There’ve been a few changes in the trial of the Spirit Lake mother accused of killing her daughter.Judge Frank Nelson has agreed to Heidi Watkins’ request to have a non-jury trial. Nelson said however he will not hear the case as he presided over the trial of Watkins’ boyfriend Jesse Wendelsdorf. Wendelsdorf was acquitted Friday of murder and sexual abuse charges in the death of Shelby Duis. The trial has been moved from August 8th to August 10th and will be likely held in Dickinson County.A long-time G-O-P contributor has flown his private jet from Iowa to Philadelphia to host events today for the Iowans at the Republican National Convention. 85-year-old John Ruan of Des Moines is head of one of the nation’s largest trucking companies, and he owns Bankers Trust. Over the years, Ruan has contributed thousands if not millions to G-O-P candidates. Iowa Republican Party finance director Darrell Kearney picked Ruan up at the airport, and took him to a Ruan family landmark in Philadelphia — the Ruan “ancestral home” has been turned into a civil war museum. Ruan is helping restore the home. Kearney sees no slow-down in the elder Ruan.Iowa Republican Party chairman Kayne Robinson says it’s not just Ruan’s checkbook that’s been valuable to the party and its candidates. He says Ruan helps get the Republican message out to business leaders.Robinson says when Ruan gets involved, others follow.Former Governor Terry Branstad says Ruan is the top contributor to Iowa Republicans’ cause.Branstad says Ruan also has an important role as the creator of the World Food Prize and puts up its quarter-million dollar award every year. Iowa’s democrat party has a similar patron in Des Moines real estate tycoon Bill Knapp.
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