The UNI baseball team will look to bounce back this weekend when they visit Illinois State in Missouri Valley Conference action. The Panthers are 7-11 overall and 0-4 in the Valley after being swept at seventh rated Wichita State and coach Rick Heller says it won’t get any easier against the Redbirds. He says they’re a good ballclub that’s picked as one of the top three in the league.The series this weekend will conclude a 22-game road swing to open the season for UNI and Heller says they are looking forward to playing at home. He says they’ll be alright and will battle back. He says the last time the went to Wichita and got swept, they came back and beat them to take the conference tournament.The Panthers home opener is next Wednesday against Minnesota.
Archives for March 2004
Drake University is now taking entries for the annual road races held in conjunction with the Drake Relays. Cal Murdoch is the race coordinator, and says the races started in 1969 and are the oldest major road races in Iowa. The races include an eight-kilometer and half-marathon, and includes amateurs and professionals.Murdoch says the races continue to be popular with around 1,800 people in both races.The races are April 24 and registration can be done on-line until noon April 21 by visiting www.active.com. or call 515-274-5379. Entry form brochures are also available in the Drake Athletic Ticket Office.
Iowa’s Governor has sent personal letters to the coaches of the Iowa State mens’ and womens’ basketball teams, congratulating Wayne Morgan and Bill Fennelly on their teams’ post-season successes.Governor Tom Vilsack says he’s “proud of the effort those young people displayed, particularly in the game last night” in the N-I-T final four overtime loss to Rutgers. Vilsack says the I-S-U men “never gave up.” Vilsack says when a national audience sees kids representing Iowa State and the State of Iowa “work hard, play hard and be very gracious in defeat, it sends a real strong message about the quality of education and the quality of people from this state.” Vilsack says the Iowa State men started the season “with some significant challenges and barriers” following the departure of former head coach Larry Eustachy after published photos showed Eustachy drinking with college coeds. Vilsack says “my hat’s off to ’em” for finishing with a 20-12 record.
A central Iowa astronomer says Midwestern stargazers will have an unusual treat over the next week or so. Five planets are visible in the night sky, weather permitting, just after sunset. Doug Rudd, president of the Des Moines Astronomical Society, says it’s rare to see a grouping like this — in fact, there won’t be another collection of five planets within plain view until 2036.Rudd says the brightest two are Venus and Jupiter, but Mercury, Saturn and Mars are also going to be quite bright, if you know where and when to look. He says amateurs wouldn’t know the sparkling points of light from stars, but he says with a little guidance, and the help of a telescope or binoculars, the planets can come alive. He says Jupiter is clearly distinguishable as a planet.In centuries past, a massing of five major bodies in the heavens would have caused a stir among some people. Rudd says early cultures saw planets as “wanderers” in the skies and their gathering was significant — and foreboding.Planets sometimes changed their positions from night-to-night and were thought to be “conspiring” if they grouped together, though it was up to interpreters to say whether the nocturnal meetings were for the planning of good or bad events.
Volunteers who work with kids in family court plan a vigil at this time tomorrow in Storm Lake. Christi Allender is a Buena Vista University student intern who planned this year’s event for the CASA program.It is for Iowa’s 11 children who died as a result of child abuse last year, and people will come to light candles and remember them, as well as hear Buena Vista University professor Leon Williams, director of inter-cultural affairs, speak on child abuse. Eleven children died in domestic situations last year, and Allender says the regional program involves volunteers in Buena Vista, Cherokee and Ida Counties. CASA stands for Court-Appointed Special Advocates.They’re there to speak on behalf of the child, working alongside the lawyers and judge, visiting parents, and just making sure things are being done for, and in the best interests of, that child. Allender says these are not necessarily children who’ve been take from their home or family, just those who find themselves involved in the court system. A judge or attorney can ask that a CASA be appointed to a case, and they act as a “guardian ad litem.” Thursday’s candlelight vigil on the courthouse green in Storm Lake will feature gingerbread-style figures representing each of the children killed in the last year by child abuse.
