Iowa

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Posted by r2d2 02/27/2009 @ 04:38

Tags : iowa, states, us

News headlines
Iowa man charged after allegedly eating pot - Chicago Tribune
AP IOWA CITY, Iowa - A man has been arrested in the Iowa City area after police say he tried to eat a bag of marijuana to avoid drug charges. University Heights police say David Pledge, of Cedar Rapids, was pulled over early Sunday for a traffic...
Iowa auditor won't run for governor - Chicago Tribune
By MIKE GLOVER | AP Political Writer DES MOINES, Iowa - Republican state Auditor David Vaudt says he's decided against running for governor, arguing that seeking the office would prevent him from sounding the alarm about a state budget he sees as...
Kyle Busch wins race at Iowa Speedway - Los Angeles Times
Kyle Busch won a NASCAR Camping World Series East-West race at Iowa Speedway on Sunday night. The driver from Las Vegas who races for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series traveled from the Sprint All-Star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in...
Number of Iowa dealers on General Motors list grows to 20 - DesMoinesRegister.com
By JEFF ECKHOFF • jeckhoff@dmreg.com • May 19, 2009 The list of Iowa car dealers who risk losing their General Motors franchises by the end of 2010 now stands at 20, the Iowa Automobile Dealers Association said Monday. Bruce Anderson, general counsel...
Stimulus projects to begin soon in Iowa - Chicago Tribune
AP DES MOINES, Iowa - Contractors in Iowa will soon begin work on more than $330 million in road and construction projects funded by federal economic stimulus dollars. The stimulus cash has allowed local and state governments to fast-track dozens of...
Eastern Iowa student confirmed with bacterial meningitis - Radio Iowa
By Darwin Danielson State officials say a case of bacterial meningitis has been confirmed in a student at Linn-Mar High School in Marion. State epidemiologist, Patricia Quinlisk, says the disease is spread by direct contact with saliva....
Iowa town hit by tornado honors graduating seniors - Chicago Tribune
AP PARKERSBURG, Iowa - Nearly a year after a tornado ripped apart their town and their school, the Aplington-Parkersburg High School class of 2009 has graduated. Because of damage to the high school, the seniors finished their final year at an...
Trial set for Iowa man in pacemaker case - KPTM-TV
AP - May 19, 2009 7:54 AM ET MANCHESTER, Iowa (AP) - An August trial is set for a northeast Iowa man accused of cutting his father's pacemaker from his chest with a pocketknife. Thirty-2-year-old Jesse Fierstine (FIRE'-stine), of Manchester,...
FBI infiltrated Iowa anti-war group before GOP convention - DesMoinesRegister.com
An FBI informant and an undercover Minnesota sheriff's deputy spied on political activists in Iowa City last year before the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. Confidential FBI documents obtained by The Des Moines Register show an FBI...
Searching for Solutions After Violence Erupts in SE Iowa City - KCRG
By Becky Ogann IOWA CITY - A neighborhood riot involving up to 60 people last week is sparking Iowa City leaders to take action. The evening brawl happened May 10th on Hollywood Boulevard, on the SE side of the city. Witnesses say some people carried...

USS Iowa (BB-61)

When Iowa was selected to ferry President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Cairo and Tehran Conferences, and she was outfitted with a bathtub for Roosevelt's convenience. Roosevelt, who had been crippled in 1921, would have been unable to make effective use of a shower facility. This bathtub remains the only one ever installed on a United States Navy warship.[5]

USS Iowa (BB-61) ("The Big Stick") was the lead ship of her class of battleship and the fourth in the United States Navy to be named in honor of the 29th state. Iowa is the only US battleship to have been equipped with a bathtub, and was the only ship of the class to have served in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II.

During World War II, Iowa served as a presidential shuttle in the Atlantic fleet, moving President Roosevelt to and from the Tehran conference. When transferred to the Pacific fleet in 1944, Iowa shelled beachheads at Kwajalein and Eniwetok in advance of Allied amphibious landings and screened aircraft carriers operating in the Marshall Islands. During the Korean War, Iowa was involved in raids on the North Korean coast, after which she was decommissioned into the United States Navy reserve fleets, better known as the "mothball fleet". She was reactivated in 1984 as part of the 600-ship Navy plan, and operated in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets to counter the recently expanded Soviet Navy. In April 1989 an explosion of undetermined origin wrecked her #2 gun turret, killing 47 sailors.

Iowa was decommissioned for the last time in 1990, and was initially struck from the Naval Vessel Register in 1995. She was reinstated from 1999 to 2006 to comply with federal laws that required retention and maintenance of two Iowa-class battleships. Iowa is currently berthed with the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, near San Francisco, California, and is awaiting donation to a not-for-profit entity for use as a museum ship. At present, Iowa is the only member of her class not open to the public.

Iowa was the lead ship of her class of "fast battleship" designs planned in 1938 by the Preliminary Design Branch at the Bureau of Construction and Repair. She was launched on 27 August 1942, sponsored by Ilo Wallace (wife of Vice President Henry Wallace), and commissioned on 22 February 1943 with Captain John L. McCrea in command. She was the first ship of her class of battleship to be commissioned by the United States.

Iowa’s main battery consisted of nine 16-inch (406 mm)/50-caliber Mark 7 naval guns, which could fire 2,700-pound (1,200 kg) armor-piercing shells some 20 nautical miles (37 km). Her secondary battery consisted of twenty 5-inch (127 mm) / 38-caliber guns in twin turrets, which could fire at targets up to 12 nautical miles (22 km) away. With the advent of air power and the need to gain and maintain air superiority came a need to protect the growing fleet of Allied aircraft carriers; to this end, Iowa was fitted with an array of Oerlikon 20 mm and Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft guns to defend Allied carriers from enemy airstrikes.

On 24 February 1943, Iowa put to sea for a shakedown in the Chesapeake Bay and along the Atlantic coast. She got underway on 27 August 1943 for Argentia, Newfoundland, to counter the threat of the German battleship Tirpitz which was reportedly operating in Norwegian waters, before returning to the United States on 25 October for two weeks of maintenance at the Norfolk Navy Yard.

After refueling and gathering her escorts, Iowa carried President Roosevelt, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, and other World War II military brass to Casablanca, French Morocco, on the first leg of the journey to the Tehran Conference. Among the vessels escorting Iowa on this trip was the Fletcher-class destroyer USS William D. Porter (DD-579) which had been involved in a major mishap the night before when her anchor tore the railing and lifeboat mounts off of a docked sister destroyer while backing up. The next day, a depth charge from the deck of Porter fell into the rough sea and exploded, causing Iowa and the other escort ships to take evasive maneuvers under the assumption that the task force had come under torpedo attack by a German U-boat.

On 14 November, at Roosevelt's request, Iowa conducted an anti-aircraft drill to demonstrate her ability to defend herself. The drill began with the release of a number of balloons for use as targets. While most of these were shot by gunners aboard Iowa, a few of them drifted toward the William D. Porter which shot down balloons as well. The Porter, along with the other escort ships, also demonstrated a torpedo drill by simulating a launch at Iowa. This drill suddenly went awry when the #3 torpedo aboard William D. Porter discharged from its tube and headed toward Iowa.

