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The Chronicle - Centralia

Third Congressional District Candidates Spar in First Debate

Both candidates seeking to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler for Washington’s Third Congressional District seat had a chance to go head-to-head in a debate in Vancouver Wednesday.

Hosted at the RV Inn Style Resorts convention center, Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez faced off against Republican Joe Kent in a debate featuring topics ranging from the economy to foreign policy. The event included a traditional debate format as the candidates had the chance to counter their opponent’s statements.

The format featured a more confrontational tune than the candidate forums that are usually hosted for local candidates in Clark County.

 

Economic Issues

Gluesenkamp Perez, who owns an auto repair shop with her husband, started off by mentioning Kent’s multiple television appearances on Fox News and other stations in the leadup to the November election.

“My opponent has spent the last two years preparing for tonight, practicing on TV. I’ve spent the last two years running a small business and I think that’s the experience that’s really missing from Congress today,” Gluesenkamp Perez said.

She said Congress could address the cost of health care, child care, government overregulation of small businesses and the difficulty of getting small business loans in the near term. She spoke about Kent’s views on Social Security, saying he wants to raise the retirement age before people can start receiving it.

“Just because white collar workers are living longer doesn’t mean people working in the trades should pay for it by waiting longer to retire,” Gluesenkamp Perez said.

Kent responded by saying, “I’m not taking anyone’s Social Security or Medicare. It’s a tired, old talking point.”

Kent said the economy “was absolutely being destroyed by Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats at every level.” Specifically, he said the Biden administration’s energy policy has been a major driver of inflation.

Regarding housing costs, Kent said corporate interests are driving prices up.

“We have a major problem where major global corporations and hedge funds like BlackRock are being allowed to purchase massive amounts of housing,” Kent said.

One way to stop those acquisitions, he said, would be to remove a “carried interest” loophole, which he said allows those corporations to buy up real estate.

Kent blamed the Democrats for bailing on efforts to remove the loophole.

“Don’t let the Democrats tell you that they’re going to fight Wall Street. They’re with Wall Street lock, stock and barrel,” Kent said.

Gluesenkamp Perez said housing is a complex issue of supply and demand. She said real estate issues aren’t strictly related to the housing market. It took her a full year to apply for a small business loan to buy the building her auto shop is currently housed in.

“How many people have a year to spend applying for a loan?” Gluesenkamp Perez asked.

Other auto shops that went up for sale were turned into coffee shops and tattoo parlors, she said.

“Rural communities are hemorrhaging the critical services they need to keep our economy vibrant,” Gluesenkamp Perez said.

She turned to the importance of career and technical education.

“I’m willing to bet that you’re on a waitlist for a plumber, an electrician, a carpenter, the people that actually make things, and build things and fix things,” Gluesenkamp Perez said.

Kent rebutted by saying it’s important to train a new generation of workers, but noted “what we have to do is get our ability to produce things back here domestically once again.”

Gluesenkamp Perez said energy independence is important not only for the economy, but for geopolitical security.

“I am pro-renewables because I am pro-business,” Gluesenkamp Perez said.

Though she avowed support of fossil fuel alternatives, she said their continued use couldn’t be completely written off. She believes the transition away from oil will be slower than what others have hoped for.

“I don’t want the middle class to have to decide if they are going to scrape together money to buy a Tesla or ride the bus,” Gluesenkamp Perez said.

Kent said immigration is a major concern for him regarding the economy.

“Legal and illegal immigration is an assault on American workers,” Kent said. “You’ll hear this in the tech field. … They don’t want to pay American kids to learn STEM and then have to pay them. They want to import an endless wave of (immigrants on) visas that displace U.S. labor. It’s very simple. Onshore, buy American, hire American, deregulate,” Kent said.

Gluesenkamp Perez said she wants to bring back manufacturing. Glusenkamp Perez and her husband had to buy out a machine shop as the owners were retiring.

“If I have to literally buy out a machine shop to ensure my customers have good quality parts, there is a serious problem in our economy,” Gluesenkamp Perez said.

Kent mentioned it was former president Donald Trump who pushed on bringing back manufacturing.

 

Health Care and COVID-19

Gluesenkamp Perez said she supports private businesses who require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. She mentioned she has vaccine-hesitant members in her own family.

“People have forgotten how bad it is to be really, really sick,” Gluesenkamp Perez said.

