An enormous pile of trees and brush overlooks the barren landscape just west of E. Kimberly Road and south of Middle Road, the future site of a duplex condominium development. Neighbors tried to halt and scale back development of the property, but were unsuccessful.

State gov't may be harming Iowa population growth

I stumbled across a statistical tidbit the other day that probably will surprise many people.

U.S. Census Bureau figures show that between 1900 and 2000, the state that grew the least in population, on a percentage basis, was Iowa.

Read that again.

No state had smaller population growth between 1900 and 2000, as a percentage, than Iowa. Not North Dakota. Not Montana. Not Wyoming. Not any other state.

Why are Republicans demonizing teachers as ‘sinister’ and pushing pedophilia?

Iowa Capital Digest

Gov. Kim Reynolds took time in her Condition of the State message to accuse Iowa teachers and school administrators of “pushing their world view” on students by allowing certain books in the school library or classroom.

The address came a day after Senate President Jake Chapman, an Adel Republican, accused both teachers and journalists of having a “sinister” motive and even promoting pedophilia and incest.

“Those who wish to normalize sexually deviant behavior against our children, including pedophilia and incest, are pushing this movement more than ever before. Our children should be safe and free from this atrocious assault,” Chapman said in his speech on the opening day of the legislative session.

Building the 'Maginot Line' of soil health

The Maginot Line was a continuous series of fortifications built along the French-German border by the war-weary French in the 1930s, with the hope it would deter the fascists from invading.

You know how that worked out.

+++++++++

I traveled the 225 miles from Lansing to Ankeny on Christmas Eve, a drive through an Iowa landscape left snowless by an Arkansas December. Since the harvest is now long over, every square inch of land is left exposed, and lot of it is really, really exposed. My best estimate is that at least 50 percent and maybe as many as 70 percent of the fields were tilled. I don't have any data on this, but anecdotally fall tillage seems to be increasing, in my observation.

Weallwantcleanwater.

I can also say that I saw visible cover crops on only two fields, one near the town of Orchard and the other at mile marker 139 on I-35.

I posted these observations on my Twitter feed, and not surprisingly, that inspired some lively farmer responses that can be summed up mostly as:
• We want more time.
• We want more money.

Now I’d like to reply with the old joke about people in hell wanting ice water, but in this case, Satan is a sympathizer and these fellows are probably going to be provided with unlimited amounts of both.

Lee Enterprises touts management strategy; reports $5.3 million profit in fourth quarter ended Sept. 26

Lee Enterprises, Inc. – owner of the Quad City Times, Dispatch/Argus and news operations in 76 other markets – earned $5.3 million during the fourth quarter ended Sept. 26.

The positive earnings announcement Thursday (12/9) came a day after the Davenport-based company's board of directors unanimously rejected the $24-per-share buyout offer made by Alden Global Capital last month.

While the Lee earnings news release held up fourth quarter operating revenues ($194 million) and fiscal year operating revenues ($794.6 million) as signs the company's strategic plan was working, on a pro forma basis, full year operating revenues were down 3 percent compared to 2020.

Hedge fund Alden Global Capital makes $24 per share, all-cash offer to buy Lee Enterprises, Inc.

Hedge fund Alden Global Capital today (11/22) made an unsolicited all-cash offer of $24 per share to acquire Davenport-based Lee Enterprises, Inc. with its 77 daily newspapers including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Buffalo News, and local Quad City newspapers, the Dispatch/Argus and Quad City Times.

Alden acquired Tribune Publishing earlier this year. That publishing group includes the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, Orange County Register, Boston Herald, Baltimore Sun and the Mercury News (San Jose, CA).

‘Like he was my lawyer:’ State Sen. Roby Smith intervened in Davenport animal-welfare case

The owner of a Davenport dog kennel says state regulators scaled back their punishment against his business this summer after a state legislator intervened in the case on his behalf.

Earlier this summer, the Animal Playground boarding kennel in Davenport, run by Robert Burns, was visited by state inspectors working for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. At the time, the kennel was supposed to be shut down due to a license suspension triggered by a series of serious regulatory violations.

The kennel, however, was in full operation with 40 dogs milling about, inspectors reported.

Iowa Farm Bureau finances revealed by Investigate Midwest and Watchdog Writers Group reporting

The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and the Watchdog Writers Group reported Thursday (10/7) on the Iowa Farm Bureau and how it has profited from funds generated by its insurance subsidiary.

"The political activities of farm bureaus at the state and federal level are well-documented. But the scope of the Iowa Farm Bureau’s sprawling financial operations is less understood. Through expanded investments, it has reaped massive profits. Over the past decade, its total revenue has increased about 200 percent. And, lately, about 80 percent of it comes from investments, according to tax documents. No other farm bureau even approaches that ratio."

CLICK HERE to read the full article.

Developer of senior housing in Muscatine agrees to $8,000 fine for allowing runoff to pollute Mad Creek

A former LeClaire developer now living in West Des Moines has agreed to pay an $8,000 fine for storm water runoff violations at a senior housing site in Muscatine that polluted the nearby Mad Creek.

James Bergman, of JNB Oak Park LP, signed the administrative consent order with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) last month. Bergman was one of the developers of Thomas Place Senior Housing in Bettendorf.

Cricket Hollow Zoo owners ordered to pay $70,000 or serve jail time for violating court order

The owners of Manchester’s Cricket Hollow Zoo have been ordered to pay $70,000 or serve five months in jail for violating court orders regarding the relocation of animals at their roadside attraction.

The ruling this week in the contempt-of-court case against Pamela and Thomas Sellner comes three days after the Iowa Supreme Court declined to review a lower court decision in the case that led to zoo’s closure in 2019.

In that case, a group of Iowans assisted by animal rights advocates sued the Sellners, alleging numerous violations of Iowa’s animal neglect laws. A judge ruled in their favor and effectively ordered the zoo closed with many of the animals to be relocated to wildlife sanctuaries in other states.

READ MORE from the Iowa Capital Dispatch

Reynolds office least transparent in 30 years

A journalist is arrested and put on trial for doing her job. The governor’s office and state agencies defy the law without consequence by ignoring or refusing requests for public records. A veteran state employee claims she was fired for complying with the law and providing a public record to a reporter.

It sounds like some banana republic that we might hear about on the news. Sorry to say, these and other assaults on the First Amendment, press freedoms and public access to their government have all happened right here in Iowa. And it’s costing all of us, the taxpayers.

In my years as a journalist in Iowa, I’ve covered five gubernatorial administrations. (Only four governors, because Gov. Terry Branstad served twice.) I can say without hesitation that Gov. Kim Reynolds’ administration has been the absolute worst in terms of secrecy and outright denial of public access to information.

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