Author’s Archive: Gregory Berry

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DES MOINES, Iowa–  Sexual misconduct allegations ended Nate Boulton’s campaign for Governor and could end up costing him his seat in the Iowa Senate.

Boulton represents Iowa’s 16th District it covers much of Des Moines, he’s preparing to return to senate when the session begins in January 2019.

The formal ethics complaint filed by Sharon Wegner is causing Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen to ask Boulton to resign.

Is a statement Sen. Petersen says “I believe that sexual harassment and misconduct should not be tolerated by anyone, anywhere. Also, stated that I would support a full, independent investigation into allegations against Senator Boulton”.

According to the ethics complaint obtained by the Des Moines Register Wegner accuses Boulton of grabbing her in a bar back in November 2015.

Two other women have also made sexual misconduct allegations against Boulton.

Boulton has rejected calls for him to resign.

In July, Boulton released a statement saying, “I remember these situations differently with a differing context but declined to share more to avoid shaming blaming or excuse making. I cannot apologize enough for the heartache caused by the stories of those who came forward”.

Next in the investigation, Boulton can either admit or deny the allegation, object the allegations violate the Iowa Code of Ethics, or ask a more specific statement of the allegation.

Once Boulton does that the Ethics Committee could dismiss the complaint, reprimand Boulton, or expel him from the Iowa Senate.

We also reached out to the Wegner but have not heard back.

Republican Senator Jerry Behn was unable to provide us with the complaint.

OSCEOLA, Iowa- The tornadoes  which stuck Pella on July 19th had an impact on a company in Osceola.

SIMCO General Manager Darren Swolley saw the coverage on TV, and got to thinking about his company, which builds well drilling equipment.

“If that were ever to happen here, we really didn’t have anything we could do, like they had,” said Swolley. “I started researching storm shelters to find something we could put in.”
He located a company in Joplin MO, which sold and installed three shelters, each weighing 26,000 pounds. The cost was around $15,000, though SIMCO did some of the dirt work on the project.

Each shelter is rated to withstand an EF-5 tornado, and holds 18 people, SIMCO has 22 employees. SIMCO wanted to have extra room for future growth, or for visitors to the plant.

“I hope it something that were never going to have to use but it does make us feel a whole lot better that we have them,” said Swolley.

JOHNSTON, Iowa — The Saturday before Thanksgiving is National Adoption Day. Des Moines celebrated at the Polk County Justice Center Saturday morning watching multiple different families finalize their adoptions.

Over in Johnston there was an adoption conference, Hope 2018, for families who’ve already adopted, are in the process of adoption, or are considering to adopt.

One couple, Pamela and Jeff Mueri, adopted their five-month-old Lilly back in June, but say one of the greatest hardships of adoption is the cost. This year they received a $2,000 grant through the organization “Beauty Amidst the Ashes” to help them officially adopt Lilly.

“Adoption is a blessing but it can also be a really big financial burden. It can be really expensive,” Pamela said. “So Beauty Amidst the Ashes is so generous to offer those kind of grants to families that are wanting to adopt but might need that financial help.”

“I mean every day you wake up and you see her and it’s just that realization that ‘wow, what a gift we were given by a wonderful woman.’ So we are just blessed to have her and we cherish every day with her,” Jeff said.

Adoption Saturday specifically focuses on the foster care side of adoption. According to NationalAdoptionDay.org more than 117,000 children in foster care are waiting for permanent and loving families.

OSCEOLA, Iowa — Family members of the pregnant woman and two-year-old boy that was killed in a car crash Friday night got together for a vigil to remember their loved ones.

“To know that they were loved. To know that they won’t be forgotten. Unborn child, our son, my [fiancé], I loved them to pieces. I want them to know that they will always be remembered,” soon-to-be husband and father Michael Dohrn said.

Authorities say 22-year-old Bethanie Kennedy of Osceola was driving southbound on Highway 69 Friday night around 6:00 pm when she lost control and collided with an oncoming northbound truck. Kennedy was killed, as well as her unborn son due in a few weeks and her two-year-old stepson, Michael Dohrn Jr.

Nearly 50 people came out including family, friends, and members from both the Osceola and Leon communities for a vigil. A prayer and moment of silence started the observance and then concluded with a balloon release.

Dohrn says his family was taken too soon and he couldn’t have asked for a better woman to help him take care of his son he liked to call Little Mikey.

“Amazing, Beth was an amazing woman. She took my son like he was her own. She was an awesome mother. I couldn’t have been a happier man. She was beautiful. Her smile would light up the world,” Dohrn said.

While Dohrn says he won’t ever fully recover from this tragic event, seeing all the support at the vigil helped, even if just a little bit.

“It eases my mind a little bit knowing how loved they [were],” Dohrn said.

Dohrn’s brother, Dalton, helped put together the vigil so his brother could be reminded how loved he is.

“I just want to make sure Mike’s okay. I want to make sure that he is taken care of. I want to make sure that he knows that everybody loves him and that he made little Mikey and Beth happy,” Dalton Dohrn said.

Michael’s uncle said this accident has effected multiple communities, with Kennedy being from Osceola, and the Dohrn’s from Leon.

