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A good actor makes us feel like we know him. James Gandolfini was a good actor. Maybe too good. Friends say he was a sweet, gentle man constantly mistaken for the character he played so brilliantly, Tony Soprano.
I didn’t know Galdofini, but because he’s so familiar to me, I feel a sense of loss. Gone way too soon at age 51 of an apparent heart attack. The age adds to the sting. Anytime we’re reminded we can be seemingly healthy one day, and gone the next, it’s a sobering reminder of our mortality.
Most will remember Gandolfini for his iconic role in The Sopranos, but he was memorable in so many movies. The Last Castle, Crimson Tide, Get Shorty, The Mexican, True Romance, and Zero Dark Thirty–to name a few. Can’t believe he’s gone…
Another absolute classic from the Blackhawks and Bruins. The Blackhawks win a wild one, 6-5 in overtime. Speaking of wild, if I’m the Iowa Wild, I’m selling season tickets door-to-door right now. This Stanley Cup has been an infomercial for hockey…
Richard Amardi took it well when he lost his basketball scholarship at Iowa State. I think Amardi knew from the jump it was a possibility. I don’t condone the conditional scholarship, but appreciate the transparency. Amardi also knew he’d be fine. He’s accepted a full ride to Oregon where he’ll play for Dana Altman. Good for Amardi…
The Iowa Cubs were tied for first place for a few minutes Wednesday night. Then the Redbirds won, and the Cubs fell a half game out…
I’m reading the book, “The Bite Fight: Tyson, Holyfield and the night that changed boxing forever”. It’s a gripping read of one of the more shocking things we’ve ever seen in sports. The author, George Willis, came on our radio show Wednesday. Willis says Tyson’s not as bad a man as he seemed, or Holyfield as good…
Sticking with my pick of Heat in 7, but I can’t wait to find out what happens. History tells us the team that wins game 3 when the series was tied at 1 goes on to win 90% of the time. That was the Spurs. And history tells us the home team in game 7 almost always wins. That’s the Heat…
Picked up free tickets at the Iowa Hall of Pride for our kids to see the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium. We’re too old for the freebies, but 20 to 25 dollars to see all these Olympic gold medalists seems fair…
Cool to see 100 meter dash American record holder Tyson Gay working out at Des Moines Roosevelt. Gay wanted a quiet track, and Roosevelt alum Lolo Jones pointed Tyson in the right direction…
The town of Adair is in mourning after a popular young man, who was seriously hurt in a car accident, died of his injuries.
Ten days after Jessie Leeper’s car was hit head-on by a driver going the wrong way on I-80 near Earlham, the 20-year old Eagle Scout and Simpson College junior has died.
Friends say Leeper seemed to be recovering when he took a sudden turn for the worse. He died Wednesday morning.
“We were all just kinda preparing for the worst but praying for the best. ” says former classmate Dakota Schafer, “Just kinda woke up to the messages and how do you prepare for that, you know?”
Friends believe Leeper’s two passengers are alive because he acted heroically by swerving at the last second to take the brunt of the crash on his side of the car.
A benefit for Leeper’s family is being held at the Adair-Casey High School August 4th, at 11:00 a.m.
A man was crushed and killed behind a tow truck Wednesday evening in Des Moines.
It happened at Recycling, Inc. on SE 6th Street near downtown.
Police say an employee’s truck broke down and was being towed on the company’s lot.
The employee was helping the tow truck back up when he stepped between the truck and a parked trailer and was crushed.
Police say the death appears to be unintentional and no charges have been filed.
The victim’s name is not being released.
An Iowa cupcake battle for a cash prize will play out on national TV later this month.
The owner of Ames-based Cupcake Emporium says she is just back from taping an episode of Cupcake Wars for the Food Network.
Tawnya Zerr says she started her business after she and a friend got hungry for cupcakes and found out no one in Ames had any for sale.
Her business has continued to grow since then receiving the attention of TV producers.
