Top Stories

Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.


Quirmbach sounds alarm on public health firing

Says IDPH intention is to end smoking cessation program
By Meghan Malloy | 08.01.11 | 1:54 pm

The administrator of the Division of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control was terminated from her position last week by the Iowa Department of Public Health Director, an Ames Democrat who sits on the Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Commission as an ex-officio member.

In a letter to media editors in Iowa, Sen. Herman Quirmbach expressed discontent with the firing of Bonnie Mapes by Mariannette Miller-Meeks, and shared concerns about the future of the division with other anti-smoking lobbying groups.

Quirmbach’s letter is reproduced below:

Last week while Lance Armstrong and other anti-cancer advocates were in Carroll, Iowa, promoting tobacco cessation and other wellness initiatives, the Branstad administration was hard at work undercutting their efforts.

I was dismayed to learn that last week Iowa Department of Public Health Director Mariannette Miller-Meeks quietly fired Bonnie Mapes, administrator of the Division of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control.  Miller-Meeks has told some members of the Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Commission that she intends to seek legislation to disband the Division entirely and that she has little interest in developing effective tobacco control policy, despite a statutory responsibility to do so.

Iowa’s Division of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control is a national model for cancer prevention. According to the American Cancer Society, Iowa’s anti-smoking efforts have resulted in a 24 percent drop in coronary heart disease, an 8 percent drop in heart attacks and a 5 percent drop in strokes. Iowa is now number two in the nation for the lowest adult smoking rate, and youth smoking rates dropped 13 percentage points from 2000-2008. Despite these remarkable successes, smoking remains the number one cause of death in our state, killing 4,400 Iowans each year.

Studies show that every dollar spent on tobacco cessation leads to $3 in health care savings. Yet during the legislative session, Republicans tried to completely eliminate funding for tobacco prevention and cessation. We persuaded them to keep $2.8 million in the budget, but that still represents a significant cut.

If Iowa is serious about fighting cancer, we can’t afford to undermine prevention efforts. If you’re among the 68 percent of Iowans who believe the state should support tobacco cessation efforts, I encourage you to make your voice heard before it’s too late.”

The Governor’s Office referred questions from the Iowa Independent to Miller-Meeks. A message left at her office was not immediately returned Monday.

The Division of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control, which faced significant budget cuts this past session, undertakes anti-smoking operatives throughout the state, from counseling to advertisements.

(Editor’s Note: Miller-Meeks later responded to Quirmbach’s letter, saying that Mapes opted for early retirement in the wake of steady funding cuts for the cessation program. Miller-Meeks also said that IDPH’s intention is not to stop the program.)

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