Authorities Identify Woman Killed During Gender Reveal Party
KNOXVILLE, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say an Iowa family’s attempt at a gender reveal party for a soon-to-be-born baby went horribly wrong when a homemade device that was meant to discharge colored powder instead exploded like a pipe bomb, killing a 56-year-old relative.
The Marion County Sheriff’s office says Pamela Kreimeyer died instantly when debris struck her head Saturday before flying another 432 feet (132 meters) and landing in a nearby field in rural Knoxville, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) southeast of Des Moines.
Kreimeyer was 45 feet (14 meters) from the device when it exploded.
Authorities say family members had been experimenting with explosives in the hopes of posting a colorful announcement on social media.
Family members welded a metal cylinder to a stand and packed it with gunpowder that they thought would send the colored baby powder aloft. But authorities say tape covering the top of the cylinder caused it to detonate like a pipe bomb.
Missouri River Flooding Likely To Continue Through The Winter
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Flooding along the Missouri River has stretched on for seven months in some places and could endure through the winter. That could leave some Upper Midwest farmland and possibly some homes encased in ice.
The icy flooding is possible due to a still-high river, saturated
ground, broken levees and a forecast for a wetter-than normal winter. It’s possible some flooding could continue into spring.
In places along the lower Missouri River where levees broke in the spring, large areas of mostly farmland remains underwater. Fixing the broken levees will take several years.
Tom Bullock says there’s no end in sight to flooding in northwestern Missouri, where he is Holt County’s emergency management director.
Roughly 30,000 acres remain underwater in Holt County, and some of that floodwater is likely to freeze in place.
Governor Reynolds Says She Will Not Sign Executive Order Against Vaping
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says she will not sign an executive order that would ban the sale of flavored vaping products but that several state agencies are developing plans to deal with the health risks tied to using electronic cigarettes.
Reynolds says she met Friday with state public health officials to
discuss the illnesses reported in Iowa from vaping and how to address the problem.
Reynolds said Monday that efforts by governors in other states to block sales have been halted by the courts after lawsuits so she’s holding off on that approach.
Reynolds says the officials in public health, education and human
services agencies are working on a plan to educate the public, especially students, about vaping risks.
More than 40 teenagers and young adults in Iowa have experienced severe respiratory illness from vaping. Most have used the electronic devices with THC, the active compound in marijuana that creates a high.
Nationally, more than 1,600 people have been sickened since March. At least 34 have died.
Iowa’s Top Investigators Have Been Placed On Leave For Two Weeks
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Iowa’s human resources agency has been investigating a personnel issue that has put two top crimefighters off work for two weeks.
Assistant Division of Criminal Investigation director Terry Cowman and Special Agent in Charge C.J. Noelck were put on leave earlier this month.
The two help run the Division of Intelligence, which includes the state fusion center and the Iowa Law Enforcement Intelligence Network.
Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens and public information officer Alex Dinkla haven’t responded to questions or information requests about their status over the last two weeks.
Cowman and Noelck have been with the department for more than 20 years.
Reached at home, Noelck said that he has been directed by the
Department of Administrative Services to stay quiet about the investigation.
He says, “I was told it’s a personnel matter and I can’t comment.”
It’s unclear what the investigation entails, but that department has recently taken a lead role looking into sexual harassment complaints. Such investigations are confidential.
The two recently helped host an annual training conference for law enforcement.
Eastern Iowa School Secures Grant For Social Media
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – An eastern Iowa school district has secured federal grant funding to monitor students’ social media accounts for possible warning signs that students might harm themselves or their peers.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that the Iowa City Community School District received the grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. A portion of the $187,000 grant is earmarked to contract with a company that will scan social media posts.
It’s part of a district-wide push to improve safety across the
School officials have not yet determined what all the monitoring
will entail. School officials note that the district already has the right to look at the emails and Google Drive accounts of students who are using district technology.
Waterloo To Decide Upon City-owned Broadband Utility
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) – Waterloo officials will vote whether to spend $84,500 to study the feasibility of a city-owned broadband utility.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports the City Council will be
asked Monday whether to approve the study by Denver-based Magellan Advisors.
The council voted earlier this month to set aside money from unspent general obligation bonds for the costs. The vote Monday would engage the company for the study.
Business groups and others have encouraged officials to consider the municipal utility because of dissatisfaction about current internet services offered by private companies. A study by the Waterloo Industrial Development Association estimated the cost of a fiber-to-home system at $39.2 million to $65.3 million.
The study would be completed this spring.