She said Americans who signed up for vaccine trials committed “an act of patriotism” as they helped with the development.

Kent is staunchly against COVID-19 vaccines, and the measures taken in Washington and the nation that placed restrictions during the pandemic.

“Never again to government-mandated lockdowns. Never again to government-mandated vaccines,” Kent said.

He said he wouldn’t vote for the National Defense Authorization Act until servicemembers who refused the “experimental, gene-therapy” COVID-19 vaccine are reinstated. He also leaned into the idea that the virus that causes COVID-19 was developed in a laboratory in Wuhan where the outbreak was first discovered.

Gluesenkamp Perez said Kent’s “clickbait politics” wouldn’t solve problems that stemmed from the pandemic.

“This is not how we move forward. This is how you fundraise on Tucker Carlson,” Gluesenkamp Perez said.

She also took a shot at Kent’s stance against abortion, which she said included situations of incest and rape.

“It is not your place, Joe, to tell women to carry a baby to term. It is a slap in the face,” Gluesenkamp Perez said.

She wants lower costs and increased access for health care, adding she also wants to address burnout in the medical profession.

Kent said he wants to open up competition and options in the U.S. health system.

“The problem with health care right now is there’s not enough choice,” Kent said.

He said health insurance should not be tied to one’s employer, and advocated for deregulating the control the Food and Drug Administration has over pharmaceutical development.

“If drugs are tested somewhere in Europe or another first world country, they should immediately be able to be reproduced as generics and introduced to the market here. That’s why everybody goes up to Canada to buy their drugs,” Kent said.

Kent took time to decry gender-affirming care as “a predatory practice.”

“We need to protect our children from this ideology that says they can have sex changes under the surgeon’s knife or via big pharma,” Kent said.

 

Foreign Policy, National Security

On Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Gluesenkamp Perez expressed her support for federal aid to Ukraine.

“Russia invaded a democratic nation, full stop,” Gluesenkamp Perez said. “Brave Ukrainians are dying and defending their god-given right to a democracy, and we have got to ensure they have the tools necessary to end the war on their own terms.”

She said if Ukraine falls, Europe, and by proxy the United States, would be in danger.

Kent asserted his stance against intervening in the conflict.

“Russia shouldn’t have invaded Ukraine,” Kent said. “(But) what we need to be doing right now is not piling on billions and billions of dollars of arms to the Ukrainians and telling the Russians that we’re at war with them.”

“I would not give one more penny to fund anything in Ukraine until we give an equal amount to secure our border. That’s where our vital national security interest actually is,” Kent said.

Gluesenkamp Perez disagreed with Kent’s hardline stance on immigration.

“We have got to have strong borders, absolutely, but we also have to have a legal system of immigration,” Gluesenkamp Perez added.

She said Kent’s desire to ban legal immigration temporarily is an attempt to “re-establish a white majority.”

“This nonsense about me being a white nationalist is absolutely despicable,” Kent said. “I fought for this country for over 20 years. I placed my life in the hands of minorities and people of every single race and creed and sexuality, and they placed their lives in my hands.”

Kent said he wants to cut off illegal immigration and get rid of visas that are tied to jobs.

“The American role in the world from the American government’s perspective is to look out for our people,” Kent said.

Gluesenkamp Perez said Kent’s stance is more theatrical than practical.

“He is a perfect example of someone who is entirely incapable of making things better. What he wants is a political football that he can toss back and forth and fundraise off of,” Gluesenkamp Perez said. “Joe Kent’s policy is just magical thinking, morally bankrupt and economic sabotage.”

 

Working in Congress

Kent said a good deal of bipartisan collaboration in Congress could come from infrastructure projects. He mentioned the aging Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River.

“It needs to be upgraded. It needs to be replaced,” Kent said. “I think we need to work on a third bridge solution and a railroad solution.”

He said those solutions are in the purview of the federal government, but they are “jammed into these massive omnibus bills” filled with items outside of infrastructure. He added he is against the extension of light rail from Portland into Vancouver and Oregon tolling the interstates in the Portland metropolitan area.

Kent said he is willing to work with Democrats as long as the work “benefits the American people and it’s within the parameters of the Constitution.” He said there used to be consensus with the populist left among some on the right side of the aisle.

“The problem is the populist left was consumed by Wall Street Democrats who now control their entire party,” Kent said.

