Safe Ways to Donate to Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

DES MOINES, Iowa — People in texas are still struggling to pick up the pieces Hurricane Harvey left behind.

The Red Cross and the City of Houston still need money to help everyone affected, but it’s important to note, scammers are taking advantage of the situation.

Here are some tips from the Attorney General’s office:

  • Know who you are giving to. Fake organizations may have a name similar to a legitimate organization.
  • Be wary of callers seeking donations. Don’t give to someone who calls you unless you are certain the caller represents an organization you are familiar with. Scammers can spoof caller ID.
  • Be wary of emails and social media posts seeking donations.The links attached to them may contain malicious software.
  • Avoid providing cash to someone who shows up at your door. Ask to see the person’s identification, and don’t let someone pressure you into donating.
  • Be cautious about crowdfunding.
  • There are several ways to verify an organization Places to check include the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, GuideStar, and Charity Navigator. You can check an organization’s tax status through IRS Select Check.

Here are several safe ways to donate:

  • Hop on Amazon and check out the Red Cross Wishlist to send items directly where they need to go
  • Call 1-800-Red-Cross or text HARVEY to 9099
  • Go to NVOAD.ORG to donate to the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
  • Donate directly to the City of Houston at

Transportation Infrastructure Hurt By Hurricane

David: Welcome to the Agribusiness Report, I'm David Geiger. With me is executive director for the Soy Transportation Coalition, Mike Steenhoek, Mike thanks so much for being here.


Mike: Always good to be with you.


David: Now, Mike, first thing I want to get off to is we have a hurricane that is down south, how is that affecting the infrastructure there?


Mike: Well, Hurricane Harvey has really imposed its fury on the Texas Gulf and the consequences are felt in a host of areas including our infrastructure. The Texas Gulf is very important to agriculture. It accounts for 24 percent of wheat exports and of course it's also important for other commodities that are grown in that area like cotton, like sorghum, to a lesser extent, corn and soybeans. When you look further to the east, that's really the launching point for U.S. corn and soybean exports. The Mississippi Gulf Region, which is the area near around New Orleans, that accounts for 60 percent of U.S. soybean exports, 59 percent of corn exports. So, thus far, Hurricane Harvey hasn't really significantly damaged that area."


David: Now, when we have big weather events like this that really damage transportation, it's not just delays, it's also infrastructure that we're dealing with. What are some of the long lasting impacts of this that you see?


Mike: Certainly, with a storm like this, with high winds it can really damage the actual export terminals themselves. You can have these large bins, storage bins, get punctured then all of a sudden moisture gets in and contaminates the crop. With storm surges, it can result in the need to dredge the shipping channel with prolonged rainfall, it can really wash out rail track, we've seen a lot of examples with that in Texas, Burlington, Northern Santa Fe, Union Pacific, Kansas City Southern, all of these railroads have reported significant damage to their networks, and certainly, prolonged rainfall can have an impact on rural roads and bridges. Having that kind of water levels, having that kind of current can really impair the structural integrity of some of these bridges. I think as we assess the damage from Hurricane Harvey, unfortunately, we're not going to like what we see.


David: Moving forward, what does storms like this, and ones we've had in the past, teach us about having fallbacks, ways to continue to transport things?


Mike: Well, a vivid example for us within the soybean and corn industry was Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and all of a sudden, you saw an event that happen in the New Orleans area have dramatic impact on the profitability of farmers in Iowa and other parts of the Midwest. And essentially the farmer delivers to the elevator, and the elevator in turn delivers to the export terminal in a very simplistic manner, and what occurred with Hurricane Katrina is because the elevators located in the Midwest couldn't move product out their back door due to their export terminals being down, they could not receive grain via their front door. And so what they did is they would drop the price they were offering to farmers. And so all of a sudden, farmer profitability was compromised not due to anything bad that they did, or not due to demand changing, but simply due to the fact that we had a choke point in our logistics system. So, it really is a lesson for farmers that we have to make sure that we care about our transportation system and we have to make sure that there's resiliency to it and redundancy to it so we can't put all of our eggs in one basket.


David: Definitely, Mike thank you so much for joining and speaking to me.


Mike: Always good to be with you. Thank you.

Latino Community Fears Uncertain Future for Dreamers in America

DES MOINES, Iowa -- 88 year-old Mary Campos has spent her life in the Des Moines Community and knows what it's like to be an unwanted minority.

"I went to McKinley School and I went to St. Anthony`s School and I graduated from St. Joseph Academy in (19)47," said Campos. "Then I found out that I wasn`t wanted in anybody's office, because I was brown and everybody else was white and that hurt."

