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September 16, 2010

The good

Hoover High School alum Jeremy Hellickson has wowed critics and fans alike with the mixture of velocity and movement on his pitches for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He seems to be one of the many weapons this team has as its gear ups toward a playoff run. Hellickson became the first pitcher since 1900 to pitch at least six innings and give up three (or less) hits in his first three major league starts. If that achievement wasn’t enough, last week USA Today named him Minor League Player of the Year. The award, which was voted on by both USA Today baseball writers/editors and fans, was well earned as he went 12-3 with a 2.45 ERA in 21 starts for the Rays AAA club in Durham, N.C. Hellickson was a fourth-round pick in 2005.

 

Iowans can be proud. Last week President Barack Obama announced that Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta will be the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. Giunta, a Hiawatha native, will receive the award after the courage and bravery he showed helping save the lives of fellow soldiers during a 2007 firefight in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley.

 

The bad

Sex sells and a lot of people seem to be buying, but Des Moines police intend to put a stop to it. Last week, officers arrested three women (Jami Lynn English, 26, and Debra Lynn Parizek, 39, both of Des Moines; and Anika Witt, 21, of Overland Park, Kan.) who were using www.backpage.com to sell sexual encounters and favors. Undercover officers called the advertisement and when the three women arrived at a north-side hotel, they were charged with prostitution.

 

At least six people are dead and dozens of homes were destroyed after a massive explosion ripped through a neighborhood near San Francisco late last week. Officials believe a broken gas line caused the blast that has been declared a state of emergency in San Mateo County. Approximately 40 homes were destroyed by the fireball, and have left about 300 residents without gas and approximately 700 without electricity.

 

The ugly

This sounds like a horror movie, but unfortunately it’s not. Five men (Edward Bagley Sr., 43, Bradley Cook, 31, Dennis Henry, 50, Michael Stokes, 62, and James Noel, 44) have been accused of sexually abusing and torturing a young woman who was kept as a sex slave and forced to work as a stripper in southern Missouri. Bagley originally met the female, an apparent runaway, in 2002 and invited her to live with him. Bagley is accused of drugging the female and sexually abusing her as a minor. Then when she turned 18, he began to sexually torture her and forced her to sign a “sex slave” contract. He tattooed a barcode on the back of her neck, a tribal “S” mark (to mark her as a slave) and a Chinese symbol for slave on her ankle. The four other men are accused of paying Bagley to be involved in sex acts and in the torture of the young woman. Officials became involved after the woman was taken to the hospital in cardiac arrest, which they believed happened during a torture session while being suffocated and electrocuted. All five defendants face a count of commercial sex trafficking with the minimum sentence of 15 years in prison without parole. The maximum penalty if the case involves aggravated sexual abuse is life in prison. We knew there was a reason we stayed out of Missouri.

 

The Internet can be a dangerous place. Last week, an e-mail virus entitled “here you have” reportedly shut down servers at ABC, NASA, Comcast and Google. The Trojan Horse can affect everyone in your address book. Some officials believe it may have entered the Department of Homeland Security’s computers, too. McAfee Labs and Symantec, leading virus monitors, are currently investigating the problem to help protect users. CV

 


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