Archive for  January 2019

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PRAIRIE CITY, Iowa — With record low temperatures hovering over much of Iowa, Prairie City Mayor Chad Alleger told city employees to plan inside projects Wednesday.  “With these temps it is probably one of the worst times of the year,” said Alleger.

Instead, a 2:00 am water main break on the north side of town proved mother nature’s cold grip has a strange sense of humor.  It dragged first responders like Joe Bartello, who acts as chief of police and city administrator, into the elements.  “It is pretty tough.  Obviously we are fighting the weather so we are trying to keep our guys rotated around to keep them warm while we make progress getting to the hole,” said Bartello.

That hole left thirty homeowners like Kevin Manship with extremely low pressure or no water through the evening hours. Luckily for Kevin he used the bathroom before the water main break.  “My son didn’t, he actually got to melt some snow,” he said with a laugh.

Despite the hardships, residents stayed patient while the city worked on the pipe in brutal conditions.  Manship said, “It kept freezing up so they had to keep thawing out their stuff to work on it but they are trying, you gotta give them that.”

Local churches and community buildings offered their showers and water.  Manship said, “My wife works at the Casey’s so we got water from there.”

Even Mayor Alleger pitched in, his home.  Alleger said, “I made a post on Facebook opening our home for water, laundry, heat. If they don’t have heat it is a way to give back to the community.”  Even though dozens of residents have been without hot water for hours, there seems to be a can-do attitude that keeps them positive, even when temperatures are not.  It is an opportunity for the mayor to serve his city in a unique role.  “Even if they want to have a cup of coffee and talk…my home is their home until they have water back in their homes,” said Alleger.  A gesture that warmed many of these residents on one of the coldest days in Iowa history.  Manship replied, “It’s awesome, I’m glad to say I live here in Prairie City. It’s great.”

Late Wednesday evening crews were still working on the water main break.  A letter on the Prairie City website indicated the repairs could take until Friday February 1st to complete.

DES MOINES, Iowa–  More than 20 reports of animal neglect were reported in the past two days. Pet owners leaving their animals outside in subzero temperatures.

Neighbors alerted animal control that four pit bull’s were living inside a north side house. The home is for sale, but a squatter is living inside. He didn’t want to go on camera but said he’s taking care of the dogs.

Once inside, Animal Control Officer Tina Updergrove said conditions were unsanitary and lacking proper heat. Updergrove said it felt like less than 40 degrees inside. Serving as a reminder that just because your pets have adequate shelter doesn’t mean they’re being properly cared for.

“Dogs or animals in particular use a lot of energy to try and stay warm so they will drink just as much water as they will in the winter as in the summer,” said Updergrove.

The dogs will be taken to Animal Control for inspection, no word if the man will face charges.

ADEL, Iowa — Iowa farmers say the frigid temperatures does take a toll on them and their farm animals, but proper care makes all the difference.

Iowa cattle farmer Rod Collins said his family spent the day preparing for the temperatures to drop even further.

“The tractors have heat and we can get inside the shop here and get warmed up a little bit but you just have to deal with it,” Collins said.

While they are bundling up in layers, they are layering on the hay and food for about 150 cows on their farm.

“They take a lot more energy just to keep warm. And to keep that body temperature up, they have to have a lot more food just to keep them going,” Collins said.

He said it’s even more important to keep them out of the wind.

“They’ll huddle up. They’ll get next to one another. They’ve got lots of hair. We try to keep them clean. You know, the muddy weather that we had earlier, that makes them colder if they freeze mud on them or anything. So if we can keep cattle clean and in a dry place and out of the wind they can handle the mother nature pretty good,” Collins said.

Mike Telford, with Iowa Farm Animal Care, said a barn and plenty of food and water makes all the difference.

“And you could tell even with the cattle out here in the lot even as cold as it is with the sun going down, they were really pretty comfortable. They were enjoying their dinner so to speak and they were very social and moving around really good. So that goes to show you when you take care of them even in these extreme temperatures they will do fine,” Telford said.

If you have questions about farm animal care or are concerned about a group of farm animals you can call the Iowa Farm Animal Care helpline at 1-800-252-0577.

DES MOINES, Iowa — January has put Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) plow drivers through the ringer. “The last couple weeks have been pretty hard. The crews and staff in our garage have been working a lot of overtime hours,” said Iowa DOT Winter Operations Administrator Craig Bargfrede.

