The summer season brings the start of monitoring once again for West Nile Virus. The newest form of mosquito-borne encephalitis has been far more deadly to some birds and animals, especially horses, than in the human population. Sally Blount is a board member of the Iowa Horse Council. She reminds owners there’s now a vaccination for West Nile, so they should speak to their veterinarian about getting it. This year, the council’s alerting horse owners to watch out for another disease, which might pose even more danger to the health of horses. Blount says the animals are susceptible to Lyme Disease. It’s a tick-borne disease, she says, carried by the deer tick which is “a tiny mite, hard to see.” She notes that the telltale sign i humans that they’ve been infected with Lyme disease is a bulls-eye rash surrounding the site of the bite. “Well, think about it,” she points out, “You don’t see that on a horse because of the hair.” Blount says you need to inspect warm, moist places on the horse’s body for ticks. She says there are a lot of people out trail-riding in the state, “an enormous number” of them riding their horses out there. Symptoms are much like what people suffer, including arthritic symptoms. So if your horse hasn’t had trouble and begins to stumble or act like it’s a little sore, you might check it out carefully. As in people, the treatment for horses with Lyme Disease is massive doses of antibiotic.
Archives for May 2005
Memorial Day ceremonies are being held in many Iowa towns today (Monday) to mark the holiday which got its roots in the Civil War era. The holiday has somehow evolved into a kick-off of the summer vacation season with barbeques camping and boat rides, but Memorial Day — or Decoration Day as it used to be called — was originally set aside to honor the nation’s war dead. On May 30th, 1868, General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, ordered flowers to be placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried at Arlington National Cemetary. Most of the union states involved in the “War Between the States” quickly started to observe the holiday. It wasn’t until after World War II that southern states which had been part of the Confederacy started to observe Memorial Day on May 30th because by then the day honored soldiers who had served in other wars. In 1971, Congress passed a law that said Memorial Day would be observed on the last Monday of May. This year Monday falls on May 30th, the traditional date for Memorial Day. President Bush has issued an executive order asking Americans to pause at three o’clock this (Monday) afternoon to remember and pay respect to those who died while serving the country.
Summer bring out more riders on motorcycles, and an Iowa group offers the training to keep them safe on the road. Jim Benford is with ABATE of Iowa, the two-wheeler group called A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education. They’re offering a lineup of safety programs right now. One is “Share the Road,” a program where presenters go into classrooms and civic groups to teach drivers how to interact with motorcycle riders on the streets, and another motorcycle education program, that takes both experienced and novice riders and teaches them how to handle their machines in certain situations. ABATE also offers a training course titled “Two-Wheel Trauma.” He explains it’s for Emergency Medical Techs, Registered Nurses and other medical people who may come onto the scene of an accident, giving them more tools to manage the scene. Benford says the motorcycle group has members who have jobs themselves in the medical field, and they’re the ones who give the training sessions. The EMT trainers and other medical people are doing the ABATE training sessions, to tell other first-responders things they may not know like how to shut off a running motorcycle engine or its fuel when they arrive at the scene. Instead of the usual two courses, the group hopes to offer five this year. Benford is a rider-coach himself, and says the “biker” you may imagine isn’t typical of today’s motorcycle rider. The demographic in his classrooms has been changing, Benford says. “It’s pretty much 45, 54-year-old people comi’ in and they’ve got more disposable income now because their kids are gone — they’ve raised their kids.” At the same time he says they need to take a class because the motorcycle they may have tried out 30 years ago was nothing like the cycles they’re selling today. Today’s two-wheelers are faster and more powerful, he explains. And not only are riders older than they once were — they include more women than ever before. To check the schedule of more than two-dozen rider-training classes and other offerings, surf to abateiowa-dot-org.
The number of hybrid vehicles registered in the U.S. rose by more than 81-percent over the past year, but growth in that industry has been a bit slower in Iowa. Automotive industry analyst Mark Pauze says vehicles that run on both electricity and gasoline are catching on, gradually. Pauze says “There’s a few things playing into that. Obviously there’s some social consciousness as far as people wanting to have vehicles that are cleaner, that are not as polluting, as well as the elevated gas prices that I think isn’t hurting the whole market either.” In Iowa, there were 393 new hybrid vehicle registrations last year, a jump from 241 the year before, or an increase of about 63-percent. Pauze expects that trend to continue. He says “Every major manufacturer has more hybrids slated for introduction over the next few years, so in addition to the vehicles that are currently on the market, there are also going to be full-size pick-ups and other S-U-Vs that will be available so it’ll be a pretty wide range of choice for consumers.” With the nearly 400 registrations, Iowa ranked 35th in the U.S. last year for hybrid vehicles. California was first with 25-thousand vehicles.
