The annual event celebrating black culture in Iowa is underway today in Des Moines. Betty Andrews is coordinator of “I’ll Make Me A World in Iowa,” which is expected to gather thousands of people from across the state. She says it’s non-stop performances by African-American singers, dancers, musicians and story-tellers. There’s also artwork, historical exhibits and plenty of food. Andrews says there’ll be a mock operating room, staffed by black Iowa physicians, trying to encourage young blacks to pursue careers in the medical field. She adds, many blacks are diagnosed with diabetes which can be easily treated if found early. This year’s event features health screenings for both diabetes and bone density.The events are underway today from 10 to 6 at the State Historical Building in downtown Des Moines. Admission is free. For more information, surf to “www.worldiniowa.org” or call (515) 707-IOWA.
Archives for January 2004
It’s too late to get into this year’s Oscar competition, but Iowa filmmakers have one day left to enter the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival. Organizer Eric Freese says your entry needs to be in by Saturday to make this year’s competition. Freese says they’ve already seen entries comparable to last year.with around 30 entries at this point, and he expects a few more to be dropped off before the deadline. Freese says there are a lot of Iowans who shoot films.He says they have a student category and a master category that includes armatures and professionals. He says they get feature length films, long form documentaries, experimental films and music videos. The winners will be announced in March, and then the festival is in April. He says it’s a two-day event that will screen the films and present the awards. This is the fourth year for the festival, and Freese says last year was the first they really went after entries. He says you must have your entry in by tomorrow at midnight to be eligible for this year’s competition..
The cold weather’s likely a shock for some visiting engineers who spent two intensive days with managers of the Union Pacific Railroad this week. The UP’s John Bromley says there was little advance notice the team was coming…from Iraq. He says they’re all people with experience in railroads but Iraq’s railroads “really fell apart” under the regime of Saddam Hussein, he says, so they’re looking to get rebuilding tips and catch up with technology. Bromley says the Iraqi railroad officials got far behind on the high-tech aspects of operating a railroad today. Railroads are very heavy users of computers he says, in the administrative offices but also in diagnostic maintenance, performance monitoring and almost every aspect of the running the trains. And Bromley says it’s not just computers that help keep the trains running. They’re using more GPS global positioning satellites to tracklocation of the cars and trains, and the offices along the tracks are linked by fiber-optic cable connections and microwave telephones to the central computers — he says they know pretty much who’s in the trains and where they all are on the railroads. Half a dozen Iraqi engineers spent two intensive days with the railroad’s management learning how they can rebuild their country’s ruined transportation routes. Friday they wrapped up their visit with a trip to the Union Pacific railroad museum in Council Bluffs.
If you need something to take your mind off the cold temperatures, the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation says you should think of the balmy August fair days. Spokesperson Estee Walter says while you’re thinking of the fair you can help out with when you file your state taxes. She says you can go to the contributions section and make a donation in what’s know as the “Corn Dog Tax Checkoff.” The corn dog name is the unofficial moniker of the check-off.She says the checkoff started in 1993, and they linked it with the corn dog in their marketing campaign, because so many people associate the fair with corn dogs. The amount of the gift given will be added to what is owed in state tax or deducted from the amount to be refunded. The funds go toward improving the fairgrounds. She says one of the major things they’re doing is upgrading the 4-H building with a new roof and airconditioning. She says they’re also getting ready for the opening of the State Fair Museum. Walter says the corn dog check-off isn’t the only way you can contribute to the Foundation. She says they have alot of different giving programs, and they have many volunteer programs in which you give your time. She says the check-off has generated over one million dollars in its history and the foundation has raised over fifty four million dollars in its eleven years of existence. For more information, visit www:blueribbonfoundation.org.
The Science Center of Iowa is opening a new exhibit today that aims to shed a little light on the subject of darkness. Center spokeswoman Sally Dix says the interactive display called “In the Dark” illuminates many mysterious places on our planet. Dix says the exhibit explores various ecosystems from the ocean floor to the Sonoran desert. She says science center adventurers can learn how snakes use their heat-sensing ability to catch prey or respond to a firefly’s flashing signals in the section called “Darkness of Night.” Kids can act like bats and throw out sonar signals, seeing how a bat finds its food in the dark. Another segment allows kids to take a closer look at the hidden world beneath their feet. There’s a cross section of a back yard where kids can learn what’s happening below the ground in a back yard. This is the second new exhibit to open at the Des Moines center in the past month, encompassing ten-thousand square feet of space. For more information, visit the Science Center of Iowa website at “www.sciowa.org”.
