Des Moines County, Iowa News #4
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Siren test Wed*

September 2 2011

The cities of Burlington, West Burlington, Yarmouth and Middletown will test their outdoor warning sirens at 6 p.m. today.
The sirens will activate for two minutes, be silent for five minutes then be reactivated before being shut down.
There also will be a concurrent test of the Mediacom cable emergency warning system.
If severe weather is threatening, the test will be cancelled.
For questions, call the Emergency Management office at (319) 753-8206.

Local emergency panel brought back to life

October 12 2012

Chairwoman: 'My goal is to make our community a safer place to live and work.'

WEST BURLINGTON - For the first time in 13 years, the Des Moines County Local Emergency Planning Committee met Thursday morning.
Now that the organization has been brought back to life, it can apply for state grants, such as the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness grant.
"My goal is to make our community a safer place to live and work, and to be prepared for local emergencies," said Gina Hardin, who was appointed chairwoman during the meeting.
Not to be confused with the Des Moines County Emergency Management Agency, of which Hardin is coordinator, the committee's goals are to put an emergency plan in place to address chemical accidents; coordinate local and state personnel during emergencies; and keep the public informed about the state of hazardous chemicals in the county.

Hardin invited a mix of public officials and private business owners who use hazardous chemicals, and the meeting at Great River Medical Center was attended by representatives from the Burlington, West Burlington, Mediapolis and Danville fire departments; the Des Moines County Sheriff's office; American Ordnance; Big River Resources; U.S. Gypsum; Hawkeye Pedershaab Concrete in Mediapolis; the Des Moines County Chapter of the American Red Cross; The Hawk Eye; Des Moines County Public Health; Alliant Energy; Champion Spark Plug Co.; Burlington Municipal Waterworks; the West Burlington Public Works Department; River Valley Cooperative in Sperry; and the Salvation Army.
Hardin noted 90 to 95 percent of the resources needed for an emergency come from the private sector.
"This really needs to be a communitywide effort," she said. "You can do more pre-planning if you know what kind of chemicals are out there. You have a right to know what's in the community."
Burlington Fire Department Battalion Chief Ken Morris was appointed vice chairman, and Des Moines County Public Health director Barb Baker was selected secretary/treasurer.
Unlike the Des Moines County Emergency Management Agency, the committee is not a response agency and does not manage county agencies. But many of the duties are similar.
"There is a lot of overlap," Hardin said.
After nominating officials, the committee decided to give the officers one-year terms and will discuss dividing those positions between private and public officials and extending the terms in future years.
Noble Boyd, who sat on the previous emergency planning committee, said dividing the roles between public officials and private business owners who deal with hazardous chemicals is vital to maintaining interest and sharing knowledge for potential emergency situations.
"I was on (the emergency committee) before, and I watched it die," he said. "People quit coming to the meetings. If you put all public sector people in there, then the private sector isn't interested."
Boyd helped organize a number of exercises about possible chemical disasters when he was part of the original committee and was excited to get started again Wednesday morning.
"We had three live exercises, and our goal was to identity what the risks were and do some sort of simulation for the police and the fire departments," he said.
Though the committee is required to meet only twice a year, Morris suggested meeting at least quarterly, and the next meeting tentatively is set for January. He also stressed the need for transparency when it comes to divulging how much of a hazardous chemical a business works with, since a chemical disaster easily could spread over Burlington and West Burlington.
"We don't do things in a vacuum. When things happen, it affects more than the company," Morris said. "The more we work together, the better off we're going to be."

Good day to Call

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The weather cooperated with auctioneer Paul Smith as he called an estate sale outdoors Saturday at 1817 Highland Ave. in Burlington. The high of 38 degrees brought out a good crowd. The house for $15,750.

February 3 1997

In the holiday mood*

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Dan Smith, Burlington, puts up Christmas decorations Friday afternoon in his yard at 824 Parkway Drive, Smith and his wife, Donna, were taking advantage of Friday's sunny weather to get some of outdoor holiday decorations up. Smith, who puts up 3,000 to 3,500 lights, estimates it takes the couple 40 hours to complete the job. The lights will be from Thanksgiving to New Year.

