Author’s Archive: Gregory Berry

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CAMP DODGE, Iowa  —  Governor Kim Reynolds gathered with emergency management officials on Thursday evening to monitor all of the reports of damage from the tornado outbreak across Central Iowa.

Keith Murphy talked with Reynolds Thursday evening about the next steps in the recovery process.

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa  —  The city of Marshalltown is not safe tonight.  That is the word of emergency management officials.

Marshalltown was perhaps the hardest hit by Thursday’s tornado outbreak.  A curfew is in place for the town overnight.  Much of the city still has no power.  The town’s historic courthouse lost part of its roof.  The Lennox factory also was severely damaged and won’t be open for business tomorrow.

Channel 13’s Jerad Giottonini has the latest from Marshalltown.

A busy Wednesday for Central Iowa teams, with semifinal games involving nine local schools.

For scores and stats, visit:

ANKENY, Iowa — People outside of Washington D.C. are processing what happened in Finland and the days following the summit between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

Paul Byrd teaches U.S. history, Russian history, and national government at DMACC in Ankeny.  He says what happened in Helsinki was a departure from the history books.

“It was rather momentous to have a sitting president go to another country and then side with that country. We have had a history of not really getting along with the Russians, not trusting the Russians, and to throw that all aside and just say ‘I believe his word because he strongly and forcefully said so’ is very interesting over documented evidence” said Byrd.

Since the summit President Trump has had to clarify a handful of times whether or not he believes U.S. intelligence that Russia is responsible for trying to influence U.S. elections and is currently still believed to be a threat to do so.

Byrd says the happenings between the two countries since President Trump was a candidate has influenced how he teaches his summer classes.

“Every day we open up with what’s going on. You can’t say since 2016 we’ve had a boring week usually. There’s always something, and so it’s really kind of fun seeing the students come alive with that; they’re very enthusiastic, they’re very involved” said Byrd.

Maria Cochran is also a professor at DMACC but she grew up in Moscow. Coming over to go to Drake University at age 22, she offers her perspective on the last few days.

“The majority of the population actually, genuinely, trusts Putin to decide the country’s fate” she said.

She says Trump’s standing in Russia is better than any recent U.S. president.

“Russian propaganda official media channels have been very complimentary of Trump” said Cochran.

She says personally, tensions between the two countries make it difficult to see friends and family back in Moscow, however, she still has her doubts over the new attitudes from both sides and says the long history of animosity makes it hard to believe the changing winds are authentic.

“Of course, you want the relationship to be good, but at what cost…That’s why you feel there’s something going on there that is hidden from the general public” said Cochran.

Professor Byrd says he believes the summit in Helsinki was a win for the Putin Administration.

DEXTER, Iowa  —  In May, MidAmerican Energy announced the Arbor Hill wind farm project, which includes the construction of 125 wind turbines. That project began this summer in Adair County.

“Another 52 turbines have been approved to be installed in Madison County,” said Dave Marsh of Adair-Madison Avenue in Dexter. “And we’re fighting the turbines from going into Madison County. We live in Madison County.”

Dave and Shelley Marsh live on the county line in Dexter.

“We have lived here since 1978,” said Dave. “We’ve improved our property ever since we moved in.”

The couple is opposed to the new wind turbines.

“I don’t want the wind turbines,” said Dave. “I just don’t want them. My wife’s had medical issues and I don’t want that creating worse migraines for her, and we like the skyline the way it is and we feel that Madison County hasn’t proven that they need the turbines.”

“These will exasperate those issues,” said Shelley. “They will make them worse. We’ve done a lot of studies and a lot of research.”

Dave and Shelley explained many reasons why they’re opposed to the wind turbines, including concerns over light and noise, as well as worries their property value will decrease because of them.

“The main thing is, we don’t want to be surrounded with wind turbines,” said Dave. “We like the surrounding area just the way it is.”

“Bottom line is, it’s about money,” said Shelley. “The county wants it and the landowners want it. It’s not about money for us. It’s about our well-being and our health and our safety, the county’s environment and their safety. We like the way our county looks the way it is. We want it to be this way for future generations.”

Tina HoffmanDirector of Corporate Communications for MidAmerican Energy, provided the following statement to Channel 13:

“MidAmerican Energy is pleased that the Madison County Board of Adjustment voted earlier this month to approve the applications we filed with Madison County relating to the Arbor Hill wind farm.

“Each year, more than half the energy used by our customers comes from wind energy, which helps to keep rates low. Wind energy also generates positive results for Iowa communities as well, since it creates jobs and generates millions in local revenue through property tax payments that counties have used to fund critical county services. As an example, for a similar size project with 52 turbines, approximately $51 million in property taxes would be paid over the life of the project, as well as $37 million in easement payments to land owners.

