Today (Wednesday) the democrat who’s facing Congressman Tom Latham in November wraps up a seven-day campaign swing through the 28 counties of Iowa’s 4th Congressional district. Paul Johnson of Decorah, the former head of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, also served briefly as a federal official. Johnson and his wife have farmed in northeast Iowa for the last 30 years. Starting in 1985, Johnson served three terms in the Iowa House and he was one of the architects of Iowa’s groundwater protection law and helped create a state program that hands out grants for land restoration, construction of trails and other projects to enhance the outdoors. Johnson went on to head the federal Soil Conservation Service. Johnson says he’s not intimidated by Latham’s financial advantage.Johnson says you can’t buy votes, and he says he can make some headway between now and election time. The former state legislator says he has faced long odds before.When Johnson ran in 1984 for state representative, no Democrat had ever represented the area. Johnson ran against a 12 year incumbent, and was told “you don’t have any chance.” Johnson hopes to hold public forums with Latham in each county later in the election year. Johnson says he’s sort of interviewing for a job right now, and he says he and his fellow applicant should be in front of the people of the district, so they have an opportunity to listen to the candidates and ask questions. Johnson tours northeast Iowa today to finish this round of campaigning, with stops in Charles City, New Hampton, Cresco, and Lansing.
Archives for June 2004
Eastern Iowa is landing more jobs for the business of — taking off. Alcoa’s Davenport Works plant is a major supplier of aluminum for a new passenger jet, the Airbus A-three-80. Alcoa’s Kevin Lowry says literally from the tail to the nose, Alcoa will be supplying products to make the A-380. In order to keep up with the extra work, Alcoa is hiring one-hundred new workers for the Davenport plant. Lowry says the parts will be sent to France where the plane is constructed. He says the A-380 really will be designed for taking people from large cities to other large cities, like from Chicago to Hong Kong.There is some job security for the new employees as Lowry says the airbus will probably remain in production for the next 30 years.
After a seven-year journey half-way across our solar system, a spacecraft partly built at the University of Iowa will finally reach its destination tonight. The one-point-four billion-dollar Cassini will spend four years orbiting Saturn, studying many facets of the mysterious ringed gas giant. U-of-I space physicist Don Gurnett is at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in California all week to monitor progress. The Iowa-built instrument onboard studies radioactive emissions and waves in the ionized gas that surrounds the planet called plasma. Gurnett is one of the key minds in helping unlock a newly revealed puzzle about Saturn — its rotation has slowed. Saturn is a huge ball of gas, covered with clouds, some of which are moving at a thousand miles an hour. It’s impossible to tell the rotation by looking at Saturn since it has no surface like Earth. Still, scientists have determined Saturn’s day has lengthened in the past two decades by about six minutes a day. It takes about 11 hours for Saturn to spin all the way around, compared to 24 hours on Earth. Gurnett is also anxious to get a closer look at Titan, one of Saturn’s 31-known moons. Titan’s atmosphere is nitrogen-based, like Earth’s, but it’s very cold (178 degrees below zero) and Gurnett says it’s essentially raining propane and ethane. Gurnett says it’s ironic that there’s plenty of fuel on Titan but there’s no oxygen at all, so none of it can be burned. “It’s too bad we can bring all those (gases) back to Earth somehow. We’d solve our energy problem.” Titan is about the same size as our solar system’s smallest planet, Mercury. Cassini has traveled two-point-two billion miles.
A Wisconsin-based company has been ordered to pay refunds to Iowans who purchased meat from their door-to-door sellers. Bob Brammer, a spokesman for Iowa’s Attorney General, says All American Foods used high-pressure tactics to sell the meat. He says the sellers would say they have extra meat because the restaurant they were going to sell the meat to did not need all of it. He says they would indicate they were presumably selling the meat at a bargain price, but the consumer would have to make a quick decision. Brammer says the customers found out the quick sale wasn’t the bargain they’d been led to believe. He says one north Iowa couple weighed the meat after they bought it, and found it cost eight to nine dollars a pound. Brammer says they allege these are consumer fraud violations as people’s protections under the door-to-door sales law were violated or lost. Brammer says they had seven complaints on the company and are looking for anyone else who may have a claim. He says the court ordered the company to make refunds to the people they know about and anyone else that may have a claim. Brammer says you need to make a claim to get a refund, and do not have to return any unused meat. Brammer says the company was also ordered to comply with Iowa sales laws. He says they must provide the right to cancel notices, provide the price of the meat per pound, and not says they’re trying to sell the meat that was excess because it was intended for someone else. Brammer says the judge ordered a civil penalty of 40-thousand dollars if the company violates the order in the future. Brammer says you can make a claim by caller the Attorney General’s office at 515-281-5926, or surf to:www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.org.