November 16 1998

Treasure hunters*

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Janet Ulrich of West Burlington hunt for deals Saturday at a sidewalk sale outside the Dollie Hamler Antique Store, 511 Jefferson St., Burlington.
Danny Smith
Auctions by Smith

May 21 2006

Day of the Child Brings Resources to Parents*

March 24 2014

Help and fun in one stop

Annual Day of the Child event brings a variety of resources to area parents.

West Burlington-Westland Mall became a one-stop shop for parenting Sunday.
While researching various resources would typically require parents to crisscross the community, the 26th annual Day of the Child provided Burlington-area parents a chance to see what is available by bringing a variety of programs under one roof.
Throughout the day, children were exposed to arts and crafts activities, free books and toothbrushes, and new games, while parents were able to discover different resources and programs in the area, as wall as sign up for insurance through the Affordable Heath Care Act.
Tamee DeCouresey, the event's founder and program assistant for the Community Action Family Child Care Program, said the idea of bringing resources together was born as she tried to find services for her daughter.
"I started Day of the Child when I was a child-care provider doing work at home," she said. "I was having trouble finding resources, so I thought man there's got to be a better way to find and access services than by calling around on the phone."
Parents, such as Alyssa Crockett, said they were taking full advantage of the event.
"Just finding out about sources in the community and around town to nice, because its not always easy to find something just driving around or even asking," said the Burlington mother of three. "It's nice to have everything in one place." Crockett said the event offered her children important hands-on lessons.
"I like seeing all the emergency resources and letting the kids be aware of what the equipment looks like and what the different departments are," she said. DeCouresey said the event is created for parents and children to learn together.
"It's just awesome to see parents and kids coming out and playing together and being together in a friendly environment," she added.
Groups attending the annual Day of the Child varied from agencies providing for the health and safety of prenatal mothers to organizations offering help with drug and substance abuse issues.
Great River Medical Center Educator Sherry Blanchard said each year her group has tried to educate parents on healthy lifestyle choices for their children.
"We're here to educate parents about childhood obesity and some of the solutions," she said. "Parents find out how much sugar and fat are in some food and they're usually pretty surprised."
Other organizations, such as the Girl Scouts, also attended to let the community know what they do.
"We're out here pretty much to interact with the community," said Jennifer Lepore, regional membership manager of the Girl Scouts.
According to DeCouresey, about 30 organizations participate in Day of the Child each year and some help by donating items to hand out.
"The Kiwanis this year raised money so they could buy books that could be handed out to children," DeCouresey said. "Everything here is free." Day of the Child is held each year at the Westland Mall in March or April.
Click the Pictures to make to biggerJaxson Huston, 3, of Burlington is helped by Sherry Blanchard, an Great River Health Systems educator, while he plays a game Sunday during the Day of  the Child event at Westland Mall in West Burlington. Blanchard was encouraging children to stay active and warning them about unhealthy food.

Sofia Weyer, 8 , of Burlington makes a "Potion" at a Community Action booth Sunday during the Day of the Child event at Westland Mall.

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Run for Fun*

April 12 2014

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Pictures by Ryan Smith
Des Moines County (CERT)
Great River Health Systems - Beaster Bunny 5k

Pie-eating contest brings sticky smiles to Fourth*

July 4 2014

West Burlington Fourth of July celebration sees surge of people as result of flood.

WEST BURLINGTON — For the second year in a row, 10-year-old Ty Carr from Danville brought his A-game to the pie-eating contest at the West Burlington Fourth of July Celebration. With friends and relatives cheering him on, Carr defended his title in the 8- to 12-year-old age group. He " finished his 20-ounce cherry pie in about " five minutes. As 12 contestants vied for the title in his age group, his mother, Eva Carr, could be heard offering advice to her son.
“Just swallow it, don’t chew it,” she screamed, a large smile creasing her face. “You got it, Ty, just keep going.” Afterward, with cherry " filling covering most of his face, Ty Carr said the pie-eating contest was something he just has fun doing, but only once a year.

“It was actually easier this year,” he said of defending his title. “Cherry pie is easier to swallow because the cherries are a lot smaller than the apples in the pies last year.”
Carr said he definitely will be back to defend his title next year.
“I’m not going to train,” he said. “I didn’t train this year. I just showed up and did my best. ... And this year’s pie really tasted good.”
The pie-eating contest, in its second year at the celebration, again drew a large amount of interest from people of all ages.

