While the so-called football experts tout Thursday’s Iowa/USC match-up asthe premier game in the Bowl Championship Series, Iowa quarterback BradBanks maintains his low-key approach when asked if it’s the biggest gamehe’s every played in. Banks, the runner-up in this year’s Heisman voting,says he’s played in a lot of big games, and the Orange Bowl is just one ofthem. Defensive lineman Colin Cole says the Orange Bowl is a great way forthe Hawks to prove themselves to the nation of doubters. Both Cole andBanks are Florida natives, so the Orange Bowl is a homecoming of sorts forthem. Cole says being part of the Iowa program’s resurgence into nationalprominence has been rewarding.
Archives for 2002
The state’s largest chambers of commerce are pressing the state to develop amore aggressive strategy to develop Iowa as brand name. Ron Corbett,president of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, says no one outsideof Iowa really knows much about the state. There are 2.9 MILLION people inIowa, but the state’s marketing budget is about $1.2 MILLION. Corbett callsthat “a pittance.” He points out that Governor Vilsack and his republicanchallenger spent over 13 MILLION dollars marketing themselves during thejust-concluded gubernatorial campaign. Corbett says there are all sorts ofassets the state should be advertising. Corbett’s list includes Iowa’swell-educated workforce, Iowa’s single-factor corporate income tax, jobtraining programs, no property taxes on machinery and equipment. He says ifIowa doesn’t get out and tell it’s story, “we’re missing the boat.”
Can you have a drought in winter? We may be headed that way, as stateclimatologist Harry Hillaker says the state is lacking in precipitation ofthe warm- or cold-weather kind. November went down in the books asfourth-driest on record, only an inch of snow on the average across thestate and if the end of the year were today, this would be the driestDecember on record. Hillaker says we’ve had only three-tenths of an inch ofsnow during this month. If that holds up, it’ll be a record beating thefour-tenths of an inch in 1979. All this after Iowa also had thefifth-snowiest October on record. Hillaker says he agrees with theforecasters who predict an El Nino winter. What that typically means is themidwinter months of December, January and February will average warmer thannormal and so far we’re on track with a December that’s been six degreesabove normal. Hillaker says El Nino also means our most wintry weather willhappen in the season formerly known as spring. March is often colder, wetterand snowier than usual in an El Nino year, and April is, too.
A farming operation in northwestern Iowa was destroyed over the weekend. Ahog confinement building in Calhoun County was gutted by fire Saturday. Theoperation was owned by Dean Kaufman. When firefighters arrived, thestructure was fully engulfed in flames. Crews spent about 90 minutes tryingto save the building. An unknown number of hogs died. An investigation isunderway to determine what caused the fire.
Cedar Rapids authorities are asking for the public’s help to solve a24-year-old murder case. On December 19th, 1979, Michelle Martinko wasfound stabbed to death in her car, which was parked at Westdale Mall inCedar Rapids. Martinko was last seen alive in the mall that evening. Thecase remains an active investigation. Cops say they’re bringing the caseback into the public spotlight because of its recent anniversary. Anyonewith information on the Martinko murder is asked to call Cedar RapidsCrimestoppers at 1-800-C-R-CRIME.
A Waterloo nurse should be coming home soon after her recent sentencing inIndonesia. Joy Lee Sadler was sentenced to four months in prison forviolating her tourist visa by contacting members of the Free Aceh Movement.Both Sadler and British academic Lesley Jane McCulloch were arrested on thecharges on September 11th and held ever since in an Indonesian prison.Authorities say Sadler will receive credit for the time already served andshe’s scheduled to be released sometime early next month.
The southwest Iowa town of Red Oak is a big step closer to landing a newfactory. The Iowa Department of Economic Development has approved aforgiveable loan of $445,000 to help Red Oak lure Johnson Controls intolocating there. Lori Port, executive director of the Red Oak Chamber ofCommerce, says Johnson Contols is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is aFortune 100 company. Port says if the company choses Red Oak, it will usean existing building and will employ up to 75 people within three years.
Some Iowa voters still cast their ballots on paper this past election, butSecretary of State Chet Culver says Iowa’s election system, overall, ispretty modern. Culver says Iowa has “pretty good” voting equipment whencompared to the rest of the country, and ranks in the top third of thestates in terms of the machinery and equipment used on election day. Culversays under federal law, the 121 Iowa precincts using old-fashioned levermachines can’t use them in the 2004 Election. Culver says the state has toget rid of “central count” voting systems. Those systems are located atcounty courthouses, and in an average election about a MILLION ballots aretrucked to courthouses and run through “central count” machines there to betabulated. Culver says those machines have a much higher error rate becauseif there’s a problem with the ballot, it has to be thrown out. In precinctswith machines that count ballots there, the machines kick out mismarkedballots so the voter can fix the problem.
The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled a biological father cannot be forced topay for his kid’s college education. Kristy Maynard was born in 1982, thebiological daughter of Richard St. John and Kellie Downing, who nevermarried. There were three separate petitions filed to get St. John to paychild suport early in Kristy’s life, but all were dismissed by the courts,priarily because Kristy’s mother wouldn’t pursue it. In fact, Kristy thoughther mother’s husband was her dad until she learned the truth shortly afterher mother died. Nearly three years ago, the man Kristy grew up thinking washer dad tried to get Richard St. John to pay child support and collegeexpenses for his daughter. The Iowa Court of Appeals says the law doesn’tsay a dad has to subsidize a child’s college education, as a parent is onlyobligated by law to support his or her child until the child reaches age 18.
A new U-S Census Bureau report shows Iowa had the nation’s smallest amountof population growth during the last century. The report says Iowa was thenation’s 10th most populous state in the year 1900, but fell to 30th by theyear 2000, posting the least growth in population of any state. NancyPedersen of the Iowa Department of Economic Development says many states arefacing the same challenges of trying to keep young people from moving away.Pedersen says the formation of the Human Resource Recruitment Consortium, acollection of 80 companies, universities and other groups, is working toreverse the trends. Pederson says the latest numbers from the Census Bureaushow things are starting to turn around. A survey done in this century,between July of 2001 and July of this year, found Iowa gained about 4,800residents, for a total population around 2.9 million.