The Drake softball team closes out the home season with a series against Wichita State. The Bulldogs are 10-9 in the Missouri Valley race and currently own the sixth and final spot for the conference tournament. Drake coach Rich Calvert expects a tough series. Calvert says the race for spots in the conference tournament will continue through the final day of the season. He says that makes every game important for all teams throughout the conference.Drake is 26-21.
Archives for April 2004
The Iowa Conference softball title will be decided a day later than expected. Today’s doubleheader between ninth ranked Simpson and number-22 Central has been moved to Saturday afternoon. Simpson is 12-2 and only needs a split to win the league title while Central is 11-3 and needs a sweep to win the championship.Central coach George Wares says if it were the last day they would’ve played, but they want to try and get both games in with the best weather available. Central has crawled back into the title hunt after stumbling out of the gate at the start of conference play. He says they started with three quick conference loses, but have responded well and Simpson lost a game and allowed them to have a chance.The league champion will get an automatic berth into the division three regionals. the runner-up must hope for an at-large bid.
The Iowa softball team looks to stay in the Big Ten title hunt this weekend. The Hawks are at Minnesota this evening to open a road swing that will conclude as Wisconsin. Iowa coach Gayle Blevins says Minnesota is extremely tough at home. Her team has played well on the road. Iowa is 11-3, two games behind first place Michigan. She says if they’re fortunate to get into post season play, they’ll have to play on the road, so this will be a good chance to get ready.
The UNI baseball team needs to makeup ground in a hurry if the Panthers hope to play in the Missouri Valley Conference post-season tournament. UNI is 4-12 in the Valley and opens a four-game series at home against Creighton tonight. The good news for the Panthers and coach Rick Heller is that they are only four games out of third place. He says the chances are still “o-k”, and not insurmountable.The Panthers spend most of the final month at home and Heller says they need to take advantage. He says it’s crucial that they get at least a split and hopefully win three or four games.Heller says there is a chance to gain ground on a number of conference teams such as Evansville, Bradley, and Illinois State. Creighton is second in the Valley race with a record of 10-5. The teams play a single game tonight to open the four-game series.
Clarke College opens the final weekend of the regular season at home this afternoon against Rockford. At 8-7, the Crusaders are part of a log jam involving three teams in third place in the Northern Illinois-Iowa Conference standings. Rockford is second in the league race and leads the conference in several offensive categories. Clarke coach Eric Frese says Rockford has given up a lot of runs as they’ve struggled with their pitching and defense.The teams play a doubleheader tomorrow in Rockford.
Governor Tom Vilsack has asked Iowa’s Insurance Commissioner to review recent medical malpractice cases in Iowa to check on jury awards. Vilsack’s request comes after republican lawmakers sent him a bill which would place a 250-thousand dollar limit on “pain and suffering” awards in medical malpractice cases. Vilsack says he believes medical malpractice awards in Iowa have actually declined in recent years. Doctors complain their medical malpractice liability insurance premiums are going up so fast, they’ll soon be forced to quit offering some medical services. Vilsack has about a month to make a decision on the bill, and he’s asked the Insurance Commissioner to quickly amass the data on verdicts in Iowa medical malpractice cases. Vilsack says he suspects the 250-thousand dollar limit would have no impact on the insurance rates doctors are paying, but the governor says he doesn’t want to make that conclusion until he’s got the facts in hand. Vilsack says if limiting the amount victims can get in medical malpractice cases isn’t working to lower doctors’ liability insurance rates, then he and other state policymakers should find “the right answer” to the problem. Vilsack is an attorney, and the Iowa Trial Lawyers Association has strongly lobbied against the bill, saying other states which have established limits on medical malpractice awards haven’t seen medical malpractice insurance become more affordable for doctors. Hundreds of doctors held a rally earlier this year at the statehouse, urging lawmakers and the governor to place “caps” on what patients may receive for the “pain and suffering” caused by medical mistakes.
The Department of Natural Resources is assessing the damage today from an accidental spill of herbicide Thursday afternoon southwest of Shenandoah. D-N-R spokesman Kevin Baskins says the accident involved a tank being pulled over a bridge. He says the bridge collapsed as the tank was being pulled across Mill Creek in Fremont and the tank fell over the bridge into the water. He says 15-hundred gallons of nitrogen fertilizer, atrazine and product called hornet spilled out. Baskins says the driver apparently suffered minor injuries. He says they’re now trying to count all the fish that were killed. He says there were some old beaver dams downstream that help slow the flow of the material. He says there was a quarter mile of the stream where there was a heavy fish kill, and D-N-R biologists are on the scene this morning trying to count the dead fish. Baskins says they’re trying to clean up what they can to prevent any further damage.He says they’re trying to get some earth-moving equipment to set up more dams to keep the product from moving further downstream. Baskins says other workers are trying to pull the tank out of the water.
A new 200-thousand dollar engineering laboratory for testing structural materials will be dedicated this (Friday) afternoon at Iowa State University. Lab manager Doug Wood says the facility will become the new home for civil engineering researchers to put all types of building materials through their paces. In the past it was typical construction materials like steel and concrete, but with fiber-reinforced plastics and concrete embedded with steel shavings, Wood says industry needs more thorough testing before products are put on the market. Wood says the high-tech gadgetry in this lab will be used to trash, tear up and torture the material that’ll be used to build the roads, bridges, buildings and dams of the future. Wood says “One machine tests items in tension and compression — it will pull things apart or squish things until they break. Another machine will also fatigue items…going between tension and compression cycling 24 hours a day on a material until we get the data on it…or it breaks.” Dedication is slated for two P.M.
A scam operator’s been banned from the state and fined after the operator of a mailbox store in the western Des Moines suburb of Clive helped officials uncover his plan. Bob Brammer, spokesman in the Iowa Attorney General’s office, says it began with a phony mailing that promised improbable winnings to elderly target victims.Things like “You’ve got a 99-percent chance of winning a million dollars, just send a 20-dollar processing fee,” the kind of offer most would throw out but anyone who sent the money identified themselves to this “con artist” as a good prospect to be on a “hot list.” That list of easy targets then would be sold to perpetrators of other scams, the consumer-protection office alleges. Last December investigators seized 12-thousand pieces of mail coming through the rented mailbox in Clive. Identified as Richard Panas, he runs a huge “list broker” operation. Brammer explains the main product he sells is the names of people who’ve shown they’re likely to cooperate with promoters of scams. The mailbox was raided and the money sent in by thousands of scam victims was returned to them. The judge ordered him to stop any business in Iowa, and possibly most important, to remove the name Iowa from any material he uses or lists he sells. The man’s also been ordered to pay the state 75-thousand dollars.
A northern Iowa teenager is now jailed in a fatal Valentine’s Day hit-and-run accident.Hancock County deputies arrested 18-year-old Steven Gaiken of Britt. 48-year-old Bernard Anderson of LuVerne was walking toward Corwith on February 14th after his car got stuck in the snow. As he was walking, he was hit by a passing vehicle and killed. Gaiken is charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident and failure to report an accident. He’s held on 68-hundred-25 dollars bond.