Monday, February 27, 2012

Ohio Shootings, Open Primary Season, Latham vs. Boswell

Monday Happenings:

Those shootings at the Ohio school this morning really take on a new meaning now that I'm a parent. What a horrifying feeling that must be to get the news someone started shooting at your child's school. Horrifying.

Primary season is officially underway in Iowa. The Iowa Secretary of State released news of the open period this morning. Primaries always get everyone's juices flowing. A potential battle between fellow current Republican statehouse representatives, Annette Sweeney and (U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley's grandson) Pat Grassley, in northeast Iowa could be interesting, eh? Redistricting put the two together.

4th District Republican Congressman Tom Latham sent out a release this morning to say he was the first to file for a federal office. He tweeted this:

Filed 10,000 signatures for IA3 ballot qualifying in every county. Filing the first hour of the first day – true grassroots organization
Latham takes on current 3rd District Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell, thanks to redistricting. Since the new district is almost evenly split between Republicans, Democrats and Independents, it will be fun to watch the two sell Iowans on how they're "independent-minded". Latham's good friends with Republican House Speaker John Boehner. Boswell gets some help raising money from former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi next week.

Wonder how each one will try to use those relationships as fodder in the campaign?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Best Athletes in Des Moines Metro

Best of the Best: Forget the Oscars. Let's bring on the winners for the best athletes in Iowa this past year.

And the envelope please:

DES MOINES, IOWA – The Des Moines Area Sports Commission (DMASC), under the umbrella of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau (GDMCVB) has announced the winners of the Central Iowa Sports Awards, recognizing athletic excellence with honor in 2011. The winners were named Sunday, February 26, 2011 at Forte Banquet and Conference Center.

Awards winners are:


Athlete of the Year

Bryan LaHair, Iowa Cubs

Event of the Year

Hy-Vee Triathlon 5150 US Championship


Game of the Year

Iowa State University vs. Oklahoma State - Football

Team of the Year

Iowa State University - Football

Female Athlete of the Year

Allison Landwehr – Iowa State University Volleyball

Male Athlete of the Year

Griffin Lentsch – Grinnell College Basketball

High School

Game of the Year

Martensdale St. Marys vs. Coon Rapids - Baseball

Team of the Year

Ames – Swimming and Diving

Female Athlete of the Year

Caitlin Ingle – Southeast Polk Basketball

Male Athlete of the Year

Kane Seeley – Perry Wrestling

Lifetime Achievement

Jerry Pezzetti – Ankeny Football

This year’s top high school male and female athletes were also recipients of the first-ever West Bank Central Iowa Sports High School Male & Female Athlete of the Year scholarships. The scholarship is to be used to pay expenses billed by the college or university of the recipient’s choice.

Central Iowans cast their votes for individuals and teams who have pursued athletic excellence with honor in 2011, within a 75-mile radius of Principal Park. The Central Iowa Sports Awards’ Honor Committee reviewed the nominees and asked the public to vote for their top choices via the DMASC website in February. From those votes, the Honor Committee named the following winners.

Video of the awards banquet will air on Mediacom Connections Channel 22 on a date that is still to be determined.

The Central Iowa Sports Awards’ Honor Committee is made up of: The Des Moines Register Sports Editor Bryce Miller, ABC5 Sports Director John Walters, KCCI NewsChannel 8 Sports Director Andy Garman, WHO-TV Channel 13 Sports Directors Keith Murphy and Zach Borg, Multimedia Journalist at Clear Channel Radio Joe Quinn and Iowa Sports Connection’s Mike Rickord.

Brewer Endorsement, Branstad Endorsement, Iowa Lobbyist

Sunday Extras: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer endorsed Mitt Romney this morning on NBC's "Meet the Press". It's a safe pick with the polls showing a nice double-digit Romney edge there over Rick Santorum. Are Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul still running? Where are they?

While Brewer went public with her public, some other govs are staying quiet, including Iowa's Terry Branstad. Branstad stayed neutral before the caucuses. I wondered if he would get in as the race progressed. Still nothing from the gov. Politico included Branstad in its look at other govs who have stayed out of the race so far.

MTP host David Gregory called out Romney for ducking his show this entire cycle. We know the feeling here. I interviewed Romney once the entire caucus cycle. Even Hillary Clinton, who kept most of the Iowa media at arm's length much of the 2008 campaign, started giving us access down the stretch. Not the case with Romney. I interviewed him one time in the days before he won and then lost the caucus.

