either their homes were damaged or they lost their jobs because main street was devastated and businesses have closed.”

A year ago they assisted 149 families in their annual Holiday Adopt-a-Family program but after the tornado they expect over 900 additional individuals and families this season.  “This may be the first time they’ve ever been in need and it’s on no part of their own. Mother nature got involved,” said Running.

Continual work on the Marshall County Courthouse proves the tornado’s path did not discriminate and neither does the House of Compassion.  Despite there being many working families that may have never needed help before they hope the come forward.  Strobbe said, “Don’t deny someone in your family a hot meal, a warm shower.  Please come in we will help as much as we can.  Don’t let pride get in your way.”

The tornado’s strength can still be seen but it will be the power of the community’s strength that can overcome.  Running said,  “We want to make sure they have what they need to have the merriest Christmas they can possibly have with their families.”

Any family in need of assistance that has been impacted by the tornado can sign up at the House of Compassion from Wednesday October 31 until November 3rd.  If you would like to adopt-a-family, contact the organization at (641) 752-5999.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Hundreds of people of all faiths and walks of life overflowed Tifereth Israel Synagogue on Monday to remember the 11 who lost their lives in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Penn.

“Even as I kept leading junior congregation last Saturday morning, after the news about the Tree of Life Congregation began to break, I have been afraid. I’ve been afraid of the hate that I’ve heard about Jews and about Israel.” a rabbi said during the vigil.

Connie Ryan with Interfaith alliance said the vigil is also a symbol of hope.

“If we all know how to die together, we have to figure out a way to live together. The murderer screamed out, ‘All jews must die.’ And I scream out with every voice here and all the millions and millions of voices throughout the world, ‘The nation of Israel will live on,” another rabbi stated.

Those in attendance say it is important to remember to listen to each other, so that we all might understand each other better.

“We come together. There is still hope. There is still belief that this country is fully capable of being what it was established to be: a place where we can all worship and think and believe,” Episcopalian Thomas Phillips said.

He said just as we all embrace the first amendment of free speech, it’s important to also be silent and listen.

“We have to listen to each other,” Phillips said.

The vigil was filled with lots of song and prayer.

At the end, all the faith leaders whether they were speakers or in the crowd came up to the front of the temple to sing, “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

 

AMES, Iowa — It used to be a simpler  more civil time.  “Iowa used to be the pillar of community standards when we had face to face interaction with our neighbors.”

As society has become enthralled in social media, Michael Bugeja, professor at the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University says civility and hate are getting worse.  “As we gravitate more online we have to understand it gives us the convenience of sharing our views with little consequence,” he said.

Robert Bowers, the alleged shooter in the deadly Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, relayed his hate speech against Jews on a social media networking site called Gab just moments before the attack. Bugeja said, “Sometimes many people get overlooked and where they get accepted is on those fringes.”  Bugeja who has authored Interpersonal Divide in the Age of the Machine believes Bowers and others who support his views are a population on the fringe of society that have found acceptance through these beliefs on public forums like social media.  “Many on the fringe suffer from severe anger.  When they hear uncivil speech and media or what sounds like incitement to do an act, those people on the fringe will believe their time has come. That they’ve been right all along,” he said.

Those fringe views have ramped up in Iowa.  The Anti-Defamation League fights antisemitism and according to a recent audit Iowa saw nine antisemitic incidents in 2017 that ranged from harassment to vandalism.  That is an increase from zero in 2016 and just one incident in 2015.  “How have we worked with our community to better our community and live up to the Iowa values that are so strong here?  If we forget what those are and we start pointing at the fringes we are going to exacerbate this problem,” he said.

Gab has since been shutdown and removed from app stores.  The ADL says 2017 was the first year in almost a decade where every state in the country reported at least one act of antisemitism.

WAUKEE, Iowa — A local chef is a finalist for a national cooking competition, but he’s not exactly who you’d expect. He’s a second grader from Waukee named Teddy Craig.

With the help of his dad, he came up with a recipe for the contest that wowed the judges of Ben’s Beginners Cooking Contest.

Teddy said he loves food and especially loves cooking with his dad, Jason Craig.

“Because you get to eat it and you get happy if it’s good,” Teddy said. “All that work comes to something.”