An Iowa State University nutritionist says you can eat that burger from the grill without guilt about your diet if you make a few adjustments. Ruth Litchfield is working with the Iowa Beef Industry Council to tell people how to make burgers healthier. Litchfield says it’s really not the burger itself that can make the meal unhealthy. She says they’re trying to emphasize the things that accompany the burger, such as the bun. She says find a whole wheat bun to increase the fiber in your diet. Litchfield says something as simple as putting iceberg lettuce on the burger instead of romaine lettuce can make a difference. She says you can increase the vitamin A value and get more potassium by changing lettuce. She says you can also add tomatoes, onions and pickles to get some more vegetables. Litchfield says veggies are healthier than slapping on bacon, cheese, mayo and other calorie boosters.She says rather than covering up the flavor of the beef, you can enhance it with the vegetables while also getting your fiber. While the fast food joints advertise the massive half pound burgers, Litchfield says you’re better off not trying to duplicate them on your home grill.She says they’d rather see you look at a nice beef patty of three to four ounces — the size of a woman’s palm or a deck of cards. And she says cook the patty long enough to hit the 160-degree internal temperature to cook the meat enough to make it safe. For more ideas on how to build a better burger, visit: www.extension.iastate.edu/nutrition
While many people will remember lost love ones and friends this Memorial Day, one community is remembering their lost church. The Saint Mary’s catholic church in the “Little Ireland” community in Green County in central Iowa closed 50 years ago. Former parishioner Mary Richards says they’re holding a mass at the church cemetery today to remember the church located near the tiny town of Jamaica. She says they’ll have the American Legion Post from Jamaica present a veterans memorial and then will hold the mass. She says Father Bill Brunner will bless the soil from area farms. Richards says Father Brunner and his brother also collected wood from area barns. She says they’ve made crosses out of the wood and will present each of the original 18 families of the church with a cross made of the barn wood. Richards says the church still holds great importance to the people who worshipped there.She says, “Out here in rural life, our churches are closing. And this is about our spiritual life, it is about our reverence for out families who came top this area in the 1800’s.” She says it’s a way to say thank-you to those families and to say their faith will go on. Richards says the feelings still run deep for the church after 50 years. She says people remember the church that could be seen for miles. She says she had security as a child seeing the church on the hill. The mass begins today at 10 A.M. and Richards says you don’t have to be a part of the community to take part.
Iowa has the nation’s highest proportion of elderly residents, and in a rural state that means many are also drivers. Scott Falb is a Driver Safety Specialist for the Iowa Department of Transportation, and keeps track of statistics. Falb starts by choosing the 5-year range of people 65 to 69 years old, and he finds there are 100-thousand licensed drivers in Iowa within that age group. Among Iowans age 70 to 74, there are 91-thousand, and of those age 75 to 79 there are 77-thousand drivers. Obviously, the statistician says, it depends on your definition of “old.” In the group aged 80-84, there are still 52-thousand licensed drivers in the state, in the 85-89 group it’s down to 23-thousand-400, of Iowans age 90-94 there are almost 6000 drivers, and it drops off to 584 drivers age 95 to 100. And there are 24 drivers still licensed to operate a car who’re over the age of 100. As far as the safety of drivers in various age categories, Falb says the graph shows a “bathtub effect”…from high to low, and then back up again, as the driver’s age increases. Crash rates are high for the younger drivers, then they go down and are very low for the middle-aged and the “young elderly,” people through 70 or 75 years old. After that they begin to rise again — by 85 it’s going up pretty fast in most rate charts. Falb says while you can be too young to drive, there’s no law limiting how old a motorist can be. The DOT does have a “graduated driver’s license” for older as well as younger drivers, and restricted licenses for those who can’t drive anywhere and everywhere but under some circumstances still can be safe. While nobody will automatically lose their driver’s license at a certain age, any driver of any age can be tested. When licensing-examining personnel see something they think might affect a driver’s skill, they can take them out for a test, or ask for a doctor’s report on any condition — medical, vision or cognition — they think might affect the subject’s driving. Iowa grants only a 2-year license to operators under 18 or over 70, and offers the elderly a “situational” license renewal that might allow them to drive only in daylight, or restrict them to lower speeds. In the case of some elderly drivers, the licensing workers will ask where they go and what roads they drive on — and give them a driving test to see if they can safely to go just those places, over those roadways. See more at the DOT website on license renewal for all drivers, and what the agency does to make sure older motorists are safe. http://www.dot.state.ia.us/pdf_files/diminished_driving.pdf