In addition to the contest, throngs of children and adults crowded Broadway Street to watch two parades, a talent show, sing karaoke, smash cars, sample various delights from dozens of food booths, listen to a wide range of music and view a spectacular fireworks display that ended the day’s festivities.
Prior to the fireworks extravaganza, the musical groups Revision, a high-energy party band, and the Blooze Brothers, a 12-piece show band that covers a wide range of musical styles, entertained the crowd.
Rod Crowner, a West Burlington City Council member and one of the celebration’s founding members, was ecstatic.
“It is definitely going to be big,” he said of this year’s celebration. “Probably the biggest crowd ever. With Fort Madison canceling its !reworks show and the fact most people who normally are on the river for the Fourth of July can’t be this year because of the "flooding, it’s going to be big.”
Crowner and West Burlington Police Chief Frank Newberry estimated the crowds to be anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 people. However, both agreed it could be more because it is impossible to gauge just how many people attended the all-day festivities because tickets are not sold.
“I know it’s grown into a monster,” Crowner said of the celebration. “It just has a great, small-town, family atmosphere. People can come and, except for the food and drinks they buy, everything is free: the music, entertainment and fireworks.”
The celebration began with the 6:30 a.m. pancake breakfast that drew almost 2,000 people and ended with the 10 p.m. fireworks display, organizers said.
Crowner said another reason the celebration continues to grow is people in the area plan their Fourth of July celebrations around it.

“We are discovering that people who used to live in the area, but have moved away, are coming back for the Fourth of July,” he said. “They are making it part of their summer vacation plans.”
While the largest portion of the crowd began arriving late in the afternoon to grab the best seats for the fireworks display, Crowner said it also was the largest
daytime crowd he had seen. He said everything seemed to be working beautifully, especially the weather.
However, the pie-eating contest drew the largest and most vocal crowd of the afternoon.
The contest, divided into three age groups — 8 to 12, 13 to 17 and 18 and older — required all contestants to consume the pies made without using utensils while sitting on their hands.
Ty Carr was the only person who tried to defend his title. Winners in the other two categories, Ryley Turner, 16, and Chase Phelps, 26, both of Burlington, won their respective age groups. It was the first time they had entered eating contests.
“I wasn’t even going to get into it,” Phelps said. “I was kind of forced into it. It was pretty tough, but I think I may have to come back next year and defend
my title.”
Each winner received a trophy and $25 gift certificate. Newberry said the celebration was going smoothly, with no major problems reported during the day’s activities.
“Except for the parking, which is always a problem, we’ve not had any issues at all,” he said. “Everyone just seems to be enjoying each other’s company. It’s just the type of event we want here in West Burlington. It makes you proud to be a part of a small town.”

With the remains of a cherry pie on his face, 10-year-old Ty Carr of West Burlington defended his title in the pie-eating contest 8- to 12-year-old age group Friday at the West Burlington Fourth of July Celebration.

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Eric Hanks of Burlington holds the American fag while walking
in the West Burlington Fourth of July parade Friday in West

Severe Weather Spotter Course

February 24 2015

Aldo Leopold Middle School 3075 Sunnyside Burlington, Ia

by Ryan Smith

Burlington photographer accused of sexually abusing teenage customers

May 6 2015

The owner of a photography studio in Burlington, Iowa has been accused of sexually abusing multiple teenage customers.

Teenage girls who had been photographed at Daisy Frames Photography Studios were contacted via phone, text and social media and were told that if they helped out at the business they would get a discount on their photos, according to a statement from Lt. Jeff Klein with the Burlington Police Department.

The studio owner, 40-year-old Christopher Lee King, gave the girls alcohol and drove them to places in rural Des Moines County “where he would require them to “play” sexually oriented games,” Lt. Klein said.  While this was going on, King reportedly fondled the girls and exposed his genitalia to them.

Investigators received multiple reports about this by concerned parents in early February 2015, according to the statement.   Detectives searched King’s business and home finding evidence that was consistent with the reports from victims.

King was arrested on Wednesday, May 6 and charged with two counts of third degree sexual abuse, dissemination/exhibition of obscene materials to minors, indecent exposure, assault/penetration of genitalia or anus with an object, assault, and three counts of supplying alcohol to minors, Klein’s statement said. King was held in the Des Moines County Jail without bond awaiting a court appearance.