Teddy said they love to cook pizza, pasta and soup together.

“It’s great that he loves food and also loves to get involved with the cooking. And it’s just a good way for us to spend time together and it’s a special bond that we have,” Jason Craig said.

Teddy and Jason made it into the top 25 finalists with their Chicken and Fennel Rice Casserole.

If they make it to the top five, Teddy will win $15,000 for himself and $30,000 for his school, Waukee Elementary, for a cafeteria makeover.

“Well for the money I would give it to the Animal Rescue League, and then also redecorate my room and for the rest, my college savings,” Teddy said.

The Craig family are no strangers to giving back, each dish made in their kitchen is made with love.

“Around Christmas time, as a family, we always come up with a recipe to make a big meal for the local homeless shelter. And that’s a fun way for them to get involved and know that they are helping others,” Teddy’s mom Elly Craig said.

You can help them make it to the final five with a vote here. Voting is open until Nov. 11 and results will be announced Dec. 14.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The local Jewish community is mourning after Saturday morning’s attack that is believed to be the deadliest on the Jewish Community in United States history.

Mark Finkelstein, the Community Relation Director for the Jewish Federation in Des Moines, says the killings in Pittsburgh reflect a rise in antisemitism.

“There has been a rise in antisemitism over the last number of years, but especially between 2017 and this year. There has been a significant increase and part of that increase is created by white nationalist who are anti semitic,” Finkelstein said.

Authorities have released the names of the eleven people killed after a suspected anti-semite opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Saturday. The dead includes two brothers, and a husband and wife.

Federal prosecutors have filed a host of hate crime charges against 46 year-old Robert Bowers in connection with the shootings. They say he had posted numerous anti semitic comments on social media.

In Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds ordered the flags to fly at half staff in the wake of the tragedy.

Finkelstein says the key to fighting intolerance is simply to listen to others.

“The best remedy for intolerance is to get to know your neighbor. Once you do, you find they are not so different than oneself,” Finkelstein said. “We hope that everybody pulls together as a community against all forms of bigotry.”

Faith leaders and community members will gather for a vigil for the Tree of Life Synagogue on Monday night from 5:30-7:00 pm at the Tifereth Israel Synagogue at 924 Polk Blvd, Des Moines, IA. The goal of the vigil is to bring a message of hope and healing. The Jewish community and the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa invites Des Moines to stand together in support of the Jewish community and all others who experience hate.

“The times we live in are violent times, they are intolerant times. We cannot as a country live without respecting each other,” Finkelstein said.

LAFAYETTE, Colo.  A backyard dispute is keeping residents of one Colorado neighborhood from getting an internet upgrade.

A neighbor is refusing to allow workers access into his backyard to install fiber optics cables unless he gets paid.

Andrew O’Connor said, “It’s about a big corporation bullying people and trying to run over people.” The Lafayette resident says he is not allowing Comcast in his backyard to install higher quality fiber optics on principle.

He says the company was unprofessional when they first asked to install the upgrade.

Now he says it will take much more than an apology. It will take cold hard cash.

He says Comcast has told his neighbors he’s the one holding up their internet upgrades.

Comcast sent KDVR this statement about this dispute Thursday night:

“We are in Lafayette doing work to bring fiber closer to homes as part of our Advanced Fiber Network project. This will benefit the city and its residents with enhanced network capacity, speed and reliability. We have an existing franchise agreement with the City that gives us clear authority to access valid rights of way and easements to maintain or upgrade our infrastructure to ensure our customers’ broadband and communications services are not negatively impacted. We are working directly with the City to enforce those rights, and to educate this resident so we can complete our work in the area. As part of this project, we’ve been providing regular and ongoing communications to residents in Lafayette in advance of work in their area – and information is available on the Lafayette website as well.”

DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s opening day for wild pheasant hunting in Iowa and the pastime is having an effect on small businesses.

“We love this place, came up about five years ago, stayed in the lodge had a good time, took a lot of birds, great people, it’s a great vibe” said Carter Arey.

Arey and his family got up early to go pheasant hunting at Doc’s Hunt Club in Adel. While the preserve allows hunters to go out before the official start of wild pheasant season, they say some hunters use them as a tune up.

