Grinnell College coach Greg Wallace hopes the momentum of the 2004 season carries over to this year. The Pioneers won three of their last four games to finish 6-4. Offensively, quarterback Sean Pfalzer will lead this team. The junior from Moraga, California finished 18th in total offense in NCAA III in his first year as a starter. Pfalzer will direct a young offense that lost nine starters and Wallace says the defense will need to lead the way early in the season.Grinnell opens on Saturday at Ripon College of Wisconsin and Wallace says they face a tough chore to start the season. He says Ripon brings back a number of talented people and run the option offense. Wallace says defending champion St.Norbert is the favorite in the Midwest Conference and then Monmouth was picked second.It is Wallace’s 18th year as the head coach.
Archives for August 2005
Those pesky zebra mussels have been found for the first time in an inland body of water in Iowa. Kim Bogenschutz, coordinator of the Iowa D-N-R’s aquatic nuisance species program, says two of the mussels were discovered recently in Clear Lake. Bogenschutz says it’s a concern since the creatures can cause a number of problems. She says zebra mussels can clog water intake pipes at water plants or power plants and force expensive repairs. They can also infiltrate the native mussel species and disrupt the aquatic food chain. Bogenschutz says there are many ways these two zebra mussels might have found their way into Clear Lake. They likely came in on a boat or maybe in some water that someone dumped out of a boat’s bilge or a bait bucket. They could’ve been from the Mississippi River or from a boat that had recently been in a lake in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota or elsewhere. Bogenschutz says they’ll continue monitoring Clear Lake to determine whether there are more zebra mussels. The D-N-R is working with dock removal companies to look over docks for signs of zebra mussels to see if more are in the lake or if it’s an isolated incident. They’ll also send down divers in the late fall or early spring to search. Bogenschutz says anybody who removes their boat from Clear Lake or any other lake or river should inspect it for possible invasive species.She says to look the boat over and remove any plants or evidence of mussels. Drain all the water from the live well and bilge. Dump leftover bait in the trash, not the open water. If you plan to go to another body of water, make sure to wash the boat first at a car wash with hot water. If you see a zebra mussel, please note its location and contact the nearest D-N-R office.
The price of gas today hit three-dollars a gallon in some parts of Iowa. Diesel fuel has matched the rise in gas prices in recent months, and sometimes surpassed it. That puts the pinch on school district which have to keep the buses rolling. Council Bluffs Public School District spokeswoman Diane Ostrowski says they contract with a private company. Each year, the district uses about 100-thousand gallons of diesel fuel, and in the current contract the cost for that is set at about a dollar-75 a gallon. Ostrowski admits, “We know, looking at the escalating prices, that our costs will be far greater than that.” The district anticipates that not only deisel-fuel costs but surcharges tacked on by other suppliers and contractors will total more than 100-thousand dollars beyond what was anticipated this year — all because of rising fuel costs. The district does have measures in place to cope with the unexpected cost jump. “We understand the need to cover costs associated with operating a business,” Ostrowski, “so there is an ‘escalator’ figured in.” If the fuel cost is much above the dollar-75 figure in their contract, she says “we anticipate helping to ease that burden of the company.” Schools don’t have many corners to cut, she says, and must keep on paying bills for food, heating and contract salaries. As the school year unfolds and the full cost of fuel prices and surcharges becomes apparent, Ostrowski says “we will need to make the very difficult decisions on where we’re going to find the funds to cover those expenses.” She says schools are accustomed to looking deep within their budgets the past several years, with state funding for schools so tight. “This is adding insult to injury,” Ostrowski says, after several years of low funding allowed by the state. She says they know legislators are working hard to reverse the trend, and they hold hopes that will continue during the 2005 legislative session.
Police have arrested a Waterloo man who they say tried to arranged sex with a minor over the Internet. 27-year old Johnny Balvanz was taken into custody Tuesday on a charge of enticing away a minor. The arrest resulted from an on-line investigation conducted by Cedar Falls police. As part of the investigation, officers logged into a chat room and posed as a 15-year-old Cedar Falls girl. Investigators say Balvanz contacted the girl in a chat room and solicited her to meet for sex. Police say Balvanz arranged to meet the girl at Island Park in Cedar Falls. When Balvanz arrived, officers were waiting to arrest him.
Governor Tom Vilsack says he’s not surprised more Iowa schools have failed to meet federal achievement standards outlined in the “No Child Left Behind” law. “I fully expected given the parameters of No Child Left Behind that we will have school districts that may have improved for a single year but in order to get off the list you’ve got to improve two consecutive years,” Vilsack says. “So, if you took off the list the school districts that have, in fact, improved since last year the list might be less than it was the year before.” Ninety-four Iowa public schools and 14 school districts are on the fed’s “watch” list. That’s up from 66 schools and nine districts last year. Twelve of the Iowa schools face federal sanctions because of the status report. The governor says if you look at the flip side, 96 percent of Iowa school districts meet or exceed the student achievement goals outlined in the federal law. Vilsack says that’s much better than nearly every other state. But Vilsack is calling for reform. “We have a lot of work that needs to be done in education in order for us to maintain the edge that we have in order for us to make sure our youngsters are prepared for a very, very competitive worlds,” Vilsack says.Vilsack visited colleges in Sioux City and Council Bluffs earlier today (Wednesday) to talk about the changes he’s seeking, including his call for considering a longer school year. Vilsack says he’s delivering his message especially to the education community for a reason. “I think it’s important for people in education to understand that they are constantly going to be asked to change, to transform, to continue to improve,” Vilsack says. “We cannot ever be satisfied with the status quo.” The governor says other countries are expecting more of their students and it’s time for Iowa schools to think about competing against kids in India and China rather than Minnesota and Illinois. “The first group of folks who need to understand this are educators,” Vilsack says. “The fact that we’re asking them to continue to do more and to improve isn’t a reflection of a criticism, it’s just a reality in the world today.” Some school boards have initiated discussions about a longer school year, but have already met some resistance. Vilsack says while people may have “fond memories” of vacation days, it’s time to better prepare students for the global competition they’ll face in the workplace. “If our football team knew that the other team was practicing two weeks longer than we were or preparing for a game more effectively, I’m sure we wouldn’t have any hesitation in suggesting to our coaches that they spend a little more time getting the kids prepared,” Vilsack says. “I don’t see any reason why that same concept doesn’t apply to learning, in fact I think it’s more important in that context.” Vilsack says the state needs to commit more to early childhood education to ensure kids are prepared for school and he says the state must spend more on teacher pay. However, the governor isn’t yet offering specific proposals outlining exactly how much more he believes the state should spend.
