July 6, 2015

Ted Cruz, on national book tour, makes Iowa stops

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz says his new book will show grassroots Republicans how their current national leaders are corrupted by the “cartel” of lobbyists and special interests in Washington.

“I think what Republican primary voters want to know is when have you stood up to Republican leadership, standing with the people, standing with the constitution, standing with freedom and when have you endured the beatings from Democrats, from the media and from the Republican leadership, from the Washington cartel,” Cruz told reporters this afternoon before going into a Barnes & Noble to sign copies of the book for two hours.

Cruz accused GOP leaders in the House and Senate of being “in bed” with lobbyists who are pushing programs, like subsidies for sugar, that aren’t benefitted the country as a whole, but are lining the pockets of a few.

“If you’ve ever wondered what’s happening when Republican leadership is breaking the promises that they’ve made to the grassroots conservatives who’ve elected us to serve in congress,” Cruz said, “this book is a candid and frank discussion of what’s happening behind the scenes.”

There’s a “bipartisan culture of corruption” in Washington, according to Cruz, and he said it’s time to end government policies that pick economic “winners and losers.”

About 60 people were waiting for Cruz when he arrived at the West Des Moines bookstore to sign copies of his book, titled: “A Time for Truth.” Cruz will be at the Barnes and Noble in Sioux City at 10 o’clock Tuesday morning for another book-signing event.

Iowa GOP chair ‘will not tolerate’ having GOP ‘brand’ associated with Confederate battle flag

Iowa GOP chair, Jeff Kauffman.

Iowa GOP chair Jeff Kaufmann

The chairman of the Iowa Republican Party says he’s all for free speech, but he does not want his party associated with the Confederate battle flag.

The issue has flared up after a couple from Pleasantville displayed three Confederate battle flags on their truck as they towed the Marion County Republican Party’s float in Independence Day parades in Pella and Pleasantville.

Jeff Kaufmann, the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, said today that he “will not tolerate” having the Republican “brand” associated with the Confederate battle flag.

“As the chair of the party, that is not where we want to go,” Kaufmann told Radio Iowa.

The couple involved — Owen and Linda Golay of Pleasantville — has resigned from the Marion County GOP’s governing board. One of the county’s GOP co-chairs told the local radio station he was “sickened” when he saw the Confederate flags on the vehicle pulling the GOP’s parade entry.

The county’s other cochair says, in retrospect, she should have asked the couple to take the flags off their truck, but she thought it was probably a free speech issue. Kaufmann said he’s left a “straight-forward message” with Marion County GOP officials about this episode.

“There are 17,000 young Iowa men that are laying in graves that fought against that very flag and everything it stood for,” Kaufmann said. “There’s really not a lot of conversation to have about that.”

And to the couple who displayed the Confederate battle flags, Kaufmann has this suggestion about their First Amendment rights: “Stand on a street corner and quote Robert E. Lee. I don’t care. While they’re on their way home, they might pick up a few flowers to put on the graves of the thousands and thousands of dead Union soldiers that gave their life to fight under the United States flag.”

A volunteer firefighter in Minnesota has been suspended after he flew a Confederate battle flag on a city-owned fire truck in a 4th of July parade in Albert Lea. Governor Terry Branstad told The Cedar Rapids Gazette the display of the Confederate flag in an Iowa parade was “just wrong and disrespectful” to Iowans who fought in the Civil War.

The Republican Party has its roots in the anti-slavery movement and the party’s first national convention in 1856 called for an end to slavery. Crawfordsville, Iowa — a stop on the Underground Railroad — claims to be the site of the first organizing meeting of the Republican Party. The meeting was held in February of 1854, in a Presbyterian church in Crawfordsville.

Today, South Carolina’s senate voted to remove the Confederate battle flag from a monument on the statehouse grounds in Columbia.

Investigators find car believed involved in fatal hit-and-run near Logan

Crime-sceneThe Iowa Department of Public Safety says charges are pending in the weekend death of Logan woman. A Harrison County deputy and a Logan police officer found the body of 50-year-old Charlotte Anderson on the side of Highway 127 north of Logan on July 4th.

Officers say it appeared to be a hit-and-run, and an autopsy by the State Medical Examiner has ruled Anderson’s death a homicide. An Iowa State Patrol Trooper located a suspicious vehicle in Logan on Sunday that appeared to have front end damage consistent with evidence located at the scene of the hit-and-run.

The DCI says several agencies are continuing to investigate and charges are pending.


GPS tracking device helps police quickly arrest bank robbery suspect

Joe Pendergrass

Joe Pendergrass

It didn’t take Des Moines Police long to catch a bank robbery suspect today. Police Sergeant Jason Halifax says the man accused of robbing a Bankers Trust location on the city’s southeast side just before 11 a.m. was tracked down a short time later at a nearby Walmart store.