But now, Campos says her heart is aching for the dreamers who may end up getting deported if President Trump ends DACA.

"I`m a civil service commissioner. I`ve been that for about 19 years for the City of Des Moines, you know, and I`m proud of that," said Campos. "I`ve tried to be very fair in things that I do. I know that there is such a thing as breaking the law and they came here unlawfully, but I don`t think we need to punish the children that were here. I just don`t think so."

Campos, a revered member of the Latino Community in Iowa, gets emotional when she thinks about dreamers being sent back to countries that may know nothing about.

"For someone like me, that (has) worked in this community all this time and the only rich thing that I've got out of it is to see them graduate or meet me on the street and (hear them) say 'boy, I`m glad you helped me learn how to read, because I just graduated from Iowa State or from the University of Iowa or you know, and it just breaks your heart."

Des Moines School Board Member Rob Barron says the loss of legal protection for the undocumented immigrants known as dreamers would not only have a terrible impact on young people and families but also on the local economy.

“For me, this is a moral issue, you know, you do right by people," said Barron. "You do right by people in need and I understands not everyone sees it that way, but they should also see it as an economic issue. These are folks who don`t necessarily work high wage jobs, but they work good jobs. They send their kids to our public schools. They spend money in our supermarkets, you know, they go to Adventureland and wherever else and they spend money here in the community. And the more fear that they have, or the more risk that they are at, to live and work in our communities, the less likely they are to reinvest their dollars back in our community."

If President Trump ends DACA, Barron believes it would be a tremendous blow to this state and this country in terms of a loss in human capital, because he says the dreamers are needed, especially in Iowa; to grow the populations of cities and towns across the state and help support the economy.

Nuclear Test Conducted by North Korea, Country Claims; South Korea Responds With Drills

Watch Video

SOUTH KOREA  —  South Korea’s military conducted a live-fire exercise early Monday in response to North Korea’s latest nuclear test.

The combined drill, carried out by the South Korean army and air force and intended to simulate a strike on North Korea’s nuclear test site, involved surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and F-15K fighter jets hitting targets off the east coast of South Korea, according to a statement form the country’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

What happened:

— North Korea said it successfully conducted a test of a hydrogen bomb Sunday — the country’s sixth nuclear test.

— The explosion created a magnitude-6.3 tremor, making it the most powerful weapon Pyongyang has ever tested.

— Hours before the test, North Korean state media released pictures of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un inspecting what it claimed was a nuclear warhead being placed inside a missile

Latest developments:

— US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he is drafting tough sanctions against North Korea, adding “this isn’t the time for just talk.”

— As US President Donald Trump was leaving a church service for Hurricane Harvey victims, he was asked by a reporter if the United States would attack North Korea. “We’ll see,” Trump responded.

— US Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters in front of the White House that any threat to the United States, its allies or its territories “will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming.” He added: “Kim Jong Un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice. All members unanimously agreed on the threat North Korea poses and they remain unanimous in their commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula … We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but as I said, we have many options to do so.”

 Trump took to Twitter after the announcement and said North Korea’s “words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States.” He added that Pyongyang has become a “great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success”; warned South Korea their “talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work”; and said Washington is considering “stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.”

— Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is hosting an international financial summit, said in an opening ceremony speech that “incessant conflicts in some parts of the world and hotspot issues are posing challenges to world peace,” according to a transcript published by Chinese state media.

— Japanese Prime Minister said the threat against his country is now “more grave and imminent”; South Korean President Moon Jae-in called it an absurd strategic mistake.”

Emergency session

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said the test was “profoundly destabilizing for regional security,” and the UN Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting to discuss the issue for Monday at 10 a.m. ET.

The Security Council also met last week after North Korea shot a missile that overflew the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Though the only thing to come from that meeting was a strongly-worded statement, the Security Council did unanimously pass a new round of sanctions in early August. Those are meant to choke off North Korea’s ability to bring in revenue across the globe.

“For months North Korea refrained from conducting a nuclear test and from launching missiles over Japan,” said David Wright, the co-director of the Union of Concerned Scientists Global Security Program. “It now seems to have decided to end that restraint.”

It’s unclear if a new round of sanctions is in the works, but Japan and South Korea have both signaled they are in favor of applying more diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang.

However, a noticeable divide has emerged between Washington and Seoul when it comes to how exactly the world should respond to North Korea’s latest move.

After President Trump’s tweet on South Korean appeasement, the South Korean President’s office said in a statement that it will “pursue the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through peace with our allies.”

The country’s current President Moon Jae-in, who was elected in May, is seen as more open to dialogue than his hawkish predecessor.

