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DeSoto refuge to reopen but Boyer Chute closed

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

December 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa (AP) — One of the federal wildlife refuges that straddle the Missouri River north of Omaha will reopen next week as planned, but the other will stay closed because of safety concerns. Both DeSoto and Boyer Chute national wildlife refuges sustained flood damage earlier this year. Officials have decided to keep Boyer Chute closed for now.

But DeSoto will reopen Monday because much of the flood damage there has been repaired. But the visitor center will remain closed for more work. Some hiking trails will not be available. DeSoto will be closed for the Jan. 11-Jan. 18 deer hunt, and people will need to use the U.S. Highway 30 entrance to reach the refuge.

Drake impressive in MVC opener, 79-64 over Indiana State

Sports

December 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Drake Bulldogs jumped out to an 18-2 lead at the outset and cruised to a 79-64 win over Indiana State in their Missouri Valley Conference opener. It was the Bulldogs 11th straight win at home. Freshman point guard Karl Madison had a career high 24 points and was a perfect nine of nine from the field. With the win, Drake improves to 8-4 overall.

Purdue edges Iowa 79-76 Wednesday night

Sports

December 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Defense has been a problem this season for the Iowa Hawkeyes and a lack of it cost them in their Big Ten opener. The Hawks could not get enough stops at crunch time and Purdue escaped Iowa City with a 79-76 win. Robbie Hummel led Purdue with 16 points. Iowa Coach Fran McCafferry says the Hawkeyes need to find a way to defend the dribble drive. Roy Devyn Marble led Iowa with 17 points and Melsahn Basabe added 14 as the Hawks fall to 8-6 overall.

Insight Bowl coaches share strong connection

Sports

December 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The banquet before a bowl game can be an awkward time with the coaches of two teams about to play each mingling in the same room. For Oklahoma and Iowa, the Insight Bowl banquet was more like a reunion. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops played at Iowa when Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz was a coach on the staff and two of his assistants also have Iowa ties. Stoops wore Iowa gear to last year’s Insight Bowl while the Sooners were preparing to play in the Fiesta Bowl and says his wife, Carol, has their children yell “Go Hawks!” on Iowa game days. Stoops won’t be wearing the yellow and black Friday night, but his ties to his alma mater will remain strong after the game.

Ex-N. Iowa ticket office manager accused of theft

News, Sports

December 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former University of Northern Iowa ticket office manager is charged with theft after a state audit found more than $16,000 in transactions was diverted to his personal accounts. Former ticket office assistant director John Gogola of Cedar Falls was arrested Wednesday after the auditor released a review of ticket office records from August 2008 through August 2010. The review found more than $18,800 in improper transactions. More than $16,000 was diverted to Gogola’s personal credit and debit cards. The audit said Gogola had been authorized to record or reverse transactions in the school’s ticketing system. He resigned last year. The 44-year-old is being held on $50,000 bond. Jail officials and court records have no information about a defense attorney. A home telephone listing for Gogola is disconnected.

ESPN.com: Big 10, Pac 12 Plan Scheduling Partnership

Sports

December 28th, 2011 by Jim Field

The Pac-12 and Big Ten have agreed to a long-term interconference scheduling “collaboration” that, if successful, could have far-reaching ramifications for both of their memberships.

Likely beginning as early as next year, the Pac-12 and Big Ten are going to significantly reconfigure their future football, basketball and Olympic sports schedules to feature games between their combined 24 member schools.

The conferences will announce their plans later Wednesday.

The cleverly constructed “collaborative effort” provides the Pac-12 and the Big Ten with some of the benefits of expansion without the messiness of exit fees, litigation and the loss of historical rivalries. And from a strategic standpoint, the arrangement could broaden the geographical, television and brand reach of both conferences.

“Rather than go down the road of just trying to add members, we thought this was a way to keep who we were and an increase value for everybody,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told ESPN.com’s Gene Wojciechowski. “It doesn’t mean you can’t expand one day. It seems to us this is an intelligent way to get stronger and do so with zero collateral damage.”

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott told ESPN.com that “it’s a flexible approach to achieving some of the benefits of expansion without dealing with some of the other structural issues.”

Details remain fluid, but the probable first phase of the partnership would include increased Pac-12 vs. Big Ten games in men’s and women’s basketball, as well as in Olympic sports. Those changes will begin in the 2012-2013 academic year.

“Part of building our brand is getting our brand around to different places in the country,” Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said Wednesday. “The fact that this is an agreement that will connect a number of different sports, not just football, not just men’s basketball, but many, many of our other Olympic sports and team sports, it’s a great opportunity for us to travel and us to take our teams and our coaches and our brand to other parts of the country (where) ordinarily we wouldn’t be appearing a lot. So I think that’s significant.”

The scheduling transition in football will be slower because of existing non-conference contract commitments. But by the 2017 season, the two conferences are expected to have a full, 12-game Pac-12/Big Ten schedule in place, meaning each Pac-12 team will play a separate Big Ten program on an annual basis.

