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BABY RESEARCH: Raising Money For Healthy Start

Having a baby born early can mean a long journey for the little ones and their families. One organization has helped all babies get a healthy start since the 1930′s when it funded research for a polio vaccine. Now, March of Dimes is focusing on a growing problem.

Three year-old Caroline was anything but big when she came into this world with her brother Logan. Dad Mike Vogel says, “They started out barely a pound was Caroline and Logan was just barely three pounds. They were born 27 weeks, so really premature.”

The Vogel twins were about the size of a smartphone. They spent 138 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Mom Melissa Vogel says, “It’s been a long haul for us, the NICU was obviously stressful, but coming home was just as stressful. We had a lot of feeding issues and had to go to Iowa City for feeding therapy.”

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MORE DETAILS: Ankeny Teacher’s Sexual Exploitation Arrest

A former Ankeny teacher is out on bond after being accused of having a relationship with a student.

Police arrested 33-year old Mandy Davenport Thursday. She is charged with one count of sexual exploitation by a school employee.

Police say she had a relationship with a 17-year-old male student while she was teaching at Ankeny High School.

Davenport resigned from her position on Monday.

The school district released the following statement:

“The conduct alleged in this case is not tolerated in Ankeny schools. The district thoroughly investigates any report that raises a concern about the conduct of a staff member, including any report of an inappropriate relationship.

SEXUAL ABUSE: Ankeny Teacher Arrested

A former Ankeny teacher is accused of sexually abusing a former student.

Mandy Davenport is charged with one count of sexual exploitation by a school employee.

Police say the 33-year-old taught at Ankeny High School as a language arts teacher and was later assigned to Centennial High School.

Police say the 17-year-old boy was a student at the time of the alleged offense.

Davenport is currently in the Polk County Jail.

CLUB SPORT: Lacrosse Taking Off In Ankeny

Anyone who has been inside the city limits of Ankeny knows people there love their sports.

And now, they have another sport to love. Lacrosse is the new sport taking flight in Ankeny.

Ankeny junior Charles Love started the team from scratch alongside head coach Tim Reed last year. The Hawks made their debut last weekend, but in the beginning there were doubts.

Lacrosse is still just a club sport so it’s not an official sanctioned sport recognized by the Iowa High School Athletic Association.

But it is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and it might become more mainstream sooner rather than later.

Iowa is one of two state that doesn’t have a high school Lacrosse league. Alaska is the other state.

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RANDOM ACTS: Spreading Kindness Through Ankeny

People in one metro community are performing random acts of kindness. The goal is to inspire others to do the same.

Making drinks is part of the job at Cafe Diem, but lately the baristas are also making peoples’ days. Manager Sara Lamb tells a customer, “Actually the person in front of you already paid for your drink.” The customer says, “Oh, my gosh! Are you serious?”

Lamb says, “We normally start off with $10 in the morning, and we go until it lasts. And, normally people will keep adding to it and keep going through it.”

The managers of the Ankeny coffee shop signed up as ambassadors of a new campaign this month. Lamb says, “There’s a pay it forward movement going on in Ankeny.”

LOOKING OUT: Identifying Drug Endangered Children

A parent’s bad habits can ruin the lives of their children.

“It can be the use of drugs in a household, the manufacturing of drugs, or the cultivation of drugs,” said Dale Woolery, the associate director for the Governor’s Office for Drug Control Policy.

Last year, drug task forces reported 450 cases of drug endangered children to the Iowa Department of Human Services.

“We know there is a lot of children who haven’t been counted who might be in harm’s way,” said Woolery.

Children living in these homes are often victims of physical abuse, psychological abuse, and are often too afraid to come forward.

It’s up to the other adults in a child’s life to do it for them.

At the 7th annual Drug Endangered Children Conference, professionals from teachers to social workers learned what to look for.

ADOPTION HALT: Families Waiting For Their Children

Waiting and worrying, hundreds of US families want answers on what needs to be done so they can bring their adopted children home.

The Democratic Republic of Congo stopped issuing exit letters for all adoptions in September. This halted the adoption process for hundreds of families including families that are legally considered the child’s parents.

According the U.S. Department of State this moratorium of all international adoptions is due to the DRC’s “concerns over reports that children adopted from the Democratic Republic of the Congo may be either abused by adoptive families or adopted by a second set of parents once in their receiving countries” and reports of fraudulently obtained documentation.

Parents Katie and Ryan Ong have legally adopted two-year-old Moses. Their last name is on his birth certificate. But because the DRC is not issuing any new exit letters at this time, his parents cannot take him outside of the country.