William D. Porter attempted to signal Iowa about the incoming torpedo but, owing to radio silence, was forced to use a blinker light. The destroyer misidentified the direction of the torpedo and then relayed the wrong message informing Iowa that the Porter was backing up rather than telling them that a torpedo was in the water. In desperation the destroyer finally broke radio silence using codewords that relayed a warning message to Iowa regarding the incoming torpedo. After confirming the identity of the destroyer, Iowa turned hard to avoid being hit by the torpedo. Roosevelt, meanwhile, had learned of the incoming torpedo threat and asked his secret service attendee to move his wheelchair to the side of the battleship. Not long afterward, the torpedo detonated in the ship's wake. Iowa was unhurt and trained her main guns on William D. Porter out of concern that the smaller ship may have been involved in some sort of assassination plot.

As flagship of Battleship Division 7, Iowa departed the United States on 2 January 1944 for the Pacific Ocean, transiting the Panama Canal on 7 January in advance of her combat debut in the campaign for the Marshall Islands. From 29 January to 3 February, she supported carrier air strikes made by Rear Admiral Frederick C. Sherman's Task Group 38.3 against Kwajalein and Eniwetok atolls. Her next assignment was to support air strikes against the major Japanese naval and logistics base at Truk, Caroline Islands. Iowa, in company with other ships, was detached from the support group on 16 February 1944 to conduct an anti-shipping sweep around Truk, with the objective of destroying enemy naval vessels escaping to the north. On 21 February, she was underway with the Fast Carrier Task Force (TF 58 or TF 38, depending on whether it was part of the Fifth Fleet or Third Fleet) while it conducted the first strikes against Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and Guam in the Mariana Islands. During this action, Iowa helped sink the Japanese light cruiser Katori.

On 18 March 1944, Iowa, flying the flag of Vice Admiral Willis A. Lee (Commander Battleships, Pacific), joined in the bombardment of Mili Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Although struck by two Japanese 4.7-inch (119 mm) projectiles, Iowa suffered negligible damage. She then rejoined TF 58 on 30 March, and supported air strikes against the Palau Islands and Woleai of the Carolines for several days.

From 22 April to 28 April 1944, Iowa supported air raids on Hollandia (now known as Jayapura), Aitape, and Wakde Islands to support Army forces on Aitape and at Tanahmerah and Humboldt Bays in New Guinea. She then joined the Task Force's second strike on Truk, on 29 April and 30 April, and bombarded Japanese facilities on Ponape in the Carolines on 1 May.

In the opening phases of the Mariana and Palau Islands campaign, Iowa protected the American carriers during air strikes on the islands of Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Rota, and Pagan Island on 12 June. Iowa was then detached to bombard enemy installations on Saipan and Tinian on 13 June and 14 June, which resulted in the destruction of a Japanese ammunition dump. On 19 June, in an engagement known as the Battle of the Philippine Sea, Iowa, as part of the battle line of TF 58, helped repel four massive air raids launched by the Japanese Middle Fleet. This resulted in the almost complete destruction of Japanese carrier-based air-forces, with Iowa claiming the destruction of three enemy aircraft. Iowa then joined in the pursuit of the fleeing enemy fleet, shooting down one torpedo plane and assisting in splashing another.

Throughout July, Iowa remained off the Marianas supporting air strikes on the Palaus and landings on Guam. After a month's rest, Iowa sailed from Eniwetok as part of the Third Fleet, and helped support the landings on Peleliu on 17 September. She then protected the carriers during air strikes against the Central Philippines to neutralize enemy air power for the long awaited invasion of the Philippines. On 10 October, Iowa arrived off Okinawa for a series of air strikes on the Ryukyu Islands and Formosa. She then supported air strikes against Luzon on 18 October and continued this duty during General Douglas MacArthur's landing on Leyte on 20 October.

In a last-ditch attempt to halt the United States campaign to recapture the Philippines, the Imperial Japanese Navy struck back with Shō-Gō 1, a three-pronged attack aimed at the destruction of American amphibious forces in Leyte Gulf. The plan called for Vice-Admiral Jisaburō Ozawa to use the surviving Japanese carriers as bait to draw US carriers of TF 38 away from the Philippine beachheads, allowing Imperial Japanese Admirals Takeo Kurita, Kiyohide Shima, and Shōji Nishimura to take surface task forces through the San Bernardino Strait and Surigao Strait, where they would rendezvous and attack the US beachheads. Iowa accompanied TF 38 during attacks against the Japanese Central Force under the command of Admiral Kurita as it steamed through the Sibuyan Sea toward San Bernardino Strait. The reported results of these attacks and the apparent retreat of the Japanese Central Force led Admiral William "Bull" Halsey to believe that this force had been ruined as an effective fighting group; as a result, Iowa, with TF 38, steamed after the Japanese Northern Force off Cape Engaño, Luzon. On 25 October 1944, when the ships of the Northern Force were almost within range of Iowa's guns, word arrived that the Japanese Central Force was attacking a group of American escort carriers off Samar. This threat to the American beachheads forced TF 38 to reverse course and steam to support the vulnerable escort-carrier fleet. However, the fierce resistance put up by the Seventh Fleet in the Battle off Samar had already caused the Japanese to retire and Iowa was denied a surface action. Following the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Iowa remained in the waters off the Philippines screening carriers during strikes against Luzon and Formosa. She sailed for the West Coast late in December 1944.

On 18 December 1944 the ships of TF 38 unexpectedly found themselves in a fight for their lives when Typhoon Cobra overtook the force—7 fleet carriers, 6 light carriers, 8 battleships, 15 cruisers, and about 50 destroyers—during their attempt to refuel at sea. At the time the ships were operating about 300 miles (500 km) east of Luzon in the Philippine Sea. The carriers had just completed three days of heavy raids against Japanese airfields, suppressing enemy aircraft during the American amphibious operations against Mindoro in the Philippines. The task force rendezvoused with Captain Jasper T. Acuff and his fueling group on 17 December with the intention of refueling all ships in the task force and replacing lost aircraft. Although the sea had been growing rougher all day, the nearby cyclonic disturbance gave relatively little warning of its approach. On 18 December, the small but violent typhoon overtook the task force while many of the ships were attempting to refuel. Many of the vessels were caught near the center of the storm and buffeted by extreme seas and hurricane-force winds. Three destroyers, Hull (DD-350), Monaghan (DD-354), and Spence (DD-512), capsized and sank with nearly all hands, while a cruiser, five aircraft carriers, and three destroyers suffered serious damage. Approximately 790 officers and men were lost or killed, with another 80 injured. Fires occurred in three carriers when planes broke loose in their hangars, and some 146 planes on various ships were swept overboard or damaged beyond economical repair by fires or impacts. Iowa reported zero injured sailors as a result of the typhoon, but suffered a loss of one of her float planes, and damage to one of her shafts. The damaged shaft required Iowa to return to the US, and she arrived at San Francisco, California, on 15 January 1945, for repairs. During the course of the overhaul Iowa had her bridge area enclosed, and was outfitted with new search radars and fire-control systems.

Iowa sailed on 19 March 1945 for Okinawa, arriving on 15 April to relieve her sister ship USS New Jersey (BB-62). From 24 April, Iowa supported carrier operations which aimed to establish and maintain air superiority for ground forces during their struggle for the island. She then supported air strikes off southern Kyūshū from 25 May to 13 June 1945. Afterward, she sailed toward northern Honshū and Hokkaidō, and participated in strikes on the Japanese home-islands on 14 July and 15 July by bombarding Muroran, Hokkaidō, destroying steel mills and other targets. The city of Hitachi on Honshū was shelled beginning the night of 17 July and lasting to 18 July. On 29 and 30 July, Iowa trained her guns on Kahoolawe for a bombardment and continued to support fast carrier strikes until the cessation of hostilities on 15 August as a result of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

On 27 August, Iowa and her sister ship USS Missouri (BB-63) entered Sagami Bay to oversee the surrender of the Yokosuka naval district. Two days later, she entered Tokyo Bay with the occupation forces. Here, a number of sailors from the Missouri were temporarily stationed on Iowa for the duration of the surrender ceremony which took place aboard the Missouri. After serving as Admiral Halsey's flagship for the surrender ceremony on 2 September 1945, Iowa remained in the bay as part of the occupying force. As part of the ongoing Operation Magic Carpet, she received homeward bound GIs and liberated US prisoners of war before departing Tokyo Bay on 20 September, bound for the United States.

