Loras has a half-game lead in the standings as the Iowa Conference baseball race heads into the final week. The Duhawks are 10-4 but just two games in the loss column separate sixth from first. Loras coach Carl Tebon says this is the time of year where you want to be in position to win the whole thing. The top six advance to the conference tournament and Tebon says nearly every spot is up for grabs. He says they won’t know the pairings until Saturday afternoon, and then he says they may have to go to the tiebreakers. Tebon says a consistent effort is the key during the stretch run.Loras will earn the title if they get it. The Duhawks host six-time defending champion Wartburg on Thursday
Archives for April 2003
Cedar Rapids Washington High School has tabbed a former player to become the school’s new boys basketball coach. Rick Williams, who played on the Warrior’s championship team in 1969 and later for Iowa, will take over. Williams also has coached at Cedar Rapids Jefferson, and took four teams to the state tournament.
There was a show of force at the statehouse today as mayors, firefighters and police chiefs spoke out against a 70-million dollar cut in state aid to cities and counties. The cut was approved by the House and Senate last week, and the group is calling on Governor Tom Vilsack to use his item veto power to reject it. Fort Madison Mayor Joe Kowzan says city services will be shut down and city workers will lose their jobs.Kowzan says the cuts will be painful, and will harm the “quality of life” in Iowa. Clinton Mayor LaMetta Wynn says lawmakers who voted for the cut will experience a backlash.Wynn says she sometimes believes those lawmakers force they’re going back home to face re-election. Newton Mayor David Aldridge says legislators are trying to balance the state budget on the backs of cities and counties. Aldridge says cities have already cut the fat out fo their budget, and will be forced to cut vital services. Keokuk Fire Chief Mark Wessel, president of the Iowa Professional Fire Chiefs Association, says layoffs will compromise the safety of fire fighters.Newton Police Chief Tom Wardlow, president of the Iowa Police Executive Forum, says the cuts will put police operations in critical condition. Wardlow says cities will be forced to layoff police at the same time the public is demanding more drug arrests and homeland security measures. Clinton Fire Chief Mark Regenweather says he’ll have to layoff up to 10 fire fighters and close one fire station. Regenweather says his department is as lean as it can get, and he predicts a higher loss of life and property in his community if the Governor approves the cuts. Last Friday, Vilsack indicated he would approve the cut because he said the alternative would be to cut the state budget across the board and that would affect schools, which he says he won’t abide. Clinton Police Chief Brian Guy calls the cuts the state’s version of “shock and awe” and questions the Governor’s priorities. Guy says local schools are well taken care of, but public safety is not and that’s where the focus should be.
University of Iowa researchers are working to turn one of the world’s most deadly viral diseases into a vehicle to help cure people who suffer from the lung disease cystic fibrosis. In a study being published next month, U-of-I pediatrics fellow Dr. Patrick Sinn says the evil ebola virus is being dismantled and used for good. Dr. Sinn, the paper’s lead author, says a small bit of the ebola virus is being used in a hybrid with a type of medicine that will make use of the resourcefullness of ebola to penetrate the damaged lung cells, which normally put up a strong defense.Ebola kills between 50 and 90-percent of those who contract it. It spreads through bodily fluids and attacks internal organs, causing bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Victims usually die within two weeks of contracting the disease. Sinn says ebola kills quickly because it can move so rapidly through the body and U-of-I researchers are learning to harness that power for healing.The findings will appear in issue the May 10 issue of the Journal of Virology.
A conference beginning tomorrow in Des Moines will involve a lot of clowning around, but the performers will be sharing very serious messages. The first-ever Mid-America Characterization Conference centers on the ways fire and police officers get across safety messages using clowning, puppetry, magic and performance. Spokeswoman Pam Moody herself plays “Sparky” for the Des Moines fire department. With all the games and other things competing for kids’ attention today, she says you have to do something different “to get through to them,” and adds the officers enjoy doing it this way, too. Safety characters aren’t just for kids, either — Moody says the instructors also have a series of safety programs they give for the elderly in their lunch sites and residential communities. It helps with public awareness and in schools or libraries because the public will pay more attention than if they’re just giving a speech. They use the arts of puppetry, clowning, ventriloquism, magic and comedy, and different trainers prefer to use different methods like clown makeup, “name” puppets like McGruff the Crime Dog. She laughs that it’ll probably be the “funnest” educational-type conference anyone will ever attend. The public’s welcome to six P-M shows they’ll put on Friday and Saturday evenings at six, in the Airport Holiday Inn and Conference Center in Des Moines.
