Friday afternoon news, August 31
Labor Day Weekend Travel On The Rise
(Le Mars) -- Holiday weekend travel is expected to rise, despite the recent increase in gasoline prices, that according to a AAA official. Gail Weinholzer is the Director of Public Affairs for the Iowa and Minnesota motor club organization. She says despite the nearly ten cent per gallon increase in gasoline prices this last week, people are wanting to travel during the Labor Day weekend.
Weinholzer says she is not surprised to see the increase in travel plans. She says people tend to want to see friends and family during extended holiday weekends, and they usually save up the money needed for their travel plans. The AAA official believes gasoline prices may decline after the long weekend.
The AAA official advises people to use caution when traveling this weekend.
Iowans are being reminded to buckle up, obey the speed limit and play it safe. Randy Hunefeld with the Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau says the last holiday weekend of the summer can be a dangerous one on Iowa's roads because too many people are driving drunk.
Hunefeld is coordinator of the bureau's special Traffic Enforcement Program (sTEP). The agency is conducting a sTEP wave that started August 23 and runs through next Wednesday. Hunefeld warns that the heightened enforcement effort means motorists will have a better chance of getting caught if they're breaking traffic laws.
During Iowa's last sTEP project, over the July 4 holiday, law officers made contact with more than 15,600 motorists. That included 295 contacts with alcohol and drug-impaired drivers.
Northwestern College Sees Increase In Student Enrollment
(Orange City) -- Northwestern College of Orange City is reporting an increase in enrollment for the fall semester. The enrollment total is 1,241 students, or an increase of 30 students, from last year. The tally is the college's second-highest enrollment in the last five years and the tenth highest overall. Northwestern also recorded a record number of 52 transfer students.
Kenton Pauls, the dean of enrollment management, says this year's enrollment includes more students of color than ever before. The student body consists of nine percent American ethnic minorities and another three percent are international students. Northwestern's incoming freshman class has a higher ACT test score of 24.3, well above the average score of 22.3 for other Iowa colleges or the national rate of 21.1. Northwestern's retention rate of freshmen returning for the sophomore year was 77.2 percent, with 91.7 percent of second-year students returning for their third year.
Fifty four percent of the Northwestern student body is from Iowa, 11 percent are from Minnesota, eight percent are from South Dakota, seven percent hail from California, and six percent refer to Nebraska as home.
Judge To Rule On Libertarian Presidential Candidate's Name On Ballot
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A district court judge says he plans to rule on Tuesday whether to block Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson's listing on the November ballot in Iowa.
Attorneys for two voters filed documents Thursday in Des Moines asking Judge Arthur Gamble to review the decision of a panel of three state officials that allowed Johnson on the ballot.
Secretary of State Matt Schultz, Attorney General Tom Miller and Warren Jenkins, the chief deputy for Auditor David Vaudt, voted Wednesday to allow Johnson on November's ballot.
Libertarians say they held a convention at the Iowa State Fair to get Johnson onto Iowa's ballot.
The challengers say Libertarians didn't hold a real convention. They say the panel of officials made an erroneous decision not supported by the evidence.
Gamble heard arguments Friday morning.
Injured Iowa Sailor Returns Home From Afghanistan
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa sailor who lost parts of his arms and legs in a bombing in Afghanistan has told a hometown crowd that "you rock" as his sacrifices and recovery inspire others.
Taylor Morris, a 23-year-old Navy bomb detection expert, returned to Iowa on Thursday for a weekend visit from Walter Reed Medical Center. Thousands of people lined the route from the
Waterloo airport to his hometown of Cedar Falls. It's Morris' first trip home since his deployment and the bomb blast in May.
Morris says in a statement that it feels "really awesome to know the entire community has our back."
Longtime friend Ben Hagarty says people thought they had problems, then they think of Morris and "if he can do it, I can do it, too."