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ANKENY, Iowa–California Senator Kamala Harris, a Democrat, walked into the DMACC Ankeny campus auditorium Monday afternoon to a standing ovation from a crowd of 250. Harris, a potential 2020 presidential candidate, told the crowd that despite low national unemployment and a strong stock market, too many people aren’t benefiting from the economy that Republicans trumpet.

“The economy is not working for everybody,” Harris said.

She added, “We need to have a better vision for this country, in particular, reform this tax code in a way that supports the people who work to make this country great.”

Watch here to see how Harris responded to how she would advise Democratic candidates to campaign about the economy for this November mid-term election.

ANKENY, Iowa–A stage in an auditorium at Des Moines Area Community College’s Ankeny campus held three Iowa women Monday afternoon who will test whether Democrats will find that “Blue Wave” they seek to rush back into power. A possible presidential candidate, California Senator Kamala Harris, helped give them an audience.

Heather Matson, an Ankeny Democrat, is trying a second time to unseat Representative Kevin Koester, an Ankeny Republican. A Matson win could help give Democrats one of the ten seats they need to flip this election to regain control of the Iowa House.

Amber Gustafson, another Ankeny Democrat, is trying to beat one of the top Republicans in the Statehouse, Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver.

Cindy Axne, a Democrat and West Des Moines businesswoman, hopes to defeat Representative David Young, a Van Meter Republican. Young’s seat is one of the 23 Democrats need to flip to take control of the U.S. House.

Harris urged the crowd of 250 people to vote early. “Fifteen days to go. Fifteen days to go,” she told them.

The Republican Party of Iowa released a statement following the Democratic event.

“We’re not surprised to see another extreme California liberal being warmly embraced by Cindy Axne. Kamala Harris and Cindy Axne share the same focus of resistance not results, and they’re both going to be fundamental members of an opposition movement that will obstruct anything and everything Republicans stand for. Cindy Axne and every single Democrat standing with Harris this week will have to answer for the double-digit tax increases, government-run healthcare, and obstruction-first approach that the Harris agenda would bring.”

Ames, Iowa–If crowd size mattered, Iowa Democrats may have a good night on November 6th, at least when comparing two recent campaign rallies.

Fourth District Congressional candidate J.D. Scholten, a Sioux City Democrat, drew a crowd of 750 at Iowa State Sunday afternoon in a joint event with Secretary of State candidate Deidre DeJear, a Des Moines Democrat. Former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, an Independent Senator from Vermont, headlined the event. Sanders also took part in campaign events in Sioux City and Fort Dodge.

Scholten told the crowd that he didn’t believe in the “Blue Wave,” the term Democrats use to describe what they hope will be an especially strong resurgence of victories in November’s mid-term elections. Scholten looked out at the filled room and compared it to a much smaller gathering Friday at a Des Moines hotel when Vice President Mike Pence led a rally for Third District Congressman David Young, a Van Meter Republican, and Governor Kim Reynolds.

DeJear pushed supporters, many of whom were college students, to show up to vote if they want to solve the issues plaguing people right now.

DES MOINES, Iowa–Iowa Fourth District Congressional candidate Steve King, a Republican from Kiron, defended himself from critics who say he is a white nationalist after he endorsed a candidate for mayor of Toronto.

King said he has delivered for Iowans by taking part in negotiations with a Taiwanese delegation that increased purchases of American-produced soybeans.

King said he is committed to making sure abortions will be banned after doctors can detect a heartbeat.

King’s Democratic opponent, J.D. Scholten of Sioux City, shared how he hopes driving his R.V. named “Sioux City Sue” throughout the district will help his longshot attempt to beat King, who has been elected to eight terms in Congress.

King takes the weekly Insiders Quick 6.

NEW SHARON, Iowa — The death toll continues to rise from Hurricane Michael, reaching 36 Saturday after a handful of Southern states were ravaged by the storm 20 days ago. The damage is still extensive, especially on the Florida panhandle, where the New Sharon fire department is heading next month to help pick up the pieces.

“Mother nature is upset. We started this back in 2005 and the name of our group is first responders first,” New Sharon Fire Captain, and former Fire Chief Steve Gerard said.

