Sunday, May 31, 2009

LLS, Two Special Kids and Lester Holt

These 16 people and two youngsters (yes, I know a few people are missing from the photo) have spent the last 10 weeks giving their life to saving lives. They all competed in the Man, Woman and Celebrity of the Year for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in central Iowa. In the middle of this recession, they still managed to help raise about $200,000 to fight blood cancer. I had the honor to emcee LLS' annual fundraising gala Saturday night with my wife. It's a very emotional, inspirational, and, yes, sad night. Tears flowed all night long. And many of us guys kept biting our bottom lip, so we wouldn't lose it, too.

A few decades ago, a child diagnosed with blood cancer had more than a 95% chance of dying. It's a staggering and heartbreaking statistic. But this next number shows why nights like last night, recession and all, are so important. A child now has an 86% chance of surviving because of all the dollars that have funded all the research because of nights like Saturday night and people like the ones in the picture above. The goal is to wipe out blood cancer by 2015. It can happen. It should happen. It will happen. The two youngsters in that picture, Wil and Sarah, need it to happen.

Our sports guy, Andy Fales, has missed our station softball team's games the past two weeks. He played in our first game. We lost that one. We have won the last two. Coincidence? I'm not judging. I'm just saying...

This is the price I pay, and my right knee pays, for softball. For the record, I was safe at second base. The left half of my leg isn't red from softball. Believe it or not, my wife actually sprayed me with sunblock before before we hit the beach on Anna Maria Island in Florida this past week. Maybe the wind blew it away from my leg when she sprayed it??? I have no idea. All I know is I had a bad sunburn on my pasty white appendages.

Did you see that piece NBC superstud (and one of the kings on my man crush list), Lester Holt, did on an inside look at the Secret Service? It's about 4 minutes long and definitely worth your time. Good stuff as always, Mr. Holt.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Democratic Senate Candidate Rips Culver

Where's the love here? Democratic Iowa Governor Chet Culver speculates the only announced candidate (Bob Krause) in the race to run against U.S. Senator Charles Grassley will not be the ONLY candidate for the Democratic primary. Then that ONLY announced candidate seems to take a few shots back at Culver. Here's the release from Krause:

Democratic Senate candidate Bob Krause Says He Welcomes Culver’s Comments On U. S. Senate Primary

Bob Krause, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, said today that he welcomes Governor Chet Culver's speculation that Krause could have primary opposition in June 2010. The Governor's comments came during the taping of the Iowa Public Television program “Iowa Press” and were reported Friday by Tom Beaumont in the Des Moines Register. "I am glad my activities have elevated the visibility of this race,” said Krause. “There are those that have wishful thinking now that my activities have shown that this is a winnable race. However, I will continue to work vigorously to define a better future for Iowa and am confident that, when the dust settles, I will be the Democratic nominee for US Senate and will go on to win in November 2010," said Krause. Sen. Chuck Grassley, the incumbent, is expected to be the Republican nominee for the seat.
"Senator Grassley's popularity has plummeted from 71% to 59% since January,” Krause pointed out. “Yet he continues to vote against the essential interests of disabled veterans. In fact, his record is 3rd from the bottom in all of Congress. He also voted against equal pay for equal work by women just this January, and now leads the charge for a proposal that could tank the opportunity for health care reform by unnecessarily elevating costs for drugs and medical care.”
“I believe that when his record is made known to Iowans that Senator Grassley's 51 year run as a public official will be over," Krause added.
Pointing to his own qualifications as a candidate, Krause said, “I bring to the table a statewide network of veterans and Democratic activists that will be difficult for any other Democratic candidate to duplicate. I also bring multiple experiences in public service that have created a deep understanding of how our democracy works.”
Krause then noted that he has I been a state legislator, a school board member, a college teacher, a high level federal administrator, a military officer, an author and think tank director, a transportation professional, a laborer and a farmer.
“I did not just hold positions,” he said. “Throughout life, I have had substantive accomplishments, as can be documented. Iowans will find no other candidate in this election that can do a better job of linking Iowans to new directions and a new future. My breadth of experience, knowledge of issues, and my desire to mount an effective campaign combine to make me a formidable candidate," said Krause.
Krause pointed out that Grassley has not had serious competition during his entire career in the Senate. “But this year will be different," Krause promised.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Behn for Governor, Republican Powell, Remembering Parkersburg

There is a new name in the Republican race for Iowa governor next year. 2002 party nominee Doug Gross offered State Sen. Jerry Behn of Boone as a possibility. That's the first time I've heard Behn's name mentioned. He's 55 and was first elected to the statehouse in 1996. By the way, don't mention global warming to him. He's not a believer.

