The U-S Department of Agriculture took action this week to assure consumers the food supply is safe, saying “downer” animals will no longer be accepted at meatpacking plants in the U-S. Iowa State University Extension Market News Director Doug Cooper doesn’t see it making a big difference in the industry. He says you have to differentiate between an animal that’s sick and one that’s down for some other reason like a leg injury. Cooper says farmers don’t want to send sick animals to the meat supply and adds there already were probably enough rules to avoid that type of thing. Cooper says scientists “in the know” have told consumers there’s little or no risk, so it’s more a problem for the industry than any threat to public health. While the Chicago Mercantile Exchange limits how much any commodity can go up or down in price to avoid a panic upsetting the market, Cooper says the CME made a good move in expanding those limits. If the limits had stayed at the original $1.50 up or down in price, he says you’d have seen the limit-down trading go on for more days in a row, leaving uncertainty, so by letting the market go as low as it’s going to, then it can stabilize. He says the steady business continuing on the exchange proves the move was the right thing to do. While trading is light over the winter holidays, work’s continuing to determine whether the cow in question came from Canada. They’re trading today, though prices are lower, and Cooper says it’s a good sign that both sellers and buyers are active in the market. While some importers of American beef immediately declared they’d quit buying, Cooper says it’s not a disaster for producers here. Only 10-percent of US beef is exported, a big difference from Canada which exports more than 50-percent of its beef, and Cooper jokes it just means we have to eat more beef here. Cooper says even if researchers confirm the cow was not raised in the U-S, it’ll still take a while to reassure our international trading partners that American beef is compeltely safe.
Archives for December 2003
One of the newly-elected leaders of the Meskwaki Settlement spoke to reporters this morning as the tribe’s casino prepared to re-open. Wayne Pushetonequa, one of the newly-elected council members of the Sac and Fox tribe of the Mississippi, calls this a day of celebration, a new beginning for the tribe, and a time to rebuild. Homer Bear, Junior is the leader of a group of candidates who fought to recall the tribe’s former leaders and hold an election this year that would be recognized by all sides and sanctioned by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. That federal recognition just weeks ago cleared the way for the National Indian Gaming Commission to approve the re-opening of the casino, closed during the sometimes vicious battle over tribal leadership last spring. Pushetonequa says the tribe’s gone through a difficult time, but is committed to closing this chapter in its history and moving forward. While the tribe’s hotel and restaurant remained open the past seven months, the closing of the $100 million-a-year casino threw 1300 people out of work in Tama County.
The Iowa Hawkeyes bid for their first January Bowl victory since 1959 when they play Florida in the Outback Bowl in Tampa. The Hawkeyes rode a stingy defense and outstanding special teams to a 9-3 regular season record and the defense will be tested by a Gator offense led by true freshman quarterback Chris Leak. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says his biggest attribute is his passing, but “he can certainly pull it down and run with it. He’s certainly not a stiff,” according to Ferentz. Like any game against a team from a warmer climate, the Hawks need to offset Florida’s speed advantage. Ferentz says if Iowa can grind out a ground game on offense, that would help keep the ball out of Leak’s hands, but he says that’s easier said than done. Defensive lineman Howard Hodges feels the Hawks have enough speed to keep up. “We’ve got Florida guys on this defense, guys from Texas, and Iowa guys, I mean, aren’t that slow,” Hodges says “we’ve got speed..and we should be fine as long as we execute the game plan.” Safety Bob Sanders says the Hawks have been successful with a punishing style of play and that is how they must approach the matchup with the Gators. Sanders says they want to intimidate the receivers from the start and “be physical and put some hits on ’em.” Iowa is concerned about Florida’s speed, the Gators are concerned about the matchup in the trenches. Florida center Mike DeGory says Iowa’s a classic Big Ten team, real physical up front and “have just as much speed as we do…We’re lookin’ forward to the fight.” Florida guard Lance Butler says this will be a different style than the Gators face during the regular season. Butler expects some “smash-mouth” football from Iowa, and he says it’ll be fun to play against a different type of team compared to conference foes like Florida State and Miami. This will be the final game for a number of seniors including quarterback Nathan Chandler, who looks to end his only season as the starter with a victory. “Every young kid dreams of growing up and getting to play on a team like this,” Chandler says. “I’m excited about this opportunity and thankful for what I’ve been able to do so far.” Kickoff tomorrow in James Raymond Stadium is ten o’clock, Iowa time.
The UNI Panthers won their fourth consecutive game with an 82-70 cruise past Siena, their first game after a 10-day holiday layoff. Siena jumped out to score the first five points of the game, but Northern Iowa sank three consecutive three pointers to grab the lead for good. UNI went on a scoring binge at the end of the first half — scoring 10 points to Siena’s 1 during the final four minutes — to lead 42-26 at the break. UNI pulled ahead by 25 points early in the second half. Four Panthers scored in double figures. UNI is now 6-3.
A late flurry by sophomore guard Jeff Horner allowed the Iowa Hawkeyes to avoid an upset at the hands of Eastern Illinois. Horner’s free throw with just over two and a half minutes remaining snapped a 60-all tie and 30 seconds later, he buried a three pointer from the left wing as the Hawkeyes claimed a 71-62 win in Iowa City. Iowa coach Steve Alford says it wasn’t his team’s best game, but “the guys really played hard, they gave good effort — it wasn’t always intelligent effort.” Alford says given some of the other results from Tuesday night (Michigan and Missouri were each upset), he’s just happy to get the win. Alford held three Hawkeyes out, Eric Hansen, Nick Dewitz and Mike Henderson, amid questions saurrondeing their academic status for the second semester. Alford says he’s “not pleased with what they’ve done through the first semester” and he held them out of the game to show them he’s not happy with their effort. Alford says none, at this point, is technically ineligible due to grades, but they have failed to live up to the “locker room standard” Alford says he’s established. Iowa returns to action Saturday at Missouri.