In the past 12 months this group of New Sharon volunteer firefighters has been to Texas, Des Moines, Pella, Marshalltown and North Carolina to help clean up following natural disasters.

“First responders have to continue to do their job, so they don’t have the time to go home and start the process of mucking out their homes and demoing and trying to get started back,” Gerard said. “That’s where we come in. We try to take that pressure off of them, that group and their family.”

“Just kind of makes you proud to help people out that you don’t know, but you kind of do know because they are in the fire service,” firefighter Kelly Mick said.

Gerard says during their latest trip to North Carolina they helped out a retired firefighter and his wife who had almost eight feet of water in their home.

“Basically it’s starting over so we will take drywall, we`ll take insulation, everything comes out down to the studs,” Mick said.

“We went in and it took us almost a day and a half to completely gut the inside of the house,” Gerard said. “We carried everything out to the curb, except we found one shelf and a curio cabinet that had some Elvis memorabilia and we were able to salvage that for his wife.”

And now the group is trying to make another week long trip on Nov. 1st to help those affected by Hurricane Michael, but they need about $3,000 to make it there.

“We’ve got a Go Fund Me account started to replenish some funds. Usually we don’t have to go through Go Fund Me. We’ve been very fortunate that our community has been able to raise and support the trips that we’ve been on,” Gerard said.

Click Here to go to the New Sharon Fire Department’s Go Fund Me page for their Hurricane Michael relief effort.

DES MOINES, Iowa–Iowa Congressman David Young, a Van Meter Republican seeking his third term in the Third District, seldom mentioned his Democratic opponent at a campaign rally Friday afternoon. Instead, he repeatedly mentioned one of his party’s biggest foils, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Young, who is locked in what looks to be the toughest election battle of his career with Democrat Cindy Axne, a West Des Moines businesswoman, repeatedly tried to make the case that Axne is Pelosi’s “hand-picked” candidate. And he warned that if Democrats regain the majority in the U.S. House,  Pelosi as speaker will push for higher taxes and regulations on businesses and will impede economic growth ignited under the Republican majority.

Vice President Mike Pence headlined the rally to push for Young and Governor Kim Reynolds’ re-election efforts.

In a statement, Axne responded to Young’s campaign event:

“If David Young hadn’t voted with his party on the disastrous health care bill and a massive tax giveaway to the wealthiest Americans and large corporations, I don’t think Vice President Pence would be here in Iowa today. Over the past four years, David Young has proven to be a reliable vote for Republican leadership, even voting with his party on a bill that would have stripped away health care from over 150,000 Iowans,” said Cindy Axne.

DES MOINES, Iowa– Instead of enforcing the law, the Iowa Supreme Court says the Department of Transportation spent two years breaking the law.

The Iowa DOT could be forced to refund nearly 13,000 finds that were issued between 2014 and 2016.

In 2016, two separate drivers were ticketed by DOT officers for speeding in work zones in Warren County.

The drivers sued, they say it was not within the power of the DOT to issue speeding tickets.

Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court agreed, Justices unanimously ruled that the DOT had the power to issue citations for registration, size, weight load and operating authority violations.

The DOT released this statement saying:

“We are disappointed in the result of this decision. Public safety is best served when trained peace officers are able to respond to dangerous traffic events that occur in their presence, like speeding through a work zone with a revoked license ”.

– Andrea Henry Director, Strategic Communications & Policy

Brandon brown the attorney representing the plaintiffs said this ruling could pave the way for a class-action lawsuit he is working on that would require the DOT to reimburse drivers who paid those tickets.

“It’s important because every state agency has their own function and we have maintained that The Department of Public Safety because of a ruling made decades ago that public safety has the power to regulate traffic enforcement’s, its important so that every agency stays within their own boundaries,” attorney Brandon Brown said.

Brown says on average the tickets issued were about $150.00, some upwards of $1,000 because they were in construction zones.

Since this lawsuit, Iowa legislators passed a law in 2017 that prohibits the dot from handing out speeding tickets.

GUTHRIE CENTER, Iowa — Patrick Thompson has been sentenced to life in prison. Earlier this month, Thompson was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson, for intentionally setting a fire that killed his step-sister and her cousin.

