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Three cases of bat disease discovered in Missouri PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Georgia Parham   
Monday, 02 April 2012 12:46
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will host a conference call on White-Nose Syndrome for media inquiries today, Monday, April 2, from 1-2 p.m. CST that will include representatives from USFWS, MDC and USGS National Wildlife Health Center. Media representative can access the call at 877-531-0156 using passcode 802583.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) recently received confirmation that a deadly disease in bats called “White-Nose Syndrome” (WNS) has been found in three bats from two caves in Lincoln County. The name describes a white fungus, Geomyces destructans, typically found on the faces and wings of infected bats. WNS spreads mainly through bat-to-bat contact and has not been found to infect humans or other animals.

WNS was confirmed in a little brown bat from one public cave and in two tri-colored bats from a second public cave north of St. Louis by the U. S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis. The specific names and locations of the caves are not being disclosed to help prevent human disturbance of remaining bats in the caves. The two caves are closed to public access.

“Disturbing bats in caves while they roost or hibernate can increase their stress and further weaken their health,” said MDC Bat Biologist Tony Elliott.

Evidence of the fungus that causes WNS was first detected in Missouri in April 2010 on a little brown bat found in a privately owned cave in Pike County. In May 2010, evidence of the fungus was detected on five federally endangered gray bats and on a northern long-eared bat netted outside a public cave in Shannon County. The three bats with WNS in Lincoln County are the first confirmed cases in Missouri of the actual disease.

Elliot explained that the earlier detected cases of the fungus means the bats had contact with the fungus that causes WNS, but may or may not have been infected with the WNS disease. He added that these first confirmed cases of the disease mean the bats have WNS and the disease is present in Missouri and likely to spread.

“We have worked closely with the Missouri Department of Conservation to prepare for the arrival of White-Nose Syndrome in Missouri,” said U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region Regional WNS Coordinator Rich Geboy. “Now that we have confirmed it is here, we will continue to work with MDC and our other partners in Missouri to research and manage the disease.”

MDC has been working with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR), U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and USFWS, along with conservation groups and private cave owners to address the threat of WNS. Efforts include restricting access to most publicly-owned caves that contain bats and educating the public about the value of bats and the threat of WNS.

“While many caves on public lands that house bats have been closed to public access in response to the threat of White-Nose Syndrome, Missouri’s numerous show caves remain open as great places for people to discover nature by learning about the value of bats and the unique ecosystems of cave environments,” Elliott said.

Approximately 74 percent of the more than 6,300 caves in Missouri are privately owned. Visitors to private caves are asked to check with landowners before entering caves, and to use USFWS decontamination protocols before and after visits to reduce the risk for accidental spread of the fungus. Information on these protocols is available at fws.gov/whitenosesyndrome/pdf/WNSDecontaminationProtocol_v012511.pdf.

The WNS fungus thrives in cool, damp conditions found in many caves, which are also ideal hibernation and roosting sites for many bat species. Bats with WNS exhibit unusual behavior such as flying outside and clustering near entrances of caves and mines during the day in cold winter months when they should be hibernating. This activity uses up stored fat reserves needed to get them through the winter, and they may freeze or starve to death.

USFWS biologists and partners estimate that at least 5.5 million bats have now died from the disease, which continues to spread. WNS is decimating bat populations across eastern North America, with mortality reaching up to 100 percent at many sites. First documented in New York in 2007, the disease has spread quickly into 19 states and four Canadian provinces.

Bats provide tremendous value as natural pest control for farms and forests, and also play an essential role in helping to control insects that can spread disease to people.

“Missouri is home to at least 12 species of bats,” Elliott explained. “They are our front-line defense against many insect pests including some moths, certain beetles and mosquitoes. Missouri’s 775,000 gray bats alone eat more than 223 billion bugs a year, or about 540 tons.”

He added that bats are long-lived but slow-reproducing animals with most species having an average lifespan of about 15 years and giving birth usually to only one pup each year.

“Bats also play a vital role in cave ecosystems by providing nutrients for other cave life through their droppings, or guano,” Elliott said. “Bats are also food for other animals such as snakes and owls.”

Elliott cautioned that people should not handle any bats, and should contact their local MDC office or conservation agent if they find dead bats or see bats flying outside during the day during cold winter months when they typically would be roosting or hibernating.

More information on WNS is available at:
fws.gov/WhiteNoseSyndrome/
nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_information/white-nose_syndrome/
fort.usgs.gov/wns/
nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_information/white-nose_syndrome/wns_definitions.jsp

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Lt. Governor Simon to visit Moline crisis center PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kara Beach   
Monday, 02 April 2012 12:39

MOLINE – Marking Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will visit counselors and educators Tuesday at Family Resources to advocate for legislation that would restore funding to sexual assault prevention agencies.

Senate Bill 3348 would require all strip clubs that permit alcohol to collect a $5-per-patron entry fee, and the revenue would be distributed to community-based sexual assault prevention and response organizations, like Family Resources. Over the past two years, the center has seen their state funding cut by nearly 28 percent.

DATE: Tuesday, April 3

TIME: 10 a.m.

PLACE: Family Resources, 1521 47th Ave., Moline

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DAVENPORT WOMAN WINS $30,000 LOTTERY PRIZE PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Amy Garringer   
Monday, 02 April 2012 08:40

DES MOINES, Iowa – A Davenport woman won a top prize of $30,000 playing the lottery’s “Crossword” instant-scratch game.

