Marshalltown native Jeff Clement is picking up a pair of awards this week. Clement was given the “Johnny Bench Award” Wednesday as the nation’s best catcher in the nation. He’s the first U-S-C catcher to win the honor. Clement hit 46 homes runs at U-S-C and led the team to the super regional finals of the NCAA tourney. Clement will also have his jersey retired at Marshalltown High School where he led them to a state championship in 2002 and set the national high school record for home runs. Clement was the third pick in this month’s Major League Baseball draft. He is trying to wrap up contract negotiations with the Seattle Mariners.
Archives for June 2005
Authorities in Dickinson County are searching for a missing boater in Big Spirit Lake. The Department of Natural Resources Kevin Baskins says a boat with three teenage boys capsized this morning east of Marble Beach. Two were rescued, the third’s still missing from the small, flat-bottomed boat that encountered high winds. Two of the boys held onto a life jacket till they were rescued by a fisherman. The third swam back to their upside-down boat, and later disappeared. Officials believe they were in the water for up to two hours. There were 2 life jackets on the boat, but officials say none of the boys was wearing one. Authorities are not releasing the names of the boys at the time. The D.N.R.’s moved its lake-patrol boat from West Lake Okoboji to Big Spirit Lake, to help with the search.
The investment group that first offered to buy Maytag for more than 2-point-one-billion dollars now says it can withdraw that offer, since the appliance maker’s been talking with other potential buyers. In May, Maytag’s board of directors approved a cash merger agreement with an investor group headed by the equity firm Ripplewood LLC. If shareholders approved, the deal would pay 14-dollars a share for Maytag stock. But on June 20, Maytag announced it’d received another proposal, from Bain Capital Partners, Blackstone Capital Partners and Haier American Trading — which would pay 16-dollars a share. Now, the Ripplewood group’s Triton Acquisition Holding Company says they have the right to pull their offer and receive a 40-million-dollar “termination fee” Maytag had agreed to. Maytag says its board had the right to hold talks with other suitors, and says it’ll try to move on the new offer as quickly as it can.
State health officials say the West Nile Virus that’s killed 10 people in Iowa the last three years has been confirmed in birds in Clarke and Linn Counties. West Nile first appeared up in Iowa in 2001 with one case in a bird. State Epidemiologist Patricia Quinlisk says the good news is West Nile here continues to follow the pattern set in other states that includes a slow start. She says that’s probably because it took time to get in the state and get going, then the second year it would hit the state hard. By the third year she says cases would drop off and by the fourth and fifth year it would drop into the background. Iowa followed that pattern with two deaths in 2002, six in 2003 and two last year. Quinlisk says the discovery of the disease in birds is a sign to be ready.She says birds typically come up positive two weeks before it shows up in humans, so she says this is like a two-week warning. While the number of human cases and deaths usually goes down after the first three years of West Nile, Quinlisk says you can’t discount the dangers of the disease. She says there are a few people, primarily the elderly, where they will get severe headaches, fevers, trouble walking or talking and end up in the hospital. “And it’s those people who have that very rare possibility of dying.” Mosquitoes carry West Nile and Quinlisk says you should always wear repellent when you’re outside. You may think all the rain recently would help increase the mosquito population and lead to more West Nile case — but Quinlisk says that’s not the case. She says the mosquitoes that carry West Nile don’t like massive amounts of rain, so big rains and flooding actually make their numbers go down. She says they like little puddles of rain, with their favorite breeding spot in old tires that have small amounts of water. Quinlisk says we see the most West Nile activity at the end of August and into September when small amounts of rain help the West Nile mosquitoes thrive. There’ve been 224 known human cases of West Nile in Iowa with the 10 deaths. Nationwide there’ve been over 25-hundred human cases of West Nile — with nearly 700 deaths.