Speaking of believing, it appears Colin Powell is still a believer in the Republican Party. Powell wants a more inclusive (moderate) mentality as the party tries to rebuild itself from the last few elections. He admitted he has voted for some Democrats for the White House over the years, but he has voted for far more Republicans.

Monday, is a painful day of memories for many Iowans. It was one year ago, an EF5 tornado tore through Parkersburg in eastern Iowa and killed seven people. Two others died in the tornado in nearby New Hartford. This video is our first live report from the scene last year.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bankruptcy GM Bad for Iowa Dealers

Chrylser auto dealers in Iowa may already be hosed. The dealers told by the company Chrysler no longer wants them in the family don't seem to have a lot of hope they will get a second chance. There is some type of "appeal" process with the company, but dealers don't seem to think that process will do much good.

General Motors dealers, on the other hand, think Iowa law is on their side. They say the law stops a manufacturer from ending their relationship in almost all cases. But they fear that could all change, like it has with Chrysler, under bankruptcy proceedings. Bruce Anderson, the general counsel for the Iowa Auto Dealers Association, said that is why dealers are watching so closing the end of this month. That's when we could learn if GM will head toward bankruptcy under its negotiations with President Barack Obama.

I've never really been able to get good answers from people how closing dealerships will save much money for the manufacturers. But Slate magazine has an article that offers some ideas.


What does Albert Pujols have against Big Macs? Maybe this helps figure that out.

And Hormel is making more money apparently because we are eating more Spam. So in honor of that...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vilsack Doesn't Like Swine Flu

Here's a tip for you if you are a reporter or if you just happen to run into former Iowa Governor-turned-U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack...don't call it the "Swine Flu":)

Also, when asked about the same-sex marriage ruling in Iowa, he called it "my court". Here's the video:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lamberti Considering Run for Governor

Jeff Lamberti told me if I would have asked him two months ago, he probably would have said "no." But now he admits he is "thinking about it." Lamberti, the former Iowa Senate President, had been enjoying life in the private sector, as an owner of the Iowa Barnstormers Arena Football League 2 team, a practicing attorney, and a board member on his father's company, Casey's General Stores.

But he told me influential activists have been talking to him about running for governor next year against Governor Chet Culver. And so now he is considering it. You will remember his daughter may be the first person to really put Lamberti's possible run for governor out there in public. A month or so ago, she sent a message to her dad through the social networking site, Facebook, saying that she had lined up friends to help get him elected.

Lamberti said he doesn't need a long time to decide. And he is not scared off by the $8-10 million he thinks he would need to raise. But he has to decide whether he wants to put aside all his other projects to commit to running. He said he will make a decision at least by the fall, but said he will likely decide before then.

Lamberti's supporters have to hope he makes a better entrance into the race than this Barnstormers' coach made onto the field:

Here are better Barnstormers' moments:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

NBC's Fall Lineup

Waiting for people to return phone calls has to be one of my least favorite parts of my job. So while I wait, I caught up on a little entertainment news. I know it's cool to say, "I don't watch much tv", even though study after study shows we watch a ton of television. I think it's something like nearly 6 hours for American adults. I admit I watch a lot of tv...good thing, I guess, since I work in tv:)

NBC has announced what it's planning for the fall. It's not chuckin' Chuck. His name is no longer Earl. Law & Order still rules and SVU is still a-OK. OK, I'm done trying to be clever. Here's the plan.


And a tribute to Patrick Swayze...there are back and forth reports about his status. Let's remember him in in the better days...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Culver's Office: Vaudt "do-nothing attitude"

Iowa Governor Chet Culver's office has now responded, very strongly, to State Auditor Dave Vaudt's complaints lawmakers have dramatically overspent Iowa tax dollars and have set themselves up for a $1 billion shortfall in two years. Here's the link to my earlier post on this.

Here's the response from Phil Roeder, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications

"Republicans like Auditor Vaudt not only have a do-nothing attitude towards people hurt by this economy, but they seem to lack faith in the ability of Iowans to work our way out of the recession. The action taken by Governor Culver to develop I-JOBS, combined with President Obama’s federal recovery, will create jobs, improve our communities, and help turn the economy around."