Gluesenkamp Perez said it is shocking to hear Kent talk about bipartisanism “because that is the last thing he is offering.”

“This is a man who is there to throw a wrench into things and get likes on Twitter. This is not someone who is there to deliver for our district,” Gluesenkamp Perez said.

She stressed she would bring a different perspective to Congress that may make her easier to work with among Republicans.

“I am not your typical Democrat. … I work in the trades. I live on a gravel road. My family has worked in logging,” Gluesenkamp Perez said.

On federal spending, Kent strongly opposed the use of omnibus bills to direct funding.

“We have to stop doing business where we submit a bill that is 3,000 pages long, 300 pages long, a couple hours before Congress is supposed to vote on it,” Kent said.

Bucking the precedent is a difficult proposition, he acknowledged.

“They love these massive bills because everybody gets to scratch everybody’s back,” Kent said.

Gluesenkamp Perez said she would focus on infrastructure spending in omnibus bills, pointing to the I-5 bridge as an example of where federal funding is needed.

“If I’m in D.C., I will fight tooth and nail to bring our federal tax dollars back to our district to ensure that our projects are built with labor from Southwest Washington with American-made steel,” Gluesenkamp Perez said.

Kent replied that’s “music to lobbyists’ ears.”

“They will get her to sign off on anything as long as it’s just got a couple projects for this district, and that’s going to do a little bit of good here that she can use to get elected the next time,” Kent said.

Gluesenkamp Perez pushed back, characterizing Kent’s policy as incompatible to accomplish work in Congress.

“He is there to be a figure of opposition and division, and I’m there to fix s--t and build things. This is a very clear difference,” Gluesenkamp Perez said.

 

Lewis County Honors Gary Stamper One Year After His Death

Thursday marked a year since the death of Lewis County District 3 Commissioner Gary Stamper.

A longtime public educator and basketball coach, he was elected in 2014. He passed away due to complications from COVID-19 at the age of 67. A beloved character in the courthouse, Stamper was known for his emotional intelligence and ability to build bridges, said Lewis County Manager Erik Martin.

On Thursday, county staff gathered around Stamper’s grave in Mossyrock before having a lunch in his honor at Nachos where they shared fond memories.

He has been honored in several ways in the last year, Martin said, including with a shadowbox in the courthouse presenting a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in Stamper’s honor. Two flags were flown, one was sent to the commissioner’s family.

One exemplary story of Stamper’s care for his constituents, Martin said, was told by Steve Wohld, the county’s chief of internal services. As he told it, staff briefed the commissioner on the county’s role in a matter that was upsetting a constituent before he was set to meet with the person, with staff saying there was nothing that could be done about the situation.

“And as Gary was listening, he changed course and staff was like, ‘You’re not backing us up, man.’ And Steve goes, ‘I thought we had a plan,’” Martin said.

As he told it, Stamper said the plan still stood, but the constituent really needed someone to listen to them and wasn’t ready to hear someone say “no” at the time.

“One of the things that I learned from Gary is the importance of building relationships,” Martin said. “You can be good at your work technically … but if you’re not building relationships you’re gonna have a hard time getting things done. That’s where you’re going to make progress on the things the county is trying to accomplish. Don’t forgo relationships for short-term gain.”

The Lewis County Economic Alliance has a scholarship fund in honor of Stamper to be annually awarded to a student from Mossyrock or White Pass High School. To donate to the fund, call 360-748-0114 or mail checks payable to the Economic Alliance of Lewis County to P.O. Box 916, Chehalis, WA, 98532.

Boys and Girls Club of Lewis County to Host 'Harmonies For Hope' Piano Show on Nov. 19

The piano show Harmonies For Hope will take place Nov. 19 at City Farm in Chehalis.

The highest bid gets a song played and a higher bid can make it stop. New this year will be a drummer “who will surely help pump up the energy,” according to a statement released by the Boys and Girls Club of Lewis County.

In addition to the piano  show, attendees will also be able to enjoy games, raffles, food and drinks.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m.

Tables of eight cost $800 and tables of two cost $200. Prospective attendees can contact the Boys and Girls Club about different ticket or payment options by emailing info@bgcchehalis.org or calling 360-345-1700.

The City Farm is located at 456 N. Market Blvd. in Chehalis.

