Many of the Iowa delegates at the Republican National Convention in New York City came face-to-face with protestors last night. This morning, Reverend Morris Hurd of Marengo opened the Iowa delegation’s morning meeting by praying for those protestors. “We pray for these demonstrators who seem so confused,” Hurd began. Hurd said the protestors are “putting so much energy into just hatred.” Hurd and the Iowa delegates prayed that there might be some way the protestors “could come to terms with feelings that they have and can support the country” the way he and the republicans at the convention want to do. Last night as Iowa delegates walked out of a Broadway they were shouted at by young demonstrators, chanting “just go home” and punctuating their protests with obscenities. Some of the Iowa delegates yelled back, and Iowa Republican Party co-chair Leon Moseley said they wouldn’t let the protestors divert the GOP from its main goal of defeating John Kerry.
Archives for August 2004
Game week is underway for Iowa State and U-N-I as they get set to open the football season this weekend in Ames. Late last week Cyclone coach Dan McCarney named Bret Meyer the starting quarterback for the opener. McCarney on the Big 12 teleconference today said Meyer has made a lot of progress and will start, but Austin Flynn will also play in the first half.McCarney says the battle for the permanent spot will continue, as he says it’s a healthy competition. He says the quarterback position is better than at any time last year. McCarney says the Cyclone are ready for a game and says they made a lot of progress since starting out. He says they have tremendous respect for UNI and calls them a veteran team.
A community leader in north-central Iowa’s Hamilton County died unexpectedly today.Longtime county supervisor Dick Barkema of Jewell died this morning at age 58 of unknown causes. The funeral is tentatively scheduled for Thursday in Jewell. Barkema was elected to the county board in 1995 and has since served on several panels including Hamilton County’s Solid Waste Commission, Friends Forever, the economic development office and others. It’ll be up to the county auditor, treasurer and recorder to decide on appointing a replacement or to hold a special election in the coming weeks.
A nationwide antitrust case that was settled with big music companies finally will pay off for some Iowa institutions. As part of a consumer lawsuit over the pricing of compact disks of popular music, Bob Brammer a spokesman for the Attorney General, says the distributors began by settling with buyers. Last February, more than a million and-a-half dollars went to Iowans in refunds of about 13 dollars apiece, and now the companies are sending 57-thousand C-Ds to libraries big and small. Brammer says a committee of states selected C-Ds from the manufacturers, and Iowa sent its court-appointed administrator back two or three times to improve the selection. The first lists they offered contained far too many duplicates, up to fifty or 100 copies of the same C-D. There are still some “dupes,” he says, but more like five of any single one. Brammer says nothing prevents libraries from disposing of the music disks in any way they see fit. Libraries can take donations for them, or give them to patrons through local music programs. He says the smaller libraries won’t have many duplicates and if big ones do, they’re still getting hundreds of C-Ds. Brammer says the music C-Ds are going to large and small public libraries, college and university libraries, the Iowa Braille and Sight-Saving School, and some smaller D-H-S facilities that offer music for their residents. The recordings arriving right now at libraries around the state include holiday music, soundtracks, children’s, classical, rock, country, jazz and more.
The Wartburg volleyball team enters the 2004 season looking to extend its streak of 30-win seasons and its three-year run at qualifying for the NCAA tournament. A strong senior class that has an 88-28 overall record through its first three years will lead Wartburg. The Knights are coming off their second consecutive 30-win season. Senior setter Sarah Olsen says the Knights have to continue to challenge themselves to get better. She says the increased success the last two years has pumped them up and pushed them to win more.Last year Wartburg was eliminated in the NCAA Regionals in a close match to eventual NCAA Division-three champion Washington of St. Louis, Missouri. Senior middle hitter Renea Grafft says that the Knights want to use that close loss to motivate them going into this year. She says they know they can play with the best teams in the nation and that’s made them hungry. Wartburg will play a tough schedule that features seven schools that were ranked in the final top-25.
Ribbon cutting ceremonies were held over the weekend at the Emery Generating Station between Mason City and Clear Lake. The natural gas-fueled power plant is owned by Alliant Energy’s Iowa subsidiary Interstate Power and Light. I-P-L president Thomas Aller commended the speedy work done to get the plant on-line.Just a year ago, parts of the northeastern United States were hit with a major blackout, but Aller says plants like this new one will assure northern Iowans never go through a situation like that. I-P-L officials say the plant last week simulated a black-out situation and restarted flawlessly. Lieutenant Governor Sally Pedersen was at Saturday’s event and says she sees opportunities and an improvement in the quality of life with the plant opening. Iowa Congressman Tom Latham says it’s an opportunity for north-central Iowa to stimulate economic growth. The plant was officially commissioned on May 15th. At full capacity, the plant produces more than 565-megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 180-thousand homes.