Iowa arrived in Seattle, Washington, on 15 October 1945, then sailed for Long Beach, California, where she engaged in training operations until returning to Japan in 1946 to serve as flagship for the Fifth Fleet. She returned to the United States on 25 March 1946 and resumed her role as a training ship. During her usual routine of drills and maneuvers she also embarked Naval Reserve elements and midshipmen for training. In October, Iowa underwent a period of overhaul and modernization, which resulted in the addition of the SK-2 Radar and the loss of a number of 20 mm and 40 mm gun mounts. In July, following the Bikini atomic experiments, the old battleship USS Nevada (BB-36) was selected as a target for a live fire exercise to be carried out by Iowa and other sea and air assets of the navy. The exercise began with separate shellings from a destroyer, heavy cruiser, and Iowa, but this did not sink the ship, and so Nevada was finished off with one aerial torpedo hit amidships, sinking her 65 miles (105 km) from Pearl Harbor on 31 July 1948. In September 1948, as part of the post World War II draw down of the armed forces, Iowa was inactivated at San Francisco and formally decommissioned into the United States Navy reserve fleets on 24 March 1949.

In 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, prompting NATO members, including the United States, to intervene in the name of the United Nations. President Harry S. Truman was caught off guard when the invasion struck, but quickly ordered US forces stationed in Japan to transfer to South Korea. Truman also sent US based troops, tanks, fighter and bomber aircraft, and a strong naval force to the area to support South Korea. As part of the naval mobilization, Iowa was reactivated on 14 July 1951, and formally recommissioned on 25 August, with Captain William R. Smedberg, III, in command. Iowa sailed for Korean waters in March 1952. On 1 April she relieved her sister ship USS Wisconsin (BB-64) and became the flagship of Vice Admiral Robert P. Briscoe, Commander of the Seventh Fleet. In her first combat operation of the Korean War, Iowa fired her main guns near Wonsan-Sŏngjin on 8 April 1952, with the goal of striking North Korean supply lines. In the company of other naval vessels Iowa again engaged North Korean forces the following day, this time against enemy troop concentrations, supply areas, and suspected gun positions in and around Suwon Dan and Kojo. In support of South Korea's I Corps, Iowa shelled enemy positions on 13 April, killing 100 enemy soldiers, destroying six gun emplacements, and wrecking a division headquarters. The next day she entered Wonsan Harbor and shelled warehouses, observation posts and railroad marshaling yards before moving out to rejoin the UN flotilla aiding ground forces around Kosong. On 20 April, in her first combat action above the 38th parallel, Iowa shelled railroad lines at Tanchon, where four railroad tunnels were destroyed, before sailing to Chindong and Kosong for a two-day bombardment of North Korean positions.

On 25 May Iowa, following her sister ship Missouri’s example, arrived in the waters off Chongjin, a North Korean industrial center approximately 48 miles (77 km) from the Russian border. Upon arrival, Iowa proceeded to shell the industrial and rail transportation centers in Chongjin, after which she moved south to aid the US X Corps. En-route to US positions, Iowa again bombarded Sŏngjin, destroying several railroad tunnels and bridges in the area. On 28 May 1952, Iowa rejoined the main body of the US fleet supporting the X Corps, heavily shelling several islands in Wonsan Harbor.

Throughout June, Iowa trained her guns on targets at Mayang-do, Tanchon, Chongjin, Chodo-Sokcho and the ports of Hŭngnam and Wonsan in support of the UN and South Korean forces. On 9 June, a helicopter from Iowa rescued a downed pilot from the carrier USS Princeton (CV-37). At the time, Princeton was operating with In July Iowa received a new skipper, Captain Joshua W. Cooper, who assumed command of the battleship for the remainder of her Korean War tour.

On 20 August, Iowa took aboard nine wounded men from the Gleaves-class destroyer USS Thompson (DD-627) after Thompson was hit by a Chinese artillery battery while shelling enemy positions at Sŏngjin. At the time Iowa was operating 16 miles (30 km) south of Sŏngjin, and after receiving the wounded destroyermen Iowa covered Thompson as she retreated into safer waters.

On 23 September, General Mark Wayne Clark, the Commander-In-Chief of United Nations Forces in Korea, came aboard Iowa. Clark observed Iowa in action as her guns shelled the Wonsan area for a third time, accounting for the destruction of a major enemy ammunition dump. On 25 September, Iowa fired her guns at an enemy railroad and 30-car train. The following month, Iowa was part of the force involved in Operation Decoy, a feint to draw enemy troops into Kojo and bring them within striking distance of the battleships' big guns. During the operation, Iowa provided anti-aircraft support to USS Mount McKinley (AGC-7), an amphibious force command ship.

Iowa embarked midshipmen for at-sea training to Northern Europe in July 1953, and shortly afterwards took part in Operation Mariner, a major NATO exercise, serving as flagship of Vice Admiral Edmund T. Wooldridge, commander of the Second Fleet. Upon completion of this exercise, Iowa operated in the Virginia Capes area. Later, in September 1954, she became the flagship of Rear Admiral R. E. Libby, Commander, Battleship Cruiser Force, United States Atlantic Fleet.

From January to April 1955, Iowa made an extended cruise to the Mediterranean Sea as the flagship of the Commander, Sixth Fleet. She departed on a midshipman training cruise on 1 June 1955, and upon her return entered Norfolk for a four-month overhaul. Afterward, Iowa continued intermittent training cruises and operational exercises, until 4 January 1957 when she departed Norfolk for duty with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. Upon completion, Iowa embarked midshipmen for a South American training cruise and joined in the International Naval Review off Hampton Roads, Virginia, on 13 June 1957.

On 3 September 1957, Iowa sailed for Scotland for NATO's Operation Strikeback. She returned to Norfolk on 28 September 1957, and departed Hampton Roads for the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on 22 October 1957. She was decommissioned on 24 February 1958 and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia.

As part of President Ronald Reagan’s and Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman’s effort to create an expanded 600-ship Navy, Iowa was reactivated and moved under tow to Avondale Shipyard near New Orleans, Louisiana, for refitting and equipment modernization in advance of her planned recommissioning. During the refit, Iowa had all of her remaining Oerlikon 20 mm and Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft guns removed, due to their ineffectiveness against modern fighter jets and anti-ship missiles. Additionally, the two 5-inch (127 mm) gun mounts located at mid-ship and in the aft on the port and starboard sides of the battleship were removed.

Iowa was then towed to Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi, where over the next several months the battleship was upgraded with the most advanced weaponry available. Among the new weapons systems installed were four MK 141 quad cell launchers for 16 AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, eight Armored Box Launcher (ABL) mounts for 32 BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles, and a quartet of Phalanx Close In Weapon System (CIWS) gatling guns for defense against enemy anti-ship missiles and enemy aircraft. Iowa was the first battleship to receive the RQ-2 Pioneer Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. She could carry up to eight of the remotely controlled drones, which replaced the helicopters previously used to spot for her nine 16-inch (406 mm)/50-caliber Mark 7 guns. Also included in her modernization were upgrades to radar and fire-control systems for her guns and missiles, and improved electronic warfare capabilities. Armed as such, Iowa was formally recommissioned on 28 April 1984, ahead of schedule, within her budget at a cost of $500 million, and under the command of Captain Gerald E. Gneckow. In order to expedite the schedule, many necessary repairs to Iowa's engines and guns were not completed and the mandatory US Navy Board of Inspection and Survey (InSurv) inspection was skipped.