Seating is limited so early registration is encouraged. All proceeds will go to the Boys and Girls Club of Lewis County.

For more information, visit www.bgclewiscounty.org.

Washington Air National Guard to Assist Hurricane Ian Responders

Gov. Jay Inslee has ordered the Washington Air National Guard to deploy a team to help first responders in the wake of Hurricane Ian.

Thousands in Florida were trapped after the hurricane caused extensive damage and knocked out electricity to 2.67 million homes, The Associated Press reported. The death toll remains unknown, but President Joe Biden said the hurricane could be the deadliest in Florida’s history.

The four-person Washington Air National Guard team will offer communication support to other responders through Oct. 14, Inslee wrote in a letter to Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty.

The team will help deploy Starlink satellite communication terminals, which are devices on the ground that connect to satellites that provide internet access without the need for a cable connection, the National Guard said in a news release.

Responders also used that technology, developed by SpaceX, during Washington’s 2020 wildfire season.

The team’s deployment comes after Florida officials submitted a request to Washington under a mutual-aid agreement ratified by Congress.

“We are happy to provide this critical capability to the first responders in Florida as they perform the important task of recovering after Hurricane Ian,” Daugherty said in a statement.

Office of the Chehalis Basin Hosts Webinar to Discuss the Future of the Skookumchuck Dam

More than 100 people tuned in on Zoom for a Wednesday night webinar hosted by the Office of the Chehalis Basin to update the public on future plans for the Skookumchuck Dam, which is owned and operated by TransAlta.

The dam was originally built to supply water to the Centralia coal-fired steam generation facility, which is set to close in 2026.

Both Anchor QEA Senior Managing Scientist Merri Martz and Nat Kale, principal planner for the Office of the Chehalis Basin, talked about the main goals of their research: examining flood and the effects on fish.

“The Skookumchuck River has been home to runs of migratory fish for a very long time. Steelhead, coho, spring and fall chinook all use the river,” Kale said.

Kale said the reservoir created by the dam does aid with flood prevention, though that’s not its main purpose. Martz explained that despite a fish sluice being built in the 1970s, there is still an issue with fish passage at the dam.

“The fish sluice that is built into the spillway has a bottom elevation of 464 feet, so when the reservoir is between the elevations of 464 feet and 477 feet, water can go through the fish sluice. When the reservoir drops below that point, then there is no longer water going into that fish sluice, so there would be no downstream passage,” Martz said.

Currently, Martz and her colleagues are looking into several sluice upgrade options, including making modifications to the existing sluice or changing over to a flume system like those used on other rivers.

“You could create a much longer flume that would allow fish once they entered the sluice to continue passively downstream, just on their merry way. This is used in many other dams including those on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, there are long flume passageways that come out of dams and they are highly effective, but you do have to drop down about 200 feet in elevation,” Martz said.

The flume can’t be too steep either, with a 4% grade maximum angle allowed. To get a 200-foot drop in elevation means that the proposed flume for the Skookumchuck would be somewhere between 3,100 and 3,500 feet long.

The Office of the Chehalis Basin is also looking into upgrading the dam’s discharge pipe to help with flooding control. The reservoir has capacity to hold 35,000 acre feet of water. However, the current discharge pipes are only capable of discharging 600 acre feet of water per day.

“It takes about two months to fully empty the reservoir and as we know nature does not give us two months of rain-free days after every storm,” Kale said.

The Office of the Chehalis Basin is continuing work on the second phase of its study on the Skookumchuck Dam and should have their final findings compiled by the end of this year or by January 2023.

To learn more about the study and the dam, visit https://chehalisbasinstrategy.com/skookumchuck-dam-study/.

Gifford Pinchot National Forest Hiring Seasonal Workers; Applications Deadline  Is Oct. 6

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest is hiring over 70 positions at six different duty locations in Southwest Washington, including Amboy, Carson, Randle, Toutle, Trout Lake and Vancouver, for the 2023 season.

“Seasonal employees help the Forest Service achieve its mission by contributing to forest health, resource protection, visitor services and fire prevention during the busiest times of the year.,” said the U.S. Forest Service in a news release.

Available jobs include specialized positions in fire, recreation, visitor services, natural resources and more, according to the forest service. Bunkhouse accommodations may be available at all locations except Vancouver.

Applications for seasonal positions will be accepted until 8:59 p.m. Pacific time on Oct. 6.