The snow fall totals may have eased up, but with winds as high as 30 mph Tuesday night, Bargfrede says plows continue full speed ahead because danger still exists. “We are seeing a lot of blowing and drifting because the last round of snow we got was light and fluffy snow that continues to blow around and kick around.”

That drifting snow ends up on Iowa highways and is now public enemy number one.  “If you are going too fast for the conditions and you hit that, it could cause you to lose control of your car and veer into the other lane,” said Bargfrede.

The DOT is not without a plan. Bargfrede said, “Drift busting is what they are doing. They’re taking care of those pillow drifts [and] trouble spot areas trying to make sure it is safe for the traveling public out there.”

On the long, dark, cold nights and early mornings, these “Drift Busters” operate, it is vital to keep your distance. “During these conditions we will kick up, naturally, a snow cloud around us so we reduce visibility even further,” said Bargfrede.

To help with visibility issues, this winter season is the first that all Iowa DOT trucks are equipped with three colors of lights: amber, white and blue. “Our amber lights are seen all the way around the truck but the blue and white are only rear facing, so when you see that lighting pattern, that means you are approaching a truck from the rear,” Bargfrede said.

It is tireless work for those who ask for patience as they plan to put winter’s wrath in our rear view mirrors. “Please have patience. The operators are trying to do the best job possible to create a safe environment for the traveling public,” said Bargfrede.

DES MOINES, Iowa — After the first House vote of the year, absentee ballots cast by 29 northeast Iowans will not count in November’s midterm election.

The ballots are among 33 received after election day, and while the post office determined they were mailed before the election deadline, they lacked a postmark, as required by state law.

Democrat Kayla Koether filed an election contest after losing the House District 55 race by nine votes, but she says this isn’t about losing. She says it’s about making sure every vote counts.

“They mailed their ballots in on time and did everything by the law to have their vote valid and counted. And when we look at the laws, we see that the Iowa Code allows for ballots with intelligent mail barcodes to be counted and this legislative body has the choice to determine that these barcodes are intelligent enough to meet the burden of proof,” said Koether.

The majority passed with a vote of 53 to 42.

DES MOINES, Iowa — An online fundraiser for a family grieving the loss of a husband and father has raised thousands of dollars in just one day.

The GoFundMe page for the Stokka family was launched Sunday night after 32-year-old Grant Stokka died in a car crash.

So far, more than 425 people have donated for a total of over $32,000.

Stokka’s pastor says he was heading home from church Sunday when the crash happened. The vehicle lost control on Grand Avenue, left the roadway, went over a concrete wall and slammed into a parking lot below. Stokka’s 8-year-old son was also hurt in the crash but is expected to be OK.

Staying away from the need for hiring the services of a fort bend county criminal defense lawyer is the wish of almost all of us. However, there could be situations where you may have no other choice but to hire these professionals. It could be a case where you could have been wrongly indicted. It could also be situations where you could be in the wrong but would like to get away with a lighter punishment or penalty. It is therefore quite obvious that you need to hire these professionals for defending your case. But there is quite a bit of competition in this field. Once you do a search either on the internet or even if you use the print media, it is quite obvious that you will come across many lawyers. This is a good thing but it might make the job of choosing the right professionals a bit complicated and dicey. We are therefore sharing some useful information and we hope that it could assist you in identifying the right lawyers for fighting one’s criminal cases.

Are They Experienced?

This is one of the primary attributes that a criminal lawyer should have. He or she should have put in at least a decades’ experience. While qualification is important there is no doubt that it will come in handy only when it is backed by the right kind of experience. Experience also brings with it expertise and this will go a long way in helping the lawyers to handle complex and difficult cases. Judges and other stakeholders also attach a lot of importance to the facts of the case when it is put forward and argued by experienced lawyers.

Qualification And Licensing

Criminal lawyers must be qualified as required under the law. Becoming a qualified criminal lawyer Stafford TX takes a few years and after obtaining a theoretical knowledge, the lawyers also need to work under some senior lawyer and gain the much required practical experience. Further, they also should have a valid license without which they will not be allowed to practice. As a client, you should also ensure that they are registered with the local Bar Association.