From April to August 1984, Iowa underwent refresher training and naval gunfire support qualifications in the Atlantic Ocean. She spent the rest of 1984 on a shakedown cruise in the area around Central America. During this cruise she aided in several humanitarian operations, including in Costa Rica and Honduras, before returning to the United States in April 1985 for a period of routine maintenance.

In August 1985, Iowa joined 160 other ships for Exercise Ocean Safari, a NATO naval exercise aimed at testing NATO's ability to control sea lanes and maintain free passage of shipping. Owing to bad weather, Iowa and the other ships were forced to ride out rough seas, but Iowa made use of the time to practice hiding herself from enemy forces. While serving with the exercise force, Iowa crossed the Arctic Circle. In October, she took part in Baltic operations, and fired her phalanx guns, 5-inch (127 mm) guns, and 16-inch (406 mm) guns in the Baltic Sea on 17 October while operating with US and other allied ships. After these operations she returned to the United States.

Beginning on 17 March 1986, Iowa underwent her overdue InSurv inspection. The inspection, which Iowa ultimately failed, was conducted under the supervision of Rear Admiral John D. Bulkeley. Bulkeley found that the ship was unable to achieve her top speed of 33 knots (61 km/h) during a full-power engine run, and personally recommended to the Chief of Naval Operations and Lehman that Iowa be taken out of service immediately. Rejecting this advice, Lehman instead instructed the leaders of the Atlantic Fleet to ensure that Iowa's deficiencies were corrected.

Afterward, Iowa returned to the waters around Central America and conducted drills and exercises while providing a military presence to friendly nations. On 4 July 1986, President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan boarded Iowa for the International Naval Review, which was held in the Hudson River. That same month Larry Seaquist assumed command of the battleship and her crew.

On 17 August Iowa set sail for the North Atlantic, and in September she participated in Exercise Northern Wedding by ferrying Marines ashore and assisting helicopter gunships. During the exercise Iowa fired her main guns at Cape Wrath range in Scotland in support of a simulated amphibious assault, on 5 and 6 September, firing a total of nineteen 16-inch (406 mm) shells and thirty-two 5-inch (127 mm) shells during a 10-hour period and operating in rough seas with adverse weather conditions. During the live fire exercise, a small number of Iowa Marines were put ashore to monitor the fall of shot and advise the battleship of gunnery corrections. Afterward, Iowa visited ports in England and Germany before returning to the United States in October.

In December the ship became the testbed for the Navy's RQ-2 Pioneer Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The drone was designed to serve as an aerial spotter for the battleship's guns, thereby allowing the guns to be used against an enemy without the need for an airplane or helicopter spotter. Pioneer passed its tests and made its first deployment that same month aboard Iowa.

From January to September 1987 Iowa operated in the waters in and around Central America and participated in several exercises until sailing for the Mediterranean Sea 10 September to join the Sixth Fleet based there. She remained in the Mediterranean until 22 October, when she was detached from the Sixth Fleet and departed for operations in the North Sea. On 25 November, as part of Operation Earnest Will, Iowa transited the Suez Canal and set sail for the Persian Gulf, which at the time was one of the battlefields of the Iran–Iraq War. The presence of US naval vessels in the gulf was in response to a formal petition from Kuwait, whose ships were being attacked by Iranian forces in what would later be called the "Tanker War" phase of the Iran-Iraq War. Iowa and other vessels operating in the gulf were assigned to escort Kuwaiti tankers from Kuwaiti ports to the open sea, but because US law forbade military escorts for civilian ships flying a foreign flag, the tankers escorted by the United States were reflagged as US merchant vessels and assigned American names. For the remainder of the year Iowa escorted Kuwaiti gas and oil tankers reflagged as US merchant ships from the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz.

On 20 February 1988 Iowa departed from the Persian Gulf, transited the Suez Canal, and set sail for the United States, arriving at Norfolk on 10 March for routine maintenance. In April she participated in the annual Fleet Week celebrations before returning to Norfolk for an overhaul. On 23 May, Fred Moosally replaced Larry Seaquist as Captain of the Iowa. After the overhaul, Moosally took Iowa on a shakedown cruise around Chesapeake Bay on 25 August 1988. Encountering difficulty in conning the ship through shallow water, Moosally narrowly missed colliding with the frigates USS Moinster and Farragut and the cruiser South Carolina before running aground in soft mud outside the bay's main ship channel near the Thimble Shoals. After one hour, Iowa was able to extricate herself without damage and return to port. Iowa continued with sea trials throughout August and September, then began refresher training in the waters around Florida and Puerto Rico in October, during which the ship passed an Operation Propulsion Program Evaluation.

On 20 January 1989, during an improperly authorized gunnery experiment off Vieques Island, Iowa fired a 16-inch (406 mm) shell 23.4 nautical miles (27 mi; 43 km), setting a record for the longest-ranged 16-inch (406 mm) shell ever fired. In February the battleship sailed for New Orleans for a port visit before departing for Norfolk. On 10 April the battleship was visited by the commander of the Second Fleet, and on 13 April she sailed to participate in a fleet exercise.

At 9:55 AM on 19 April 1989, an explosion ripped through the Number Two 16-inch (406 mm) gun turret, killing 47 crewmen. A gunner in the powder magazine room quickly flooded the #2 powder magazine, likely preventing catastrophic damage to the ship. At first, Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigators theorized that one of the dead crewman, Clayton Hartwig, had detonated an explosive device in a suicide attempt after the end of an alleged homosexual affair with another sailor. To support this claim naval officials pointed to several different factors, including Hartwig's life insurance policy, which named Kendall Truitt as the sole beneficiary in the event of his death, the presence of unexplained materials inside Turret II, and his mental state, which was alleged to be unstable.

Although the Navy was satisfied with the investigation and its results, others were unimpressed, and in October 1991, amid increasing criticism, Congress forced the Navy to reopen the investigation. This second investigation, handled by independent investigators, was hampered by the fact that most of original debris from Iowa had been cleaned up or otherwise disposed of by the Navy before and after the first investigation, but it did manage to uncover evidence pointing to an accidental powder explosion rather than an intentional act of sabotage.

While Iowa was undergoing modernization, her sister ship USS New Jersey (BB-62) had been dispatched to Lebanon to aid the peacekeeping forces by providing offshore fire support. At the time, New Jersey was the only commissioned battleship anywhere in the world, and it was found that, in an effort to get another battleship commissioned to relieve New Jersey, the modernization of Iowa was stepped up, leaving her in poor condition when she recommissioned in 1984. It was also determined that Captain Fred Moosally was more concerned with the maintenance of the missiles than the training and manning of guns. In addition, the Navy had improperly stored the gunpowder used aboard the battleship; it had been placed aboard a barge where sunlight and other elemental factors contributed to its degradation.

