[ {"id":"be7d7359-e156-5526-9566-6d7433dc95e1","type":"article","starttime":"1495905849","starttime_iso8601":"2017-05-27T12:24:09-05:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"iowa":"news/state-and-regional/iowa"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Authorities: Fourth person in Des Moines apartment fire dies","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/iowa/article_be7d7359-e156-5526-9566-6d7433dc95e1.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/iowa/authorities-fourth-person-in-des-moines-apartment-fire-dies/article_be7d7359-e156-5526-9566-6d7433dc95e1.html","canonical":"http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2017/A-fourth-person-has-died-from-injuries-received-in-a-Des-Moines-apartment-fire-that-raged-earlier-this-week/id-bdb96da293f640b8b7abfbe04ac31ff7","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) \u2014 A fourth person has died from injuries received in a Des Moines apartment fire. The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/2qtLbXQ ) that a man being treated at a hospital died Friday from his injuries received in the Thursday fire that killed three others. Police have not yet released the names of those killed, only that a 57-year-old woman and a 71-year-old man were among the dead. Police say the other person killed will have to be identified using DNA testing.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","iowa state news","general news","residential fires","fires","accidents and disasters"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":1,"commentID":"be7d7359-e156-5526-9566-6d7433dc95e1","body":"

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) \u2014 A fourth person has died from injuries received in a Des Moines apartment fire.

The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/2qtLbXQ ) that a man being treated at a hospital died Friday from his injuries received in the Thursday fire that killed three others.

Police have not yet released the names of those killed, only that a 57-year-old woman and a 71-year-old man were among the dead. Police say the other person killed will have to be identified using DNA testing.

One other person remains hospitalized.

The cause of the fire remains unknown and is under investigation.

___

Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

"}, {"id":"e69b8dc8-1202-5168-a258-fa0ace6deb50","type":"article","starttime":"1495905013","starttime_iso8601":"2017-05-27T12:10:13-05:00","lastupdated":"1495906270","priority":0,"sections":[{"illinois":"news/state-and-regional/illinois"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Report: DCFS Joliet office had contest to close most cases","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/illinois/article_e69b8dc8-1202-5168-a258-fa0ace6deb50.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/illinois/report-dcfs-joliet-office-had-contest-to-close-most-cases/article_e69b8dc8-1202-5168-a258-fa0ace6deb50.html","canonical":"http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2017/A-report-says-the-Illinois-Department-of-Children-and-Family-Services-Joliet-office-offered-100-gift-cards-to-workers-closing-the-most-cases-just-months-before-a-missing-1-year-old-gir/id-851cf9ab23684213b8fa6103d45e7d0d","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"CHICAGO (AP) \u2014 A report says the Joliet office of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services offered $100 gift cards to workers closing the most cases just months before a missing 1-year-old girl's body was found under a couch in a home. The Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/2qq5JBl ) reported the existence of the contest Saturday, a day after the department released a report reviewing its actions leading up to the death of 1-year-old Semaj (sa-MAH'-jay) Crosby. The toddler was found dead April 26 in a Joliet Township home shortly after DCFS closed an investigation into whether she was being neglected.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","illinois state news","general news","missing persons"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":2,"commentID":"e69b8dc8-1202-5168-a258-fa0ace6deb50","body":"

CHICAGO (AP) \u2014 A report says the Joliet office of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services offered $100 gift cards to workers closing the most cases just months before a missing 1-year-old girl's body was found under a couch in a home.

The Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/2qq5JBl ) reported the existence of the contest Saturday, a day after the department released a report reviewing its actions leading up to the death of 1-year-old Semaj (sa-MAH'-jay) Crosby. The toddler was found dead April 26 in a Joliet Township home shortly after DCFS closed an investigation into whether she was being neglected.

It's unclear whether any of the winners of the contest that began in January were involved in DCFS inquiries at Semaj's home.

DCFS Director George Sheldon says the contest was inappropriate.

