Hundreds of athletes take advantage of the world-class environment that Drake Stadium offers, and now the facility is reaping the awards. Last week, Greater Des Moines was honored with the unveiling of “Track Central USA,” a comprehensive strategy that will change the fan experience at track and field events. Drake will feature a “Track Central USA Fan Zone” adjacent to Drake Stadium. The area will also include a stage for athlete interaction, interactive video kiosks, a track and field exhibit space, a fitness/wellness area, improved merchandise exhibit area, food and other vendors. Drake University will host the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships from June 23 to 27. The university will also host the 2011 and 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
With all the doom and gloom about today’s economy, it’s good to know at least some local officials understand that, too. Last week, the Polk County Board of Supervisors rejected the recommendation of the Compensation Board for a 3 percent salary increase for elected officials. The increase would have taken effect July 1. The Polk County Compensation Board meets annually to recommend a compensation schedule for elected officials for the following fiscal year under Chapter 331.905 and 331.907 of the Code of Iowa.
Citing increased violence in Mexico, the Texas Department of Public Safety has urged college students not to visit Mexican border cities during spring break. Reports indicate more than 16,000 people have died in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels after assuming office in December 2006. Border cities have experienced a rash of crimes ranging from robberies to homicides to carjackings.
With the number of security incidents that the United States other countries have dealt with since Sept. 11, 2001, it comes as a shock that an air traffic controller would allow his son to read routine messages to pilots. But that is exactly what happened Feb. 16, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FFA) is punishing those involved. Last week, the FFA suspended the air traffic controller and a supervisor after the boy made five transmissions to pilots preparing for departure at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. The FFA has now barred unofficial visits by friends or relatives to FFA air traffic operational areas while it reviews its policies. The February incident comes less than seven months after a controller at a New Jersey airport played a role in a deadly crash between a helicopter and small plane over the Hudson River. The controller was placed on leave of absence when he was recorded joking with his girlfriend on the phone as he dispatched instructions to the doomed plane. He ended the call when he realized the plane had dropped out of radio contact, just seconds before the crash.
Technological advancements are a good thing, but with them come the possibly of improper use. That’s what happened last week when an unknown hacker gained access and defaced the Iowa Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Web site. Two other state Web sites were also compromised. The incident marks the second hacking incident since Jan. 26 when the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission was breached. Prevention is the first step, but unfortunately, it seems like most anyone can get his or her hands on classified information.
We are enjoying the sun and warmer temperatures, but with the turning of the seasons comes the high possibility of spring flooding. Last week, Gov. Chet Culver warned Iowa residents to prepare for flooding, specifically those in the basins of the Des Moines, Raccoon, Iowa and Cedar rivers. About 15,000 Iowans carry flood insurance, but Culver urged residents to apply for flood insurance policies since many have a 30-day waiting period starting. CV