Powder from the same lot as the one under investigation was tested at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division. Spontaneous combustion was achieved with the powder, which had been originally milled in the 1930s and improperly stored in a barge at the Navy's Yorktown, Virginia Naval Weapons Station during a 1988 dry-docking of the Iowa. As it degrades, gunpowder gives off ether gas, which is highly flammable and could be ignited by a spark. This revelation resulted in a shift in the Navy's position on the incident, and Admiral Frank Kelso, the Chief of Naval Operations at the time, publicly apologized to the Hartwig family, concluding that there was no real evidence to support the claim that he had intentionally killed the other sailors. Iowa captain Fred Moosally was severely criticized for his handling of the matter, and as a result of the incident the Navy changed the powder-handling procedures for its battleships. The incident remains the surface Navy's worst loss of life during peace time operations, surpassing the loss of life incurred from the attack of an Iraqi Air Force jet on the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate USS Stark (FFG-31).

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and the lack of a perceived threat against the United States came drastic cuts to the defense budget, and the high cost of maintaining battleships as part of the active fleet became uneconomical; as a result, Iowa was decommissioned again on 26 October 1990. She was the first of the reactivated battleships to be decommissioned, and this was done earlier than originally planned as a result of the damaged turret. Iowa was berthed at the Naval Education and Training Center in Newport from 24 September 1998 to 8 March 2001, when the ship began her journey under tow to California. The ship arrived in Suisun Bay near San Francisco on 21 April 2001 and is part of the reserve fleet there, where she remained in reserve until struck from the Naval Vessel Register in January 1995.

Section 1011 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 1996 required the United States Navy to reinstate to the Naval Vessel Register two of the Iowa-class battleships that had been struck by the Navy in 1995; these ships were to be maintained in the United States Navy reserve fleets (or "mothball fleet"). The Navy was to ensure that both of the reinstated battleships were in good condition and could be reactivated for use in the Marine Corps' amphibious operations. Due to Iowa’s damaged turret, the Navy selected New Jersey for placement into the mothball fleet, even though the training mechanisms on New Jersey's 16-inch (406 mm) guns had been welded down. The cost to fix New Jersey was considered less than the cost to fix Iowa; as a result, New Jersey and Wisconsin were reinstated to the Naval Vessel Register and placed back in the reserve fleet.

New Jersey remained there until the Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act of 1999 required the United States Secretary of the Navy to list and maintain Iowa and Wisconsin on the Naval Vessel Register. The Act also required the Secretary of the Navy to strike New Jersey from the Naval Vessel Register and transfer the battleship to a not-for-profit entity in accordance with section 7306 of Title 10, United States Code. It also required the transferee to locate the battleship in the State of New Jersey. The Navy made the switch in January 1999, allowing New Jersey to open as a museum ship in her namesake state.

For several years plans had been underway to berth Iowa in San Francisco as a museum ship, but in 2005 the city council—citing opposition to the Iraq War and the military's policies regarding homosexuals—voted 8–3 against maintaining Iowa in the city, paving the way for other California communities to bid for the battleship. Vallejo, site of the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard, and Stockton submitted proposals. The Historic Ships Memorial at Pacific Square (HSMPS) organization, which had attempted to place the ship in San Francisco, supported the Mare Island—Vallejo site. Ultimately, the Navy decided in the winter of 2007–2008 to side with the HSMPS bid, and ruled that the Vallejo site would be the candidate to acquire Iowa.

These four conditions closely mirror the original three conditions that the Nation Defense Authorization Act of 1996 laid out for the maintenance of Iowa while she was in the "mothball fleet".

Iowa earned nine battle stars for World War II service and two for Korean War service.

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Iowa

Flag of Iowa

The State of Iowa ( /ˈaɪəwə/ (help·info)) is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland." It is bordered by Minnesota to the north, Wisconsin and Illinois to the east, Nebraska and South Dakota to the west, and Missouri to the south. It is the 29th state of the United States, having joined the Union on December 28, 1846. Iowa is comprised of 99 counties. Iowa's capital and largest city is Des Moines and its residents are known as Iowans.

The Mississippi River separates Iowa from Illinois and Wisconsin to form the eastern boundary of the state. The Missouri River on the west edge of the state forms the boundary with Nebraska (with the exception of Carter Lake). The Big Sioux River in the northwest corner of the state forms the North/South boundary with South Dakota. To the north lies Minnesota and to the south lies Missouri. There are several natural lakes in the state, most notably Spirit Lake, West Okoboji Lake, and East Okoboji Lake in northwest Iowa (see Iowa Great Lakes).To the east lies Clear Lake. Man-made lakes include Lake Odessa, Saylorville Lake, Lake Red Rock, Coralville Lake, Lake MacBride and Rathbun Lake.

Iowa's natural vegetation is the Tallgrass prairie and Savanna while the topography of the state is gently rolling plains. Loess hills lie along the western border of the state, some of which are several hundred feet thick. In the northeast, along the Mississippi River, is a section of the Driftless Zone, which in Iowa consists of valleys filled with conifers—a landscape not usually associated with this state.

The point of lowest elevation is Keokuk in southeastern Iowa, at 480 feet (146 m). The point of highest elevation, at 1,670 feet (509 m), is Hawkeye Point, located in a feedlot north of Sibley in northwest Iowa. The mean elevation of the state is 1,099 feet (335 m). Considering the size of the state at 56,271 square miles (145,743 km²), there is very little elevation difference.

Iowa has 99 counties but 100 county seats because Lee County has two. The state capital, Des Moines, is located in Polk County (#60).

Iowa has the highest average radon concentrations in the nation due to significant glaciation that ground the granitic rocks from the Canadian Shield and deposited it as soils making up the rich Iowa farmland. Many cities within the state, such as Iowa City have passed requirements for radon resistant construction in all new homes.

Iowa, like most of the Midwest, has a humid continental climate throughout the state (Koppen climate classification Dfa) with extremes of both heat and cold. The average annual temperature at Des Moines is 50 °F (10 °C); for some locations in the north the figure is under 45 °F (8 °C), while Keokuk, on the Mississippi River, averages 52 °F (12 °C). Winters are brisk and snowfall is common. Spring ushers in the beginning of the severe weather season. Iowa averages about 50 days of thunderstorm activity per year. Tornadoes are common during the spring and summer months, with an average of 37 tornadoes in a single year. In 2008, twelve people were killed by tornadoes in Iowa, making it the deadliest year since 1968 and also the second most tornadoes in a year with 105, which matched the total from 2001. The Iowa summers are known for heat and humidity, with daytime temperatures often near 90 °F (32 °C) and sometimes exceeding 100 °F (38 °C).

When the American Indians first arrived in what is now Iowa more than 13,000 years ago, they were hunters and gatherers living in a Pleistocene glacial landscape. By the time European explorers visited Iowa, American Indians were largely settled farmers with complex economic, social, and political systems. This transformation happened gradually. During the Archaic period (10,500-2,800 years ago), American Indians adapted to local environments and ecosystems, slowly becoming more sedentary as populations increased. More than 3,000 years ago, during the Late Archaic period, American Indians in Iowa began utilizing domesticated plants. The subsequent Woodland period saw an increase on the reliance on agriculture and social complexity, with increased use of mounds, ceramics, and specialized subsistence. During the Late Prehistoric period (beginning about A.D. 900) increased use of maize and social changes led to social flourishing and nucleated settlements. The arrival of European trade goods and diseases in the Protohistoric period led to dramatic population shifts and economic and social upheaval, with the arrival of new tribes and early European explorers and traders.

The first Europeans to explore Iowa were French citizens following the Sac and Meskwaki (Fox) American Indian tribes. The first American settlers officially moved to Iowa in June 1833. Primarily, they were families from Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri. On December 28, 1846, Iowa became the 29th state in the union. Iowa supported the Union during the American Civil War, voting heavily for Lincoln, though there was a strong antiwar "Copperhead" movement among settlers of southern origins and among Catholics. There were no battles in the state, but Iowa sent large supplies of food to the armies and the eastern cities.

