Four Iowa schools have been added to a federal program intended to boost student achievement. State Department of Education consultant Jim Graeber says the four schools will split 280-thousand dollars. Graeber says the program allows the school districts to hire outside consultants to evaluate their weaknesses.Graeber says the consultant money is usually directed to schools with low student test scores or high rates of poverty, which he says often go hand in hand.Graeber says the state hopes the funds will be available to the schools for three years.The new schools bring the total involved in the program to 20. The four new schools are: West Elementary in West Liberty, Fulton Intermediate in Dubuque, Wells-Carey Elementary in Keokuk and Washington Elementary in Council Bluffs.
Archives for November 2000
The northwest Iowa mother convicted of lesser charges in the murder of her young daughter is now grasping at a new chance for freedom. Heidi Watkins was convicted of child endangerment in the high-profile case of her daughter’s death — and she’s seeking a new trial. Watkins, of Spirit Lake, says there’s evidence her former live-in boyfriend has confessed to killing two-year-old Shelby Duis. In July, Jesse Wendelsdorf was cleared of sexual abuse and murder charges but reportedly told a new girlfriend he was guilty. Wendelsdorf allegedly made the statements while being tape-recorded.-
A fifth set of human remains found in northern Iowa has been identified as another victim in a 1993 drug case. The body is that of 36-year-old Terry DeGeus who was supposed to testify in a drug case, but disappeared. The other bodies found recently in the Mason City area are identified as: Greg Nicholson, Lori Duncan, and Duncan’s two young daughters. It’s believed all five were killed to hinder a drug case against Dustin Honken of Britt, who is now serving a 27-year sentence for methamphetamine trafficking.
The remains of two Iowa soldiers who’ve been listed as missing-in-action nearly six decades are finally coming home. The two Iowans were part of a World War Two commando unit known as the Marine Raiders. 19 U-S soldiers were among those captured and executed after an attack on a Japanese-held island in the South Pacific in August of 1942. A native of Makin Atoll said he helped bury the bodies long ago and recently led officials to the site. After a lengthy identification process, they’re all accounted for now. Greg Reed is assistant director of the Veterans Administration Regional Office in Des Moines. He says this brings long-awaited closure for the relatives of the dead Marines.Reed is a former Marine and is past-national commander of the Disabled American Veterans. He says the Marine Corps’ motto of “Semper Fidelis” is fitting in a case like this which has taken years of dedication and loyalty to conclude.The Latin “Semper Fidelis” means “Always Faithful” The Marines’ remains include: Corporal Harris Johnson of northwest Iowa’s Little Rock and Private Franklin Nodland of Marshalltown. The first of the 19 burials will be held next month.
After eight years as president and manager of the Sioux City Explorers baseball club, Ed Nottle has announced his resignation. Nottle is 61-years-old and says he does not want to do it full-time.Nottle says he will miss Sioux City and the Explorers organization.Nottle’s pitching coach the past two seasons, Pat Tilmon, says Nottle was a player’s manager. He says Nottle was great at running a 22-man ship and keeping it on course.Nottle spent eight years with the Explorers and was named manager of the year in the Northern League on two occasions.
Drake managed just 35-percent shooting for the game and fell to Central Michigan 73-68 last night in the Knapp Center. Andry Sola led the Bulldogs with 15-points. Lamont Evans had 12 and added six assists. Drake is now 1-3 and all three losses have gone down to the wire which Evans says adds to the frustration. Evans says despite the poor shooting, the Bulldogs still had chances to win.
A medical marvel is one of the items to go on display next month at the State Historical Building. This item made it into the list of “100 Creations of the 20th Century.”The longest-serving U-S President contracted it, and earlier this century thousands lived in fear that they would get polio, too. While Franklin Roosevelt lost most use of his legs, others who contracted the disease had to be entombed in a huge iron lung acting as a mechanical respirator. Jack Lufkin, curator of a new exhibit at the State Historical Building, will put an iron lung on display next month.Lufkin came up with the list of “A Few of Our Favorite Things” which make up the new exhibit, and he says polio vaccine should definitely be part of it because the vaccine really changed the world when it was invented in 1955.Iowa had some of the highest per capita polio rates in the United States right before its invention.
The Iowa Farm Bureau wraps up its 82nd annual meeting today in Des Moines. Bureau President Ed Wiederstein says one of the issues discussed was the proposed Smithfield Foods merger with I-B-P. The president of Smithfield addressed convention delegates. Wiederstein says delegates are still skeptical that the merger won’t hurt their profits.Wiederstein says they also discussed StarLink corn and the use of genetically modified crops.He believes the efforts made to certify the corn for export to Japan are proving successful. But, he says he’s not sure they can come up with a perfect system.Wiederstein says there was surprisingly little discussion as delegates put together some changes for the farm bill. He says there are just a few suggestions for change.The Iowa Farm Bureau annual meeting wraps up today at the Polk County Convention Complex.
A University of Iowa survey of hundreds of school nurses nationwide finds nearly half of them admit making mistakes when giving medicine to children. Dr. Ann Marie McCarthy, a U-of-I Nursing Professor, says the term “mistake” was used to refer to things like skipping a child’s dose.A missed dose was most common but other mistakes include double doses, giving students the wrong medication or giving them “meds” without authorization. Dr. McCarthy says only about a quarter of school nurses actually dispense the medication themselves.The other three-quarters have to rely on teachers, other students, health aides or secretaries to administer meds. The survey found errors were more than three times more likely to occur with the use of assistants. The survey covered nearly every state in the U-S and about one thousand school nurses chosen at random. The National Association of School Nurses recommends one licensed nurse oversee no more than 750 children. The U-of-I survey found one nurse often is responsible for up to 14-hundred kids. The study is being published in this month’s issue of the Journal of School Health.
Innovators who hope to better our lives through biotechnology are meeting in Des Moines. Tom Ranken is the symposium’s keynote speaker. He’s past-director of the Seattle, Washington-based Biotech Trade Association and is now heading up a company focused on “bio-informatics.”That’s the intersection of the knowledge created in biology by D-N-A, human genomes and similar research with the tools to interpret the data, be it software or statistical analysis. Ranken says there is a wealth of data being generated by genetic research which must be properly organized and managed so it can lead to new discoveries. He says he’s enthused about the future of life sciences, and that they are beginning to understand the process of what makes life work in a whole new way. *While Iowa seeks to diversify itself in industries that have little or nothing to do with agriculture, Ranken says Iowa’s traditional mainstay of food production holds many new promises through advances in biotechnology.Ranken describes the recent troubles with genetically-modified StarLink corn as “a bump in the road.” The conference runs through tomorrow at the Des Moines Marriott.