“A lot of people show up here in September and the first half of October to just get their dog on some birds, make sure they remember what they’re doing, and get the season started right” said Aaron Nelson.

Nelson helps run the preserve which is kept stocked with pheasant, quail, and other poultry.  He says despite conventional thinking a good wild population helps his business.

“A lot of people think I don’t want wild birds, I do. If there aren’t any wild birds at all everybody loses interest in everything and even places like this don’t really happen. There’s gotta be some wild birds, it keeps people buying dogs, getting their kids into hunting, things like that. If that all disappears than we don’t have anything” he said.

The population count is said to be one of the highest in the past 10 years, and local gun shops have noticed.

Definitely an increase in shotgun sales. I’ve probably sold more shotguns this year than probably the past six years” said Maciej Hofman.

Hofman works at JT Guns and Supply in Des Moines. He says a good pheasant season means more youth trying it out, and more youth means building a future customer base.

“You start ‘em young and they kind of keep going and they can do it every year and it’s something fun to do” he said.

Carter Arey says he can attest to that.

“Well this is kind of how the whole family grew up was pheasant hunting and you hear stories from my uncles and grandparents taking them out and stuff like that and so this is kinda continuing that trend” he said.

According to pheasantsforever.org hunters should see increased population across Iowa, but the best places will be in the northwest, north-central and southeastern parts of the state.

NEWTON, Iowa — 24 residents of an eastern Newton apartment complex that were displaced by fire Monday night, have until Wednesday, October 31, to get their belongings out of the building. The fire started on a balcony of a unit on the third floor of the Walnut Creek Apartments. The apartments are located on East 17th Street South, just across from Hy-Vee.

The blaze caused structural damage to the roof, walls, and floors. The fire also caused quite a bit of water and smoke damage. The building is considered unsafe and no one is allowed to live in it at this time. A second floor resident says the community has really helped out the residents that were displaced.

“You know, the community itself, Best Western, our Landlord Dave Anderson, Red Cross, everybody`s really pitching in and taking care of everybody who is affected by it,” said second floor resident, Patrick Evans-Winfield. “We’re getting all of our deposits back and they`re prorating the rest of the month, whatever we’re not living here for. So, they’ve done a good job of making sure we all get our stuff out, get our money back…”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

FORT DODGE, Iowa — The brother of two men murdered in Fort Dodge on Monday is speaking out after the death of his family members.

Marion and Eldominic Rhodes were shot to death in an alley on Monday. Police records show that the brothers came upon two other men who were arguing over drugs. According to the police report another argument ensued and one of the men, 28 year-old Tanner King, pulled out a gun and shot the two brothers before attempting to shoot the third man.

“It’s a tough loss, it’s a big pill to swallow” said Jeremy Mack.

Mack is the younger brother of Marion and Eldominic. The three were part of a hip-hop group called ‘Six Gang’.  Mack says music was their bond.

“I never thought of ever living without either one of them, let alone performing, or even talking about them in this way. That’s something I won’t wish on my worst enemy” said Mack.

The trio had a show scheduled for Saturday night. Now Mack says it’ll have to be a solo act.

“I can hear ‘em right now like ‘yeah you better do the show’, like if you don’t do the show he’s gonna be mad you know” said Mack.

Mack says his family will be in attendance, and the performance will be one to make his brothers proud.

“I think it’s going to be epic, I think it’s going to be one of the best performances ever, because if any tears fall it will be tears of joy. It’ll be like our own going home celebration for my brothers. I just want to remember them the way I remembered them. With a microphone in his hand” he said.

The youngest of five, Mack says his viewed his brothers as his two fathers and his two sisters were like his mothers.

“It’s kinda like you chase the wrong side of the tracks, they pulled me back” he said.

Mack says the reason he’s speaking out is so everyone can see what happened to his family and remind people to cherish theirs.

“I just want this to be a lesson to people like ‘Hey, embrace your loved ones because you do not know if they’re going to come back’. My brothers literally walked to the store, the same thing we all do, the same path we all take, and they did not come home” he said.

Mack says at his show Saturday in Williams, Iowa there will be a candlelight vigil and a lantern release for his brothers. Tanner King has been charged with two counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder.