Author’s Archive: Gregory Berry

Home / Gregory Berry
223 Posts

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  A Des Moines dance group called Alliance Dance Team didn’t let Sunday’s cold weather get in the way of its outdoor practice.

The group specializes in traditional Chinese line dance, which includes vibrant dragon costumes, large drums, and gongs. The group is preparing for a Chinese Lunar New Year performance in February.

The goal is to keep this dance alive in Iowa, all while spreading culture.

“It’s not something that everyone sees, so it is important that we spread our culture in the correct fashion and manner to uphold respect to the tradition,” said dancer Ben Le.

Click here to see the group’s performance schedule.

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  The bottle bill, death penalty, tuition-free college, minimum wage, a wish for 2018, and predictions are all part of this week’s Quick Six.

CALIFORNIA  —  A woman whose body was found at a crash site along an evacuation route in Southern California became the first confirmed fire-related casualty in a series of raging wildfires that could gain strength this weekend.

Virginia Pesola, 70, of Santa Paula, was found dead in a car that authorities believe was involved in a crash Wednesday during evacuations near the Thomas Fire. The cause of death was “blunt force injuries with terminal smoke inhalation and thermal injuries,” the Ventura County medical examiner office said.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday visited Ventura County, beset by the Thomas Fire, the biggest of the six fires currently raging. During his visit, Brown was expected to survey the damage and meet with affected residents and consult with government officials and emergency responders, his office said.

At an afternoon news conference, the governor praised the efforts of firefighters, law enforcement and conservationists as the state entered the sixth day of devastating wildfires.

But Brown also used his remarks to connect the ongoing fires to climate change, telling Californians that long wildfire fighting seasons “is the new normal.”

“We know from the changing of the climate that it’s going to exacerbate everything else,” he said.

His visit comes as strong Santa Ana winds could again fuel the flames, the National Weather Service said. Wind gusts in some areas could reach 55 mph on Sunday, the agency said.

The forecast could challenge firefighters, who by Friday had been able to halt the advance on three sides of the Thomas Fire, officials said.

“We continue to make real good progress on all of these fires,” said Cal Fire director Ken Pimlott. “But we’re far from being out of the woods on any of them.”

Together, the half dozen fires have scorched nearly 175,000 acres this week and have destroyed 792 structures, Pimlott said.

The White House has approved California’s request “for direct federal assistance to support the response” to the emergency, Brown’s office said Friday. President Donald Trump ordered the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate relief efforts in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Latest developments

• Mobilization of resources: Nearly 1,000 fire departments across California are involved in firefighting efforts, Pimlott said, whether they’re in Southern California or covering local fire stations elsewhere to battle new fires. Gov. Brown authorized the deployment of more than 1,200 National Guard men and women to the southern region of the state to lend aid.

• Power outages: About 3,600 customers are without power because of the Lilac Fire, according to San Diego Gas & Electric. More than 3,200 customers are still without power due to the Thomas Fire along the north coast, the Creek Fire in Sylmar and the Rye Fire in Santa Clarita, according to Southern California Edison.

• More injuries: The Lilac Fire has left three people with burn injuries and two firefighters hurt. One firefighter suffered smoke inhalation; the second continued working after a dislocated shoulder was popped back into place, officials said.

7 images show why the Southern California wildfires are so dangerous

‘It’s not as important as my life’

The Creek Fire reduced Bob Brix’s house to ashes, leaving him without a place to call home and destroying a cherished family heirloom. He could see the remains of an old piano that his grandfather, a composer, used to play.

“It’s not as important as my life. It’s the sentimental things I’m not going to be able to replace,” he told CNN affiliate KTLA.

Brix was among thousands of residents who were allowed back into their neighborhoods in Los Angeles and Riverside counties on Friday. Losses were minimal for some, but many lost everything.

Before the mandatory evacuations were lifted, Kathy Sanborn slept in her car waiting to hear about the damage to her home in Sylmar.

“I don’t have clothes. I don’t have things that I need,” she told KTLA. “I have things that I probably wouldn’t have left in the house if I hadn’t been so panicked.”

Watch Video

The fires

The six blazes vary in size.

Thomas Fire: By Saturday, the largest of the fires had scorched at least 148,000 acres, with about 15% of it contained, according to Ventura County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kevin Donoghue. At least 4,000 people were fighting it, Donoghue said.

