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Eric Keith / File photo | News-Press NOW  

The Great Northwest Wholesale Water Commission continues its preparations for construction of a 35-mile pipeline east of St. Joseph to serve drinking water from Missouri American to residents in Cameron, Stewartsville and Maysville.

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Therapy pets help patients gain peace

While community doctors and nurses make a huge difference in the lives of many, the Pet Partners program hopes to highlight therapy animals in that same field.

Therapy dogs at Mosaic Life Care are led by their handlers to reduce stress and hopefully contribute to the overall health of everyone they come in contact with. Visitors often will see the animals in waiting rooms, patients rooms and sometimes even in the Cancer Center.

For handler Elaine Wallace, having a therapy dog was certainly a point of pride. However, she began to understand the importance of her special pet in the lives of patients.

“The deeper you get into therapy work, the more you realize that it’s not just warm and fuzzy,” she said. “It has an immense effect on so many people.”

She remembers visiting a man clenched in chronic pain, who upon meeting with her dog, enjoyed a moment of peace. A young girl also had used her dog as a bridge to open up about abuse.

“The dogs are so nonjudgmental and so trusting that it helps people to just feel so comforted by their presence,” Wallace said.

The program, which has been with Mosaic for around seven years, currently has around 12 teams of dogs who show up on various schedules.

The dogs and handlers are evaluated in a number of ways prior to being certified. Handlers have to go through testing to make sure they’re knowledgeable enough to guide their dogs through the hospital while interacting with patients and visitors. Meanwhile, dogs need to be consistently cleaned and have their nails trimmed prior to entering the hospital. Medical evaluations also are compiled before the handler and their dog are certified for two years.

Julie Case, the volunteer coordinator at Mosaic, has been working with the Pet Partners program for three years, and said that its attempting to expand beyond the hospital as the teams grow.

“Seeing the dogs come in and seeing the interactions that they have with our visitors, patients and even our caregivers is amazing,” Case said. “Some of the department leaders are asking that we bring the dogs in just for the staff, and you can see that joy that the dogs bring to our caregivers as well.”

High-stakes gamble: Iranian envoy gets surprise G-7 invite

BIARRITZ, France — A top Iranian official paid an unannounced visit Sunday to the G-7 summit and headed straight toward the heart of the city where leaders of the world’s major democracies have been debating how to handle the country’s nuclear ambitions.

France’s surprise invitation of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was a high-stakes gamble for French President Emmanuel Macron, who is the host of the Group of Seven gathering in Biarritz.

Zarif spent about five hours in Biarritz after his plane touched down at the airport, which has been closed since Friday to all flights unrelated to the official G-7 delegations.

A senior French official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive talks, said Macron personally informed U.S. President Donald Trump about the invitation to Zarif.

The official noted that Macron and Trump met for two hours Saturday and discussed Iran at length, as well as at the informal group dinner Saturday night.

Another French official said that France “is working in full transparency with the U.S. and in full transparency with European partners.”

The Iranian met with Macron as well as diplomats from France, Germany and Britain at the Biarritz city hall, the official said.

Zarif, who is under U.S. sanctions, had been scheduled to go to Asia as part of a tour to seek support for Iran amid the American campaign against it since Trump withdrew the U.S. from Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Trump had not “set preconditions” on negotiations with Iran.

Zarif arrived as fissures emerged among G-7 leaders over how to deal with Iran.

Macron said the leaders agreed during a dinner the night before that the French president could serve as a G-7 messenger to Iran. Trump denied agreeing to anything, and Macron was forced to play down his role and acknowledge Trump’s status as “the president of the world’s number one power.”

Macron said he has no formal mandate to speak for the G-7 leaders in delivering a message to Iran, but that he would be able to address the issue in the context of what they agreed to during the dinner.

For several months, Macron has taken a lead role in trying to save the 2015 nuclear accord, which has been unraveling since Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement. His office said the G-7 leaders agreed he should serve as a go-between with Iran.British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, greeting Macron for a morning meeting, congratulated the French president and shook his hand.

The G-7 leaders focused much of Sunday on what they can do to boost growth at a time of heightened uncertainty. Manufacturers around the world are smarting from the trade dispute between the U.S. and China , which has led to new import taxes on hundreds of billions of dollars-worth of goods. Businesses don’t know where tariffs will be imposed next.

The White House had said putting the economy on the agenda was Trump’s idea, but the G-7 has for over four decades always included a focus on the economy. It was founded as a response to the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s and the recession that followed.

