Gomers -- What's going wrong

REDUCED ACCESS: Itís ironic that during the government shutdown that began last week over the congressional budget impasse, our senators and representatives, including those from Iowa, are less accessible to public input because most have closed some or all of their offices and many staff have been idled.


ASH KILLER ADVANCES: The feared emerald ash borer has been sighted in a fourth Iowa location: Mechanicsville. State officials say itís likely that the pest, which destroys ash trees, will invade many Iowa counties within the next year. Thereís no effective way to treat against the borers, which have devastated ash populations in many states east of the Mississippi River. The state is expected to issue a regional quarantine on shipments of firewood, which can slow the spread of the bug and give communities more time to launch tree replacement plans.


PIG VIRUS ARRIVES: Another unwelcome newcomer has been found in Iowa: PED, a deadly virus that kills newborn pigs and for which there is no vaccine. Only discovered in U.S. hogs a few months ago, a couple of cases have been confirmed recently in Eastern Iowa.

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