Update May 8 2015

Sexual Predator Chris King Remains in Jail
$63,500 Cash Only Bond to Protect Community
More Victims of Sexual Predator Coming Forward

According to court papers former Burlington City Councilman Chris King has admitted to "engaging in sexual acts with several teenage girls."
Court records say King used alcohol to further his depravity.

Burlington Iowa Police Department
Community · 3,410 Likes
May 6 at 3:57pm


Date: May 06, 2015

On February 07, 2015, Burlington detectives were notified by multiple concerned parents that their daughters had been sexually abused. Investigation revealed that area teens had been photographed at Daisy Frames Photography Studios in Burlington.
After the initial sitting, the teen girls were repeatedly contacted through phone, text message and social media accounts. The girls were led to believe that a discount would be given on their photos, if they provided assistance at the studio.
The owner of the studio, CHRISTOPHER LEE KING, provided alcoholic beverages to teen girls and subsequently drove them to locations in rural Des Moines County, where he would require them to “play” sexually oriented games. During these encounters, KING is reported to have forcibly fondled these girls and exposed his genitalia to the victims.
Detectives conducted search warrants at KING’S residence and business and located multiple items that corroborated accounts that had been provided by the victims.
Burlington detectives obtained ten (10) arrest warrants for KING and took him into custody at his residence this afternoon without incident.
This expansive investigation has required a single detective to log more than 500 hours on this case alone. 
While multiple victims have been identified, the investigation is ongoing and additional charges are anticipated. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact the Criminal Investigation Division at the Burlington Police Department. 
KING is being held in the Des Moines County Jail, without bond, pending a morning court appearance. Charging information is listed below.





Lt Jeff Klein

Questions regarding this release can be referred to the Criminal Investigation Division between the hours of 9:00am and 3:00pm at (319)753-8370

All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Chris King Guilty of Felony Sexual Assault
Iowa's Most Prolific Sexual Predator Headed to Prison
Former Burlington councilman Chris King was found guilty Thursday of three felony counts of sexual abuse involving the assault of four teenager girls.
King showed no outward emotion when the verdict was read by District Judge John Linn.
The trial date for King's second felony sexual assault trial has not been set.
The charade is over.

August 12 2016

Des Moines County Emergency Manager Clears Up Storm Siren Confusion

By Rob Sussman | June 26, 2015

Recent Severe Weather has drummed up questions about the Storm Siren system in Des Moines County.

Those questions arose following three severe weather systems that moved through Southeast Iowa this week. The storm sirens only sounded for the storm that occurred on Saturday.

Des Moines County Emergency Management Coordinator Gina Hardin says that the situations under which the storm sirens will sound are very specific, and unless a storm reaches that threshold, they won’t sound.

“We activate the sirens in the event that there are 70 mile and hour winds during a thunderstorm, a tornado, or golf ball sized hail. We see those as life threatening situations, and that’s when we activate the siren,” Hardin told KBUR.

The threats are determined either when the National Weather Service issues an alert or if they receive information for a law enforcement or emergency official indicating the threat.

Des Moines County has 12 separate storm sirens, all of which, with the exception of the sirens in Danville, are triggered by DESCOM emergency dispatch.

The sirens aren’t foolproof. Sirens in Des Moines County are linked in to the electrical grid and do not have battery backups…so when the power goes out, so do the storm sirens.

Hardin says the sirens primary focus is to warn people who are outside to get indoors, not necessarily to warn those inside to take cover. Those inside should tune to local media outlets or listen to weather radio for their weather information.

“If you’re indoors, with the way houses are built now…you can live close to a siren and not hear it. If you’re watching TV, your air conditioner’s on, or you’re running the vacuum, you aren’t going to hear it,” Hardin said.

“All Clear” signals do not sound from the warning sirens. They fire in two minute long bursts with five minutes in between those bursts.

For more information about the storm siren system, vist, online.

Airlines, pilots see bright future for Iowan's invention

Sunday, January 30, 1994
Des Moines Sunday Register
The wing sensor helps detect dangerous conditions and save fuel.

by dale kasler

Burlington, Ia - A young Burlington company has invented a computerized airplane wing sensor that could be worth millions of dollars.

The company is called AERS/Medwest Inc. and the invention is known as SOLA, the System for Onboard Lift Analysis. The system consists of a set of sensors mounted inside the wings to help the wings and other maladies.

