Category: Syndicated

1934 ISU Wrestling Champion Joins RVTV in Boone

BOONE, Iowa  --  This guy knows plenty about the Iowa-Iowa State rivalry ... he's seen nearly every matchup between the two schools.

On Wednesday night the RVTV crew was joined by Glen Yarger.  The 106-year-old is a former Iowa State wrestler who won the "Big Six Championship" back in 1934.  Glen says a lot has changed in the last century, but one thing about his beloved sport hasn't.

"Wrestling was the same then as it is now.  You just get in there and work," Yarger says.

ACLU Files Discrimination Lawsuit Against State

DES MOINES, Iowa — The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa has filed a lawsuit against the state. This comes after filing a complaint with the Civil Rights Commission in 2016.

The lawsuit is filed on behalf of Jesse Vroegh, a transgender man, and former nurse at the Mitchellville Women’s Prison.

The lawsuit claims that after his transition, Vroegh was not allowed to use the male restrooms and locker room facilities.

The lawsuit could be historic; after Iowa made it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their gender identity in 2007 this case will be its first test.

The lawsuit also names Wellmark as a defendant.

“The state of Iowa’s insurance had an exclusion for all transgender related care. So, all care, even when that same type of procedure is covered for cisgender employees was denied to transgender employees” said ACLU Legal Director Rita Bettis.

Vroegh is suing for damages related to emotional distress, mental anguish, and court fees.

He is also asking the judge that the state be compelled to immediately create an employee policy that provides equal treatment of employees regardless of gender identity, includes training for non-transgender people, and a healthcare program that does not exclude transgender people from coverage.

One Iowa, a state leader in LGBTQ rights says issues like bathroom use are not just important to an individual’s transition, it’s important to their well-being.

“When trans folks are forced to use a restroom or a locker room that doesn’t align with their gender identity often times they experience violence or harassment, and so these laws are really there to protect” said Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel, Executive Director of One Iowa.

Hoffman-Zinnel says creating a policy which includes transgender people is critical in the advancement of LGBTQ rights.

“Being out in the workplace is a scary thing for many LGBTQ folks but especially trans folks because of that fear of not knowing how their coworkers are going to treat them” said Hoffman Zinnel.

The department of corrections declined to comment on the matter.

Wellmark released a statement saying: “The State of Iowa sponsors and designs its own employee health benefit plan and Wellmark administered the plan according to the plan design.”

Animal Rescue League Returns with Dogs Affected By Hurricane Harvey

ANKENY, Iowa -- After a week in the Houston area a crew from the Animal Rescue League of Central Iowa returned to the metro with 17 dogs.

"They're doing fine. I think they are just happy to be out of the truck. That's a long trip for the dogs,” said Josh Colvin with the ARL, "We are helping animals, we are helping people. It's the best of both worlds.”

All of the pets were in shelters before Harvey hit and they needed to be moved to make room for other animals displaced when the storm him.  This the third such trip for Colvin.  “I think with this one, everything kind of came together and they knew that going in. People are getting reunited with their pets every day down there so that's a great thing to see,” said Colvin.

The dogs will be in quarantine for a few days to avoid spreading any diseases. After that they will be given a complete physical.  Colvin estimates that it will take two weeks to complete this process and the pets will be up for adoption shortly after.

Along with bringing the dogs to Iowa, the ARL also helped storm damaged shelters rebuild.  "Well the one we were at didn't have power or water at all. So we were having to truck water in and get generators. That is where we helped the most.  Trying to get everything set up as an animal shelter,” said Colvin.

Colvin and his team won’t get much rest, they are already planning a trip to Florida to help before Irma hits land.

Hurricane Irma Blamed For At Least Two Deaths So Far in Caribbean

PUERTO RICO  —  Hurricane Irma — one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic — is battering the northern Virgin Islands and hurtling toward Puerto Rico on Wednesday afternoon after smashing a string of small northern Caribbean islands, where at least two people were killed.

Irma’s core slammed Barbuda early Wednesday before moving over St. Martin and Anguilla and parts of the British Virgin Islands. Its maximum sustained winds of 185 mph were well above the 157 mph threshold of a Category 5 storm.

Irma’s powerful center could pass just north of Puerto Rico — a US territory of about 3.4 million people — on Wednesday afternoon and night, threatening heavy rain and dangerous coastal storm surges, forecasters said.

CNN’s Leyla Santiago, in the capital of San Juan, said there were already power outages as strong winds lashed the island and the center of the storm moved just off the northeast coast.

Hurricane Irma: Live updates

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló urged Puerto Ricans in flood-prone areas to head to designated shelters.