"}, {"id":"78880bc0-71dd-5e54-9820-33eb3eebcaa2","type":"article","starttime":"1495902924","starttime_iso8601":"2017-05-27T11:35:24-05:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"illinois":"news/state-and-regional/illinois"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Severe storms packing hail, strong wind likely in central US","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/illinois/article_78880bc0-71dd-5e54-9820-33eb3eebcaa2.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/illinois/severe-storms-packing-hail-strong-wind-likely-in-central-us/article_78880bc0-71dd-5e54-9820-33eb3eebcaa2.html","canonical":"http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2017/Severe-thunderstorms-packing-large-hail-damaging-winds-and-tornadoes-are-possible-over-parts-of-the-central-United-States-during-the-holiday-weekend/id-92823e037ac641f8b86e799b13651efb","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"NORMAN, Okla. (AP) \u2014 Severe thunderstorms packing large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes are possible over parts of the central United States during the holiday weekend. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, says there is a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms Saturday over parts of Kansas, northeastern Oklahoma and northern Arkansas. Strong storms are also possible in parts of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. The risk covers an area of more than 87,000 square mile and includes more than 7.6 million people.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","illinois state news","general news","weather forecasts","storms","weather","thunderstorms"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":1,"commentID":"78880bc0-71dd-5e54-9820-33eb3eebcaa2","body":"

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) \u2014 Severe thunderstorms packing large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes are possible over parts of the central United States during the holiday weekend.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, says there is a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms Saturday over parts of Kansas, northeastern Oklahoma and northern Arkansas. Strong storms are also possible in parts of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. The risk covers an area of more than 87,000 square mile and includes more than 7.6 million people.

Forecasters say widespread, severe wind gusts are forecast from the Ozark region to the lower Ohio Valley Saturday. Very large hail and tornadoes will be possible from the Red River Valley northeastward to the Ozark Plateau as well as the Tennessee Valley, middle Ohio Valley and portions of the Mid-Atlantic.

"}, {"id":"58370852-be85-5386-a4f7-3db12217936c","type":"article","starttime":"1495901144","starttime_iso8601":"2017-05-27T11:05:44-05:00","lastupdated":"1495902743","priority":0,"sections":[{"illinois":"news/state-and-regional/illinois"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Holocaust survivor, 89, to celebrate bar mitzvah","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/illinois/article_58370852-be85-5386-a4f7-3db12217936c.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/illinois/holocaust-survivor-to-celebrate-bar-mitzvah/article_58370852-be85-5386-a4f7-3db12217936c.html","canonical":"http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2017/An-89-year-old-Jewish-Holocaust-survivor-from-Czechoslovakia-will-finally-celebrate-his-belated-bar-mitzvah-the-Jewish-ceremony-that-marks-the-transition-to-manhood/id-12d8127ea41e444eba484b59ab3a44ba","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"CHICAGO (AP) \u2014 An 89-year-old Jewish Holocaust survivor from Czechoslovakia will finally celebrate his belated bar mitzvah, the Jewish ceremony that marks the transition to manhood. Harold Katz began preparing for the celebration 76 years ago, but it never took place amid the Holocaust, the Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/2rBNlcg) reported.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","illinois state news","general news","judaism","religion","social affairs","memorial day","holidays","occasions","lifestyle","the holocaust","birthdays"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":2,"commentID":"58370852-be85-5386-a4f7-3db12217936c","body":"

CHICAGO (AP) \u2014 An 89-year-old Jewish Holocaust survivor from Czechoslovakia will finally celebrate his belated bar mitzvah, the Jewish ceremony that marks the transition to manhood.

Harold Katz began preparing for the celebration 76 years ago, but it never took place amid the Holocaust, the Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/2rBNlcg) reported.

Katz's daughter, Lila Katz, said her father made the announcement of his plans for a belated bar mitzvah at his birthday party last year. His celebration, where letters will be written in memory of congregants and friends' loved ones, will take place on Memorial Day.

Katz, who now lives in a Chicago retirement home, said he'd like to be remembered from a personal story that his grandchildren would want to tell their children.

During World War II, Katz kept from being apprehended by Nazi soldiers after being separated from his family at the age of 13.

\"I remember it as if it was yesterday,\" Katz said.

His father, mother, three brothers and four sisters died after being sent to Auschwitz, where more than a million Jews were killed.

\"They're always with me,\" he said. \"In dreams, I see them.\"

Katz later discovered that his older brother had survived.

Katz and his brother came to Chicago after finding their aunt and uncle.

The brothers worked in construction and built homes all over Chicago.

