Public health researchers disagree on the impact fine silica dust has on the long-term health of residents living near silica sand mining communities like the tiny Mississippi River town of Clayton, which is in the Iowa county by the same name, and in southwest Wisconsin.
You’re interested in your community and current events and wonder how news about them is reported and written. Now, you have a chance to not only learn that but to be part of a workshop that takes you through the steps of reporting, writing and editing a news story in your community. The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, which runs the news site, IowaWatch.org, will host a journalism workshop on April 24, 2019, from 6 to 8 p.m. to inform and engage the public in news reporting. The workshop will be in the Iowa City Public Library, Room D, at 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City. REGISTER HERE
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Iowa will not add investigators to handle an increased number of pesticide drift complaints, favoring instead more efficient ways to handle complaint inspections, the state’s chief agriculture officer said. “I’ve got to manage the department of ag within my budget,” Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, said in IowaWatch’s weekly radio program that aired this past weekend. “It’s true, we’ve not seen a budget increase in the pesticide bureau, and I don’t expect to see a dramatic increase in the pesticide budget. So, what we do is look at how to manage the workload with the crew that we have.”
Naig’s comments followed an IowaWatch report on how workloads for Iowa’s eight state investigators who respond to complaints of misused herbicides have more than doubled the past two years. The workload increase went from 110 misuse reports in the 2016 crop year to 249 in the 2018 crop year.
Workloads for eight state investigators who determine whether herbicides are applied properly in Iowa have more than doubled the past two years, with no plans in sight for adding staffers. The workload increase — from 110 misuse reports in the 2016 crop year to 249 in the 2018 crop year — coincides with the introduction by agrochemical companies of dicamba-based herbicides to kill weeds in farm fields. In spite of this, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Pesticide Bureau has not added staff investigators and completing cases is taking longer, spilling over into the next crop year. Cases taken on in the 2018 crop year, which ran from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept.
The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism is one of three 2018 Citizen Diplomat Award recipients announced March 4, 2019, by the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities, known as CIVIC. The center, which runs IowaWatch.org, is being cited for its work as a nonprofit organization. The center’s journalists meet with international journalists on U.S. visits that bring them to Iowa, to talk about journalism in Iowa and the United States. The non-profit CIVIC is a community-based, member-driven organization established to create, support and sustain citizen diplomacy efforts in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids area of Eastern Iowa. It hosts international visitors whose U.S. visits take them through Iowa.
Many Iowans nearing retirement age are driving an increase in older workers who keep their job to cover high health care costs their life savings cannot cover. Story includes a podcast of an IowaWatch Connection radio report on the problem.
Problems the Iowa State Auditor’s office identified in a 2012 audit and subsequent reports and recommendations for investigating Iowa’s pesticide use violations still linger years later. The Iowa Legislature has not changed state law on some fees the state Department of Agriculture Land Stewardship Pesticide Bureau charges licensed pesticide distributors and applicators, an IowaWatch review of public records shows. In other instances, applicators do not take continuing education classes in the same year they apply. Explanations exist for some of the concerns. For example, applicators take continuing education after harvest and before the next spring’s planting season during what is called the crop year, which runs Oct.
Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds says enough state money will exist to pay for projects she proposed last week during her annual Condition of the State address. IowaWatch interviewed her and responding Democrats for this podcast report.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds stressed keeping promises for mental health care funding, education, rural revitalization and second chances Tuesday in her Condition of the State address. The call for second chances would come via a new state constitutional amendment that restores voting rights for felons who have served their full prison terms.
The effects of the government shutdown are starting to be felt in rural parts of the country. For example, implementing the new farm bill is on hold, Anna Johnson, Midwest policy manager for the Center for Rural Affairs and based in Iowa, said in a weekend IowaWatch Connection radio report now available in a podcast.