The Iowa Farm Bureau and Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture were noticeably absent from the ceremony as Governor Tom Vilsack signed the livestock bill into law this morning. The Farm Bureau criticized the legislation, saying it might force some smaller farmers out of business, but Aaron Putze, a spokesman for the group, says their absence today should not be considered a protest.Putze says the bill was made more workable and practical than when discussions first started, but he says livestock producers will still face more regulation.Putze says the Farm Bureau will now press to stress “sound science” rather than social concerns when the rules are written to implement the law.One of the Farm Bureau’s main objections was the “per animal” fee which will be instituted to finance regulation of the livestock industry. Putze says many producers feel it’s another tax on their business that they’ll have to account for as they work to remain profitable.Iowa Ag Secretary Patty Judge, another critic of the bill, did not attend today’s ceremony either.
Archives for April 2002
Training sessions are going on around Iowa for Methodist ministers. Kristen Knudsen Harris is spokeswoman for the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. She explains the grouping is geographical, like a sports “conference,” and it’s one of 68 in the US. All clergy and lay people who work in the church are taking the daylong workshops on building healthy ministerial relationships.In 1994 the first clergy-misconduct workshop led to a task force that’s met since then to help ministers learn boundaries in relating to local congregations. Harris says Methodist Ministers are well aware of the painful revelations about clerical abuse in the Catholic Church.Increased awareness of clergy misconduct and sexual harassment in business cases had the church planning already to make this year’s conference about ministerial relationships. Harris knows the kind of demands a congregation can make upon a minister.She says people tend to think the pastor works only Sunday morning but her father was a clergyperson, and she knows they work 24/7, with calls that take you to the hospital at three A-M. Pastors have friends, and Harris says the workshops teach them how to have healthy, human relationships and still maintain the right balance in a stressful occupation. The workshops began in April and continue through the middle of next month. (still to come: workshops in the districts of Council Bluffs, Osceola, Ottumwa, Fort Dodge, Mason City, Muscatine, and Des Moines) For the church website surf to www.iaumc.org
A southwest Iowa student is accused of planning to poison his prom’s punch with a chemical that’d sicken or even kill. Fifteen-year-old Robert Dumler of Villisca is charged with terrorism. Villisca police chief Butch Rulla says some high schoolers and their parents came forward with information about the alleged plot. Rulla says authorities seized a vial of liquid that’s been sent to a crime lab in Des Moines for analysis. Rulla says this prank was no laughing matter. He says they’ve had experience with bomb threats in the past, so they take these things very seriously.Rulla says the prom went on without a hitch.Rulla says they’ve established a motive, as Dumler was apparently unhappy with some of the other students.Dumler was taken to a juvenile detention facility in Council Bluffs.
There’ll be -no- cuts in Medicare funding or coverage according to Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle. Several groups, including nursing homes, have issued warnings that the rumored cuts will cost about 50-dollars per patient, per day, starting in October, but Nussle says not to worry.Nussle, a republican from Manchester, says there will be changes in Medicare, for the better. Iowa is last in the nation for Medicare reimbursements; the money doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals are paid by the federal government for treating seniors. Nussle says he remains hopeful the legislation to improve Medicare will be passed before Memorial Day.
Marshalltown’s fire chief has quit unexpectedly. Lyman Monroe has resigned after serving less than two years on the job. Monroe said in his resignation letter that his is pursuing “other endeavors”, but has not said what he’ll do in the future.
A Roman Catholic priest has been relieved of his duties at three parishes in northeastern Iowa.The vicar general of the Dubuque archdiocese says the decision to remove Reverend Alan Schmidt came after allegations surfaced involving a man who attended the school of St. Patrick’s Church in Cedar Rapids in the 1970s. Schmidt will no longer be allowed to function as a priest or represent himself as a priest. He had presided over churches in Waukon, Dorchester and Hanover, all in Allamakee County.
Operators of a Bettendorf gambling boat say they had some back luck and now they hope a lawsuit will put them back in the bucks. Isle of Capri officials say in March and April of 2000, a group of scam artists took advantage of a computer software problem they were obviously aware of in some video poker machines. The games paid out more dough than they should have and the scammers collectively walked away with more than 324-thousand bucks. The casino filed a claim with its insurance companies to recover the loss, but a D-C-I investigation delayed negotiations. Negotiations are now underway, but casino officials say they filed the suit because a two-year statute of limitations on filing for insurance protection was approaching.
Governor Tom Vilsack has signed into law the bill that sets new state regulations for livestock confinements, and gives state officials veto power over proposed facilities. Vilsack says it’s “significant” legislation that will hopefully heal the wounds that exist in rural Iowa today. He says clearly in rural Iowa there is a division over the issue.Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows led the 12-member committee that drafted the bill in private.Iverson says it was the most difficult work he’s ever done. It was — in his words — a bit like herding 12 cats with 14 opinions. Democrat Senator Jack Kibbie of Emmetsburg says it’ll help livestock producers be better, “friendlier” neighbors. He calls it a “pimple in the road” as far as slowing down the livestock industry.Republican Representative Gene Manternach of Cascade is a farmer who helped write the bill.Manternach, who has a livestock confinement on his farm, says the bill was needed because a few “bad players” have given a black eye to a very good industry. Democrat Representative Marcella Frevert of Emmetsburg says the legislation’s the result of bipartisan cooperation.The bill gives county officials an opportunity to review how proposed confinements will affect the environment and local society. The bill also establishes new standards for the application of manure that’ll limit how much phosphorus may be applied to farm fields. Governor Vilsack signed the bill into law in his office at nine o’clock this morning.
Iowa State University students might want to check with one of their classmates before making any outdoor plans. Junior meteorology student Jeremy Grams beat out competitors from 38 other schools to finish first in the National Collegiate Weather Forecasting Contest. Grams made the best prediction on the temperatures and precipitation in selected cities across the country from September through April. The national average score was 70, and he had a score of 75-point-oh-six. Only six percent finished above the national average.The secret to his success involves a passion for weather. While other teenage boys were interested in sports heroes, Grams was more intent on studying high-pressure systems, fronts and storm clouds. He grew up watching meteorologist Dave Dahl on his hometown TV station, and was always a weather fan. Grams who’s from North Branch, Minnesota, won a plaque honoring his accomplishment. Grams has enjoyed the chance to study Iowa’s storms.He says he’s been storm chasing a few times, but has never seen a tornado. After some apprehension Grams’ become a fan of the tornado movie “Twister,” that was filmed in Iowa. He says the movie isn’t very “meteorologically correct,” but otherwise he now thinks it’s a good movie. Grams plans to intern with the National Weather Service this summer, then complete his senior year at I-S-U. After that he’d like to work for the National Weather Service, or become a TV weather forecaster. Grams by the way, led a three person sweep of the top three places in the contest by I-S-U students. Stephen Konarik, an I-S-U student from Taylor, Texas, finished second and Aaron Todd of Sioux City finished third.
A northern Iowa town hopes to make big money on the sale of tiny statues. The German figurine-maker Hummel is releasing “The Conductor,” a blond boy with his hands in the air, standing at a podium filled with music from the “Music Man,” the musical created by Mason City native Meredith Willson. Jerry Krieger of the Mason City Foundation says 300 will be made. They’ll be engraved to mark the 100th anniversary of Willson’s birth on May 18, 2002. Krieger says some the proceeds will go to the Mason City Foundation, which is developing the tribute area called Music Man Square. The figurines come in two heights and two prices.They come in five or 13-and-a-half-inch versions for 250 or 15-hundred-50 dollars. To order a figurine, call 866-228-6262.