“We look forward to continuing to work through the process to advance the development and construction of the Arbor Hill project.”

Madison County Attorney Matt Schultz declined to comment, citing the fact that he expects there will be future litigation on this matter.

At the Girls State Softball Tournament, two games involving Central Iowa teams ended with walk-off home runs.

Newton beat Xavier, 1-0 thanks to Emily Valtman’s big blast.

Xavier topped Fort Dodge in extra innings, 3-1.

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  The Des Moines Historical Society is turning to the public to help honor a fallen police officer.

Officer George Mattern joined the department in 1916. Just two years later, he was shot while responding to a robbery and eventually died as a result of his injuries. The case was never solved.

Mattern is buried in an unmarked grave in Woodland Cemetery. The Historical Society is raising money to locate Officer Mattern’s remains and fund a permanent memorial.

For more information and to find out how to make a donation, visit

WARREN COUNTY, Iowa  —  Warren County hopes to open a new courthouse and jail, and leaders have started the PR push to get voters to sign off on the plan.

The county launched a website in support of the proposal to build a new 80,000 square foot law enforcement center that would be located at the site of the current county jail in Indianola.

County leaders pitched the $30 million plan during the Milo City Council meeting on Monday night. The project would involve four courtrooms, 15 holding beds, an 72 inmate housing beds. If approved, the average Warren County homeowner would pay an additional $100 in property taxes per year.

“We found that the failed bond of May 2016, we found out that information and education was very short. Now they also didn’t seem to have a plan, the cost was very vague, the contents were vague, so we’ve got a lot better program this time and we want to make sure people know what it is, what it’s not, and can make an informed decision,” said one of the proponents of the plan.

That referendum need 60% to pass but only received 42% of the vote. The fate of the latest referendum will be decided by voters on August 7th.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Representatives from One Iowa, Planned Parenthood, the NAACP, Progress Iowa, and many other supporters came together to rally in front of the Federal Building on Sunday.

In a variety of speeches, they expressed their opposition to President Trump’s nominee for the vacant Supreme Court seat.

“I worry that if Brett Kavanaugh is elected to SCOTUS that he could overturn Roe v. Wade and take away the right to an abortion if I would ever need one. I’m worried that he would vote against any sort of protections for my LGBTQ friends, for my friends of color, for all of the people I care about, and all the people who need that protection from SCOTUS,” Planned Parenthood supporter Hayley Nemmer said.

Planned Parenthood supporter Amanda Acton said she is worried the country will move backwards.

“I believe that unless we fight to protect Roe by ensuring that whoever gets seated is going to look at case law and case history and understand that it is a safe, legal, and medical procedure and keep it legal, we are going to go back. We’re going to go back to the time of back-alley abortions and back to a time, had I not had that choice my daughter would have died in agony. And I can’t believe anybody would want that for a child,” Acton said.

Speakers at the rally called on Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst to vote against the nomination, even though both have spoken highly of Kavanaugh.

Sen. Ernst said in a statement, “Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a highly-qualified, well-respected justice committed to the rule of law. He deserves a respectful and timely confirmation.”

Sen. Grassley, as Chairman of the Judiciary, also voiced his support of the nominee.

“Judge Kavanaugh has a very distinguished record of public service, serving in the Executive Branch and as a judge on the D.C. Circuit. He is one of the most influential judges in the country. Twelve of his opinions have been adopted by the Supreme Court.”

The pro-life group The Family Leader stated in a post on their website about Kavanaugh that Sarah Pitlyk, a lawyer and former clerk to Kavanaugh, said, “On the vital issues of protecting religious liberty and enforcing restrictions on abortion, no court-of-appeals judge in the nation has a stronger, more consistent record than Judge Brett Kavanaugh.”

The U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Friday that he expects confirmation hearings for Kavanaugh to begin in late August or early September.

ROSEMONT, Minn. — Two women are dead after an 800-pound boulder fell out of a dump truck along a Minnesota road Monday, WCCO reports.

Joe Czeck, 33, has been arrested and police say he did not stop at the scene of the accident.

Karen Christiansen, 67, and her daughter Jena Christiansen, 32, were traveling behind the truck when it went over a railroad crossing and the huge boulder came off, tumbled and struck the family’s car.

The women died at the scene.

Authorities said the boulder was so heavy it took four firefighters to move it.

Investigators were able to determine the truck belonged to Czeck Services, which led them to the driver.

Czeck is being held at the Dakota County Jail. Charges are still pending.