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Hidden Illnesses At Iowa Colleges: Your Portal to IowaWatch/Simpson College Journalism Project

Challenging for the students, but also to colleges and universities, hidden illnesses that students cope with with getting college degrees drastically impact how they deal with their studies, an IowaWatch/Simpson College journalism report in late spring revealed. These stories, by Simpson College students before they graduated in spring 2015 and took full-time work in journalism, explain the problem and possible solutions.

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Severity Of Algae In Iowa Lakes Is On The Rise

That paint-like scum that covers some Iowa lakes every summer isn’t just gross and smelly. People, pets, and livestock coming into contact with or ingesting toxins produced by the algae are at risk to symptoms including skin rashes, gastrointestinal issues and, in high doses, liver failure.

A photo of an algae bloom this summer on Green Valley Lake in Union County.

The Science Of Iowa Lake Scum

Only certain strains of cyanobacteria can produce toxins, although they don’t always do so.

“Scientists generally agree that the cyanobacteria evolved this ability to produce toxin either as a competitive advantage or as some sort of protection,” Mary Skopec, who heads the Iowa Department of Natural Resources beach monitoring program, said.