A stretch of highway with a reputation for being one of Iowa’s deadliest is the scene of another fatal accident. The latest accident was Saturday afternoon on Iowa Highway 58 in Cedar Falls. 40-year-old Jonalie Gorman was a passenger on a motorcycle that collided with a car. Gorman, of New Hampton, was killed. The motorcycle driver, 25-year-old Eric Meyer of Charles City, is in serious condition at a Waterloo hospital. The driver or the car was treated and released. The accident is under investigation. Gorman is the ninth person to die on that stretch of highway, which opened in 1995.
Sentencing is this afternoon (2 P.M.) for a woman from southern Minnesota convicted in the death of her Iowa boyfriend. 34-year-old Elvin Berg of Spirit Lake, Iowa, and 39-year-old Suzanne McNulty of Jackson were in a home in rural Jackson County in November of last year, when a shotgun being held by NcNulty went off. The shot hit Berg in the throat and he died rapidly from the loss of blood. McNulty later pleaded guilty to 2nd degree unintentional murder and will be sentenced today to 15 years in prison. The sentence is longer than recommended by state guidelines because McNulty didn’t seek help for Berg, whose body wasn’t discovered until the homeowner returned hours after the shooting.
Southwest Iowa farmers and landowners who practice land stewardship are being rewarded for their work. Natural Resources Conservation Service chief Bruce Knight says the new conservation security program’s unlike anything else that’s been tried.He insists this “isn’t a farm program,” not an income-transfer payment or supporting farm viability, but is a reward for conservation leadership. 147 contracts going to producers in the ten counties of the East Nishnabotna Watershed are expected to total about one-point-one-million dollars. Steve King from Kiron attended a recent meeting in Atlantic to announce the awarding of the conservation contracts. As the program goes on he says funding will increase, and others will look to the “East Nish” watershed for leadership and a role model. King said it’s only natural that Iowa’s out in the forefront of conservation. He says the folks who crossed the prairie on wagons “to live free or die” were committed to be stewards of the land, and so are succeeding generations. The conservation security program’s voluntary and will be offered each year in as many watersheds as funding allows. Southwest Iowa Counties included in this C-S-P include Adair, Audubon, Carroll, Cass, Fremont, Guthrie, Montgomery, Page, Pottawatomie and Shelby. For more information surf to www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs
Voters in Washington County go to the polls tomorrow (Tuesday) to decide whether to allow gambling. Owners of Catfish Bend Casino announced last week they plan to build a riverboat and resort on 320 acres on the Iowa River about 15 miles south of Iowa City. Spokesman Dan Kehl says his involvement in gambling in Iowa goes way back. The Kehl family owns 50-percent of Catfish Bend Casino, as Kehl explains his parents pioneered the riverboat business in Iowa and owned excursion boats before gambling came along. At first opposed, they decided there was no use fighting it, so they got into the business and actually received the first casino license in the state. Washington County businessman Daley Torpey is against expanded gambling, and says it’s not pure profit that’ll create the promised 600 jobs, it’s money someone must spend in a casino. Saying “I’m not against jobs, I’m just against jobs that are tied to gambling,” Torpey says backers envision “70-million dollars worth of losses that would be their revenue,” 70-million a year spent in the casino including ten-million that would come from Washington County. Torpey says he’s not disputing that figure, which comes from an estimate by the Iowa Gaming Commission. But Catfish Bend, which operates riverboat casinos in Fort Madison and Clinton, is proposing more than just a gambling barge. They’re looking at building an 80-million-dollar 200-room hotel-casino including an 18-hole golf course, 70 lots for housing units, an entertainment-conference center that will seat 2000 and host shows, and an R-V park. Businessman Torpey says many in Washington County don’t agree with him, but he doesn’t think economic development is done by building a gambling hall. He’s heard about the planned 80-million dollar complex, but says it’s a one-time expense and despite the promised one-point-seven-million dollars a year in taxes, it’s “just not a continuing economic development,” where they produce a product and encourage other new businesses to come in. Part-owner Kehl says it means jobs, a payroll estimated at sixteen-point-2 Million dollars. Iowa law on the casinos requires that preference be given to workers and even entertainers who are from Iowa, so they’ll “definitely” be hiring local people. Businessman Torley says the promised salaries, tax revenues and fees paid by the casino total about nine and-a-half million dollars a year — but the gaming commission’s own projection shows citizens of Washington County spending ten-million in a casino, so even if business is good they won’t come out ahead. One promise of casino builders is that other tax revenues will lessen the burden on property owners, but Torpey says it won’t turn out to work that way, citing communities where Catfish Bend already runs casinos. He gives Lee County as an example, where in Fort Madison the property taxes have gone up, not down. Local voters must give a thumbs-up of more than 50-percent before the state racing and gaming commission will consider granting a license. The commission will grant licenses in spring 2005.