“Connor carries a 3.62 GPA and is a major player in football, basketball, and baseball. The 2008 football team won the State Championship and he played a key role. Also the 2009 Baseball team finished runners-up and he again played a key role. He is the starting center on the basketball team. His GPA has him leading his class and he is a member of the National Honor Society.”
The senior running back was instrumental as the Vikings rallied for a victory over Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Jewell carried the ball 16 times for 124 yards and scored the game tying and game winning touchdowns. He also intercepted three passes on defense.
The junior fullback carried the ball 24 times for 188 yards and four touchdowns in a victory over Bondurant-Farrar. Bell already has nine touchdowns this season.
The junior quarterback was in on eight touchdowns in a victory over Whiting. Schwenk finished with 174 yards of passing,including seven touchdown strikes, and also rushed for 56 yards and one touchdown.
The Atlantic Community School Board met last night and offered the public an opportunity to make comments about the recent alleged strip-search of five Atlantic High School students. Members of the media, by far, outnumbered those in attendance. Only a few residents cameto speak, or listen.
Shelly Pottebaum, whose 18-year-old daughter attends A.H.S., was the only one to step forward and address the board. Pottebaum says she doesn’t think enough facts pertaining to the case have come out entirely and that it’s too early for the public to make a judgment based on what’s been said or written. She asked the school board to act quickly to resolve the matter.
The school district’s administration and Board of Education have received intense criticism since the Des Moines Register first reported Saturday five girls were striped-searched by the school guidance counselor in a locker room over the matter of a matter of $100 reported missing by another student. The money was never found.
Some have commented that the incident — which some experts say was illegal — amounted to nothing more than sex abuse and the school administration should be placed on the sex-offender registry. Others have called for board members, those in the district’s administration, and recently-appointed interim Superintendent Dan Crozier, to resign.
It’s been reported that at least three of the girls’ families have hired an attorney to deal with the matter, and a fourth was considering it. On Monday, Crozier confirmed a school administrator was placed on leave pending the results of an internal investigation. Board President Phil Hascall appeared to choke up as he read a statement toward the end of the public comment period regarding the decisions they’ve made with regard to students’ welfare at the school.
Hascall said the board "has always tried to do what’s best for the students and children put in our care. This is going to be solved. It’s going to be a long investigation, but they’re going to take their time to they do it right, by policy and by law." He went on to say he appreciates the public’s patience and support. At the conclusion of regular business, the board went into a closed session to discuss a personnel matter.
Board member Jody Lorence, who earlier this summer announced she was not running for re-election, and who was attending her last meeting as a part of the Board of Education, made the motion to adjourn into closed session. Her statement left little doubt as to what the session would be dealing with.
She said it was to discuss strategy with legal counsel in matters where "litigation is imminent, and where its disclosure would be likely to prejudice or disadvantage the position of the school district in that litigation."
The man who heads up the program that provides heating assistance to low-income Iowans is reluctant to get overly excited about predictions of lower heating bills this winter. Jerry McKim leads the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or "LIHEAP", and says he’s skeptical that natural gas prices will stay low.
McKim says he’ll believe it when he sees it, and it’s not so much the natural gas prices, but the heating bill. McKim says lower natural gas prices don’t always translate into lower heating bills. "If the bill is actually lower this winter than last winter, of course that’ll be welcome relief to a large segment of our population here that simply cannot afford what’s become a basic necessity," McKim says.
McKim says the impact of last year’s high prices continue to linger and there was a 14-percent increase in utility disconnections. McKim says,"That’s nearly 23,000 households who have been disconnected between April and July — so folks are still struggling to pay off last winter’s bills and a lot them will some significant debt into this winter even if there are lower bills."
Iowa received around 76-million dollars last year form the federal government for LIHEAP, and McKim says just over 95,000 Iowans sought and were provided help with their bills. This year’s heating assistance allocation has not been announced, but McKim believes it will be the about the same as last year.
MidAmerican energy estimated bills could be 40% lower this winter, while Alliant Energy estimated they could be 20% lower.
A retired school teacher from Iowa will be sitting in First Lady Michelle Obama’s "box" tonight as President Obama addresses congress and urges action on health care reform. An official from the White House called 75-year-old Darlyne Neff of Iowa City on Friday and invited her to D.C. for the event.
"I think that I’m just a representative of hundreds of people around the country who are interested in health care and want to see that more people get health care coverage," she says, "and especially that children are taken care of as we go forward."
Neff says she’s alive today because of an operation for breast cancer and another that removed a brain tumor. This past December Obama’s "Transition Team" asked Neff to host a "neighborhood discussion" about health care reform.
"So I invited the people who live in Oaknoll, the retirement complex where I live in Iowa City and about 20 people showed up," Neff said. "There were heated debate and discussions about health care and what should be done. There were a number of doctors here, so we really had a good chance to exchange ideas."
Now, nine months later, Neff says people have gotten "pretty riled up" about health care reform and she’s hoping President Obama gives a "clear idea" of what he wants congress to pass.
"Everybody’s focused on health care," Neff says. "It seems now is the time for us to do something about it."
Neff favors a so-called "public option" which would have a government-run plan compete with private insurance. During a public hearing in March , Neff said retirees "know who good (they) have it" because they’re covered by goverment-run Medicare, and she said "basic health care should be available to everyone today."
Neff taught kindergarten and first grade, then moved on to be a substitute teacher in middle schools before spending six years as a Kirkwood Community College instructor. She spoke by phone with Radio Iowa late yesterday afternoon.
