KXEL Morning News for Thu. Jul. 09, 2020

KXEL Morning News for Thu. Jul. 09, 2020

Not long ago, GOP U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst challenged her Democrat challenger Theresa Greenfield to a series of six debates…two each in August, September, and October. But Greenfield has failed to agree to any terms, something Republican Party of Iowa chair Jeff Kaufmann says it’s part of an organized strategy including Greenfield avoiding public appearances and media interviews. Kaufmann’s comments came during a call with reporters earlier this week.

One person sustained non-life threatening injuries after a vehicle collided with a bicyclist. The Cedar Falls Public Safety Department says it happened Wednesday afternoon just after 12:30, at the intersection of 21st St. and Main St. A car collided with the a bicyclist in the intersection. The bicyclist, a juvenile, was taken to the hospital by ambulance with a non-life threatening injury to their lower body. Investigation continues.

Iowa’s executive branch has reported receiving 1.4 million donated surgical masks to help fight the coronavirus. Filings show the masks came from the Government of Taiwan and one of its U.S. offices, a Chinese auto parts conglomerate, a major apparel company and Iowa’s largest health insurer. In all, Gov. Kim Reynolds accepted pandemic-related supplies with an estimated total value of $1.33 million as gifts to the state. The most valuable came from Hanesbrands, the North Carolina-based clothing company, which gave 1.2 million of its surgical procedure masks. 

Fired Cedar Rapids Police Officer Lucas Jones has filed an appeal to his termination, a CRPD spokesperson confirmed to our coverage partners at Iowa’s News Now Wednesday. Jones was fired in late June for six violations connected to a traffic stop on October 30 of 2016. That is two days before Jones shot and paralyzed Cedar Rapids resident Jerime Mitchell near Coe College. CRPD did not release many details about the traffic stop Jones was fired for but did say he intentionally turned off an audio recording device and then lied about it. Jones says he gave a young black mother a break for driving with a suspended license. Jones said he believed he had the discretion to do so, saying it saved her up to $2,400 in fines and towing fees.

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors all agree, the namesake of Johnson County should change. On Wednesday, they took the first steps to accomplish that. Right now, it is named after Richard Mentor Johnson, the vice president to Martin Van Buren between 1837 and 1841. But Johnson was also an abusive slave owner. At Wednesday’s Johnson County Board of Supervisors meeting, board members agreed to move forward with a process to change the namesake to another person with the name Johnson.

The West Des Moines Dowling high school baseball team was ranked number one in the state…but the team’s season is over due to COVID-19. In fact, the rest of the season was cancelled for both Dowling’s baseball and softball teams after a positive COVID-19 test was reported for a member of the baseball program. The team played as recently as Tuesday night.

The Cedar Valley Arboretum has cancelled its 22nd annual Fall Harvest Festival. The event was scheduled to take place on September 12 and 13. The Fall Harvest Festival is the Cedar Valley Arboretum’s largest event of the season. Instead of focusing on one large event, committee members are planning smaller activities from September through October.

The race for U.S. Senate in Iowa has attracted national attention as Democrat Theresa Greenfield seeks to upset incumbent Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, who is completing her first term in office. Republican Party of Iowa chair Jeff Kaufmann told reporters earlier this week that the Greenfield record needs to be examined, but it’s hard when she won’t talk to reporters or agree to debates. 

An eastern Iowa summer school program has been moved from in-person to online after several students screened for coronavirus symptoms registered fevers this week. North Hill Elementary School in Burlington suspended its in-person summer school program on Tuesday after eight students showed up with temperatures of 100.4 degrees or higher. About 60 students attended the program, which began just the day before. Principal Mark Taylor says students were screened for symptoms and temperatures upon arrival to the building before getting out of the car. Officials say the district is working closely with Des Moines County Public Health to determine if or when the summer program can resume in-person instruction. 

A judge ordered probation for an Iowa businessman with deep ties to the Republican Party, saying he failed to show genuine remorse for assaulting a woman at his home last year. Judge Michael Huppert rejected a request by David Greenspon for a deferred judgment in the assault, which occurred last November. Instead, he said that Greenspon would be convicted of assault with intent to inflict serious injury, and the aggravated misdemeanor would stay on his record even if he successfully completes his one-year probation term. Greenspon is the owner of Competitive Edge, a Des Moines advertising supply company.