She says there is only one word to describe the TV competition, “It is so much crazy work and it is just crazy!”
Tawnya says she can’t tell us who won but we do know who one of the bakers she’ll face for the $10,000 prize.
Last week the owners of Des Moines’ Creme Cupcakes told Ch. 13 they, too, will be on the June 30th episode of Cupcake Wars.
Governor Branstad is asking for another Presidential Disaster declaration with the latest one covering nearly half of the state.
The governor sent a letter to President Obama Wednesday asking for 47 counties to be declared disaster zones.
The counties in the request are spread out across the state and suffered damages of an estimated total of $22-million.
Governor Branstad says the areas suffered damage from winds, tornadoes, heavy rain and flooding.
Sen. Charles Grassley wrote a letter to the president backing the request for federal assistance.
Five counties received assistance in April after heavy snow and ice storms pelted the area.
The counties this time are Appanoose, Benton, Buchanan, Buena Vista, Butler, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Clay, Clayton, Crawford, Davis, Delaware, Des Moines, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Greene, Grundy, Hardin, Henry, Ida, Iowa, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Lyon, Mahaska, Marshall, Mitchell, Monona, Monroe, O’Brien, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Poweshiek, Sac, Sioux, Story, Tama, Wapello, Webster, Winnebago and Wright.
Starting July 1st, boaters will be required to drain all water from boats and equipment before leaving a body of water.
The drain plug must also remain removed or opened while transporting the equipment.
The DNR will post the new rules at area boat ramps to remind boaters.
The goal is to prevent the spread of invasive species such as zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil. Both of which can threaten native fish.
Officials say this year’s flood season was made a little better thanks to the water regulation at Saylorville Lake.
According to the Army Corps of Engineers, they used the lake to reduce the amount of water flowing into the Des Moines River.
Water flowing into the lake peaked at 38-thousand cubic feet per second while outflows never got above 12,000.
That adjustment lowered the river level by as much as seven and-a-half feet from what it could have been.
The corps estimates it prevented around $11.2-million in flood damage. They claim to have saved $2.7-million at Saylorville and another $8.5-million by holding back water at Lake Red Rock.
The army corps didn’t specify how it came to those figures.
According to a new report, Iowa ranks as having some of the worst bridges in the nation.
According to Transportation for America, the state ranks third in the US for bridge deficiency. The group says 21-percent of the state’s 24,465 bridges are deficient.
Iowa follows Pennsylvania in first and second place Oklahoma.
Senator Charles Grassley says all levels of government can help make our bridges better, “Highways tend to be dealt with three levels of government – state, federal, and local. And all of us can participate in making these bridges as safe as we can.”
Senator Grassley says he hopes to address Iowa’s bridges before the highway transportation bill expires in September 2014.
Des Moines schools are increasing security for students and teachers. The district is adding nearly 200 more video security cameras. That brings the total to 648 cameras in school buildings.
Most of the security cameras at Roosevelt are easy to spot, but you can easily miss a few.
“Kids ask and I tell them exactly where they’re at,” says Roosevelt Vice Principal Joe Blazevich.
In addition to keeping an eye on who is coming and going from the school, officials can see what’s happening in the hallways. Blazevich says just because the cameras are always rolling doesn’t mean someone is always watching.
“We don’t have anyone who sits at the computer monitors all day and just tries to look for things that happen. Of situations come up and they come to our door, that’s when we’re able to go back and look at the replay,” he says.
The 182 new security cameras will cost the district $370,000. A federal school security grant will cover part of the cost. Local taxpayers will pick up the rest of the tab.
“Every grade level, every level of school building is seeing them. We don’t go into great detail about what buildings exactly have them and don’t for security reasons,” says Phil Roeder with Des Moines Public Schools.
Roeder says the district is well on its way to monitoring all 68 buildings. In 2009, Des Moines had about 150 cameras.
“It’s a great peace of mind for parents and students because they know when drop their sons and their daughters off, they’re in a safe and secure environment,” says Blazevich.
