Former Cedar Rapids man who later lived in a cave receives 23-year sentence for child-porn charges September 28, 2008Posted by John in Children, Crime/Courts.
Tags: caves, Cedar Rapids (Iowa), Child Pornography, Heber City (Utah), Ken Wallentine, Marion (Iowa), Ottumwa (Iowa), Polk City (Iowa), prison sentences, Russell Blessman, Salt Lake City (Utah), sexual abuse, US Marshals
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From Deseret News Saturday:
A man convicted on child pornography charges has been sentenced to serve 23 years in federal prison. Russell Eugene Blessman, 52, was sentenced in federal court in Salt Lake City earlier this week to serve 276 months in federal prison, and a lifetime of probation when he is released. …
Cedar Rapids native arrested in Utah on sexual abuse chargesThe Gazette
A former resident of Cedar Rapids and Marion was arrested Wednesday in Utah on sexual abuse charges, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
Acting on a tip, U.S. Marshals from Salt Lake City arrested Russell E. Blessman at a motel in Heber City, about 40 miles south of Salt Lake, said Deputy Michael Powell, spokesman for the U.S. Marshals in Iowa’s Southern District.
Blessman, 51, of Polk City, fled Iowa in June, after the Polk County Attorney charged him with two counts of second-degree sexual abuse involving an 8-year-old girl and one count of contempt of court for violating a no-contact order.
Police also seized several computers and computer storage devices from Blessman’s motel room. Ken Wallentine, chief of law enforcement at the Utah Attorney General’s Office, told the Deseret News in Salt Lake City that he was “virtually certain” Blessman will face additional child exploitation charges for child pornography found on those devices.
Wallentine said Blessman arrived in Utah in June and lived in a cave for a period.
Gazette archives show Blessman lived in Cedar Rapids and Marion, most recently in northeast Cedar Rapids 1998.
Additional details from October Deseret News, including:
Capture of Iowa sex suspect has bizarre twist
… While in Iowa, Wallentine said, Blessman paid someone a “substantial amount of money” to convert him into a Cherokee Indian. He then encouraged Blessman to go to Utah to hide out with a group near Green River that claims to be an Indian tribe.
Blessman traveled to Utah approximately four months ago and actually lived in a cave for some time, Wallentine said. He claims he was ordained a tribal police officer for the group. …
Tags: Amy Biden, Curtis Dunn, Dec. 18 1972, December 18 1972, J. Caleb Boggs, Joe Biden, Joseph Biden, Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, Naomi Christina Biden, Neilia Biden, Neilia Hunter, Neilia Hunter Biden, Robert Biden, Robert Hunter Biden, U.S. Senators
From The Cedar Rapids Gazette, December 19, 1972:
Senator-Elect’s Wife Dies in Auto Accident
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) – The pretty blonde wife of Joseph R. Biden was at his side through his campaign. They rejoiced in victory last month when he became the youngest man to be elected to the U.S. senate in this century.
Biden, an intensely family oriented man, had said earlier that he wanted his wife Neilia to get a doctorate and teach college when their children were older. In the meantime, he said, he wanted her “to mold my children.”
End in Tragedy
Biden’s plans for his family ended in tragedy Monday when a tractor-trailer truck slammed into the family station wagon near Hockessiri.
Mrs. Biden and the couple’s 18-month-old daughter Amy were killed and the Bidens’ two young sons were injured. Joseph, 4, sustained leg injuries; Robert, 3, suffered head injuries.
Also hospitalized was the truck driver, Curtis C. Dunn, 43, of Avondale, Pa.
Police said the station wagon “pulled from a stop sign” and was struck on the left side by the truck, “continuing approximately 150 feet, spinning around, going backwards down an embankment, and striking three trees.”
Biden, 30, Democrat, was in Washington at the time, working on staff appointments. He flew back to Wilmington and arrived at the hospital with his sister and campaign managers.
A half-hour later he departed with his son Robert in an ambulance.