What are they doing New Year’s Eve? Two of the democratic presidential candidates are campaigning in Iowa. North Carolina Senator John Edwards campaigned this morning in eastern Iowa, wrapping up a three-day swing through the state. Edwards will spend 14 days campaigning in Iowa in January — nearly every day before the January 19th Caucuses. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry’s been here this week, too, talking farm policy and fending off a flurry of attacks from Howard Dean’s campaign about votes Kerry took in the Senate. Dean’s camp says Kerry voted against the interests of Iowa farmers in several instances. Kerry counters that Dean’s got it wrong and cited several of his votes to prove his point. Meanwhile, Howard Dean — the former Vermont Governor — was lambasted by Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt for claiming to be the only candidate in the race who’s from a farm state. The only candidate who’ll be in this farm state tonight is John Kerry, who plans meet up with his wife at a party in Sioux City.
Country music legend Willie Nelson has written a campaign song for the Democratic presidential candidate he’s endorsed. Nelson has penned the lyrics and music of a song for 2004 candidate Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio Congressman. The song will be performed for the first time on Saturday at a fundraising concert in Austin, Texas. It’s titled “What Ever Happened to Peace on Earth” and starts with references to “Babies dying, Mothers crying, How much oil is one human life worth and what ever happened to peace on earth.” The song criticizes Bush Administration policies without mentioning the President by name and quotes one of the Biblical “10 Commandments” — “thou shall not kill.” Nelson refers to the American public as a “bewildered herd” that still believes “everything we’ve been told.” Nelson criticizes the media, too, saying the song won’t be heard on television or radio. Kucinich aides say the song’s not recorded yet, so Radio Iowa can’t play it for you today. Other performers like Bonnie Raitt, Michael McDonald and Michelle Shocked will appear with Nelson at Saturday’s Kucinich fundraiser in Austin, and it’ll be broadcast live on the Kucinich campaign website, www.kucinich.us.
There’s a new presidential candidate, but his backers have their tongues planted firmly in their cheek. And “Planted” is a very apt word for the campaign of “Chris P. Carrot.” Joe Haptas with PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — calls himself Chris Carrot’s campaign manager.Chris P. Carrot is a 7-foot orange mascot for PETA who, Haptas says, wants to be the next president, a carrot “with vision for America.” He says the candidate wants animals and humans to be free of exploitation, and we should think about how animals are treated. The campaign’s described as “not garden variety,” and Haptas says it’s publicizing the candidate with advertising and appearances. He says all kinds of things are planned, even campaign songs you can hear at the website www.carrot2004.com, and they’ve purchased billboard ads in Iowa and New Hampshire. Haptas says the carrot candidate will be “all over” Iowa in the next couple weeks and plans to follow the better-known candidates around. The campaign includes a VICE-presidential candidate, too. The running mate is Colonel Corn, who he describes as being “all ears.”
A ceremony at ten this (Wednesday) morning salutes about 20 Iowa National Guard soldiers in a highly-skilled engineering team being called to active duty. Major Greg Hapgood says they’re firefighters and paramedics who work in emergency services in their civilian life. Those skills will be used in their support of the U-S military abroad. Hapgood says it’s “somewhat unclear” where the mobilized troops will be assigned. That kind of information, he says, is “held closely” so it doesn’t jeopardize missions, but it looks likely they’ll travel to the Persian Gulf region to serve. The major admits this is the kind of deployment that leaves a big gap back home in the communities that will be missing these firefighters and EMT’s. Hapgood says five soldiers from this unit work at the Des Moines fire department, and he says their skills are critical at home as well as with the Guard. As professionals, he says they’ll do their best whether here at home or “somewhere across the water.” Hapgood says there’s no sign military activations will slow down following the capture of Saddam Hussein. In the next five days alone, the Iowa National Guard has three sendoffs scheduled for about 100 soldiers in all. He adds 450 members of another unit are currently on alert, and though they’ve had no formal mobilization orders, that could come in the spring. Two send-off ceremonies will be held at Camp Dodge on Saturday.
The University of Iowa is one of the sites for a national study of the effectiveness of this year’s batch of flu vaccine. Dr. Gregory Gray, a University of Iowa professor who will be one of the investigators on the study, says the circulating strains of the flu this season are very different than the strains that are in the vaccine, and they’re concerned about the mismatch. College students are a good study group because they travel nationwide over the holiday break and then come back to a concentrated area on or near campus. But Dr. Gray says that’s not the primary reason Iowa students were selected. He says they were chosen for the study because the university’s Student Health Service has good information about the health status of Iowa co-eds. About 2,000 of the 29,000 students on campus got a flu shot from the clinic. The study is for any U-of-I student, though, not just those who got a flu shot. Participants must be at least 18 and have access to the Internet. Gray’s goal is to enlist just over 4,000 students for the 16-week study. For more information, check out www.hawkeyeflustudy.net. Gray says by studying a group of students who’ve had the flu vaccine and a group of students who didn’t, researchers will be able to compare how many in each group develop influenza. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is paying for the study.