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Civic Skinny

GOP’s Linder is a thief, but how tall is she?


April Gayle Linder is a member of the Polk County GOP leadership team. She is an executive committee member for the group. She serves on the planning committee for Polk County GOP fundraisers, which is kind of interesting. And, according to Will Rogers, Polk County GOP Chair, “Her political experience and willingness to be involved in our organization makes me glad to stand behind her. She is someone I do trust.”

This is the same April Linder who pled guilty to fourth-degree theft in January of 2011 for stealing $500 in cash and checks from a West Des Moines Baseball Club fundraiser. She was sentenced to 365 days in jail — most was suspended, but she did serve 26 days last summer — was fined $315 plus surcharges, and was put on probation for a year. For a while she was represented by a public defender, which doesn’t sound really Republican.

This is the same April Linder who again pled guilty to fourth-degree theft in December of 2011 for stealing property valued at $400 or more from a residence in West Des Moines. She was ordered to pay a $315 fine and submit to a psychological evaluation and treatment and a repeat offenders’ class.

This is the same April Linder that local online news source Patch reported on Feb. 17, 2012, had scratched her neighbor by “putting her hands on her neck and pushing her back” over a confrontation regarding a pair of allegedly stolen shoes, according to the report.

And this is the same April Linder who last week helped with about $9,000 in fundraising for the Polk County GOP and local candidates at the 2nd Annual Robert Ray Golf Outing at Willow Creek Golf Course in West Des Moines where Iowa senators Brad Zaun, Charles Schneider, Jack Whitver and Jake Chapman, as well as House Representatives Chris Hagenow and Jake Highfill were on hand.

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When asked about Linder’s arrest records, Rogers told Cityview, “I had a lengthy conversation about it, and I’m confident Mrs. Linder has gone through the criminal process and been dutiful in getting the record set in order following the procedures required by law enforcement. The circumstances involved in her arrest were private, family issues. She, in my opinion, may have lacked in some judgment, but did nothing of a real terrible nature.” He added that she is not in a position to “directly handle money.”

So look for this plank on crime in the 2014 Iowa GOP platform: “We believe fourth-degree theft is ‘not real terrible.’ ”

Linder is 35 and, according to jail records, is 5-feet-10, weighs 210 pounds and has blond hair. Her “Linked-In” page says she was Director of Communications/Logistics for the Iowa Tea Party in 2011, worked for Americans for Rick Perry in 2011 and later for “Newt 2012.”

One other thing: The Florida Crime Information Center says an April Gayle Linder — a person who has the same name and birth date as the Polk County GOP’s April Gayle Linder — is a “wanted person” in the state. An arrest warrant was issued Nov. 9, 2009, and the offense is listed as “larceny.” One problem: The Florida April Gayle Linder is listed as being 4 feet tall, weighing 50 pounds and perhaps being “completely bald.” …

The Des Moines Register didn’t tout it as an exclusive — the way it did with that interview with the hardly reclusive Donald Trump — but no paper except The Register ran an obituary last week on President Martin Van Buren. There it was, on page 4B of the Saturday paper — tastefully underplayed after the massive coverage of the death of Bill Krause.

“Ex-President Martin Van Buren died at his residence at Lindenwald, at 2 o’clock this morning, in the 79th year of his age,” said the obituary, which ran right alongside the paid obits of Harry Deaver of Des Moines and Dale L. Mitchell of Ankeny. “His health had been declining for the past year.” The story ran just four paragraphs, and the last two were repeats of the first two.

But the obituary said the nation’s eighth President was 79 when he died on Saturday morning. In fact, he was born on Dec. 5, 1782, which would have made him 230 years old. Presumably, a correction is in the works.

It’s unclear how the rest of the nation’s press missed the story. But if you are a Register subscriber, you likely did miss it, as delivery of the print edition was delayed up to five hours in some areas and didn’t happen at all in others. …

An aside: The Register’s obituary didn’t mention it, but Van Buren was born in Kinderhook, N.Y., and in 1840 some Democrats in New York formed the Old Kinderhook Club. It was known as the O.K. Club, and if that’s not where O.K. originated it’s at least where it gained its popularity.

A second aside: Told of the obituary, Don Kaul emailed a friend: “I didn’t even know he was sick.” …

In November of 2010, Cityview reported the sale of newspapers including the Ames Tribune, Boone News-Republican, Dallas County News and others to Stephens Media LLC of Las Vegas, Nev. Many employees of those newspapers learned of the sale from that piece. A month later, the Ames Tribune and The Des Moines Register published stories confirming the acquisitions. In May of this year, The Ames Tribune published a story announcing that Stephens Media had purchased The Perry Chief, yet another Iowa newspaper, from members of the Whitehead family, the longtime local publishers.

Stephens Media Iowa LLC, a division of the Las Vegas publisher Stephens Media LLC, has quietly been acquiring these newspapers and shopping guides with little fanfare, and they may soon be adding another to the list. The company is attempting to acquire a newspaper operation in Madison County, Skinny hears, and could leave residents of yet another Iowa community with a newspaper owned by out-of-state shareholders.

Stephens Media Iowa LLC (the Iowa division) also publishes the Nevada Journal, Tri-County Times, Story City Herald, Northeast Dallas County Record and Grimes Today. Stephens Media LLC (the parent company) publishes 11 daily newspapers, more than 50 weekly newspapers and shopping guides, a dozen magazines and affiliated websites. …

But one Iowa newspaper has been sold to an Iowan. Steve Pope, who was the photography lab supervisor at The Des Moines Register for 10 years, and his wife, Lori, purchased the St. Ansgar Enterprise Journal on June 4 from the estate of Charles Peterson. St. Ansgar, population 1,100, is in Mitchell County in northeast Iowa and is the birthplace of the new publisher.

St. Ansgar is also the birthplace of former Register publisher Gary Gerlach, who lives in sunny climates in the winter but spends summers in St. Ansgar and Mitchell County, where he owns a couple of farms. …

Look for multiple changes in the Des Moines bar scene, as some well-known establishments will likely be changing hands soon. Lots of offers are quietly on the table for downtown properties. …

And finally, an all-new Juice? Well, kind of. Admittedly, Skinny doesn’t read The Des Moines Register’s “young readers” publication all too often — we’re long past puberty — but did pick up a copy last week and found the “all new” issue much like the all-old issues with questions of the week, fashion spreads and photos that exclude anyone older than 35. Editor Sarah Day Owen announced in her column that a highlight of the new Juice is “fresh and relevant content.”

It’s not, but, like fourth-degree theft, it’s nothing of a real terrible nature. CV

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