My colleague, Dan Winters, has a pretty interesting piece on the Channel 13 News at 10 tonight. One of the statehouse's most highly-sought after lobbyists gave Dan pretty remarkable access as she walked the halls of the building. I'm frankly surprised Dan got the access he did. The more people willing to do that, the better the understanding we all have of our government.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

King-Vilsack U.S. Senate Race

Crystal Ball: The black helicopters are now circling over Iowa. Conspiracy theorists are skipping right past the 2012 election and looking at the 2014 battle. Kathie O writes in this morning's Des Moines Register that western Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King offered up quite a juicy tidbit: he predicts former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack may be running a two-part campaign. She is running to beat him in the newly-drawn 4th Congressional District. But she's also looking to beat up King so that her husband, the former governor-turned failed presidential candidate-turned U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack can run for Senator Tom Harkin's senate seat. I have heard rumors about Harkin not running for his seat again. But I've heard nothing from the man himself.

I've also not heard anything from Tom Vilsack about a senate run. From everyone I talk with, Vilsack seems quite happy in his current post. Having said all of that, it sure would make for an interesting battle, regardless of what happens this November. If Christie Vilsack loses to King but pushes him hard, can she damage him a notch or two if King wants to run for Harkin's seat? Of course, she could really hurt his chances, if she gets the big upset and beats him this November.

I don't know we can rule out another name in this, though. What about 1st District Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley. Braley seems to be stepping up his Des Moines presence. Last I checked, Des Moines wasn't in his current or his new congressional district. Hmmm....

Monday, February 20, 2012

Governor's Dinner Guest List with Chinese Vice President

Who's Coming to Dinner: Politicians, family members and big company higher-ups make up most of the list of dinner guests for the state dinner Iowa Governor Terry Branstad threw for Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping last Wednesday. I had requested a copy of the list last week. Today, I received it. It shows an official count of 552 people for the dinner in the statehouse rotunda.

Guests included: the governor's family, former Governor Bob and Billie Ray, 2 Iowa Board of Regents, lawmakers (not their spouses), and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (not his wife). The list also included business leaders who represent the Who's Who of big business: Vermeer, Cargill, John Deere, Pioneer, Musco Lighting, the Principal Financial Group and Winnebago.

Here's the full list.

$1 million winner announced

Quit digging around the glove box or under the seat cushions in the couch, that missing $1 million Iowa lottery ticket isn't really missing.

Here's the release from the Iowa Lottery:

Adair Man Claims $1 Million Powerball® Prize

Steve Petty Loses Sleep Before Claiming Big Prize at Lottery Headquarters Monday

DES MOINES, Iowa – After making several stops for lunch Saturday afternoon, an Adair man decided to purchase a few Powerball plays for Saturday’s drawing and ended up winning a $1 million prize.
Steve Petty, 58, has been staying at the Guthrie County Hospital in Guthrie Center with his mother, who is 95 and recently took a bad fall. Petty’s siblings had been taking turns staying by her side and Petty tried to stop for some lunch before heading back to the hospital Saturday.
“After all the restaurants I went to were closed, I told my sister-in-law, ‘I’ll just run up to Casey’s to get a pizza.’ I waited and waited and said, ‘Give me three quick picks,’” Petty said. “I went home, started working on tax clients and said to myself, ‘Let’s see what happened with the lotto.’”
Petty had purchased three Powerball plays from Casey’s, 100 N. Fifth St. in Guthrie Center, and it was the second play that won him the big prize.
“I saw those numbers so quick, it was unbelievable. I usually have to check my numbers 20 times just to make sure I didn’t win anything,” Petty said with a laugh as he claimed his prize Monday afternoon at the Iowa Lottery’s headquarters in Des Moines.
Petty called his sister, who asked her daughters to try to figure out how much he’d won.
“They called me and said, ‘Steven, you are a millionaire,’” he said. “And I said, ‘Are you sure?’”
Petty’s neighbors urged him to sign his ticket and have it validated. Signing a lottery ticket ensures that no other person can claim ownership of it.
“They scolded me for having an unsigned ticket,” he said.
Petty said he plans to spend his money wisely by planning for retirement and possibly purchasing a newer car.
Petty, who is an organist and tax preparer, said he was astounded that his sporadic lottery playing won him such a big prize.
“I invested maybe $22 on lottery tickets in 2011,” he said.
Petty’s ticket matched the first five numbers but missed the Powerball to win a $1 million prize in Saturday's drawing. Before $2 Powerball debuted on Jan. 15, Petty would have won a $200,000 prize.
“I wasn’t aware of that,” he said. “That makes this fortuitous.”
Players can increase their prizes with the Power Play (except the jackpot). The cost is $1 per play. In the new $2 Powerball game, players who choose the Power Play and match five white balls win a $2 million prize.
The winning numbers in the Saturday’s Powerball jackpot drawing were: 23-28-50-56-59 and Powerball 5. There was no jackpot winner for the drawing.
Since the Iowa Lottery's start in 1985, its players have won more than $2.8 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.3 billion for state programs.
Today, lottery proceeds in Iowa have three main purposes: They provide support for veterans, help for a variety of significant projects through the state General Fund, and backing for the Vision Iowa program, which was implemented to create tourism destinations and community attractions in the state and build and repair schools.

