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Good Bad Ugly

8/7/2013

The good

Water. Cool water. Twenty Iowa cities will benefit from a combined total of more than $42.3 million in low-cost water quality loans through the State Revolving Fund. State Revolving Fund Construction Loans are a low-cost construction financing option available for municipalities. The Iowa Finance Authority and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources jointly administer the State Revolving Fund to Deloit, Schleswig, Granger, Burlington, Dubuque, Gilmore City, Maquoketa, Monmouth, Sabula, Lambs Grove, Hills, Keokuk, Melbourne, Des Moines, Davenport, Cambridge, Bonaparte, Indianola and Sioux City.

Dora would be proud. Volunteers stuffed 1,500 backpacks like an assembly line the other day in order to support CROSS Ministries’ 21st annual Back-to-School Giveaway, supplying low-income kids everything they’ll need to get the school year started on the right foot. The drive will be held on Thursday, Aug. 8 from 5-8 p.m. and Friday, Aug. 9 from 10 a.m. to noon at Cottage Grove Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1050 24th St. A new backpack filled with the grade-appropriate school supplies will be given to the first 1,500 children. Parents should bring IDs for all members of the household and something showing their income range. Call the CROSS Ministries office at (515) 279-8877 for more details.

 

The bad

This story gives new meaning to the words “post” and “bail.” Employees of a Reno, Nev., brewpub posted a photo of alleged dine-and-dasher Saul Zelaznog on Facebook, warning others not to serve him after he walked out on a $100 tab. The public shame led to Zelaznog’s arrest for probation violation. Zelaznog has become an object of social media scorn after workers at the Brewer’s Cabinet posted the comments, along with a link to his profile so others could “let him know he sucks,” according to the Associated Press. “And, while you’re at it, you could tell him that visiting restaurants with your friends, running up a huge bill, roughing up servers and then bailing is pretty uncool … pathetic, really,” the post reads. “Get a life, man.”

Amateur drinkers are bad, but they are especially dangerous behind the wheel. A naked 19-year-old Tennessee man, Joseph Hall, was arrested last weekend and charged with felony theft and a short list of misdemeanors after he allegedly got drunk and stole a Bobcat front-loading utility vehicle from a Knoxville-area nursery, the Huffington Post reports. Hall allegedly smashed the vehicle through a chain link fence at the nursery while trying to drive it home. Authorities caught up with him a few blocks from his residence. He reportedly admitted that he was drunk and that he took the Bobcat in order to hide his nudity.

 

The ugly

Convicted kidnapper/rapist Ariel Castro was sentenced to life in prison in an Ohio courtroom last week for crimes against three female victims he’d held captive for more than a decade. His sentencing comes well-timed, as the 11th annual Preventing Abuse Conference returns to Cedar Rapids, where Gov. Terry Branstad is expected to be among those in attendance this weekend, Aug. 8-10. The F.B.I. last week announced the arrest of child sex traffickers and the rescue of more than 100 children nationally. Still, nearly 1.2 million children are reported missing in America every year. Hundreds of thousands are forced into prostitution, some as young as 9 years old. This is one cause we all should get behind.

It’s called a dead zone for a reason. Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium scientists recently completed their annual measurement of the Gulf of Mexico’s Dead Zone, which measured 5,800 square miles. The Dead Zone is an area of water at the mouth of the Mississippi River that is oxygen-deprived due to excess nitrogen and phosphorus pollution coming primarily from agricultural sources as far north as Minnesota. Record-high nitrate pollution levels in May through July forced the City of Des Moines to use a nitrate removal system and blend water from other sources in order to deliver safe drinking water to central Iowans, said Susan Heathcote, water program director for the Iowa Environmental Council, a member of the Mississippi River Collaborative. Despite such efforts, the Dead Zone has only grown bigger. So the Mississippi River Collaborative is now suing the EPA in an attempt to get the agency to set and enforce numeric standards for nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. CV

Barmuda