About 500 students from across Iowa will gather in Des Moines on Wednesday for what they’re calling Kick Butts Day, that’s as in cigarette butts. Leanna Brady is organizing the seventh annual event through the Iowa office of the American Lung Association.A former model for Winston cigarettes will talk with the kids about the tobacco industry from behind the scenes. Brady says they’ll also learn about the legislative process and will have the chance to act on the lessons they learn.Brady says health care expenses due to smoking cost the taxpayers of Iowa 617-million dollars a year.
Archives for March 2002
Iowans who like watching activity at their backyard birdfeeders or hiking through the woods are being recruited to take notes on what types of creatures they see. It’s part of a program called NatureMapping Iowa, through the Iowa State University Wildlife Extension.Jerry Keys, environmental education coordinator for the Story County Conservation Board, says whether you see blue jays or squirrels, you catalog whatever wildlife you see and enter it into a database on a website. Officials will take the information and enter it onto a habitat map that details where the various species can be found in Iowa.Keys says more than 300 Iowans are already enrolled in NatureMapping who’ve filed more than nine thousand species reports. He hopes more people will sign on to protect and enhance the various populations of the state’s wildlife.Ten NatureMapping workshops are being held to train Iowans this year. The next one is slated for April 13th at Swan Lake State Park in Carroll County. Another is scheduled for May 4th at McFarland Park in Story County. For more information, surf to “www.extension.iastate.edu/naturemapping” or call (515) 294-6440.
Two Iowans are ready for college basketball’s biggest showcase this weekend. Sioux City native Kirk Hinrich and Iowa Falls native Nick Collison will lead Kansas into the Final Four in Atlanta. The Jayhawks will play Maryland in one of Saturday’s semifinals and Collison says KU will have its hands full against Maryland’s frontline. Collison would love to get another shot at Oklahoma in Monday night’s championship game. He says it’s good to see Big 12 schools in this position.The Sooners beat the Jayhawks in the Big-12 tournament title game.
It’s been an exceptional few days for Diana Reed. The Norwalk 18-year-old has been named next fall’s “Golden Girl” at the University of Iowa, while last weekend, she was crowned Iowa’s Junior Miss in Ottumwa. Reed will represent the state at the America’s Junior Miss National Finals in June, which she says will be a great challenge — and an opportunity.Reed is a senior at Norwalk High School. She thinks her community involvement efforts helped her win the Iowa’s Junior Miss title and the 28-hundred dollars in college scholarships.Reed’s talent is baton twirling. As the Golden Girl, she’ll be spinning and strutting in front of tens of thousands of Hawkeye football fans this fall as the most visible member of the band and cheering squad.The America’s Junior Miss National Finals are being held in Mobile, Alabama, this year and will be carried live on PAX-TV on June 28th.
Iowa nurses are joining in the call for Congressional action on a package that’d provide federal loans and scholarships for nursing students. Iowa Nursing Association president LaVone Sopher of Sioux City says it’s critical for recruiting new nurses.Sopher says over three thousand nurses will reach retirement age in two years. Iowa’s older population increases the demand for nurses as they need more care. Sopher says Iowa’s nursing shortage is widespread across the state, in urban and rural areas.A November 2000 survey found Iowa hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities had 26-hundred nursing vacancies.
Iowans who adopt children from overseas will face fewer legal hurdles. Iowa has been the only state in the nation that requires parents who’ve obtained a legal adoption overseas to again go through all the legal hoops of an adoption here, but no more. Governor Tom Vilsack has signed a bill into law that recognizes international adoptions. Iowa parents who adopted a child overseas faced up to three thousand dollars in additional expenses to obtain a legal adoption in Iowa. There are federal rules that govern international adoptions and Iowa now joins the other 49 states that have been recognizing adoptions legalized in other countries.
Alliant Energy will ask for an electricity rate increase from the Iowa Utilities Board. Company spokesman John Ruff says it has been seven-to-15 years since Iowa customers have seen a rate hike.Ruff says the rate increase will help pay for investments in utility poles, wires and generating plants. He says the rate increase will be a relatively small one.Alliant has 464-thousand electric customers in Iowa. The proposed increase would average nine-point-six percent, and Ruff says it will cost customers an average of eight dollars a month.
Hundreds of horseback riders are galloping today from across Iowa to Camp Sunnyside near Des Moines. The 35th annual Pony Express Ride to benefit the Easter Seals camp is underway. Steve Bromm, spokesman for the Easter Seals Society, says the riders, with their donations, will be arriving at the camp Saturday afternoon for a variety of festivities, including entertainment and food. He says the big event is Saturday afternoon when all the riders parade into the camp.The amount of money collected will be announced Saturday night at the Victory Party at the Val-Air Ballroom in Des Moines. Last year, more than 306-thousand dollars was raised for the charity through the statewide ride.
Two lawmakers who were key in putting together the legislature’s livestock regulation bill say Iowa farmers would be wise to let the new regulations pass. More than 200 members of the Iowa Farm Bureau recently went to the statehouse to lobby against the bill. Republican Jerry Behn is chair of the Senate Ag Committee. He says changes in the makeup of the legislature next year brought on by re-districting could lead to even tougher regulations. The Boone farmer is one of twelve lawmakers who put together the new regulations. Behn says the chances of passing a bill that’s balanced are better this year. Democratic representative Bill Witt of Cedar Falls says these regulations will save the pork industry in the long run. Witt says the state has to restore public confidence in the industry by addressing some of the social issues involved. Witt says it’ll be hard to get a consensus on the bill next year. Behn and Witt made their comments during taping of the Iowa Public T-V program “Iowa Press.” The livestock regulation bill could come up for debate in the Senate next week.
Federal agents report a drug bust in Iowa’s capitol city that set a new record for confiscated cash.The Iowa Highway Patrol’s been crowing this year about several large cash seizures but now the U-S Drug Enforcement Administration holds the new title for most money ever seized in an Iowa drug sting. D-E-A agents say the small home they raided in Des Moines last week contained one-point-three MILLION dollars in cash. Some of it was buried in the basement, stashed in a heating duct, hidden in a toolbox, even crammed into blue jeans. Agents also found ten pounds of methamphetamine in the west-side house. Four suspects are in custody, all immigrants from El Salvador.