With so much attention over the number of students who have dropped out of the Des Moines public school district, it’s good to see some students returning. Earlier this month, volunteers from the school district and community re-enrolled 11 students and 10 were referred to GED or other educational options through the “Reach Out to Dropouts” program. Visits were made to more than 460 high school students who had not show up for school during the first week of the academic year. More than 190 students were not home. The “Reach Out to Dropouts” is modeled after a similar event that was established in Houston, Texas, in 2004.
Hundreds of people, including several former and current West Des Moines leaders, waited in line to pay their last respects to John Long Jr. last week after the lifelong Valley Junction resident and activist died Oct. 1 at the age of 77. Long, and his wife of 59 years, Barbara, helped found the Eddie Davis Community Center, which provides clothing, food and legal and medical services to those less fortunate. They were also regular attendees of West Des Moines City Council meetings. Long and his wife were among Cityview’s 2006 class of “People Making a Difference.” Long, who volunteered daily at the Eddie Davis Center after retirement, told Cityview in 2006, “Sometimes people give me a hug or they cry and it makes you tear up know how much they appreciate it.”
Steve Duncan, a loud mouth West Des Moines resident who constantly blabbed to the media and city officials about the alleged noise, traffic and crowd control problems created by the Thursday night Valley Junction Farmers’ Market and Function in the Junction concert series, and other neighborhood events, announced that he is moving to Norwalk. In short, the knee-jerk Duncan thought that someone puking in his yard and a few illegally parked cars warranted his one-man crusade by foolishly insisting that a business district thwart 10,000 weekly customers. Good riddance.
Duke University alum Karen Own is in hot water after the recent graduate created a 41-page PowerPoint Senior Honors Thesis entitled “An Education Beyond the Classroom: Excelling in the Realm of Horizontal Academics.” The document describes 13 men who Owen allegedly slept with during her years at the university. Owen included the names, images of the men and rated their performances in bed. A majority of the victims were on the men’s lacrosse team. Owen, 22, allegedly e-mailed the presentation to three of her girlfriends. The rest is history.
First it was witches, now it’s Nazis. Politicians must realize by now that their pasts will come back to haunt them. Rich Lott, an Ohio congressional candidate, is being criticized for a photo that recently surfaced showing him wearing a Waffen-SS uniform as part of a Nazi re-enactment group. Lott was apparently involved for years with Wiking, a group devoted to re-enacting the actions of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking. He joined as a “father-son bonding thing,” but quit the organization several years ago when his son lost interest. Challenger, Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, condemned Lott last week, but Lott said that as a student of history he has participated in numerous military re-enactments since he was in college and meant no offense by them. No word yet on a Taliban show.
An Urbandale man was shot in the head last week at a Des Moines park and, surprisingly, it wasn’t Evelyn Davis Park. Pius Kipchirchir Koskei, 36, was discovered in his vehicle, bleeding from his head, by a couple of witnesses early Saturday morning. When officers arrived, Koskei was conscious, but not alert and was able to move but not speak or stand on his own. The police report stated that a bullet appeared to enter through the driver’s side of the vehicle’s windshield. A witness stated she saw Koskei in his vehicle, stopped in the middle of the road. She tried to get him to respond or exit the vehicle, but Koskei turned his vehicle into the curb, where it came to a stop in the position where police found it. Officers asked neighbors about the incident, but so far no suspects have been identified.CV