Drone war takes flight, raising stakes in Iran, US tensions

From the vast deserts of Saudi Arabia to the crowded neighborhoods of Beirut, a drone war has taken flight across the wider Middle East, raising the stakes in the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

Since the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal last year, there has been an increasing tempo of attacks and alleged threats, notably this weekend, from unmanned aircraft flown by Tehran’s and Washington’s allies in the region.

The appeal of the aircraft — they risk no pilots and can be small enough to evade air-defense systems — fueled their rapid use amid the maximum pressure campaigns of Iran and the U.S. As these strikes become more frequent, the risk of unwanted escalation becomes greater.

The U.S. military nearly launched airstrikes against Iran after a U.S. military surveillance drone was shot down in June.

Meanwhile, Israeli fighter jets attack targets in Syria on an almost weekly basis, including on Saturday night. Israel’s reason for the latest bombing: To thwart what it called a planned Iranian drone strike.

Israeli aircraft then buzzed over Beirut on Sunday after allegedly losing two drones hours earlier, raising the risk of a wider conflict between it and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. On Sunday evening, another drone strike hit an Iran-backed paramilitary force in Iraq, killing one commander and wounding another, members of the group said. It was not immediately clear who carried out the strike.

The mounting tensions are rooted in the May 2018 U.S. withdrawal from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Under the deal, Tehran limited its enrichment of uranium in exchange for sanctions relief. In response to Washington’s withdrawal, Iran initially sought diplomatic support from European partners still in the accord, but ever-increasing American sanctions choked off its sale of crude oil in the international market.

This May, the U.S. sent nuclear-capable B-52 bombers, fighter jets, an aircraft carrier and additional troops to the region over what it described as threats from Iran. Mysterious explosions struck oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.

Coordinated drone attacks followed, first from the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels of Yemen. Major attacks targeted the kingdom’s oil infrastructure — one on a crucial East-West Pipeline, the other a major facility deep in the desert of Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said Israel had been monitoring the activity for weeks and struck when it became clear that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard planned to launch the aircraft.

Brandon Zenner | News-Press NOW  

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas runs off the field after making a special teams tackle against the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Simple steps can prevent theft, police say

St. Joseph resident Andy Bowen was not expecting the car he used to go from his rental properties to be stolen when he tried to get it towed after misplacing his keys.

“It was a 2002 Hyundai Accent and I parked it in front of a rental property that I was at the time leasing. I don’t know if I left the keys in it or if I dropped the keys at some point and the keys disappeared,” he said. “So I called a tow company and was going tow the car to my house so I could get the VIN and get a new key made.”

When Bowen called the tow company to see if the car had been picked up, he realized it had been stolen.

“The towing company said ‘No I did not tow it,’ and I said ‘Well, I guess somebody stole it from me then,” Bowen said.

He filed a police report and then reached out on social media.

“It was the police that found it for sure, but it was actually social media also that posted a picture of it sitting in front of one of the houses where the police found it,” Bowen said.

The silver car was found spray painted blue outside a home in the South Side in early July.

“They went in and cleaned all the tools out and those are gone for sure, and then they put a backseat in and they cut the catalytic converter off,” Bowen said.

Capt. John Olszowka of the St. Joseph Police Department detective division said that vehicles are stolen in two ways.

“The majority of cars we get stolen in St. Joe are because people left the keys in and left it running, or they are stolen by acquaintances, and when we mean acquaintances, it’s usually that I loan the car to a friend who then gave it to somebody else and they didn’t return it or I loaned it to somebody who I probably shouldn’t have loaned to because I should know better than these people aren’t going to bring my car back,” Olszowka said.

Crime Prevention Coordinator Sgt. Roy Hoskins said there are multiple ways to prevent your vehicle from being stolen.

“Just over two years now we started the ‘Don’t Make It Easy’ theft campaign. The basic concept of it is, number one, lock your vehicle, and number two, take valuables out of it or hide them,” he said. “Hiding them doesn’t always work and we’ve still had things stolen. The best option is to remove them, but if you have to leave them then don’t leave them in plain sight because people are looking for the unlocked cars with keys in them.

“When someone goes down the street at night or they’re grabbing door handles on cars and looking for open ones, if they don’t see anything that interests them then they’ll move on,” Hoskins said.

Following his experience, Bowen advises everyone to make sure to secure their vehicles.

“Just lock them up. If somebody wants your car bad enough, then they’re going to get it,” he said.

For more information on vehicle theft prevention, visit the crime prevention page at