August 2, 2015

Appeals Court: open alcohol containers allowed in private parking lots

GavelThe Iowa Court of Appeals rules you can have an open container of alcohol if your car is parked in a private lot. Des Moines police searched Lacey Brown’s car in 2013 after noticing an open container of alcohol inside.

Officers found a half-smoked marijuana cigar under Brown’s seat and she was found guilty of possession of a controlled substance. Brown says officers lacked probable cause to search the car because she was parked in private parking lot.

The district court denied her motion to throw out evidence from the search, but the Iowa Court of Appeals  reversed that ruling. The court says the privately-owned parking lot does not fall within the definition of “public street” or “highway” in the Iowa Code section that prohibits open containers of alcohol, so the officers did not have probable cause to search Brown’s car.

Here’s the full ruling: Lacey Brown ruling PDF


Quinnipiac Poll director: ‘worrisome’ trend for Clinton in latest survey

QuinnipiacA new poll finds Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is trailing three leading Republican contenders in Iowa and two other key swing states. The Quinnipiac University Poll released this morning found just a third of registered voters in Iowa have a favorable opinion of Clinton, while 56 percent view her negatively.

“Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s support in Iowa and two other important swing states — Virginia and Colorado — has dropped a decent amount,” says Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

Clinton’s favorable rating has dropped 12 points since a similar survey in April and Brown says that “has to be worrisome” for Clinton.

“When voters are asked about whether a candidate is honest and trustworthy, whether a candidate understands the problems of average voters, whether the candidate is a strong leader — her numbers have consistently fallen,” Brown says.

Vice President Joe Biden, who is a considering a run for the White House in 2016, is viewed by Iowa voters as more honest and caring than Clinton. In head-to-head match-ups, Clinton trails both Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Florida Senator Marco Rubio by eight points and she lags behind former Florida Governor Jeb Bush by six points.

“That’s an improvement for the Republicans and a drop off for Mrs. Clinton compared to the last time Quinnipiac polled back in April,” Brown says.

The poll found Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont who is challenging Clinton for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, does as well as Clinton in the same head-to-head match-ups with Walker, Rubio and Bush.

“Sanders does better than some might have expected,” Brown says.

The Quinnipiac Poll also asked voters how they viewed each of the 17 Republican presidential candidates and Brown says for every voter who had a positive view of Donald Trump, there were two who have a negative impression of Trump.

“Mr. Trump gets by far the highest negative rating,” Brown says. “…It’s an indication that perhaps Mr. Trump will have trouble growing his coalition because so many people says that they see him unfavorably.”

The poll was conducted July 9-20 and the Iowa results have a margin of error of 2.8 percent.

Turkey growers will rebound faster from bird flu than chicken producers

ChickensIt has now been four weeks and two day since any new cases of bird flu have been detected in Iowa.

Agriculture Secretary, Bill Northey, gave an update Tuesday, and says there are some positives to talk about in the recovery.

“We’re going to have a site here that is very soon going to be able to fully passed its  tests all through its cleaning and  disinfection and then its 21-day waiting period after that, and then be able to repopulate with birds,” Northey says. The facility is a turkey farm in Calhoun County. Northey says a few other facilities will soon be through their 21-day waiting period after disinfection, while others are still preparing for disinfection.

“The disinfection in most cases will be done by heat. This virus doesn’t like heat,” Northey explains. “It starts to die at maybe 80 degrees, if we can get that up to 100 degrees and keep it there for several days, it is a very thorough disinfection process.” Northey says the progress of each facility depends on its size and the resources they have to do the clean-up and disinfection.

The majority of the 71 facilities hit by the avian flu were egg-laying operations or raised pullets that are grown into egg-laying hens. U.S.D.A. veterinarian Jack Shere says the next big step facing Iowa producers is getting the birds to put back in the facilities.

“Those hens can’t be replaced overnight,” Shere says, “those pullets have to be raised 22 weeks on the ground before they are ready to lay.   And they have to be put in process.  In those facilities — when there’s that many birds in one area — they can’t put all those birds in at the same time.”

Some 34 million birds had to be destroyed, and Doctor Shere says the lag time in getting replacements stretches out the re-population. “Some of these facilities won’t be able to completely re-stock for a year-and-a-half to two years, depending on the size that they have. And I am talking about the laying facilities,” Shere says. “The turkey flocks, we are hoping to get them back into business and restocking by mid-August.”  He says if they meet the mid-August stocking timeline for turkeys, the facilities could be able to produce birds for Thanksgiving.

Northey says it is still a long and expensive road ahead, but he expects a majority of producers to keep going. “You know, I think there’s a handful likely that would not go back into business. Maybe have some older facilities that when they look at those facilities it’s going to be so expensive to clean them up — and then they still end up a short-life facility that they won’t go and bring that facility back,” Northey says. “But the vast majority of the cases, folks are still optimistic. They’ve had the worst financial loss that they’ve had as a business. Emotionally, this is very, very draining.”

