Weekend open thread with events coming up this week

The Iowa caucuses take place this Saturday, January 23, beginning at 1 pm. Democrats can click here and enter your zip code to find your caucus location. If you’ve never attended an off-year caucus, I recommend the experience as a way to meet some of the most committed activists in your precinct and have input on the party platform and party machinery. Polk County Democratic Party executive director Tamyra Harrison explained the benefits of attending an off-year caucus in more detail here. The level of energy and excitement won’t match the 2008 caucus, but on the plus side, you won’t be packed like sardines into a stuffy room.

Some non-profit advocacy organizations have drafted resolutions for supporters to offer at their precinct caucuses. If adopted, these resolutions will be forwarded to the county platform committee. For example, 1000 Friends of Iowa is encouraging supporters to offer this resolution on responsible land use.

This thread is for discussing anything on your mind this weekend.

There are Martin Luther King Jr. remembrances going on in many Iowa cities today and tomorrow; check your local news outlet for details. To mark King’s birthday, Democratic Senate candidate Bob Krause pledged to develop “a comprehensive strategy for alleviating the Iowa incarceration disparity,” in light of the fact that “Iowa has a per capita incarceration rate for blacks that is fourteen times the incarceration rate for whites.”

I appreciated this letter to the editor by Frank McCammond of Redfield, which the Des Moines Register published on January 15:

Marian Riggs Gelb’s Jan. 3 guest column (“Protect Iowa’s Liquid Gems”) calls for thank-you notes to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for designating a few streams in northeast Iowa for protection as “outstanding waters.”

It was a nice suggestion. However, where do I write the note about letting the rest of the state’s river systems be turned into open sewers by the farm and livestock interests and by towns that won’t fix their sewage systems?

(Gelb’s guest column is here, and the Iowa Environmental Council has more information on the “outstanding Iowa waters” designation here.)

After the jump I’ve posted more about events coming up this week. Roxanne Conlin began her 99-county tour last week, but I couldn’t find any event details or calendar on her campaign website.

UPDATE: Duh! Forgot Johnson County’s special election on Tuesday. Go vote for Janelle Rettig for county supervisor. John Deeth has been providing great coverage of the race at his blog. Lori Cardella is like school in the summertime–no class.

Sunday, January 17:

Events to mark Martin Luther King Jr. day take place around the state. Senate candidate Tom Fiegen listed the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention, Waterloo, beginning at 5 p.m. on his website.

Monday, January 18:

It’s a federal holiday: Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Check local listings for events going on in your community. Tom Fiegen listed these events on his website, so if you attend you may have a chance to meet him:

January 18th – Remembering Martin Luncheon – 1130 a.m. – 1 p.m. Crown Plaza Five Seasons Hotel, 350 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

January 18th -Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration, event is held at St. Paul’s UMC, 1340 Third Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403 at 7 p.m.

January 18th – Mount Mercy College will host a ceremony celebrating remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 18 at 9:00 a.m. in Cedar Rapids, IA.

Tuesday, January 19:

If you live in Johnson County, please vote for Janelle Rettig in the special election for supervisor!

The Iowa Farmers Union and the Iowa Environmental Council are both holding a lobby day at the state capitol. Various environmental groups will be handing out information about policies they support, so you don’t have to be an expert in advance. Just come to the statehouse anytime during the day to speak to your legislators. The IFU is holding lobby training and tips for communicating with your legislators, beginning at 8:30 am in the State Capitol Rotunda. (Contact 800-775-5227 or amber@iowafarmersunion.org.)

Wednesday, January 20:

1000 Friends of Iowa has information about a public hearing on water quality:

In 2009, legislation that prohibits spreading liquid manure on frozen and snow-covered ground between December 21 and April 1 was passed.  This was a good step to protect water quality in Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) are going through rulemaking to enact the legislation that was passed. The DNR is holding a series of public hearings around the state in the next few weeks to take public comments on the rules.

Attend a hearing in your area and tell DNR to:

– Keep a strong and enforceable ban

– Protect our water from manure runoff

– Restrict the definition of ’emergency’-don’t expand it to include manure pit storage limits and equipment failure. […]

Jan. 20 at 1:30 p.m. in the Marr Park Conservation Center, 2943 Highway 92, Ainsworth

Thursday, January 21:

From I’M for Iowa:

SW Iowa Food & Farm Initiative meeting (Council Bluffs)

Everyone is invited to this planning meeting to build a regional food system to link production, processing, distribution and consumption to improve local health, food security and economic development. It’s at Iowa Western Community College’s Entrepreneurial Center, 21915 Cessna Ave from 2:00 – 4:00 pm. RSVP by January 5th to Bahia Barry at (712) 482-3029 or Bahia.Barry@rcdnet.net.

The Natural Diversity of Ecuador (Sioux City)

Professor Bill Heyborne of Morningside College will speak in the Gleeson Room at the Aalfs Public Library, 6th & Pierce at 7:00 pm. This free event is sponsored by the local chapter of the Sierra Club.

Saturday, January 23:

Iowa Rivers Revival is holding its 2nd River Congress at the Story County Conservation Board headquarters, 56461 180th St in Ames, from 1:00 – 5:00 pm. No Cost. RSVP to Rosalyn Lehman at (515) 202-7720 or rlehman@iowarivers.org.

The Iowa caucuses take place at 1 pm. Make sure to Democrats can check your caucus location, which is likely to be different from where you caucused in January 2008.

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