Des Moines-based “AccessAir” is grounded, for good. The second incarnation of “AccessAir” shut down yesterday. The start-up airline’s principle backer, John Ruan III, said he was “deeply disappointed” but low passenger loads and lack of money doomed the business. Ruan said the airline’s 7-37s were too big and too expensive to maintain.AccessAir’s assets will be sold to pay its debts.Over four thousand passengers have tickets for AccessAir flights that were supposed to take off in the next 50 days. AccessAir’s managers say ticket-holders should contact their credit card company and cancel payment. Just under 10 percent of passengers paid for those unused AccessAir tickets with cash or a check, though, and they will have to file a claim with the bankruptcy court. AccessAir’s assets will be sold to pay its debts.
Archives for February 2001
The Iowa State Cyclones look to clinch a share of the Big-12 Conference title at home tonight against Texas Tech. There have been many keys to Iowa State’s success this season and coach Larry Eustachy says one of the biggest has been the play of senior forward Martin Rancik. After battling a number of injuries during his college career, Rancik is having a banner season.While much of the talk these days is about seeding in the N-C-A-A tournament, Eustachy says the Cyclones are focused on the task at hand, winning the conference.Texas Tech is 3-11 in conference play after a Monday night loss to Oklahoma State. Tech coach James Dickey says the Cyclones have the top guard court in the conference.Dickey is not surprised Iowa State has come off last year’s championship run with another great season.
Des Moines police have released the names but few details about two men found dead Monday in a home on the southwest side of the Capitol City.Sergeant Bruce Elrod is a spokesman for Des Moines cops says Forty-year-old Jeffery Johnson lived in the house where he and 38-year-old Steven Jenkins were found dead. Elrod says the men had been dead 24 hours or more.Both men died of gunshot wounds. Elrod says both of the dead men had police records. One had been linked to drug activity.Cops haven’t established a motive yet. Elrod says it wasn’t a random crime, though, so neighbors don’t need to worry something else might happen.It appears one of the men was the target of the killer.The two men did work together as carpenters, but Elrod doesn’t believe they worked for any particular company. Elrod says cops did not find a weapon in the house.
Republicans at the statehouse have temporarily backed off plans to cut 40-million dollars in this year’s state budget. Senators were set to debate the package yesterday, but tabled it. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says Republicans want to meet with democrat Governor Tom Vilsack to, perhaps, come up with a compromise.Iverson, though, says it’s “more likely than not” that Republicans will send their budget cutting plan to Vilsack. He says he doesn’t have cold feet at all.Democrats staged a daylong public hearing Monday to criticize the proposed cuts. Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says democrats are glad the bill’s on hold. He says they were concerned on its focus of “cutting education first.”Vilsack’s top managers said many of the proposed cuts would end up costing the state more money. A proposed million-dollar cut to the state highway patrol would lay-off about a hundred troopers — and the state would lose about a million dollars worth of revenue from the tickets those troopers would write in April, May, June and July.
The Iowa Commission on the Status of African Americans is seeking participants for its upcoming annual conference. Commission Director Travena Potter-Hall says the theme of this year’s two-day conference is “Black Families in Crisis.”She says the goal of the event is to empower African-Americans to do positive things in their communities to solve some of the extraordinary social problems in Iowa. She says blacks are a minority dealing with a big burden. Although black Iowans make up only two percent of the state’s population, they make up 25 percent of the state’s prison population. She says infant mortality rates among blacks are three times the rates of whites.Potter-Hall wants all African-Americans to try to attend the conference.Potter-Hall says they try to reach those across the spectrum from the wealthy to the poor. The conference, though, is not limited to African-Americans.The conference is March 9th and 10th. To register, call toll-free at: 800-351-4659.
Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle, now chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee, says President Bush’s tax cut should be enacted. He says it is very responsible and very doable.Bush addressed Congress last night, outlining his tax and budget priorities.Bush wants a one-point-six trillion-dollar tax cut.Democrats argue the plan will benefit the rich, and shift more of the tax burden on middle-income Americans. Nussle, a republican from Manchester, says democrats are pitting neighbor against neighbor. He says there will be people who continue to dwell on the “class warfare,” but he says that’s grown stale.Iowa’s democrat Senator Tom Harkin says Bush’s budget plan falls short because it doesn’t deal with the challenges the nation faces. He says the budget will make it hard to meet obligations to education and saving Social Security and Medicare.”Harkin says Bush’s tax and budget plans will create the same economic woes wrought by the Reagan tax cut of 1981.Nussle and Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, now chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, were among a group of lawmakers who went to the White House yesterday afternoon for a pre-speech meeting with Bush. In written remarks, Grassley compared the President’s budget to “quality Iowa beef…lean where it should be and fat just where it counts.”
Drake guard Luke McDonald has been named the Missouri Valley Conference freshman of the year. The Lubbock, Texas, native leads the Bulldogs in scoring at over 14-and-a-half points per game and he set a Valley single season record for three pointers by a freshman with 83. McDonald says the key for him was adjusting to the speed of the college game.McDonald has averaged just over 21-points in his last six games. He says his confidence grew as the season progressed.Drake coach Kurt Kanaskie says McDonald has looked like anything but a freshman after being thrust into the tough spot of leading the team.Kanaskie says McDonald has handled the success and the attention very well.
Conference tournaments can be looked upon as new seasons and that is the way Northern Iowa is approaching Friday night’s Missouri Valley Conference tournament opening round game against Drake. The Panthers wrapped up a disappointing regular season with a three and 15 conference record and stand six and 23 overall. U-N-I coach Sam Weaver says the little things have cost the Panthers and points to their 7 of 13 night at the foul line in Monday’s six-point loss at Evansville.
A family from Missouri’s traveling from state to state, accusing child welfare agencies of being too quick to take a kid away from his or her parents. Cheryl Barnes, the national director of Child Protective Services Watch, got involved after one of her children was taken away by state officials. Barnes, who is from Branson, Missouri, says it took 22 months to get her son back. She says Iowa’s child welfare system isn’t much better than Missouri’s. After the death of Spirit Lake toddler Shelby Duis and the severe abuse of an Oskaloosa child, the Iowa Department of Human Services was criticized for not removing those children from abusive homes. Barnes says social workers are not trained well enough to make judgements.Barnes says data from 1996, ’97 and ’98 shows Iowa social workers are more inclined to remove a kid from a home and ask questions later. Barnes met this afternoon with about two dozen Iowa parents who say state officials took their children away from them, for no good cause. Barnes will travel to Jefferson City, Missouri, for a similar rally at the state capitol on Friday. Barnes, her husband, and their nine children have traveled to 21 other state capitols since January 2nd and intend to visit all 48 contiguous states by mid-April to make their case.
A bill to allow Iowa schools to start up to 14 days before Labor Day cleared the Iowa House. Under present law, schools are to start the academic year after Labor Day, unless they get a waiver. Representative Cecil Dolecheck, a republican from Mount Ayr, says only 20 to 30 of Iowa’s 374 school districts were starting after Labor Day. The rest applied and got the waiver to start earlier. The bill has opponents. Dolecheck says tourist groups are not happy with the bill. The bill cleared the House yesterday and will now be considered by the Senate.