October 9, 2015

Senator Ernst concerned with Russia’s actions in Syria

Senator Joni Ernst.

Senator Joni Ernst.

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, says she is concerned with the way the administration has allowed Russia to take the lead in action in Syria. “We have truly in the United States abdicated our leadership in the Middle East. And that has been done by our administration. They lack a clear and coherent strategy in the Middle East,” Ernst says.

She says without the leadership of the U.S., other countries are stepping in. “That’s exactly what Russia is doing — they saw and opening and they are taking it,” Ernst explains. “So, we see a trifecta emerging in the Middle East and that trifecta is Iran, Russia and Syria.” Ernst says those countries definitely do not support the goals of the U.S. for the region.

“So, I have very grave concerns about it. Yesterday we did hear from General John Campbell, he is the commander of forces in Afghanistan, and he does believe we need a new strategy in Afghanistan. And that means keeping our troop levels the same and not decreasing those,” Ernst says. “He does have strategies he has proposed to the administration. We are waiting to hear what the results of those discussions are.” Ernst is a military veteran and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.


Hawaii fugitive could be hiding in Iowa

Luke Warner

Luke Warner

A man who’s listed as one of Hawaii’s most wanted fugitives could be in Iowa. A release from the U.S. Marshals Service states 48-year-old Luke Warner is wanted after he left Hawaii to avoid serving a 10-year drug trafficking sentence.

The release indicates Warner has ties in Iowa, California, Florida and Massachusetts.  There’s a $10,000 reward offered for information leading to his arrest. Warner — who’s criminal history includes armed robbery, theft and drug possession — is said to also go by the name Louis Manetti.

He’s white, around five feet, seven inches tall and 170 pounds. He has light brown eyes and a small divot or scar on the left side of his face. Anyone with information about Luke Warner’s location is asked to call the U.S. Marshals Service at 1-800-336-0102.

Santorum says it’s ‘baloney’ to blame ‘inanimate object’ for Oregon shooting

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says blaming guns for last week’s mass shooting at a community college in Oregon is “baloney.”

“We have fewer per capita now than we used to years ago and we have more crimes, so what do you think the issue is?” Santorum says. “Do you think the issue is guns?”

Santorum says there are trends in society to blame instead, including “the breakdown of the family.”

“The breakdown of morals and culture in America,” Santorum says. “The president’s not going to talk about that. He’s going to blame some inanimate object…and I think most Americans know that’s a bunch of baloney.”

On Friday President Obama plans to visit Roseburg, Oregon, where nine people were killed last week at a community college. The gunman committed suicide. Since then, Obama has been more vocal in denouncing opponents of gun control measures. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Tuesday during a stop in Davenport that she’d take aggressive executive action on gun control if she was elected. Santorum says Obama and Clinton are politicizing the Oregon tragedy.

“You look and you say, ‘How low can they go?'” Santorum says. “They continue to set the bar lower and lower. I mean, I think they have to start digging holes to set the bar lower.”

Santorum made his comments earlier this week in Mason City as part of a three-day swing through Iowa.

(Reporting by Bob Fisher, KGLO, Mason City)

Group pushes presidential candidates to address chronic diseases

Candace Dematteis

Candace Dematteis

A group based in Washington, D.C. is launching an effort in Iowa today to urge the presidential candidates to make chronic diseases the focus of their health care proposals.

Candace DeMatteis with the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease says problems such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease are accounting for roughly 86 percent of the $2.9 trillion spent on health care in U.S. every year.

“We hear a lot about health care costs and costs to consumers, but we’re not hearing a lot about what we can do to help people be healthier,” DeMatteis said. “I would love to see health as the focus in policies that aren’t just about medical care…but, really look at health as a building block to economic growth and opportunities for Americans.”

PFCD-logobelieves a shift in focus in the nation’s health care policies could dramatically improve people’s lives. “It’s a little known fact that 80-percent of premature heart disease, stroke, and type-two diabetes and 40 percent of all cancers could be prevented,” DeMatteis said. “That would make the lives of everyday Americans so much greater and so much richer and also help our economy dramatically if we were able to capitalize on those prevention opportunities.”

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease is launching similar efforts in two other key states in the presidential selection process; Nevada and New Hampshire.



