The Polk County Health Department recently announced that financial assistance is available for eligible families that have lead hazards in their home through its Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. For many families, this means new siding, windows and doors, and most families pay nothing for these repairs. Rick Kozin, Polk County Health Department director, said “Lead poisoning can cause permanent brain damage in young children and is one of the top three preventable causes of mental retardation.” Lead-based paint is usually found in pre-1978 homes, and Polk County has many of them. In some neighborhoods, the rate of children who are tested for lead poisoning with elevated blood levels is three to eight times greater than the national lead poisoning rate. Call 286-2115 or visit www.metroleadsafe.org for more details.
In Iowa, we might be full of hot air, but in the case of the economy and the environment, that’s a good thing. The U.S. Energy Department announced last week record growth across the U.S. wind market, increasing America’s share of clean, renewable energy and supporting tens of thousands of jobs nationwide. In 2012, wind energy became the No. 1 source of new U.S. electricity generation capacity for the first time, representing 43 percent of all new electric additions and accounting for $25 billion in U.S. investment. According to these reports, Iowa continues to be one of the country’s largest and fastest growing wind markets, ranking first among all U.S. states in percentage of in-state electricity generation from wind power. The 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report states that in 2012, Iowa installed 814 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity, bringing its total to more than 5,100 MW, the third highest in the country. With this installed capacity, Iowa can generate about 25 percent of its electricity from wind energy.
Iowa State Fair’s beloved Butter Cow is seeing red this year, literally. The Des Moines Register reported on Aug. 12 that vandals broke into the cow’s refrigerated case, doused the sculpture in red paint and scrawled “Freedom For All” on the window of the display. The sculptor repaired the damage. The Iowans for Animal Liberation group claimed responsibility for the crime, reportedly stating, “The paint represents the blood of 11 billion animals murdered each year in slaughterhouses, egg farms and dairies.” No word yet on the environmental concerns related to red paint.
It’s hard to say if this guy is stupid or just plain unlucky, but a 19-year-old New Jersey man was arrested last week for allegedly trying to roll a joint in a convenience store bathroom. Officer Michael Sprung stopped at the store just after 1 a.m. to use the bathroom and ended up arresting the man after he opened the door and saw him sitting backward and fully clothed on the toilet. The man then unsuccessfully tried to hide the marijuana behind the toilet when he saw the uniformed officer standing in the doorway. He was charged with drug possession.
Is there anywhere our kids are safe? Local youth pastor Ryan McKelvey was arrested last week after a juvenile girl’s parents contacted Des Moines police claiming McKelvey had sexually abused their daughter. McKelvey was apparently employed by Heritage Assembly Church. During the investigation, it was discovered there could be a second victim, also a juvenile, who confirmed inappropriate sexual incidents had also occurred with her. McKelvey was arrested and charged with two counts of sexual exploitation by clergy and two counts of third-degree sexual abuse.
A southeast Iowa bridge was subjected to a suspected arson attack on Aug. 11 in Kalona. KCRG reported that the Bunker Hill Bridge, which crosses over the English River, endured fire that left the structure badly charred and damaged. Kalona Fire Chief Steve Yotty said the department was called to the scene around 5:30 a.m. but was too late to stop the spreading flames as they consumed the old bridge. According to the Washington County Historical Society, the bridge was built in 1887 and was the only way to travel between the small towns of Kalona and Richmond. CV