Iowa State University officials met this week with dairy farmers to talk about the planned closing of the dairy teaching farm in Ames. Agriculture Dean Catherine Wotecki says the farm’s a casualty of budget cuts and inefficiencies. She says the farm’s incurred operating losses this year of 180-thousand dollars, because the old farm, built in the early 1900s, has been surrounded by the city of Ames and now feed must be hauled in and manure hauled out, and it all adds up to big staff costs. The old dairy farm adjacent to the ISU campus will be closed by the end of this fall semester, and a new one planned south of Ames won’t be completed for another three years. But in the meantime Wotecki says students will get practical training at the dairy teaching farm at Ankeny and get field experience through internships. The ISU College of Agriculture is trying to trim two-million dollars from its budget by consolidating livestock research farms, leaving vacant positions unfilled, and raising some service fees. The dean says it can be done without diminishing the quality of the dairy-science program at Iowa State. Wotecki went to Waverly this week, in the heart of Iowa’s dairy country, to meet with about 30 producers, and representatives from Northern Iowa Community College.
Archives for June 2003
The beach is open once again at Backbone State Park in Delaware County. The beach itself was re-opened to the public last week, after being closed since April, though a swimming advisory remained in place. Now that advisory’s been lifted after DNR tests found e-coli levels low enough that the lake’s safe for swimming.
Iowa gardeners who spot a warning flash of yellow-and-black should think twice before they go for the spray to make bees bug off. TV garden-show host Rebecca Kohls says bees are buzzing helpers that will make your garden grow. She says plants need fertilization, meaning pollinating, if they’re going to successfully flower and “set fruit.” Only bees will do that for you, according to Kohls who is a certified weatherwoman and syndicated cable-TV gardener. Kohls says we can be a bit “nuts” about having a perfect garden, but shouldn’t try to make it insect-free. She tries to encourage people to think of your garden as yourself…you wouldn’t eat or drink pesticide chemicals, so don’t put them on the garden plants, which are alive as well. Like not over-medicating yourself for every sniffle, Kohls advises gardeners to lay off the chemicals every time they see a bug. She says you should only resort to remedies if there’s “a crisis situation,” and she always recommends trying organic methods first because every insecticide and pesticide kills important soil bacteria as well as both the good and the bad bugs.
Governor Tom Vilsack has begun using the phrase “at the end of the day” a lot this past spring, and legislators have caught the bug. On June 19, Vilsack said “at the end of the day” four times during a speech and news conference afterwards. Later that day, House Speaker Christopher Rants let the phrase fly at his own statehouse news conference. Rants said “at the end of the day, it’s got to pass the legislature and get the Governor’s signature on it.” At that point, a reporter in the room said “That’s the phrase of the day” and everyone — including Rants — began laughing. Just moments before Rants met with reporters, Senator Jeff Lamberti of Ankeny used the phrase in a separate news conference, but he denies he adopted the habit because of Vilsack. Lamberti says he’s “always said it” and it’s just one of those “catch phrases” everyone uses.
An Iowan’s home from a long trip, and he’d recommend it to anyone. Among events for the 100th anniversary of Wilbur and Orville Wright’s experiment is a pilgrimage called “Fifty Flags to Kitty Hawk,” and Iowa’s flag was taken to North Carolina this week by Shane Vande Voort of Pella, a private pilot.Most of the trip was under clear skies and they made good time, though Wednesday afternoon in Fairfield they had to wait for passing storms. By the end of the year every state will have sent a flag and a proclamation like the one Vande Voort took to the national museum of flight at Kitty Hawk. They landed at the airport on the Memorial grounds, walked to the museum and with help from National Forest Service rangers raised Iowa’s flag along with the American flag and a special Centennial flag. Iowa’s entry will be added to the permanent display. Vande Voort says it would be a great vacation destination and the small town’s braced for lots of visitors this year. It’s in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, and the airport at Kitty Hawk is called, appropriately, “First Flight Airport.” Vande Voort says a couple from Wadena, Iowa, who happened to be visiting heard the pilot’s incoming call and waited around to give him a big welcome at the North Carolina landing strip.
