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SLATER, Iowa — On Saturday, Slater saw one of its iconic, local stops burn down. Cole’s Ice Cream Shop was severely damaged after a meat smoker caught fire, but people are now stepping up to make sure the restaurant that has a deeper meaning gets back up and running.

Owning Cole’s Ice Cream Shop for three decades, David Sturdy has many memories there with his son, Brandon.

“He was 4-years-old,” Sturdy said. “Me and him ran this place and we’d watch movies and it was a good time.” But 15 years ago it all stopped. Brandon died serving his country as a Marine in Iraq.

“When my son died in 2004, I closed down for 10 to 11 years,” Sturdy said.

It eventually reopened, in Brandon’s honor. The Slater restaurant started becoming a famous stop for everyone, from politicians to young kids.

“I wanted to stick out,” Sturdy said. “I have little kids who come in here and say they want to go to the Star Wars place and they come from 20 miles away.”

That’s the way things were until the fire ended it all.

“I was really depressed,” Sturdy said. “But now with the spirit of the folks, I am uplifted.”

The restaurant is iconic, unique, and 100 percent Iowan. Slater residents say there’s nothing quite like Cole’s Ice Cream Shop. That is why many are coming together to make sure the famous tenderloins are made once again.

“We make some good food. Real proud of it,” Sturdy said. “It was my son’s recipe, Brandon’s recipe, and we continue it in his honor.”

“Lot of love in the food, lot of love in the preparation,” Mark Eckhoff said. In return, Sturdy is getting a lot of love from the people who are cleaning up and reaching out for more help.

“Slater does not turn their back on their own. We help each other,” Mary Akin said.

“That’s how Iowans are,” Eckhoff said. “I think this place is going to get opened up a lot quicker than what people think it will.”

There’s still a long road ahead for Cole’s, but if there’s one thing keeping Sturdy going, it’s Brandon’s Marine flag still flying, despite the fire. He sees it as a sign that Cole’s will be back.

“I’ll work until, I’ll work until I get it done,” Sturdy said.

Sturdy says there’s some issues with his insurance because of some problems with his Ansul System, that’s supposed to extinguish fires. Most of the repairs will come out of pocket. That is why he is asking for volunteers to donate time or supplies. There is also a GoFundMe set up.

AMES, Iowa — Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, a former U.S. Representative from Texas, has shown an early campaign propensity for standing on things — tables, boxes, furniture — whatever. The sheer frequency of it has attracted its own Twitter handle.

O’Rourke has also shown Iowans that he will wear the local college or university of choice, depending on where he is campaigning in the state. He has worn Iowa, Iowa State, University of Northern Iowa and Grinnell University ball caps at different events.

(O’Rourke also discussed money in politics. Watch that part of the conversation here).

MOUNT AYR, Iowa — The beautiful weather Saturday made it the perfect day for the hometown of one of America’s most accomplished astronauts to pay tribute to her legacy.

Community members unveiled the Peggy Whitson Freedom Rock in Mount Ayr Saturday afternoon.

Whitson served as commander of the International Space Station. At 665 total days, she spent more time in space than any other woman, and she holds the record for most space walks as a woman. She retired from NASA in 2018.

Whitson grew up on a farm near Beaconsfield and graduated from Mount Ayr High School where she also played basketball.

“She is absolutely loved, and she’s such a huge inspiration. And that inspiration obviously carried me through the artwork,” said artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen.

“She’s really opened up a lot of things for women in America and in the world. She’s the reason why this rock is here,” said Ken Robertson, the project’s founder.

Organizers had planned to unveil the rock in February on Whitson’s birthday, but they were forced to reschedule due to harsh weather. Whitson was originally slated to attend but couldn’t make it because of the schedule change.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Police responded to a shooting on the east side of Des Moines early Saturday morning.

Witnesses told police that two cars were shooting at each other in the 3400 block of East 26th Street around 3:30 a.m. Saturday.

Police say a 22-year-old man arrived at Mercy Hospital later in the morning with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He is expected to recover.

Police are still looking for a suspect.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Senior Des Moines East High School student Alex Liu is a trailblazer.  “I’m a first-generation American and a first-generation college student,” said Liu.

He is also enrolled in AP Computer Science at Central Academy in Des Moines.  “It really makes you think. It’s like learning a new language, except this time it’s through technology and will lead to changes in the future,” he said.

In January, his classmates were encouraged to apply for the Amazon Future Engineer Pathway Scholarship.  On April 2, he found out he became one of the first honorees in the nation with a scholarship of $10,000, renewable for up to four years.  “It’s mind blowing, given the odds.  There’s a lot of people in this country and to think I was one of them, it’s crazy,” Liu said.

Just 100 students who are pursuing a career in computer science were honored, but there’s a good chance no one would have known if it weren’t published recently in the New York Times.  “He’s the perfect kid. Does everything you ask him to do, but he’s not going to tell you much unless you ask,” said Central Academy teacher Scott Schoneberg.

The potential $40,000 scholarship may not even be the most valuable piece.  It comes with a paid internship at Amazon following his freshmen year of college.  “I think working under Amazon will give me a pretty good experience into what the world is like and what I can do,” said Alex.