“This tragic event that happened, everybody that goes home tonight hug and kiss your little ones because as we found out you never know when you’re not going to be able to,” Michael’s uncle, Jeff Olson said.

After the vigil immediate family members headed to the crash site to pay their respects. A Go Fund Me set up to help with funeral costs for Kennedy, “Little Mikey,” and the unborn baby boy.

Authorities are still trying to determine what caused Kennedy to swerve before she crashed. The driver of the crash was not injured.

 

POLK CITY, Iowa — Over 80 Polk County veterans are getting a free Thanksgiving meal delivered right to their door thanks to the Polk City American Legion Riders Post 232.

The Legion Riders were looking for a way to give back this season, and what better way than vets helping vets.

“Some of these guys are struggling to get through every day, so if we can help that and make their day special for Thanksgiving that’s what we wanted to do,” Vice President of the Legion Post 232, Chad Rumbaugh said.

So they came up with a new program, Holidays for Heroes.

“We’re supplying them a full Thanksgiving meal that they can prepare in their own home with their family and friends,” President of the Legion Post 232, John Kimrey said.

From a full turkey, to a pie, and every classic Thanksgiving side in between; over 80 veterans will be stocked for the holiday.

“We got with a couple of our members here and the Veterans Outreach Center in Des Moines and so they had a list of veterans that were shut in, in the Polk County area. So when they go there for their medical appointments or to check in to get their VA benefits and stuff, we had a list set up so they could sign up,” Rumbaugh said.

Today they delivered their first box to a fellow Legion member just a few doors down in Polk City.

“Very emotional and heart wrenching. He was very thankful as we were thankful to be able to do this for him. We thanked him for his service and he thanked us. We could see the joy that it brought him instantly. He was very, very, very grateful for it,” Kimrey said.

 

It took about $3,000 worth of donations to make these meals. The rest of the boxes will be delivered Sunday all across the Polk County area.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The House Democrats elected Charles City attorney Todd Prichard to lead them in 2019. Prichard, an Army veteran, was elected to his seat in 2013.

“Our job as the minority is to keep the majority accountable, it’s to work with them where we can, it’s to offer our own suggestions and ideas and I’m hopeful they’ll be open to that” said Representative Prichard.

The newly elected Prichard doesn’t have the easiest job ahead of him.  Republicans control the house, the senate, and the governor’s office, but he believes there are issues on the table they can work on in a bipartisan fashion.

“I think we have a lot of work to do with mental health and Medicaid in Iowa. We are very open to those ideas, we want to solve those ideas, that is a true crisis. I still think there’s work to do on water quality, the budget is always going to be an issue, implementation of the tax changes and adjustments from that” he said.

Newly elected House Minority Whip Jo Oldson says while often times democrats will not have the votes to pass or block legislation, they still have an important job to do.

“Our job is to continue to push forward and tell Iowans what the other side of the coin is, to make sure that they hear the total message and know what the consequences are of any vote that is taken and any piece of legislation, and that’s what we’ll continue to do” said Oldson.

Meanwhile, outside the Capitol, Prichard says he wants his team talking to voters across the state, not just in democratic strongholds.

“This isn’t an urban or rural job, this is an all Iowa job, so we’re looking to connect to people wherever they are” he said.

Prichard ran for governor during the democratic primary, he dropped out of the race to seek re-election in the house.

OSCEOLA, Iowa  —  The Iowa State Patrol says a pregnant woman and her stepson were killed in a two vehicle accident near Osceola on Friday evening.

The woman was southbound on Highway 69 around 6:00 pm when she lost control and was hit by a northbound truck.  The woman and her two-year old stepson were both killed.  The driver of the truck was not injured.

Authorities are not releasing the names of those killed.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

WEST ORANGE, N.J. — A snowstorm that caused chaos for commuters Thursday also left more than two hundred students stranded in New Jersey schools overnight.

School buses were unable to get to schools in West Orange, forcing the district to keep the children overnight into Friday.

Administrators and teachers played host to kids at eight West Orange public schools, including a preschool, who couldn’t get home. Liberty Middle School housed the most students, with about 25 teachers looking after about 100 students overnight.

The school’s principal kept the public updated with pictures and the latest information on their students, who were kept entertained and fed.

As of 5:30 a.m. Friday, staff began serving students French toast for breakfast.

District officials hoped roads would be clear Friday morning so buses could take the students home, but snow began to fall again.

Police drove students whose families couldn’t pick them up back to their homes, school officials said.

A handful of students remained at school as of 9 a.m.

West Orange public schools will be closed Friday.

Witness this small town Iowan’s final crowning achievement…

Dan winters reports…Tuesday on Channel 13 News at 10

DES MOINES, Iowa– 

Two more racist notes were slipped under students’ doors at Drake University Thursday.

President Marty Martin sent out another notification to the campus community Thursday evening.

Again, the notes were directed at students of color and delivered in the same hall as the second note earlier this week.

Martin says “the person behind these acts continues to show us the corruptness of his or her soul.  The individual’s goal is to sow fear and anguish and to then sit back and watch us fight among ourselves over what he or she has done.  We cannot give this racist that satisfaction.”

In response to the recent racism, Drake students created the #paint-it-black project.

The campus plans to cover the painted street on campus in all black until next year’s Drake Relays.