Archives for May 2010
On this Memorial Day, people across Iowa and nationwide are honoring the valiant men and women who’ve fought for the freedoms we enjoy. A small museum honoring veterans will be opening for the first time today in the north-central Iowa community of Williams. Connie Wahlert, of Williams, says the facility will be dedicated to veterans past and present.
Wahlert says she got the idea for a museum while she attended a reunion with her husband, saw the collection of things other people were displaying and decided to dig out her husband’s military gear. Also, when her mother died, Wahlert got all of her late father’s Army belongings. From there, Wahlert decided to start creating a collection of memorabilia to honor veterans.
She said the Legion building on Main Street in Williams was sitting empty and contained some display cases so she got permission to start the museum and began collecting items from area veterans.
Wahlert says the collection is really taking shape. There’s an area for prisoners of war, a Killed In Action table full of pictures of veterans who died in battle, all sorts of uniforms on mannequins, and other items displayed ranging from medals to canteens.
The Williams Veterans Museum will be open from 1 to 3 PM today and there are plans to open the museum during the community’s Independence Day observance on July 5th as well as for other occasions. For more information, call (515) 854-2428. Williams is located in north-central Iowa’s Hamilton County, just east of Interstate 35.
Thanks to Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City
The state’s Character Counts program is seeking nominations for its annual awards which honor outstanding individual Iowans, schools, sports teams and businesses. Amy Smit, coordinator of the program, says there are several types of awards they’ll be handing out.
The Citizens of Character Award recognizes friends, neighbors, students and anyone you may look up to, while the Educator of Character Award and the School of Character Award recognizes teachers and entire schools which help to promote good character. Other awards single out school athletic teams, and businesses or organizations that demonstrate good character.
The six pillars of character include: Caring, Citizenship, Fairness, Respect, Responsibility and Trustworthiness. Smit says a new award is named after an Eagle Grove Boy Scout who was killed in a tornado in 2008.
Everyone who’s nominated for an Iowa character award will also be considered for the Aaron Eilerts Community Service Award. It was presented, posthumously, to the boy’s family last year and recognizes an individual who makes their community a better place through dedicated volunteerism. The entry deadline for all awards is July 8th.
Smit says the winners will be announced later this year. Winners will be notified in September and there’ll be a big banquet on October 23rd for the awards ceremony. For more information on how to nominate someone go online to www.charactercountsiniowa.org
Thanks to Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City
Summer doesn’t actually arrive until June 21st but this holiday weekend is usually considered the start of the summer season. Jeff Johnson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, says his office is going to be recognizing the state’s first-ever Heat Awareness Day next week.
Johnson says the weather service has two basic tools it uses to warn Iowans about the extreme heat. “A heat advisory is when we’re having conditions at above 100-degrees on the heat index and the heat index combines temperature and humidity,” Johnson says. “The second is a heat danger warning and that’s when we’re looking at above 110, 115 on the heat index. That’s a condition where you really need to take it easy and stay in air conditioning.” [Read more…]
The use of rain barrels to collect runoff from downspouts is not a new practice, but it seems to be making a bit of a comeback. Jan Aiels with the Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids says they’ve sold hundreds of rain barrels this spring and have a waiting list for another order expected to arrive this week. “Many people have bought more than one…they have an overflow hose, so when one barrel fills, it immediately starts to fill the second barrel and you can store more water,” Aiels said. Most rain barrels sell for around $100.
There are a number of benefits to collecting rain water. Aiels says if more homeowners would use rain barrels it could reduce the risk of flooding. “I have a rain barrel on my home because, that way, I can control the runoff from my property. I can catch it and reuse it in my garden and on my lawn rather than watch it go down the gutter and into the storm sewer,” Aiels said.
The barrels sold at the Indian Creek Nature Center hold 65 gallons of rain water. A hacksaw can be used to cut the downspout and place the barrel underneath. There’s a screen on top of the container to keep out mosquitoes and debris. A standard hose can be attached to a spigot at the bottom of the barrel. “The pressure from all the water in the barrel forces water out through the hose,” Aiels said.
Capturing rain water and saving it to water lawns and gardens can save homeowners money on their municipal water bills and the rain water is chlorine free – so it’s better for plants. The Indian Creek Nature Center launched a “million gallon challenge” campaign this spring. Aiels says 1,000 rain barrels, during a “typical” spring or summer, could reduce runoff by one million gallons.
Memorial day is the traditional opening day for municipal swimming pools and a state health official says everyone should be careful that the cool dip doesn’t end up making people sick.
Iowa Department of Public Health medical director Patricia Quinlisk says public and private pool owners can keep everyone safe by frequently testing the water quality, letting swimmers know proper sanitation rules and enforcing those rules. Quinlisk says the backyard pools can lead to the most problems.
Quinlisk says the kiddie pools that parents fill up with the garden hose have the most risk because the water is meant to drink and doesn’t have the chemicals in it to kill off potential problems. Quinlisk says if you’re going to have a kiddie pool, get some bleach and add it to the pool to make it safer. She says if you’re taking your kids to a municipal pool, take your kids on bathroom breaks and check their diapers often.
If you are an adult, she says shower before swimming, don’t swim if you have diarrhea, and avoid swallowing the pool water. Quinlisk says even with filters and the use of chemicals there have still been outbreaks of swimming-reltated diseases like cryptosporidiosis and giardia.
She says every year they have some cases, but two or three years ago they had outbreaks and quite a few cases of cripto, and giardia. Quinlisk says there were also cases of diarrhea.
For more information about healthy swimming, visit: www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming.
Many people will be heading out with their boats on area lakes for the first time this weekend. Iowa Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Ben Bergman says if you’ve had your boat in storage all winter and are just getting it out for the first time, you’ll want to give it a thorough check before putting it in the water.
He says you’ll want to inspect the outside of the boat first, and then move to the inside of the boat to make sure that you have working fire extinguishers and life jackets, as well as making sure your lights are working. Bergman says you should know what the speed and distance rules are before heading out.
Bergman says there are “right of way” rules that boaters must adhere to, you must be going 10 miles per hour or less if you are less than 300 feet from shore, and you have to keep a proper distance from other boaters. Bergman says boating and alcohol aren’t a great mix.
He says if people do take alcohol in their boats, they need to be responsible for their actions and not operate a boat while being drunk. Bergman also reminds boaters to make sure their registrations are up to date as the previous ones expired statewide on April 30th. You can check out the state’s boating regulations by going to: www.iowadnr.gov.
By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City
The Danish villages of Elk Horn and Kimballton in western Iowa are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Tivoli Fest this holiday weekend. The theme for the centennial is “Treasuring the Past…Embracing the Future.”
Event coordinator Susan Greving, of Elk Horn, says the town’s story will be told in the Centennial Pageant, which involves a cast of more than four-dozen local adults and children. Greving says the show is built around a number of acts, songs and presentations which tells the story of early Danish immigration and the first settlements on through recent technological advancements.
The pageant takes place from 7 to 9 PM tonight at Elk Horn High School. The Mill to Mermaid Fun Run is this morning and the parade begins at 11 AM, while the fireworks start at 9:30 tonight. Stacy Larson, the Tivoli Fest coordinator, says this weekend’s list of wide-ranging events has been a year in the planning. [Read more…]