A house near the western Iowa town of Lewis, built in 1856 to help slaves fleeing Missouri find their way to Canada and freedom, is now itself in need of help. The home, built by Reverend George Hitchcock, aided fugitive slaves by serving as a safe house on the Underground Railroad. Sandy Fairbairn is spokeswoman for a group working to keep the home in its original condition. For starters, Fairbairn says the windows are at least a hundred years old and need to be replaced. Since the house is on the National Register of Historic Places, Fairbairn says they cannot simply go out and purchase new windows. She says they have to be specially constructed to blend in with the architecture of the period. A local woodworker was hired to build one window using a window from the Nishnabotna Ferry house as an example for the framing style of that era. He’ll do the rest of the windows in the same fashion. A total of 15 windows need to be replaced at a cost of 700-dollars each. Past restoration efforts involved taking up the wood flooring and exposing the original floor and rebuilding the staircase railing using an old photograph as a guide. Because of those efforts and the historical significance of the home, Fairbairn says the Hitchcock House has a chance at attaining even greater status. They recently been recognized as a site on the National Underground Railroad to Freedom and they have been nominated for status as a National Landmark, the highest honor a historic property can receive. There are five steps in attaining National Landmark status and the Hitchcock House in currently in the third step. One of the criteria is how closely a site is kept original. Fairbairn says those who are working on the restoration hope to have enough funds from donations to have all the home’s windows replaced in time for the house’s 150th birthday celebration and festival June 10 and 11 of next year. For information on how to donate, call Fairbairn at (712) 769-2323 or e-mail her at email@example.com.
Archives for 2005
One of the big decisions facing Iowa State University in the new year involves choosing how the school will feed students. The university in Ames asked for bids on running its food service and received a bid from three outside companies and a proposal from the university service. Nancy Brooks of the university purchasing department says the Board of Regents asked them to put the contract up for bids. She thinks they were asked to do that to “make sure that we were maximizing our opportunity.” Brooks says the move may save money — but that’s not the main emphasis. She says cost is not the only factor, though is a major component. She says the Regents want to be sure they can repay their bond debt on the renovations they’ve made. Brooks says there’s a university committee that’s going to go over each of the proposals. Brooks says the proposals are “quite complicated and in depth” and she says they have a criteria that they’ll use to determine the best proposal. Brooks says the winner of the process will not only provide food for students, but will also run the campus catering, retail cafes, convenience stores, vending machines, and the Memorial Union food court. Brooks says it’s part of the changes in the way the system operates. Brooks says any kind of dinning operation in higher education has gotten a lot more complex. Brooks says information on the proposals will be available for public viewing near the end of the first week of January.
A western Iowa man died in a work-related accident last night. The Carroll County man died in an accident at a corn processing plant. At about 8:40 last night, the Carroll County Sheriff’s office got a call that there’d been an accident at the Iowa Corn Processors Plant west of Glidden. Investigators believe 43-year-old Edward King of rural Glidden slipped and fell off the top of a railroad car at the plant. King was taken to a hospital in Carroll, where he was pronounced dead.
A 49-year-old Cedar Rapids man will not go to prison for driving the speeding car that killed a 19-year-old woman crossing a street in downtown Cedar Rapids. The accident happened in July of 2004 and last month Larry Zaruba was found guilty of vehicular homicide. But yesterday (Thursday), a judge suspended the 10-year prison sentence for that conviction and sent Zaruba to a half-way house for a year instead. The parents of 19-year-old Abby Bowman, the woman Zaruba killed, begged the judge to send Zaruba to prison. “I dread having to go to downtown Cedar Rapids and be reminded of what occurred there,” Abby’s father, Charles Bowman said. “It is harder than it once was to find joy in life.” Fighting back tears, Bowman’s mother said the accident took her best friend and her future. “The violent nature of the accident and the fact it occurred in the heart of our city has shocked and saddened the entire community,” Carrie Kriz Bowman said. Prosecutors say Zaruba was under the influence and driving up to 100 miles an hour but Zaruba’s lawyers argued he had a seizure at the time of the wreck. The judge agreed and said time in prison will not heal a seizure and there’s no reason to believe Zaruba will reoffend. year. Even Zaruba was shocked he would not be spending time in prison. During Zaruba’s three year probation, he’s not allowed to have a driver’s license and he can’t consume any alcohol. He’s free today, waiting until space opens up in a halfway house.