Following the Civil War, Iowa's population continued to grow dramatically, from 674,913 people in 1860 to 1,194,020 in 1870. In 1917, the United States entered World War I and farmers as well as all Iowans experienced a wartime economy. For farmers, the change was significant. Since the beginning of the war in 1914, Iowa farmers had experienced economic prosperity. In the economic sector, Iowa also has undergone considerable change. Beginning with the first farm-related industries developed in the 1870s, Iowa has experienced a gradual increase in the number of business and manufacturing operations.

The period since World War II has witnessed a particular increase in manufacturing operations. While agriculture continues to be the state's dominant industry, Iowans also produce a wide variety of products including refrigerators, washing machines, fountain pens, farm implements, and food products that are shipped around the world.

As of 2008, Iowa has an estimated population of 3,002,555, which is an increase of about 19,000 or 0.6%, from the prior year and an increase of 76,000 or 2.6%, since the year 2000. This is the first time the state has topped the three million mark in population. The U.S. Census Bureau has not released specific demographic information for 2008. In 2007 the state had a natural increase since the last census of 53,706 people (that is 197,163 births minus 143,457 deaths) and a decrease due to net migration of 11,754 people out of the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 29,386 people, while migration within the country produced a net loss of 41,140 people. 6.1% of Iowa's population were reported as under the age of five, 22.6% under 18, and 14.7% were 65 or older. Males made up approximately 49.2% of the population. The population density of the state is 52.7 people per square mile. The center of population of Iowa is located in Marshall County, in the city of Marshalltown.

Iowa's population included about 97,000 foreign-born (3.3%). Iowans are mostly of Western European descent. The five largest ancestry groups in Iowa are: German (35.7%), Irish (13.5%), English (9.5%), American (6.6%) and Norwegian (5.7%).

The racial make up of the state is 91.0% White (non-Hispanic), 3.8% Hispanic, 2.5% Black or African American, 1.6% Asian, and 0.4% American Indian. One percent of respondents report two or more races.

Iowa, in common with other Midwestern states (especially Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota), is feeling the brunt of rural flight, although Iowa has been gaining population since approximately 1990. 89% of the total number of cities in those states have fewer than 3,000 people; hundreds have fewer than 1,000. Between 1996 and 2004, almost half a million people, nearly half with college degrees, left the five states, and headed for major population centers like Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Chicago.

A 2001 survey from the City University of New York found that 52% of Iowans are Protestant, while 23% are Roman Catholic, and other religion made up 6%. 13% responded with non-religious, and 5% did not answer. The largest Protestant denominations by number of adherents are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 268,543; and the United Methodist Church with 248,211.

William Labov and colleagues, in the monumental Atlas of North American English found that the English spoken in Iowa divides into two large linguistic regions. Natives of northern Iowa — including Sioux City, Fort Dodge, and the Waterloo region — tend to speak the dialect that linguists call North Central American English, which is also found in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Natives of central and southern Iowa — including such cities as Council Bluffs, Des Moines, and Iowa City — tend to speak the "North Midlands" dialect also found in Nebraska, central Illinois, and northern Indiana.

Des Moines is the largest city in Iowa and the state's political, economic, and cultural center. It is home to the state government, the State of Iowa Historical Museum, and other cultural events and attractions, including the annual Iowa State Fair, Drake Relays, and the Des Moines Arts Festival. Adventureland is an amusement park located in Altoona just northeast of Des Moines and Living History Farms is located in Urbandale. Terrace Hill is located in Des Moines and is the official residence of the governor. Ames is the home of Iowa State University, the Iowa State Center, Brunnier Art Gallery, Reiman Gardens, and the Christian Petersen Art Gallery. The Meskwaki Settlement west of Tama is the only American Indian settlement in Iowa and is host to a large annual Pow-wow. The Clint Eastwood movie The Bridges of Madison County took place and was filmed in Madison County. The John Wayne Birthplace Museum is in Winterset. Other communities with vibrant historic downtown areas include Indianola, Pella, Knoxville, Perry, and Marshalltown.

Iowa City prides itself on being a cultural destination, and is home to the University of Iowa and its famed Iowa Writers' Workshop and the Landlocked Film Festival. The Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum are located in West Branch. They contain the birthplace and grave of former President Herbert Hoover along with his presidential museum. The Amana Colonies are a group of settlements of German Pietists comprising of seven villages which have been named an American cultural National Historic Landmark. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art has one of the most significant collections of paintings by Grant Wood and Marvin Cone. Cedar Rapids is also home to the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library and the Queen Anne-style Brucemore mansion. Davenport boasts several cultural attractions, including the new Figge Art Museum, River Music Experience, and Putnam Museum and IMAX Theater, and plays host to the annual Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival. Other communities with vibrant historic downtown areas include West Liberty, Fairfield, Mount Pleasant, Fort Madison, Mount Vernon, Washington, and Wilton.

Some of the most dramatic scenery in Iowa is found in the southwest, home of the unique Loess Hills. The Iowa Great Lakes include several resort areas such as Spirit Lake, Arnolds Park, and the Okoboji Lakes. The Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, and the Fort Museum and Frontier Village in Fort Dodge are regional destinations. Sioux City considers itself to be the cultural capital of northwest Iowa and boasts a revitalized downtown and beautiful riverfront. The Missouri River city is home to the Sergeant Floyd Monument, Sergeant Floyd River Museum, Trinity Heights, and the restored Orpheum Theatre. Council Bluffs, the major city of southwest Iowa, sits at the base of the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway and has become a gaming and entertainment destination. With three casino resorts, the city also includes such cultural attractions as the Western Hills Trails Center, Union Pacific Railroad Museum, historic General Dodge House, and a Lewis and Clark Monument and scenic overlook. Northwest Iowa is home to some of the largest concentrations of wind turbine farms in the world. Other western communities with vibrant historic downtown areas include Storm Lake, Spencer, Le Mars, Glenwood, Carroll, Atlantic, Denison, and Mount Ayr.

The Driftless Area of northeast Iowa is starkly beautiful, with steep hills and deep valleys, checked with forest and terraced fields. Effigy Mounds National Monument in Allamakee and Clayton Counties has the largest assemblage of animal-shaped prehistoric mounds in the world. Together, the largest cities in northern Iowa are the twin cities of Waterloo and Cedar Falls, home of the Grout Museum and the University of Northern Iowa, respectively. Dubuque is transforming itself into a regional tourist destination with cultural features such as the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. Much of the movie Field of Dreams was shot in Dyersville. Maquoketa Caves State Park is located in Jackson County, northwest of Maquoketa which contains more caves than any other state park in Iowa. Fort Atkinson has the remains of an original 1840s Dragoon fortification. Other communities with vibrant historic downtown areas include Decorah, McGregor, Mason City, Elkader, Algona, Spillville, Charles City and Independence.

RAGBRAI — the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa — attracts thousands of bicyclists and support personnel. It has crossed the state on various routes each year since 1973.

If the economy is measured by gross domestic product, in 2005 it was about $124 billion. If measured by gross state product, for 2005 it was US$113.5 billion. Its per capita income for 2006 was US $23,340. The role of agriculture in Iowa's economy can be measured in multiple ways, but its total impact, including agriculture-affiliated business, has been measured as 16.4% (in terms of value added) and 24.3% (in terms of total output). This is lower than the economic impact in Iowa of non-farm manufacturing, which accounts for 22.4% of total value added and 26.5% of total output. Iowa's main agricultural outputs are hogs, corn, soybeans, oats, cattle, eggs and dairy products. Its industrial outputs are food processing, machinery, electric equipment, chemical products, publishing and primary metals. Iowa produces the nation's largest amount of ethanol. Des Moines also serves as a center for the insurance industry.

