April 18, 2014

Iowa soldier talks about Medal of Honor recipient who saved his life

Pfc. Kyle White

Pfc. Kyle White

A veteran from eastern Iowa will be at the White House next month as a fellow Army soldier who saved his life is awarded the Medal of Honor.

Former U.S. Army Specialist Kain Schilling was with his unit in northeastern Afghanistan on November 9, 2007 when they were ambushed by the enemy.

Schilling was shot in the arm and leg. Another specialist, Kyle White, is credited with helping Schilling survive the four-hour ordeal. The Cedar Rapids native says White applied tourniquets to his wounds and found them slight cover under a tree.

“As he’s doing all of this, he’s getting shot at,” Schilling said. “He gets hit with an RPG (rocket propelled grenade). His radio and his uniform are shredded by bullet holes and even after all of that, he calls in the MedEvacs (helicopters), collects all of the sensitive items, and gets us

Pfc. Kyle White, circa mid-2007.

Pfc. Kyle White, circa mid-2007.

all out of there.”

White tried several times to pull another injured team member to safety, but Marine Sergeant Phillip Bocks ultimately died at the scene. “He put his life on the line multiple times to get (Bocks) out and it just shows why Kyle deserves this and what kind of character he is,” Schilling said.

The platoon leader, 1st Lieutenant Matthew Ferrara, was also killed in the attack. Four other U.S. soldiers were killed and many more wounded elsewhere in the region.

Members of 1st Platoon, Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade gather for a ceremony in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, Nov. 6, 2007 (three days before the enemy ambush).

Members of 1st Platoon, Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade gather for a ceremony in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, Nov. 6, 2007 (three days before the enemy ambush).

Schilling admits, nearly five-and-a-half years after being rescued from the battlefield, he finds it hard to cope with the memory of that day.

“I wouldn’t say it gets better with time, but you get used to it,” Schilling said. “I’ve got a great system with the VA here, so I get treated for PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and the VA really helps out on that end.”

Schilling, now 27, lives in Palo and works at the Duane Arnold Energy Center. He’s engaged to be married next year and has a two-year-old daughter. White, a Seattle native who now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, will become the seventh living recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001.

 

The award ceremony is scheduled for May 13.

Veishea task force chair: ending event “one of the possibilities”

Tom Hill

Tom Hill

The chair of a task force to study the future of Veishea at Iowa State University says ending the event is definitely an option. The annual spring-time celebration on the ISU campus was cut short last week when violence erupted on the morning of April 9 in the Campustown area of Ames. Students flipped over cars, ripped out street signs, knocked over light poles, and threw rocks and beer cans at police.

ISU senior vice president for student affairs Tom Hill witnessed the riot. He was shocked, because violent acts during Veishea in past years occurred during the weekend and mostly involved non-students. “I was taken aback a little bit because it was on a Tuesday night and based on my observations, it was our students,” Hill says. “That was really difficult for me to come to grips with right away.”

ISU President Steven Leath has appointed Hill to chair a task force with 18 other members, who will study Veishea and “assess its role and relevance for the future.” Hill says ending the 92-year-old tradition is a possibility. ”When you look at all of the history and everything, if you’re going to be open, you have to say that’s one of the possibilities. But, there are also some other possibilities,” Hill says. “You have to go into it and let the facts lead you to where they lead.”

Leath has asked the task force to provide him with a recommendation by the end of June. ”We’re on a very tight timeline,” Hill acknowledged. “We’ve got to be very well prepared for the meetings.”

Veishea has been marred by riots over its lengthy history. In 1997, a young man was stabbed to death in a fight outside a fraternity house. Riots in 2004 led then-ISU President Greg Geoffroy to suspend Veishea in 2005.

ISU president announces members of Veishea task force

ISU President Steven Leath

ISU President Steven Leath

Iowa State University President Steven Leath has announced the members of a task force to study the future of Veishea.

The annual spring-time celebration on the ISU campus was cut short last week when violence erupted on the morning of April 9 in the Campustown area of Ames. Students flipped over cars, ripped out street signs, knocked over light poles, and threw rocks and beer cans at police.

Leath canceled the rest of the scheduled Veishea events for the week, saying in past years, violence during Veishea was blamed on non-students. But, this year it appeared ISU students were primarily at fault.

Leath has appointed ISU senior vice president for student affairs Tom Hill to chair a task force with 18 other members, who will study Veishea and “assess its role and relevance for the future.” The group is expected to provide a recommendation to Leath by the end of June.