The Effigy Mounds National Monument on the bluffs of the Mississippi River in northeast Iowa has been chosen for the U.S. Mint’s "Beautiful Quarters" program. Effigy Mounds director, Phyllis Ewing, says they applied immediately upon learning the mint would honor national monuments on quarters, and were excited to learn they’ve been chosen.
"I think my first comment was, ‘this is really cool,’ but we are terribly excited by it. When the idea came we were really hopeful that we would be included in it. And Effigy Mounds happens to be the first national park in Iowa," Ewing said. Ewing says the park tells the story of early American history through the burial mounds of Native Americans.
She says there are a lot of conical or linear mounds, but there are also mounds in the shape of birds and bears, and that’s where the name effigy comes from, as they are in the shape of something that was living. The Beautiful Quarters program follows the success of the state quarters program, and will feature the national parks on the backs of quarters beginning in 2010. The parks will be featured based on the year they became a park.
Effigy Mounds was named a national monument in 1949 by President Harry Truman. Iowa’s state quarter featured a Grant Wood painting of a school house, but Ewing isn’t sure exactly how Effigy Mounds will be portrayed. Ewing says they have not been told yet what will be on the quarter, but they anticipated receiving a drawing that they will be able to review and see if it is what the park represents.
Ewing says the burial mounds are the main feature of the area, but says it’s location along the river is something that is also an important part of the park that visitors appreciated.
Ewing says visitors all visualize Iowa as flat cornfields and they are taken by the bluffs and the beauty, and she says many say it is as pretty as any other national park they’ve visited.
Ewing says the park is entering it’s busy time of the year. The park is open year round and only closes for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s and is open from eight until 4:30 and in the summer and fall they extend the hours until six p.m.
Ewing says October is the busiest month of the year as people come to see the fall foliage. The complete list of monuments chosen for the quarter program will be released Wednesday on the U.S. Mint’s website . Find out more about Effigy Mounds at the park’s website here .
Republican candidate Bob Vander Plaats says it’s too early to say who he might pick as a lieutenant governor running mate if he wins the G.O.P.’s 2010 gubernatorial nomination. But Vander Plaats is making his objectives clear and in the process is taking a shot at former Governor Terry Branstad, the four-term Republican governor who is mulling the idea of leaving his job as president of Des Moines University and running for a fifth term.
Branstad picked Joy Corning, a supporter of abortion rights, as his running mate in 1990 and ’94. Vander Plaats says he supports a "culture of life" and you won’t see him picking someone who doesn’t share that philosophy.
"I’m not looking to balance the ticket with somebody who is moderate or liberal or who doesn’t believe in those core values like I do," Vander Plaats says. "Hopefully they will bring different assets to the ticket, but they will believe in those core values."
Vander Plaats voted for Branstad in 1990 and 1994, despite Joy Corning’s presence on the ticket as Branstad’s lieutenant governor running mate.
"I did not withhold my vote from Governor Branstad because of his choice of Lieutenant Governor Corning," Vander Plaats says. "And to be quite frank with you when I voted for Governor Branstad both those times, I don’t think I knew who Joy Corning was, you know, that well."
Vander Plaats has no plan to announce his running mate this far in advance of the June primary, but Vander Plaats says they must share his opinion on core issues like gun rights, immigration and gay marriage as well as on abortion.
"The people that are voting for you, the people that you’re serving as their leader — they need to trust you first," Vander Plaats says. "And if you can’t be trusted on where do you stand on life; where do you stand on marriage; where do you stand on immigration; where do you stand on the second amendment; where do you stand on on state sovereignty; where do you stand on those core values, those core principles — why would they ever give you an opportunity to lead this state?"
Vander Plaats ran for governor in 2002 and lost in the Republican primary. Vander Plaats ran again in 2006, but ended his own campaign before the primary and signed on as Jim Nussle’s running mate. On Tuesday, Vander Plaats officially declared himself a competitor for the G.O.P.’s 2010 nomination for governor.
Iowa homeowners are getting very encouraging news about the anticipated heating costs of the upcoming winter. Natural gas prices are down considerably from a year ago and Iowa’s largest utility predicts our heating bills could be down significantly as well. Mark Reinders, spokesman for MidAmerican Energy, says they’re planning for the cold weather with a solid supply of natural gas.
"The supply is plentiful out there and that’s helped driving down the price of natural gas," Reinders says. "A lot of companies put natural gas product into storage last year and didn’t use it all so that carried over into this upcoming winter season." He says customers in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota could see bills drop 40-percent compared to last year, if we end up with a normal winter. Reinders says MidAmerican already has most of its winter supply of natural gas locked up.
He says the Des Moines-based utility goes into the season with 75-percent of its overall needs for the season ahead either in underground storage or contracted under fixed prices. "The price of natural gas has remained low," Reinders says. "Normally, as we’re going into September and October, the price of natural gas goes up because they’re getting ready for the winter season but we haven’t seen a lot of that yet. The huge factors are the actual weather conditions. If the weather turns real cold late in the fall and early winter, that obviously drives the price of natural gas up."
Reinders says the low prices may allow the utility to begin working on its supplies for the following winter. "If the price continues to stay low as the winter goes on, then obviously they’ll start buying more on contract for the next winter season," Reinders says. "We hate to think too far out, but 2010-2011. As we deplete our underground storage and our contracting, we’ll then go out and buy some during this upcoming winter for next year."
Officials with Alliant Energy estimate the low natural gas prices will translate to a drop of 20-percent on winter heating bills for its customers, compared to last year.