“Please allow us to help you seek refuge in shelter, and let people know the priority is to weather the storm (and) seek safe haven,” Rossello said.

On Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands, Kennedy Banda said fierce winds blew out the windows of his home Wednesday afternoon. He and his family were taking shelter in a bathroom; he said he was bracing his body against the door in an attempt to keep it shut.

“Everything is blown out,” he told CNN by phone near Road Town. “Everything is gone.”

Earlier, he posted video on Facebook showing wind and pounding rain whipping the shoreline as Irma’s core approached.

The hurricane earlier Wednesday battered a string of northern Caribbean island nations, situated east of the more populous Virgin Islands group and Puerto Rico.

Early reports suggested damage on parts of the smaller islands — a tropical region popular with tourists.

Barbuda, home to about 1,600 people, was “so badly damaged that there is no communication” from the island, said Keithley Meade, director of a meteorological office in Antigua and Barbuda.

“We have a lot of broken trees across the island,” Meade said from Antigua, whose 80,000 people comprise most of the two-island nation’s population.

Irma destroyed four of the most solid government buildings on the French-administered portion of nearby St. Martin, an island of about 75,000 people, French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said Wednesday in Paris.

It’s likely that all other older buildings there have at least been damaged, he said.

Roughly 10 of these smaller islands — such as St. Martin, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis — were pounded by hurricane conditions. One, Guadeloupe, has about 405,000 residents. The rest have about 264,400 people combined.

Latest developments

— At least two people died and two others were seriously injured in the islands of St. Barts and St. Martin, French Overseas Affairs Minister Annick Girardin said.

— Around 2 p.m. ET Wednesday, Irma’s core was spinning about 90 miles east of San Juan, Puerto Rico, with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph.

— In the US Virgin Islands, Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp ordered a 36-hour curfew that started at 6 a.m. local time Wednesday.

— On Thursday, Irma is likely to be near the Dominican Republic’s and Haiti’s northern coasts. That night, it is expected to be near the Turks and Caicos islands and the southeastern Bahamas, where storm surges of up to 20 feet are possible, the hurricane center said.

— It’s too early to tell whether it will make landfall on the US mainland. Computer models show it could churn near Florida’s east coast by late Sunday, and forecasters warn the core still could hit the Florida peninsula.

— In Broward County, Florida, a mandatory evacuation will go into effect at noon Thursday for areas east of Federal Highway, Mayor Barbara Sharief said. The evacuation zone includes low-lying areas and mobile homes in the county, which includes Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and Pompano Beach and Deerfield Beach.

— Floridians should heed any evacuation order, Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday. “(A) storm surge could cover your house. We can rebuild homes — we cannot rebuild your family,” he said.

— Several high-profile sports games have been postponed in Florida because of the storm, including NFL’s Buccaneers-Dolphins match that had been scheduled for Sunday in Miami.

‘We’ve been hiding in the bathroom’

Virginia Barreras told CNN she was riding out the storm on St. Martin in a “sanctuary hotel” where tourists and locals were encouraged to check in before the eye wall hit.

“The palm trees are bent over and (I) can’t see anything but white,” she said early Wednesday, before Irma’s core passed. “The walls shake when the wind blows hard, and we can hear debris being thrown around.

Though Irma’s path is uncertain, forecasters have said it could turn toward Florida over the weekend, and officials there are ordering some evacuations and shutting down schools.

Irma affected many northern Caribbean islands Wednesday, even those not touched by the powerful core. In Marigot, Guadeloupe, Florida resident Loren Ann Mayo rode out the storm on the sixth floor of a beachside hotel.

“We’ve been hiding in the bathroom,” she said in a video she posted to Facebook. About an inch of water covered parts of the floor, and pieces of drywall had fallen onto a balcony and a bed inside, she said.

Mayo was there on a business trip. “It is pouring down rain. It is howling,” she told CNN. “Most people are either in their bathroom, or they’ve been moved downstairs to the third floor where management thinks is a very, very safe spot.”

Islands under hurricane warning include Anguilla, Puerto Rico, the US and British Virgin Islands, St. Barts, parts of northern Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Puerto Rico: Long lines

Storm surge is a concern for the Virgin Islands (up to 11 feet) and Puerto Rico (up to 5 feet), as is heavy rain (up to 10 inches in the Virgin Islands, and up to 15 in parts of Puerto Rico).

Rosselló, Puerto Rico’s governor, declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard.

Puerto Ricans bracing for the high-octane winds and slashing rainfall started to feel Irma’s effects Wednesday afternoon. Strong breezes shook rickety, rooftops and downpours battered the coast.

