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Politicians Defend Pork from Iowa PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 08 May 2009 15:44

The "swine flu" label has largely been replaced by the "H1N1 virus" when describing the current flu outbreak, but Iowa politicians at all levels of government still had to spend time this week emphasizing the safety of pork products in the wake of foreign import bans.

A top concern: bans by China and Russia, two of the world's top importers of pork.

A bipartisan congressional delegation including U.S. Senators Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley this week sent a letter to President Obama asking his help to combat unfounded concerns that are impeding the pork trade in domestic and export markets.

In the letter, they said initial references to the H1N1 virus as "swine flu" have created fears that pork can transmit this virus, dealing a blow to an already struggling U.S. pork industry.

Three Likely Swine-Flu Cases in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 01 May 2009 14:44

Governor Chet Culver announced this week that swine flu had hit the state of Iowa, with three probable cases of the H1N1 influenza virus found in Marshall, Des Moines, and Clinton counties.

"I want to be clear," Culver said. "Now is the time to continue our diligence and to exercise caution. There is no need for alarm."

Culver said he has instructed Public Health Director Tom Newton to prepare a declaration for a public-health disaster in Iowa if the cases are confirmed. This would allow the state to receive additional anti-virals, deploy public-health response teams, adopt measures to prevent transmission of the disease, and provide for possible isolation of individuals or groups to protect the public.

The disease is not transmitted by food, Culver added. "Our swine herds in Iowa are healthy," Culver said. "We have not had any reports or concerns about the swine herds. You simply cannot catch this flu by eating pork. Rather this is a new type of influenza and as such is airborne and spread by human contact."

Newton said so far 150 specimens have been sent in from around the state to be analyzed for the H1N1 virus. Of those, 40 have been tested, 110 remain to be tested, and two are likely swine flu.

Obama Visits Newton on Earth Day PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 24 April 2009 15:33

President Barack Obama used a visit to Iowa on Earth Day to announce that his administration is establishing a program to authorize for the first time the leasing of federal waters for projects to generate electricity from wind as well as from ocean currents and other renewable sources.

"This will open the door to major investments in offshore clean energy," Obama said. "For example, there is enormous interest in wind projects off the coasts of New Jersey and Delaware, and today's announcement will enable these projects to move forward."

The program being established through the U.S. Department of Interior will develop the renewable-energy projects on the waters of the Outer Continental Shelf that produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents. These regulations will enable the nation to tap into the ocean's sustainable resources to generate clean energy.

In a three-hour visit Wednesday, Obama toured and then spoke to an invitation-only crowd of about 200 at Trinity Structural Towers in Newton, the former Maytag appliance factory that now houses a green manufacturing facility producing towers for wind-energy production and employing dozens of former Maytag employees.

Lawmakers Work to Adjourn 2009 Session Next Week PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by   
Friday, 17 April 2009 17:49

Iowa lawmakers are focusing on budget, bonding, federal deductibility and sex offender legislation as the Legislature works to adjourn the 2009 session next week, but other bills such as one that would increase Iowa's compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 17 is a "long shot" at this point, Democratic legislative leaders said Thursday.

Hundreds of Iowans Rally at Capitol on Same-Sex Marriage PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 10 April 2009 14:08

Kraig PaulsenHundreds of opponents and supporters of the Iowa Supreme Court's Varnum v. Brien decision legalizing same-sex marriage descended Thursday on the Iowa Capitol and watched as House Speaker Pat Murphy declined twice to call up a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman.

"Let us vote! Let us vote! Let us vote!" supporters of the Iowa Marriage Amendment shouted after the first attempt to bring the issue to the House floor was ruled out of order.

Advocates on both sides of the issue watched at about 9:30 a.m. as House Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen made an attempt to bring House Joint Resolution 6 to the House floor.

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