Thoughts on removal of Confederate monuments

David Grussing: The Confederacy was not some romantic “Lost Cause” or a testament to the desire to pursue a differing form of government. -promoted by Laura Belin

In the past two or three months there have been stories from all viewpoints about removing Confederate monuments from public locations as well as removing the names of Confederate soldiers from various Department of Defense installations, streets, and vehicles. 

As someone who served for 28 years as an Army and Army Reserve officer, I would like to offer my viewpoint on honoring members of the Confederate government or military.

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Iowa wildflower Wednesday: A walk by the woods at midsummer

If you can stand the heat, early July is an excellent time for wildflower spotting in Iowa. Prairie habitats are exploding in color now, but this week I decided to focus on plants that can often be viewed from the shade at woodland edges.

I took all of the pictures enclosed below between July 1 and July 8 near wooded trails in Windsor Heights, Clive, Urbandale, or West Des Moines.

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Iowa elections director misstates law in warning to county auditors

A showdown is brewing between the Iowa Secretary of State’s office and county auditors planning to make it easier for voters to submit accurate and complete absentee ballot request forms for the 2020 general election.

A top deputy to Secretary of State Paul Pate warned county auditors this week not to mail absentee ballot request forms with the voter personal identification number (PIN) field filled in.

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What should Iowa's recovery look like?

Colin Gordon reviews the governor’s recent “business-friendly” decisions and suggests more productive, equitable ways to rebuild Iowa’s economy. -promoted by Laura Belin

The recently-created Governor’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board is charged with drafting a strategy not just to speed recovery from the COVID-19 recession but, as Governor Kim Reynolds charged the board, “to modernize and really restructure our economy, our education and health care systems, our workforce and our quality of life.”

It’s a lofty goal, but first impressions do not inspire confidence.

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After the Fourth of July

Tyler Granger: Amateur fireworks displays cause many problems, from airborne toxins to worsening respiratory illnesses like COVID-19. -promoted by Laura Belin

A new annual tradition is taking shape for Des Moines metro residents after the Fourth of July. For the last three years, air quality alerts have been issued due to excessive use of amateur fireworks.

Iowa legalized the sale and purchase of fireworks in 2017. Since then, pet owners across the state–especially owners of hunting dogs–have frequently been upset this time of year. Hunting dogs that are trained to work with gunshots will display anxiety over fireworks will show signs of distress as the Fourth of July approaches.

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Iowa Republicans may regret blocking statewide absentee ballot mailing

July 6 was the first day Iowans can request an absentee ballot for the 2020 general election. Under normal circumstances, I prefer voting early in person and have encouraged others to do the same. But voting by mail is by far the safest option for 2020, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Republican legislators signaled last week they won’t allow Secretary of State Paul Pate to send absentee ballot request forms to every registered voter again.

Election officials in Iowa’s largest counties aren’t waiting to see how things play out. Several auditors are already making plans for their own universal mailings. Higher turnout in those counties should benefit Democratic candidates for federal offices and state legislative seats.

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