Big Mac May Cost You More This Winter

You could pay a little more for steak or hamburger this winter. Iowa State University livestock economist, Lee Schulz, says the cattle market is rebounding from years of drought, and along with lower grain prices and better forage, the conditions are good for producers.  He says producers sell fewer animals to build up their herds to take advantage of the market situation and keeping those animals out of the marketplace means beef will cost more. Schulz adds, while consumers may see higher prices, retailers are likely to cushion some of the impact. Continue Reading


IL Lawmakers Approve Gay Marriage but Not Much Else

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Legislature has wrapped up its official 2013 calendar after passing historic gay marriage legislation. But it made little progress on many other high-profile issues on Gov. Pat Quinn’s legislative agenda. Lawmakers have yet to solve the state’s $100 billion pension crisis. They haven’t raised the minimum wage, enacted an assault weapons ban or approved additional ethics reforms. Quinn cited all of those as important tasks in his state of the state address in February. Continue Reading

United Way Steps Into Truancy Problem

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa schools work to limit truancy because it helps improve results, but some question whether more could be done to reduce chronic absences.  

The Des Moines Register reports a group of Iowa United Way chapters plans to ask state lawmakers to require school districts to track chronic absences by school. Supporters say having that information would help communities develop solutions. Currently, the state relies on average daily attendance figures, which can mask chronic absences. Frequent absenteeism isn’t unusual in Iowa. Continue Reading

Waterloo School Honors Late Veteran Steffeney

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — A new memorial stone outside a Waterloo high school football stadium honors the life and service of an Army veteran who died in 2005. Family and friends of Staff Sergeant Eric Steffeney gathered Saturday to dedicate the stone outside West High’s Memorial Stadium. Steffeney graduated from West in 1994 and joined the Army. Steffeney became a bomb disposal technician and was killed near the end of his second tour in Iraq. He was 28 and left behind a wife and three children. Continue Reading


Iowa Receives Solar Power Grant

The state has won a federal Department of Energy grant of just over one-million-dollars as part of what’s called the “Rooftop Solar Challenge Two.” Iowa Department of Economic Development Authority spokesperson, Tina Hoffman, says the goal is to increase the use of solar energy… “We’re going to be able to help make it easier for Iowans to learn about solar and help reduce the soft costs, making it more affordable.” The first step is developing ways to promote the use of sun power. “We are going to help first educate and increase the awareness around solar energy and how it really can be a viable alternative,” Hoffman explains. Continue Reading


Illinois House Approves Same-Sex Marriage

It’s official, Illinois has now become the largest state in the Heartland to legalize gay marriage. It’s a hot topic in most states but one by one bills are getting approved. Illinois is now the 15th state in the United States to allow marriage between the same sex. All that’s needed now is a signature from Governor Pat Quinn, who says he supports it. Continue Reading

Cider Believed to be Causing “Crypto” in Iowa

An illness that’s often seen during the summer months is turning up this fall. Department of Public Health Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, says they’re seeing cases of cryptosporidiosis or “crypto” — which is usually connected to contaminated water in swimming pools.  The summer version of the disease is caused by people with diarrhea in the pool or young children with dirty diapers in a pool. Dr. Quinlisk says the cider problem is likely linked to the way people are collecting apples.   The apples that come off the ground are the cause of the contamination.  

Quinlisk says crypto causes prolonged severe diarrhea. The Iowa City area in Johnson County has had 11-cases — but there are cases reported across the state. Continue Reading

Chinese Sister-State Group Honors Area Woman

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) — A Muscatine woman has been given a gold medal and a title from a Chinese group.  

The Muscatine Journal says Sarah Lande has been dubbed a “friendship ambassador” by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. Lande is one of eight Americans to have received the title. The group began awarding the titles and medals in 1990.  

Lande is an old acquaintance of Chinese President Xi Jinping.  She and her husband, Roger, hosted Xi for a dinner when he visited Iowa in 1985.   On Sunday and Monday she was a co-host for an official delegation from Hebei Province that visited Muscatine to celebrate 30 years of Sister State relations with Iowa. Continue Reading


“More Women are Needed in Government” -Tom Courtney

These days it’s pretty common to see women in government and taking on political roles, however when talking with Iowa Senator Tom Courtney this morning, he feels there should be more… “I recruit for my caucus. When I recruit, I always recruit women. Women don’t think they have a place in government but they do, and it’s an important place. In Iowa we’re not very good. Continue Reading