An eastern Iowa girl has won national recognition for her academic achievement. The U-S Achievement Academy is recognizing Heather Buckner of Monticello High School as a national award winner in history and government. It’s presented to less than ten-percent of all high schoolers nationwide.
Archives for March 2001
The U.S. House passed President Bush’s 1.9 trillion-dollar budget plan on Wednesday. Iowa Congressman Tom Latham says it sets the proper priorities: paying down two-point-three trillion dollars in debt over ten years and strengthening Social Security and Medicare programs. Latham complemented the work of fellow Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle, of Manchester, who now heads the House Budget Committee. The budget is expected to face a tough test in the U.S. Senate next week. Small, rural schools would be able to get more federal dollars under an education bill being considered in Congress, according to Congressman Latham. The Alexander republican testified Wednesday about the legislation before the House Committee on Education and Workforce.Latham says rural schools are often too small to qualify for many federal programs. He says the legislation, H-R-1 or “No Child Left Behind,” would give local schools better access to the federal dollars and more flexibility on how to use them. Latham says his local school district, Cal Community in northern Iowa, only has about 340 students in K-through-12 and can’t qualify for much of the federal money.
Federal investigators are looking into a plane crash in Minnesota that involved a Postville, Iowa pilot. Pilot Marlin Swenson was at the controls of the twin-engine Cessna as it landed on its belly in Crystal Lake, Minnesota late Wednesday. One of three passengers had to be treated at a local hospital. Swenson was flying the chartered plane from Nebraska to Minnesota when the crash occurred.
Iowa Congressman Tom Latham added a new title to his resume this morning: “grandfather.” His son, Justin, and daughter-in-law, Linae, had a girl at 6:22 a-m. Latham says it’s appropriate the House today will debate a bill which aims to help married couples and families. In addition to eliminating the 14-hundred dollar “marriage tax penalty,” Latham says the legislation also offers parents more cash back in filing their income taxes. The child tax credit will be raised from 500 to one thousand dollars.
Iowa teenagers could start getting a vertical driver’s license as early as July 1st. Lawmakers are expected to okay an Iowa Department of Transportation request that driver’s licenses for Iowans under the age of 21 be vertical cards, with the picture on the bottom and the stats on the top. The D-O-T’s David Stuz says it’ll make it easier to check I-Ds for entry into bars, or purchase of things like lottery tickets and beer. Stuz says it could make it harder for teenagers to get fake I-Ds. Virginia has had vertical licenses for the under 21 crowd for two years, and Stuz says the move’s been a success.
Wartburg is a heavy favorite to win a fifth straight Iowa Conference baseball title this spring. The Knights are coming off a 41-9 record last year that included a trip to the division three world series and coach Joel Holst says despite battling the weather this week they have been able to get a number of games in. With five all-conference players back this year Holst says expectations are high. Holst says the Knights will get plenty of challenges during the conference race. Wartburg is scheduled to open the conference race against Luther this afternoon.
Researchers at Iowa State University think they’ve nailed down a set of genes which plants use to create oil. The discovery may eventually let breeders adjust oil-making abilities of corn, soybeans and other plants. I-S-U botany professor David Oliver says the breakthrough answers the first of several genetic questions. Oliver, who chairs I-S-U’s botany department, says they’re striving to learn more about why a corn plant produces eight-percent oil versus a canola plant, which produces 50-percent oil. Down the road, the research could radically change the production of all sorts of products which are made from plant oils — from salad dressings and cooking oils to paint, lubricants and fuels. Oliver says they’ve had success with this initial step but much more research needs to be done. Oliver is working on the plant oil genetics project along with several other colleagues and departments at I-S-U, including the Center for Designer Crops.
Rolling out the red carpet could soon also be known as rolling out the “old” carpet in Iowa. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is part of a midwest effort to recycle carpet — keeping it out of landfills. D-N-R environmental specialist Jeff Geerts is working on the project. The idea is to get the carpet industry to voluntarily establish a recycling program without forcing the effort through new rules. Geerts says a lot of shag and berber gets ripped up and thrown out each year in Iowa. Around 25 to 50 tons of carpet is thrown out every year. He says that makes up one to two percent of the waste in landfills. Geerts says state environmental officials from Minnesota and Wisconsin have joined Iowa in the effort. The carpet industry has agreed to fund a third party group to set up a plan for recycling the carpet. He says there is some recycling already underway. Some companies now offer to recycle carpet at an extra cost to customers. He says the new system would include the recycling expense in the cost of new carpet. Geerts says it’s not known if this plan will cause an increase in the price of new carpet — that depends on how easily the old carpet can be recycled. He says there are lots of possibilities for recycling carpet, such as making it back into new carpet. Geerts says the members of the project will meet this spring to hash out the final details of implementing the recycling program.
The Iowa House has voted to make it a crime for politicians to lie about their opponents. Those found guilty of issuing “untrue or deceptive” statements could get up to a year in prison and a fine of up to 15-hundred dollars. Representative Steve Warnstadt of Sioux City says it’s about time.Representative Mike Cormack of Fort Dodge says it’s “gutless” to lie about an opponent. The bill also sets up penalties for those who use telephone “push polls” to smear an opponent. Representative Pam Jochum of Dubuque says it’s taken three years to get that provision through the legislature. She says what was once an unethical campaign practice – is now an illegal campaign practice. The bill passed the House without a dissenting vote.
A study finds the health of low-income Iowa children is improving through a program called “Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa” or HAWK-I. Pete Damiano is the primary author of the study and directs the Health Policy Research Program at the University of Iowa. He says the program reduces barriers to treatment.The HAWK-I program provides health insurance coverage for uninsured children whose families don’t qualify for Medicaid coverage. About seven thousand kids in Iowa are enrolled through the Department of Human Services. Damiano says the study was based on a comparison of parents’ responses to a survey given when their children first enrolled in HAWK-I and then one year later.Damiano, who’s also a professor of dentistry at the U-of-I, says he was surprised that many parents who were surveyed said their children were healthier after being in the program for a year. He says the kids also had fewer sick days from school. Ninety-five-percent of the parents surveyed said stress was reduced in their families by having the insurance. Three-quarters of HAWK-I is paid for with federal dollars. The other quarter comes from the state.