One of the first football magazines to hit the newsstands does not expect another Big Ten title run for the Iowa Hawkeyes this Fall. Phil Steele’s College Football Preview predicts a second division finish for the Hawks. The publisher says while the defense looks solid it will be difficult to replace five of the six starters from an offensive line considered by many to be the best in the country in 2002.Steele says another factor working against the Hawkeyes is the schedule. They pick up Ohio State and Illinois but lose Northwestern and Indiana, he says that takes away two of the weakest teams and adds two stronger teams. Steele’s magazine was the only one a year ago that included Iowa in its pre-season top 40. He says he’s been high on Iowa the last few years, but this year ranks them eighth in the Big Ten.Steele expects Iowa State to rebound from a 1-6 finish to last season in which they finished 7-7 after a loss to Boise State in the Humanitarian Bowl. Helping the Cyclones cause is a defense that feels will be the best Dan McCarney has had.Steele expects the Cyclones to reclaim their history of a solid ground game and predicts redshirt freshman Stevie Hicks will top the one thousand yard mark. The Cyclones face another brutal Big-12 schedule but Steele says the Cyclone bowl hopes could hinge on the September 27th game at Northern Illinois. He says he rates the game as a toss up.
While the cost of gas continues to fluctuate widely, an American Farm Bureau survey shows food prices have settled down. Iowa Farm Bureau spokesman Aaron Putze says the latest survey covers the second quarter of this year. He says the price for 16 basic food items was thirty-six-dollars and four cents, just two cents higher than the first quarter average of a year ago, which he says shows prices are remaining stable. The overall average cost of the items in the second quarter dropped two cents when compared with the first quarter survey. Bacon and pork chops each saw a jump of 13 cents — for the biggest change. Putze says meat prices have tended to trend a little higher recently, mirroring an increase in cost of livestock at the farm gate. Putze says the small change in prices speaks well for the U.S. food supply. He says Americans enjoy a safe food supply with excellent quality, and among the most affordable worldwide. He says all the work done “from the field to the plate” is an enormous value to consumers. Putze says farmers usually receive about 20 cents of every dollar a consumer pays for food.He says when you look at the money spent on the 16 food items, the farmer’s share would be about seven dollars and 20 cents. Putze says the average cost for the 16 items in the first Farm Bureau survey nearly 14 years ago was 28-dollars-and-50-cents, so the cost has gone up just seven dollars-and-fifty-four-cents.
Developers in McGregor have come up with a new plan for building a proposed golf course, hotel-resort and housing development despite the loss of state money. A three-and-a-half million dollar Vision Iowa grant to help build the development was withdrawn earlier this year. Developers are now looking at using a tax increment financing bonds to fund the project. The project was resurrected when the Clayton County Supervisors signed an agreement with the developer.
Iowa’s top prosecutor is backing the new federal effort to block telemarketing calls. The Federal Trade Commission today launched a toll-free number and a website where people can register their phone numbers, which Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says will be a big plus for anyone who has a phone.Federal officials say the hotelier and the website “www.donotcall.gov” was getting 108 people registered every second nationwide earlier today. Miller expects it to be highly popular with Iowans, though he says registering -won’t- eliminate all telemarketing calls.Miller says it won’t guarantee -all- calls will stop, but it should end a “vast majority” of them. Exceptions include: political calls, charities, telephone surveys and insurance companies. Hundreds of Iowans work in telemarketing call centers in Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Des Moines. Miller says he does -not- see this new “do not call” service hurting the direct-marketing industry in Iowa.Iowans can call 888-382-1222 from the phone they’d like to have registered on the “do not call” list. And again, registration can also be performed online at “www.donotcall.gov”.
An Omaha man making his first court appearance this morning in Council Bluffs may have set some kind of precedent for resisting arrest. Council Bluffs Police Detective Dean Sharp says they went to a local motel to track down a credit card that had been in a car reported stolen in an Omaha suburb. The stolen card had been used to rent the room but when they knocked on the door, the man said he had a weapon and they could hear a woman in the room. Police negotiators came and talked with 31-year-old Matt Phillips for a few hours but decided when he wouldn’t cooperate they’d go into the room. They found the man gone. He’d broken through a drywall ceiling after putting a mattress against a window so cops couldn’t see what he was up to, and escaped, for a time, from the room. But police had the motel surrounded and eventually their man came back out, into a conference room at the inn where he was arrested. The detective says there was “obviously” some drug use involved, and the man appeared “fairly high” and tried to assault some officers when they arrested him. During the standoff, Sharp says the man did damage to the room that the manager estimates at 10-thousand dollars, breaking all the fixtures and “punching holes in every square inch of wall.” Detective Sharp says Phillips has a record, and had charges pending against him in both Omaha and Council Bluffs. Sharp says they “weren’t dealing with Bonnie and Clyde,” just a man who’d taken a pretty big amount of an illegal substance and didn’t want to go back to jail.