Not everyone in the state is wishing for temperatures in the 70s and no snow. Thousands of people are converging on the Iowa Great Lakes for the 29th Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games. Warm temperatures in past years have melted some of the fun, but Nicki Nicholas of the Iowa Great Lakes Chamber says dozens of activities are going on today on West Lake Okoboji, and she says they’re not disappointed to see cooler temperatures. She says they’re especially excited because of the snow. She say they have a softball tournament, snowmobiling, and a track out on the lake ice for four-wheelers and motorcycles. Nicholas them in other events include broomball, flag football, the “Freeze Your Fanny” bike ride, kids kite fly, hockey scrimmage, ice bowling and mini golf. You can even jump into the chilly waters. She says they challenge everyone to hit the hot tub, and then take the polar bear plunge into the chili water. The Okoboji Under Water Search and Rescue team will be on hand and she says they’ll be putting on a demo where they save someone who has fallen through the ice. For those who don’t like to play out in the cold, there’s an event called the Chocolate Classic going on at the Lakes Art Center Saturday afternoon. Nicholas says professional and amateur bakers and chefs will be bringing their chocolate treats for about 700 people to taste. The Winter Games Extravaganza on Saturday night at Arnolds Park draws the largest crowds. They light a bonfire of donated Christmas trees and she says the “flames reach amazing heights in the air”. They also have fireworks over the ice. The events all wind down around 5 P.M. Sunday just in time for the Super Bowl. For a complete list of activities at the Winter Games activities you can log on to–www.okoboji.com
A 22-year-old volunteer fire fighter who saved a family of six from their burning home has received the state’s highest distinction for heroism. Rusty Shore of Albion was off-duty last January 24th when he noticed a house outside of Albion on fire. Cindy Shattuck was inside that burning home. Shattuck says Shore broke through the kitchen door and told the family’s oldest son who was there to get out. Then, Shore went into the living room and roused Cindy, the mother of the house, who was sleeping on the couch. By that time, the porch was full of smoke. Shattuck says Shore made five different trips into the burning homes to get all the family members out. Shattuck is sure that if it weren’t for Shore, the family would have slept through the fire and perished. Shattuck says that’s why she thanks God for Rusty’s intervention, which may have been guided, she thinks, by a divine hand. Shattuck says Shore has a “heart of gold” and is “a good boy” who’s proven he’s a hero. Shore joined the Albion fire department when he was 18 and had trained monthly in fire rescue techniques. Shore says he didn’t hesitate for a second once he saw the house on fire. The Governor pinned a medal on Shore during a ceremony at the statehouse Friday afternoon. Shore’s taking classes at Marshalltown Community College. Shore says his main goal is to become a highway patrolman. The “Sullivan Brothers Award of Valor” Shore was presented used to be called the Governor’s Award of Valor, and it recognizes police and fire fighters who do something above and beyond the normal call of duty. Governor Tom Vilsack says Shore risked his life to save others.Vilsack says the five Sullivan brothers of Waterloo asked to serve together on the same ship during World War II, and died together when their ship went down in the Pacific. Vilsack says he renamed the Award of Valor in honor of the brothers to “make sure there was a connection to the tradition that Iowans have of putting service above self.” Vilsack says Shore is one of Iowa’s unsung heroes. Vilsack says young people need to understand what a real hero is as the term hero is sometimes applied to people who “can hit a baseball a mile or catch a football.” Vilsack says that’s not what real heroism is about. He says Rusty Shore is a true hero.
Buena Vista is 8-1 and leads the Iowa Conference race by a half game over Simpson. B.V. returns to action at home tonight against 6-3 Wartburg. B.V. coach Janet Berry likes the second half schedule. She says they have played one game in the second half of the conference and avenged their one loss to Loras.The won the first game with Wartburg, which she says was good because they don’t win there that often. She’s hoping the home court helps them shoot even better this time.
You have to wonder what’s next for the Iowa basketball team or, if you’re a Hawkeye fan, you may not want to know. After losing Mike Henderson and Nick Dewitz to grades, and starting center Jared Reiner to injury, back-up center Sean Sonderlieter has been excused from practice the last two days and coach Steve Alford says Sonderlieter is doubtful for Saturday’s game at home against Penn State. Alford says Sonderlieter “is battling some personal family problems right now and basketball’s got to take a back seat to that. ” Alford says he’s not at liberty to reveal the details, but he did say “basketball is out of the equasion right now.” Alford says he became aware of Sonderleiter’s situation at a meeting on Thursday. Alford says he wants to give Sonderlieter the time to deal with his problems. That leaves the Hawkeyes with just seven scholarship players. Greg Bunner (brooner) and Glen Worley will provide Iowa’s size in the starting line-up and Erek Hansen will see more playing time.Alford says the last thing the Hawks can do is feel sorry for themselves.Iowa is 3-3 in the Big Ten. 10-7 overall.
As usual on a Friday, Iowa legislators aren’t working at the statehouse today, and some democrat lawmakers are complaining there’s not much work underway when the Legislature is in session Monday through Thursday. Senate Democrat Leader Michael Gronstal of Council Bluffs says republicans are canceling committee meetings to avoid public discussion of the state’s budget mess, and what budget cuts might be ahead. Gronstal says republicans may be thinking their best approach to unpopular budget cuts will be to wait as late as possible to release the details and take a quick vote, so G-O-P lawmakers don’t get pressed by the public to change their minds. Republicans control the debate agenda, and Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says republicans are meeting privately to hammer out a budget. Iverson says democrats so far haven’t contributed much but complaints. Iverson says “it’s always easy to whine about everything.” The budget dilemma legislators face is daunting. The state will collect just about the same amount of money this year as it did last, but already-programmed spending increases mean lawmakers will have to trim 300 million dollars or spend some of the state’s cash reserve to make the budget balance.