The annual Midwest Old Threshers Reunion gets underway today (Wednesday) with a parade in Mount Pleasant. The reunion features steam-driven machines that used to be used for harvest, along with horse-draw buggies and trains. Reunion administrator Lennis Moore says they’re trying to get younger people to the event, and when he says “younger” he means people who’re 40 to 50 years old.He says its people who don’t remember the harvesting days of the 1920’s or the Depression days of the 1930’s, but do remember the late 40’s, 50’s and early 60’s. Moore says this brings a whole new generation to the reunion. Over 60-thousand people are expected to attend the event that runs through the Labor Day weekend.
Iowa State will be heavily favored when the Cyclones open on Saturday night at home when they take on Illinois State. Cyclone coach Dan McCarney says he is not looking at the Redbirds’ status as a one-double-A program, he’s too busy studying film. He says Illinois State put up 480 yards on Minnesota in the Metrodome last year and the game was 20-14 at halftime before Minnesota won. McCarney says that tells them they’d better be ready to play. McCarney says too many times, one-double-a teams are taken too lightly and that’s when upsets occur. He says that happens when teams aren’t focused and think they can just take the field and win.McCarney says all the focus has been on preparation for Illinois State, as he says they haven’t spent any time on Iowa, Army or any of the other upcoming games.After returning to the team this summer, Jason Berryman will get the start at defensive end. McCarney says he has looked good in practice after taking time to get into football shape. Every team has question marks heading into the season but McCarney says he has confidence in what the Cyclones can accomplish. He says he has more guys who respond to coaching, who won’t beat themselves. He says they’re team oriented and dedicated to winning.
Analysts at a private Iowa think tank say they’re worried by a trend involving health insurance revealed by the release of new census data. Elaine Ditsler with the Iowa Policy Project says the number of uninsured Iowans has slowly gone up.She says that’s the area of most concern, the increasing rate of unisurance. She says where eight percent where uninsured five years ago — today it’s 10 percent. Ditsler says the increasing cost of insurance has led more businesses to drop their employee coverage. She says since 1999 the Iowans with health insurance from their job dropped from 70 to 65 percent. She says there’s been about the same drop in job-based health insurance as there has been an increase in uninsured Iowans. Ditsler says things would have been even worse had it not been for government provided health insurance that some people were able to get after losing their job-based insurance.Ditsler says the number of uninsured is likely to go higher unless something is done with health insurance costs. She says, “There’s really no end in sight to the increase in health insurance premiums and its going to take something, a more comprehensive solution, and a more deliberate solution for us to see a reversal in the number of uninsured Iowans.” Ditsler says the increasing cost of health also impacts those who have insurance coverage, as the insurance increases eat away at any wage increases those workers gain.
Iowa motorists are feeling the pain at the pump. Gas prices in many cities have jumped between 20 and 40-cents a gallon in the past two days, while some areas of the state are seeing their first-ever prices at three-bucks a gallon. This Davenport man says he’s making the trip to Milan, Illinois, to fuel up his S-U-V.He says it’s worth it to save the money, usually ten-cents a gallon. This Quad Cities woman says she’s worried about having enough money to buy groceries.She says she goes to the store, gets what she needs and hopes there’s enough to last the month or she’ll just have to limit her travels. This man says she’s had to cut back on everything else. The man says he works out of his truck and he’s spending 50-dollars a week for regular unleaded. He says the bounding gas prices have cut into the family’s entertainment and travel budget. A spokeswoman for Triple-A-Iowa says motorists should not fill up if they don’t need to, as that could cut into supply and send prices still-higher.
The deadline arrives tomorrow (Thursday) for many registered sex offenders in Iowa to move. A U.S. district judge has ruled that as of the first of September, they cannot live within 2-thousand feet of a school or registered daycare. Bill Davis is Scott County Attorney and he says local prosecutors will be ready to enforce the new law. “Don’t expect any arrests September 1,” he warns. “But don’t think that the law-enforcement aren’t active and working to enforce the law — because we are.” Davis says they’re mapping out the county and its communities to see where sex offenders are living, and which are in violation of the law. The prosecutor says those people will be contacted and given “a reasonable amount of time to vacate.” Offenders who’ve been living at an address since July 2002 or before will be allowed to stay where they are. All offenders who started living in a barred area since then will have to move away, under a new law that was tested in court and finally upheld earlier this year.