___

Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com

"}, {"id":"c6b2601f-9d15-5e9d-a2a2-857454d0f9e2","type":"article","starttime":"1495899291","starttime_iso8601":"2017-05-27T10:34:51-05:00","lastupdated":"1495900900","priority":0,"sections":[{"iowa":"news/state-and-regional/iowa"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Iowa law to ban convicts from receiving victims' benefits","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/iowa/article_c6b2601f-9d15-5e9d-a2a2-857454d0f9e2.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/iowa/iowa-law-to-ban-convicts-from-receiving-victims-benefits/article_c6b2601f-9d15-5e9d-a2a2-857454d0f9e2.html","canonical":"http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2017/A-northern-Iowa-woman-says-she-is-grateful-something-positive-could-come-from-her-daughter-s-death-legislation-banning-people-from-receiving-insurance-benefits-if-they-ve-been-convicte/id-4dbb1135798b4e61948a55d45d0769d5","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"GRAFTON, Iowa (AP) \u2014 A northern Iowa woman says she is grateful something positive could come from her daughter's death, an event that led to legislation banning people from receiving insurance benefits if they've been convicted of crimes against the deceased individual. The bill was signed into law earlier this month after multiple attempts, continued persistence by the parents of Brigett Wirtjes and the combined efforts of three area legislators, the Globe Gazette (http://bit.ly/2qfUpGQ ) reported. It goes into effect July 1.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","iowa state news","general news","government and politics","insurance industry regulation","financial industry regulation","industry regulation","government business and finance","business","government regulations","legislation","legislature","crime"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":3,"commentID":"c6b2601f-9d15-5e9d-a2a2-857454d0f9e2","body":"

GRAFTON, Iowa (AP) \u2014 A northern Iowa woman says she is grateful something positive could come from her daughter's death, an event that led to legislation banning people from receiving insurance benefits if they've been convicted of crimes against the deceased individual.

The bill was signed into law earlier this month after multiple attempts, continued persistence by the parents of Brigett Wirtjes and the combined efforts of three area legislators, the Globe Gazette (http://bit.ly/2qfUpGQ ) reported. It goes into effect July 1.

Wirtjes, 27, was found dead in her home in Manly in December 2010. Her husband, Tyler Wirtjes, was found guilty of sexually assaulting her the night before she died. He later collected her life insurance benefits.

He received the money because only those convicted of killing someone had been prohibited from collecting a victim's life insurance benefits.

The Bottlemans discovered the issue when they tried to collect more than $6,200 in death benefits from an insurance policy they got for their daughter when she was a young child. A judge ordered the money should be released to Tyler Wirtjes, who was and is still in a Fort Dodge prison.

Sen. Mary Jo Wilhelm, D-Cresco, helped craft the law to bar those convicted of certain crimes \u2014 kidnapping, assault, sexual abuse, human trafficking, murder and manslaughter \u2014 from receiving insurance benefits if the victims of their crimes died within six months of the criminal act. Sen. Waylon Brown, R-St. Ansgar, and Amanda Ragan, D-Mason City, co-sponsored a slightly modified version of the bill to this year's Legislature.

\"I'm just so happy to see the end and to honor Brigett,\" said Janet Bottleman, her mother. \"At least something good came out of so much tragedy.\"

