Iowa’s Attorney General is among a group urging the F-D-A to require “plain English” in allergy warnings on food labels. Bob Brammer, a spokesman for the Attorney General, says 32 of the nation’s attorneys general support the move.Brammer says while there is ingredient information on food labels, the technical chemical names sometimes fail to alert people who are allergic to certain foods or substances. He says there might be flavorings, spice or colors that don’t tell about specific allergens.Brammer says the Attorneys General want F-D-A rules to force food manufacturers to print an 800-number on their labels so folks with questions have somewhere to call.About two percent of adults and up to eight percent of children have some sort of food allergy. Brammer estimates 50-thousand Iowans have some allergic reaction to some sort of food or ingredient.
Archives for October 2001
Federal officials today sang the praises of a new energy-efficiency program at the National Animal Disease Center in Ames. The federally owned N-A-D-C had an energy bill of one-point-six million dollars a year for its 80 buildings. That’s why officials decided to try an energy conservation plan a year ago. Center Director Keith Murray says the plan included building a gas-fired power plant that supplies electricity and steam to the Center’s labs.The project cost six-point-six million dollars and after a year, has yielded 566-thousand dollars in savings. Murray says the Center cut a deal to pay for the conservation project with the dollars saved in utility costs. The lab is the nation’s largest of its kind, and Murray says keeping it running is expensive. Murray says the project makes the N-A-D-C safer, as in the past they faced the problem of losing power if there was a storm. They now have a self-contained electrical system that keeps important systems running. The Director of the Federal Energy Management Program was on hand today to officially recognize the conservation project.Beth Shearer says it’s a showcase project of how federal buildings can be improved to meet national energy efficiency standards. Shearer says the N-A-D-C program is a model for increasing efficiency in other buildings.The project also involved improving the energy efficiency of the lighting and heating and cooling control systems in the N-A-D-C buildings. The plan is expected to generate at least 500-thousand dollars in savings over the next 17 years.
A Davenport cop who’s been in hot water has resigned. Twenty-five-year-old Ted Jacobsen turned in his badge just before an administrative hearing to discuss his alleged misconduct. Jacobsen, a three-year veteran of the force, has been on administrative leave since he allegedly sent e-mail to a 15-year-old girl, asking for sex. Scott County’s Attorney says Jacobsen didn’t break any laws, but used extremely poor judgement. Jacobsen’s boss, Police Chief Mike Bladel, says he agrees with the County Attorney’s assessment of the case.
A sophomore at William Penn University is under arrest and charged with attempted murder after a shooting incident on campus Monday. Police arrested 21-year-old Henry Johnson the third of Gary, Indiana, and he’s charged with attempted murder after he allegedly fired a handgun at another student Monday night in the courtyard outside a residence hall. The shot missed and nobody was hurt. Johnson’s being held in the Mahaska County jail. William Penn President Dr. Thomas Boyd says Johnson will be expelled. Jamie Brockman, KBOE, Oskaloosa
A community-wide “book read” is underway in Iowa City.The University of Iowa’s Center for Human Rights and the Prairie Lights Bookstore are encouraging students and adults in Iowa City to read a book written by an Algerian novelist. It’s titled “The Last Summer of Reason.” University of Iowa president Mary Sue Coleman’s reading it.Coleman says the book’s about the absurdities of a religiously fanatic state and its brutal assault on a small bookstore owner. The book’s author was murdered in 1993 by Islamic fundamentalists. On December 5th, another Algerian author and an author from the “Freedom to Write Committee” will be in Iowa City to discuss the book, and how it might reflect the new world order.The book’s short, only 145 pages long, and the author’s name is Tahir Djaout. The December 5th forum will be held in Buchanan Hall on the University campus.
An eastern Iowa woman is back from a trip to deliver money to a New York fire station that lost all but two of its fire fighters in the World Trade Center collapse.Eldridge firefighters and their wives raised over nine-thousand dollars one weekend in September, and they’ve donated the money to the families of fire fighters who worked in the New York City fire station that houses Engine 54. When the World Trade Center fire call went out, it was shift changing time at the firehouse, and both shifts responded. All 15 men died when the North Tower collapsed. Kim Haycraft, the wife of the Fire Chief in Eldridge, says she gave the money to a firefighter who works in that station, but had September 11th off.Haycraft says the money’s been given directly to the families of the 15 firefighters who died.
A building in Dubuque was evacuated early this morning because of an anthrax scare.The Dubuque Postal Annex was evacuated for over three hours after a “strange, powdery substance” was found on a box. Between six and 12 employees were hustled out of the building at about 4:50 this morning as part of the new protocol for post offices. Law enforcement sealed off access to the entire building, which also houses some private businesses. The building and an adjacent parking lot were reopened about eight a.m.
Federal officials are again warning Americans new terrorist attacks may be imminent, and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says this is -not- a case of the government crying wolf.Based on what he calls “credible” information, U-S Attorney General John Ashcroft says the renewed attacks may come this week, but it’s not known where, how or when. Grassley says it’s the duty of our elected leaders to try to keep the nation stable and safe. He says that’s exactly what happened with the announcement yesterday.It’s the second time this month such a warning has been issued.As more anthrax cases are diagnosed, rumors are circulating whether small pox will be the next biological weapon unleashed on the U-S. Senator Grassley says federal officials are making huge orders of drugs to combat that potential threat.The U-S Health and Human Services department has asked Congress to provide more than half-a-billion dollars to speed development and purchase of the vaccines. Up to 300-million doses of the small pox vaccine have been ordered, enough to cover the entire U-S population. Long after the disease had been eliminated in the U-S, Grassley says a few people came into the nation decades ago from Mexico who were infected.Most Americans born before 1972 were vaccinated against small pox, but health officials say the immunity has likely worn off. Very few people born after 1972 have been vaccinated and would quickly succumb to the disease. Small pox kills 30-percent of infected victims and easily spreads from person to person, both by touch and through coughing, sneezing or even speaking.
A Monday night forum at Drake University focused on the role of universities in times of national crisis. University of Iowa president Mary Sue Coleman says students have shown a great need to talk about what’s going on.Coleman doesn’t expect huge, anti-war marches on university campuses reminiscent of the Vietnam era, but she says if there are, people should be allowed to express their views in a way that doesn’t impinge on the safety of others. She says they’ve had a few small demonstrations about what’s happening in Afghanistan. Drake professor Robert Harriman says one of the “sorry ironies” of the September 11th terror attacks is that students are more interested in world events and other cultures.Governor Tom Vilsack says universities must be “safe havens” for thoughts and ideas, and for those of different cultures. Vilsack says universities need to provide us with a sense of history.The publisher of the Des Moines Register says the American media have done Americans a disservice over the past two decades by reducing news coverage of international events. She says her paper is now devoting more space to international stories.
Governor Tom Vilsack is considering new state spending that would give an economic boost to the state’s construction industry. Vilsack may call for diverting more state gambling taxes to the “Vision Iowa” program which hands out millions in state grants for things like sports arenas and museums. The “Vision Iowa” board has already handed out grants for projects in Dubuque, Davenport, Des Moines, Council Bluffs and Sioux City.Vilsack says those projects will be up and running soon — employing hundreds at a time when the economy needs a boost. The Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund is a special account into which the state’s gambling taxes are deposited. It’s off budget, as they say, and it’s what’s financing the Vision Iowa bonds.