CNN journalists driving in San Juan didn’t see any other cars, other than a few police vehicles. The trees swayed violently.

Residents prepped their homes for safety and gathered food supplies and belongings.

Lines snaked around stores as people purchased water, food, plywood, batteries and power generators.

Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas

Forecasters warn that Irma’s likely path will be near the Turks and Caicos Islands on Thursday and the southeastern Bahamas on Friday — and that the destruction could be devastating.

In the Bahamas, emergency evacuations have been ordered for six southern islands — Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay and Ragged Island.

“This is the largest such evacuation in the history of the country,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said.

Bahamian officials also canceled vacation time for police and defense forces.

“Some of the (Bahamian) islands aren’t more than 9 feet (above sea level). Storm surges there may be 20 feet. You get the idea what’s going to happen to those islands,” CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.

Florida: Evacuations and a rush for supplies

Many Floridians spent Wednesday stocking up on food or making plans to head inland — and in some cases were leaving gas stations out of fuel and stores without needed supplies.

Katherine Pina said four stores she visited in Fort Lauderdale were out of bottled water. She said she saw one man reselling jugs of water for $5.

“People are doing an opportunity to get some money, I guess,” she said.

Workers at five gas stations in Miami Beach told CNN by phone Wednesday that all were out of fuel. One said the station expected to receive more Wednesday night; another said a resupply was coming Thursday morning.

Some South Florida communities ordered evacuations. Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys, ordered visitors to head home Wednesday, with residents told to leave later in the evening.

In Broward County, which includes Fort Lauderdale and other cities north of Miami, a mandatory evacuation will go into effect at noon Thursday for areas east of Federal Highway, Mayor Barbara Sharief said. The evacuation zone includes low-lying areas.

Miami-Dade County has not issued an evacuation order yet, Mayor Carlos Giménez said, because officials believe they have time to watch where the storm will go. But schools and county offices will be closed Thursday and Friday.

After declaring a state of emergency across Florida, the governor said President Donald Trump had “offered the full resources of the federal government.”

Scott also ordered 7,000 National Guard troops to report for duty by Friday morning.

“Learn your evacuation zone. Listen to your locals,” he said. “This storm has the potential to devastate this state. You have to take this seriously.”

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Jose, in the open Atlantic far to the southeast of Irma, is expected to become a hurricane by Wednesday night.

“Interests in the Leeward Islands should monitor the progress of Jose,” the National Hurricane Center said.

Iowa Joins Lawsuit Challenging President Trump’s Action on DACA

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  Attorney General Tom Miller on Wednesday joined 15 other attorneys general in filing a federal lawsuit against President Trump’s decision to rescind protections for undocumented immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA.

The program, instituted by an executive order by President Barack Obama, protects thousands of immigrants from deportation.  To be eligible for the protection an immigrant must have been brought to the US when they were 16 or younger and lived here before 2007.

On Tuesday the Trump administration announced the program would end in six months and challenged Congress to take action to address those covered under the program, known as “Dreamers.”

“DACA has protected hundreds of thousands of young people, including nearly 2,800 here in Iowa, who arrived illegally as children, grew up following the rules, and are very much a part of our fabric,” Attorney General Tom Miller said in a statement Wednesday, “Our lawsuit alleges the Trump administration’s action to dismantle DACA violates peoples’ due process, denies them equal protection under our constitution, and causes ‘immediate harm’ to those whom DACA is intended to protect.”

In the last five years the US government has approved protection from deportation under DACA for more than 800,000 immigrants.

9/11 Tribute Trail to Return to Gray’s Lake Park Next Week

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  The lives lost in the terrorist attacks on September 11th will again be honored at Gray’s Lake Park this year on the 16th anniversary of the hijackings.

Beginning Friday morning 2,977 individual flags, one for each innocent life lost in the attacks, will be placed in the lawn on the North side of Gray’s Lake Park.  The flags will remain in place through the weekend and all day on Monday, September 11th.  They will be removed on Tuesday evening.

The city hosts the memorial every year to put the loss from the terrorist attacks in perspective and to offer residents a place to quietly reflect on the somber day.

Hurricane Irma Hours Away From Hitting Caribbean Islands as Category 5 Storm

MIAMI, Florida  —  As Floridians cleared supermarkets of bottled water and emptied gas pumps, people in the northeastern Caribbean were making last minute-preparations before powerful Hurricane Irma hit their islands.

Late Tuesday, the massive Category 5 storm was almost upon islands like Antigua and Barbuda with near-record 185 mph sustained winds. In its 11 p.m. ET advisory, the US National Hurricane Center said the eye of the hurricane was 50 miles from the two islands.

