The Iowa women open defense of their Big Ten tournament title Friday with a first round game against Indiana. Iowa coach Lisa Bluder says her team is ready for the challenge. She says they have good momentum after winning four of their last five. At 17-9 overall and 10-6 in conference play, Bluder feels the Hawkeyes have done enough to gain an N-C-A-A tournament bid. She says they finished as the fourth best team in the third best conference in America. But, she says the need to win the first game of the tournament to push away any doubts in the tourney selection committee’s mind.
Archives for February 2002
The Big Ten regular season race heads into the final weekend with a log jam at the top. Four teams, Illinois, Ohio State. Indiana and Wisconsin are tied for first at 10-5, while Michigan State is a game back. Iowa coach Steve Alford says that is evidence of the parity in the league this season. He says Wisconsin can share the title with a home win, and nobody expected them to be there.Alford says the parity will make next week’s conference tournament wide open. He says Michigan State and Illinois are probably playing the best right now heading into the tournament at a neutral site.Iowa closes out the regular season at Michigan State this weekend and Alford says the Hawks have made some progress as of late.
Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack continues to call for using 120-million from the state’s economic emergency fund to cover a state budget shortfall, even as republican legislators are poised to send him legislation that’d use just 45-million from that account, and enact more budget cuts. Vilsack says the GOP cuts will, for example, force the Department of Human Services to lay off 230 child protection workers. He says they’re asking the republicans to fully consider the impact of the decision they’re about to make.Vilsack says it just makes sense to use the economic emergency fund to cover the 120-million dollar shortfall. He says, “We have the money, it’s not like we have to tax folks to get the money, we have the money.”Vilsack held a news conference this afternoon as the Iowa House debated the G-O-P budget cutting plan. Vilsack says he got a coonskin cap as a Christmas present from his wife and he’s not going to give up.As you may recall, Davey Crockett — one of the soldiers who dug in at the Alamo — wore a coonskin cap.
Noisy crows are causing headaches for residents in several Iowa towns this winter. Leaders in Britt and Cedar Rapids have tried remedies from sanctioned shoots to hanging crow carcasses in trees to get rid of the raucous crowds of fowl. ISU wildlife specialist Jim Pease says they’re not particularly protected.They can be hunted — not in town, because you can’t shoot guns inside city limits, but it’s legal to hunt crows in season. Of course, in town is where they get to be a problem, and Pease says the number of crows is highest in the winter. They migrate south to Iowa in winter, and in Ames, the annual winter “roost” on the ISU campus is up to 14-thousand birds. While many wild things stay away from places where people live, Pease explains we have everything a crow needs to be happy.Trees to roost in, buildings to block the wind and make it warmer, and lots of food. Crow “shoots” will cut their numbers, though many residents object, or loud noise or “scare-eye” balloons work to some extent. And Pease says some towns have success playing recordings of crow distress calls. Human distress calls are a cry for help but birds send the message to flee the trouble spot. By summer, most of the crows will migrate farther back north, though they tend to return to the same place when the next winter comes.
The president of the University of Northern Iowa says it’ll be nearly impossible for the three state-supported universities to implement unpaid worker furloughs. The furloughs, as well as a one-percent across-the-board budget cut for the next four months, are part of the Republican plan to plug holes in the current year’s state budget. U-N-I president Robert Koob was at the statehouse today, meeting with lawmakers. Koob says not all university employees get their pay from the state, so not all employees will be treated uniformly if just the state-paid workers are forced to take unpaid furloughs. For example, cafeteria workers in the dorms will not have to take a furlough, as they’re paid by student tuition, while many professors will.Koob says the furloughs for professors create grave problems in ensuring classes are completed for the spring semester.Koob wants legislators to give the universities more flexibility so they can eliminate positions or programs rather than enforce furloughs.
Some Iowa medical experts said today that mammograms should continue to be used as one of the tools in helping women detect breast cancer. The comments come in the wake of a Dutch study that created controversy over the importance of mammograms. Dr. Marty Wiesenfeld is the Cancer Center director for Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids.He says the consensus within the medical and scientific community is so overwhelming strong in support of mammograms, that the Danish study is greatly outweighed. Dr. Wiesenfeld says there’s a lot information that shows the effectiveness of mammograms.He says the most exhaustive international study of breast cancer shows a decrease in the death rate of victims due to the use of mammograms. He says the information shows mammograms provide women with a better chance for early treatment and survival of breast cancer.He says mammograms are the starting point of treatment and not the only answer, but he says to turn their backs on 20 years of progress makes no sense. Wiesenfeld and other cancer experts made their comments in a conference call with U-S Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. Harkin held the conference call to gather information for a Senate hearing he’ll hold tomorrow on the mammography issue.
A group in Griswold has lost another battle in the war over a Civil War-era cannon.In 1911, the federal government gave a cannon to the Grand Army of the Republic post in Cass County. Nine years later, the soldiers turned the cannon over to the Griswold American Legion. In 1998, the American Legion tried to sell the cannon to a Pennsylvania collector, but two groups sued to prevent the sale. The Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War of Griswold and the Save Iowa Civil War Monuments Foundation argued the cannon had been dedicated for public use, and therefore could not be sold. A district court rejected the argument, and the Iowa Supreme Court today upheld that decision, which clears the way for the sale unless the two groups take the case to the U-S Supreme Court.
Two Des Moines-area malls have lost their bid stop construction of a mall in West Des Moines. A few West Des Moines taxpayers and the owners of Merle Hay and Valley West Malls sued the city of West Des Moines over the deal. A few years ago, the City promised to develop over a thousand acres of land, installing sewers, roads and water mains, and declare it an urban renewal zone. That move essentially grants tax breaks to new property owners who move into the area. After the decision was final, the City disclosed a proposed Jordan Creek shopping mall would be built on the site. In the suit, the protesting parties argued huge tax breaks shouldn’t be given for private enterprise, especially since it wasn’t initially disclosed that the tax breaks were for a shopping mall. The state’s Supreme Court has rejected that argument, clearing the way for construction of the mall.
Many Iowa cities have at least a dusting of snow on the ground, but one charity is looking toward spring with particular zeal. Today’s the final day Iowans can order flowers as part of the American Cancer Society’s “Daffodil Days” promotion, which will be held the week of March 11th.Jennifer Lane, spokeswoman for the Cancer Society’s Fort Dodge office, says single bunches can be purchased for a six-dollar donation or a 15-dollar donation for the “Gift of Hope” sends a bouquet of daffodils in a vase anonymously to an Iowa cancer patient. Lane says the cheerful, yellow flower was chosen with a particular message in mind. She says it’s the first flower of spring and sends a message of hope.After orders are complete today, officials with the Iowa chapters will know how many thousands of flowers to order from the greenhouse in Washington state. Lane says this event is the American Cancer Society’s first fundraiser of the year in Iowa.Iowans who want to order the daffodils should call their nearest office of the American Cancer Society, or call 800-ACS-2345.
A family of four lost their home in north-central Iowa last night. The fire at the home of the Tom Farhat family in Webster City was called in about six-thirty last night after someone put gasoline into a wood-burning stove. Damage was heavy. No injuries were reported.