Is this Hollywood? No, it’s Iowa — and Jet Stream Pictures will be shooting a motion picture in eastern Iowa this summer. Todd McGreevy, of Davenport, is one of the producers and says the comedy, called “Traveling Salesmen,” was written by director Rod McCall, who is…from Hollywood/New York and New Mexico. McGreevy says McCall was “taken” by the Quad Cities and by the approach of using Iowans in this film. McGreevy says McCall was impressed by the matter-of-fact approach Iowans take to life. The movie will be set in an as-yet-unnamed small Mississippi River town on the Iowa side. McGreevy explains more about the film’s title and plot line. He says “Traveling Salesmen” is a buddy film about two guys living in a small town that’s on the verge of bankruptcy and they want to save it with a “wild hair-brain idea” to raise money via a road trip. McGreevy is co-producing the film with another Davenport man, Chris Barnard. McGreevy says he’s taking part in the project because of his friendship with writer-director Rod McCall and he’s been involved in several film festivals in recent years to get a taste of the industry. He also made a documentary after he bought a digital video camera.” Shooting on the new independent comedy starts in July. McGreevy says anyone interested in being in the film should click on the “forum” link at “travelingsalesmenmovie.com.”
The Iowa Barn Foundation’s annual barn tour will be held next weekend and it starts is the far southwest corner of the state. Kelly Tobin of New Market is a member of the Iowa Barn Foundation’s board. After visiting three barns in the Clarinda area, the self-guided tour continues east on Highway Two to the edge of Bedford where there’s a round barn, followed by more barns east of Mount Ayr. There’s an octagonal barn on the tour that housed farm horses, and another that was built before the Civil War. A slight detour from barns will occur as folks on the tour can stop at the International Center for Rural Culture near Allerton. In Appanoose County, there’ll be tours of restored buildings in Centerville. The Iowa Barn Foundation’s annual meeting will be held Sunday, June 5th at the Ramsey Farm at Lesanville. Paul Ramsey, who now lives in Hollywood, California, lived in Des Moines as a child and visited his grandparents who helped start the town. Restoration of the historic buildings there began with a grant from the Iowa Barn Foundation. The money for those grants comes from memberships in the Foundation. Membership is 35-dollars-a-year and each member receives two booklets in the mail each year with information on barns and how to restore them. If you’re restoring a barn and want to get a grant, Tobin says there are two ways to qualify. If the barn qualifies to be on the National Historic Register, then it’s eligible for a grant. But most of the barn restoration projects do not meet that standard. Folks submit restoration estimates, and the foundation board culls through the final bills and try to pay half of the cost. Those who get the grants have to sign an agreement that stipulates they’ll keep the barn in good repair and will open it to tours once a year. Find more information about the grants or directions for the June 4th and 5th barn tour on-line at www.iowabarnfoundation.org. About 15-hundred people are members of the Iowa Barn Foundation which was formed eight years ago. “It was in 1997 that four people gathered for coffee one morning and decided they had seen enough of the old barns deteriorating and so they decided to try to do something,” Tobin says. Since then, the group has helped restore 35 barns in Iowa.
About a dozen businesses in Cedar Rapids have been passing out fliers this graduation season, encouraging graduating seniors to think and not drink. Beth Goldberg is one of the people behind the effort. Late spring and summer are “high times” for underage kids to drink, and Goldberg hopes the fliers help spread the message that drinking can bring severe consequences. The Cedar Rapids-area businesses handing out the pamphlets cater to graduates and their families, places like bakeries and party shops. Jayne Perensky runs a business that sells everything from balloons to paper cups for decorating a graduation party.”We want everyone to have a very happy and safe graduation,” she says. The fliers offer tips to graduates on how to have fun without drinking alcohol. There’s also a warning to people who are over the age of 21. The fliers spell out the penalties for buying liquor or beer for underage kids. Starting July 1st, the fine doubles for kids under the age of 21 who are caught with beer or caught drunk.