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Good, Bad & The Ugly

August 9, 2012
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The good

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that more than $21.5 million in grants will be awarded to 43 states to cover all or part of the fees charged to low-income students for taking Advanced Placement tests. Based on the anticipated number of test-takers and other factors, the grants under the Advanced Placement Test Fee Program <> are expected to be enough to pay up to $38 per Advanced Placement exam for as many as three exams per student. By subsidizing test fees for low-income students, the program is intended to encourage those students to take AP tests and obtain college credit for high school courses, reducing the time and cost required to complete a postsecondary degree. “Advanced Placement participation is an important element in creating a college-going culture in our high schools,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “AP courses help students develop the study skills, critical reasoning and habits of mind that prepare them for the transition to college. Of the 2012 Discretionary Grants, Iowa received $41,576.

The Science Center of Iowa and Blank IMAX Dome Theater (SCI) recently received a $20,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund to support educational programming focused on STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), which is important to the Monsanto Fund, according to Seth Dobrin, Director of Global Applied Genotyping Labs at Monsanto. SCI was nominated for the grant by Monsanto’s Ankeny team, which is active in SCI as members, donors and volunteers. “We have a vested interest in SCI’s future because, through its interactive exhibits, our children are learning science and associating science with having fun. This is an opportunity for the Monsanto Fund to lend a hand in bringing STEM education to the youth of Iowa,” Dobrin said.

The bad

At an event as internationally uniting as the Olympics, there is no room for racial or religious prejudice, but some are outraged at what appears to be anti Semitic reporting by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Liberty Counsel reported that the BBC Olympic website purposely omitted Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the Olympic Committee has refused to acknowledge the 40th Anniversary of the Munich Massacre — when 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by an Islamic Palestinian gunman — with a moment of silence during the Opening Ceremony when moments of silence recognizing fallen Olympians have otherwise been common. “Just 70 years after the 6 million Jews were massacred in Europe, this week has shown that the stench of anti-Semitism still lingers in the air,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. And what a shameful stench it is.

A recent motorcycle tragedy should remind everyone to keep their eyes open and share the road. Donald Shiffer Jr., 28, was killed last week after he collided with a garbage truck while riding his motorcycle to work. A Waste Management truck was traveling east on University Avenue and turned northbound when it was struck by Shiffer. Although all of the details haven’t been released, officials believe the driver of the truck didn’t see Shiffer when he turned. A candlelight vigil was held last week in his honor.

The ugly

If you’re going to huff something, you might want to leave the store first. Kentucky resident James Crittenden, 36, was arrested at a grocery store last week after he was found huffing multiple cans of Reddi-wip in one of the store’s aisles. Upon arrival, officers discovered Crittenden surrounded by more than 10 opened cans of the sweetened whipped cream. He was reportedly unsteady on his feet and had slurred speech. Crittenden offered to pay for the cans, valued at $26, but only had $7 in his possession. Crittenden told officers “huffing was his constitutional right.” Crittenden was arrested and charged with shoplifting, public intoxication, disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing. He may want to check out a copy of the Bill of Rights while in jail.

Another week, another mold story in Des Moines. Last week, Gov. Terry Branstad and his family moved out of Terrace Hill after mold was found on the third floor. Officials estimate it could take up to three or four weeks before the family will be able to move back in. But if you still want to tour the building, officials have assured the public that the first and second floors are considered safe for visitors. CV

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