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We're from a small community. My youngest child is in this girl's sister's class in school. I know the family - and have since I was in school. As a fireman (and my wife as an EMT), we don't do many traumatic calls. I can count the number of calls that have haunted me on one hand. This could have been one of them.
I think that the newspaper article did a fair job of reporting the facts (missed some things, but got the gist of it) - I'm cutting and pasting because I'm not sure how long the page will be available:
Archived Local Stories
Published: Wednesday, July 5, 2006 12:10 AM CDT
Girl, 3, OK after night in field
By PEGGY SENZARINO, Of The Globe Gazette
TITONKA -- Titonka Fire Chief David Trunkhill is grateful for the hundreds of volunteers who turned out to help search for and ultimately find a missing 3-year-old girl.
Alandra Schutjer, daughter of Greg and Amy Schutjer, went missing from a family gathering about 9 p.m. Monday.
She was located by two neighbors riding all-terrain vehicles at about 8:50 a.m. Tuesday after apparently spending the night in a cornfield with the family dog. Searchers estimate she was only 300 feet from the family's acreage when she was found.
Gary Uken of Titonka was in the group that first spotted the missing child.
"She leapt into her daddy's arms. She was really glad to see Greg. She was really glad to see her daddy," Uken said.
"It was a fantastic outcome. When you get that long into it, you hear stories that don't turn out as well," Trunkhill added.
He said Alandra was "kind of tired and dirty" but otherwise OK when she was found.
He said she seemed confused and said she couldn't find her mom or her dad.
Trunkhill said Alandra told them she slept with her dog in the cornfield and the airplane woke her up in the morning.
He said she asked about her horses and was wondering why all the people were at the family's farm.
Her parents took her to the Kossuth County Regional Health Center in Algona as a precaution.
She apparently went missing after her father went into a cornfield to retrieve a ball which had rolled into the field sometime earlier. He told the kids to stay out, but from what authorities have been able to piece together, Alandra must have followed him in.
The family was heading to a fire pit for a bonfire when they realized the little girl was missing.
More than 150 searchers scoured the area Monday night. An Iowa State Patrol plane equipped with thermal imaging technology was dispatched to the scene.
"It wasn't working as well as we hoped. It was picking up the adults but it wasn't able to penetrate the corn," Trunkhill said.
"Honestly, we didn't think she had gone more than a few hundred feet. She was found in an area we had walked several times."
The little girl must have been between groups of searchers, he said.
The number of searchers looking for the little girl grew to some 350 on Tuesday.
"I just can't thank everybody enough that came to help out," Trunkhill said.
He said the Titonka Food Center donated flashlights, batteries and food. Volunteers from the Hy-Vee store in Algona brought sandwiches and water for searchers.
"It was just unbelievable," Trunkhill said.
Law enforcement agencies from Woden, Wesley, Buffalo Center, Bancroft, Burt, Algona, Forest City, Hancock County and Kossuth County Emergency Management assisted at the scene.
The Titonka School District provided buses to transport volunteers and opened the school for use as a staging area.
I was out there from when the call went out until a bit after 4am. My wife was there for the duration (she was stationed with the ambulance, I was walking the fields).
If you've ever heard that corn should be "knee high by the fourth of July" - I'd like to see that guy. The corn was 8 feet tall in most places. After midnight, we started searching row by row - sets of 10 people walking across the field. If the guy on your left or right was more than 15' from you, you couldn't even see their light. An adult - any adult - could easily have gotten disoriented and lost in the field.
Thankfully she emerged from the field the next morning. It was truly a joyous outcome to a long night.
- If you live in Iowa, check your withholding. It's rarely "right on" in the best of circumstances, but in July of last year the state treasurer adjusted the withholding tables to "allow you to keep more of your money." I guess that was meant until taxes were due.
- Check your W-2's when you receive them - make sure that they are sane. I saw a couple this year where the state wages reported were much different than the federal wages. There may be a good reason for it, but make sure that there is! The state deparment of revenue has just about as good of a sense of humor as the IRS.
- If you need to replace a furnace or a hot water heater (or a couple of other of those kinds of appliances), 2006 is a good year to do it as there is a tax credit available for that. Double check that the model that you're looking at is eligble though!
- If you're in college and you have a choice between a job in your home state and one in another state, choose the job in your home state if all other things are equal. If you have income in more than one state, you'll likely have to file returns in more than one state.
- If you need to ask your tax preparer how to get "more of a refund" next year - don't. Unless your situation changes (by having a kid or by getting married), your taxes (and therefore your refunds) will not change substantially from year to year. When someone asks me that, I tell them to either do estimates or withhold more.
