A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court this week affirmed the policy of law-enforcement agencies that use drug-sniffing dogs during traffic stops. Some critics say it could expand the range officers can use to expand a search for no good reason, but Iowa’s among states that likely will continue the way it uses the trained K-9 officers. Iowa State Trooper John Hitchcock is a K-9 handler in District Three that includes Council Bluffs. He says when animals have long ago proved their value. It’s something the patrol doesn’t use on a daily basis, he says, but when the need arises to have a dog sniff a vehicle to determine if drugs are involved and there’s probable cause for a more intensive search, it’s valuable for the patrol to have them. Funding them and having enough troopers to spare one from road patrol to be a dog handler can add up to a big budget item…but Hitchcock says if there were a bigger budget it’s likely the department would support increasing the number of dogs and handlers. A week ago in a traffic stop on Interstate-80 a large amount of cash was found in the vehicle, a K-9 officer brought in “alerted” to the presence of drugs on the cash, and the people in the vehicle claimed they didn’t know where they money came from and swore it wasn’t theirs. 120-thousand dollars in cash was seized.
Archives for January 2005
The Iowa Hawkeyes look to erase the painfull memories of Wednesday’s overtime loss at Northwestern when they host Indiana Saturday afternoon. Tghe Hawks are 2-4 in the Big Ten and coach Steve Alford says there could be a shake-up in the starting line-up. Alford says the Hoosiers are much better than they were in December when they struggled in non-conference play, and have gained confidence in their 4-2 start to Big Ten play. Indiana coach Mike Davis says added experience has been a plus for his team. He says his guys are developing and getting better game-by-game. He says it’s tough to start three freshman in any league. Davis says they played a tough non-conference schedule.
The Clarke College men’s basketball team would set a school record for victories if they can get by Aurora Saturday night at home. The Crusaders are 14-4 overall and have equalled the school mark for wins already. Coach Jon Davison’s team would also move into a first place tie at the top of the Northern Illinois-Iowa Conference standings with a win. He says it’s nice to be in this position, and says they lost one game by a point, otherwise they might have been in a better position.This game begins an important stretch for the Crusaders. He says they were supposed to play Aurora earlier, but that game got postponed due to snow. He says that sets up a schedule of Aurora, Benedictine and then Aurora again, which will be tough.
Five Decatur County men face 49 charges of illegally taking deer and could have to pay damages of nearly 150-thousand dollars. Iowa Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Craig Roberg says charges were filed after a four-month investigation.He says they seized 52 buck deer and the ones they could prove were taken illegally were the ones that led to charges. Roberg says the men would kill the deer and keep only the head. He says the majority of the time the rest of the deer was left in the field to rot, and on a rare occassion, they took some of the meat. Roberg says this was not hunting — it was a case of a killing spree — with one of these men killing as many as 14 bucks this fall alone. He says he thinks for some reason on other the men like to kill buck deer and take their antlers. “It just was an ego thing or a fetish, I can’t tell you that.”The charges were filed against 27-year-old Justin Mason of rural Leon; 32-year-old Ron Carney of Garden Grove; 24-year-old Jake Mason, 46-year-old Mike Mason and 48-year-old Steve Powell, all of Woodland. Carney has pleaded guilty to taking a deer with a rifle and wanton waste of deer. The others have pleaded not guilty to the remaining charges.
The governor has appointed a Des Moines businesswoman to the board that oversees the state-supported universities. Teresa Wahlert will fill one of the vacancies left on the Board of Regents when two board members connected to Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield resigned over a dispute between the University of Iowa and Wellmark. Wahlert is president and C-E-O of the Mid-America Group — a company founded by a man who served as president of the Board of Regents over a decade ago. She’s a Dubuque native who graduated from St. Mary’s College at Notre Dame before earning advanced degrees from Creighton and M-I-T. Wahlert was at one time a vice president at Qwest and the C-E-O of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. She will now join Iowa Cubs owner Michael Gartner on the Board of Regents. Garnter was appointed by Governor Vilsack early this week to fill the Board’s other open seat.