The Thomas Fire started Monday in Ventura County and has since spread into Santa Barbara County. The blaze ranks as the 19th most destructive fire in the state’s records. It’s the biggest in Los Angeles since the Bel-Air fire in 1961 torched the homes of the rich and famous.

Creek Fire: The second-largest blaze ignited a day later in neighboring Los Angeles County. It has burned 15,619 acres and is 80% contained.

Rye Fire: It broke out Tuesday in Los Angeles County and has burned 6,049 acres. Firefighters are making progress, with 65% of the blaze contained.

Lilac Fire: This fast-moving fire has consumed 4,100 acres since it ignited Thursday in San Diego County. It exploded from half an acre to 500 acres in 20 minutes, according to San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn. It’s 20% contained, and by Saturday had destroyed 105 structures and damaged 15 others, according to Cal Fire.

Skirball Fire: It started Wednesday as a brush fire in Los Angeles County. It has burned 475 acres and is now 50% contained.

Liberty Fire: The blaze in Riverside County has burned 300 acres since it ignited Thursday. It’s 90% contained.

CLEVELAND – A 10-year-old boy is a living miracle after waiting eight years for a multi-organ transplant.

“I just thought about it at night; I laid in bed thinking about him being in there all by himself,” Annie Lykins remembers the nights before she decided to take legal custody of Victorious Nera.

Victorious, also known as Vic, is a fighter. He was born with Short Gut Syndrome, which almost killed him as a baby and requires him to get all his nutrients from an IV, according to WJW.

Vic was in foster care until he was about two years old. Then he was adopted and loved by his mom for years while he had to have dozens of surgeries. But the medicine that Vic needed to live was also destroying his liver and pancreas. Vic got on the organ transplant list.

During that time, Lykins was one of his home health nurses and, tragically, Vic’s mom took her own life. He was sent to a facility for medical care.

So Lykins, the nurse, stepped in and took legal custody of Vic in March of 2017. She brought him into her family, with her own three children.

“It was crazy the way everything kind of fell into place; it was a domino effect. He fit perfectly with our family; it was like he was always there,” she said. In November, the family got the news that there was an organ donor for Vic.

Dr. Kareem Abu-Elmagd at the Cleveland Clinic has treated Vic for years. “These patients is like our baby because we are taking care of them day and night and we see them often so we establish a bond and relationship,” he said.

There are only about 100 transplants like Vic’s done every year in the United States. Dr. Abu-Elmagd does about a third of them in Cleveland. Vic’s surgery giving him a new liver, pancreas and small intestine lasted 16 hours and was a success.

“Everybody was excited in the operating room when we had the organs in. They fit in his abdominal cavity and the whole team was so excited that we were able to help Vic with the new organs,” he said.

Vic is recovering well and will eventually be able to start eating foods like a regular kid.

“I expect Vic to be one of those who one day could be the president of the United States,” Dr. Abu-Elmagd said.

But right now Vic is more focused on spending time with his new family and hopefully being home for Christmas.

If you would like to keep up with Vic’s story you can follow him on Facebook, or you can help his family with medical costs on his GoFundMe page.

 

 

DES MOINES, Iowa — With Christmas just weeks away, the Thompson family’s stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.  “He’s getting older now. He’s two-and-a-half and he knows who Santa Claus is and he’s excited,” said Xanthe’ Thompson, the mother of Zayne.  On Thursday afternoon a Des Moines Public School bus came barreling into their home, possibly ruining young Zayne and his family’s Christmas wishes. “I got a phone call on my work phone from Des Moines Police saying a bus struck my house,” said J’Sean Thompson, Xanthe’s husband.

No family members were home at the time and all five students on the bus, including the driver were uninjured but the house is unlivable.  J’Sean said, “They cut all the utilities off because it hit my power box.”

Des Moines police believe the driver’s foot became wedged in-between the gas and break while traveling near 6th and Douglas, sending the school bus off-road. J’Sean said, “It is kind of traumatizing.”  The Thompson’s are just thankful the crash didn’t occur Friday, J’Sean’s birthday, when he would have been outside hanging lights on their wrap-around porch.  He said, “I’m glad they’re O.K.  I’m glad my family is O.K.  All that can be replaced.”

Having homeowner’s insurance has lightened the blow but home for holidays may be out of the question, said Xanthe’ “We don’t know how long we are out of the house.  We are just taking it day by day.”

The Thompson’s are staying with extended family now.  The driver is currently on administrative leave, and the bus will be inspected for any mechanical issues, both are standard procedure for the school district following an accident.

