The route for the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa — RAGBRAI — was announced today. This will be the 32nd annual trek from west to east, border to border. The ride this summer will start in Onawa on July 25th and will end in Clinton on July 31st. Other overnight stops will be in Lake View, Fort Dodge, Iowa Falls, Marshalltown, Hiawatha and Maquoketa. Ride organizers say the route covers 490 miles. Over 10-thousand bicyclists are expected to take part in the event. Last year’s route went through southern Iowa, from Glenwood to Fort Madison.
Archives for January 2004
A year ago at this time, Bruce Nelson was just hoping he would be taken in the NFL draft. On Sunday, he will take part in the biggest football game of them all — Super Bowl 38 — as a member of the Caqrolina Panthers. Nelson was part of the Iowa offensive line in 2002 that led the Hawks to a Big Ten title and a trip to the Orange Bowl. He’s listed as the backup center for the Panthers during his rookie season.Nelson says the biggest adjustment for him has been the speed of the game. He says the big guys and the little guys both move extremely well. During his time at Iowa, Nelson saw the team improve from one victory to a Big Ten title and Carolina has made similar gains as just two years, ago the Panthers only won one game. He says it call comes down to hard work. Nelson began his career at Iowa as a walk-on.
A Cedar Rapids Washington star receiver will play college football in the Big Ten, but for the maize and blue, not the black and gold. Adrian Arrington says he’ll play college football at the University of Michigan. He says the past year has been exciting and overwhelming. He says after carefully considering what’s best for him and his family, he decided to go the Michigan. Arrington is rate the number 17 receiver in the country by one recruiting expert. He chose Michigan over Iowa and UCLA.
It has been a frustrating season for the UNI women and they took it out on Southern Illinois last night in the West Gym. Emily Berry finished with 21 pointsdd, including six of seven of three point range, as the Panthers blasted the Salukis 90-55. Berry says she felt confident going into the game and says overall she’s feeling better about her shots and that takes some of the pressure off her.UNI coach Tony Dicecco says Berry’s outside shooting set the tone for the game.UNI is now 2-6 in the Valley.
In women’s basketball action from last night Jamie Cavey poured in 24-points and Kristi Faulkner added 22 as the Iowa Hawkeyes claimed their first Big Ten road victory 76-61 at Northwestern. Iowa coach Lisa Bluder says it was a nice road win and she’s happy for Faulkner, as it was her 23rd birthday. Bluder says rebounding was a focus in practice this week. The Hawks outrebounded Northwestern by seven. Iowa is now 5-2 in the Big Ten.
UNI has extended the contract of Panther baseball coach Rick Heller. The new deal announced by AthleticDriector Rick Hartzell keeps Heller with the Panthers through 2007. Heller’s in his fifth season with the Panthers and has a 115-114-1 record. He’s led UNI to the conference tournament each of the last three years, including a tournament championship in 2001. Heller’s career mark is 406-308-4.
The Iowa Hawkeye women are on the road in the Big Ten tonight to take on Northwestern. The Hawks are 4-2 in conference play with all the wins coming at home. Iowa coach Lisa Bluder says they’re 0-2 on the road and the need those wins to be in the top half of the conference. Bluder’s team is riding a three-game win streak. She says they challenged the team to hold the opponents below their defensive average and field goal percentage, and she says they responded.Iowa is 10-7 overall.
County leaders came to the state capitol from all 99 Iowa counties today to urge lawmakers to fully fund local property-tax credits. Wappello County supervisor Mike Peterson says they fear if lawmakers try and balance the budget by eliminating funding for 160-million worth of property-tax credits, counties will have to raise property taxes — or cut public services. He says they might have to leave the county roads with no uniformed law enforcement patrols during the overnight hours, as their budget problems “can get very serious very fast.” Peterson says county managers would also have to cut services people take for granted. He says the last blizzard hit on a Sunday and plows were sent out to clear the roads but with funding cut they’d have to hold off on plowing during weekends, and perhaps only send plows out for emergency cases like getting someone to a hospital. Counties that don’t want to cut service would have to raise taxes, and Palo Alto County supervisor Lannie Miller says last year when the state underfunded the property-tax credits, some of the bill was shifted onto low-income elderly who couldn’t get tax credits they qualified for. He tells of a woman who called crying after she got her tax bill, because she couldn’t pay it — and he calls it a county problem the state has funded up till now. Miller asks why, if the state won’t fund the credits, they were ever put into place. Shell Rock State Representative Bill Dix says the fears of county leaders are premature. He says while lawmakers go about their work this session they’ll have to look at all options, and counties should not feel they’re being singled out. Representative Dix says he thinks the legislature can balance the state budget without touching local governments, but he says if the governor vetoes any parts of the budget they come up with…then property-tax credits may have to be on the table. Governor Vilsack told supervisors at the Iowa Association of Counties meeting last week that they should lobby legislators and get constituents to lobby them, for his tax proposal to be able to fully fund counties.
A key legislator says it’s time to consider dumping the requirement that Iowa’s riverboat casinos cruise on the water. State law requires cruises for the floating casinos, but the State Racing and Gaming Commission established the specifics: the gambling boats must cruise at least once a day, for at least two hours, from April 1st to November 1st. Indiana and Illinois have removed cruising requirements for riverboat casinos in those states, and State Senator Mark Zieman of Postville says the cruising requirement is a huge expense. Zieman says cruises up and down the rivers — as well as around West Lake in Osceola — are “a big cost of operating,” especially at a time when the Coast Guard is considering new Homeland Security rules which may require even more security for boats that cruise the rivers. Zieman represents an area which has a floating casino, and he has another reason for hoping to tie the boats permanently to shore.Zieman says a closer connection with land — without establishing land-based casinos — would make it more difficult for the operations to cruise away to another state.
Most Iowans will be getting their W-2 forms in the mail within the next few days. The executive director of the Keep Iowa Beautiful campaign is asking people to keep that check-off in mind as they fill out their tax returns. Jerry Schnepf says Iowans can donate as little as one-dollar to the fund and he says every dollar helps. In its first year, 2001, the program netted 56-thousand dollars from the tax form check-offs, which helped ten communities launch beautification programs. Last year, it brought in 62-thousand dollars and the awards will be presented soon. He says 70-percent of the money is routed directly back toward local beautification programs, for which communities need to apply and compete. The other 30-percent goes toward statewide beautification efforts, largely things like litter prevention programs and other education efforts in schools to encourage more of an ethic in kids to care more about the land. He says communities all over the state have seen the benefits of the program in its first two years. Scott County used money for landscaping and planting, Burlington used the program to beautify the riverfront and Osceola created “Blooms and Brooms” to get volunteers active in cleaning up the streets. For more information, surf to “keepiowabeautiful.com” or call (515) 323-6507.