Prize amount: $1 million
Federal withholding: $250,000
State withholding: $50,000
Net amount: $700,000

Sunday, February 19, 2012

$1Million Lottery Winner

Any chance someone bought me a ticket in Guthrie Center, Iowa, and just hasn't told me yet?

I received this from the Iowa Lottery tonight:

$1 Million-Winning Ticket Purchased In Guthrie Center For Saturday Drawing

DES MOINES, Iowa – Someone who bought a Powerball ticket in the west-central Iowa community of Guthrie Center won a $1 million prize in Saturday night’s drawing.
The $1 million-winning ticket came close to winning it all, matching the first five numbers but missing the Powerball in Saturday’s drawing. The winning ticket was purchased at Casey’s, 100 N. Fifth St. in Guthrie Center. The winning numbers in Saturday’s $50 million Powerball drawing were: 23-28-50-56-59 and Powerball 5.
“There is a lot of excitement right now for our first millionaire from $2 Powerball,” said Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich. “We are encouraging everyone who played Powerball for Saturday night’s drawing to check their tickets carefully for winners.”
Caitlin James, a clerk working at the Casey’s store on Sunday, said the location had not yet heard from anyone who might be the big winner.
This is Iowa’s first $1 million winner since $2 Powerball began in January. The new version of the game debuted Jan. 15, sporting several new features to give players more value. The game’s starting jackpots have doubled to $40 million and the jackpot is now easier to win. But perhaps the most important change for the person who bought the winning ticket in Guthrie Center is that the game’s second prize for matching the first five numbers but missing the Powerball has increased from $200,000 to the current $1 million cash.
“Powerball has delivered on what we thought it would do: create more millionaires for our players in Iowa,” Rich said.
No one won the jackpot in Saturday’s drawing, so the big prize climbs to an estimated $60 million for Wednesday.
Players in $2 Powerball still choose their first five numbers from a pool of 59, but the group of numbers in the Powerball pool has shrunk from 39 to 35, producing better overall odds of winning a prize. The Power Play® option is still available for an extra $1 per play.
Since getting its start in April 1992 in 15 states with jackpots that started at a guaranteed $2 million, Powerball has grown into one of the world’s biggest and most recognizable lottery games. Today Powerball is played by 44 lotteries across the country with drawings at 9:59 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Since the Iowa Lottery’s start in 1985, its players have won more than $2.8 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.3 billion for state programs.
Today, lottery proceeds in Iowa have three main purposes: They provide support for veterans, help for a variety of significant projects through the state General Fund, and backing for the Vision Iowa program, which was implemented to create tourism destinations and community attractions in the state and build and repair schools.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

New Iowa Poll Shows President in Trouble in Iowa

Poll Problems: If the election were held tonight (and, of course, it isn't), President Barack Obama wouldn't have a good night in Iowa. The Des Moines Register just released its new Iowa Poll with head-to-head match ups between the president and the 4 Republican challengers. Three of them beat the president. Ron Paul beats him by 7%. Rick Santorum tops him by 4%. Mitt Romney, the target of Iowa Democrats for months, wins by 2%. The poll shows it's only Newt Gingrich the president can handle. And he does more than that, by clobbering Gingrich by 14%.

How does it happen? Your teenagers support Paul. Your dad supports Santorum. Your rich uncle backs Romney. And I haven't figured out from the poll who's left to stand up for Gingrich.

The surprises here?...I'd say Paul for many. Sure, he had a decent night in the Iowa Caucuses, placing 3rd. But he's done very little in the national caucus/primary contest so far. Yet he fares the best of the pack in Iowa in this poll. Hmm. He may not dominate with Iowa Republicans in the poll but he wins over Independents and some Democrats. Republican establishment-types don't think much of him. But sooner or later, they're going to have to figure out he is able to win over the young people like he does. The Ron Paul Revolution lives.

