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Recent editorials published in Iowa newspapers

December 24, 2018

Des Moines Register. December 19, 2018

Iowa will pay steep price if Trump continues to disregard climate change.

New federal report outlines devastating effects of global warming on crop production, soil retention and water quality in Iowa.

A new federal report about climate change should be a wake-up call to Iowa, a state with an economy heavily dependent on agriculture.

It should also be a wake-up call to the 90 percent of registered Republicans here who see truth-telling as an essential trait in an American president, according to a new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll.

There are truths revealed by science. This country needs a president who believes them.

Which brings us to this report, compiled by 13 federal agencies. It concludes that without major change, the effects of global warming, including extreme heat and heavy downpours, will pose increasing challenges to “the quality and quantity of U.S. crop yields, livestock health, price stability and rural livelihoods.”

Corn and soybeans may not pollinate. The planting season could get even shorter. Soil erosion will be exacerbated. Nutrient runoff and algal blooms will further contaminate Iowa’s waterways. New diseases could be spread by insects and pests. The availability of food and water could be compromised.

The grim forecast is part of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a study mandated by Congress and completed every four years.

What was President Trump’s response to his own administration’s report? He said he did not believe climate change is a pressing worry.

“One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers,” Trump said during an interview with the Washington Post following release of the report.

More than 300 experts who certainly have very high levels of intelligence helped compile the 1,656-page assessment outlining the devastating effects of a changing climate on our economy, health and environment.

Despite the president’s subsequent rambling about trash, “very small” oceans and “record clean” air and water, the real experts on this issue say agricultural yields could fall to 1980s levels if action is not taken.

Iowa farmers are already trying to adapt to a changing climate. Researchers are testing how farmers can capture run-off and store it for later irrigation. Improved seed genetics enable plants to better withstand drought and disease.

But the report warns that technology is unlikely to be enough to stop the damage. We also need a concerted effort to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels.

“With substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the increase in global annual average temperature relative to preindustrial times could be limited to less than 3.6 F,” according to the report. “Without significant greenhouse gas mitigation, the increase in global annual average temperature could reach 9 F or more by the end of this century.”

Translation: Humans can help slow climate change.

Those humans need to include the president of the United States, who is in a position to set policies and the tone of public discourse on this issue.

Unfortunately, Trump is moving the country — and the world — in the wrong direction by rolling back environmental regulations, embracing the coal industry, dismissing global climate agreements and disregarding science.

That puts the entire U.S. economy, and particularly Iowa’s economy, at risk.


Fort Dodge Messenger. December 21, 2018.

Lizard Creek access will be welcome

A group with a broad vision deserves credit. That group consists of kayakers, other outdoor enthusiasts, and private landowners.A group with a broad vision deserves credit. That group consists of kayakers, other outdoor enthusiasts, and private landowners.

On the west side of Phinney Park Drive, just before the road goes under the railroad overpass, there’s a small parking lot. At first glance, it may seem like the parking lot is there all by itself for no apparent reason. In fact, it’s there for a good reason.

Just beyond it is a little loop of road that curves down toward Lizard Creek. It provides quick and easy access for people to launch their canoes and kayaks into the creek. From that point, they can paddle their kayaks or canoes on Lizard Creek to the Des Moines River.

That access point is on the verge of some major upgrades. Thanks to a pair of state grants, a restroom building, an open shelter, a bike repair station and signs will be added. Those signs will direct bicyclists to mountain bike trails tucked away in the woods near the creek access point. The bike repair station will be handy for any bicyclists that have a problem on those trails, or anywhere nearby.

The city of Fort Dodge and Webster County Conservation received two grants to help pay for those new features. One of those grants is a $50,000 award from the state’s Resource Enhancement and Protection program commonly called REAP. The other grant is a $20,000 Water Trail Enhancement Grant that comes from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund.

The upgrades are expected to be put in place next year.

We feel these are worthy updates that will make a nice location even more user friendly. Perhaps these new features will entice even more people to come there.

We thank those at the city and Webster County Conservation who secured this money for our community.

But a larger group with a broad vision deserves credit as well. That group consists of kayakers, other outdoor enthusiasts, and private landowners who have worked with government officials since 2009 to create a water trail system on Lizard Creek and the Des Moines River.

Today, that water trail system consists of 14 miles of Lizard Creek and 46 miles of the Des Moines River.


Sioux City Journal. December 18, 2018

Congratulations to Morningside’s champions.

We toast Coach Steve Ryan, his assistants and his players for planting the flag of Morningside College atop the mountain of NAIA college football with a 35-28 national championship victory over Benedictine College of Atchison, Kansas, on Saturday in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The thrilling win, on a touchdown pass with less than a minute and a half left in the contest, capped an undefeated 15-0 campaign for the Mustangs.

We offer our congratulations to Morningside College President John Reynders and his administration, faculty, students and alumni because we understand what this accomplishment means to you, in particular. In the larger sense, we view this achievement as a source of local and regional pride in which all of us who live and work here can and should share.

To win football championships, you need preparation, perspiration and perseverance, desire and dedication, time and teamwork, and skill and strategy.

Armed with all of the above, Morningside College knocked on the door of a title — sometimes in oh-so-close fashion, including a 2012 national championship game loss in overtime to Marian University from Indianapolis — for 14 consecutive seasons of playoff qualification before this one, including the playoff quarterfinals in 12 of the last 14 seasons, only to fall short of the ultimate goal.

To the staff, the players on this year’s squad and those who came before them, we say this: We know of no NAIA football program more deserving of a national champion trophy.


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