The center of the storm was moving to the west-northwest at 15 mph.

The hurricane center said the extremely dangerous core of Irma would hit the northern Leeward Islands — which include Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Anguilla — Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

It’s too early to tell whether the storm will make landfall on the US mainland, but forecasts show it could turn toward Florida over the weekend.

Forecasters’ most immediate concerns are for the people of the northeastern Caribbean, the hurricane center’s Michael Brennan said.

“Anguilla, all the way toward (Antigua and) Barbuda, all the way up even toward the British Virgin Islands (are) in grave danger of an eye wall hit at (at least) 150 mph — that devastates the island, no matter what island it is,” CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said Tuesday.

Those islands are under hurricane warnings, as are Puerto Rico, the US and British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Martin/St. Maarten, and St. Barts.

One Twitter user in St. Barts posted a photo of rain coming down and winds beginning to sway the leaves of the palm trees Tuesday evening.

The hurricane center warned the storm is “potentially catastrophic,” especially if the worst conditions hit islands at high tides.

Track the storm here

Fishermen get boats out of water

Irma’s forecast track currently has it near or over Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Anguilla by early Wednesday, and the British and US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday afternoon.

The Dominican Republic issued a hurricane warning Tuesday evening that included coastal cities from Cabo Engaño to the northern border with Haiti.

Preparations to protect life and property in those areas “should be rushed to completion,” the hurricane center said in an 11 p.m. ET advisory.

“We could see storm surges of 7 to 11 feet — that’s certainly life-threatening — and very, very heavy flooding rainfall” in the far northeastern Caribbean islands as well as winds that could cause catastrophic damage near the eye wall, Brennan said.

Hurricane warnings are issued to areas that are expected to experience hurricane-force winds (at least 74 mph).

Read: Hurricane Irma could be next weather disaster

On Antigua, home to roughly 80,000 people, fishermen used machines to lift their boats onto docks and other residents flocked to stores to stock up on food and other supplies ahead of the storm, video broadcast by ABS TV Antigua and distributed by Reuters shows.

The US Virgin Islands, with about 100,000 people, declared a state of emergency Tuesday and ordered the National Guard into active service.

John Klein, owner of White Bay Villas & Seaside Cottages on Jost Van Dyke island in the British Virgin Islands, told CNN they were rebooking the guests.

“We have backups for (our utilities), but in a storm of this magnitude it’s not best for the guests to be there because they may get stuck,” he said.

Computer models show the system possibly near the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands on Thursday and Friday, and Cuba on Friday and Saturday — and potentially turning north toward Florida by the weekend.

Puerto Rico: Long lines

Hundreds of people rushed to the stores, emptying shelves of food and drinking water just as Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard on Monday.

For hours, people also lined up outside hardware stores hoping to get plywood, batteries and power generators. If Irma knocks out power, Puerto Ricans said they are worried it would take weeks or months before the power is restored.

“It (power) is something absolutely necessary, especially due to Puerto Rico’s weather. We need to have the A/C or a fan on all night,” a woman told CNN affiliate WAPA.

Last month, the director of Puerto Rico’s power utility, Ricardo Ramos Rodríguez, said several factors have made the island’s electric system “vulnerable and fragile,” WAPA reported.

One of those is the shortage of employees. Many workers recently retired or left their jobs for better prospects on the US mainland, Ramos Rodríguez said.

Public schools and officials at the University of Puerto Rico campuses have canceled classes, and many businesses are closed.

“Make a U-turn and die in the ocean, Irma. The Caribbean islands don’t need more problems!” Twitter user mujertropical wrote about the storm.

Getting ready in the Sunshine State

While Irma’s exact path is uncertain, Florida — where storm-wary shoppers were standing in long lines outside some stores Tuesday — is bracing for the storm.

Miami-Dade County will start evacuating special-needs residents on Wednesday, and may announce other evacuations soon, Mayor Carlos Gimenez said.

“I would rather inconvenience our residents” with evacuations than suffer loss of life, Gimenez said.

Schools and county offices are to be closed on Thursday and Friday.

And the state’s Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys, said it will order visitors to evacuate by sunrise Wednesday, and residents should begin to evacuate 12 hours later.

In Florida, people were standing in lines at stores to buy water and other goods on Tuesday.

In Miami, supermarkets and other stores were already selling out of water and nonperishable food.

“I’ve been through hurricanes and they’re like ‘Oh it’s going to hit right here’ and then it hits 30, 40 miles up the coast and it kind of changes the way everything goes, so better safe than sorry,” Greg Andrews told CNN affiliate WPLG.

