When the Miss America pageant is held later this year, it will feature the first contestant born without an arm. The newly crowned Miss Iowa, Nicole Kelly of Keokuk, is a 23-year-old college student who plans to use her platform to focus on overcoming disabilities. “For me, it really is just wanting to be that example and that light of showing that, yes, I look different and yes, I do things differently, but I’m still absolutely able to do everything else that everyone is able to do.” Kelly said. She has a degree in directing and theater management from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She will compete for the Miss America title during the national competition on Sept. 15 in Atlantic City, N.J. Good luck to you, Ms. Kelly.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said that a property tax measure signed last week by Gov. Terry Branstad will bring welcomed relief to small business owners and improve Iowa’s economic competitiveness. The new program will make available $125 million for business property tax credits over the next four years and allow small businesses to pay the residential rate, which is lower, on roughly two-thirds of their business properties. Under the compromise measure Branstad signed, small businesses will have to apply and qualify for tax credits from which they’ll benefit at the end of the tax year. “This is a very positive development for Iowa small businesses, and it will pay dividends over the long term by putting more money back into the private economy for investors and consumers,” said NFIB State Director Kristin Failor. “This is a good deal for small business and a smart way to grow the state’s economy.”
After a four-day trial, a Council Bluffs jury returned with a guilty verdict on June 7 against New Life Multi-Family Management LLC. The Iowa Civil Rights Commission filed the claim on behalf of Charles Anderson and Brandon Morehouse who claimed harassment and other discriminatory treatment based on their sexual orientation by employees or agents of their former apartment complex’s management company, in violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act. On-site maintenance technician, Allen Emert, apparently verbally harassed the two men by calling them derogatory terms and slurs, and making offensive gestures on an almost daily basis once Emert discovered that Anderson and Morehouse were sharing a one-bedroom apartment. The jury awarded the complaintants $22,000 in economic damages, $50,000 in emotional distress damages and $75,000 in punitive damages.
Des Moines police investigated an accident at the intersection of East 26th and Lyon streets just before 9 p.m. on June 13 involving two cars and a four-wheel all terrain vehicle (ATV). The ATV was travelling eastbound on Lyon Street and reportedly failed to stop for the stop sign at the East 26th Street junction. As the ATV entered the intersection, it was struck broadside by a southbound vehicle and then again with a northbound vehicle. The rider of the ATV, Joseph Halterman, 29, of Des Moines, was thrown from his vehicle and later died at the hospital from his injuries. Although he is not considered to be at fault in the accident, the driver of the southbound car, Chad Cox of Des Moines, was cited for no insurance and driving with a suspended license. The other driver of the north bound car, Teresa Foley of Des Moines, was not cited for any violations.
A body was found floating in the river just east of the Harriett Street Boat Ramp in Des Moines last week. The victim, 35-year-old Zachary Johnson of Des Moines, reportedly continued downstream and was brought to shore behind the Wastewater Treatment Plant at 3000 Vandalia Road around 9 p.m. on June 10. Police say there were no obvious signs of trauma, but cause of death will be determined after an autopsy is completed in coming weeks. Des Moines police detectives are investigating this death. At this time it is unknown how long Johnson had been in the water.
Polk County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a fatal accident at 9133 N.E. 94th Ave. around 8:40 p.m. on June 11 regarding an apparent car vs. horse collision. Upon arrival, deputies found Kendall Johnson, a 53-year-old resident of Rhodes, dead inside his vehicle, which had seemingly went into the ditch, across part of a farm field and into a yard, coming to rest at the base of a tree. About 40 yards to the east, deputies discovered a deceased horse in the ditch on the south side of the road. Damage to the car, evidence on the roadway, injuries to the horse and its proximity to the accident scene leads preliminary investigators to believe that the horse had been in the roadway when it was hit by the car. CV