If you would like to help the Thompson family, they have a paypal account set up at paypal.me/xlthompson91

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  A daughter must face difficult decisions on what to do with her mother after the adult care center she’s enrolled in announced it will close its doors at the end of the year.

“My mom’s 85 and she lives with me, but at the hospital they were like, you know, place her in this nursing home and that’s going to be your life,” said Amy Mimouni.

Amy’s mother Betty was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, a condition that caused her to have vivid hallucinations. Mimouni says a nursing home wasn’t an option.

“And I thought…I can’t do that, my dad died when I was little, so taking care of my mom was a promise to him that I wanted to keep,” said Amy.

She found the Luther Park Adult Day Center in Des Moines, which allowed her to keep the promise she made to her father.

“I’m able to go to work and give her some place to go during the day that I felt comfortable with. From then to now, you wouldn’t know it was the same person that left the hospital,” said Amy.

But that is all in jeopardy. After just 22 months in business, the adult day center is closing its doors. It’s are losing money and doesn’t have enough participants to break even.

“It takes about 35, and our roster has fluctuated between five and maybe up to ten,” said Jeff Wilsher, CEO of the Luther Park Community.

Wilsher says despite a full-blown marketing campaign to try and find more participants, the center will be shutting down at the end of the year, leaving Amy scrambling to find another place for her mother.

“Wow…ok…so the world you knew for a year and a half, two years is gone,” said Amy.

Amy says even if she can find a new place for her mother, the change in routine would devastate her.

“With dementia, the more you can keep the same, the less they have to think about their routine, and the more comfortable they are with people, the more they can be themselves and the less worry and less stress. It keeps their symptoms under control,” she said.

There are two other care centers Amy is considering, but she says she can’t afford one and the other doesn’t offer the same services as Luther Park.  That leaves her with a tough choice.

“I had a small panic attack the other day when I was like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t even count Christmas and New Year’s week, so I have, like, two weeks to figure out something’. If it were in my power to keep this place open, I would in a heartbeat,” she said.

The rest of the Luther Park Community will remain open.

KNOXVILLE, Iowa — On day three of the Carter vs. Carter civil lawsuit in Marion County, attorney’s called more family members and law enforcement to the stand.

Bill and Billy Carter are suing Jason Carter for the death of wife and mother Shirley Carter.

Jason Carter’s Attorney, Steve Wandro, started the day by continuing to question Shelly Carter, Jason’s wife.

Wandro asked her about their finances both for their family and farming business.

Attorney’s said money is a major part of this case and has been listed as a possible motive in the death of Shirley Carter.

Shelly also talked about her relationship with Jason and his affair and if they had worked everything out.

“Yes we have. We’ve been through a lot of counseling. Everyday I work on forgiving, but never forgetting because I don’t deserve that and neither do my children,” Shelly said.

She also talked about her former relationship with Shirley and how she became more than just a mother-in-law.

“My mom became very ill and she died from a rare heart disease and Shirley became my mother not my mother-in-law,” Shelly said.

Then Wandro asked, “How old were you when your biological mother passed away?” Shelly said, “I was 20. And Jason and I had just gotten married. So she did see us get married, but Shirley became my mother.”

Bill Carter’s Attorney called Nick Webb, Co-Owner of Texas Forensic Associates to the stand to talk about how he was called in as a private investigator, for Bill Carter, to recreate the scene.

“We did a site inspection, looked at the residence and information with Bill, and located the evidence that had been repaired,” Webb said.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Later in the day, Bill Carter’s attorney called Jason Carter’s mistress Tara (Hoch) Kauzlarich to the stand to talk about their 15 month affair.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

During questioning Tara said Shelly was told about the affair and actually made Jason call Tara on his phone.

“I was at work and he was calling from his regular phone, which I thought was strange because we didn’t communicate through that phone anymore. I answered it anyway and He didn’t tell me right away that Shelly was listening, but he was acting strange. Essentially what is was is that he wanted me to tell Shelly that the only reason we were talking is that he was helping me through my divorce and problems,” Kauzlarich said.

Kauzlarich’s testimony wrapped up day three. Court resumes at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Watch Video

While President Donald Trump was giving his historic speech Wednesday to announce that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, some on the internet focused on the manner in which he made his statement.

Toward the end of the news conference, some on Twitter and Facebook noted that the President’s usual speech pattern changed and that he started to slur his words — and they speculated about what it could mean.