Santorum is fairly strong here, too. His lasting power in the race should help the Iowa Caucuses' credibility, too, although it might help if you forget about the part when the former state party chair said Romney won.

Romney hangs on to a slim lead over the president. Of course, Romney's been running for president the better part of the last 6 years, at least. He just couldn't convince Iowa Republicans he was the overwhelming choice for the job. That has continued on into the rest of the states. And this poll shows it lingers here, too. What will it take?

Not much to say about Gingrich. Iowans once liked him. Now they've dumped him like last week's leftovers. Nearly 2/3rds of Iowans view him unfavorably. A salad at the Iowa State Fair is more popular.

What about the president? He's more disliked than liked. And you'll even hear Republicans say he's a likable guy. Iowans are o.k. with him on his handling of foreign affairs. But they're far less than pleased on the economy. Far less. Looks like the president has some work to do in Iowa. A steadily improving economy could help. And no doubt some of his fall in the polls could be the result of 2 years of constant attacks from Republicans candidates. But this is the state that launched him to the White House. Wanna bet we see more of him in the months ahead?

Iowa 2012 will be a battleground just like Iowa 2008.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Iowa Woman Charged for Dozens of Neglected Animals

Charges filed: It's been a while since we've had as much response from viewers as we've had about the case of 88 neglected animals in rural Iowa. And now there's word from the Sac County sheriff the woman who had those animals faces all kinds of charges. The woman, by the way, has already relinquished custody of the animals. Local animal shelters have been nursing the animals back to health in the hopes they can be adopted to more caring homes. Here's the release:
The Sac County Sheriff’s Office has filed 88-counts of Animal Neglect all simple misdemeanors and 5-counts of Animal Neglect, serious misdemeanors against Mary Jean Brodersen age 44 of Kiron, Iowa. The charges stem from the January 25, 2012 seizure of 87 dogs and one cat from her farm place located at 3975 Dean Ave, Kiron, Iowa in Sac County. There were five dead animals found during the execution of the search warrant.

All surviving animals have been turned over to various animal rescue shelters and are available for adoption.

A Sac County Magistrate Judge has ordered Brodersen to appear for an initial appearance later this month..

All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Menu for Vice President Xi

Soup's On: Iowa Governor Terry Branstad let out a few of the details earlier this week, but this morning his staff released the full menu for the state dinner tonight at the Iowa Statehouse with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping. The menu is all Iowa. It includes bacon, corn and beans, of course. 650 people on the invite list, according to the gov's office. That includes state lawmakers, Iowa business and community leaders and Xi's 160-person delegation.

“A Taste of Iowa Menu”
Wednesday February 15th, 2012

Passed Canapes
B.L.T. Bites (Bacon, Lettuce $ Tomato)
Smoked Trout w/Midwest Cranberry Compote

1st Course
Edamame & Corn Salad
Carrot~Ginger Terrine, La Quercia Prosciutto Rosette &
South Union Bread

Main Course
Medallions of Eden Farms Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin w/Cider & Green Peppercorns & Certified Angus Beef Tenderloin w/Demi Glaze & Onion Ring Maytag White Cheddar Stuffed Twice Baked New Potatoes
Curried Butternut Squash Sauté

Crème Apple Pie Cupcake w/ Iowa Maple Syrup Frosting
Maytag Blue Cheese w/ Iowa Honey drizzle
Mini Iowa Sweet Corn Cheesecake

Gong Fu China Green Tea

Pre Dinner Beverages - Peace Tree Brewery Root Beer, Jasper Winery Behind the Shed Red & La Crescent wines , Madhouse Brewery Pale Ale Beer
Wines with Dinner Summerset Frontenac Red & Vignoles White

We would like to thank the Iowa Pork Producers, Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Corn Producers and in addition Crème Cupcakes, Eden Farms Pork, La Quercia Prosciutto, Loffredo Produce, Maytag Dairy & Gong Fu Tea

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Presidential Race and 2013 budget

Good Sunday morning. Now that we know how those riveting Maine caucuses turned out, it's time to figure out what everything means (yes, that's sarcasm!). By the way, did you know the Iowa Republican Caucus turnout was nearly 22 times that of Maine? And Maine votes for a week. Interesting.