The sensors also could improve fuel economy because they could help the pilot find the "angle of attack" that creates less drag on the wings.

"It's a valuable tool" if it works as advertised, Joe Schwind, deputy safety director at the Air Line Pilots Association. The pilots' union is studying the system.

United Airlines has shown an interest in the system, as have aircraft manufactures Fokker and Canadian.

"We like what we see," said Leo Knaapen, a spokesman for Canadian's parent Bombardier Inc. in Montreal.

But the product is waiting to be cleared for takeoff. Before a single sensor can be sold, the device must get certified, or approved, by the Federal Aviation Administration. The company also plans to get the system certified by Canadian and European aviation authorities.

Normally the certification process could take several years and millions of dollars, said Steven Palmer, president and founder of AERS/Midwest. But Palmer said a potential shortcut exists. Canadian and Fokker are thinking of certifying the device on AERS/Midwest's behalf.

If that happens, the manufacturers would underwrite the certification costs - in return for which they'd have first opportunity to buy the sensors for their planes - and AERS/Midwest could start shipping the product as early as this summer, Palmer said. For its part Canadian said it's only agreed so far ti test the devices. But Palmer said he's confident Canadian will certify the device once the tests are complete.

Even with the manufacturers' help, this project isn't a sure thing. There is likely to be competition. The aerospace division of B.F. Goodrich is developing a similar product.

But if everything works out, Palmer's invention could turn to gold. In papers filed with the Iowa Department of Economic Development, the tiny Burlington company forecasts that annual sales soon could top $100 million.

Palmer, 44, is the son of a pilot. "We were always tinkering, building things around the house, in the garage," he said.

He said he studied engineering in college, although he's never worked professionally as an engineer. Palmer, who has a lot of friends in aviation, was working as a recruiter for a trucking firm when the idea came to him. About three years ago he was tinkering with a personal computer, trying to develop a system to measure the aerodynamic performance of an aircraft wing.

About that time, in March 1992 a USAir jetliner crashed on takeoff at New York's LaGuardia Airport, Killing 27 people. The problem was ice on the wings. The wings on the Dutch-made Fokker-28 had been de-iced at the gate, but by the time the plane made it to the runway,

The 1992 USAir crash in New York convinced Palmer of the need for a device to detect ice buildup on the wings.

ice had accumulated again, according to federal investigators.

The crash convinced Palmer that there was a demand for a device that could precisely detect the buildup of ice. An acquaintance at the FAA began making introductions for him, and in July 1992 he founded AERS/Midwest.

The company is located in a historic old warehouse by the Mississippi River. It has 14 employees, including a retired official with the FAA's Technical Center in New Jersey. It has recruited people from all over the country. Its test pilot, Brad Odom, is a native Iowan who left a job in corporate aviation in Tennessee. Two AERS/Midwest employees work in Texas and another in Arizona.

Palmer and company talk on the phone with aviation people all over the world. "God knows we've had to explain where Burlington is a million times," Palmer said.

The company assembles the few sensor systems it needs for testing at the warehouse; it has plans to lease or build a factory in Burlington if the market takes off. Palmer also wants to build a wind tunnel and research and development center at the Burlington airport someday.

The company has a twin-engine Beech craft at the airport that it uses as its test plane. It also mounts wings on a pickup truck to conduct tests (often, sandpaper is stuck to the wings to simulate the effects of ice).

Once, during a demonstration near Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, the truck ran out if gas in a run-down industrial neighborhood.

But this still is something of a shoestring operation. The company has spent about $1.5 million developing the SOLA system and is trying to raise money to expand its facilities.

The company so far has raised about $1 million, but Palmer said the company isn't havening trouble getting the money it needs. "We have funded as we need to," he said.

AERS/Midwest also has gotten financial aid from the state and the city.

While sitting inside a pickup truck, Ron Freitag gets ready for a test run of the AERS/Midwest system.

Company president Steven Palmer holds a differential pressure sensor, the heart of the system.

John Jay, below, and Dan Smith check the angle of the wing section. Sensors detect surface icing, among other things.

Researchers with AERS/Midwest test their wing deicer with a pickup truck at Burlington Municipal Airport.

AERS/Midwest Burlington ia
edit by Ryan Smith
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