November 2008


We’ve made it through Turkey Day without much of a fuss. Hallelujah!

There was one vehicle fatality we learned of this morning near Ladora. Sad. And around 10 p.m., Linn County deputies got called out to Nancy’s Bar on Mount Vernon Road SE for a bar fight involving about 10 people. Nobody got hurt very bad, though. Other than that, just a few minor traffic wrecks, some medical calls and a small scare at the Bali Hai Estates Mobile Home Park in Hiawatha between some burning cigarette ashes and a piece of trailer skirting.

No burnt turkeys here! And I even got to try some collard greens.

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It would have ruined mine, too…read about the sexcapade between two Iowa fans at the Metrodome this weekend here. It’s the best story I’ve seen on the subject.

Sorry we didn’t bring this to you, although I don’t know what happened with this story on our end. I was assigned to look into it Tuesday night and I couldn’t reach anyone who could tell me anything, so I left a note for the daysiders to take care of it. You win some, you lose some, I suppose. Clearly, these two lost even though they scored.

This has nothing to do with eastern Iowa, but isn’t this headline hilarious? And, no, she isn’t really a porcupine…

Read the Federal Bureau of Investigation press release here.

I’ve had a few conversations with gun owners who are worried about being targeted because The Gazette prints the list of people who renew or get a new concealed carry weapons permit each month from Linn and surrounding counties. We believe the public has a right to know who is legally carrying a gun, just as we all can readily identify a police officer or military officer. We also print charges brought against people who are found to have guns illegally. The people I’ve talked to are concerned that, because people know they carry, they may become the target of assault or home burglary.

I thought I’d go through The Gazette archives and look at all the burglaries in the past few years in which firearms were reportedly stolen. There have been only four that we reported, and one of those was at the home of a person who has a concealed carry permit. So, I suppose the fears aren’t totally baseless, but it’s not like they’re being victimized at a higher rate. I am also aware that many stolen firearms around here are taken during unreported burglaries, but I’m pretty sure those aren’t at the homes of diehard Second Amendment supporters. As a general fan of public information, I’d really hate for people to stop putting their names and/or addresses in the phone book, but I’ve gotta say — if you’ve got stuff you don’t want stolen, don’t give people the opportunity to find you.

The names of people who have concealed carry permits aren’t public record in some states. For example, Missouri keeps their list of concealed carry permits sealed. But I’m all for full disclosure of who’s packing heat — even if it were me. At least people should know what to expect if they tried to mug me, eh?

The story of poor Tara Sloan is enough to make me never want to date again.

The 29-year-old Cedar Rapids woman was called, e-mailed, text messaged and otherwise harrassed by her ex-boyfriend, Guy F. McDonald of Platte City, Mo., dozens of times between July and September, Cedar Rapids Police investigator Justin DeMoss reported in court documents. Several of the 42-year-old man’s e-mails detailed some of her daily activities, like receiving a massage, visiting a hair salon and having a doctor’s appointment. Two warrants were issued for his arrest, but he never came to Cedar Rapids to have them served on him.

Around 11:30 p.m. Oct. 18, though, McDonald’s harrassment of Sloan took a sinister turn. Police were called to Sloan’s house at 3622 E Ave. NW because he was trying to break down her front door.

Sloan and her boyfriend, Dane Harris, told police they were inside the house when they started hearing the doorknob jiggling. McDonald had a key and unlocked the door, but was stopped by a chain lock. Harris confronted the man with a baseball bat and tackled him in the front yard, holding him there until police arrived.

In McDonald’s car, police found a gun, ammunition, duct tape, a police scanner, flashlights, gloves, a spotting scope, binoculars, computer printouts, a GPS and a digital camera. You can just imagine what he was planning to do. Now THAT’S scary.

Police are examining two flash drives found in the man’s pocket, as well as the camera and his cell phone, for evidence of stalking to see if more charges can be filed.

Cedar Rapids Police Chief Greg Graham is masterminding a complete overhaul of the structure of our city’s police department. So far, he’s organized all of the divisions and aspects of the CRPD into six departments. The CRPD prepared a pretty good chart (shown below) on who is going to take care of what:

More changes are in the works, too. The department will be abandoning the old quadrant system of policing and creating three areas: East, Central, and West. I’ll keep you updated on the changes and let you all know when you will be given the opportunity to give your input.

crpd-new-depts

UPDATE: Brian Gardner won with roughly two-thirds of the vote. Start yer commentin on this here blog! What do you think will go right? Go wrong? Did we make the right decision?

I’m covering the outcome of the Linn County Sheriff’s race tonight. The stakes are high, as you all should know — whoever wins this election will likely be in office for a long time and could have a heavy impact on issues like more liberal issuance of concealed gun permits, the creation (or not) of a joint emergency communications center, tracking sex offenders, etc.

I’ll be at Westdale Mall watching the results come in tonight. Democratic sheriff’s candidate Brian Gardner will be there with some of his supporters. Republican candidate Dave Zahn will be at home with his family.

Who should you vote for? Well, The Gazette editorial board endorsed Gardner. But I’m not the Gazette editorial board. You should consider all the facts. Everything that’s out there, in our articles or in our public comment sections, is actually true.

They’re both nice guys, so make a conscientious decision. Just make a choice! GO VOTE!

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