Friday, June 2, 2023

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Civic Skinny

A little history about Osage. But not much other stuff.


Cityview: “Dear [Rep. Josh] Byrnes. I write a column in Cityview, which sometimes is about politics. I’m told that you have told a few of your colleagues that you are considering switching parties. Is that so? And if so, why?”

Rep. Byrnes: “I have a feeling something was taken out of context. I have had frustrations with Ashley Spiker, Republican Party of Iowa chair. He has overstepped his role as Chair, and I have many frustrations with him. To the point of switching parties? Absolutely not. Thanks for bringing the rumor to my attention. Josh Byrnes.”

Cityview: “Thanks for the quick reply!”

Rep. Byrnes: “No problem. Thanks for giving me something to chuckle about today!”

Josh Byrnes is in his second term in the Iowa House. He represents Mitchell, Worth, Howard and part of Winneshiek counties, on the northern border of the state. He lives in Osage and intends to remain a Republican.

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa (June 1)CNA - Stop HIV Iowa (June 2)

History lesson: The only reason Skinny mentions Osage is to tell you that the town was not named for the Osage Indians but rather for Orrin Sage — O. Sage — a Massachusetts banker who gave $2,000 and some land to the town at the request of a settlor from Massachusetts. The Osage Indians never were in Iowa. They were from the Ohio River Valley and ultimately migrated to what is now Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Today, the Osage Nation is headquartered in Pawhuska, Okla. It has around 13,000 enrolled members, about half of whom live on or near the tribal lands. Last weekend, it held its annual Sovereignty Celebration.

Orrin Sage was born in 1791 and died in 1875. He made a lot of money as a banker in Ware, Mass., served in the Massachusetts legislature, “was modest and retiring in his nature, quiet and unpretending in his habits,” and, according to a New England history published in 1908, “his taste for agriculture and horticulture afforded him agreeable employment in the evening of his life.”

Finally, retiring Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns — who served as Secretary of Agriculture from 2005 to 2008 — was born in Osage and raised on a farm in Mitchell County. Yet no one ever mentions him when they list the Iowans who have served as Ag Secretary — Tom Vilsack, Henry A. Wallace, Henry C. Wallace, Ed Meredith and Jim Wilson. …

Ousted University of Iowa general counsel Marc Mills lost his final court case the other day when Federal District Judge Robert Pratt dismissed Mills’ suit for defamation and invasion of privacy against the Stolar Group, a firm hired by the Board of Regents to investigate the university’s response to a sex scandal there in October of 2007. Mills ultimately was fired for his role in responding to that scandal, and his suits against others also were dismissed. …

In case you were wondering: In the first seven months of this year, the University of Iowa Hospitals had net income of $29,939,000, including a gain on investments of more than $13 million. That net income is up from $22,621,000 a year before. And in case you are wondering why you can’t find a place to park at the Iowa City hospitals, here’s why: So far this year, there have been 459,930 clinic visits, up 13,000 from a year before. …

More from this week’s meeting of the Board of Regents:

Last year, 2,018 people were arrested at the University of Iowa, up from 1,792 a year before. At Iowa State, 1,304 were arrested, up from 1,188. And at UNI, 151 were arrested, down from 198 a year before.

Of those arrested last year, 2,022 were students, and they were charged with 4,351 offenses. That’s up significantly from the 1,718 students arrested on 3,770 charges in 2011. Almost exactly half of those arrested last year — 1,057 — were arrested on 2,505 alcohol-related charges, little changed from the 1,062 students arrested on 2,439 alcohol-related charges in 2011. Alcohol-related charges include drunk driving, public intoxication, bootlegging, under-age drinking, providing liquor to a minor or attempts by a minor to purchase alcohol. Such arrests last year fell significantly at the University of Iowa and UNI but rose significantly at Iowa State University.

Across the Regents system, there were 300 drug arrests last year, up from 189 the year before. …

Perhaps whoever succeeds Mary Grace Herrington as head of Iowa Public Radio might want to put a map of the state on the wall. The other day, a newscaster reported that bad weather would continue “in the southeast half of the state.”

Think about it. …

Meantime, Skinny is searching for agreeable employment in the evening of his life. CV

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