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CHRIS ZOELLER, The Globe Gazette  

Third-grader Arianna Stephenson from the YMCA team jumps the hurdles Aug. 5, 2016, at the Mason City Parks and Recreation’s Daycare Olympics at Newman High School.

Mitchell County Fair continues through Sunday

OSAGE — Missed the combine derby Thursday in Osage?

There’s still time to attend the Mitchell County fair, which continues through Sunday.

The midway is open at 1 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.

Education presentations and working exhibit demonstrations are scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, followed by a 7 p.m. car derby.

Two auctions are scheduled for Sunday — wood carving at 1 p.m. and livestock ribbon at 2:30 p.m.

Greene Parkinson’s patient turns to stem cells

MASON CITY — In the three years since Shirley Smith received her Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, she has gradually given up painting and traveling.

The progression of her symptoms has been heartbreaking for the once-active Greene woman as she has been losing her ability to walk.

Earlier this year, she decided to take a gamble by trying stem cell therapy at Regenerative Cell Institute in Mason City.

Smith had tremors, an unstable balance and was heavily dependent on a wheelchair, and Dr. Crispino Santos, who runs the practice, was initially skeptical he could offer any effective treatment.

Since 2014, Santos has offered treatments in Mason City for patients who have chronic neck, back, spinal or joint paint, as well as those with arthritis or sports- or work-related injuries.

Santos said Smith is the first patient he has attempted to treat with Parkinson’s.

After her first stem cell treatment at his office Jan. 29, where stem cells were taken from her abdomen via liposuction and injected into her spine, Smith appeared to show little improvement, Santos said.

Following a second treatment using umbilical cord stem cells last month, she began to show some improvement, walking a little more independently.

“After being incapacitated for so long, she didn’t have the self-confidence that the rest of us have naturally,” said her partner, Eddie Hesalroad.

Santos’ stem cell treatments typically cost between $4,000 to $7,000, he said. Patients pay out-of-pocket because the procedures are not typically covered by insurance.

That money came from her retirement fund, Smith said. She estimates she can afford one more treatment, which will be scheduled for next month.

Santos has said he believes his stem cell treatments are responsible for her apparent improvement, because she is not undergoing other treatments. He cautioned he hopes for gradual improvements.

“The reality is we really don’t know the improvement (to expect),” he said.

Santos is board-certified in anesthesiology and pain medicine. He previously practiced for nearly a decade in Mason City, where he started the cardiac anesthesia program and pain management center at then-St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.

He currently practices pain management, stem cell therapy, regenerative medicine, aesthetics and platelet-rich plasma therapy in Las Vegas through the Regenerative Cell Institute and Interventional Pain Medicine.

breaking featured
State Fair gun ban unchanged

DES MOINES — The Iowa State Fair’s gun ban will remain unchanged unless lawmakers change state law, leaders of a state panel said Friday after a hearing on the subject.

The committee of state legislators that oversees the implementation and operation of state laws and rules on Friday reviewed the State Fair’s policy of banning weapons for attendees.

Leaders said the committee will not implement rules changes that would allow certified individuals to carry weapons during the state fair. Those leaders said such changes would have to be made by the full Iowa Legislature, which won’t meet until 2017.

“There’s a rule by the fair board. We didn’t bring it up. It’s not ours,” said Iowa Sen. Wally Horn, D-Cedar Rapids, chairman of the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee. “As far as I know, we will not consider the fair board rule one way or the other.”

The committee’s vice chair, Rep. Dawn Pettengill, R-Mount Auburn, had the rule review added to the committee’s agenda at the behest of a member of the public, she said.

Pettengill said the review was necessary because it appears to conflict with state law, especially after the 2011 change that made it easier for residents to obtain a permit to carry weapons in public.

“Our function is to make sure that the rules match the law,” Pettengill said during the committee meeting. “Anybody who is not an attorney can look at the rule and look at the law and say it doesn’t match.”

Pettengill said after the meeting that the rules committee is unlikely to take any action, and the matter will be up to the Legislature.

Roughly a handful of members of the public came to the committee meeting to speak on the issue. Most opposed the possibility of changing State Fair rules to allow for certified individuals to carry weapons during the fair.

Richard Rogers, a board member for the Iowa Firearms Coalition, said during the hearing that the organization believes residents with permits should be able to carry weapons during the fair. Rogers said after the meeting the group will continue to seek a more open policy through changes to state law.

“We expect to pursue a legislative resolution to this to be made more permanent and more fitting,” Rogers said. “This has been an objective of ours for a long time, but it wasn’t the highest priority. We’ve been waiting for the right time.”

Rep. Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines, said changing the policy to allow individuals to carry weapons during the fair would be dangerous due to the large number of attendees and the sale of alcohol on the grounds.

“So you very well could be drunk, walking around the fair with a gun,” Hunter said.

However, it is already against state law to carry a weapon, even with a permit, while intoxicated.