Ruby Davis claimed her prize Monday at the Iowa Lottery’s regional office in Cedar Rapids. She purchased her winning ticket at Mother Hubbard’s, 7522 N.W. Blvd. in Davenport.

Crossword is a $3 scratch game. Players win a prize by uncovering at least three complete words in the ticket’s puzzle. If a player uncovers 10 words, he/she wins $30,000. The overall odds of winning in the game are 1 in 3.82.

Twenty-nine top prizes of $30,000 are still up for grabs in Crossword, as well as 52 prizes of $3,000, more than 700 prizes of $300 and more than 3,400 prizes of $100.

Players can enter eligible nonwinning scratch tickets online to earn “Points For Prizes™” points. The point value will be revealed to the player on the website upon successful submission of each eligible valid ticket. There is a limit of 30 ticket entries per day. To participate in Points For Prizes™, a player must register for a free account at ialottery.com. Registration is a one-time process. Merchandise that can be ordered by using points will be listed on the website in the Points For Prizes™ online store. Players can choose from items in categories such as apparel, automotive, jewelry, sporting, tools and more.

Since the lottery’s start in 1985, its players have won more than $2.8 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.3 billion for the state programs that benefit all Iowans.

Today, lottery proceeds in Iowa have three main purposes: They provide support for veterans, help for a variety of significant projects through the state General Fund, and backing for the Vision Iowa program, which was implemented to create tourism destinations and community attractions in the state and build and repair schools.

 

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University of Iowa a first among firsts in women’s education PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Hawkeye Caucus   
Monday, 02 April 2012 08:25

The theme for this year’s National Women’s History Month is “Women’s Education-Women’s Empowerment,” and the University of Iowa was among the first to recognize this connection.

 

  • In 1855, Iowa became the first public university in the country to admit women and men on an equal basis.
  • In 1873, it became the first public university in the United States to grant a law degree to a woman (Mary B. Hickey).
  • In 1907, the UI became home to the nation’s first female college newspaper editor.
  • In 1912, the UI graduated the first African American women, Letta (Cary) Bledsoe and Adah (Hyde) Johnson of Des Moines, from the College of Liberal Arts (now College of Liberal Arts & Sciences).
  • In 1941, Lulu Merle Johnson became the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. from an Iowa institution and among about a dozen black women in the nation to achieve such status at that time.
  • And in 1983, C. Vivian Stringer became the first African-American to coach a Big Ten women's basketball team.

 

FYI
Learn more about National Women’s History Month at the Website of the National Women’s History Project at http://www.nwhp.org/whm/index.php.

 
Fill Desks, Not Cells, Advocate Urges PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 02 April 2012 08:17

The statistics are overwhelming and irrefutable: The less education a person has, the more likely he or she will end up in jail or prison.

Once in prison, the more education an inmate receives, the greater the chance he or she will remain free once released.

“The correlation is so dramatic, I can’t understand why we as a nation are more interested in building and filling prisons than in educating people who haven’t finished high school or could benefit from post-secondary school,” says advocate Adam Young, citing a recent Huffington Post news story about Corrections Corporation of America. The business is attempting to buy prisons across the nation – with the stipulation that states agree to keep them 90 percent full.

Young, www.communityservicehelp.com, partners with charities to help people sentenced to community service get credit for taking classes like algebra and English instead of picking up trash. He says it just makes sense to take advantage of any opportunity to educate people who’ve already had a brush with the law.

“About 40 percent of all U.S. prison inmates never finished high school, and nearly 44 percent of jail inmates did not complete high school,” he says, quoting from a 2003 Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. “More current data shows that hasn’t changed. In Washington, D.C., for instance, 44 percent of Department of Corrections inmates are not high school graduates. Less than 2 percent had 16 years or more of schooling.

“Isn’t it better for all of us, for both economic and public safety reasons, if we help educate people so they can get jobs?” he asks.

The trend of budget-strapped states looking to economize by selling their prisons to Corrections Corporation worries Young. As the business cuts expenses to boost profits, prison-run GED and college degree programs will likely be among the first on the chopping block, he says.

“If states really want to save money, they should address recidivism through programs that include education,” Young says. “There’s a 2011 Pew Center study that found the 10 states with the highest recidivism rates could save $470 million a year, each, if they lower those numbers by just 10 percent.”

Those states are Alaska, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.

A widely cited 2006 study of two groups of inmates in three states found that those who participated in education programs in prison were less likely to be arrested again within three years of their release, and more likely to be employed. Of the inmates tracked, 31 percent of those who did not take classes were back in prison within three years compared with 21 percent of those who did study.

Arizona, South Carolina and Nevada all have recently passed laws that allow inmates to cut their sentences or shorten their probation by doing things like taking classes, Young noted.

“In early February, there was an interesting conversation about education and crime on Real Time with Bill Maher,” he says. “Maher said, ‘If you spent the money you were spending to send people to prison on schools, those people wouldn't wind up going to prison.’

“He’s 100 percent correct on that.”

About Adam Young

Adam Young is a longtime internet marketing professional who launched his educational community service alternative in January 2011. He was inspired by a minor brush with the law when he was an 18-year-old; the community service hours he received cost him his job and nearly caused him to drop out of college. Through his website, offenders have logged more than 300,000 hours of self-scheduled schooling that allows them to remain employed while completing service hours. Young advocates education as the most cost-effective tool for rehabilitating offenders.

 
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