A group of United States Marshalls from Milwaukee, Wisconsin are in the Dubuque area today (Friday), helping one of their own search for his missing son. Twenty-four-year-old Matthew Kruziki was passing through Dubuque when he disappeared early last Saturday morning. Matthew’s father, Bill Kruziki, is a U.S. Marshall and he says he’s pleased with how local officials have handled the search. “I think the Chief (of Police) in East Dubuque has done an excellent job,” Kruziki says. “He’s taken on this thing personally and he’s put all of his time and effort into it and I can’t ask for anything more.” The Illinois State Police flew over the Dubuque area yesterday, but found no trace of Kruziki’s son who was last seen outside a bar in East Dubuque, Illinois. Kruziki says his co-workers — fellow U.S. Marshalls — will scour the area today, helping in the search. “I want to make sure in my own heart that we did everything we can and if I have those resources available to me, I’m going to use them,” Kruziki says. He has set Sunday as a personal deadline. If Kruziki hasn’t found his son by the end of the weekend, he’ll head back home to Wisconsin. “You always need closure,” he says. “I don’t want to leave this weekend without finding my son, so our goal this weekend is to do everything we possibly can.” East Dubuque Police say the next step they’ll take in the investigation is to search the Mississippi River.
An on-line nurse’s aide training program is being launched by the University of Iowa’s Geriatric Education Center. Program administrator Linda Seydel says the goal is to provide Iowans, especially those in rural areas, an “anywhere, anytime” way to get training. Seydel says a pilot version of the program is almost ready to roll out. She says they’ll test the program on student-learners this spring at Iowa Lakes Community College in Emmetsburg and at Western Iowa Tech in Sioux City. By late next year, it’s hoped the program can be made available to all community colleges statewide. Seydel says Iowa’s population is growing older and this type of service is badly needed as nurse’s aides are already a valued commodity. She says traditional students have difficulty accessing this type of education as Iowa is so rural. With the curriculum online, everyone will have better access. By the year 2030, more than one in five Iowans will be age 65 or older and Iowa’s already the number-two state in the nation for percentage of residents age 85 and older, behind only Florida. Seydel says Iowa needs more nurse’s aides and will only see a rising demand. C-N-As, or certified nurse assistants, provide nearly 80-percent of the direct hands-on care for elderly residents in long-term care facilities and assisted living. A federal report estimates demand for nurse’s aides in facilities nationwide could rise by up to 61-percent between 2000 and 2020.
Researchers at Iowa State University’s Center for Nondestructive Evaluation will continue several projects into the new year that they’re working on for NASA. Center director Bruce Thompson says they’ve received seven million dollars in funding for the projects in the last four years. He says all the projects are related to the structural integrity of vehicles used in space or advanced aviation, and ways to make them less prone to crashes. Thompson says a key example is finding ways to improve the foam that broke off the space shuttle Columbia, leading to its eventual demise. Thompson says the problem there is detecting defects in the foam, and he says that’s hard to do because the foam is nearly all air and hard to measure. Thompson says researchers are using radio waves and a process called “terrahertz radiation” that’s a step above process used in a microwave. He says it turns out that the terrahertz radiation has an ability to penetrate through the foam and provide information about defects. He says it’s a new technology that’s principles have been known for a long time, but there’s new instrumentation now available for its use that Thomas says is driven by the homeland security area. Thompson says the work goes beyond just developing new ways to x-ray and look into materials. It also involves helping figure out what the results of the work means. He says they’ve been very heavily involved in developing computer-based simulation tools to allow people to better interpret the things they’ve learned. Thompson says much of their other work involves developing composite materials. Thompson says an example is work on materials on the new telescope that’ll be used to replace the Hubble Telescope in space. Thompson says the work in Ames helps lay the foundation for the future of space exploration.