___

Information from: Globe Gazette, http://www.globegazette.com/

"}, {"id":"fb6da0f4-c621-56da-9826-f0a8b68fc9b4","type":"article","starttime":"1495896708","starttime_iso8601":"2017-05-27T09:51:48-05:00","lastupdated":"1495898208","priority":0,"sections":[{"iowa":"news/state-and-regional/iowa"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Iowa farm teaches adults with autism life lessons","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/iowa/article_fb6da0f4-c621-56da-9826-f0a8b68fc9b4.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/iowa/iowa-farm-teaches-adults-with-autism-life-lessons/article_fb6da0f4-c621-56da-9826-f0a8b68fc9b4.html","canonical":"http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2017/Unlike-so-many-other-farms-the-most-important-ecosystem-at-an-Iowa-farm-is-the-one-happening-above-ground-between-people/id-1d1180e5158343ffb18ca06404721d10","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":6,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By COURTNEY CROWDER\nThe Des Moines Register","prologue":"DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) \u2014 The Homestead farm is governed by a set of distinct ecosystems. Like many other acreages across Iowa, the symbiotic relationships between soil, weather, farmers, seeds and pollinators produce the foods that make up our dinners. But unlike so many other farms, the most important ecosystem at the Homestead is the one happening above ground, between people. It's the strength and expansion of the estate's emotional ecosystem that will be used to determine whether 2017's yield was up to par. And its smiles and fist bumps, not acres planted or crops harvested, that will dictate a successful day.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","iowa state news","general news","autistic spectrum disorders","developmental disorders","diseases and conditions","health","environment and nature","agriculture","business","agriculture and the environment","environment","childhood autism","child and teen health"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"d26904f2-0a4e-52b9-9f46-1c2c45564cab","description":"ADVANCE FOR RELEASE SATURDAY, MAY 27, 2017, AT 12:01 A.M. CDT. - In this April 17, 2017, photo, Tony Hunter, plants vegetables at The Homestead Farm in Pleasant Hill, Iowa. 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CDT. - In this April 17, 2017, photo, Lloyd Williams plants onions at The Homestead Farm in Pleasant Hill, Iowa. (Rodney White/The Des Moines Register via AP)","byline":"Rodney White","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"512","height":"330","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/f0/3f0b0d9e-fe45-50e2-a270-96e91b50d215/59299529e086f.image.jpg?resize=512%2C330"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"64","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/f0/3f0b0d9e-fe45-50e2-a270-96e91b50d215/59299529e086f.image.jpg?resize=100%2C64"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"193","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/f0/3f0b0d9e-fe45-50e2-a270-96e91b50d215/59299529e086f.image.jpg?resize=300%2C193"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"660","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/f0/3f0b0d9e-fe45-50e2-a270-96e91b50d215/59299529e086f.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":2,"commentID":"fb6da0f4-c621-56da-9826-f0a8b68fc9b4","body":"

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) \u2014 The Homestead farm is governed by a set of distinct ecosystems.

Like many other acreages across Iowa, the symbiotic relationships between soil, weather, farmers, seeds and pollinators produce the foods that make up our dinners.

But unlike so many other farms, the most important ecosystem at the Homestead is the one happening above ground, between people. It's the strength and expansion of the estate's emotional ecosystem that will be used to determine whether 2017's yield was up to par. And its smiles and fist bumps, not acres planted or crops harvested, that will dictate a successful day.

Because on this particular acreage, most employees have autism spectrum disorder, which can severely impair communication and social skills, The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/2rNlYcF ) reported. So while the men of the Homestead and the specifically trained associates who work alongside them harvest veggies for a Community Supported Agriculture program, their mission is more than farming. The Homestead is training these men for life.

\"On this farm, what really matters is how a person grows \u2014 not what they grow,\" said Angela Book-Glynn, a director at the Homestead, a Des Moines-based nonprofit focused on improving autistic Iowans' lives.

Located just east of Southeast Polk High School, the farm currently employs four men who have autism \u2014 Thomas Kroska, Tony Hunter, Lloyd Williams and James Holaday.

Monday through Friday, they are tasked with all that goes into keeping up a working farm. They plant fields, harvest fruits and veggies, box them up for the Homestead's CSA \u2014 which runs until the end of September and is still accepting members \u2014 and deliver those packages to specified pickup locations. They also create hanging baskets, prepare bedding plants, cultivate poinsettias and construct live wreathes.

In doing so, the men are bucking the \"upsetting\" trend of adults on the spectrum lacking opportunities for meaningful, paid employment, Book-Glynn said. Even though advocates have pushed organizations big and small to employ differently abled people, many autistic adults remain unemployed or underemployed, experts say.

The farm's goal is to give their employees an opportunity to dip their toes into the workforce, eventually growing their skills and confidence enough to find a job in the greater community just as their regularly developing peers do.

\"For us, this is so much bigger than just getting a box of produce,\" said Book-Glynn. \"I strongly believe that if you can contribute to your income, you can contribute to society. And that's what we want for the (employees) here, to be contributing members of society who are proud of their work and themselves.

\"That's what everyone \u2014 no matter their ability \u2014 deserves.\"

Farmhands and autistic adults harvest and bundle radishes at the Homestead farm in Pleasant Hill on Monday, April 17, 2017. The program provides meaningful paid employment for autistic adults to earn wages in an environment that understands and responds to their condition's very specific needs.