This morning, victim impact statements were read by family members of 12 year-old Melanie Paige Exline and her cousin, 16 year-old Shakiah Cockerham; the two girls that were killed in the May 15, 2017 Guthrie Center house fire. The victim impact statements focused on what Patrick Thompson’s actions took away.

“Your poison has spread through this family so quick, and it’s time to put a stop to it,” said Dalton Exline, Paige’s brother. “You have taken very important people from me, who cannot be replaced; my little sisters. I am their older brother and was supposed to protect them from people like you.”

17 year-old Cheyanne Exline wept as she told Thompson directly just how much pain he has caused in her and her family.

“My life changed forever on the day of May 15, 2017, all because of your actions,” said Cheyanne. “Shakiah Cockerham wasn`t just my cousin. She was my sister, my best friend, and cousin, all in one. You took away everything that meant the most to me…Melanie Paige Exline, my beautiful, kind-hearted, free-spirited sister, had been victimized by family members and it makes me sick. But, more than that, my sister, who had been bullied in school and sexually abused, was getting a new start in life and you took that away from her.”

When District Court Judge Brad McCall asked Thompson if he had anything to say, Thompson said “no.”

But Judge McCall had some things he wanted to say to Thompson.

“You were convicted because the Attorney General`s Office did an excellent job in presenting the evidence to those 12 jurors, who decided beyond any reasonable doubt that you did exactly what the state accused you of doing,” said McCall. “And, I share in that opinion wholeheartedly. I simply can’t imagine what is going on in your head that would allow you to plan and carry out the horrific acts that you did.”

INDIANOLA, Iowa– The fresh air is hard to come by in one Indianola neighborhood and it’s been that way for nearly two weeks.

“It smells really bad, it’s just awful,” resident Leora Moen said.

The Moen’s apple tree sits across the street from Heartland Co-Op.

The family is talking about the putrid smell permeating from their silos.

The silos are supposed to house fresh corn and soybean grain, but the company says the Moens’ aren’t smelling that.

Instead, they’re smelling burned, rotten soybean grain.

“The soybeans would have been in bad condition from that side of it we had a fire afterward and we put the fire out right away and at this point we are trying to get the rest of the soybeans out at this point,” Director of Safety at Heartland Co-Op Bill Chizek said.

Indianola Fire Department says that fire wasn’t the first, firefighters have responded there three times in the past two months on reports of a fire.

Heartland Co-Op and the fire department do not know how any of those fires started.

“That’s something we will investigate on our own to try and figure out what happened,” Director of Safety at Heartland Co-Op Bill Chizek said.

Heartland Co-Op says they hope to have the silos cleaned out, and the smell gone over the next day or so.

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AGUILA, Ariz. – An Arizona man should be a bit more comfortable in a hospital bed having spent two days stuck at the bottom of a 100-foot mine shaft.

Believed to have been descending into the gold mine shaft near Aguila, 90 miles northwest of Phoenix, when he fell Monday, 62-year-old John Waddell suffered two broken legs, per FOX 10. But his hardships didn’t end there.

The father also battled three rattlesnakes (now dead) and severe dehydration over 48 hours without food or water before a neighbor discovered him Wednesday.

Terry Schrader had agreed to check on Waddell at the shaft if he didn’t return by Tuesday, though it was Wednesday before he actually went searching.

“I was afraid of what I was going to find,” Schrader says. “As I pulled up my truck, I could hear him hollering, ‘Help, help.’” Schrader adds, per ABC15, that “the carabiner broke, I guess, and he supposedly fell 40 to 50 feet.”

Though Waddell had a phone, there was no cell service; Schrader had to drive out of the desert to call authorities.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office organized the rescue beginning around 2pm, reports the Arizona Republic. It took more than six hours and a team of more than a dozen before Waddell could be airlifted to a hospital.

“We are looking forward to his recovery,” an MCSO rep says. Regardless of his screams as he was removed from the shaft, “he’s a tough guy,” Schrader says. (Rescuers decided to abandon efforts to pull a man out of a Nevada mine shaft.)

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