In addition to schools, the district installed cameras in most buses.
Olympians arrived in Des Moines for the USA track and field championships Wednesday.
Sanya Richards-Ross, Aries Merritt and Justin Gatlin took questions from the media Wednesday morning.
It’s Justin Gatlin’s first time in Des Moines. He won silver and bronze medals at the London Olympics last summer.
The sprinter says the metro is making a good first impression, “This is the first time I’ve been here. I love how the stadium seating rises up over the track,” the 31-year old said. “I’m pleased with the weather and I’ve heard the fans are very good here so I’m ready to see the fans too.”
You can expect to see an exciting race from Gatlin. He’s in Des Moines after beating Usain Bolt in the 100-meters earlier this month.
Bolt is considered the fastest man alive.
The championships run from Thursday to Sunday.
The Ehrich family was outside playing Tuesday night when they heard a gunshot.
They live in the country near the town of Jefferson, right on the border of Guthrie and Green Counties.
“He`s never slept outside a day in his life, I’ve had him since he was five weeks old, he was a pure-bred brindle boxer his name was Chance and he was our dog,” says Amanda Ehrich of Jefferson.
Ehrich can barely hold back tears when talking about her beloved pet.
The mom of six says Chance was part of the family, but Tuesday night that was all taken away.
“All 6 kids and myself were outside playing, and I heard my dog bark four times then I heard a gunshot,” says Ehrich.
Erich says a neighboring farmer pulled up to their home and said he had just killed chance because the dog was threatening him.
However, Greene County Sheriff Steve Haupert says the man was justified in his actions.
“He was opening this gate and the dog was up here made an attempt to become rather vicious with him then backed away and then came back,” says Sheriff Haupert.
Chance was wearing his collar when he was killed along the public roadway.
In Greene county, it’s against the law for dogs to roam free and if a person feels threatened they have every right to shoot.
“He was carrying a riffle with him and took it out of the case and did load it and he did shoot the dog out the window,” says Sheriff Haupert.
The farmer was inside his truck when he shot the dog, which Ehrich says raises serious questions about how threatened he was. She wonders why he didn’t just drive away, instead.
“You knew he was our dog you could have come down here I was standing outside he could have talked to me from his truck window, he didn`t even have to get back out, but instead he took matters into his own hands and took something that was very precious to us,” says Ehrich.
Now Ehrich is left explaining to her kids why Chance is not coming home, and that bad things can happen when they least expect it.
“You try and teach your kids values and you try and teach them right from wrong and then you have people that do these types of things to their pet and nothing happens to them,” says Ehrich.
Thursday morning The Sheriff’s Office met with the Greene County Attorney, who determined no charges will be filed in the case.
The Sheriff says these types of incidents have become a problem recently in the area. He says although both parties could have done things differently, he is sticking by the law which justifies what happened.
Metro students are working with Des Moines police to improve the community. ArtForceIowa opened its doors this year with a mission to encourage area youth to be creative through art.
Wednesday’s activity challenged teens to create a video on a topic that concerned them – they chose littering.
While encouraging others to clean up, the group also cleaned up their records, “Our principle work is working with kids that have been through the juvenile courts in the last year and we’re integrating the arts in a workforce readiness program,” says executive director, John Mark Feilmeyer.
“We try to help kids connect with their creative passion to career pathways.”
Through the Des Moines police department’s second chance diversion program, the work carried out by the teens counted as community service. If the students stay violation free for the next six months, their juvenile records will be cleared.
Three scientists have been announced as this year’s World Food Prize winners.
Mary-Dell Chilton is an Indiana native and Robert Fraley grew up in Illinois. The third scientist is Belgian, Marc Van Montagu.
The three will share the $250,000 prize for their independent use of bio-technology to better agriculture.
Officials say their molecular research makes crops more insect and disease resistant and capable of handling extreme climates.