Alex’s journey began at River Woods Elementary. He then went to Weeks Middle School and this spring he’ll graduate from East High School.  He says Des Moines Public Schools have been a stepping stone to his success.  “They have a lot of good programs that start you off young and continuing on in high school and prepares you for that next big step.”

Alex is used to making a splash.  He is also a four-time state swim meet qualifier.  Alex said, “I also set five school records.” It’s fitting that he’s used to finding his own lane of success.  “I’m making a name for my family. Carving that path to success and securing a bright future for future generations to come.”

Alex will also receive a full academic scholarship to Tufts University in Massachusetts.

DES MOINES, Iowa — After reports of fights, assaults and injured staff, McCombs Middle School is now cracking down on what they say is the cause.

We brought you the story earlier this week of an assault that resulted in injuries to three staffers at McCombs Middle School.

Parents have contacted WHO with their concerns and school staff say they are now taking action.

McCombs detailed possible disciplinary action in an email to parents. In that email sent to all McCombs parents and staff, WHO was criticized for looking into complaints brought to our attention by staff and concerned parents.

Now, McCombs is now taking a harder line on social media harassment. The school now says social media harassment will no longer be tolerated and could face disciplinary action.

But for some parents that isn’t enough.

“I received an email stating there was an assault against an employee,” parent Edith Flores said.

One staffer suffered a bloody nose, and another had broken glasses in that incident Tuesday.

Then Thursday, police were back at the school. According to the police report, a teacher tried to break up a fight between two students and was punched in the stomach. The teacher didn’t think the student meant to punch him, so no charges were filed.

“It just doesn’t seem like this school can get it in control,” Flores said.

That is why some parents want their kids taken out of McCombs.

“I am not happy with it at all, and actually I am may be looking at homeschooling her for the next four years,” parent Angela Lewis said.

Lewis is not alone.

“I don’t like it. I have tried getting him switched, and they do not approve the open enrollment, so he is kind of stuck here,” parent Jayme Gomez said.

Besides cracking down on social media harassment, parents want to know what else the district is doing to cut down on violence.

“It seems like they allow the kids to come right back to school, so there are no consequences for what they are doing,” Lewis said.

According to a 44-page student hand book from the district, guidelines can change at any time without notice. It outlines multiple steps to expel a student.

“Level four are those incidents that become more significant,” Terry Gladfelter, deputy director at Professional Educators of Iowa said.

These are incidents like a threat with a weapon and assault of a staff member resulting in bodily injury.

That’s on a case-by-case basis.

“It’s a matter of following through with integrity that the program is being executed correctly and consistently,” Gladfelter said.

Parents say violence at McCombs needs to stop.

The two students involved in the most recent fight were referred to the juvenile court for disorderly conduct.

We reached out to the Des Moines School Board for comment and have not heard back.

DMPS has yet to agree to an on-camera interview.

NEWTON, Iowa– Iowa’s wind energy industry says President Donald Trump’s claims against wind energy are nothing more than hot air.

Wind energy supports 9,000 jobs in Iowa and that number increases every year.

Now, some of those employees fear President Trump’s false claims, and stance on wind energy could reverse the trend.

“I wanted to get his opinion about what he thought about the future of our town,” Newton resident Patricia Scalabrini said.

Back in 2015, Channel 13 News hosted a town hall meeting in Newton. The city is home to two large wind turbine manufacturing plants, TPI Composites and Trinity Structural Towers.

Scalabrini’s husband works for TPI and she pressed then presidential candidate Trump.

“It’s the company that moved into the old (Maytag building) and I have a question for you. What is your position on subsidies for wind energy?” Scalibrini asked.

“Well I am OK with it, I know a lot about wind it is a tough business,” responded Trump.

But Scalabrini says she wasn’t fooled.

“I really got a negative feeling after he answered my question because I realized he said it was very expensive and he leaned more towards fossil fuels subsidies.”

Now, four years later, Scalabrini says she isn`t surprised by the Trumps latest anti-wind comments.

“No. Wind`s not good. And you have no idea how expensive it is to make those things. They are all made in China and Germany,” Trump said.

Scalabrini`s left worrying that the lack of support from the President could put her husband out of a job.

“It would be a big negative issue to this town if they were to close.”

TPI says it employs 1,100 people in Newton, the city says that has a huge economic impact.

“They are a key part of our revitalization, all of the jobs that were lost when Maytag left have been replaced one for one and then some, and wind energy has been key to that,” Newton Community Director Erin Chambers said.


WAUKEE — Residents in Waukee’s Midwest Country Estates mobile home community are fed up.  “Right now we are living the american nightmare in our community,” said Matt Chapman.

In late March, Haven Park Capital out of Utah took over as new owners and turned the community’s paradise into panic with a letter taped to their doors.  “For families to get a letter stating their rent would be increased by almost seventy percent is a very shocking thing.  Especially when you are trying to raise a family, put food in the table and pay your bills,” said Daniel Potter.