- The child tax credit is a very nice bone to throw to parents. But it sucks that it gets turned off at 17 (when kids are getting ready to go to college). And it sucks that it doesn't offset self employment income.
- If you are earning a small amount, look into investing in a 401k (if available) or an IRA. There is a retirement tax credit available to "low income earners" that actually goes to a pretty good income for married people. If you are close to the border line and can afford it, you can put some money into a traditional IRA which can reduce your income to the point where you can get that credit.
- HSA's (Health Savings Accounts) are a very nice idea - but poorly implemented. They should be available to everyone (no matter what your insurance status is). I did one return this year where the taxpayer had an HSA as a benefit (as opposed to a more normal insurance), but the tax forms that we needed to complete the return were not ready until well into February (good job IRS).
RAGBRAI is a bicycle ride across Iowa that has been sponsored by the Des Moines Register for about 30 years now. From what I understand, about 10,000 riders participate in the event.
This is an exciting event and gave us a chance to sell breakfast and do some fundraising, but it is a lot of work! They come through in a group, eat their way through town, and then move on - like a horde of locusts.
We got through the day fairly well. The only real SNAFU that we ran into was that the transformer leading into the EMS building was smoking. We had a waffle guy in making waffles and we were also serving eggs - everything drawing pretty good current. By about 9am this morning, the transformer was smoking and we had to shut down power to the building. A farmer brought in a generator so we could continue serving, but we lost some sales because of that.
It's the end of what's been a long day, but it was (as it usually is!) an enjoyable event!
It also brought some fairly sharp lightning.
I live and work in a small town, and at my place of business we have a "time and temperature clock" that falls under my purview as the computer guy. When I got to work, only the hour digits were working. This is an old Daktronics unit and it means that one hit of lightning popped one of the boards. Not too big of a deal as I have some spare parts (somewhere - got to find them now!). It also knocked down my WAN to both remote locations - a hassle, but not a real big deal.
That strike also apparently affected two other downtown businesses (across the street!) blasting an air conditioner and much of the network equipment in one of them. Yuck.
Let me make it clear - I don't think that small town midwest is or will be the target of middle eastern suicide bombers. But we have been the target of various attacks - ALF stuff and that kid from Wisconsin trying to draw a smiley face with pipe bombs.
We have a couple more pressing problems in the midwest that made this class good.
- The first is meth - and the associated labs and booby traps that go with it. Many of the devices that the fire marshal showed were pulled from meth labs.
- A second is the ready access to the components of fertilizer bombs (nasty) - any nutjob could get their hands on enough explosives to cause serious damage (see oklahoma city).
- A third (almost uniquely rural) issue is that there is still old explosives laying around in various outbuildings. They're not everywhere, but it is good to have an idea about what you're looking at if you come across them.
Say what you will about the whole Homeland Security thing, but this class I went to last night was well worthwhile.
This is important to those of us who work in IT in banks. The guidance will be used by your IT examiners to grade you on how you are mitigating the "risks" as shown in the guidance. Where these examiners aren't IT professionals (they're more like auditors with no IT experience), they go by the book on looking at your infrastructure.
As guidances go, this one isn't too bad - issues (whether you agree with them or not) are clearly laid out and terms are explained in words that the examiners can understand.
The guidance breaks down the risks into strategic (compatibility, forking, maturity, and TCO), operational (code integrity, documentation, contigency planning, and external support), and legal (SCO - enough said).
The legal section of the guidance is right on - there are legal issues that are still being hashed out - see SCO vs. IBM.
The strategic risks aren't too badly written. They're basically saying to use the right tool for the job. Hopefully the examiners will read it that way.
The operational risks are way off. They talk about a lack of support and documentation for open source projects - which is bullhockey for the ones that I've used. They also spoke of contingency planning - and thought it would be difficult to replace your software in the event that you needed to - also not entirely true. The operational risks section looked like it was written from a press release by Microsoft.
Meaning: It is indeed right that one should, from time to time, reboot his IT hardware for it cures all manners of ills. Furthermore, if one is experiencing problems with the device, one should reboot the hardware and see if the problem continues before calling technical support.
This doesn't just apply to computers. I was called in to look at a fancy speaker phone that wasn't working properly. After looking over the connections, and everything looking right, I pulled the power plug from the wall and plugged it back in. Behold! It worked!
Yesterday, when trying to load a freaking page correctly, I tried something different. Normally, I'd either been refreshing the page or going back and re-clicking the link.
Yesterday, I hit the "page back" button followed by the "page forward" button and everything loaded correctly. It's worked 100% since then.
Don't know if anyone will read this or care, but it works for me.