China, long viewed as North Korea’s only real regional ally, also condemned the test.

“We strongly urge (the) North Korea side to face up to the firm will of the international community on the denuclearization of the peninsula, abide by relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, stop taking wrong actions that exacerbate the situation and are not in its own interest, and return to the track of resolving the issue through dialogue,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

‘Perfect success’

North Korea’s test came hours after state-run media released images of leader Kim Jong Un inspecting what it said was a hydrogen bomb ready to to top an ICBM, which the country would need to deliver a nuclear warhead to far-away locations.

State news anchor Ri Chun Hee hailed the test as a “perfect success” and the final step in attaining a “state nuclear force,” which North Korea sees as crucial in order deter any adversaries from invasion or attempting regime change.

Analysts have said for months that another nuclear test was likely on the way, with satellite imagery revealing that a tunnel had been dug earlier this year.

And the country has for years worked on miniaturizing a nuclear warhead so it can be fitted atop a long-range missile and survive the heat-intensive process of re-entering the earth’s atmosphere.

North Korea claimed the device tested Sunday was a hydrogen bomb, a much more powerful type of nuclear weapon that uses fusion instead of fission to increase the blast yield, or destructive power. It is also known as a thermonuclear bomb.

While it’s nearly impossible to verify the North Korean claim that the weapon was small enough to be put on a missile — short of having independent experts examine the test — the tremors that followed the blast can help scientists calculate how powerful the explosion was. Other countries will also take air samples to measure radiation levels, which will also offer important details.

NORSAR, a Norway-based group that monitors nuclear tests, estimated it had an explosive yield of 120 kilotons — which means the power of 120,000 tons of TNT.

South Korean officials gave a more modest estimate of 50 kilotons.

To put that in context, the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 — which instantly killed 80,000 people — created a yield of 15 kilotons.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as it’s officially known, claimed it set off a hydrogen bomb in its fifth nuclear test on September 9 of last year. That date is the country’s Foundation Day holiday.

The blast triggered a 5.3-magnitude seismological event; which said the data showed the detonation was more likely a boosted fission weapon.


Trump’s administration is now pursuing what it calls a strategy of “peaceful pressure” to get North Korea to bring its nuclear weapons program to the negotiating table.

North Korea itself has long said it is open to dialogue, but will not abandon its nuclear aspirations unless the United States abandons what Pyongyang considers a “hostile policy” against it.

Sanctions have long been a tactic the international community has employed to punish and isolate Pyongyang, but in many ways they have failed. The Kim regime developed its weapons and nuclear program despite the international measures designed to cripple the economy and which exacerbated periods of mass starvation.

The White House, meanwhile, has been accused of sending mixed messages on the issue and lacking a clear strategy. The President’s tweets regularly suggest he is not interested in dialogue.

“The Trump administration has clearly prioritized North Korea. Not all of that attention has been helpful,” said Adam Mount, a North Korea expert and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. “The critical thing is now is that the United States does not cause more damage with its reaction than the test did itself.”

Workers Striking to Advocate for Higher Minimum Wage

IOWA  --  Across the nation and here in the metro, fast food and hospital workers are going on strike to protest the need for higher wages.

Protestors are demanding they be paid $15 an hour. Two rallies took place in the metro on Monday morning, one at the downtown Burger King and the other at a McDonald's on 6th and University. Protestors then marched from there to Mercy Medical Hospital.

Many attending the rally say two-thirds of Iowa corporations are making record profits and not rewarding employees who are on the front lines. One employee says $15 an hour would properly reflect the demands of the fast food industry.

"I feel like we deserve $15. Corporations is making all the big bucks, and we're the ones working hard, dealing with the public, and making sure the day run smooth. So I feel that we deserve $15, because I feel like the wages is not adding up with the cost of living."

A number of Iowa Congressional candidates will also be joining the cause. Rallies and walkouts are expected to take place in 300 cities throughout the nation on Monday.

Agriculture Supports Tax Reform

There are only a few details on President Donald Trump's proposal for tax reform, although he did offer broad ideas this last week.

However, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue offered support to the agenda, "Just as he has done with excessive and costly regulations, President Trump has focused on the problem of onerous and burdensome taxes. Most agricultural operations are, in fact, small businesses."

He says the time and costs associated with just complying with the tax code are hard for agriculture.

Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill agrees, he says there is an immediate need for general tax reform particularly is simplifying it.

Hill says, "We need tax reform that lowers rates in general but also improves the opportunity for people to take normal business deductions. For example, in agriculture, it might be an interest expense as a normal business deduction. Maintaining some of the accommodation for stepped up basis would be important for agriculture."