Bob Brown, Sr., Dies

Another local automobile legend has died. Bob Brown, Senior, died last night at the age of 91. Brown's name heads four dealerships in the Des Moines metro. The funeral home website offers this obituary on his life.

It was just last October
that another dean of the auto business died. Charles Gabus owned Ford, Kia, Chrysler, Mitsubishi and Toyota dealerships in the metro. He was 90.

Dave Vaudt Won't Run for Governor

It didn't look much like one of those over-orchestrated campaign backdrops...just Iowa Auditor Dave Vaudt sitting in the middle of the large, brown table that sits to the side of his desk in the state capitol building. In other didn't feel like there was a huge announcement coming.

During the briefing, Vaudt again told taxpayers lawmakers and the governor are spending way too much money and he thinks it will lead to large tax increases, service cuts or likely both in the next few years because of it.

Vaudt then dropped what will likely overshadow his anti-spending message...he is not running for governor next year. Vaudt said if he did run, he would lose his voice, or the credibility of it, as the state auditor in the next 18 months. He fears Iowans, Democrats, his Republican primary opponents...they would all question what he was saying. That wouldn't best serve the Iowa taxpayers, he doesn't believe. Vaudt said at this time he has no plans to endorse another Republican before the primary. But he did say he wants the nominee to focus on financial issues, which he thinks should be the main emphasis for the next governor.

Vaudt did say he will run for re-election as state auditor. He is currently serving his second term.

Vaudt also announced he has put together a message for Iowans on the state's money matters on the website, YouTube.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Justin Hartwig to Visit President Obama

From the White House. Not a bad few years for former West Des Moines Valley High School football star and really big dude, Justin Hartwig (Justin is listed as 6'4" and 312 pounds on the team web site). Hartwig bounced around the NFL a bit and several times left a team only to see that team go the Super Bowl the following year. But this past season, his timing with the Pittsburgh Steelers was the best. And he has a Super Bowl ring to prove it.

His mom emailed me to say Justin and the rest of his Steelers' team will visit the White House Thursday to meet President Barack Obama. You will remember the prez predicted the Steelers would win the Super Bowl.


Of course, that's not the most important athletic news in our state:)... Our Scheels/Channel 13 softball team got a workout on the bases today. We earned our first win of the year, 15-7, as we dodged the raindrops. We're 1 and 1 now. The rest of the league had better look out!

I bet we'll be sore tomorrow.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Chrysler Wants to Close Dozens of Iowa Dealerships

It's not a pretty picture in the auto industry right now, and it looks like it's about to darken a lot of days ahead for Iowa auto dealers. MSNBC reports Chrysler wants to close about a quarter of its 3,200 U.S. dealerships, 789 to be exact, by June 9th. It's all part of Chrysler's bankruptcy plans. By my count, Iowa could lose 22 dealerships. Here's the full list and the Iowa dealerships I found on the list:

1st Ave. Chrysler, Cedar Rapids
Anchor Motor Co., Osceola
Beecher Inc., Shenandoah
Benson Motor, Inc., Ames
Bill Lyons Car Co., Mason City
Delzell Motor Co., Burlington
Des Moines Chrylser-Plymouth, Des Moines
Friday's Service Inc., Conrad
Harlan Auto mart, Harlan
Moldiman Motor Inc., Cedar Falls
Irwin Auto Co. of Winterset, Winterset
Johnston County Motors, Coralville
Ken Krause Motors Inc., Emmetsburg
McCormick Motors, Ida Grove
Mike Finnin Motors Inc., Dubuque
Motor Inn Inc., Estherville
Motor Inn of LeMars, LeMars
Rhoden Auto Center Inc., Council Bluffs
Ron Willey Ford Inc., Nevada
Schuelke Auto Company, Storm Lake
Shottenkirk-Illinois Inc., West Burlington
Willey Inc., Ames

Who knows how many hundreds (thousands?) of Iowans could be affected? Selfishly, these closings could have a sizeable impact on the media, as well. Those dealerships spend a lot of money on radio, newspaper and television ads. For example, many television stations get nearly one-third of their ad revenue from auto dealerships. Yikes.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gross Doesn't Think Vander Plaats Is Winning Candidate

Republican Doug Gross knows what it's like to lose a race for governor. Democrat Tom Vilsack beat him in 2002. Gross doesn't want his party to lose again. By the way, despite rumors circulating that Gross wants to be his party's nominee again next year, he insists he is not going to run for governor.