The director of Iowa’s Department of Economic Development disputes a report that concludes the state’s Iowa Values Fund awards and other government incentives to two companies end up costing the state more than was gained. The Legislative Services Agency analysis concludes state and local governments actually spent more on Sioux Center-based Trans Ova Genetics and on Wells Fargo for an expansion in West Des Moines than will be gained economically from either project. Department of Economic Development director Michael Blouin says the state spurred economic activity by handing out those big-money “Iowa Values Fund” grants. Blouin says the state has given grants to 227 companies in the past 19 months. Those companies have created 15-thousand jobs that pay an average annual salary of nearly 38-thousand dollars, according to Blouin. “Not every project is going to perform as well as the others, but they all look real good right now,” Blouin says. Blouin says this latest news splash is based on old information. Blouin says stories based on this data were written when the awards were made in August of 2003, then more stories came out a year later and he says this is a third go-round on the data. “The projects are still sound. The companies are still progressing. They’re hiring people,” Blouin says. Blouin contends this latest report is based on the faulty presumption that the newly hired people who’ll work at Wells Fargo in West Des Moines and at Trans Ova in Sioux Center will be new to Iowa — causing other expenses like expansion of schools. Blouin says many of the people hired are currently “under-employed” and will simply move from one job in the community to another. Other hires will be young Iowans who’re just out of college, and Blouin says that’s one of the goals of the Iowa Values program. Blouin says attitudes change when he outlines the wide-ranging benefits of the Values Fund awards. Blouin made his comments during taping of the Iowa Public Television program “Iowa Press” which airs tonight at 7:30.
Eight Iowa teachers have signed on for a NASA program to learn about educational opportunities in the realm of space science and to bring new lessons into their classrooms. Jay Staker is associate director of the Iowa Space Grant Consortium which is partnering with four Iowa schools — two teachers at each one. Staker has recruited various Iowa school districts to send teams of teachers to NASA centers to work with space program educators to look at what’s available from NASA to “jazz up” their science and math programs. He says the teachers are taken to facilities like Kennedy Space Center in Florida to get psyched up about space technology, then they’re sent home to energize their students. They’ve just taken two teachers from Dubuque and two from Des Moines to Kennedy where Staker says they got a great introduction to NASA. Next month, four more teachers, two each from Pella and Audubon, will be going to Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Staker says the trip to Florida last week was a thrill. He and the Iowa teachers got to stand right under the shuttle Discovery as it’s being refitted for a return to flight in a few months. Staker called it “exhilarating” and it allowed the teachers to get excited and to feel a sense of history — and the future. For more information, surf to “www.ia.spacegrant.org”.LOCAL: Schools involved are: Jefferson Elementary in Pella, St. Joseph in Des Moines, Jefferson Junior High in Dubuque and Audubon High.
Two teams riding winning streaks collide tonight in Dubuque as Loras hosts Wartburg in an Iowa Conference men’s matchup. Wartburg enters the game with a record of 8-0 in conference play and has won eight straight. Loras has won nine straight and the Duhawks are 6-0 in the Iowa Conference after beating ninth ranked Buena Vista on Tuesday night.In his fifth year as head coach Chad Walthall has directed Loras to its best start ever in conference play and says both teams have been difficult to defend. He says their field goal percentage is high and that indicates they’re getting good shots. Walthall says he has tried to build the Loras program in the same way Dick Peth has done at Wartburg. He says Peth has gone through a rebuilding process and has taken them to being a top-tier program. He says they’re trying to do the same thing and he has a lot of respect for Peth.With most of the players back from last years team that finished 16-10 Walthall felt the Duhawks could take another step this year.
The Iowa Hawkeye women jumped out to a 39-23 halftime lead over Michigan enroute to a 71-63 victory Thursday night in Iowa City. With the victory the Hawkeyes even their Big Ten record at 4-4. Iowa coach Lisa Bluder says it felt good to be back on track and get some production out of the bend. Bluder was happy with the way her team grabbed control in the first half. She says they had too many turnovers again, and need more work on defense, but she says it’s good to get a win.Crystal Smith led Iowa with 19-points, Jamey Cavey added 14 as the Hawks improve to 15-4.
A bizzare finish had UNI coach Tony DiCecco apologizing and the Panther women heartbroken after a 78-73 loss in overtime at Valley co-leader Creighton. With the Panthers trailing 74-73 in the extra session DiCecco was whisteled for a technical foul with just nine seconds remaining after Creighton was awarded a time-out and posession during a scramble for a loose ball. The coach thought the ball was still loose. DiCecco on his post-game show on KCNZ in Cedar Falls says he really didn’t understand the technical, but takes responsibility. Creighton scored two baskets in the final two seconds of regulation to force overtime, the second one coming after the Panther’s Alex Cook hit the basket support with an in-bounds attempt and UNI leading 61-59. He says they always teach that you should clear the basket when you run the baseline. He says things sometimes happen in the heat of the moment.UNI falls to 5-3 in the Valley.