Hill and Perdue both add that the Estate Tax needs to be worked on because it makes it hard for farmers to pass their land off to the next generation.

President Declares Sunday National Day of Prayer for Harvey Victims and Responders

UNITED STATES  --  In response to seeing first-hand the devastation Hurricane Harvey left in the Gulf Coast region, President Trump declared Sunday a national day of prayer for the victims and relief volunteers.

In a written statement, the president urged Americans of "all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds to offer prayers today for all those harmed by Hurricane Harvey." He goes on to include first responders, law enforcement, military personnel, and medical professionals who have assisted in rescue efforts.

To mark the occasion, the president and first lady attended church services at St. John's Church across from the White House.

Melania Trump later tweeted, "Beautiful service today at St. John's. @potus and I wishing you many blessings on this National Day of Prayer."


ISU Football Community Pushing to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

AMES, Iowa  --  Cyclone Nation is coming together to support Hurricane Harvey victims, and some are doing more than just donating supplies.

ISU football player Brian Peavy's dream to help those in Texas became a reality on Saturday. Fans flocked to watch the ISU vs. UNI game, wasn't the only thing multiplying at Jack Trice: a donation pile of supplies to send to Hurricane Harvey victims was growing, too.

“Having the opportunity to contribute to the people in Houston and the effort down with Hurricane Harvey is giant," said ISU defensive end Vince Horras. "As a football team, we've got guys from the area, everybody's got family and friends down there, and we know that anything is appreciated."

ISU football partnered with Hy-Vee to carry out junior defensive back Brian Peavy's goal to help.

"We're always helpful, even though, like, they're Texas and we're Iowa and we're far away, we have stuff and we can help, so obviously as an Iowan I want to help people," said Ames resident Tori Swanson.

Kara Schoepfer is a Cyclone fan, and she’s not letting the nearly 1,000 miles between Iowa and Texas get in her way. After Saturday's game, she is headed to Texas to help her sister who lives in Houston, and who lost everything.

"We're going to help out any way we can down there, with the demolition of their house and trying to salvage what didn’t get destroyed," she said.

Schoepfer said helping Harvey victims is a great lesson for her kids, and not just Cyclone Nation but also people everywhere.

"I hope it's teaching them that they have a responsibility to help others in need," Schoepfer said.

Some say helping people in need is already a victory, no matter the outcome on the field.

Iowa Ag Community Helping Texas Livestock Farmers

ATLANTIC, Iowa  --  More and more Iowans are finding ways to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey, and on Saturday part of Iowa’s agriculture industry answered the call.

Kelly Decious was touched after seeing the harrowing images coming out of south Texas.

“We come from a livestock family, we raised our girls showing livestock, and we just put ourselves in their situation and thought if that were us, what would we need? If our farm was flooded, would we need feed, would we need hay?” said Decious.

Kelly and her husband founded the Livestock Family Support Organization. It may be just a Facebook networking page, but it's one that has organized a substantial relief effort for the livestock farmers of Texas.

Over 12 tons of supplies are headed down to Texas on Tuesday, many of which were gathered and donated by local FFA chapters.

“Without feed, they’re not going to make it in the next however many weeks it's going to last before they can go back to where they come from. And I'm sure a lot of them won’t be able to show at their fair and they've worked all summer long just to keep this animal,” said Andrew Schechinger of the Harlan FFA.

The Harlan FFA took the feed they've collected and dropped it off at Renew Ag Supply in Atlantic, where it will stay until being loaded onto a semi and sent to Texas.

“Random people are calling us saying, 'I want to buy ten bags of feed to send down,’ and it's just amazing that people that aren't necessarily tied to that just understand that that's what we're called to do. And it's a neat thing to be a part of that and be able to be a part of that vehicle to do that,” said Renew Ag Supply Owner Jim Skartvedt.

The Harlan FFA received donations from CAM FFA, ACGC FFA, Carroll FFA, Nodaway Valley FFA, Stoney Point FFA, Fremont Mills FFA, Corning FFA, and Griswold FFA.

Renew Ag Supply is accepting donations. Follow this link for more information:

To get in contact with the Livestock Family Support Organization, follow this link:

Livestock Family Support Organization Facebook page

From Katrina to Harvey: Honoré Reunites With Twins Saved 12 Years Ago

Watch Video

HOUSTON, Texas  —  Almost 12 years to the day after her babies nearly succumbed to the hellish aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Alexandra Wheeler finally got to thank the man she credits for saving their lives.

In the throes of another devastating flood, retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré arrived this week in Houston, where Wheeler and her boys put down roots after Katrina’s flood forced them from New Orleans.