“The suspect was located inside the store…and when he was approached by officers, he was in possession of the cash,” Halifax said. No weapon was used in the robbery. The suspect is identified as 48-year-old Joe Pendergrass of Des Moines. A GPS tracker was placed with the stolen money which helped police locate Pendergrass.

Halifax isn’t sure if Pendergrass intended to spend the money at Walmart that he took moments earlier from the bank. “The tellers at the bank indicated there was almost no urgency in what he was doing, he was very laid-back in what he was doing,” Halifax said. “It’s kind of curious how that transpired with the way he reacted or didn’t react…kind of a nonchalant way is pretty unusual to have someone react that way after robbing a bank.”

Pendergrass was arrested for robbing the same bank 7 years ago this month, according to Halifax.


For first time, GOP involved in organizing ‘Brown and Black’ presidential candidate forum

B&BPhotoIowa Republicans like Governor Terry Branstad are joining with Iowa Democrats to urge presidential candidates to participate in an event sponsored by the Iowa Brown and Black Forum.

“For the first time, the Republican Party of Iowa is joining the Democratic Party in hosting this ‘Brown and Black Forum’ for our candidates,” Branstad says. “This is a great bipartisan effort to maintain Iowa’s leadership position in the nation.” The Iowa Brown and Black Forum has hosted debates featuring Democratic presidential candidates since the 1984 campaign, but Republicans are proposing a forum for their candidates, too, in early December. Wayne Ford of Des Moines, a former state legislator, is a co-founder of the group, and he’s celebrating the move by Iowa Republicans.

“Black and brown, Republicans and Democrats — we do work together,” Ford says.

Critics of the Iowa Caucuses say the state’s voters are predominantly white and issues of importance to minorities don’t get enough attention. Iowa Republican Party Chair Jeff Kaufmann says having GOP candidates attend the forum and speak directly to Iowa’s Latino and African American communities puts issues of concern to minorities at the forefront of the 2016 campaign conversation.

“This will help this particular state to be exactly where it needs to be – and that is leading the pack in this country,” Kaufmann says.

Andy McGuire, the chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, agrees.

“The issues facing minority communities will be front and center in the 2016 election,” McGuire says.

Officials from the two political parties along with Iowa Brown and Black Forum leaders held a statehouse news conference to announce the bipartisan effort this afternoon and Congressman Dave Loebsack — the only Democrat in Iowa’s congressional delegation — was there to tout the proposed candidate conversations.

“I think it’s an event that all Iowans can take pride in,” Loebsack says.

The Iowa Republican Party and the Brown and Black Forum plan to co-host an event for candidates on December 3rd at Drake University. It won’t be a debate and each of the candidates will be given an opportunity to speak individually to the crowd. The forum for Democratic candidates is scheduled for January 11th and will be held in Des Moines, too, but a location hasn’t been announced yet.

Former Iowa Falls bank teller sentenced to prison for stealing

GavelAn Iowa Falls woman will spend nearly two years in prison after admitting to embezzling money from the bank where she worked.

Forty-two-year-old Teresa Ann Kobriger reached a plea agreement where she pleaded guilty in April to one count of embezzlement by a bank employee.

Kobriger admitted to stealing $144,000 from the Iowa Falls State Bank between December of 2008 and December 2012. She admitted to taking money from her teller drawer and from the bank vault.

Kobriger also admitted to altering bank records to try and hide the theft. She was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $181,000 in restitution.


Iowa Egg Council will continue offering egg-on-stick at Iowa State Fair

Egg-On-A-StickThe bird flu outbreak won’t keep a fan favorite from the Iowa State Fair next month. The free egg-on-a-stick will still be available at the fair despite the aftermath of bird flu and soaring egg prices. Iowa Egg Council consumer affairs director, Katie Coyle, says it’s especially important to have the egg-on-a-stick this year.

“There’s a lot of consumer questions that are going on and we just want to show that we’re still here, we still have plenty of eggs for everyone, we’re not going anywhere, so that’s why we’re still continuing with our original plan,” Coyle says.

The avian flu forced Iowa producers to kill millions of laying hens, which has led to an increase in egg prices in stores. Coyle says the organization buys some of the eggs and others are donated by producers.

The Iowa Egg Council handed out more than 11,000 dozen hardboiled eggs-on-a-stick last year. “Eggs are the most affordable source of protein out there and they are still healthy, and nutritious and delicious,” Coyle says. “Egg-on-a-stick is just a hardboiled egg on a popsicle stick, cause everything at the fair is on a stick so why not eggs.” Coyle says the group expects to hand out as many free eggs as last year — nearly 137,000 — from their booth in the Agriculture Building.