Letter from the Editor

Monday, January 10, 2005

A few thoughts

Gosh, I sure hope it doesn't end up costing more to build the new county jail than it does to bond for the new luxurious lodge hotel we're planning at the same time.

And I have to agree with a county supervisor that a pretty jail facade isn't a bit necessary. We get enough traffic to that particular spot, we don't need to make it inviting. Wouldn't it be nice for Storm Lake's biggest crime trend within a couple of years to be those darn tourists stealing our towels?

* Two major colleges, two major bowl game victories in thrilling fashion. That's been a while coming, hasn't it? If the politicians can't seem to recall where Iowa is after the election, at least the sports fans know.

* I have to point out the Register's banner sports headline of the other day: "Viking enter through the rear." Make of that what you will - I got a grin out of it, anyway.

* Kudos to our city and county road crews. They worked their butts off to keep the way passable for us in this first real storm of the winter. Snow reportedly caused no serious accidents or strandings, and they are one good reason why. I also heard it said by more than one source that you can see the difference immediately when you hit a border going from some other county's roads to the markedly better maintained BV ones. County Engineer Jon Ites has taken some heat of late, but give the man and his crew some credit too.

* Once again, community colleges are begging for a funding increase. But they have more than an outstretched hand, they have a darn good point. Enrollment has exploded, up 25 percent since 2000 alone, even while state funding has decreased nearly $8 million in the same period to serve those students.

ICCC and her sister schools are crucial to the hopes for a better life for the vast sea of nontraditional students. They are crucial to the opportunity for many lower-income families. They are a crucial second chance for so many - and they do a great job of training people to meet our society's needs almost instantly, from answering the nursing shortage to filling the adult ESL void in diverse Storm Lake. So why, every year, do they have to go begging to get a fair share?

* Best word of the week: Coined by my former Pilot-Tribune staffmate Darcy VanOosbree to describe her own expected bundle of joy: "Serendipitydodah!" Now there's a possible name for that Awaysis playground...

* And I read where the work of the group that has helped to fund Awaysis, Vision Iowa, has so far spawned $2 BILLION in developments! Hey folks, that comes from just 13 projects and a fund that originally held $225 million. That strikes me as a pretty good investment return for Iowa. Makes you wonder what another deposit in that hummer might achieve at some point in the future.

* The Washington Post publishes an annual contest for the best new meaning for a word, and it's a great read. Among the winners: "Coffee: A person who is coughed upon." "Flabbergaster: Appalled at how much flab you have gained." "Abdicate: Giving up hope for a flat stomach." "Willy-nilly: Impotent." "Negligent: The condition in which you absent-mindedly answer the door in your nightie." "Lymph: To walk with a lisp." "Balderdash: Rapid hair loss." "Pokeman: A Jamaican proctologist."

Enough said.

* Over in Bettendorf, city council members reported receiving irate and intimidating messages on a daily basis for two months after speaking in favor of a proposed policy banning discrimination against gays. Wouldn't you just know it? Leave it to an anti-hate law to generate the hate mail.

* In the Forum hallway at BVU, I recently noticed that a board had been placed for students to scrawl their thoughts on the AIDS crisis. Some expressed their sorrow, a few seemed to think the victims deserved what they got.

One wrote in a looping hand, "No. 1 killer in the U.S.? Ignorance." And underlined it twice.