“We’ve obviously explored the possibility of going beyond 12 (teams),” Scott said. “I’ve been a believer, philosophically, of that if it made sense. Now I don’t see us expanding anytime in the foreseeable future. A lot of what we can do through collaborating with the Big Ten will help us accomplish some of the same things.”

State audit finds theft in UNI ticket office

Sports

December 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A special investigation by State Auditor Dave Vaudt (Vowdt) found several improper transactions by the former assistant director of the University of Northern Iowa’s “UNItix” ticket office. University officials contacted the auditor after someone called and said they had not received the athletic tickets they purchased. Vaudt says the audit by his office found that John Gogola was taking money that was meant for things like theater and football tickets. “He did it primarily by issuing refunds to his own personal credit card, almost 17-thousand dollars was issued to his personal credit card to take money from other accounts,” Vaudt explained. Gogola left the Cedar Falls School in August of 2010 before the problem was discovered. Vaudt says there could be more improper transactions, but it was hard to sort through all the information.

“He went through a very complicated scheme where actually we found almost 300 improper transactions that he posted, he kept switching from one account to another account,” Vaudt says. He says there were a few people who lost about 13-hundred dollars of their money from the transactions. The audit covered August 2008 through August 2010. Vaudt says Gogola did bring in a personal check for nearly one-thousand dollars after he had left U-N-I and other employees called him and questioned about one of the transactions. Vaudt made some suggestions to U-N-I to improve their system to avoid future problems.

Those suggestions included segregating the duties in the ticket office to ensure oversight, and he suggested the university look at its system to ensure that ticket pricing is entered correctly and that voided and returned tickets are handled appropriately. U-N-I issued a statement saying the school is contacting anyone who may’ve lost money and will mail them checks to cover the stolen funds. The university statement also said it will seek restitution from Gogola, and has already instituted most of the recommendations made by the auditor. The results of the audit have been turned over to the University’s Department of Public Safety, the Division of Criminal Investigation, the Black Hawk County Attorney’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office. 

(Radio Iowa)

8AM Sportscast 12-28-2011

Podcasts, Sports

December 28th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Jim Field

Play

Dry winter helps pheasants rebuild their numbers

Ag/Outdoor, Sports

December 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The lack of snow in December could be big in turning around several years of declinging pheasant numbers. D-N-R wildlife biologist, Todd Bogenschutz says seeing brown fields instead of white snowdrifts is important the pheasant population “This current winter for pheasants is exactly the kind of winter that we’ve been needing…the last couple of winters we’ve had anywhere from 20 to 30 inches of snow by the end of December, and this year is shaping up to be zero. I’d say our pheasant survival to this point is over 90-percent, so that’s awesome,” Bogenschutz says. He says winter survival sets the stage for a good spring hatch. “Winter is pretty critical because it’s the first major crunch time they have to go through,” Bogenschutz says, “and so if we have bad winters and kill most of ‘em, that’s pretty much the end of it. Certainly if they make it through the winter then what happens in the spring is also important.” He says the more hens that survive the winter the more chance there is for success if there is a bad spring. The D-N-R conducts an annual roadside survey in August, and that count found an average of seven birds last year for each 30 miles, down from 11 birds the year before. Bogenschutz says past records show the birds can rebuild the population quickly if the climate is right. He says there are several documented cases where we’ve had mild winters followed by a good spring, and that has led to the bird population doubling. “It’s definitely and awesome start, we’ve still got three months of winter to go yet, but it’s an awesome start for them, that’s for sure,” Bogenschutz said. The current pheasant season runs through January 10th.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)

Iowa men’s hoops takes winning streak into Big Ten

Sports

December 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — After a month of struggles, Iowa finally got rolling with three straight wins to end non-conference play. Those victories won’t mean much if the Hawkeyes don’t get off to a good start in the Big Ten — arguably the nation’s toughest league yet again. Iowa (8-5) opens league play tonight (Wednesday), at home against Purdue (10-3). The Hawkeyes and Penn State are the only two Big Ten teams with more than three losses, and Iowa wasn’t all that competitive in losses to Creighton, Clemson, Northern Iowa and Iowa State. Now the Hawkeyes face 18 straight games in a league ranked No. 1 in RPI. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery says  “It’s important that we come into the game with the right mindset, follow the game plan and play well.”  He says “We can’t have mistake-(filled) stretches, long periods of missed shots, the inability to stop (Purdue) when we need a stop when we need a stop or two or three in a row. That’s what you have to be able to do to win consistently.”

There are at least two reasons why the Hawkeyes can hope this year will be better than last year, when they won just four Big Ten games and finished in 10th place. Sophomore Devyn Marble is emerging as a potential impact player, and forward Melsahn Basabe has improved after an atrocious start. After struggling to beat teams it was supposed to defeat, the Hawkeyes have cobbled together a winning streak and the confidence that comes with success. That could all change if they can’t continue to show improvement. McCaffery said “It’s one tough game after another, and all we’re trying to do is prepare for the next opponent and play well. And then if we play well, then try to continue to get better.”