The State Climatologist says June was warmer than normal in Iowa and the average rainfall was only slightly above normal despite a deluge of rain in some areas and near-drought in others. Harry Hillaker says not all the data’s in yet, but it looks like the average temperature in June will be about three degrees above normal.Hillaker believes June, 2005 will be one of the 15th warmest Junes on record. He predicts it’ll rank somewhere between 11th and 15th hottest. “Probably the hottest June since 1988 in the state,” Hillaker says. There’s been “wide variability” in rainfall patterns across the state in June, according to Hillaker. The statewide average for rainfall in June will be a third-of-an-inch to a half-an-inch above normal. Some areas of northwest and north central Iowa have had a lot more moisture, though. But on the other end of the state, parts of southeast and east central Iowa have been extremely dry. “Actually the fourth consecutive month they’ve been unusually dry,” Hillaker says. “In places like the Quad Cities and Burlington it’s been well below normal rainfall going back to March.” Hillaker says it’s been “pretty quiet” when it comes to severe weather like tornadoes and thunderstorms this spring.
While work is underway on four new state-licensed casinos, the Meskwaki Nation broke ground in Tama today (Thursday) to expand its Native American casino. Brand Hornburg is the contractor working on the project. He says they’re doubling the size of the hotel and more than doubling the size of the rest of the facility the includes the casino, bingo hall and restaurant. Hornburg says the new addition will give the hotel 400 rooms. He says there’ll be 15 luxury suites in the nine-story hotel, and once the addition is done, they’ll remodel the existing hotel to bring it up to the standards of the new one. Hornburg says they’re starting expansion of the gambling area this week too. The expansion includes a convention center and four new restaurants. Hornburg says they hope to have the expansion completed by the end of next year.
Several hundred more Iowans are being called to duty overseas. The Iowa Air National Guard says the 132nd Fighter Wing, based in Des Moines, has been activated as part of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The wing flies F-16 fighter jets and there are about 400 pilots, mechanics and ground support crew which the Guard says were deployed this week. Their specific destination hasn’t been announced and they’ll be gone somewhere between 30 and 120 days. It marks the seventh time the wing has been deployed in recent years on missions that have included patrolling the skies over Iraq, Kuwait and Turkey.
A southern Iowa woman has survived being shot in the head and authorities say her husband was the one who pulled the trigger. Clarke County officials are investigating a shooting in Woodburn in which a man allegedly shot his wife in the right eye. Authorities say the shooting happened Wednesday afternoon around 5, when the woman, who has not yet been identified, called for help. The woman was taken to Clarke County Hospital in Osceola and then transferred to Mercy in Des Moines. The woman is now at University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City where she is reportedly going to have extensive surgery to her right eye. The woman’s husband was taken into custody and was to undergo a mental health evaluation.
Iowa Senator Tom Harkin was in the U.S. Capitol when it was evacuated last night after a small plane strayed into restricted Washington, D.C. airspace. Harkin says he was on the floor of the Senate, “The police came and said everybody has to get out there’s a threat. Everybody got out in a very orderly fashion and we walked to our appointed place outside and waited until the ‘all clear’ was done and we came back in.” One Congressman complained that things were too confusing, but Harkin didn’t think so.”No, I didn’t see any confusion, I things were very orderly and very good,” he said. “We were just all happy it wasn’t raining.” Harkin says the confused Congressman needs to read his manual that tells him what to do in an evacuation.Fighter jets intercepted the plane and escorted it away within minutes. The White House also went on alert but the plane was gone before the evacuation had been completed.
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the Central America Free Trade Agreement or CAFTA today and that will produce a split vote from Iowa’s two senators. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said earlier this week he supports the agreement, but Democrat Tom Harkin says he won’t support the deal.I’ve evaluated CAFTA with a genuinely open mind, having supported most major trade agreements during my three decades in Congress,”Harkin says. He says he’s concluded that the arguments against the agreement are stronger than the arguments for it. Harkin told reporters today he doesn’t think CAFTA does the U.S. any good.He says, “CAFTA fails to obtain a fair opportunity for U.S. farmers, workers and businesses to succeed in an ever more competitive global economy. They can compete with anyone on a truly level playing field. But it’s not fair competition if other countries allow their manufacturers or farms to disregard internationally recognized labor rights, and child labor protections or if those countries have lax or nonexistent environmental regulations and rules.” International child labor laws have been one of Harkin’s pet projects in the Senate and he says CAFTA would erode that work. He says reports from the U.S. State Department and the UN have documented child labor violations throughout the six countries in CAFTA. Harkin says CAFTA would take away the right of the U.S. to block goods from countries that use child labor. Harkin says he believes Republicans are bringing CAFTA up first in the Senate and not the House, because they have the votes to pass it in the Senate.