Flood of fantasy football ads don’t tell whole story of winning and losing

The 1-800 Betts Off website has information to help problem gamblers.

The 1-800 Betts Off website has information to help problem gamblers.

You can’t watch pro football games this season or go online without being flooded with ads promoting fantasy football gambling sites.

One site promises a $75 million payout to winners every week. Roxann Smith of the Jackson Recovery Centers in Sioux City says the ads talk about the big payouts for gambling, but don’t tell the other side.

She says the ads can get people to keep gambling as they tell about how much people are winning, but they don’t say how much people have paid in to get the money they win. Smith says she hasn’t seen a big increase in local sports betting problems this fall, but says there are people who are problem gamblers and the claims of big wins add to the temptation for them to gamble.

“Just the social influences, constantly seeing these things pop up on — whether it’s on their smart phones, or their tablets — that encourage them to participate in these things,” Smith says. It is not legal to participate in the on-line fantasy football contests in Iowa. The Iowa Senate passed a bill on the issue, but that is as far as it has gone in the state.

Smith says the ads for on-line gambling aren’t going away. “When it comes to on-line gambling, whether it be sports, fantasy, it’s one of the fastest growing on-line commerces in the world today,” Smith says. She says there’s an easy way to get help if you think you might have a gambling problem. You can call the 1-800-BETTSOFF hotline and find help in your area.

(Reporting by, Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)


Newton man sentenced to jail for relationship with 16-year-old girl

GavelA 34-year-old Newton man accused of having a year long on-line relationship with a 16-year-old West Virginia girl is going to prison. Eric Carter was arrested in Bluefield West Virginia last November, after he spent at least four days with the girl at a motel.

He was arrested after the 16-year-old got into an argument with Carter and went to her mother’s place of employment. The mother had reported the teen missing. West Virginia State Police claim Carter was taken into custody just before he was to board of bus back to Newton. Authorities say Carter and the 16-year-old both admitted they had sex while at the motel.

The Newton man pled guilty to soliciting a minor and a more severe felony charge. He had faced 19 felony charges. The prosecuting attorney says the victim and her mother approved the plea deal offered Carter. The judge denied the Newton man’s request for probation so he could return to his job in Newton.

Carter will spend no more than three years in prison, with credit for the 338 days he spent in Jail prior to his plea. Once he fulfills his prison term, he’ll be on10 years probation and spend the rest of his life on the sex offender registry.

(Reporting by cut, Randy Van KCOB, Newton)


Bush says voters want ‘sincere plans’ rather than ‘platitudes’

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush says the nation’s problems will never get solved unless there’s a culture change in Washington — and to create that culture, Bush suggests style matters.

“I’ll do it in a way that I guess is like ‘Iowa Nice’. I’ll do it with civility,” Bush says.

Polls show that more than half of likely Iowa Republican Caucus-goers are supporting outsiders like Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, but Bush — who served two terms as Florida’s governor — is banking on a shift among voter attitudes as the February 1st Iowa Caucuses draw near.

“When you get closer and closer to this, it’s going to matter,” Bush said. “That experience matters…Lofty patitudes are not going to be as relevant as direct, sincere plans and the heart to be able to fix things and the leadership skills that are proven.”

Bush spoke this morning at an event hosted by the Greater Des Moines Partnership, a group that represents the chambers of commerce in the Des Moines metro area. Bush called for ending the education “monopoly” and giving parents more choices about where their children go to school. He also called for gradually raising the retirement age for Social Security and “means testing” benefits, so wealthy Americans would not get part or all of the monthly benefits others receive.

A handful of people in the crowd got to ask Bush a question during the event. One man asked Bush whether he supports the effort to “reauthorize” the Voting Rights Act.

“If it’s to reauthorize it to continue to provide regulations on top of states as though we were living in 1960 — ’cause those were basically when many of those rules were put in place — I don’t believe that we should do that,” Bush said. “There’s been dramatic improvement in access to voting, I mean exponentially better improvement and I don’t think there’s a role for the federal government to play in most places, there could be some, but in most places where they did have a constructive role in the ’60s.”

The issue has flared in recent days as Alabama officials closed drivers’ license stations in areas with large black populations. Critics say the move is designed to prevent blacks from getting the photo IDs they must show in order to vote in Alabama. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has issued a statement, calling Alabama’s move a “blast from the Jim Crow past.”