The crops that stemmed from that research have covered 170 million hectares around the globe by 17.3 million farmers. Most of which are farmers in developing countries.
The winners were announced Wednesday in Washington D.C. They’ll receive their prizes in October during a symposium in Des Moines.
The World Food Prize was created by Iowa native Norman E. Borlaug in the 1980s.
A metro program is looking for people and their four legged friends to help make a difference during a difficult time. The animal assisted therapy program started at UnityPoint Hospice last summer. Now, they’re looking for more volunteers to comfort patients and their families.
When Chance walks into Taylor House, he knows he has a job to do. Handler Anna Childs says, “He recognizes my tag and his tag. He loves to come here.”
The three year-old long coated German Shepard is a licensed therapy dog. Childs says, “He knows exactly when he gets here. He knows his job has started. His whole personality changes to a calm ready to work dog. It’s actually very amazing.”
He and Handler Anna Childs joined the Animal Assisted Therapy Program at Unity Point Hospice shortly after it started last summer. Now, he’s one of 14 dogs walking the halls, visiting staff and sitting at the side of patients’ beds as they receive end of life care.
Volunteer and Program Consultant Patty Kaplan says, “It’s not just for the patient. It’s also for the family. It’s huge for the family, sometimes even more so because they are so uptight and scared and nervous about what’s going on with their loved one that that moment to just sit with the dog is very very relaxing.”
Organizers are looking for a few more good dogs to join the program. And, they say it takes more than just a friendly dog at home. Kaplan says, “For them to be able to walk loosely on a leash without pulling, to sit on command, those things are all very important, which we refer to as basic obedience. And all of those need to be performed without treats because we don’t allow dogs to have treats at work.”
Shifts are typically two hours. Chance visits two times every other week. And, Childs says he usually doesn’t want to leave. She says, “It’s very touching and you realize life is short, and you need to give while you can. And the fact that your dog is able to brighten someone’s day, you couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Contact Jillian VanDonselaar to learn more about the animal assisted therapy program at UnityPoint Hospice. The number is (515) 557-3287 or e-mail Jillian.VanDonselaar@unitypoint.org.
The application process takes several weeks and dogs must be immunized. Program leaders hope to find ten to fifteen qualified dogs to take part in a training class this summer.
The Iowa City council has passed an ordinance that is unique in the United States.
The ordinance bans the use of traffic enforcement cameras, drones, and automatic license plate readers. It was approved by all seven council members.
It is unique because of the ban on surveillance drones in the city.
The council says it can reconsider the ordinance two years from now should it change its mind.
The City of Waukee’s official website has been hacked twice in two days. On both Sunday and Monday an unidentified computer hacker was able to gain administrative access to the Waukee City webpage and a variety of its content.
The city contracts its website design and hosting to an outside firm who was notified and immediately shut down the website. The website firm made programming changes on Monday to prevent further hacking but was unsuccessful as it was hacked again later that day.
The firm believes that an outdated operating system of the website made it particularly vulnerable to the attack. City officials are working together with the third party information technology provider on a strategy to put the website back into service and minimize the likelihood of future hacking activities.
The website has currently been restored in a limited capacity. Viewers can access information on the site however bill paying and registration features will not be available for use by the public at this time. The website will remain in this condition as the city prepares a long term strategy for the site.
Waukee police are investigating the situation to find the source of the attack. If caught, the hacker could face federal charges.
Opening debate on the House farm bill began yesterday afternoon.
In the opinion of House Ag Committee Chair Frank Lucas, the House bill’s strengths include livestock disaster assistance and an elimination of direct payments. The House’s $20.5 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP remain the bill’s major hurdle in moving from the House to conference.
Lobbyist Chandler Goule with the National Farmers’ Union says Democrats may vote in support of the bill despite the SNAP cuts; a reduction to House SNAP cuts has better chances in conference with members of the Senate.