The official term for slurred speech is dysarthria, when the muscles you use to speak weaken or you have a hard time completely controlling their use.

People can slur their words for any number of reasons. It can be a sign of problems with a nervous system disorder like a brain tumor or a stroke. People who have cerebral palsy or Guillain-Barré Syndrome can struggle with slurring. Multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Lyme disease, Huntington’s, Myasthenia gravis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Wilson’s disease all can cause it.

Dental work — such as ill-fitting dentures — can also be blamed. Medication can impact speech, as can drugs and alcohol. Or people can simply slur their words when they get tired.

CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon, said he watched the video closely a few times. “There is clearly some abnormalities of his speech,” he said. “You could call it slurring or just a little bit of difficulty forming the words.”

Michael de Riesthal, a speech and language pathologist, agrees. “There was definitely some imprecise progressive change in articulatory precision and slowing of his speech that is not typical in normal speech,” said de Riesthal, an assistant professor in hearing and speech sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the director of the Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute. “The distortion of his articulation, though, is unknown in etiology.”

Neither Gupta nor de Riesthal has ever treated Trump for any reason.

De Riesthal said the distortion was particularly noticeable when the President said “United States.”

Although Trump has what de Riesthal would characterize as a typical Queens, New York, accent, “this was a noticeable change for his speech.” It could be anything, though, especially since it seemed like he was “working hard to speak” — as if “having a denture fall or some other alternative explanation.” However, it definitely “seemed too unusual for something like that to be dry mouth.”

Gupta noted that for most of the 10- to 11-minute speech, the President spoke fine. One sign that it was unlikely to be a bigger medical concern: After the speech,Trump walked over to a desk, pulled out the chair, sat down and signed a proclamation. All normal movements.

“All of that is relevant because he doesn’t appear to have any motor weakness,” Gupta said.

With a stroke, for instance, you would often see more indications of weakness or drooping of the face. “It would be very unusual to have problems that are isolated to struggling with a few words,” Gupta said.

Of course, it is difficult to diagnose someone from only a video, but the problems may stem from mouth issues, Gupta said.

“I noticed that he clears his mouth after finishing speaking, so whether that was a dry mouth or a misplaced dental issue is unclear, but given everything else, that is a much more likely cause of that,” he said.

Asked whether Trump was feeling OK at the end of the speech, a White House official said, “The President is perfectly healthy; he’s been working in meetings all day and in fact is still here working now.”

 

PROMISE CITY, Iowa — As rumors swirled throughout Appanoose County late November that Ethan Davis, from Promise City, may have been behind the disappearance and death November 25th of Cedar Falls’ Curtis Ross, Sally Donald, Ethan’s neighbor and third grade teacher had her reservations.  I didn’t believe it.  I said, not until I hear something a lot more than what I heard which was gossip.”

Wednesday, the Appanoose County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Criminal Investigation revealed that a search warrant at Davis’ home in Promise City yielded a vehicle belonging to Ethan with his fingerprints and blood inside the vehicle.  They also found a rifle with his prints and traces of blood.  “I think everybody was really surprised and didn’t think this could have happened,” said Sally.

That’s not what originally put Davis behind bars, that came from an alleged pistol-whipping November 24th of a man in nearby Seymour the day before Ross went missing.  Wayne County authorities say he also fired the weapon inside the home while holding his own infant child.  “This is way out of character I would say from what I knew of him in my time.”  In her time, Sally watched Ethan grow over the years in the classroom as his teacher. “He was a good student and I had no trouble in the classroom ever,” she said.  The two bonded over their love for dogs.  “Being across the road he liked dogs and I liked dogs.  We had nine of them between the two of us and he was really good about taking care of them.”

Now authorities believe that same man who treated his teachers with respect, dogs with respect, is responsible for the shooting, stabbing and killing of an innocent man.  Sally said, “It just is not something I can believe in. It’s a completely different person than what I knew.”

Law enforcement is encouraging hunters in Appanoose County to report anything that seems out of place while in the fields.  Do not touch the items and to contact law enforcement to come and look at those items.

Women’s basketball took center stage in the Cy-Hawk series.

Iowa ended a long drought at Hilton Coliseum. The Hawkeyes won for the first time since 1989.

Final score was 61-55. The Cyclones showed plenty of fight, but scored just three points in the second quarter.

Makenzie Meyer led all scorers with 18 points. Iowa is now 9-1. Cyclones fall to 3-5.

The men’s Cy-Hawk game is Thursday night at Hilton Coliseum.