Track Record And Reputation

Though there are many criminal lawyers, you should try and hire only those who carry with them the right kind of reputation and goodwill. You should be able to find out about the cases which they have handled and be sure that they have a reasonably good and satisfactory result of winning the cases on behalf of their clients. The number of cases they have taken up is not as important as the number of wins which they have under their belts. This is one of the most important and vital points to be considered before hiring these professionals.

Meet Them Personally

Though you could establish initial contact with them over the phone, if you are keen on hiring them you should never miss out on meeting them personally. You will get a better idea about the office of the lawyers and will also be able to explain the case to them properly. You will also be able to find out if they have been able to understand the case without which much progress cannot be expected.

Contact US:

Lawrence Law Firm, PLLC

3730 Kirby Dr #1175
Houston, TX
Phone: 832-356-4404

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Des Moines police and fire departments responded to a serious crash around 12:15 p.m. Sunday. It happened in the parking lot of 2650 Ingersoll Avenue.

Police say the car was driving westbound on Grand Avenue just south of the lot when it left the roadway and went over a concrete walling slamming into the parking lot below.

Police identified 32-year-old Des Moines resident Grant Stokka as the driver killed in the crash. His 8-year-old son was transported to the hospital and treated for minor injuries.

A pastor says Stokka was driving home from church when the crash happened. The pastor says another family from the church witnessed the crash and said Stokka likely didn’t see the other vehicle coming because there was a huge pile of snow in the area.

Investigators say there is no indication that criminal action took place.

Police say witness statements and examination of the evidence indicate that impairment, excessive speed and road conditions are not contributing factors to the crash.

Investigators request that any potential witnesses who were in the area of the crash contact the traffic unit at 515-323-8370

DES MOINES, Iowa — Sen. Joni Ernst’s private life has become public following her divorce. She said her husband cheated on her and assaulted her. Cityview magazine first published details of the court records detailing the allegations. Then during an interview with Bloomberg News, as she talked about her alleged abuse in her marriage, Ernst also revealed that a man she knew raped her while she was a student at Iowa State. Democratic political adviser Jerry Crawford and former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge give their thoughts on the Ernst news.

Judge and Crawford talk about the importance of presidential candidates being able to connect with rural voters for this next election.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand visited Iowa earlier this month, and Judge was able to spend some time speaking with her. Judge talks about what she said to Gillibrand during her visit. Crawford and Judge say what advice they would give to candidates to help separate themselves from the growing field of presidential candidates.

President Trump’s trade war with China and other countries has at least temporarily cost some Iowa producers. That includes hog producers who had hoped to export to China. But the trade war has brought an unexpected benefit, and it’s recipient calls it “bittersweet.”

Judge and Crawford answer questions on this week’s Quick Six.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Urban Dreams is teaming up with North High School to put together a one-of-a-kind basketball classic all to give back to students.

“We love coming to the basketball games and I think it’s a really good place for everybody to be cheering for one thing and that’s for our team to be winning and succeeding,” Jasmine Inthabounh said. “It’s kind of like the same thing Urban Dreams is doing. They are cheering on our students to be succeeding in the same way.”

Inthabounh is a North graduate and says Urban Dreams is one of the reasons why she is now a freshman at Drake University.

“A lot of students at North, they want to go somewhere and they want to do stuff, but sometimes they just don’t have the resources necessary to do so,” Inthabounh said.

That’s why Izaah Knox, executive director for Urban Dreams, wanted to find a way to raise money for two high school senior scholarships.

“I live in the community every day. I see these young people out here that just want an opportunity to succeed,” Knox said.

He says he knew right away how to get it done, teaming up with the North High School basketball team.

“We’ve always had a love for sports and the community coming together over sports and positivity and basketball,” Knox said.

The inaugural Urban Dreams Classic featured three Division I commits from North in Des Moines and DeLaSalle in Minnesota. The game was a top tier border-battle game that is unique for central Iowa.

“In the last seven years, boys basketball is 113-41. Seven-straight winning seasons at North, so this kind of premier game is certainly exciting for us,” North High School Principal Ben Graeber said.

It is exciting for the fans and exciting for the students who will benefit from the classic.

“We’re going to give away scholarships to two students with money that is raised tonight, so the tradition here will be to give back to students,” Graeber said.

Knox is hoping to expand this classic in the coming years, adding multiple metro schools to make it an all-day tournament.

It was a competitive game between 10th ranked in Iowa, North, and second-ranked in Minnesota, DeLaSalle, but in the end the Islanders beat North 76-64.