 

In addition to chairman Hill, members of the task force include:

Pamela Anthony, Dean of Students

Ann Campbell, Mayor of Ames

Bob Currie, director of facilities services, facilities planning and management

(P&S employee representative)

Chuck Cychosz, chief of police, Ames Police Department

Karl Kerns, 2014 Veishea general co-chair, senior in animal science

Hillary Kletscher, 2014-15 Government of the Student Body president, junior in biological systems engineering

Warren Madden, senior vice president for business and finance

Sophia Magill, 2005 Iowa State alumna, assistant director of federal relations, 2004 GSB president (Magill served on executive committee of the 2004 Veishea task force)

Nick Morton, 2014 Veishea general co-chair, senior in environmental science

Micheal Owen, University Professor of agronomy, Faculty Senate representative and Veishea Advisory Council member

Eric Peterson, 2007 Iowa State alumnus, 2006 Veishea general co-chair (the year Veishea was reinstated)

Melissa Pierce, general manager, Campustown Property Management

Barbara Pleasants, adjunct assistant professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, co-president of the South Campus Neighborhood Association

Richard Reynolds, director of the Memorial Union and Veishea adviser

Jerry Stewart, ISU police chief and director of the department of public safety

Dwayne Vande Krol, JD, CPA, 1993 Iowa State alumnus, 2009-10 ISU Alumni Association board chair

Pam White, College of Human Sciences dean and University Professor of food science and human nutrition

Jeff Woody, graduate student in biomedical sciences, co-president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee

Ex-officio, nonvoting member:

Paul Tanaka, University Counsel

Oskaloosa man pleads guilty in death of infant

An Oskaloosa man has entered a guilty plea in the death of a seven week old infant. Brian Vilcone, 25, entered the guilty plea on Tuesday to one count of attempt to commit murder and one count of child endangerment resulting in death. Both are class B felonies.

Judge Daniel Wilson set sentencing for June 26. Vilcone will face a mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison for the attempt to commit murder charge and a mandatory sentence of 50 years in prison for the child endangerment resulting in death charge.

Vilcone was arrested and charged on April 23 with first degree murder in the death of seven-week-old Raelynn Hart. Hart died on April 21 as a result of abusive head trauma. During an investigation, the baby’s mother stated that baby had suffered the injuries while in the care of Brian Vilcone. Vilcone later admitted to shaking the baby several times to get her to stop crying.

by Charlie Comfort, KBOE

Autopsy results, victim’s name released in Story County homicide case

Jeremy Cory

Jeremy Cory

An autopsy has confirmed a woman found dead in her Story County home on Monday had been shot multiple times.

The victim is identified as 49-year-old Vallerie Vee Cory and investigators say she may have been killed up to four days prior to the discovery of her body. Her husband is in custody.

Police were sent to Cory’s home in Cambridge in response to a welfare check and found her dead in an upstairs bedroom. Police said a gun found in the home matched the caliber of spent casings found near the body. Officers arrested 44-year-old Jeremy Cory in Huxley early Tuesday morning. He’s charged with first-degree murder.

Man convicted in 1974 Waterloo homicide to be released from prison

A man who was sentenced to life in prison for killing a neighbor over a gambling debt 40 years ago will soon be released on parole. The Iowa Board of Parole issued the decision today for Rasberry Williams, who’s now 68. Once released, he’ll be placed in an assisted living facility.

The parole board’s discussion included what preparations would be made to allow Williams to transition to life outside of prison. Williams was asked if he’d like arrangements to be made for him to travel outside the prison facility’s fence with his counselor for him to “introduce” Williams to “changes” he hasn’t seen before. Williams responded, “It would be lovely. I’d like to do that.” Williams spoke to parole board members in Des Moines via video from the North Central Correctional Facility in Rockwell City.

Williams has maintained he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed another man outside a Waterloo pool hall in 1974. Williams’ daughter, Charletta Suddoth, was just 8-years-old when her father turned himself in to authorities after the shooting. “On the drive up here, we were recanting in the car, when he (entered prison), the style of the day was Afros and stacks for shoes. Now, now we all have technology at our fingertips…he has a beautiful, wonderful sense of humor after all these years,” Suddoth said.

Governor Branstad commuted Williams’ life sentence last year, saying his record in prison “has been extraordinary.” In addition to mentoring other inmates, prison officials said Williams saved the lives of two guards during a hostage situation in 1979.

Dubuque and HUD settle housing discrimination case

The City of Dubuque has settled with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, following allegations that the city discriminated against African Americans applying for rental assistance. The City of Dubuque denies they violated fair housing laws, but through a voluntary compliance agreement, will be required to change the rules that gave preference to residents.

Heading up the changes will be Alvin Nash, Dubuque’s Director of Housing and Community Development. Nash estimates he’ll be able to bring Dubuque’s housing program into compliance within three years. “We have an opportunity here to go forward, fix the situation, and develop a model program. I’m going to try (my) best to turn a negative consequence into a positive opportunity, that’s all you can do,” Nash said.

Beginning in 2007, the city agency that distributes Section 8 housing assistance implemented rules giving preference to people who could prove residency in the City of Dubuque. As a result, people applying from outside the state, most of whom were minorities, experienced longer wait times. “I did not find any proof that the allegations were justified in regard to intent. But they were justified in terms of, yes, there was negative impact that affected the African American applicants, especially those from out of town,” Nash said.

According to the report, African Americans represented 31-percent of families participating in the Section 8 housing program in Dubuque in 2010. A year later, after a voucher freeze that gave preference to in-state applicants, the African American participation in the program declined to 21-percent.