Breakfast at Kroska's apartment, where he lives with two other autistic men, used to be a silent affair, said Don Cochran, Kroska's longtime aide. Like hear-a-pin-drop silent, he said, and you'd be hard pressed to get him to look you in the eye.

\"You'd be lucky to get two words out of him the whole day,\" Cochran said.

But after seven years of working on the farm, the mornings at Kroska's apartment are louder. Kroska has a full menu that he asks for at breakfast, Cochran said, and he'll throw out questions about Cochran's family or what they're going to do that day.

While seemingly small, the ability to hold eye contact, start conversations and respond to questions or remarks in the moment was a major milestone for Kroska, Cochran and Book-Glynn agreed. Those are entry-level skills to interacting as an independent individual, they said.

\"His interaction with others is so much greater than it was before because of working on the farm,\" Cochran said. \"I see a lot more confidence in him. I think, in general, he is a shy person, but now he's glowing and brimming with spirit and assurance.\"

Both attribute that development to his time on the farm, where he has to interact with colleagues, problem solve and articulate issues and desires.

To understand how programs like the Homestead farm impact people with autism, one has to redefine the words \"big\" and \"small,\" Book-Glynn said. It's really that seemingly small changes make a huge impact in these men's lives, she said.

\"In our society, work defines who you are,\" Book-Glynn said. \"It gives you self-esteem. You hear that all the time, 'What do you do?' With this job, they can say, 'I work on a farm.' Or 'I plant potatoes.'

\"Or maybe for someone who is working on life skills in general it is, 'I got to get up,'\" she continued. \"'I got to set an alarm.' 'I have to know how to get to work on time.' 'I have to know how to focus.' Whatever it is, they have a purpose now.\"

In addition to communication difficulties, autistic people often also have sensory issues. Certain sounds or lights can be extremely distracting, Book-Glynn said, as can tasks that don't have specific beginnings or endings.

But so many of the pitfalls an autistic person might experience in an office environment aren't an issue at the farm, she added. Fluorescent lights are replaced by the sun's rays. Endless tasks are interchanged with structured requirements. And whenever an employee needs a break or to switch assignments, the answer is undoubtedly \"OK.\"

While both big businesses like Walgreens are making hiring employees with disabilities a part of corporate culture and smaller startups like Chicago-based Aspiritech are pushing innovative solutions to create a more welcoming workplace, 90 percent of autistic adults are unemployed or underemployed, according to Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism, a consortium of autism advocacy organizations.

More specifically, only 36 percent of adults ages 18 to 25 and 58 percent of adults ages 26 or older had paid employment, showed data collected in 2009 by the Kennedy Krieger Institute, an institution dedicated to studying brain disorders and developmental disabilities.

\"Of those who did not currently have paid employment, 42 percent said they wanted to work but couldn't find work,\" the study reported. \". Whatever their other reasons for not working, two-thirds said they also feared the workplace would be too challenging for them because of their\" autism.

When the planning for the Homestead farm started back in the early 1990s, local sustainable farming was in vogue, said Book-Glynn. But using farming as a tool for autistic adults was then and remains a fairly unique model in the field.

\"If you think about that time frame, the farm started not long after the period when people with disabilities were just put into institutions,\" she said. \"There were not a lot of options or creative approaches then and there certainly were no options for people with autism.\"

And although the Homestead isn't the only farm working with autism or otherwise differently abled people, using farming to be therapeutic is still a unique model, she said.

\"Not too many other organizations can say, 'Oh, you like being outside? We have the place for you!'\" she said. \"Or, 'Oh, you have difficulty with noise and people and too much simulation? We have a job for you!' Or, 'You like to finish things beginning to end? We have the perfect thing for you.'\"

The farm offering opportunities for the men to excel is just one part of the ecosystem, the other important part is how the men's excitement and pride with their own progress rubs off on all the other employees.

\"Honestly, I probably learn more about the intangible qualities of happiness and fulfillment from these men than I teach them,\" Book-Glynn said. \"Thomas, for example, is so positive that he puts my life back into perspective when he greets me. I know he is going to ask me the same question and we have our little moment together and it just reminds me about what is really important in this world. You know here is an individual who struggles with the symptoms of autism and can come in here and smile every day and go out there and work.