Bob Vander Plaats, who has failed twice before in his attempts to become governor, is the closest person to a "candidate" for the Republicans. He told me he is running unless his health or his family's health became a concern. O.K., back to Gross...

Gross and some allies paid for a statewide survey of what Iowans want in a candidate. He said the numbers show Iowans want politicians dealing with the money matters, not marriage. Iowans believe leaders have spent too much money, so they know want those leaders to cut spending/cut taxes. He said cultural issues, like same-sex marriage, fall very low on Iowans' priorities' list, according to his survey. So Gross doesn't think Vander Plaats will win the race for governor, because VP made his opposition to same-sex marriages such a central part of his "campaign".

Gross is looking for an alternative candidate. He wants someone with a strong business background, but also, someone who has some political experience, as well. Gross didn't give names, but he said four or five people are very seriously looking at it right now. He expects to have his alternative candidate by September 1st.

Vander Plaats, as you might guess, disagrees with Gross' assessment. He told me he talks about other issues, like economics, but he says people keep talking to him about the same-sex marriage situation. He said it's important Iowans know what candidates believe on this subject, so he doesn't think Iowans want candidates to avoid talking about the topic.

Grassley Predicts Health Care Bill by August 1

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley predicts the U.S. Senate will pass a health care bill before August 1st. Grassley is working with his frequent partner, Montana's Democratic Senate Max Baucus, on a health care reform bill in the senate. Grassley told me he is pushing for two things in the package. He wants chronic disease care and coordinated care (he explained this is the followup care you receive after you leave the hospital, which could reduce the number of people who have to go back into the hospital with more serious problems later).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Senator Bartz Cleared of Ethics Complaint

TNT is the place for drama. The senate ethics committee meeting at the Iowa Statehouse Tuesday was not. The six-member committee, 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats, took just seven minutes to decide Grafton Republican Senator Merlin Bartz did not violate ethics rules. Bartz is serving his 13th year in the statehouse (he served 12 before leaving the legislature and returning this year).

Bartz started a petition last month that urged county recorders to follow their beliefs, instead of the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling, that same-sex couples could get married. He hoped the recorders would refuse to grant licenses to same-sex couples. We have never found any of the 99 who have obeyed his request. Former Iowa lawmaker Ed Fallon and his wife, Lynn, filed the ethics complaint. They felt Bartz, as a public official, was unethical in his actions to push people to ignore state law. But lawmakers disagreed and said Bartz should be allowed to voice his opinion, citing his First Amendment rights.

Bartz said he was nervous about the whole thing. He said he didn't regret his actions. But he said the whole matter did make him think about it over and over to make sure he didn't do anything inappropriate. Bartz questioned why Fallon didn't show up for the meeting. Fallon said he didn't know about the metting. He told me he just got the letter in the mail from the secretary of the senate advising him of the meeting about 45 minutes after the meeting took place. Fallon also said he left messages with Senate President Jack Kibbie's office several times last week asking if he should be at the meeting. At the beginning of the meeting, Kibbie mentioned that no one else would speak during the proceedings.

I checked the state legislature's website. The committee meeting had been posted there.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Howard Dean Returns to Des Moines

Howard Dean, presumably without the scream, is scheduled to return to Des Moines this month. The gay rights group, One Iowa, is holding a reception for Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and House Speaker Pat Murphy, which will feature Dean. Both men blocked debate in their respective chambers on amending the Iowa constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Here's part of the email One Iowa sent to friends/supporters:

Friends -

I wanted to invite you to a One Iowa reception with special guest Howard Dean on Thursday, May 28!

History in the Heartland
With Special Guest Governor Howard Dean
Honoring Senator Mike Gronstal and Speaker Pat Murphy

Thursday, May 28
7:00 to 8:30 PM
Home of Carolyn Jenison (1330 9th Street, Des Moines)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Obama, Star Trek, John Edwards and Softball

I feel like I'm still catching up. We drove home to Belleville, Illinois, to see my mom for Mother's Day over the weekend (MY weekend, that is: Thursday and Friday).

