You are the owner of this page.
A1 A1
'Deez Nuts' does not know what happened to America

WALLINGFORD — Former presidential candidate Deez Nuts is like a lot of American voters.

He doesn’t like the Republican or Democratic nominee, and has no idea how the country wound up choosing between what some consider two of the most polarizing politicians in recent history.

“I don’t know what happened, because they are probably the two most disliked people they could have picked. Yet, the only two people that were favorable, John Kasich and BernieSanders ...” said Brady Olson, 16, trailing off as he shook his head slowly in disbelief.

“I don’t know what to say about that.”

Olson, of rural Wallingford, made international headlines last year while running for president under the moniker Deez Nuts.

The name, swiped from a popular Internet meme, was his 12-year-old brother’s idea.

The highlight was when nearly 10 percent of North Carolina residents contacted by Public Policy Polling said they’d rather vote for Deez Nuts than billionaire businessman Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The memory still brings a grin to his face.

“I got 10 percent,” he said with a shrug.(tncms-asset)f13458e1-b3d8-5071-b06f-c14664f3997e(/tncms-asset)

On Wednesday, almost a year after his candidacy began to make headlines, Olson sat down on a leather sofa in his parents’ living room to talk politics.

The big-screen television on the wall in front of him was set to CNN, on mute. For the most part, Olson was able to not be distracted by the channel’s coverage of the Republican National Convention.

He’s been watching the action pretty closely, but figures the sizzle of the event has dissipated now that the effort to replace Trump as the nominee has been squashed.

“Eh, they’ve got everything worked out,” he said, clearly disappointed. “It’s sad.”

There was some dissention earlier in the week, but no real drama.

“There was just screaming,” he said.

Olson wanted more.

“I was hoping they’d have a roll-call vote,” he admitted.

He has even lower expectations for next week’s Democratic National Convention, predicting it will be “the most boring convention ever.”

“There’s no actual ongoing effort to deny Hillary Clinton the nomination, and even if there was it would fail horribly just like this one did,” he said, of the failed attempt against Trump. “Plus, you look at the people she’s considering for vice president, like Tim Kaine? That’s the safest bet you could take.”

Beyond his upcoming junior year at Graettinger-Terril High School, Olson isn’t sure what his own future holds.

He doesn’t even know who he would vote for, if he were old enough, in November’s general election.

“I’ll probably just stay here and try to not to think about,” he said, “because I don’t like either one of these two.”

If he could, he’d consider voting for Libertarian Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein or Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente Guerra, who ran for the Democratic domination.

Lamenting the polarization of politics, Olson hopes that he and the rest of America will someday have a broader political spectrum to choose from.

“I think it’s time for a third party that’s in the middle. The parties used to be here, like a Venn diagram,” he said, holding his hands close together. “And then slowly, it’s like a rubber band just getting stretched out so there’s no one in the middle.”

Though he enjoyed the experience, Olson doesn’t plan on reviving the ‘Deez Nuts’ campaign for a second crack at the Oval Office in 2020 — people got over his first candidacy so fast he figures there’s no interest in a second — but does have his eye on another political post.

Iowa’s 4th Congressional District.

The office has long been held by Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, who is expected to roll to an easy victory over Democratic challenger Kim Weaver after handily defeating Sioux City Republican Rick Bertrand in the party primary.

Olson, who is not a fan, is giving King a 9-year heads up.

“If Steve King’s still there and I still live in Iowa by the time I’m 25, I’ll think about it.”

Ted Cruz refuses to endorse Trump; ‘vote your conscience’

CLEVELAND — Ted Cruz, the winner of the Iowa caucuses, congratulated Donald Trump on Wednesday night for winning the Republican presidential nomination, but he did not outright endorse him, an omission that drew a huge reaction from the crowd with many booing him as he left the stage.

In a much anticipated speech at the Republican National Convention here, the Texas senator portrayed the country as one imperiled, divided and in danger, saying Democratic leaders are responsible for “madness.”

However, his speech will undoubtedly be remembered for the reaction of the crowd as it became apparent that he would not endorse Trump.

As Cruz began winding up his speech, the convention hall grew noisier, with some chanting “Trump.”

At one point, Cruz appeared to try to pass it off as parochialism, saying, “I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation.”

However, as he left the stage a cascade of reaction came down.

Afterward, Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said that Cruz “missed a real opportunity to solidify himself within the party.”

However, he added, “we’re going to unite the party with or without Ted Cruz.”

Jeanita McNulty, of Davenport, a longtime Republican who was in the arena, said “he missed a great opportunity to unite the party.”