A statewide group that seeks to spread an anti-drug message is enlisting the support of Iowa’s older population. Barry Spear, the chairman of the “Partnership for a Drugfree Iowa,” says the group is asking grandparents to talk to their grandkids about the dangers of drugs. He says the new “Power of Grandparents” campaign will empower Iowa grandmas and grandpas to help their keep kids and grandkids drug free. He says it will be done with a series of public service announcements and a grandparents guide. Spear, who is also a healthcare executive, says grandparents have plenty of opportunity to talk to grandkids.He says a national A-A-R-P survey finds 44-percent of grandparents see their kids every week and 45-percent talk with their grandkids weekly. He says over half of grandparents say they would find information about talking to their grandkids about drugs helpful. Spear says it’s our obligation to step forward. He says each of us has a choice to make — do something about the drug problem — or not. He says it starts with talking with kids and grandkids about the dangers of drugs, of setting boundaries and expectations that lead to healthy and drugfree lifestyles. Spear says grandparents can provide a vital resource for kids that’s missing. He says there are 586-thousand Iowa kids between the ages of five and 18. He says it’s estimated that 10-percent of those kids don’t have a readily accessible, safe, secure role model in their life. He says if we were to take an account on the number of children whose role model is their grandparents, he says it would “astound us all.” Spears was asked if grandparents might fear they’d be meddling in the way their grandchildren are being raised. He says that’s a valid concern and it’s not a problem if you find your grandkids are getting the message about the dangers of drugs. He says he thinks we might find that there aren’t role models and the subject isn’t coming up and grandparents should dive into it. He says the booklet and resources available provide great insight. He says they’re armed with great tools and he says when grandparents look into it they will find they have a lot of support. The public service announcements begin running Thursday. for more information on the grandparents guide, surf to: www.drugfreeinfo.org.
The Iowa Senate has passed a bill that adopts federal air quality standards for large-scale livestock confinements in Iowa. The federal rules come from the Centers for Disease Control, and Senator David Johnson, a republican from Ocheyedan, says it’s “sound science” compared to the stricter rules on hydrogen sulfide and ammonia emissions that were proposed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Johnson says the rules proposed by the D-N-R are based on faulty research. He says those rules wouldn’t stand up in court, either. But Johnson says republicans have made some accommodations to the complaints raised by democrats. Johnson says discussions “have come a long way” and he hopes there can be some ultimate resolution. But Governor Tom Vilsack, a democrat, is making it clear he does not support the bill in its present form. Vilsack says it’s “not an air quality bill at all.” He says the bill “would be devastating to the environment” and “is clearly not consistent” with the latest scientific data. The Centers for Disease Control rules are based on 20-year-old research on how the smell of manure affects lab rats, not humans.Yet Democrat Leader Michael Gronstal of Council Bluffs supported the bill today as it passed the Senate. Gronstal says the bill still needs work, but republicans have “moved in the right direction.” Gronstal says maybe the odds are against it, but maybe “people of good faith can come together and come up with some piece of resolution to this issue.” The bill passed the Senate on a 34-14 vote and goes back to the House for consideration of the changes approved by the Senate. Gronstal says if additional changes aren’t made, the governor will veto the bill.
Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack says the republican budget plan that cleared the Iowa Senate late last night isn’t sufficient. Vilsack calls it “a work in progress” while republicans say it is their final offer, and the House will next week endorse the plan without making any changes. Vilsack says changes are in order. Vilsack says he wants to “get as much resource for education as we possibly can.” And he accuses republicans of providing only half as much money as is necessary to provide state-paid health care to poor, disabled and elderly Iowans who get Medicaid benefits. Vilsack says the G-O-P Medicaid budget is a six-month, not a 12-month plan.The Governor signed a bill into law this morning that creates an Iowa Commission on Asians and Pacific Islanders. Vilsack says the move shows Iowa is an “inclusive” place. Vilsack says today in the world, there are places where a single religion, a single philosophy, a single thought-process dominates and young people are educated to believe there is only one way to think, believe and act. He says because of that, the world is a much more dangerous place than it needs to be.Vilsack says “America is strong enough and tolerant enough to have groups from different cultures, from different parts of the world become part of the American fabric.” Vilsack wore a suit he purchased in Taiwan for the event. While the bill created the new commission, it did not provide the money for its operation. Vilsack says finding the money is the next challenge. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 1,009 native Hawaii and other Pacific islanders living in Iowa and 36,635 natives of Asia are residents of the state.
Authorities say an explosion and house fire in western Iowa yesterday may’ve been caused by criminals making illegal drugs. The rural home was located between Charter Oak and Denison in Crawford County. Investigators say the blast and fire last night may have been caused by a methamphetamine lab, though no one was reported hurt and no arrests have been made.
Audubon County voters have approved a one-cent local option sales and services tax for area schools. More than 600 people voted yesterday with the measure passing by a margin of 518-to-104. The tax will be in effect for ten years and is expected to generate more than four-and-a-half million dollars for use in financing rebuilding and other projects in the following school systems: Audubon, Exira and Elkhorn-Kimballton.