Inspired by her friend who lives with a disability, a 9-year-old Ankeny girl named Elizabeth Overberg recently went campaigning door to door and raised $721 for the proposed Ankeny Miracle League Field project. The Ankeny Miracle League Field is an all-inclusive recreational facility designed for children with special needs. The Miracle League Park has raised $415,000 (cash on hand) in just one year and more than $940,000 in pledged and in-kind contributions. Fundraising will continue throughout 2013 to ensure the facilities are completed as soon as possible. Contributions can made at www.ankenymiracleleauge.com. Overberg’s fundraising effort will be submitted to a contest sponsored by the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy for a possible grand prize award giving her a service role in the Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games. Vote for Elizabeth at http://contest.juliefoudyleadership.com.
The Fred Maytag Family Foundation recently awarded an $18,000 grant to the Civic Music Association in support of concert programming and Partners in Music Education programs. Partners in Music Education program artists engage with local schools, youth organizations, retirement communities and other needy organizations one on one for free to the public. Without such generosity the Civic Music Association could not continue to present and expand its world-class programming and offer Partners in Music Education programs free of charge. Thank you, Maytag family.
Manuel Gonzalez-Valencia, 22, was arrested last week after a night of alleged drunk driving landed him in jail and another person in the hospital. Des Moines Police report that Gonzalez-Valencia stole a delivery truck from the Embassy Suites Hotel around 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 1, hit multiple parked MidAmerican vehicles and crashed through the fence of its lot, which is where police found him conscious at the wheel, bleeding from the head. During his drunken cruise, one of the vehicles Gonzalez-Valencia hit had a man standing next to it. The impact reportedly threw the victim several feet and caused him to hit his head on the concrete. He reportedly went to the hospital to receive staples in his head. Gonzalez-Valencia went to the hospital, too, then to jail. He was charged with first-degree theft and reckless driving causing serious injury by vehicle.
One of Des Moines’ oldest and most cherished eateries is closing its doors. After 46 years on Des Moines’ north side, Gino’s served its last meals to loyal patrons last week so its 81-year-old owner, Gene “Gino” Foggia, can find some time to unwind. Foggia said it’s gotten harder to compete with developing bar and restaurant districts in western parts of the metro, so the decision to close the Sixth Avenue location was an economic one. We’ll miss it.
Thank God for Operation Sunflower. The Homeland Security investigation recently uncovered the identities of 123 sexually-exploited children, and many of the victims were under the age of 10. One was just 19 days old. The investigation, which spanned more than a month, found that 44 of the children had been living with their abusers when they had been victimized. All of the children had been depicted in child pornography on the Internet. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton said at a press conference that, “the results of the operation were significant but grim, a sad reminder to us all that child online exploitation is a real part of our lives and absolutely demands our full attention.” The investigation yielded the arrests of 245 people.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office released new gun permit data last week, and the numbers send a strong message. According to the Sheriff’s Office, at 698, December had the highest number of applications for permit to carry weapons submitted to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Compare that to the 405 applications the department received in the same month two years ago, and the growing trend is obvious. The same trend is true in applications for permit to acquire weapons in Polk County. The Sheriff’s Office received 417 in December 2012, which is about double what it saw last year in the same month. Overall, 5,375 citizens applied for a permit to carry in Polk County in 2012, and 2,747 applied for permits to acquire weapons. The stats undeniably confirm that more central Iowans are owning weapons. CV