The National Family Partnership (NFP) recently announced the winners of the 2012 National Red Ribbon Photo Contest: “The Best Me Is Drug Free.” The nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention campaign reaches more than 80 million people every year. Students from throughout the U.S. participated by decorating their homes together with their parents, then parents uploaded photos to www.RedRibbon.org, and friends and family voted. The entries with the most online votes won (from 10 regions across America that included every state). Congratulations to the White family in Ames, who were contest winners.
According to a U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy comprehensive study released last week, shale energy production has already created more than 8,700 direct, indirect and induced jobs in Iowa and is projected to support 14,600 jobs by 2020. In addition, shale energy development will generate $50 million in state and local government revenue in 2012 alone, and from 2012-2035 could generate $1.7 billion in state and local government revenue. Nationally, the IHS study shows that by 2015, shale and unconventional energy will be responsible for 2.5 million jobs; by 2020, 3 million, and by 2035, 3.5 million. In 2012, shale energy is responsible for $62 billion in government revenue. Between now and 2035, shale energy development is expected to contribute more than $2.5 trillion in total government revenue — about half of which goes to the federal government. Now if we only knew what shale was.
During the timeframe of January – March of 2012, 35 mature black walnut trees were stolen from U.S. government lands. This timber theft was not a harmless act of vandalism or someone desperately searching for firewood but rather a direct assault on the extremely limited public resources of Iowa for the benefit of one career criminal. The theft and removal of virtually all black walnut trees from this section of the Des Moines River corridor impacts the entire population of Des Moines and lower Polk County. These trees represent an irreplaceable legacy that can only be found on small parcels of public lands around Iowa. Twenty-five of these trees were removed from property controlled by the Saylorville Lake Project, totaling $35,000 in timber value. Trees were also taken from Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge and Lake Red Rock. This theft represents far more than monetary timber values; it has drastically altered the ecosystem through impacts on biodiversity, recreation, wildlife and urban tree worth, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resouces.
As if the drought and reduced crop yields haven’t been challenging enough for livestock farmers, now thieves are stealing expensive harvested hay from their fields. The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) has received numerous reports of hay being stolen across the state and reminds livestock farmers to be vigilant in monitoring their farms as well as their neighbor’s farms as they rely on that to feed their livestock. “Some farmers report single round bales disappearing to entire semi-loads of round bales to flat racks loaded with small square bales. The loss of a semi-load of round bales, which can approach $200 per bale, can have serious consequences for not only the farmer’s livestock, but his bottom line as well,” CSIF Executive Director Brian Waddingham said.
Des Moines police reported last week that a girl from Madison Elementary was nearly abducted around 1:40 p.m. on Dec. 12. The third-grader left school for early dismissal, walked south on East Eighth Street from the school and then turned east onto East Douglas when a vehicle stopped and two female occupants asked her if she wanted some candy. The child yelled, “No,” and began running toward home. She heard the women yell out to her asking if she wanted a ride but kept running home. She described the vehicle as a green or black two-door and the women in their early to mid 20s. The passenger had dark, curly hair, she said.
Iowa State Patrol pleaded with the public to stay off the roads after the 25-vehicle pile-up took the lives of three Iowa motorists who were trying to drive through last week’s snowstorm near the Hamilton and Wright counties on Interstate 35. High winds brought visibility to almost zero, which was the suspected cause of the crash. A multiple-vehicle crash also occurred on Interstate 80 near Grinnell around the same time, and the eastbound lanes were completely blocked. Officials remind, no matter how important it is to get where you’re going, it’s not worth your life. CV