Shere says they will work with the facilities to bring them back as fast as possible. “But we do have to be careful that we do it correctly and we don’t move to quickly and spread the virus and have a reoccursion,” Shere says.  The time it takes for a facility to repopulate also depends on its location, as all nearby facilities have to be disinfected first to ensure the disease is gone.

The dead birds have hauled away at 59 of the 71 commercial facilities. They are still waiting to haul away the rest at the remaining commercial facilities and the others at six backyard flocks and one breeding flock for a hatchery.

Iowa given top rank for health of children in Kids Count survey

Kids-CountIowa’s quest to become the healthiest state in the nation is getting a boost. The latest “Kids Count” survey, which ranks all 50 states for the well-being of children, places Iowa near the very top.

Laura Speer, a spokeswoman for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, says they look at 16 key criteria, including: education, health, economic well-being, and family and community conditions.

“Iowa was ranked 4th overall in terms of the well-being of its children,” Speer says. “Where Iowa is really a shining star is in the area of health. The state is ranked #1 best in the country in terms of the physical health of children.” Minnesota ranked first overall on this year’s Kids Count report, followed by New Hampshire and Massachusetts, with Iowa a close fourth.

Speer says Iowa is a clear leader of all states in several categories. “We looked at things like the percent of low birthweight babies, the percent of children who lack health insurance, the child and teen death rates and the percent of teens who abuse alcohol or drugs,” Speer says. “In those four measures, Iowa is ranked the best in the country.”

In last year’s report, Iowa ranked third in the nation overall, so the state’s fourth-place showing this year represents a slight drop. Iowa’s lost a little ground in one category in particular, according to Speer. “One of the areas that is most disconcerting is the percent of children living in poverty in the state,” Speer says. “It’s about 16% of all children in Iowa who are living below the poverty line in 2013. That’s actually higher than in was in 2008 when it was 14%.”

Iowa’s child poverty level is fairly low compared to many other states but Speer says it was still unfortunate to see that figure rise. The lowest-ranked states on the list are: Louisiana, New Mexico and Mississippi. See the full report at the Annie E. Casey Foundation website:

Former Iowa Lottery contractor found guilty in Hot Lotto fraud case

Back of mystery Hot Lotto ticket.

Back of mystery Hot Lotto ticket.

A jury has found a former Iowa Lottery contractor guilty of two counts of fraud for allegedly manipulating the numbers so he could claim a multi-million dollar Hot Lotto prize. The prize was never paid out and 52-year-old Eddie Tipton was later arrested and charged with attempting to cash the ticket.

Tipton worked for the Multi-State Lottery Association and was prevented by law from buying Iowa Lottery tickets. The ticket for the 14 million dollar prize was turned just before it was set to expire on December 29, 2011.

A New York attorney tried to claim the prize for a trust incorporated in Belize. Iowa Lottery officials refused to pay out the prize after people involved in the trust refused to reveal their identities.

Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich released the following statement Monday following announcement of the jury’s verdict in the Polk County District Court trial involving the Hot Lotto case:

“There is no doubt this has been a fascinating case. We respect the court’s work and the jury’s verdict. The facts in this case have enabled us to further enhance our layers of security to protect the integrity of lottery games, and that ultimately has been a positive.

This case is an important reminder that lotteries have to keep monitoring and making improvements to stay ahead of those who would try to beat the system. As a society, we may never be able to stop people from trying to commit crime, but we need to have strong procedures in place to catch and prevent them when they do.

I have confidence that the games we offer today are fair. Our lottery has strong layers of security to protect lottery players, lottery games and lottery prizes. Those procedures enabled us to seek information about the winning ticket in this case and not pay the prize until basic questions could be answered – and they never were.”


‘He hit me,’ Donald Trump said of John McCain. ‘He’s not a war hero.’

Donald Trump at The Family Leadership Summit in Ames.

Donald Trump at The Family Leadership Summit in Ames.

This weekend’s political reality in Iowa showed how a bombastic Donald Trump can capture the headlines.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton started things off Friday night during an appearance in Cedar Rapids. “Finally, a candidate whose hair gets more attention than mine,” Clinton said, to laughter and applause from the crowd of more than 1,300 Democrats. “But there’s nothing funny about the hate he is spewing.”

That was criticism of Trump’s recent comments about Mexican immigrants. John McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam who was the Republican Party’s 2008 presidential nominee, has suggested Trump is appealing to “the crazies.” On Saturday morning in Ames, Trump shot back.

“He hit me,” Trump said of McCain.

Frank Luntz, an author and pollster sitting beside Trump on stage, interjected: “He’s a war hero.”

Trump responded: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero ’cause he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, I hate to tell you.”

Some in the crowd applauded. Some groaned. Moments later, Trump stood by his comments as he was surrounded by reporters.

“Go back to being a pundit,” Trump said as reporters peppered him with questions.

Then Trump’s Republican competitors started firing. Nine other Republican presidential candidates spoke at The Family Leadership Summit in Ames on Saturday, too, and all but Ben Carson and Ted Cruz called Trump’s comments out of line. Rick Perry, an Air Force veteran, said Trump is unfit to be commander in chief.

