Friday, October 24, 2014


Good Bad Ugly

7/24/2013

The good

Mark one up for the advocates of privacy. The last thing our society needs are more cameras monitoring people’s every move. That’s why we applaud the Clive City Council, which last week voted to not renew the city’s contract with traffic camera company Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. Ironically, Clive was one of the first cities in Iowa to implement the intrusive technology. Hopefully other communities follow suit.

Iowa farmer Seth Watkins is blazing the trail with a new conservation practice to reduce soil loss and improve water quality by seeding strips of native prairie into cropland on his farm. This approach was pioneered by the Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairies (STRIPs) Research Team at Iowa State University, and Watkins’ recent seeding of eight acres in a 50-acre field with prairie, made him one of the first farmers in the state to adopt this practice. Doug Davenport, of Natural Resources Conservation Service, called the prairie strips “a new opportunity” for farmers. Research conducted by the STRIPs team at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge showed that planting 10 to 20 percent of a watershed in native prairie reduces the amount of sediment leaving the watershed by more than 90 percent. Nitrate and phosphorus movement also decreases, experts said.

 

The bad

DM Art Center

Some Cityview readers may not be old enough to remember the Des Moines-based “Floppy Show,” starring Duane Ellett and his beloved puppet creation Floppy the Dog, but those who were fans of the show are outraged at the news that the old puppet has been removed from the State Historical Museum here. After nearly 30 years, WHO-TV canceled the daily half-hour show in 1984. Ellett died a few years later. “The Floppy Show” display was donated to the museum in 1993 but was recently replaced in June to the dismay of fans who have now started an online petition and Save Floppy Facebook page. Leo Landis, the museum’s curator, said that an institution with about 76,000 artifacts needs to rotate its holdings so more of them are seen and that 19 years was way too long for an object made of Floppy’s materials to go without major maintenance. The space that Floppy used to call home is being filled with antique bicycles from an exhibit about Iowa’s cycling history.

The Blank Park Zoo announced last week the passing of the female lion Gavivi. The lion was diagnosed with an aggressive type of mammary cancer in 2012 and maintained a high quality of life and remained active longer than expected, according to a press release. The decision to humanely euthanize her was made after her quality of life diminished suddenly. She was 16 years old. Zoo visitors might remember Gavivi as the lion who was missing a portion of her tail. The zoo will soon welcome a younger female lion of breeding age to hopefully add to the dwindling lion population. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, only 30,000 wild lions remain.

 

The ugly

Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Tokyo, Japan, is suspected to be leaking highly radioactive water into the ground, contaminating the Pacific Ocean, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said last week. Groundwater samples at the plant have detected high levels of cesium, tritium and other radioactive chemicals we can’t pronounce. The Japan Times reported that Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) blamed a leaky pit caused by the nuclear eruption at the plant in April 2011.

Two mothers broke out into a brawl at a Long Island Chuck E. Cheese restaurant during a child’s birthday party last week. According to Business Insider, the parents reportedly started throwing punches during the “Happy Birthday” song. The event, recorded by onlookers and posted to YouTube, shows these catty mothers-of-the-year scrapping as venue managers try to split them up. The first punch thrown was by a mother still holding her baby as others watched in horror. Police reportedly said they will review footage to determine if they want to file charges. Pass the parmesan cheese, please. CV