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>>the final issue THE TIMES-DELPHIC THE STUDENT NEWSPAPER FOR DRAKE UNIVERSITY SINCE 1884 DES MOINES, IOWA • Thursday, May 6, 2010 • VOL. 128, NO. 45 • SPECIAL THE TIMES-DELPHIC around DSM MONDAY, MARCH 1, 2010 Downtown Farmers Market Sleepy Hollow: making winter fun by SARAH ANDREWS Photo/Design Editor Although the snow is finally melting, take one last winter adventure at Sleepy Hollow Sports park before it closes (weather permitting). Activites at Sleepy Hollow range from advanced ski and snowboard runs to snow tubing or the new Zipfy sled. For those that want to try something new, free ski and INDIANOLA, IOWA – The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation confirmed Monday that Drake sophomore Ben Backstrom died from a self-inflicted, single gunshot wound. At a press conference at the Warren County Courthouse, Michael Motsinger, the agent in charge of the case, said that the gunshot wound was to his head. It was reported last Tuesday that DCI was treating the investigation as a homicide. Motsinger said that the investigation shifted toward a suicide later that week. Motsinger gave details about the night Backstrom was found just north of Indianola hunched over a bridge. From surveillance videos and eyewitness accounts, he said that Backstrom parked in a lot at 12:40 a.m. 1.5 miles away from where he was found on the bridge 40 minutes later. Three witnesses said they saw Backstrom walking alone on U.S. Highway 65/69. Surveillance shows that two hours prior to the 911 call, Backstrom was seen buying zipties at a local store. It was also revealed that his hands were zip-tied together in front of his body. A handgun is missing from the family residence—the weapon that Motsinger said might have killed Backstrom. He admittedly took the gun as a matter of personal protection, Motsinger said. The gun has not been found yet. Last week, DCI officials searched the Middle River for a weapon. The manner of death is still under investigation, pending the release of the autopsy report from Polk County. board lessons are always available from one of the trained instructors. If you’re on a budget, go on a Wednesday or Thursday night when rental and lift ticket packages are only $20. And don’t worry too much about the melting snow— Sleepy Hollow makes its own when Mother Nature slacks off. Sleepy Hollow Sports Park is located at 4051 Dean Ave. Des Moines, IA 50317. For information on hours and more, visit n 30,000 Iowans flock to first farmers market of the season The Des Moines Downtown Farmers Market kicked off its opening day at 7 a.m. on Saturday stretching over several blocks, with the main concentration of vendors being on Court Avenue. Both vendor and consumer demand prompted the earliest opening date of the market ever; it usually begins the day before Mother’s Day. The market featured a wide variety of food products, from jalapenos to artisan bread to homemade pasta sauce. Some foods, in- cluding burritos, Chinese food and crepes, were cooked on location, ready for passersby to purchase and eat. There were many other products as well, including jewelry, scarves and tie-dye T-shirts. Walking down the street, thousands of shoppers traveled from flower vendors to jelly booths to watermelon stands amid the smell of a mixture of fresh bread, BBQ pork and kettle corn. Some of the shoppers held hands; others walked their dogs and still more pushed strollers and bikes down the crowded walkways. Along the street were several musicians, including a young boy playing the violin and an older man playing Drake sophomore died from a gunshot wound last Tuesday Staff Writer THE DES MOINES DOWNTOWN FARMERS MARKET kicked off its season last Saturday in the Court Avenue district. There, vendors sold food, plants and merchandise. The market goes until next October. Staff Writer Backstrom’s death ruled a suicide by ERIC KIPP photos by LAURA JOHNSON | Staff Photographer by LAURA JOHNSON PAGE 8 jazz tunes from memory on his saxophone. “I really enjoyed the market,” said Alex Roth, a Drake junior, who had her first experience of the market on Saturday. “It was unexpected the number of people there, the variety of things being sold and how big it was.” Although customers could buy their first farmers market produce at 7 a.m., vendors, including Gerry and Mel Bauman of Grimes, arrived to set up long before that. The couple woke up at 4 a.m., gathered their herbs and crepemaking materials and arrived downtown to set up at 5:30 a.m. Their booth, The Farmhouse, features a variety of herbs and a skillet for making several kinds of crepes. The Baumans, along with extended family members, run the booth, which is a permanent participant of the Farmers Market. “We’ve been coming here for 20 years,” Gerry Bauman said. “My husband was probably one of the first vendors here.” Shoppers can check out the Baumans’ booth, plus hundreds of others’ from across Iowa and the Midwest, at the Downtown Farmers Market every Saturday through Oct. 30 from 7 a.m. to noon. n Family Response David Backstrom, Ben’s father, sent an email to the media Monday. In it, he said that he still feels confident that Backstrom was threatened in some manner and that what occurred happened because of a direct threat toward Ben or his family. “Ben’s family would like to thank everyone for their outpouring of support. We would also like to thank the Warren County DCI for their efforts and compassion during the investigation. “We would like to share the following information that may allow others to understand what we know so that they may help the authorities resolve this tragedy. “From information that his family knows, and was confirmed by friends and a letter that Ben left, we know the following: “In the last month, Ben either witnessed a crime or was made to think he had. He received direct threats not to contact police. Ben received a letter on the windshield of his car with family names, details and activities. “We know that in the last several weeks he withdrew over $1,400 from his bank account, none of which has been accounted for. “From the letter Ben left, it appears that he was either going to meet with someone, or was instructed to go to the bridge location and sacrifice himself to ensure his family’s safety. The family is not sure if this was a prank, harassment SEE BACKSTROM, PAGE 2 Global reality change: Drake graduates jet-set before settling into 9-to-5s by MARY BESS BOLLING Sports Editor Of the 72 Chinese students in Drake-graduate Sara Schoneberg’s English class, it only took one to upset the order in the classroom. One girl hid a dog under her desk during the first day of school. “I told her to take the dog home and leave for the day, then I think she just started cursing at me in Mandarin,” Schoneberg said. “So I yelled back.” Eventually, another student who acted as a liaison for the abnormally large class told both to stop yelling at each other, the dog crawled back under the desk and Schoneberg continued to teach the rest of the day with a canine present. As the international relations major strug- gled to control what she called her “class from hell,” 25 fellow Drake graduates taught alongside her in the booming country, while numerous others work and live in other foreign countries. This trend of a tour of service or work abroad between college and permanent employment has become more common in recent years. The government-run program, the Peace Corps, has placed a handful of former students abroad for two or more years as well. No matter the program, students said they return with invaluable experience in every facet of life. “The Peace Corps was a perfect fit,” Drake graduate Kelly Daily (’06) said. “It was a way to go out and gain experience in the field while doing something worthwhile without getting run down with a job all at the same time.” Daly was stationed in a village in the western African country of Benin. Though avoiding permanent employment is a common reason for taking time between graduation and the 9-to-5 daily grind, the time away morphed into more than an escape for Daly. “What made it worth it was the people,” Daly said. “I had a lot of really great people who were supportive in my village who were really supportive and kind of took it on themselves to take care of me.” Daly said the villagers were the main reason she extended the traditional two-year tour for a third year as a volunteer leader. “You go in, get all this training and say, ‘OK, I’m going to do this and figure out how SEE GRADUATION, PAGE 2 photo courtesy of DCI A MAP was given to reporters at Monday’s press conference in Indianola. The bottom star represents where Backstrom parked his car. The top star is 1.5 miles from the parking lot and represents the bridge where he shot himself with a handgun.

Times-Delphic 05/06/2010

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