You don’t need an Iowa hunting license to try and bag some special mushrooms, but you DO need to know exactly what you’re picking. The season has just begun for the morel mushroom and one particular type of the coveted spongy fungus is appearing now.Morel hunter Lois Tiffany is a botany professor at Iowa State University. She says the morel season only lasts in Iowa from around mid-April until mid-May. Even though the taller, pitted morel mushrooms are distinctively different in appearance from poisonous “toadstools,” she warns that not all morels are safe to eat either. She says there is one “false morel” that has a stalk stuffed with what looks like white cotton. She says those should be left alone.Many morel hunters will closely guard their favorite hunting spots, since the tasty plants are perennial — meaning they’ll grow back every year. Tiffany says the morels aren’t hard to find, if you know where to search. She suggests that you look for dead elm trees and look around them.Some morels can grow to ten inches in height. They can be cooked a variety of ways — in butter, rolled in flour and sautéed, mixed in dishes or even in morel soup. They can also be dried, blanched and frozen. Tiffany recommends picking up a book on the morel before hunting, cooking or eating them.
Archives for April 2000
The Iowa Legislature adjourned this past week with one of the nagging problems in the state’s education system unsolved, but lawmakers promise progress on teacher pay. The Legislature provided money for a study to examine how a “performance based” pay system could replace the seniority-style system now which rewards teachers’ longevity rather than action in the classroom. House Speaker Brent Siegrist, a republican from Council Bluffs, was a classroom teacher for 18 years. He says the current teacher pay system is “deeply flawed” and major Senator Don Redfern, a republican from Cedar Falls who is chairman of the Senate Education Committee, says there is one way to find extra money to raise teacher salaries. He says Iowa is replacing higher salaried teachers with younger teachers who don’t make as much money. Redfern says that should let lawmakers raise the entry level salaries in the next two or three years.Redfern says one study over the summer will examine newfangled state incentives to schools which consolidate or reorganize — perhaps enhancing teacher pay in rural areas as a result.
With ideal conditions a number of records fell during the first day of the 91st Drake Relays. Marques Simmons from Davenport North won the boys 100-meter dash in a record time of 10-point-63 seconds, despite stumbling out of the starting block.Lauren Fleischman anchored Stanford to a win in the women’s distance medley relay as the Cardinal set a new Relays record in the process.American collegiate record holder Derrick Peterson anchored Missouri to a second straight four by 800 meter relay title as the Tigers edged Baylor and Stanford.Jeff Hartwig won the special invitational pole vault but missed out on a chance to set a new Relays record when it was ruled he placed his hand on the bar as he cleared 19-feet and three quarters of an inch. He says, “They keep screwing me over on this rule.” He says he “made the bar” but is now going home without the record.Hartwig says U-S track officials have had difficulty interpreting the rule. He says eventually the officials will figure out the rule.Ryan Boyington of Hampton-Dumont won the boys 400 meter hurdles, edging Nick Moser from Fort Dodge in a photo finish.
The Iowa Governor’s Mansion is the setting tomorrow for a celebration of reading, spring and family. Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack says the 2nd annual “Spring Fling” at Terrace Hill is zeroing in on books, learning and fun.Mrs. Vilsack admits it may be a little difficult to recognize her and the other grown-ups who are hosting the event at the Des Moines mansion — since they’ll all be in costume as characters from the “Wizard of Oz.”Mrs. Vilsack will be Glenda the Good Witch while the Governor will be made up as the Scarecrow. Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson will dress as Dorothy. Mrs. Vilsack says the promotion of literacy is the prime goal of Spring Fling.Spring Fling will also feature tethered hot air balloon rides, simulated tornadoes from the Iowa Science Center, gigantic inflatable rides, face painting, a petting zoo and pony rides. It runs Sunday from noon to 3 p-m.
Republican legislators are taking the training wheels off the National Driving Simulator project in Iowa City. For the past few years, the state has provided about 300-thousand dollars to support general operations, but that state support dries up June 30th. Democrats tried but failed to get legislators to provide state support into the next budgeting year. Senator Joel Bolkcom is a democrat from Iowa City. He says the simulator is a project of national significance that will help develop safer driving habits and systems.Senator Bob Dvorsky of Coralville, another democrat, said the federal government is spending about 60 million dollars on the project, so the state should be able to chip in a measly 300-thousand.But Republicans, led by Senator Kitty Rehberg of Rowley insisted that no state tax dollars be spent on the simulator, as the nation’s car companies should start bearing the cost.
A couple from Hazelton faces nearly 80 burglary charges for a series of break-ins in four Buchanan county communities. Brian Latham and his wife, Tina, are accused of a string of burglaries to schools and businesses in Hazelton, Aurora, Winthrop and Quasqueton. The burglaries happened between March 19th and April 2nd. The Lathams are both 31. Brian Latham is being held in the Linn County jail in connection with burglaries earlier this month in Walker. Tin Latham, who faces nine burglary counts, was held in the Buchanan County jail for awhile on Thursday, but later released.
A judge has overturned a jury’s verdict in the case of a woman from Wapello who was accused of forging nearly 22-thousand dollars in checks. Thirty-nine-year-old Sandra Kemp was accused of forging the checks from her mother-in-law’s account. Her mother-in-law died just two weeks ago. On Wednesday, the Louisa County jury found her guilty of first degree theft and first degree forgery, but the Judge granted the defense motion for dismissal, citing a lack of evidence. He said the jury based its verdict on speculation because there’s no proof Kemp didn’t have permission to write the checks. Three years ago, Kemp pleaded guilty to stealing more than 140-thousand dollars from the Louisa County Solid Water Board, where she was secretary/treasurer.
Grisly details have been released in a southern Iowa murder case. Investigators say the body of a 53-year-old Ottumwa man was dismembered, then put in a car which was set on fire last week. 31-year-old Kenny Hemm from Eldon is in jail, charged with the murder of Larry Pippenger, who was a paraplegic. A saw was found in the burned-out car with Pippenger’s body, and investigators say they found an empty miter saw box in Kenny Hemm’s garage. According to police, blood samples taken from the shower curtain in Hemm’s home match Pippenger’s D-N-A. Hemm’s being held on one-million dollars bond. He also faces drug charges filed in January.
A northeast Iowa teenager was arrested Thursday after authorities say she made a threatening phone call to her school. Police have charged 15-year-old Kara Hutchinson of Manchester with calling West Delaware High School and making a bomb threat. Police say she made the call on a phone inside the school. Hutchinson has been charged with making a false report of a bomb.
A one-hundred-four-year-old eastern Iowa man will receive France’s highest honor in a ceremony today. The French “Legion of Honor” will be given to Frank Proske of Blue Grass for his service in World War One. Jack Hackett of the Veterans Affairs office in Des Moines expects about 200 people to attend today’s one o’clock ceremony.Hackett says Proskee served in France for nine months.Proske, who at age 70 retired from farming, lives with his son, Walter, on a farm near Davenport.Ten other Iowans who are veterans of World War One have received the French “Legion of Honor” in the past two years. France sought out living World War One veterans for the honor to mark the 80th anniversary of the armistice which ended the war.