The lines at Costco in Pembroke Pines appeared to be several hours long, Javier Aragon tweeted.

In Clearwater, along Florida’s Gulf Coast, a Publix store still was selling six-packs of water but had run out of larger cases, Carrie Hart said. Hart told CNN that workers there were trying to calm shoppers.

On Twitter, she described a “mad run” on the remaining six-packs.

“@publix is out of cases. Expecting more tonight. Store 1300. They are doing their best people. Calm down,” she tweeted.

Irma could head to Florida by the weekend, Myers said Tuesday.

“Just tremendous damage if we get this storm, this big, over parts of Florida,” Myers said.

After declaring a state of emergency across Florida, Gov. Rick Scott said President Donald Trump had “offered the full resources of the federal government as Floridians prepare for Hurricane Irma.”

White House Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert tweeted that the President had declared emergencies for Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Scott also ordered 7,000 National Guard troops to report for duty by Friday morning. Of those, 100 were activated Tuesday to begin helping with preparations, he said.

“I cannot stress this enough. Get prepared,” Scott said at a news conference. “Learn your evacuation zone. Listen to your locals. This storm has the potential to devastate this state. You have to take this seriously.”

Near-record winds

Irma has become one of the strongest storms recorded in the Atlantic, and is threatening to slam into Caribbean islands including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with “potentially catastrophic” force on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Irma was churning west Tuesday evening in the Atlantic with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph — well above the 157 mph threshold for a Category 5, the hurricane center said.

The last storm with sustained winds that strong in the Atlantic was 2005’s Hurricane Wilma, which weakened before it brushed Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, turned right and crossed Florida. Irma’s Atlantic wind speeds are behind only 1980’s Hurricane Allen, which peaked at 190 mph at sea.

US Navy to evacuate 5,000 as military preps for hurricane

Why Irma could be especially intense

Irma is a classic “Cape Verde hurricane,” meaning it formed in the far eastern Atlantic, near the Cape Verde Islands (now known as the Cabo Verde Islands), before tracking all the way across the Atlantic, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.

And Cape Verde storms frequently become some of the largest and most intense hurricanes. Examples include Hurricane Hugo, Hurricane Floyd and Hurricane Ivan.

Another storm, Tropical Storm Jose, is 1,500 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.

“Interests in the Leeward Islands should monitor the future progress of Jose,” the hurricane center said.

Dreamer Reacts to End of DACA

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Monica Reyes is the lead activist for DREAM Iowa, a statewide organization that supports the rights of immigrants. DREAM Iowa began as a Facebook group in 2012 in response to DACA, and is now in the process of becoming a 501(c)(3).

"I'm a dreamer," said Reyes. "I was brought here when I was three years old from Mexico and I have been here since then. I'm now 26, almost 27, and in 2012 I was able to apply for DACA."

Reyes says the application became available in August of 2012, and by October she was granted deferred action. After that, Reyes got a social security number, a driver's license, and a work permit. Reyes has done well here in Iowa, and says she's appreciative of the DACA program for the doors it opened for her.

"Within the first year I was able to buy a house, and then years after that I was able to finish my education at the University of Northern Iowa and I started my career," said Reyes. "Right now I'm a mortgage lender here in the Des Moines area, and I get to help people achieve the American dream."

And that's what Reyes wants not only for other dreamers, but for all undocumented immigrants.

"Who doesn't want hard working people that want a better future for their families to be part of this country and contribute?" said Reyes.

President Trump's decision to end DACA did not take Reyes by surprise. She expected this day would come and says even when she applied for deferred action she always knew DACA was a temporary fix, because it was an executive order and not a legislative solution. That's why she's hoping President Trump's decision to end DACA will present an opportunity for Congress to finally come up with a more comprehensive solution.

"Why not fix the broken immigration system that we have as a country," said Reyes. "Why not fix it so that it is more elastic and efficient?"

Governor Says Sale of Cedar Rapids Business Could Benefit Iowa

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa  --  Governor Reynolds says the sale of Cedar Rapids-based Rockwell Collins could benefit Iowa.

Rockwell Collins is one of Iowa's biggest employers. United Technologies, based in Connecticut, is acquiring the company for $30 billion, and it will now be called Collins Aerospace Systems.

Governor Reynolds says there is little overlap between the two companies. Rockwell Collins makes interior cabin parts and cockpit technology, while United Technologies makes engines, wheels, and propellers. The governor also says the sale could eventually lead to an expansion of business in Iowa.

The deal still has to be approved by federal regulators.