My wife had taped Elizabeth Edwards on Oprah. We just watched it this weekend. Did you see it? What did you think? I must say I'm a bit surprised Elizabeth said she hasn't asked if the baby of her husband's mistress is John's. Wouldn't a wife want to know that? Did John seem believable in the interview? Does he even have ANY credibility after lying to the country (and more importantly, breaking his promise that he would be faithful to his wife)?

Former Veep Dick Cheney thinks Rush is the party, not Colin Powell. I'd be curious what the moderates think of this. Can Rush rally conservatives enough that they can win over the voters who abandoned the Republican Party the last few years? Or is party leadership making a mistake by not embracing more moderates like Powell who could speak more directly to those other swingers (swing voters, I mean, not spouse-swappers or that ill-fated series on CBS)

$72 million plus for the Star Trek movie's opening weekend? Are there really that many Trekkies out there who made it out of their parents' basement this weekend? Just kidding.

What did you think of President Barack Obama's comedy act at the Correspondents' Dinner in D.C.? Of course, Iowa got a prominent one-liner.

Here are some other highlights:

It was a tough debut for our station softball team. Thanks, by the way, to Scheel's for sponsoring us this season. Although, I hope you won't change your mind after our first game this morning. We got doubled up 8-4. We need to find our big sticks. Insert joke here.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Grassley Said About Chinese Pork Boycott, "They're Stupid."

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley seemed to make a bunch of news in one interview with us this afternoon. He thinks the economy has bottomed out. He thinks homosexuals shouldn't get into the military if they don't like the current "Don't ask, don't tell" rules (he thinks President Obama will change those rules, a decision he opposes). And about China's boycott of Iowa pork because of H1N1 concerns, Grassley replied, "They're stupid."

Here's his entire interview.

Northey Calls Bull About Pork

Other countries continue their panic over H1N1. China is banning pork from Iowa (and the rest of the U.S.) because of the outbreak. Iowa Sec. of Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey sent out this release to speak out against China's decision.

Iowa Sec. of Agriculture Bill Northey today issued the following statement on reports that China is banning pork imports from Iowa due to the Influenza A/H1N1 outbreak. Other countries have taken similar actions against states where people with the infection have been found.

However, international health officials have repeatedly confirmed that people cannot contract the H1N1 virus from eating pork and other meats. Over the weekend the World Health Organization, World Organization for Animal Health and the World Trade Organization issued a joint statement to that effect. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has also repeatedly emphasized to trading partners and consumers the safety of U.S. pork.

Sec. Northey’s statement follows here:

“Iowa pork, and all pork for that matter, is safe and China and the other countries that are banning pork imports are not acting based on science. It is unfortunate that these unjustified actions are being felt most dramatically by the farmers who raise pork. The industry has already been facing very difficult economics for the last several months, and this just adds to the difficulties experienced by Iowa’s pork producers.”

Monday, May 04, 2009

New Name in Iowa Governor's Race?

Here's a name I hadn't heard much about in the Iowa governor's race for next year: Troy Cook. Cook worked in the 2002 initial episode of the Bob Vander Plaats, Republican candidate for governor, trilogy. He has been working in the insurance business. Cook told me he has talked with some Republican insiders about "several races", the other race presumably Iowa's Third Congressional District, now held by Democrat Leonard Boswell. Boswell long ago left little doubt about whether he would run again in 2010. He announced he would run on election night in 2008.

Congrats to a guy from my hometown. Carlos Zambrano, "The Big Z", of the Chicago Cubs, pulled his hamstring running out a bunt. He is supposed to be on the disabled list for three weeks. And that means Randy Wells got the call up from the Iowa Cubs Triple "A" baseball team in Des Moines. Wells grew up in Belleville, Illinois. He actually got drafted as a catcher, but later switched to pitcher in the minor leagues. Good luck, Randy! Just don't do too well to hurt my Cardinals.

Speaking of my Cards, their center fielder, Rick Ankiel, had an ugly, face-first crash into the wall as he made an amazing catch. Here's the first video I can find of it. You'll have to ignore the guy doing the highlights, who shows absolutely no empathy in his fake-voiced play-by-play.

Polk County First Probable H1N1

It was probably just a matter of time, but Polk County has its first "probable" case of H1N1. Although, county health officials say that "probable" will probably soon change to "confirmed". Last I heard, Marshall County is still waiting on 7 probable cases. So the state still has just 1 confirmed case so far.