Iowa imposes taxes on net state income of individuals and estates and trusts. There are currently nine income tax brackets, ranging from 0.36% to 8.98%. The state sales tax rate is 5%, with non-prepared food having no tax. Iowa has two local option sales taxes that may be imposed by counties after an election at which the majority of voters favors the tax. They are in addition to the 5% state sales tax. The regular local option tax is imposed on the gross receipts from sales of tangible personal property. It usually remains in effect until it is repealed, but the ordinance may include a sunset clause. The school infrastructure local option tax is automatically repealed 10 years after it is imposed, unless the ballot imposes a shorter time frame.

Property tax is levied on the taxable value of real property, that is, mostly land, buildings, structures, and other improvements that are constructed on or in the land, attached to the land or placed upon a foundation. Typical improvements include a building, house or mobile home, fences, and paving. The following five classes of real property are evaluated: residential, agricultural, commercial, industrial and utilities/railroad (which is assessed at the state level). Homeowners pay less than half of the property tax collected each year in Iowa. Farmers pay 21%, and businesses and industry, a total of 23%. Utility companies, including railroads, pay 10%. Iowa has more than 2,000 taxing authorities. Most property is taxed by more than one taxing authority. The tax rate differs in each locality and is a composite of county, city or rural township, school district and special levies.

Iowa is the headquarters for seven of the top 1,000 companies for revenue. They include Principal Financial, Rockwell Collins, Casey's General Stores, and HNI. Iowa is also headquarters to other companies including Hy-Vee, Pella Corporation, Vermeer Company, Kum & Go gas stations, Von Maur (a department store), Pioneer Hi-Bred, McLeodUSA, and Fareway grocery stores, among others.

Iowa has four primary interstate highways. Interstate 29 goes along the western edge of the state through Council Bluffs and Sioux City. Interstate 35 goes from the southern border to the northern border through the center of the state, including Des Moines. Interstate 80 goes from the west end of the state to the east end through Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Iowa City, and the Quad Cities. Interstate 74 has its western terminus at the junction with Interstate 80 in northeastern Davenport, Iowa. Interstate 380 is an auxiliary Interstate Highway, which runs from Interstate 80 near Iowa City through Cedar Rapids ending in Waterloo and is part of the Avenue of the Saints highway.

Iowa has a number of major United States highways. U.S. Route 18 runs along the northern edge of the state from South Dakota to Wisconsin. U.S. Route 20 runs from Sioux City through Fort Dodge and Waterloo before crossing into Illinois in Dubuque. U.S. Route 30 runs from the Nebraska border just north of Council Bluffs through Cedar Rapids and crossing into Illinois in Clinton, staying north of Interstate 80.

U.S. Route 6 winds its way along a similar path to Interstate 80, from Council Bluffs through the Quad Cities into Illinois. U.S. Route 34 runs along the southern part of the state from Nebraska through Burlington to Illinois. U.S. Route 59 runs a path similar to Interstate 29, from south to north along the western edge of the state. U.S. Route 61 runs from the southeastern edge of Iowa in Keokuk through Burlington, the Quad Cities, and into Illinois in Dubuque. U.S. Route 63 runs south from Missouri north through Waterloo and into Minnesota along the eastern central part of the state. U.S. Route 65 and U.S. Route 69 run from Missouri to Des Moines and into Minnesota on paths similar to Interstate 35.

U.S. Route 71 and U.S. Route 75 run a south to north path along the western edge of the state. U.S. Route 169 is a south to north highway in the west central part of the state. U.S. Route 218 runs almost entirely within the state of Iowa, from the southern edge in Keokuk through Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and Waterloo on its way to Minnesota.

Iowa is served by a few major airports including the Des Moines International Airport, the Eastern Iowa Airport, Quad City International Airport, which is located in Moline, Illinois, and Eppley Airfield, located in Omaha, Nebraska. Smaller airports in the state include the Dubuque Regional Airport, Fort Dodge Regional Airport, Mason City Municipal Airport, Sioux Gateway Airport, Southeast Iowa Regional Airport, and Waterloo Regional Airport.

Amtrak's California Zephyr serves the south of Iowa with stops at Burlington, Mount Pleasant, Ottumwa, Osceola, and Creston on its daily route between Chicago and Emeryville, California (across the bay from San Francisco). Burlington and Fort Madison are also served by Amtrak's Southwest Chief, running daily between Chicago and Los Angeles.

The Code of Iowa contains the statutory laws of the State of Iowa. It is periodically updated by the Iowa Legislative Service Bureau, with a new edition published in odd-numbered years and a supplement published in even-numbered years.

Iowa is an alcohol monopoly or Alcoholic beverage control state.

In Iowa, the term "political party" refers to political organizations which have received two percent or more of the votes cast for president or governor in the "last preceding general election". Iowa recognizes two political parties - the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. Third parties, officially termed "nonparty political organizations" can appear on the ballot as well - five of these have had candidates on the ballot in Iowa since 2004 for various positions: the Constitution Party, the Iowa Green Party, the Libertarian Party, the Pirate Party, and the Socialist Workers Party.

Iowa is currently listed as a swing state in national politics, but leans Democratic. From 1968 to 1984, Iowa voted for the Republican candidate in the presidential election, and from 1988 to 2000 the state voted for the Democrat. In the 2004 election, Iowa voted for President George W. Bush and in 2008, it voted for President Barack Obama.

In the 2006 elections, the Iowa Democrats gained two seats in the Iowa delegation to the United States House of Representatives, and Democrats won a majority in both houses of the Iowa General Assembly.

The state gets considerable attention every four years because it holds the first presidential caucuses, gatherings of voters to select delegates to the state conventions. Along with the New Hampshire primary the following week, Iowa's caucuses have become the starting points for choosing the two major-party candidates for president. The caucuses, held in January of the election year, involve people gathering in homes or public places and choosing their candidates, rather than casting secret ballots as is done in a primary election. The national and international media give Iowa (and New Hampshire) much of the attention accorded the national candidate selection process, which gives Iowa voters enormous leverage. Those who enter the caucus race often expend enormous effort to reach voters in each of Iowa's 99 counties.

Iowa takes pride in its education system. The graduation rate for high school seniors has gradually increased to 90.8% in 2006. The state has the third highest graduation rate in the nation. Iowa continually ranks in the top 3 for ACT and SAT scores. In 2008, Iowa ranked top in the nation for average SAT scores per student and second in the nation for average ACT scores per student. Iowa has 365 school districts, and has the twelfth best student to teacher ratio of 13.8 students per teacher. Teacher's pay, however, is ranked forty-second with the average salary being $39,284.

The state also has multiple private colleges and universities and community colleges.

Iowa has professional sports teams in all major sports, including baseball, football, hockey, basketball, and soccer. The state has four major college teams playing in Division I for all sports. In football, Iowa State University and the University of Iowa compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), whereas the University of Northern Iowa and Drake University compete in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

Iowa has four Class A minor league teams in the Midwest League. They are the Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, and the Quad Cities River Bandits. The Sioux City Explorers are part of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. The Waterloo Bucks play in the Northwoods League. Des Moines is home to the Iowa Cubs, a Division AAA team in the Pacific Coast League.

The Sioux City Bandits are an Indoor football team in the United Indoor Football League. The Quad City Steamwheelers are an af2 football team whose home games are played in Moline, Illinois. The Iowa Barnstormers resumed play after a seven season layoff in the af2 football league. They play their home games at Wells Fargo Arena.