In an apparent effort to reassure the child, Biden said: “I’m going to jump right in there with you, son.”
The boy was transferred to Delaware Division hospital nearby.
Biden met his wife, a native of Skaneateles, N.Y., during his junior year at the University of Delaware. Two years later, in 1965, after he finished his first year at Syracuse law school, the two were married. Mrs. Biden had been on the dean’s list and was homecoming queen at Syracuse.
Her parents are Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hunter of Auburn, N.Y. Biden, a Wilmington lawyer and New Castle county councilman, had been soaring on the crest of victory after defeating veteran G.O.P. Sen. J. Caleb Boggs in the Nov. 7 general election.
At that time Biden was still 13 days shy of his 30th birthday, the minimum age required to be a U.S. senator.
Boggs, when notified of the accident, said, “It’s tragic and
terrible beyond words.”
According to a December 2007 New York Times story, this is how Sen. Biden described the accident:
“Let me tell you a little story,” Mr. Biden told the crowd at the University of Iowa. “I got elected when I was 29, and I got elected November the 7th. And on Dec. 18 of that year, my wife and three kids were Christmas shopping for a Christmas tree. A tractor-trailer, a guy who allegedly — and I never pursued it — drank his lunch instead of eating his lunch, broadsided my family and killed my wife instantly, and killed my daughter instantly, and hospitalized my two sons, with what were thought to be at the time permanent, fundamental injuries.”
A drunk driver or not? Check out this article by News Journal of Delaware. [Link came from Comments for this post]
Some Gazette coverage on Sen. Biden’s 2007 Iowa visits here.
Iowa sex offender gets maximum 18- to 20-year sentence in Wyoming; Man not listed in online Iowa registry August 18, 2008Posted by John in Children, Crime/Courts.
Tags: iowa, Melvin Gregg, Mills (Wyoming), Natrona County (Wyoming), pedophiles, sentencing, sex offenders, sexual abuse, Sioux City (Iowa)
From Casper Star-Tribune:
Calling him a “poster child for why sex offender registration exists,” a judge Friday sentenced a Mills man to 18 to 20 years in prison for molesting a boy.
Melvin Gregg was already a convicted sex offender in Iowa before he pleaded no contest earlier this year in Natrona County to charges he sexually abused an elementary school-aged boy last fall, prosecutors say.
Judge Scott Skavdahl said he could not accept that Gregg was now “begging for treatment” when nothing prevented him from getting treatment before his latest crime.
“You had the opportunity and now I have three victims,” Skavdahl said, referring to the boy in Mills and victims in Iowa. …
Melvin Gregg’s name was not found in a search today at http://www.iowasexoffender.com.
On November 9, 2007 the Star-Tribune listed a 2nd-degree sex assault felony charge for Melvin Shane Gregg, 48.
Czech doll escaped communists but couldn’t outrun flood June 25, 2008Posted by John in Children, History, Nature, Weather.
Tags: Cedar Rapids (Iowa), dolls, flooded areas, Flooding, floods, Floods of 2008, museums, National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library
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All told, the doll must be well over 100 years old, considering all the women who have watched over her.
Because generations have a tendency to lose track of heritage and history, I felt it was time to give the doll a new home, one where she could be safe and secure, and where the legacy of the Professorka could be maintained. …
And so, about six months ago, she made her final journey to the Czech and Slovak Museum in Cedar Rapids. …
Obituary posted for Sydney Ann Blanton, 2-year-old who died after Iowa City plane crash June 5, 2008Posted by John in Biography, Children, Deaths.
Tags: Christina Blanton, funeral, guestbook, Iowa City (Iowa), Obituaries, plane accidents, Sydney Blanton, Thomasville (Georgia)
6/06/2008 UPDATE: This obituary is now posted at GazetteOnline as well: Blanton, Sydney Ann
From Allen & Allen Funeral Home, Thomasville, Georgia.