Here's the release from Polk County:

Polk County Health Department has been notified that a Polk County resident has been identified as a “probable case” of having the H1N1 virus. The initial testing, performed by the University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory, is expected to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Because almost all of the cases identified as “probable” have been confirmed as positive for the H1N1 virus, based on recommendations from the Iowa Department of Public Health, we are moving forward assuming that will be true with this case. We will begin our investigation immediately,” said Terri Henkels, Polk County Health Department Director.

Health Department officials will interview the patient to identify who he might have had close enough contact with him to spread the virus. The investigation will help Health Department officials identify who else needs to be tested and who might need to be treated with anti-viral medication.

The Polk County resident is a 27-year old male who recently traveled to two states with previously confirmed cases. He was tested at Polk County Health Department last week. He was requested to voluntarily isolate himself at home until the results came back.

“We strongly encourage people who have been tested for the virus to stay home from work or school until the test results come back. Our primary goal is to minimize the number of people get sick and we will continue to proceed and urge caution, said Ms. Henkels.

Since there is no vaccination available for this flu virus it is important that people remember to: wash their hands frequently, and always wash their hands after coughing or sneezing. They should use an alcohol-based hand gel is soap and water is not available. Cough or sneeze into a tissue, or your sleeve or elbow.

People with a temperature rises above 100 F, along with other symptoms, including a cough, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion and extreme tiredness, should contact their health care provider to be seen and tested in a way that will not endanger the health of others.

“People without a healthcare provider of their own should contact the Health Department (286-3890). Most importantly people who feel ill should stay home! Don’t send your children to school if they feel ill,” said Ms. Henkels.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

John Edwards Subject of Federal Inquiry

$400 haircuts. Lives in a multi-million dollar mansion while talking about how we need to help the poor. Cheats on his cancer-stricken, terminally ill wife. Oh, and now, he's the subject of a federal investigation into possible misspending of his campaign funds. Think he'll ever run for office again?

Here's the story from the Associated Press:

And this video is just for the memories

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Iowa Has Confirmed H1N1 Case

Iowa now has its first confirmed case of H1N1. But apparently, the second case thought to be H1N1 wasn't after all. However, the state is still awaiting results on seven other people . This release just came from Governor Culver's office.


Additional probable cases reported; Governor declares public health disaster

DES MOINES – Governor Chet Culver has declared a public health emergency in Iowa after the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed the first case of H1N1 influenza in Iowa. The results of a second probable case reported on Wednesday have come back negative.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports that a total of seven additional probable cases in the state are undergoing confirmatory testing.

“As I’ve have said all along, it was only a matter of time before Iowa saw its first case of this flu, and today the CDC has confirmed that an individual in eastern Iowa does in fact have an H1N1 infection,” said Governor Culver. “On the state level, we are taking every precaution to help prevent the spread of this disease. We continue to monitor the situation, both in Iowa and around the country. As Governor, I will continue to do everything I can to ensure that Iowans stay healthy and safe.”

The first confirmed case involves a southeast Iowa adult female who became ill last week after returning from Mexico. She traveled through Johnson, Des Moines and Muscatine counties.

Of the current probable H1N1 flu cases, six are located in Marshall County (this includes the one new probable case reported on Friday) and one in Tama County.

The Governor’s public health disaster declaration gives the state additional flexibility that may be needed to carry out the work of protecting the health of Iowans by allowing for several provisions, including:

· The purchase, storage and distribution of additional antivirals and other medical supplies.

· The deployment of public health response teams to supplement and support overburdened local medical and public health personnel, hospitals and resources.

· The adoption of reasonable measures, as necessary, to prevent the transmission of infectious disease and to ensure that all identified cases are properly controlled and treated.

· Possible isolation of individuals or groups of individuals if necessary.

In addition to signing a public health disaster declaration, Governor Culver and the Iowa Department of Public Health have taken a number of actions in response to the H1N1 flu situation:

· IDPH’s emergency coordination center in the Lucas Building has been activated.
· IDPH is sharing information regularly with local public health officials, health care providers, other state agencies, federal agencies and private partners.

· IDPH has received a shipment of federal assets, which include anti-viral medications and personal protective equipment.

· The Iowa Department of Public Safety is coordinating with IDPH to ensure the safe storage and transportation of the state’s antiviral supply.