one billion dollars looks like.
If you were one of the 128 people who had to
get off a Florida-bound plane and go through
security again at the Des Moines airport on
March 18 of last year, here’s who you should
be pissed at:
Hagan was — and the operative word here is “was”
— the marketing coordinator at the Des Moines
airport for eight years. On that March 18 day,
an acquaintance from his church arrived at the
airport too late to get a boarding pass at the
ticket counter for his flight to Florida, according
to court papers. So Hagan, a helpful sort with
airport security clearance, walked the suitcase-carrying
man outside of the airport and then back into
the gate area, hoping he could get a boarding
The ever-watchful agents of the Transportation
Security Administration saw all this and declared
a breach of security. After meeting with their
bosses, the plane’s pilot and the man himself,
the agents then made the 128 passengers deplane
and go through security screening again. The
flight was delayed 47 minutes. What’s more,
an inbound flight scheduled for the same gate
had to wait on the tarmac for more than an hour,
waiting for the outbound flight to leave.
Hagan was placed on paid administrative leave,
and after an investigation he was fired on June
28. He appealed the firing to the Des Moines
Civil Service Commission, which in April of
this year upheld the termination. He now has
appealed to Polk County district court, asking
that he be rehired and given his back pay. He
says he told his friend that after getting the
boarding pass he would have to double back and
go through security. What’s more, he says, there
was no rule against what he did.
A nonjury trial is set for Jan. 23.
On LinkedIn, Hagan now lists his occupation
as “career counseling.” ...
All 74 judges up for retention this year “received
high marks on the 12 questions...for their professionalism
and demeanor as determined by the attorneys
who voted in the bi-annual Judicial Performance
Review...,” says the website of the Iowa State
Well, it depends on what you consider “high
If you consider answers of somewhere between
“neither agree nor disagree” and “disagree,”
then Rachel Seymour of Polk County got high
marks. Otherwise, not so high. One of the questions
was “avoids undue personal observations or criticisms
of litigants, judges and lawyers from bench
or in written opinions,” and she got a 2.94
on a scale of 5 on that one — which would be
an F in school. She also got a 2.94 on “is courteous
and patient with litigants, lawyers and court
personnel.” The only other judge in the state
to get a mark below 3 was Dale Ruigh, a 30-year
judge in Ames. He got a 2.85 on “promptness
of rulings and decisions,” but nevertheless
93 percent of the lawyers who voted in the bar-association
review recommended a vote for retention.
Three judges received 100 percent support for
retention — Joseph Moothart of Cedar Falls,
Todd Hensley of Sioux City and Craig Dreismeier
of Council Bluffs. Seymour’s 61 percent was
the lowest support for retention. ...
From last Wednesday’s Fort Dodge Messenger:
Rep. Steve King said “he’s thinking about introducing
a bill, which if it became law, would repeal
everything Obama has signed into law.” ...
Wall buster: A faithful Des Moines Register
online reader — faithful but cheap — has figured
out how to beat the website’s new paywall, in
which readers are allowed to view just a few
articles each month before having to cough up
for full access. “The paywall is more or less
web browser,” the Robin Hood of the Internet
tells Skinny. “The method works reasonably well
for me on Internet Explorer or Firefox in Windows,
Safari on iPad, and my Android phone’s browser.”
Cityview’s vast technology department checked
out his claim, and it works — at least until
the Register’s tech geeks read this. ...
The arrest of Russ Wasendorf of Cedar Falls
and the charges of massive fraud aren’t going
to impact the finances of any Iowa politician.
He gave sparingly, at most. In 2010, he gave
$2,000 to losing Republican legislative candidate
Darin Beck, and in 2008 he gave $500 to Cedar
Valley Democratic candidates Doris Kelley, Jeff
Danielson, Bob Kressig and Deborah Berry. In
2004, he gave $5,000 to the Bush-Cheney campaign
and $750 to the Republican National Committee.
He has never given to an Iowa Congressional
candidate, according to the Federal Election
A few years ago, former legislator and current
lobbyist Ned Chiodo was terribly ill and, in
fact, died while being treated at the Mayo Clinic.
He was revived, of course, and now runs the
city’s three golf courses — and regularly exasperates
city administrators. At Chiodo’s 70th birthday
party at the A.H. Blank course the other evening,
former legislator and current lobbyist Scott
Newhard told a story. When Chiodo died, Newhard
related, he went straight to heaven and was
greeted by St. Peter. Ultimately, God told St.
Peter to send Ned back until his beloved Cubs
win the World Series. “That’s the best news
I’ve heard all day,” Chiodo replied.
The part that some city officials might have
a hard time believing: the “went straight to
heaven” line. Surely he stopped to argue with
everyone along the way. ...
Cabaret West Glen, the popular West Des Moines
nightclub, has been sold by Tim Kellogg to Midwest
Venture Capital, a company founded by entrepreneurs
Doug Aldridge and Andy Martin, both of whom
were executives at Tone’s Spices. Kellogg says
he is excited to spend time with his family
and hopes to assist other establishments with
branding and marketing. Cabaret West Glen opened
in November 2006 and continues to incorporate
options for smoking and non smoking nightlifers.
If Gary Hagan is rehired at the airport, one
thing he might want to do — besides not ushering
pals around the security lanes — is to correct
the spelling of Khrushchev in that aging history
of the airport down in the counter area. The
name is misspelled several times and has been
Meantime, the airport seems to be doing just
fine without Hagan. In the first six months
of this year, 505,046 people got off commercial
flights in Des Moines and 507,428 got on. That
combined total of 1,012,474 is up 9.59 percent
from a year before, according to the airport.
The trend is likely to continue after Southwest
Airlines begins operations in Des Moines next
month. (Ticket prices already are starting to
fall.) And planes arrived on time 81.2 percent
of the time in the first six months, the highest
rate in 10 years and sharply above the 71.76
percent of a year before, according to the federal
Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Similarly,
85.4 percent of the flights left the gate on
time, the highest percentage since 2003. And
only 92 of the 5,512 scheduled departures were
canceled, also the lowest number in at least
Skinny was ticketed on all 92 of those flights.
The federal government defines “on time” as
within 15 minutes of scheduled time. The definition
was written by the same guy who defined a score
of less than 60 percent as “high marks” for
You can go home again: John Karras, co-inventor
of RAGBRAI and long-retired Des Moines Register
newsman, and his wife, Ann, are house-hunting
in Des Moines, planning to return after several
years in the mountains of Colorado.
“When it rains, it pours.” — Nancy Sebring.