#BlackLivesMatter co-founder speaks at Des Moines event

A co-founder of the #BlackLivesMatter movement discussed what Iowans can do to help support the nationwide racial justice movement at an event in Des Moines on Tuesday.

Alicia Garza spoke to a group of about 200 people at Elpis Christian Fellowship, 4440 College Ave., on Tuesday evening. Garza is the special projects director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and a co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter.

Read the rest of the article here

Hot Lotto case moves to jury

Attorneys gave their closing arguments Friday in the fraud case against a former lottery vendor employee accused of manipulating a Hot Lotto drawing to win a $14.3 million ticket.

Eddie Tipton, 52, is being tried on two counts of fraud. He has been accused of buying the winning Hot Lotto ticket at a Des Moines QuikTrip on Dec. 23, 2010. Tipton was defined by Iowa law as a prohibited player in his former position as the information security director for the Multi-State Lottery Association, or MUSL.

Tipton has also been accused of using a a self-deleting rootkit to rig the game in his favor. The prosecution claims Tipton enlisted the help of other people in an attempt to claim the prize, which never was awarded because of Iowa Lottery’s security protocols.

Read the rest of the article here

Witness: ‘That’s not my brother’ in Hot Lotto video

The siblings of a former lottery vendor employee accused of rigging a Hot Lotto drawing to win a $14.3 million ticket said in court Thursday the man seen in security footage buying the winning ticket was not their brother.

“My initial impression was that there’s too many variations and that’s not my brother,” said Stephen Tipton, a younger brother of Eddie Tipton.

Eddie Tipton, 52, is being tried on two counts of fraud. Tipton has been accused of purchasing the winning ticket at a Des Moines QuikTrip on Dec. 23, 2010. In his former position as the information security director for the Multi-State Lottery Association, Tipton was barred by Iowa law from buying a lottery ticket.

Read the rest of the article here

Creston mourns loss of 3 in ice fishing accident

A southern Iowa town is still reeling from the deaths of three men in an ice-fishing accident over the weekend.

“It has struck this community a lot,” said Beth Fry of Creston. “It has affected a lot of families and friends.”

Earl Burkhalter, 71; Charles Critz; 73; and James Oshel, 68, went fishing on a pond on a farm near the Adair-Union county line Saturday afternoon. When they didn’t come home, relatives called local authorities.

Union County law enforcement officials began investigating at about 8 p.m. A dive team and other emergency personnel discovered a large hole in the ice on the pond. They found all three men in the pond about 20 feet from shore.

Paramedics tried to revive the men. They were later pronounced dead at hospitals.

Click here to view the whole article on DesMoinesRegister.com. 

Iowans talk reopening of Cuba-U.S. relations

President Barack Obama’s announcement of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba came as a happy surprise to a Des Moines woman who plans to marry a Cuban man.

“We have been trying to get married … and it has been really, really difficult,” said Marcia Lyon, 66. “The news today was both amazing and hopeful.”

Obama announced Wednesday — as Cuban President Raul Castro was addressing his nation — plans to re-establish the two countries’ relations for the first time in more than 50 years.

Read the full article on The Des Moines Register’s website.

Police investigate 12 Des Moines homicides in 2014

The dozen Des Moines homicide victims in 2014 ranged in age from 4 months to 97 years.

Detectives found unusual circumstances in the deaths involving each extreme. A seemingly random home invasion resulted in the death of a 97-year-old man. The 4-month-old had just been given back to his biological mother after being cared for by a couple who were in the process of adopting him.

“Individually, these cases were a little unusual,” but Des Moines’ 2014 homicide statistics were pretty typical when taken as a whole, said Sgt. Jason Halifax, public information officer for the Des Moines Police Department.

The police investigated 12 homicides in 2014. This number was down from 2013’s count of 14 homicides, but slightly above Des Moines’ past 10-year average of about 9.6.

Read the full article on The Des Moines Register’s website.

Des Moines homeless cope in cold weather

Teenah Woodard and Kelly Leopold have set up a home for themselves in downtown Des Moines.

The couple have furniture, cooking equipment and even a couple of cats. In many ways, the two are a lot like any other couple in Iowa’s capital city.

They just have the added concerns of running out of propane to warm their tents and having their belongings stolen by other homeless people.

“It gets easier over the years,” Woodard said. “You just get used to it.”

Woodard, 23, and Leopold, 46, live in tents by the railroad tracks near Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway in downtown Des Moines. They’ve been there less than three months — long enough to experience below-zero temperatures and snow.

Read the full article on The Des Moines Register’s website.

Drake University student helps motivate fellow ‘DREAMers’ to pursue higher education

Kenia Alejandra Calderon often thinks about what her life would be like if she still lived in El Salvador.

The 21-year-old Des Moines woman doesn’t know what she would be doing or where her family would be living. She doesn’t even know if all of her family members would still be alive.

Calderon does know she and her family would be affected by the gangs that run the streets of El Salvador, she said.

“I try to imagine what our reality would be if we were still back home; I know it would not be a good one,” Calderon said.

The Drake University student expects to spend 2015 making a difference in Iowa — helping other young immigrants in the United States pursue opportunities in higher education.

“I’m trying to tell them that as long as you try, you can make anything happen,” Calderon said. “They just need to have a little bit of hope.”

Read the full article on The Des Moines Register’s website.

DMPS officials criticize decision to cancel East vs. Ames football game

Top administrators for the Des Moines school district unleashed a deluge of criticism toward Ames schools and high school sports officials Friday after being told to call off a football game.

Ames’ superintendent and a top Iowa High School Athletic Association official said they thought it might not be safe to hold a game at Des Moines East High School because of published reports about possible violence Friday.

Des Moines police and district leaders said that those reports were baseless rumors, and school district representatives didn’t try to hide their disdain for the decision.

Read the full story after the link.

Once-homeless man on mission to help others in Des Moines

Bobby Depper has come a long way since living in a trash bin.

He has gone from being a homeless man who roamed Dallas’ streets searching for drugs to someone who has opened up his Des Moines apartment as a place to collect food and other supplies to give to hundreds of people who are living on the streets in Iowa’s capital city.

Depper, who has advanced AIDS and is blind in one eye, has a few more good deeds he wants to do in his lifetime. One of his dreams is to share his story with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and get her support for his future plans.

“What’s keeping me alive is this dream,” he said.

Read the full story after the link.