“Donald Trump owes every American veteran and, in particular, John McCain, an apology,” Perry said forcefully, moments after sitting down on stage to chat with Luntz.

Lindsey Graham, a recently retired Air Force lawyer, said democracy will work in the end.

“The good people of Iowa, the good people of New Hampshire and the good people of South Carolina are going to figure this out,” Graham said. “And here’s what I think they’re going to say: ‘Donald Trump, you’re fired.'”

Organizers had hoped Saturday’s event would draw attention to issues that are important to conservative Christian voters, but Trump’s rant overshadowed significant moments. For instance Bobby Jindal got a roaring standing ovation when he criticized the “mainstream media.”

“They don’t apply the same standards to this president that they apply to the rest of us,” Jindal said and the event’s host asked the crowd to “stop” after nearly a minute of cheering.

The crowd and the candidates also highlighted their opposition to Planned Parenthood and to the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

“We will take this country back for our values,” Cruz declared during his appearance on stage, earning an immediate standing ovation from the crowd — and then Cruz got out of his chair on stage and stood to applaud, too.

AUDIO of Radio Iowa’s wrap-up of event, 3:00

(Photo by Asya Akca)

Rick Perry: Trump’s McCain comments ‘a bullet’ that hit ‘a lot of veterans’

Rick Perry at The Family Leadership Summit in Ames.

Rick Perry at The Family Leadership Summit in Ames.

Some of Donald Trump’s competitors for the Republican presidential nomination jumped to respond Trump’s remarks about John McCain this morning during an appearance at The Family Leadership Summit in Ames. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, a military veteran, said Trump needs to apologize.

“I think it’s unconscionable what he said because this bullet went through John McCain and hit a lot of veterans,” Perry told Radio Iowa this afternoon. “…I had the great privilege to serve with Sam Johnson who spent seven years as a POW in that camp and Donald Trump might as well have reached up and slapped them in the face.”

Perry said people like McCain have “sacrificed greatly” for this country and Trump, who got a medical deferment during the Vietnam era, has “disqualified himself” from serving as the country’s commander in chief.

“If he cannot find it in himself to apologize to every veteran of this country, to every individual that has sacrificed and for the families of those young men and women who have died fighting for the freedom of this country, he does not have the character, the discipline or the resolve to be the president of the United States,” Perry told Radio Iowa.

A few minutes later, Perry adamantly made the same case as he spoke at The Family Leadership Summit in Ames — and the crowd of Christian conservatives applauded Perry’s call for a Trump apology

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who recently retired from the military, said it would be up to the voters of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to decide Trump’s political fate.

“Here’s what I think they’re gonna say: Donald Trump, you’re fired,” Graham said, to cheers from the crowd.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker used part of a stump speech in Sioux City to speak out.

“I won’t say who, but somebody else raised a question about John McCain today. I’m not going to comment on his policies, but I just want to say something unequivocally: John McCain is an American hero,” Walker said.

Later Walker told reporters he won’t comment on Trump’s policy statements, but felt compelled to comment after Trump’s “personal attack” on McCain.

“We talk every day about the men and women who wear the uniform,” Walker said. “Someone like John McCain and the many others like him that I’ve met across the country are, indeed, American heroes, To me, if someone goes after someone personally like that, I’m going to denounce that.”

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee told reporters prisoners of war like McCain are “tougher than I’ll ever hope to be.”

“Even though he was my opponent in 2008, there is no way that anyone can say anything other than this is one of the most honorable people who ever served our country, who sacrificed incredibly for our country,” Huckabee said.

And Huckabee said no one should forget McCain turned down an offer of early release.

“All he had to do was sign a statement that would have given some credibility to the North Vietnamese,” Huckabee said. “He stayed and for several more years experienced excruciating torture, to keep from ever having to make a statement that would in any way reflect against this country.”

Texas Senator Ted Cruz said during his appearance at today’s summit that he would “take the high road” with his GOP competitors and not “impugn anyone’s character” — but he did not speak directly to Trump’s comments.

Aside from the comments about McCain, many the crowd were shocked when Trump said he’s never sought forgiveness from God. Judy Duvall of Urbandale said while voters are looking for a truth-teller, that was just as shocking as Trump’s remarks about McCain.

“We tear down one another to build ourselves up?” Duvall asked. “That’s not right either, so I’m disappointed.”

Larry Murley of Aurora said while he was waiting in line for lunch that Trump’s “business bias” was on fully display this morning. Murley was “very much surprised” by Trump’s explanations about his personal faith, but he’s mystified by the McCain comments.

“I’m bound to dismiss that a little bit as fumbling for something to say, I don’t know,” Murley said.

Ray Dearden, a retired Iowa State University speech professor, said Trump’s “provacative” and “headline-stealing” comments remind him of Ross Perot, the 1992 third party presidential candidate.

“I remember how he got 19 percent of the vote and I believe he threw the election to Bill Clinton,” Dearden said.

(Photo by Asya Akca)

(This story was updated at 5:13 p.m. with additional information)