If you got a new computer for Christmas, state officials are urging you to recycle the old one rather than toss it in the garbage. Merry Rankin, an environmental specialist at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says there are all sorts of options, such as donating it to Goodwill. While you may not think much of your old computer, Rankin says someone else might be thrilled with it.It is now illegal in California to throw a computer monitor or a television into the garbage, as the C-R-Ts are considered toxic waste.Another benefit of recycling rather than tossing your old computer: you might get a last-minute tax write-off for donating your computer to a non-profit agency.
Archives for 2001
While the Fort Dodge Senior High marching band performed in the weekend Fiesta Bowl parade in Phoenix, Arizona, -another- Iowa band gets the spotlight today. The Spencer Tiger Marching Band is playing in Dallas, Texas, for the Cotton Bowl. 95 students and 15 adults took the bus trip. Band director Kirk Schwarck says it’s a landmark event for Spencer, as it may be the first time the band has played at a bowl game.The band will perform in the Cotton Bowl parade this afternoon and during the game’s halftime show tomorrow.
The man who ran an eastern Iowa program to rehabilitate young offenders is in legal trouble himself. An attorney for the former director of the Summit Program, a three-month residential Davenport boot camp, will appear before a judge on January 16th. Attorney Murray Bell will argue that police didn’t have probable cause August 22nd to search the home of his client, 36-year-old John Michael Bolsinger. He’ll also argue that videos, CDs and other items that were confiscated will be used not as evidence but to attack Bolsinger. Bolsinger is charged with three counts of third degree sexual abuse, three counts of sexual misconduct with an offender and juvenile and sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist. He is accused of examining at least three boys, purportedly to determine if they had hernias.
Iowa’s economy will likely continue to slog along in this recession during the new year, but Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says an upswing is expected within a few months.Dr. Goss doesn’t expect any significant upturn in the state’s economic picture until the second quarter of 2002. He says the situation will be going “sideways” for a while, not improving but also not getting any worse.Goss says most recessions in the U-S during the past century have lasted about 11 months.Over the past month, many Iowa retailers reported December sales up just one to two-percent from December of last year.
A 16-year veteran of the Clinton County Sheriff’s department has been fired. Sheriff Rick Lincoln announced Friday in a two-sentence statement that Sergeant Joseph Sparks was terminated after a comprehensive internal affairs investigation which was started November 1st by the Dewitt Police Department. Sparks was placed on paid administrative leave pending outcome of the probe. The 40-year-old Sparks was hired in 1985 and was most recently a road patrol shift supervisor.
Some apparent mismanagement of school funds has turned up, during a re-audit of the financial records of the Central City Community School district. State officials claim the district misused nearly 60-thousand dollars from the school’s general fund, and has failed to properly maintain the Physical Plant & Equipment Levy Fund, which is currently operating in the red. After the school board claimed it would use money from the district’s General Fund account to pay for maintenance and general repairs of facilities as needed, auditors told the board that would violate the Iowa Code, unless they get special permission from the state School Budget Review Committee. The district’s indicated that it does plan to comply with the recommendations by the state auditors, in an effort to bring the budget back in line.
The Iowa Court of Appeals has rejected a Sioux City company’s request that two former employees be permanently barred from selling a competing product. The case centers around the concept of trade secrets.Rocklin Manufacturing in Sioux City makes the MoldMender, a welder used to repair steel molds for plastics. Two former Rocklin employees, Wayne Tucker and Michael Willer, developed something in their off-time they call the KwikWeld that does the same thing, only in a slightly different way. Rocklin accused the two of stealing trade secrets and asked the courts to permanently bar the sale of the KwikWeld. A district court ruled the two should be prohibited from advertising in the magazines or going to the same trade shows that Rocklin attends for 10 years. The two men appealed that decade-long sentence, calling it excessive. The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld the lower court’s ruling, so the two men will be able to sell their product, but will not be allowed to market it in places they learned about when they were employed at Rocklin.
A decades-old tradition of counting wild birds during the Yuletide season culminates in Iowa today with the “Christmas Bird Count” at the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge in central Iowa’s Jasper County. Organizers say you can take part even if you don’t know a blue jay from a goldfinch.Pauline Drobney is a refuge biologist at the Prairie Learning Center in Prairie City. She says the count is designed to track annual changes in bird populations and distributions of birds in early winter. All local number go into an international database, organized by the Audubon Society. Drobney says you can drive a course, counting birds, or sign up for the walking course. She says the wildlife refuge is a wide and beautiful habitat for many species of birds — and other creatures. Drobney encourages “birders,” nature lovers and anyone else who’s looking for a little exercise and fun to give the bird count a whirl, starting at 8 this morning.The Christmas Bird Count was first conducted 102 years ago. This year, more than 45-thousand birders will take part in two thousand counts across the U-S, Canada and Central and South America. For details, call (515) 994-3400.
There’s a saying about lies and statistics, but a University of Northern Iowa professor is teaching students how a good poll is taken and what to do with the results. Political Science professor Allen Brierly says to get a grasp on public opinion, it’s important to ask a lot of people.To select people as randomly as possible, he chooses them from voting lists or the crowd at big public events. A good poll has well-phrased questions that are interpreted carefully, says Brierly. He explains a yes-no question isn’t a good way to study an issue.Try for rating where people can put down their assessment on some kind of scale, like one-to-ten. It helps to ask about topics people have been pondering, says Brierly, who often finds strong opinions about local budgets.He’s interested in state and local surveys, and people are likely to respond in best detail to questions on the local economy. While citizens with a complaint are most likely to come forward on their own, Professor Brierly says going out to survey a broad sample of people can turn up startling results. More than 8 in ten people in Black Hawk County are satisfied with local government. Brierly also does a poll of people involved in Iowa’s annual precinct caucuses, and says it’s a good predictor of how those people will vote in the general election.ss
The Fort Dodge Senior High marching band is performing in today’s Fiesta Bowl parade in Phoenix. It’s the fourth time band director Curt Klein has taken the Fort Dodge Band to the event. Klein says there’s an application process that requires submission of a video of a band’s performance and a resume of the band’s accomplishments. The parade route is three miles long — a straight shot through downtown Phoenix. The band’s playing a Latin number they first performed in Fort Dodge this fall. The parade will air on television on New Year’s Day.