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Good Bad Ugly


The good

GoodVolunteerLocal of Des Moines received national accolades last week when it was selected from a record-number of applicants as a winner of the Blue Ribbon Small Business Award. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce chose VolunteerLocal because of its dedication to the principles of free enterprise and its contributions to restoring jobs and prosperity. “The Blue Ribbon Award winners show that, even facing uncertainty and economic challenges, small businesses can grow and succeed,” said Thomas J. Donohue, U.S. Chamber president and CEO. “They are America’s economic engine, driving growth and job creation all across this country.” VolunteerLocal will be honored at America’s Small Business Summit 2013, April 29 – May 1, in Washington, D.C. Visit for more information.

Cambridge farmer, Wayne Longnecker, was recently selected as a winner in America’s Farmers Grow Communities, giving him the opportunity to divide a $5,000 Monsanto Fund donation between two nonprofits of his choice. He chose to give $2,500 to Elkhart Fire Department and the other half to North Polk Community School Foundation. This year, the Monsanto Fund will invest more than $5 million in rural America through Grow Communities, which includes double donations for counties suffering from the historic drought.


The bad

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The stereotype that senior citizens like to gamble may hold some truth, but these guys are too old for these kinds of shenanigans. Fonda Morgan, 62, and Charles Vernor, 53, both of Des Moines, were arrested last week and charged with third-degree burglary and second-degree theft for allegedly stealing hundreds of lottery tickets from a Git-N-Go at 2911 Douglas Ave. Morgan was caught on surveillance video cashing a $25 and a $50 winning lottery ticket just hours after they had been stolen. Investigations led police to the Royal Motel, where they found and arrested Morgan and Vernor. They also discovered a “burn pile” behind the motel, where the suspects had apparently tried to destroy some of the non-winning tickets.

Christians believe Jesus Christ is their savior. But who believes in being attacked by the son of God? A man claiming to be Jesus (also known as Jet Simmons McBride to his parents, his friends and now the authorities) created a scene of biblical proportions. McBride picked up a hitchhiker on Jan. 3. As they were passing through Fresno, Calif., he began to explain to his passenger, Kai, that he was Jesus and that he hated black people. He pointed his car toward a black person and hit him. Then he got out and attacked a woman nearby. The madness ended when Kai, the hatchet-wielding, homeless, hitchhiking hero — and now YouTube sensation — intervened by beating the man with his hatchet, saving the woman from further assault.


The ugly

Danielle Renee Shaffer, 36, of Des Moines was arrested on Feb. 3 after attempting to steal more than $1,000 worth of merchandise from the Southeast 14th Street Wal-Mart. Employees of the store watched as Shaffer put several items into her bag and headed for the exit without paying, which — as common sense might have told her — set off the alarm at the door. When the employees confronted her, she reportedly flashed a police badge and showed a pair of handcuffs. They said she also had a knife in her possession, as well as one of the Wal-Mart employee walkie-talkies, which Shaffer was using to listen to the employees to see if security was on to her. She thought lying about being a police officer might fool the store employees, but it only earned her the added charge of impersonating an officer.

Listen up all you promiscuous college students. Living the life of a young, sexy single is all fun and games until you get gonorrhea, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in Polk County. The STD is usually treatable with antibiotics, but the Polk County Health Department announced last week that gonorrhea has been developing a resistance. If left untreated, the disease can cause pelvic inflammation, severe pregnancy complications, infertility, dementia and even death. “Most sexually transmitted diseases can be prevented by practicing safe sex, which includes using a condom every time, limiting the number of partners you have and knowing who your partners are,” said Rick Kozin, Polk County Health Department Director. He said anyone who is sexually active should be tested at least once a year for STDs. The Polk County Health Department offers confidential STD testing and treatment. CV

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