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Monday Afternoon News, October 29

Investigators Look At Possible Voter Fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State criminal investigators are looking into reports of possible problems with absentee ballots in Muscatine and Floyd counties.
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation spokeswoman Chari Paulson says complaints involve absentee ballots.
The investigations, first reported Monday in The Des Moines Register, appear to center on voters receiving ballots without having signed a request form.
A man in Muscatine County says a Democratic campaign worker allowed his mother to sign a ballot request form for him when he wasn't home. It is a felony in Iowa to falsify a signature on a
ballot request form.
In Floyd County, the DCI is investigating three reports of someone filling out ballot requests without the voter's knowledge.
More than 624,000 absentee ballots have been mailed to Iowa voters and more than 470,000 returned.


Clinton To Campaign For Obama In Midwest

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Former President Bill Clinton is headed for the Midwest this week to campaign for Democratic President Barack Obama in a swing that will take him to Minnesota, Iowa and
The Clinton campaign events will partially fill a void for Obama, who has taken himself off the road temporarily to deal with Hurricane Sandy.
Clinton's travel itinerary will also take him to Colorado, Ohio, Virginia and New Hampshire.
Minnesota has been getting increasing attention as both Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney launch late TV commercials.  But Obama is still favored to collect the 10 electoral college
votes. Clinton was expected to hold two rallies in the state Tuesday.
All of the other states have been hotly contested throughout the presidential campaign.


Des Moines House Explodes

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Fire officials say no one was injured when a lit cigarette and an oxygen tank caused an explosion that blew out windows and caused a fire at a house in Des Moines.
The Des Moines Register ( ) says the blast happened Monday morning.
Fire Inspector Brian O'Keefe says the homeowner sleeps with oxygen and left the tank on when she got up. She lit a cigarette, and the oxygen in the room caught fire and burned back toward the
tank, causing an explosion.
The woman, her grandson and a family dog escaped before the explosion.   Damage to the home is estimated between $50,000 and $70,000.

Businessman Admits To Fraud

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Indiana businessman has pleaded guilty to ripping off an Iowa company and duping investors in separate fraud schemes totaling $2.3 million.
Lowell Hancher of Sheridan, Ind., pleaded guilty Friday to one count of wire fraud and one count of securities fraud. He's been released from custody pending sentencing, where he'll face a
maximum prison term of 45 years.
In a plea agreement, Hancher acknowledged he defrauded investors in a Colorado construction company of $1.8 million between 2005 and 2010. Some investors lived in northern Iowa and were told their money would be used for a public stock offering.
Separately, Hancher said that he abused his position on the board of Spencer-based manufacturing company Cycle Country to misappropriate more than $500,000 for himself under a phony stock
buyback program.

Blind Trumpet Player Marches In Band

SOLON, Iowa (AP) - A trumpet player from Solon in eastern Iowa is marching with the high school band, thanks to some help from his bandmates.
The Gazette in Cedar Rapids says 14-year-old freshman Jalen Howsare (HOWS'-uhr) has been blind since he was toddler. His eyes were removed because of tumors, an illness called bilateral retinoblastoma. He has prosthetic eyes and is cancer free.
Howsare marched with the band for the first time during competitions in September.
During performances, his bandmates figure out where he's supposed to go and guide him during each song. Whoever is closest puts a hand on his shoulder and leads him to the next spot.
Band director Desmond Cervantez says Howsare is "fearless," and having him in the band builds upon its mission of giving back.





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