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The good

We can help. A study by the government-run Corporation for National and Community Services reports that Iowa ranks No. 2 in the nation in volunteer rates. According to the study, Iowans volunteered 109 million hours in 2009, an average of 46.7 hours per resident, which lands them behind Utah. Minnesota, Nebraska and Alaska make up the rest of the top five in order, respectively. Among midsized cities, Iowa City ranks No. 2 for its volunteer rate of 50 percent, and Des Moines ranks No. 6. Officials believe the high rankings of volunteerism are due to higher level of homeownership, shorter work commutes and higher education levels compared to the rest of the United States.

 

Officials continue to point figures over last month’s oil spill in the Gulf, but we’re pleased to see people turning this tragedy into a positive. Olivia Bouler, a fifth grade student from Long Island, N.Y., has raised more than $70,000 for the National Audubon Society, a nonprofit agency dedicated to bird conservation. Bouler has drawn more than 150 pictures of birds and has sent them to people across the United States and abroad in return for donations, which has normally ranged from $10 to $250. Donations are being used to clean oil-coated birds and transfer them to Florida to be released in safer environments, as well as to cover food and motel expenses for volunteers.

 

The bad

Lost your head? Southwest Airlines employee found between 40 and 60 human heads in a cargo shipment on its way to the Fort Worth office of Medtronic, a Minnesota-based medical research and technology company. The package was found in Little Rock, Ark., and was handed over to local officials after Southwest Airlines refused to carry the package because it was improperly labeled. The parties involved claim the body parts were allegedly used for educational and research purposes, but investigations are under way.

Federal law prohibits the sale of body parts, but currently, supplies of the parts can be reimbursed when parts are used for legitimate medical, education and research purposes.

 

An Ottumwa teenager was hospitalized with nonlife-threatening injuries last week and later released after being shot during a fight over broken windows in a pickup truck. Six people were taken into custody, but law enforcement is still trying to determine who the shooter was.


 

The ugly

Would somebody please throw away the keys? A recent decision made by August Allender landed him in jail, but not before driving through a house on Des Moines’ east side. Allender, a 25-year-old Davenport man, crashed the car he was driving last Thursday morning after a short police chase. Allender was arrested for allegedly operating while under the influence, third or subsequent time, eluding police, driving while barred and on warrants out of Scott Country for driving while barred and domestic assault with injury. Earlier this month, a Jeep driven by Robert Simpson struck 14-year-old Melissa Robinson. Simpson has been barred from driving since the mid-1990s. Robinson is currently in fair condition at Mercy Medical Center while Simpson remains in jail on a $27,000 bond.

 

More donuts. This Simpson isn’t Homer, but she isn’t a model for a healthy lifestyle either. Donna Simpson, a 42-year-old New Jersey woman is seeking to be the world’s heaviest living woman. Weighing more than 600 lbs., the mother of two children aims to reach 1,000 lbs. This media-starved woman models on a website called www.supersizedbombshells.com while also spending up to $750 a week on groceries. Simpson suffers from Type 2 diabetes and struggles with simple tasks like taking a shower and cooking. The heaviest women ever recorded were reportedly 1,800 lbs. and 1,200 lbs. at the time of their deaths. CV


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