Each year state newborn-screening programs test four-million babies across the nation for disorders that could cause illness or even death. A report ordered by Congress from the General Acccounting Office finds that of dozens of tests available, only a handful are mandated by states for newborn babies. Tonya Diehn in the state public-health department says Iowa’s a leader in that testing.The screening’s done sometime within 24 hours to 5 days after the baby’s born, and they poke the heel and collect a couple drops of blood on a paper “form” and screen it for treatable disorders. If the tests signal such disorders, they are first reconfirmed and then counselors explain the metabolic problem to the baby’s parents and talk about what can be done to deal with it — often special diets or medication. In Iowa, she says we screen for 76 disorders routinely but the state’s doing a pilot in which it also tests the babies’ blood for up to 30 additional disorders. The high-tech test uses the same blood sample — just five drops — that they’ve already taken. Diehn admits it would cost more to do all 37 tests on newborns, and some of the conditions are very rare. But the savings up front to diagnose it before symptoms appear can spare a child severe mental retardation or even death, so that child’s family will save hundreds of thousands of dollars or more within the baby’s lifetime. South Dakota requires only three tests, Iowa’s highest in the region with seven mandated now, and Diehn says as more states get the testing equipment they’re likely to add newborn screening for more disorders in the future. Metabolic disorders like P-K-U or sickle-cell disease cannot be cured, but with treatment a child can live a good life.
One of the men who received chemical burns in an anhydrous ammonia accident mid-month has died. 68-year-old Robert Ryan of De Witt died Monday at University Hospitals in Iowa City after a tank he and another worker were filling burst on April 15th at the River Valley Co-op near Calamus. A welded seam apparently failed. 23-year-old Nathan Nissen of Welton was also burned in the incident which is under investigation by state and federal authorities.
With the heavy rain overnight and this morning, many areas of the state may actually come out having a normal month for rainfall, according to state climatologist Harry Hillaker.April will likely end up with about three-and-one-quarter inches of rain for a statewide average, which is very close to normal. Hillaker says it’d be the first “normal” month Iowa’s had for precipitation since October. Some western parts of the state got too much of a good thing. Hillaker says the Little Sioux area of Harrison County got more than four inches of rain overnight. That’s a lot of rain and Hillaker says the concern is soil erosion as there’s no crop canopy to protect the ground now. Parts of central Iowa got hail overnight and this morning, with some stones measuring up to one-inch in diameter.
A new state law eliminates some of the paperwork for Iowans who want to enter one medical specialty. Iowa’s rural areas, in particular, are growing more dependent on physician’s assistants for medical care. Governor Vilsack has signed into law a new licensing process for P-As. Under the old law, physician’s assistants had to get credentials from two state boards before they could practice. The new law allows them to simply apply to the newly-independent Physician’s Assistant Licensing Board. P-As generally take two years of medical training and they are able to issue prescriptions under certain conditions.
Iowa Congressman Jim Leach says the United States should adopt a policy of negotiation rather than confrontation with North Korea in attempting to find a solution to that country’s push to become a nuclear power. Leach says there’s no part of the world that understands the rest of the world less well than North Korea, and there’s no country in the world that the country understands less well than we do North Korea. Leach, a republican, says North Korea is one of the last Stalinist regimes and practices isolation. He says their leadership doesn’t watch CNN every day like the Iraqis did and he says they have no desire to give up their nuclear weapons for a stronger economy. While U.S. troops haven’t found many weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he says we’ll keep searching.He says there doesn’t seem to be as many weapons as suspected, but he says they have come across some. Leach says his bigger concern is the potential for biological weapons. He says biological weapons are substantially more dangerous than chemical weapons and possibly more dangerous than nuclear ones.