Lucas estimates the House bill saves $40 billion over the next decade, while the Senate bill saves $24 billion over the same amount of time. In this fiscal year, daily government spending is estimated at $10.4 billion.
The week of June 10th, there was a lot of talk in the national media about a possible derecho that would impact parts of the Midwest all the way to the east coast. We received an email from Jerry L, asking us to explain derecho winds a little more. Here’s Megan’s explanation.
…And it’s only Wednesday…
I should backup and say that I am including all the way back to last Thursday.
I had the pleasure of helping out the Lennox Quakerdale Pro/Am Golf fundraiser at Elmwood Country Club in Marshalltown. I’ve never played golf in Marshalltown but what a hidden gem! Champions Tour Pro Andy Bean gave a clinic before the event and my foursome of suppliers and dealers from the Midwest were great hosts. Turns out our Pro was from a course I’m willing to sell organs to get on. Jock Olsen was the pro at Interlachen C.C. in The Twin Cities for 15 years. Interlachen, for you golf buffs, is the course where Bobby Jones completed the U.S. Open portion of his Grand Slam. This history alone would be worth the walk around that track.
Friday My Mom and Dad came to visit for Father’s Day weekend and I got another round in with them. My Mom s now a golf addict and you will hear no complaints from my Dad. Both are retired and have time to work on their game. I always like to get a couple of rounds in with my Dad every year and Father’s Day weekend is a special time to do it. Nearly all of my best golf memories happened with my Dad in the foursome.
We dodged a few rain drops Saturday morning…when it looked like we were going to get hammered , we ducked into the clubhouse only to watch other foursome trudge on to the back nine. We waited about thirty minutes before deciding we’d try to squeeze back into our position on the back. Thankfully we could and we finished out. I wish I’d played all 18. If you give me a par for the three I missed, I shot an 81.
Sunday Father’s Day I was well-remembered. My Mother-in-law got me a dozen golf balls and when Sally asked Will if he knew what they were (expecting the answer:golf balls) he looked at her like she was crazy and said, “Mommy, those are the NEW Pro-V1x’s. that’s my boy! I guess he’s been watching too much Golf Channel.
Yesterday I completed a great golf week thanks to the folks at Hy-Vee. They had their Partner/supplier/ distributor thank you outing. Our boss was nice enough to pass the entry along to Myself, Bret McIntyre, Eric Wheater and Michael Admire. I enjoyed getting to know two newer additions to the newsroom better. We all had a great time but no one could hit a putt. The Boys from WHO could only manage a best ball 69. Not great.
Certain years I get a heavier bite from the golf bug. This year I want to play golf all the time. I think it’s the interest the boys are showing in the game. I’m dreaming of long golf afternoons that extend till dusk with those two in the years to come…
Speaking of golf…I finished that Tom Coyne Book I talked about in an earlier blog. A Course Called Ireland was an even better read over the second half of the book. If your wife/husband/son/daughter is a golf nut…get it and give it to them!
Lastly, I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of young athletes that are training to me triathletes… Athletes from the Z3 Junior Triathlon team has an ambitious schedule for the summer. While other kids are getting part-time jobs and spending time at the pool, these “kids” will travel the world competing against some of the best athletes from other countries. Their dream is to compete professionally and start a tradition of training and producing champions here in Des Moines. hope I helped in some small way with their goals.
Hope you have a great day!
The founder of Iowa-based convenience store chain Kum & Go has passed away following a battle with cancer.
A statement released by Kum & Go says William A. Krause died Wednesday morning at his home, while surrounded by family. He was 78.
Krause founded the business, which would eventually be known as Kum & Go, with his father-in-law in 1959 with one store in Hampton, Iowa. The company now has 423 stores in 11 states.
“Dad’s influence in the industry and with his associates and customers built a strong foundation for the company that continues today. He had a huge passion for people, especially Kum & Go associates. His appreciation for people is a legacy we will continue to carry on every day,” said son Kyle Krause.
Krause is survived by his wife Nancy, two sons, and a daughter.