Thursday Afternoon News, August 28
Smetter Joins Mercy Medical Center
(Sioux City) -- Mercy Medical Center of Sioux City has announced that Dave Smetter has been appointed to Vice President of Communications and Community Development for the Sioux City hospital. In his new position, Smetter will provide executive leadership direction and strategic planning for Mercy's Strategic Business Plan, Mercy's Foundation and Fund Development, and Communications including public relations, marketing, regional advocacy and public policy and volunteer services. In the mid 1990's, Smetter served as Mercy's Director of Marketing and Communications, known at that time as Marian Health Center. Smetter says he is excited to be coming back to Mercy and once again being part of the 125 years of Mercy's mission in serving the needs of Siouxland patients. Prior to joining Mercy, Smetter was the Vice President of Corporate and Integrated Marketing Communications for Wells Enterprises, Incorporated in Le Mars.
Richter Rides Bicycle Across Nation
(Le Mars) -- Have you ever imagined riding a bicycle across the United States? A Le Mars resident did just that this summer. Father Kevin Richter of the St. Joseph Catholic Church was granted a Sabbatical for the summer, and decided to ride his bicycle across the nation. Richter divided his journey into two halves. He left Le Mars on June 9th, heading east.
Richter's journey consisted of 68 total days with 56 riding days and twelve days that he rested. He averaged 68 and a half miles per day.
He says one of the worst days in terms of weather conditions, was his first day on the journey at a point not too far from Le Mars.
Another challenge, according to the Catholic priest, was entering St. Louis.
Richter either camped out under the stars, or slept in motels. But on a few occasions, he would spend the evening at a church or with host families who opened their home.
The St. Joseph parish priest says he didn't do much sight-seeing activities, or visit tourism destinations, outside of riding his bicycle on the designated trail.
Richter says he has thought about riding his bicycle across the nation, and started preparing for his journey about a year ago.
All told, the priest had 13 flat tires, rode 3836 miles, crossed 14 states, burned 299,099 calories, and lost 25 pounds. He says psychologically, the second half of the cross-country trip was better, because with each mile he was getting closer to home, whereas, with the first half of the journey, each mile was taking him further away from home.
King To Hold "Defenders of Freedom" Fundraiser Dinner
(Le Mars) -- Republican Congressman Steve King will be holding his annual "Defenders of Freedom" fundraiser dinner scheduled for this evening at Sioux City. Key-note speaker for the event is Conservative Commentator Michelle Malkin, who often times is seen on FOX news.
King says he will always remember a time when Malkin held her ground against a hostile crowd while delivering a speech at the University of California at Berkley.
The political campaign fundraiser will be held at the Stony Creek Inn at Sioux City beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Cruz And Jindahl To Speak At Iowa Faith And Freedom Coalition
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition announced Thursday that Cruz, a Texas senator, and Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, are scheduled to speak at the Sept. 27 event planned at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
It's billed as a "family banquet" and is intended to charge up conservatives ahead of the Nov. 4 election. It's also expected to feature Iowa candidates, including Gov. Terry Branstad, who is seeking a sixth term.
Cruz and Jindal are among Republicans weighing 2016 presidential candidacies.
Both have made repeated visits to Iowa, which will begin the presidential nominating process with its caucuses. Social conservatives comprise a loyal core of the GOP caucuses' base.
Branstad And Reynolds Visit All 99 Iowa Counties
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says he is concluding his annual visits to all 99 counties in Iowa.
Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds were set to stop in southeast Iowa's Louisa County on Thursday. In a press release, the governor says the visit means he has held events in every county in the state this year. He says he values touring the state and talking to Iowa residents.
Branstad has made stops in all of Iowa's counties each year since taking office in 2011. The Republican governor is running for a sixth non-consecutive term.
Retiring Des Moines Police Chief To Join Law Enforcement Academy
JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - Retiring Des Moines Police Chief Judy Bradshaw isn't done working yet.
The Iowa Law Enforcement Academy announced Thursday that Bradshaw will become the assistant director Oct. 6 after she ends a 34-year tenure with the Des Moines Police Department.
Bradshaw will replace Mike Quinn, who was fired in June after female cadets and workers complained that he behaved inappropriately. Some have alleged the academy has a hostile environment for women.
Academy Director Arlen Ciechanowski says Bradshaw "brings an incredible wealth of law enforcement knowledge" to the academy, which trains Iowa police officers, jailers and dispatchers.
The 55-year-old Bradshaw says she's eager to "share what I've learned in my career with Iowa's future law enforcement leaders."