National Drug Endangered Children Awareness Day was declared to be on April 24 last week. Supported by several local organizations, including the Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement (M.I.N.E.) Task Force. The Iowa Alliance for Drug-Endangered Children is concerned with children who are at risk of suffering physical harm or neglect as a result of illegal drug use, including its possession, manufacturing, cultivation or distribution. Caretakers of these children often are unable to provide a safe and nurturing environment due to a connection with illegal drug-related activity. The local Alliance for DEC’s mission is “to empower communities to break the cycle of drug abuse in families by providing the tools, technical assistance and training that allows for a collaborative response that ensures the safety of children.” More information can be found at www.iowadec.net.
The Wishes in Flight program is earning some crucial miles for the betterment of its Make-A-Wish recipients. The program allows people to donate their unused airline miles to Make-A-Wish Iowa, directly offsetting the cost of air travel for many wishes, as more than 70 percent involve some sort of travel. TravelFlo, a West Des Moines company, has already committed to donate 500,000 miles. Make-A-Wish America will match each mile donated on the local website up to 1 million miles through Aug. 31, 2013. More than 2,700 wishes have been granted in Iowa since 1987, and 169 wishes were granted in the last fiscal year. The average wish costs nearly $8,600 to grant. Wishes are granted to children with life-threatening medical conditions, not necessarily terminal. More information is available at www.iowa.wish.org.
Pet owners are warned to stop using and return or discard Natura Pet Products food and treats after the company issued a recall due to potential salmonella contamination last week. The brands affected are California Natural, Evo, Healthwise, Innova and Karma with expiration dates prior to and including March 24, 2014. The affected products are sold through veterinary clinics and select pet specialty retailers nationwide as well as online. People who have the potentially contaminated product should discard it immediately and stop handling it, as it poses a risk to humans as well. Common symptoms of salmonella in pets include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, fever and abdominal discomfort. For a product replacement or refund, call Natura toll-free at 800-224-6123.
Polk County Sheriff’s Detectives are investigating the theft of a donation container that took place on April 20 at the Casey’s on Northeast 29th Street and Northeast 46th Avenue. Donations were intended to be used for the funeral expenses of a well known customer at the Casey’s store. Anyone with information related to the identity of the woman who was caught on video nabbing the donation container is asked to call the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 515-286-3333, or make an anonymous call through Polk County CrimeStoppers at 515-223-1400.
Des Moines police have another suspicious death on their hands. Larry Jay Western, 48, was found dead last week in the back yard of 1530 4th St. in Des Moines. Des Moines Police and Fire Medics responded just after 6 p.m. on April 25 and are treating the death as a homicide. Several witnesses have been brought to the Des Moines Police Department for interviews with detectives, but as of press time, no suspects have surfaced.
Just three hours into the work week, local authorities are finding themselves with another shooting to investigate. Around 3:30 a.m. on Monday, April 29, two men were shot at Big Earl’s Gold Mine, a Des Moines strip club. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said Reginald Bryan Jr., 23, was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where he died of a gunshot wound. Matthew Millsap, 23, of Des Moines, was also shot and taken to the hospital where he is expected to be treated and released after being shot in the leg. Police are lacking crucial details to the case. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 515-286-3333 or anonymously at Polk County Crimestoppers at 515-223-1400. CV