Historic rain from the storm known as Harvey left Wheeler’s home unharmed this week. But the storm gave her an opportunity to tell Honoré what he has meant to her and sons, now almost teenagers, since they first encountered each other a dozen years ago.

“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you,” she told him.

Facing disaster a dozen years ago

It wasn’t Katrina that upended Alexandra Wheeler’s life in 2005. It was the aftermath, when the federal levees broke and Wheeler’s 3rd Ward neighborhood began to flood.

The rain had passed. The heat had returned. But the worst still lie ahead.

“We didn’t even know the levees were broken yet,” Wheeler recalled. “It was just like a spot of water on the ground that looked like just a pipe or something burst.”

“The water went from the middle of the street to the sidewalk, and then it got to the first floor of the house,” she said. That’s when she decided it was time to go.

Wheeler’s main concern was her twin boys. J’Mari and A’Mari Wheeler Reynolds were just 6 1/2 months old. She tried to load them into a stroller, but the current pulled it away. Mom and sons made it across the street to a friend’s fourth-floor apartment. There, they hunkered down with other neighbors, hoping the water soon would recede.

It didn’t.

So, in the morning, Wheeler started to make her way through the flood toward the Superdome, the boys strapped to her body in baby carriers — one in front, one in the back.

At one point, something in the murky water caught her foot. Fearing it could be a snake or an alligator, she hesitated. When she lifted her leg, the reality proved worse than what she had imagined.

“It was two bodies, collided,” Wheeler said. “Their arms were stretched out. They were full of water, and they raised up to the top from me lifting my leg up.”

Wheeler kept going. She reached the city’s convention center, which had developed into a makeshift shelter — without adequate provisions — on a sliver of high ground along the Mississippi River.

There — dehydrated, starving and exhausted — Wheeler and her boys waited, she said.

A savior arrives in camouflage

“We hadn’t eaten in, maybe, six days,” Wheeler recalled. “We hadn’t had any water or anything. I ran out of formula and food for them, so they were really hanging on by a thread.”

Desperate, Wheeler and few other people tried to walk from the convention center to Harrah’s casino, just a few blocks away, to find a way out of the city. Instead, they ran into military personnel who, with guns drawn, stopped them. Wheeler was terrified — and confused.

“We’re like, ‘We’re the victims. What are you pulling guns on us for?”” she recalled.

That’s when Wheeler first heard the voice of Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, the retired Army commander and Louisiana native dispatched to lead the Defense Department’s response to Hurricanes Katrina and, later, Rita.

“Put those weapons down, dammit!” he yelled at the troops in a moment now famous for recalibrating the military’s role in the disaster zone from enforcer to helper.

Honoré, dressed in his camouflage uniform, instantly became a savior to New Orleanians desperate for food, water and rescue. To Wheeler, he became the man who saved her boys.

CNN’s Barbara Starr was there in 2005 when Honoré encountered Wheeler and her twins, who by then were lethargic from too little nourishment and exposure to overwhelming heat.

‘We would have died’

“Grab the babies, c’mon!” Honoré said as he took the children from Wheeler and handed them off to soldiers. “C’mon, tiger. Let’s go!”

Honoré walked with the family to a US Coast Guard boat that took them to a Navy ship. There, they bathed and got clean clothes and food.

All told, Wheeler estimated that Honoré spent about four hours with her and her boys, whom he cradled in his arms.

If they hadn’t met, she said, “We would have died. There’s no question, we would have died.”

The family was airlifted to San Antonio. At a hospital there, it became clear just how much the babies’ health had deteriorated.

“They were completely dehydrated. Their veins — everything — it was really hard for them to put in IVs,” Wheeler said. “They were there for a week and a half. A’Mari actually coded blue, and then J’Mari went directly after him.”

12 years later, a reunion in Houston

A dozen years later, Wheeler kept one eye on the rain and the other on her sleeping boys as Harvey pushed through Houston. Unlike after Katrina, floodwater only came close to their apartment this time.

When news of Honoré’s arrival in Texas spread, Wheeler messaged him on social media — and he responded. They planned to meet.

When Wheeler’s twins saw the military man this week — their first encounter the boys will remember — they ran into his arms.

“Boy! You guys grew up in 12 years!” the lieutenant general said with a smile.

“I am so grateful to you for saving my children’s lives and my life,” their mother told him. “And there’s no way possible to pay you back for that. … We are eternally grateful to you for that. And I thank you for saving us because you didn’t have to do that.”

But Honoré wouldn’t take all the credit.

“I will take that hug, he said, “on behalf of all our military people that were there on the ground as first responders.”