Applicants will need to create profiles on USAjobs.gov to upload resumes, cover letters and school transcripts if necessary. Applications will be processed throughout the fall and winter and selected applicants should expect to be contacted around mid-December to mid-January.

The first start dates for seasonal positions will be in early April; however, most positions will begin near the end of May.

Positions may last up to six months, and most will end in September or October.

For more information visit the Gifford Pinchot National Forest seasonal employment webpage at http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/gp/seasonaljobs.

 

Nine Mile Stretch of Stevens Canyon Road at Mount Rainier Closed for Remainder of Season

Stevens Canyon Road between Stevens Creek and Box Canyon will be closed to all vehicle, foot and bicycle traffic for the remainder of the season, the Mount Rainier National Park announced Friday.

The decision to close the section of the highway came after the Federal Highways Administration released the results of an inspection on Sept. 26 revealing one of the bridges along Stevens Canyon Road was unsafe for two-lane travel due to structural damage, according to a news release.

Stevens Canyon Road between Backbone Ridge and Stevens Creek will be closed to all through traffic from Oct. 10-14 due to ongoing construction work in the area, Mount Rainier National Park announced in the same news release. Box Canyon to Backbone Ridge will reopen Oct. 15 and 16 before the annual seasonal closure begins Oct. 17.

Contractors will be working between Stevens Creek and Backbone Ridge through Oct. 31 to replace and repair stone guard walls, drainage grates and the road surface, according to the news release.

Stevens Canyon Road is the only road inside the park that connects the west side of the park, which includes Paradise and Longmire, to the east side, which includes Ohanapecosh and White River. A detour has been in place since the beginning of the summer due to ongoing construction in the area. Visitors must drive around the park via state Route 12 through Morton and Packwood to travel between these areas.

Access in the construction zone, including vehicle, bicycle and foot traffic, along Stevens Canyon Road is prohibited.

The construction is part of a multi-year project that is anticipated to last through mid-2024, according to a news release.

For more information on Mount Rainier National Park, visit www.nps.gov/mora.

NYT Politics

Greg Abbott and Beto O’Rourke prepare to debate in a Texas border city.
Author: J. David Goodman
Mr. Abbott, the state’s Republican governor, holds a solid polling lead over his Democratic rival in what has been a contentious race.

Columbian Newspaper

U.S. defense chief in Hawaii amid distrust after fuel spill
Author: AUDREY McAVOY, Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Hawaii this week amid lingering community frustration and distrust after jet fuel from a military storage facility last year spilled into Pearl Harbor’s drinking water, poisoned thousands of military families and threatened the purity of Honolulu’s water supply.

Austin was in Hawaii to meet with his counterparts from several Indo-Pacific region allies. He was also scheduled to meet with the commander of a joint task force in charge of draining fuel from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility so it can be shut down.

Cheri Burness, who lives in Navy housing, won’t drink the tap water in the house she shares with her sailor husband and their two teenage children because she doesn’t believe that it’s safe 10 months after the spill.

Her family has spent $3,000 of their own money to install filters on all the faucets in the house so they can bathe, brush their teeth and wash their dishes. She spends $70 to $100 a month to have water delivered to their home for drinking. They also use bottled water.

She recalled how Navy leaders initially told Pearl Harbor water users their water was safe to drink after the November spill. The Navy only told people to stop drinking their tap water after the state Department of Health stepped in.

The Navy later flushed clean water through its pipes to cleanse them. In March, the state Department of Health said the tap water in all residential areas served by the Navy’s water system was safe to drink.

But Burness said she never got to see the reports for her house after it was tested. She was only told her water was “good.”

“I don’t trust them because cause they did nothing to show me that it ever was fine,” Burness said.

A Navy investigation later showed a cascading series of errors, complacency and a lack of professionalism led to the fuel spill, which contaminated tap water used by 93,000 people. Nearly 6,000 sought medical attention for nausea, headaches and rashes. Some continue to complain of health problems.

The military put families up in hotels for several months, but stopped paying once the health department cleared people to resume drinking their tap water.

Kristina Baehr, an attorney with Texas-based Just Well Law, sued the federal government last month on behalf of four families but said she will be adding more individuals from among the 700 clients she represents. Burness is among her clients.

“They didn’t warn them to stop drinking it, and 6,000 people went to the emergency room,” she said. “Then, many of these people have only gotten sicker over time.”