Sydney Ann Blanton
Born in Thomasville, GA on Jul. 18, 2005
Departed on Jun. 2, 2008 and resided in Thomasville, GA. … [complete obituary with photo here]
Also, from yesterday’s Gazette: Child on medical trip dies in Iowa City plane crash
And from today’s Gazette: Family, friends grieve Iowa City plane crash victim
- Toddler on charity flight dies in crash [via Zemanta]
Tags: A.J. Neubaum, Ames (Iowa), Ames Middle School, Belinda Mahama, Competitions, doodling, Google, Jamie Goodman III, Joel Weikert, Kyle Culp, M.C. Escher, Mara Clark, Noelle Johnson, Scott Skophammer, space exploration, West Des Moines (Iowa), Western Hills Elementary
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State Finalists and Regional Winners were posted today. More from Official Google Blog:
Starting today, you can vote for your favorite doodle. Your votes will determine the four national finalists. Just make sure to vote soon: you only have until May 18th. The national winner will be announced and the winning doodle will replace our usual logo on the Google homepage on May 22nd. …
More from Google:
Doodle 4 Google is a competition where we invite K-12 students to reinvent Google’s homepage logo. This year we asked U.S. kids to doodle around the theme “What if…?”
Well, the entries are in, and we couldn’t be more impressed. We received thousands of wonderful doodles, and choosing 40 finalists for the public vote had to be one of the most difficult but enjoyable jobs at Google in the past few weeks.
So the kids have done their part, and we’ve done ours. Now it’s your turn to help out by picking your favorite doodles. Your votes will help us select a national winner to replace our usual logo on the Google homepage on May 22, 2008. …
Google says that “you may vote for one doodle per age group.” (Perfect!)
Regional Winner under Grades 4-6, Region 6:
For my “what if” question, I thought and thought and the idea that kept coming into my head was, what if we could explore all of space. I mean if you think about it, we do not know that much about the universe that we live in.
Regional Winner under Grades 7-9, Region 6:
Perspectives on Escher
What if M.C. Escher and his perspective of unreal possibilities became a mascot for Google. He took our understanding of the world around us and re-examined it using his own personal lens. He helps us see possibilities before we could imagine them. Isn’t that what Google does today by fostering our own ability to invent and share new ideas?
K-3: Mara Clark, A.J. Neubaum
4-6: Noelle Johnson
7-9: Jamie Goodman III
10-12: Kyle Culp, Scott Skophammer
Retired Montana minister remembers her childhood days with mother in Iowa City, injury at Horace Mann School May 11, 2008Posted by John in Children, Family, History.
Tags: Horace Mann Elementary School, Horace Mann School, Iowa City (Iowa), Joan Uda, Joanie Uda, World War II
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I was a lucky child, with a great mom. The only time she held a paying job was while my father fought overseas during WWII. In those days we lived with Mom’s parents in Iowa City. She worked as a librarian at Horace Mann School, where I attended and also received the deep cut on my forehead that left a still visible scar. …
Poster of Grant Wood’s ‘Midnight Ride of Paul Revere’ to be distributed to schools and libraries nationwide May 2, 2008Posted by John in Art, Children, Education.
Tags: American Library Association, Grant Wood, K-12 Schools, Libraries, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Endowment for the Humanities, paintings, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
From New York Daily News:
… thanks to a new schools program just announced by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
“Picturing America,” this project is called – 40 large posters, soon to be delivered to every one of New York’s 1,400 public schools, and, eventually, to every school and library in the country. American masterpieces all, vividly depicting great scenes from the nation’s storied past: Grant Wood’s “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”; Emanuel Leutze’s “Washington Crossing the Delaware”; …
Description at Picturing America page:
Grant Wood (American, 1892–1942), The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, 1931, Oil on Masonite; H. 30, W. 40 in. (76.2 x 101.6 cm): The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund, 1950 (50.117) Photograph © 1988 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art © Estate of Grant Wood / Licensed by VAGA, New York.
More information about Eastern Iowa artist Grant Wood available from Encyclopedia Britannica.