If your New Year’s resolution is to quit smoking, the director of a telephone hotline based in Iowa City wants you to call. “Quitline Iowa” director John Lowe says kicking the habit brings immediate health benefits. Lowe says you’ll immediately have more energy and you’ll smell better. Plus, he says there are long-term health benefits to quitting smoking whether you’re 15, 30 or 75 years old. About 21 percent of Iowans smoke. Lowe is making an appeal to those smokers: call 1-866-U-CAN-TRY. “A trained counselor/coach will answer the phone and work you through what’s the best way to approach your quitting,” Lowe says. The counselor will call you back to help the smoker through the process of stopping and then staying off cigarettes. Lowe says there are facilities available to help you quit and start 2006 “smoke-free.” The hotline’s staffed with people who have a background in counseling. Lowe says most are doctoral students. Each has gone through between 16 to 20 hours of training in how to work with smokers. Lowe is also director of the Iowa Tobacco Research Center which focuses on how to help people quit smoking and help those who have quit from relapsing. Lowe says the people who call Quitline Iowa have a 70 percent chance of quitting. The challenge is resisting the urge to smoke, and the hotline counselors are available to help people keep from lighting up. Lowe says you don’t have to go to your doctor anymore to get “the patch” to help stave off the desire for nicotine. Nicotine patches are now available “over the counter.” Quitline Iowa and Lowe’s research is financed by the state, partially with money tobacco companies paid Iowa as part of the legal settlement the industry reached with the states a few years ago.
It’s been a month of bitter cold and surprisingly mild weather, and state climatologist Harry Hillaker says oddly enough, December, 2005 will go down in the weather records as average. It didn’t start out that way — the first week or so of December was very cold, the coldest start of the month we’ve ever had. But the most recent week or so has been mild — almost as far ABOVE normal as the first week was below average. Usually Hillaker notes we get the warmer part of the month first, but this year things just reversed. Hillaker calculates December likely will average out to a couple degrees colder than normal and even with a little snow lately, precipitation records will show a snowier month than normal. Hillaker sees some signs that it’ll remain mild into the first few weeks of the new year.
Next week’s Outback Bowl game against Florida will be the final game for an Iowa senior class that has led the program to unprecedented heights. The Hawkeyes will be playing in their fourth straight January bowl and have also captured a pair of Big Ten championships during that span. Coach Kirk Ferentz says the seniors were instrumental in turning the season around after the Hawks suffered their second straight loss at Northwestern to fall to 5-4 on the season. He says the focused on looking ahead instead of focusing on what’s behind them.
One of the seniors is linebacker Chad Greenway who could have opted for the N-F-L draft last spring. Greenway on how he has improved in the past year, saying the biggest growth has come as a leader for the younger guys. He says he’s also gotten better at getting off of blocks. Greenway says with one game left in an Iowa uniform he is not even thinking about what lies ahead. He says it’s not difficult to focus as he says they have to be ready for Florida or the sting of the last loss will be with him for a long time.
Greenway has teamed with fellow senior Abdul Hodge at linebacker and both played in Iowa’s 2004 win over Florida in the Outback Bowl. Hodge says this is a much better Gator squad that’s better coached on both sides of the ball.
Center Brian Ferentz is just happy to be playing in this year’s game. He missed the Outback Bowl two years ago. He was injured in October and made the trip. Ferentz says it’s a good Florida team and a good bowl trip for the seniors. This current class of seniors has a record of 38-11 heading into next weeks game.