Mitt Romney got his butt kicked for most of the week. Is there any other way to spin that, despite the Romney people's best efforts? Rick Santorum took the triple-header sweep Tuesday by winning Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri contests. So Romney at least gets to say he won Maine and he won the CPAC straw poll. And no question, he did. However, combine the totals from both of those events yesterday and you get about 9,000 votes. That's it. In light of that, I found a tweet from the Romney campaign a bit amusing.
"Tonight, I thank the voters of Maine. I’m committed to turning around America & am heartened to have the support of so many."
Now, of course, maybe I'm taking this tweet a bit too literally when it reads "to have the support of so many". Is it talking about the entire country? I would hope so, because the campaign would be hard pressed to show the Maine results in any way represent "the support of so many".

Saturday's results at least attempt to change or redirect the narrative with Romney that, despite running for president for the past 6 years, he still can't seem to win over the majority of his own party. We will have a few weeks until the Arizona and Michigan contests. But what, if anything, can Romney do to really get conservatives on his side? He tries to use the word, "conservative", it seems, as much as he can. But if you're a conservative, should you have to keep repeating that word again and again to convince people you are one? Shouldn't they already know from your record?

What happened to Ron Paul? This was supposed to be the cycle that the Ron Paul Revolution went mainstream. Caucuses were supposed to be his thing. While Paul came close in Maine, he still hasn't won a single caucus. Actually, he hasn't won a single state of the first 9, regardless of the form of that state's election. It's getting more and more difficult for Paul supporters to convince traditional Republicans that their candidate can be the nominee. It seems more unlikely with each passing contest.

Santorum had a nice week winning those 3 races Tuesday. But what does he now do with them? He was all over the network morning news shows. He likes to be that "little engine that could". But for him to truly be the Romney alternative, doesn't he need to start showing he can raise the cash and set up the campaign operations to actually win on Super Tuesday, March 6th, when 10 states hold their elections?

And then there's Newt Gingrich. Where was he this week? I still find it hard to believe he'll give up. But he seemed to be no factor at all recently. Without debates and big money, it seems like he will need his hated elite media to keep him relevant, won't he?

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Teacher of 2 Victims of Suicide

Students' suicides: It's been a very difficult time for students, parents and teachers in the Johnston school district after two students committed suicide. Our station doesn't normally cover suicides. But these deaths have received pretty extensive coverage. Iowa's 2010 Teacher of the Year has some pretty powerful thoughts on what has happened.

Here is what she had to say.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Big Break

Big Break: Mediabistro TV has a segment called "My First Big Break". I guess mine would be my first real job at KMOX radio in St. Louis. "The Mighty MOX" as they called it back then when it dominated the radio airwaves, was a ratings monster. It also happened to carry the baseball games of my beloved St. Louis Cardinals. My Uncle Ron had given me an old radio when I was in middle school. It only had AM on it. I listened to it in my room. All the time. I didn't know squat about the latest and hottest songs, but I could listen at night to my Cardinals on the AM dial. That was good enough for me.

During college, I interned at KMOX. That internship led to my big break. The news director at the time, John Angelides, liked my work ethic during my internship and offered me a job. It wasn't glamorous to many, I suppose. I still attended college full-time. And I worked the overnight shift, where I wrote news headlines for the talk show hosts. And then later in the morning, I wrote brief traffic reports for the anchors to read. To work side-by-side with some of the people I had listened to for years was incredible.

The most incredible moment was to attend the station's "State of the Station breakfast" at a swanky hotel in downtown St. Louis. I get assigned to a table and who should I see sitting across from me...? It was Jack Buck, the iconic voice of the Cardinals. He was my broadcasting idol. And there he was. He was friendly, charming and full of stories. That has to be my most memorable breakfast ever. And I can't even tell you what I ate. I probably could have eaten the plate itself and not known the difference. One of the most remarkable memories from the breakfast was this...Mr. Buck wanted another refill of his coffee. A woman came over to offer him more. Mr. Buck thanked her and then noticed the woman spoke Spanish. He immediately switched to Spanish and conversed with the woman for a few minutes about her life. Later, he called her over again and handed her a $20 bill. Such a cool moment to witness. Such a cool experience to get the chance to work with him, even if our paths rarely ever again crossed.

NBC's Brian Witness shared his first big break with Mediabistro TV. He talked of maxing his credit cards, going bankrupt and nearly giving up on ever working on tv again. It's a fascinating conversation. He seems very appreciative, as I remain today, for the opportunities life has brought our way.

What's your biggest break in life and what did you do with it?