The American Hockey League has two teams the Quad City Flames whose games are played in Moline, Illinois, as well as the newly formed Iowa Chops, who have taken over the former Iowa Stars franchise and still play in Wells Fargo Arena.

The United States Hockey League has five teams in Iowa: the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, Sioux City Musketeers, Waterloo Black Hawks, Des Moines Buccaneers, and the Omaha Lancers whose games are played in Council Bluffs. The North Iowa Outlaws play in the North American Hockey League in Mason City.

Iowa has two professional basketball teams. The Iowa Energy, an NBA Development League team that plays in Des Moines, is affiliated with the Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns of the NBA. The Quad Cities Riverhawks of the Premier Basketball League are based in Davenport, but play at Wharton Field House in Moline, Illinois.

The Des Moines Menace play their home games at Valley Stadium on the grounds of Valley High School in West Des Moines.

The state has four NCAA Division I college teams. The Iowa State University Cyclones of the Big 12 Conference and the University of Iowa Hawkeyes of the Big Ten Conference are Division I FBS teams, while the University of Northern Iowa Panthers and Drake University Bulldogs play in Division I FCS.

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Ames, Iowa

Location in the State of Iowa

Ames is a city located in the central part of the U.S. state of Iowa, and is approximately 30 miles north of Des Moines in Story County. It is the principal city of the 'Ames, Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area' which encompasses all of Story County, Iowa and which, when combined with the 'Boone, Iowa Micropolitan Statistical Area', comprises the larger 'Ames-Boone, Iowa Combined Statistical Area'. As of the 2000 Census, the city population was 50,731. While Ames is the largest city in Story County, the county seat is in Nevada which is 8 miles east of Ames. Ames is the home of Iowa State University, with leading Design, Engineering, Science, and Agriculture colleges. It is also the site of the Ames Straw Poll, an important straw poll in the Republican party presidential nomination process as well as the first in the nation Democratic and Republican caucuses (see Politics, below).

The city was founded in 1864 as a station stop on the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad and was named after 19th century U.S. congressman Oakes Ames of Massachusetts, who was influential in the building of the transcontinental railroad. Ames was founded near a location that was deemed favorable for a railroad crossing of the Skunk River. In 1976 the Ames Landfill was closed. The rate at which the city was filling the landfill was too great, it would have been full by 1982. The city built a recource recovery plant. All city trash is collected and sent to the plant. After glass, ferrous metals, and heavy items are removed the light trash is sent through a tube using air pressure under railroad tracks to the power plant (shown below). The power plant uses about 90% coal and 10% RDF (Refuse Derived Fuel). The Ames landfill is able to reopen for emergencies that would require it to. By June 2009 the resource recovery plant hopes to install a non-ferrous metal sorter, to reduce waste sent to neighboring Boone landfill.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 21.6 square miles (55.9 km²), of which, 21.6 square miles (55.9 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.09%) is water.

Ames is located on Interstate 35, U.S. Route 30 & 69, and the cross country line of the Union Pacific Railroad, located roughly 30 miles (48 km) north of the state capital Des Moines.

Two small rivers run through the town: the Skunk River and Squaw Creek.

Ames is the larger principal city of the Ames-Boone CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Ames metropolitan area (Story County) and the Boone micropolitan area (Boone County), which had a combined population of 106,205 at the 2000 census.

As of the census of 2000, there were 50,731 people, 18,085 households, and 8,970 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,352.3 people per square mile (908.1/km²). There were 18,757 housing units at an average density of 869.7/sq mi (335.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.34% White, 7.70% Asian, 2.65% African American, 0.04% American Indian, 0.76% Pacific Islander and other races, and 1.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.98% of the population.

There were 18,085 households out of which 22.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.0% were married couples living together, 5.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 50.4% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the city the population was spread out with 14.6% under the age of 18, 40.0% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 13.9% from 45 to 64, and 7.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24 years. For every 100 females there were 109.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 109.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,042, and the median income for a family was $56,439. Males had a median income of $37,877 versus $28,198 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,881. About 7.6% of families and 20.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.2% of those under age 18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over.

Iowa is a "battleground state" that has trended slightly Democratic in recent years, but Ames, like Iowa City, trends Democratic, partly due to the presence of the university community. Because Iowa is the first caucus state and Ames is a college town, it is the site of many political appearances, debates and events, especially during election years.

During every August in which the Republican presidential nomination is undecided (meaning there is no incumbent Republican president -- as in, most recently, 2007, 1999, 1995 and 1987), the town plays host to the Ames Straw Poll, which gauges support for the various Republican candidates amongst attendees of a fundraising dinner benefiting the Iowa Republican Party. The straw poll dates back to 1979, and is frequently seen as a first test of organizational strength in Iowa by the national media and party insiders; as such, it can be very beneficial for a candidate to win the straw poll and thus enhance his aura of inevitability or show off a superior field operation.

The town is served by US Highways 30 and 69 and Interstate 35. Ames is the only town in Iowa with a population of greater than 50,000 that does not have a state highway serving it.

Ames was also serviced by the Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern Railroad via a branch from Kelley to Iowa State University and to downtown Ames. The tracks were removed in the 1960s. The Chicago and Northwestern used to operate a branch to Des Moines. This line was removed in the 1980s when the Spine Line though Nevada was purchased from the Rock Island Railroad after its bankruptcy. The Union Pacific, successor to the C&NW, still runs 60-70 trains a day through the ISU campus and downtown Ames on twin mainlines, which leads to some traffic delays. There is also a branch to Eagle Grove that leaves Ames to the north. The Union Pacific maintains a small yard called Ames Yard east of Ames between Ames and Nevada.

Ames has a municipal airport located 1 mile southeast of the city. The current (and only) FBO is Hap's Air Service, a company which has been based at the airport since 1975. The airport has two runways - 01/19, which is 5700x100 feet, and 13/31, which is 3492x100 feet.

The City of Ames offers a transit system throughout town, called CyRide, that is funded jointly by Iowa State University, the ISU Government of the Student Body, and the City of Ames.

Ames is home of Iowa State University of Science & Technology, a space grant college, at its founding, the state's (Morrill Act) land-grant university, formerly known as the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. Ames is the home of the closely allied U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Animal Disease Center, the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory (a major materials research and development facility) and the main offices of the Iowa State Department of Transportation. State and Federal institutions are the largest employers in Ames.

Other area employers include a 3M manufacturing plant; Sauer-Danfoss, a hydraulics manufacturer; Barilla, a pasta manufacturer; and Ball, a manufacturer of canning jars and plastic bottles.

Campustown is the neighborhood directly south of Iowa State University Central Campus bordered by Lincoln Way on the north. Campustown is a high-density mixed-use neighborhood that is home to many student apartments, nightlife venues, restaurants, and numerous other establishments, most of which are unique to Ames.

Ames is served by Mary Greeley Medical Center, a 220-bed regional referral hospital which is adjacent to McFarland Clinic PC: central Iowa's largest physician-owned multi-specialty clinic and also Iowa Heart Center.

Ames is also the home of the National Animal Disease Center (NADC) where all American Mad Cow Disease samples are tested.

Iowa State University (ISU) is a university located in Ames. The first building on the Iowa State campus was built in the 1850's. Iowa State now has over 60 buildings, including a recreation center, residence halls, a student union, and many buildings specific to ISU's many different majors. Iowa State is home to 25,312 students (Spring 2009) and makes up approximately one half of the city's population. The official mascot for ISU is Cy, the cardinal. The official school colors are cardinal and gold.

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Source : Wikipedia