Austin planned to meet with several families who were impacted, Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told Hawaii News Now. An aide traveling with Austin did not immediately return messages Friday to The Associated Press. The meeting was closed to the media.

Baehr said her clients were not among those chosen to speak to Austin. However, she said if they had the opportunity to speak to Austin, she said they would tell him to have officials stop saying no one is medically affected by the spill and that there are no long-term effects.

They would also encourage him to provide appropriate medical care to families, safe housing because families claim the homes were not properly remediated, and compassionate reassignment to other bases to all those who ask.

“A lot of people are still stuck in the houses that made them sick,” she said. “So it’s very simple, let people out of the houses that made them sick and fix the houses so that they’re safe for the next people.”

She supports the Navy’s defueling of Red Hill but says it can’t end there.

“While you are focused on defueling, you can’t ignore the 93,000 people you poisoned. You must provide safe housing and real medical care right now for those families,” she said. “This is an urgent need.”

The spill upset a broad cross-spectrum of Hawaii, from liberals to conservatives and veterans to environmentalists. Many Native Hawaiians have been angered given the central role of water in Indigenous traditions that revere water. It’s also deepened deep-seated distrust of the U.S. military among Native Hawaiians that dates to the U.S. military-backed overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893.

The military plans to drain fuel from the tanks by July 2024 to comply with a Hawaii Department of Health order to shut down the facility.

Honolulu’s water utility and the Sierra Club of Hawaii have expressed concerns about the threat Red Hill poses to Oahu’s water supply ever since 2014, when fuel leaked from one of the storage tanks. But the Navy reassured the public that their water was safe and that it was operating the storage facility properly.

Iowa high school shooting defendant takes plea deal
Author: DAVID PITT, Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — One of the 10 teenagers charged with murder in a drive-by shooting death of a 15-year-old boy outside a downtown Des Moines high school in March has entered a plea deal with prosecutors and a second is considering a plea.

Court documents said Manuel Buezo, 17, entered the guilty plea to second-degree murder and two counts of willful injury on Wednesday.

Judge Scott Rosenberg ordered sentencing for May 30. The plea agreement says prosecutors have agreed to seek a sentence of up to 50 years in prison with all but 20 years suspended.

Buezo remains in jail awaiting sentencing. His attorney did not immediately respond to a message Friday.

A second teen, Kevin Martinez, 16, was scheduled to appear at a plea hearing on Friday. His attorney declined to comment, and details of the hearing were not immediately available through online Iowa court records. Court documents indicated, however, that he agreed to amended charges of two counts of intimidation with a weapon, felonies that carry up to 10 years in prison.

There were 10 juveniles riding in three moving vehicles and at least six guns from which more than 42 bullets were fired during the March 7 shooting, Des Moines police have said.

Eight of defendants were charged as adults with first-degree murder and other crimes while the remaining two were sent to juvenile court.

Jose Lopez, his sister, one of her female friends and two other youths were standing near a sidewalk outside of Des Moines East High School talking when two cars and a pickup truck sped by and the occupants released a hail of gunfire striking Lopez, his sister and her friend. Lopez, 15, died, and the two girls were seriously injured.

Those charged were between the ages of 14 and 18 at the time of the shooting. Those age 16 or older have been charged as adults under an Iowa law that automatically moves cases involving youth 16 or older charged with a forcible felony into adult court. Adults in Iowa face life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder. However, Iowa courts have said juveniles cannot be given life sentences without a chance for parole. Some of the defendants have sought to have a judge move their cases to juvenile court. But they have been denied.

Two others, aged 14 and 15 at the time of the shooting remain in juvenile court. Their convictions would likely keep them in state custody only until their 18th birthday if they are tried and found to be guilty as juveniles.

Gumaro Marquez-Jacobo, Braulio Hernandez-Salas and Kevin Martinez are scheduled to be tried on Oct. 17 in Des Moines. Martinez will not go to trial if he agrees to a plea deal.

Octavio Lopez, Henry Valladares Amaya and Daniel Hernandez have trial dates set for March 6.

A judge recently set the trial date for Romeo Perdomo for April 10.

A document filed by Assistant Polk County Attorney James Hathaway in July said prosecutors have chosen to split up defendants into separate trials “in order to reduce the complexity and logistical difficulties in this case.”

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