The new company gave them a sixty days notice of the rent hike which is required under Iowa law.  Patricia Potter said, “We have a woman that lives in this park that is 91 years old and lived here over fifty years.  It is taking her down to her last dollar.  She has to eat, she has to take her medicine.”

Thursday a community meeting was held inside Waukee’s Church of Hope to search for answers.  “You can imagine the gamut and range of emotions that were felt by every single resident in this park,” said Chris Crone.

Iowa Legal Aid helped calm some fears with Haven Park’s declaration that residents sign a new lease within thirty days.  “They cannot increase your rent until after that lease term is over. So if you are in the middle of a lease they cannot say June 1st, you have to pay a higher rent,” said a legal representative from Iowa Legal Aid.

Waukee Mayor Bill Peard says the new company is following Iowa laws but their approach is not how Iowans operate.  “Sometimes there is a wrong way to do things and a right way and I`m not terribly impressed with how they went about it,” said Peard.

The letter also claimed the hike was to protect the community saying otherwise the land is more valuable as apartments or retail space.  The Mayor didn’t agree with that either.  “I don’t believe that and the city has not been involved in this purchase and new lease agreements in any way.”  Daniel Potter feels his community is being preyed upon.  He said, “They are trying to line their pockets as quick as possible without any regard to their fellow-man.”

Haven Park Capital operates twenty-five similar communities in nine states including one in Indianola.  The community asked a representative to join the public meeting but they were not present.


IOWA CITY, Iowa — Hustling to and from class is the norm for college students.  “We are supposed to be there at 1:15 pm. I might be a little late because my class goes until 12:30 pm,” said Connor McCaffery as he walked into his Business Managerial class at the University of Iowa.  For Connor, busy may just be an understatement.  The day’s class assignment tasked McCaffery and a small group of classmates to balance the budget of a company.  “I’ve always been good with numbers.  I loved math classes growing up,” he said.

A tougher task may have been balancing the finance major’s March schedule as McCaffery juggled books, baseball and basketball for the University of Iowa.  I was playing in the Big Ten tournament Thursday and Friday, then came here to play a double header Sunday and played well.”

The NCAA Tournament makes March one of the most exciting times of the year but “March Madness,” takes on a different meaning for Connor.  That has to be one of the craziest weeks of my life so far,” he said.

On Tuesday March 19th Connor helped the Hawkeyes beat Simpson College on the baseball field. He then helped the basketball team defeat Cincinnati in the NCAA Tournament that Friday, coupled with a loss in overtime on Sunday to Tennessee and on Tuesday Connor was back on the baseball field helping Iowa win again against Bradley.  “I tried to be smart about it the best I could and coaches help me with that too,” Connor said.  His father and Iowa basketball head coach Fran McCaffery agreed, saying, “It is actually easy.  I work with coach Heller.  I make sure we don’t over extend him.  All season long he’s been trying to get at-bats so when he’s in there he is ready to jump in there and hit the ball.”

Connor’s performances are not limited to the stadium or arena.  Connor earned a spot on the Big Ten Basketball All-Academic Team.  The academics has always been something that is big for me and I have prided myself in doing well in school.  My mom, she’s always been the one on me.  She would threaten to not let me go to tournaments if I didn’t study or get my homework done,” said Conner.

Handing in homework by day and handing out losses to opponents by night.  That is something I’ll look back on and really something I’ll always cherish.  Being able to come out here and play baseball but also go participate in the Big Ten tournament and NCAA Tournament.

Memories Connor believes would not have happened if he didn’t pursue what he is most passionate about.  “As long as you are locked in to what needs to be done everyday, I think you’ll realize there’s enough time to be able to do what you love but also be successful in it,” said Connor.

This is Connor’s first season playing baseball at iowa after red-shirting a year ago. D1Baseball.com has ranked him the seventh highest major league prospect in the Big Ten Conference.

DES MOINES, Iowa– Police arrested a Des Moines middle school student for assaulting two teachers and a counselor Tuesday.

According to the police report, the student threatened to assault a classmate. A teacher stepped in and was punched in the face and chest causing a bloody nose. Another teacher who tried to intervene was hit on the left side of her neck. Attempting to calm the student a third woman, the school counselor, was punched four times in her chest and face, breaking her glasses. It took two men to restrain the student who was then taken to the Juvenile Detention Center.

This happened in front of Linda Bennett’s student.

“She comes to school scared every day,” Bennett said.

Parents say situations like this are common.

“(My daughter) says there is a bit of violence,” parent Stephanie Beverage said.

And she is not alone.

“I know there is a lot of violence at this school,” said fellow parent Wanda Blair.

According to police records, over that past three months there have been 12 calls for service to McCombs for things like assaults, fights, and other less aggressive acts.

Des Moines Public School officials were not available for an on-camera interview, but Communications Officer Amanda Lewis sent us this statement.

“McCombs staff work with students of varied physical, emotional and social challenges every day. Yesterday, they did a good job in a very difficult situation. Every student is deserving of an education. For students who cannot function in a traditional school, the district makes placements in one of our alternative education programs.”

The conditions of the three faculty members involved are unknown.