A state audit has found thousands of dollars worth of “questionable spending” in the Cass County Sheriff’s office. State Auditor Dave Vaudt focused on a cash account in the Cass County sheriff’s department which was supposed to be used for things like paying-off informants, making undercover drug buys and buying vehicles. Vaudt’s review started at the beginning of 2001 and ran ’til the end of this past February, and he found over 11-thousand dollars in “improper” spending from that account. Some of the questionable payments were registration fees for golf tournaments. The auditor also reports the sheriff’s son used the county’s credit card improperly. Vaudt says “not all the records were there,” so it’s really hard to understand what happened because there was no tracking of what went in and out of the account. Vaudt has recommended that the sheriff’s cash account be deposited in the county’s bank account so the cash isn’t handled or kept in the sheriff’s office. Vaudt says the discrepancies uncovered in this audit are the exception rather than the rule when it comes to local governments in Iowa.Vaudt says most Iowa counties, school districts and cities “do a very good job of record-keeping.” Vaudt has referred his report on the Cass County Sheriff’s Department to the Attorney General. Cass County Sheriff Larry Jones is not seeking reelection. His son, Darrell, is a deputy in the department.
Two Iowa college standouts are garnering national recognition heading into the next football season. Iowa defensive end Matt Roth and Iowa State defensive end Jason Berryman are both on the watch list for the Bronco Nagurski award given to the nation’s top defensive player. Roth was second in the Big Ten in sacks as a junior as the Hawkeyes finished with a record of 10-3. Berryman burst on the scene at Iowa State as a true freshman. The Houston native racked up 110 tackles last season and was named the Big-12 defensive newcomer of the year. Cyclone coach Dan McCarney says they had no idea Berryman would be able to come in and compete like he has. He says they felt like he could contribute, but never thought he’d be named the most valuable player. McCarney says there isn’t anybody that plays harder than Berryman. And the coach says he should get even better with more experience as his career is just beginning and he has plenty of experience. McCarney says Berryman is becoming more of a leader on defense. He says they expect him to be more of a “man” and mature off the field as well as on the field.The Cyclones and Hawkeyes open the season September fourth. Iowa State will host UNI while Iowa will be at home against Kent State
A northwest Iowa woman is being held in the Clay County Jail on animal neglect charges. 43-year-old Glenda Peters of Spencer was arrested Tuesday on two counts of animal neglect. Deputies found numerous animals on her farm that were dead or near death, including dogs, cattle and horses. A veterinarian was summoned. Animals that were still alive were taken away for treatment. Peters is held on 38-hundred dollars bond.
A man from the western Iowa town of Harlan is facing charges of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. Police say 46-year-old Terry Garnette allegedly assaulted his live-in girlfriend’s four-year-old daughter. The girlfriend reported Garnette to police after she allegedly found child pornography — including explicit pictures of her daughter — on his computer. Garnette is being held at the Shelby County Jail. The F-B-I and U.S. Postal Service are examining the computer, along with videos and C-D’s taken from Garnette’s home, and more charges may be filed.
Hardcore Spiderman fans may be looking a little dazed this morning. The second movie about the webbed warrior opened early today on screens all across the U.S., including the Webster Theatre in Webster City. Some 140 patrons packed in for the showing of “Spiderman 2” that began at one-past-midnight. Cathy Oliver manages the north-central Iowa theater which was filled with a mostly-teenage audience early this morning. She says it had a party atmosphere and it was a wonderful movie.In this sequel, the comic book hero-turned film star takes on the sinister Doctor Octopus — or Doc Ock.
The chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee is reportedly one of the top candidates to become the new director of the C-I-A. Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell serves on that committee led by Florida republican Porter Goss. Boswell says Goss is an able, capable person who has been good to work with. Some of Boswell’s fellow Democrats feel that President Bush should not appoint a politician as C-I-A Director, but he’s not concerned about Goss.Boswell says Goss knows a lot about the intelligence community because of his exposure on the intelligence committee, and he says Goss wouldn’t have to go through a lot of start up preparation. So Boswell says, “I don’t put too much truck in that,” if he passes every other question of qualification.” The biggest hot spot outside the country remains Iraq, and Boswell says he’s pleased that the U.S. handed over control the country early. He says he still feels like we could have done a lot of things different, but says that’s not the point we’re talking about. He says we said we were going to turn the country over on July 1st and did it early, and he thinks that’s a good idea. Boswell says it remains to be seen if Iraq will remain a trouble spot. He says the question is will the Iraqi people straighten up and give the new government a chance, and we don’t know that yet.