Much of the day has been dominated by speculation about whether Cruz would endorse Trump, a man who once tweeted an unflattering picture of the Texas senator’s wife during the campaign and frequently referred to him as “Lyin’ Ted.”

Cruz, not one to shrink from a fight, once called Trump a “pathological liar” and “utterly amoral.”

Still, on Wednesday, with the fight for the nomination over and party leaders demanding unity, there was tremendous pressure on him in some quarters to issue an endorsement.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, for example, said that Cruz would be “less of a person” if he didn’t. And Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who also ran unsuccessfully for president and preceded Cruz, said in his speech Wednesday night he wanted to make it clear that “a vote for anyone other than Donald Trump would be a vote for Hillary Clinton.”

Earlier in the day, Cruz held an outdoor rally to thank volunteers, an event that was packed with supporters, including some in the Iowa contingent. It also was an occasion that injected yet one more unbelievable moment into an unbelievable campaign. Just as Cruz was telling the crowd the GOP had its nominee, Trump’s plane flew overhead as some in the crowd booed.

Appeal denied in Mason City case involving motorcycle fatality


MASON CITY — A judge has denied a man’s post-conviction relief application in a Mason City vehicular homicide case.

District Court Judge Colleen Weiland ruled Tuesday that Victor Rivera’s sentence of up to 25 years in prison, which includes a mandatory minimum of 17.5 years before he is eligible for parole, was legal.

Rivera, 48, Mason City, received that sentence after pleading guilty in Cerro Gordo County District Court to homicide by vehicle and failure to stop in event of an accident resulting in death.

Authorities say Rivera pulled in front of a motorcycle operated by Jefferson Davis, 43, Mason City, on Nov. 22, 2014, at Highway 122 and South Pierce Avenue.

Davis was killed. Nicole Lynn Shariff, a passenger on the motorcycle, was injured.

During Rivera’s May 25 hearing on his post-conviction relief conviction, his attorney, Dylan J. Thomas, argued Rivera’s crime was unintentional and he is therefore less culpable than those who committed other offenses that are subject to mandatory minimum sentences under Iowa law.

Thomas also claimed Rivera’s sentence was cruel and unusual punishment, stating Iowa has one of the most severe punishments in the nation for Rivera’s combination of crimes due to mandatory minimum sentencing.

In her ruling Weiland stated Iowa law allows someone convicted of both operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated resulting in the death of another and failing to stop at the scene of a fatality, as Rivera was, to be treated different than someone convicted of the first offense alone.

She noted Rivera continued to drive after the accident and evaded police officers.

Although Iowa does appear to have stricter sentencing for vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident than other states, Texas and South Carolina have similar penalties, Weiland’s ruling stated.

Thomas also claimed the $150,000 restitution Rivera was ordered to pay Davis’ family was disproportional to the offense and Rivera doesn’t have the ability to pay it.

Weiland ruled the restitution amount was not disproportional because Rivera was convicted of both vehicular homicide and leaving the scene.

Rivera has appealed Weiland’s decision.

Cerro Gordo County Jail 


Stolen Mason City police weapons recovered

A photo provided by Mason City police shows a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, model 870, similar to the one stolen out of an unmarked police car this weekend. Officials say a semiautomatic M16 A1 rifle also was taken.

MASON CITY — With the help of a tip from two citizens, Mason City police have recovered both weapons stolen from a police vehicle last month.

The department received a call around 6:40 p.m. Tuesday from two citizens who had possibly located the weapons, a semiautomatic Colt M16 A1 rifle and a Remington 870 12-gauge shotgun, Mason City Sgt. Steve Klemas said in a statement.

Klemas said officers met the callers in the 1400 block of North Elm Drive, where all the property was recovered. Twenty-eight rounds of .223-caliber ammunition, 17 shotgun shells with 00 buckshot and 12 slugs had also been taken.

“We don’t believe the people who called have anything to do with the theft,” Mason City Lt. Rich Jensen said Wednesday.

Jensen wouldn’t say where the weapons were found, citing an ongoing investigation. No arrests have been made.

Crime Stoppers offered a $250 reward for information leading to the recovery of the stolen property. Jensen said he wasn’t aware if the individuals who assisted police were given the reward.

Klemas said the police department thanks all citizens who provided information that led to the recovery of the guns, which were taken sometime between June 25 and June 27 from the back seat of an unmarked police vehicle in the 300 block of South Tennessee Avenue.

The officer, who has not been identified, placed the items in the back seat while dealing with a maintenance issue in the trunk. Officials believe one of the vehicle’s doors may not have locked due to a malfunction.

Jensen declined comment on whether the officer had been disciplined, saying it was a personnel matter.

Ashley Miller and John Skipper