\"It's like, what the heck am I complaining about?\" she continued. \"I just need to go out there and work, too.\"

Ashley Bonnell, an autism associate who works alongside the men, said this job has allowed her to work on herself as she helps the men gain skills for their own independence.

\"Each one of these guys is really special to me,\" she said. \"Before I started here, I used to be really passive, but now I can say, 'OK, this is what we are doing,' so they've made me a stronger person.\"

\"That might not seem like a big deal, but it is a big deal to me,\" she said. \"It's priceless.\"

While that newfound purpose may be priceless on one hand, it is costly on the other. The men are paid through Medicaid and minimal funding from a few vocational programs, Book-Glynn said, but the farming equipment is maintained and restored by hand. Rarely is there money left in the budget for new supplies.

And attracting funding for work with autistic adults can be difficult.

\"Children are the focus now,\" Book-Glynn said. \"Research on children is the focus right now. Everything is about funding the children and, gosh, that is wonderful, but don't forget that those kids grow up and they become adults who need a job and want to live their life.\"

\"But that's why we are here,\" she said. \"And that's why will always have the farm.\"

___

Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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HAMPTON, Iowa (AP) \u2014 Doug and Robyn Pralle of Hampton have started a nonprofit to provide free flights for those who need to travel a long distance to receive medical treatment.

Compassion Flights officially took off in January, the Globe Gazette (http://bit.ly/2qMgY9W ) reported.

When Doug was younger, his father was diagnosed with cancer and received treatment in Chicago.

\"There were people who did nice stuff for us,\" he said.

Once a couple of doctors gave Doug and his mother tickets to a Chicago Cubs game while Doug's dad was getting treatment. They even arranged for them to get a limo ride to the stadium.

Doug said that's how he got the idea to do something for those who need medical treatment not available in North Iowa.

Doug, who has been a licensed pilot for 10 years and owns a Cessna 183 plane, flew a few people to get medical treatment before Compassion Flights got its nonprofit status.

The first official Compassion Flight was for Elliot Burgos, 8, of Mason City, who has a brain tumor.

Doug flew Elliot from Mason City to Mankato, Minnesota, on April 28 for treatment.

Elliot sat beside Doug in the front of the plane. It was an adventure for the little boy, who took over the GPS during the flight under Doug's supervision.

\"He did great,\" Doug said.

The Pralles keep their plane in a hangar at the Hampton Municipal Airport, but Doug flew the plane to the Mason City Municipal Airport to pick up Elliot to make it easier for the family.

Donations to Compassion Flights pay for the cost of the trips.

\"We have had good response from the community in sponsoring the flights,\" Doug said. \"It's been great to see the reaction.\"

Compassion Flights recently received a $5,000 grant from the Franklin County Community Foundation.

The funds will be used to remodel a long-vacant avionics shop adjacent to the hangar where the Pralles' plane is located to create office space for Compassion Flights.

The space also will serve as a waiting room for those going on Compassion Flights.

\"We want people to feel as comfortable as possible,\" Doug said.

Robyn does the paperwork for Compassion Flights, including the applications for flights. The organization has a board of directors that chooses flight recipients from those applications.

The Pralles are looking for more pilots as well as other volunteers.

They are planning a fly-in breakfast at the Hampton Municipal Airport on Labor Day as a fundraiser for Compassion Flights. Hopefully there will be lots of planes there, Doug said.

Compassion Flights will fly people to locations in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri and North and South Dakota for medical treatment.

Doug said the organization has access to a couple of bigger planes if someone needs treatment outside that service area and might even be able to arrange for a commercial flight.

___

Information from: Globe Gazette, http://www.globegazette.com/

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) \u2014 President Donald Trump's planned visit next month to Iowa has been postponed.

Trump had been scheduled to visit Cedar Rapids \u2014 his first trip to Iowa as president of the United States \u2014 on June 1.

A news release sent Saturday said the trip has been postponed \"due to an unforeseen change in President Trump's schedule.\" The release did not give a rescheduled visit date, but said that information would be released early next week.

Trump's last visit to Iowa occurred in Des Moines during his \"Thank You\" tour as president-elect in December. Trump won Iowa's six electoral votes in November.

"} ]