Drought leaves lowest number of mosquitos in Iowa since '06: DI Reader, July 19

Also inside: IC filmmakers bring Hollywood to town, Game Time League heats up, the Johnson County Fair mixes old traditions in with the new

Drought leaves lowest number of mosquitos since 2006 in Iowa

There may be one good thing to come out of the drought affecting Iowans and much of the rest of the country: less mosquitos.

Because mosquitos need bodies of water to breed and lay their larvae, the dry summer has resulted in noticeably lower numbers across the state.

According to a Mosquito Surveillance Study carried out by the Iowa State University Medical Entomology Laboratory that monitors mosquito populations and mosquito-borne disease in the State of Iowa, 2012 has registered the lowest number of mosquitos since 2006.  Furthermore, this summer has witnessed the second lowest reading of mosquito numbers since the study began in 1969.  

“Aside from the obvious benefit of not stinging people, lower mosquito numbers mean lower number of diseases such as West Nile Virus and LaCross Encephalitis we’re seeing this year,” said Lyric Bartholomay, an associate professor at Iowa State University and supervisor of the study. “The main reason for these low numbers would be the reduction in breeding grounds due to drought.”

Read more here.

IC filmmakers bring Hollywood to town to make The Formula

Hollywood and Iowa celebrities are acting side-by-side in “bromantic comedy” The Formula, a movie from independent film company Backrow Studios currently filming in Iowa City.

The Formula, a story of two engineers who, after failing in their own love pursuits, stumble upon a formula for picking up women, was created by University of Iowa alumni Ravi Patel, Tim Nash, and Joe Clarke.

Clarke, co-director and writer, said his crew is working to create a film community in Iowa.

“We have a film circle here in Iowa City, and we are trying to build a film industry in Iowa,” he said. “We have been shooting in places that are recognizable, so people can watch the film and say ‘Oh, I’ve been there.’”

Patel, the producer, said he thinks viewers will relate to the movie’s plot.

“I think anyone can at least partially relate to The Formula,” he said. “We've all had life experiences with women or otherwise in which you have to fight tooth and nail for your desired outcome. Life isn't about the destination it's about the journey, and regardless of the outcome you walk away having learned and evolved during the journey.”

Read more here.


Local youth volunteer at UIHC in the program’s 30th year

While other high school students spend their summers at the pool or the reservoir, the junior volunteer program at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has full enrollment each summer for interested in pursuing a career in the medical field.

The UIHC holds an eight-week, junior volunteer program at the hospital each summer. The program participants are high school students interested in a career in the health sciences.

Jean Reed, director of volunteer services at the UIHC, said the program, from June 14 to Aug. 8, exposes the volunteers to as many health science career paths as possible.

“They come in thinking maybe they could be a nurse or a doctor,” she said. “But [we show them] there are more than a dozen other paths they could take.”

Read more here.

IMU introduces 16-computer ITC in River Room Cafe

A new ITC in the IMU’s River Room will give students a new place to snack and study. 

Due to high traffic levels in the building’s third floor ITC, the IMU and Information Technology Services have created a new study space for students returning this fall. 

Patricia Kruse, the associate director of the IMU, who spearheaded the project said the reason for the location was based on the popularity of the ITC on the third floor.

“We found out that the [third floor] lab is the most used on campus, and each computer is used an average of nine hours a day,” she said. “It only has 22 stations, and it’s packed all day, even at 8 a.m.”

The 16 new computers and printer were provided for the IMU by ITS, and paid for with the Student Technology Fund. Chris Clark, the learning spaces technologies manager for ITS, said money for the fund comes directly from student tuition.

Read more here.


Police: Woman partakes in sexual acts in front yard while drunk

An Iowa City woman has been accused of participating in sexual acts in a front yard while intoxicated.

Darcy Norem, 49, unknown, was charged Tuesday with public intoxication.

According to an Iowa City Police complaint, Norem was observed by a neighbor having oral sex with a female in a front yard on Normandy Dr., and an officer observed her doing the same thing upon arrival.

Norem smelled of alcohol, had poor balance, and watery, bloodshot eyes. She was arrested and has been peviously charged with public intoxication on Sept. 29, 2011 and Dec. 2, 2010.

Public intoxication is an aggravated misdemeanor.


Taylor and Johnson fight for Game Time championship

The Game Time League season is only five weeks long. In a season that short, the players have to believe they can win from the get-go.

And Theairra Taylor and Morgan Johnson did. They lead their team the fight for a win every time up the court on Wednesday, trying shed the shared last place status. 

Their efforts paid off in the end with a 92-76 win.  The league comes to an end within the next week, and the goal of winning the championship is becoming a reality.

“I was really proud of [the girls] because the other team has been getting better and better. The girls stuck with the program today,” head coach Randy Larson said. “They did so well in the zone. I’ve been trying to play all the girls equally, and I think it’s paying off in the end. Our best players come in and they know they can make that shot. Confidence makes a big difference in a short season like this.”

Read more here.

Point/Counterpoint: Should the Iowa City rezone to prevent payday lenders?


The city of Iowa City is reviewing a plan to limit the number of payday lenders in the area. The plan would place restrictions on the location of payday lending venues, and that kind of free market interference is likely to backfire.

If the rezoning prohibitions meet fruition, those that are already in the area would be grandfathered into the system. That means that the few already in existence, charging outrageous interest rates, would have limited competition and therefore little to no incentive to decrease their rates.

That’s not what the city wants. The city is looking for a way to keep trouble out and protect consumers from an almost certain cycle of debt. The fact of the matter, however, is that until people have more, better paying jobs, it’s a bad idea to decrease business and limit loanable funds.


The problem here is not Big Brother trying to discourage free market business or the personal responsibility of an individual: It is an industry that fosters long-term damage in communities.

Payday lenders are designed to keep low-income households borrowing money. They are literally modeled to keep a person paying until the person is sucked dry.

It’s not a happy-go-lucky business — it’s borderline criminal. 

According to who? Great question: Queue the Federal Trade Commission, which released a report in 2009 urging consumers to consider alternatives to payday loans.

The report describes situations in which individuals subject themselves to incredibly high interest rates to receive only small amounts of compensation.

The report went on to say “The bottom line on payday loans: Try to find an alternative.”

Read more here.


80 Hours: Johnson County Fair ties new traditions with the old

In a state known for its corn, pigs and cows, it’s no wonder so many in eastern Iowa’s farming community and non-farming community alike flock to the Johnson County Fair, where tractor pulls and livestock shows are tradition.

But the county is rich with art and culture as well fresh produce — and organizers of the 2012 Johnson County Fair, which will begin on July 23 at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, said they hope to represent this aspect of Johnson County’s heritage as well.

“It’s a great mix between the rural and the urban,” said Brenda Christner, the fair’s business manager. “I think Iowa City and Johnson County are really stepping ahead of some of the other counties and cities in the area by maintaining the fair [and] getting the whole community to come together in one spot.”

As a county with an increasing urban population, Christner said, it is important for the fair to adapt to the times.

Read more here.


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