Recent editorials published in Iowa newspapers
Globe Gazette. May 13, 2013.
Iowa's good fortune is blowing in the wind
If you were outdoors over the weekend, you're well aware that Iowa has plenty of something MidAmerican Energy Co. wants to harness: The wind.
Iowa's largest utility company made big headlines last week when it announced it will add 656 wind turbines by the end of 2015. Gov. Terry Branstad called it the largest economic development investment in state history.
We're talking big numbers here.
Greg Abel, chairman of MidAmerican Energy's holding company, said the expansion will enhance economic development and provide $360 million in additional property tax revenues over the next 30 years. Landowner payments totaling $3.2 million per year also are expected.
Mid-American customers will see rate reductions of $10 million a year by 2017 because of the project, said the company (which later announced rate increases it said have no relation to the wind project).
And the project will create about 460 construction jobs over a two-year period and some 48 permanent jobs in Iowa, a healthy, permanent boost in the state's economy.
There was no mention of location but the governor's office said the turbines will be added to existing projects. In North Iowa, according to www.midamericanenergy.com, the company has projects in Floyd and Wright counties. So those areas could see additional development.
MidAmerican began building wind projects in 2004 and has installed 1,267 wind turbines in Iowa, an investment of about $4 billion. It estimates by January 2016, when all new wind generation is in operation, wind energy might account for 39 percent of its retail generation.
Along with the hefty economic boost, the project will help reduce the company's carbon footprint by 10.3 percent, according to Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy.
This is good news indeed. Iowa has been an industry leader in wind generation, and ranks among the nation's leaders along with Texas and California.
This project still must be approved by the Iowa Utilities Board. But because it will be done at no cost to customers, will provide a huge economic stimulus and will be a green project, it would seem like a lock.
Thanks to MidAmerican and those who have seen the importance of renewable energy, good fortune continues blowing in the wind.
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. May 12, 2013.
Postville making progress 5 years after immigration raid
Five years ago, the town of Postville was left in shambles after a raid that led to the arrest of nearly 400 immigrant workers.
The kosher meatpacking plant, known as Agriprocessors, was the economic anchor for the small town. Many plant officials faced a variety of immigration, bank fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud charges, as well as child labor law violations. Some, including vice president Sholom Rubashkin, were sent to prison.
It basically took one day to cripple the economy of the town.
Nationally, the raid prompted many cries of government bullying on one side, and declarations of support for the raid on the other. Those in the substantial middle continued to wonder if our leaders would ever take the necessary steps toward overhauling our immigration policies.
As always, the national discussion eventually cooled to a simmer. Northeast Iowa, however, was left with a small town with a crushed economy.
Morale, of course, followed the economy.
Homes and other buildings were abandoned. A year after the raid, the lines at a food pantry were the longest in town. A third of the population had left. There was no funding forthcoming, unlike situations in which communities suffer through natural disasters, or other unforeseen economic difficulties.
Five years later, Postville and its residents are still in an uphill battle.
Fortunately, there are people willing to fight that tough battle, and someday that collective effort could be one of the town's most important and lasting legacies.
Agri Star Meat & Poultry, based in Brooklyn, N.Y., stepped in to operate the plant. It's a leaner process, and employs less people, but still serves as an economic and employment focus.
Postville remains a melting pot with people from different backgrounds coming to work at the meatpacking plant, including an influx of refugees from Somalia.
That has sparked some new business.
A new kosher food store, Glatt Market, has opened downtown, replacing a store that closed shortly after Agriprocessors' bankruptcy.
There's a new Somalian food store and an African clothing store.
Dollar General opened two years ago.
"It does a fairly large business, and we saw that with the local option sales tax increase that we noticed after they arrived," said Darcy Radloff, city clerk administrator.
The chamber of commerce is actively recruiting members, hoping to spur any business growth.
Future progression is still undefined, but every little victory gets them another foothold in that uphill battle.
"We never looked back after the raid," Postville Mayor Leigh Rekow said. "We just went ahead as a town and kept on going. We never felt sorry for ourselves. We knew we were always going to be here, and we kept going."
Coming back from disaster is a dynamic and time-consuming process; but there is no question that sort of attitude is only going to help.
The Des Moines Register. May 13, 2013.
Lawmakers shouldn't overreact to court case
One of the bills that may be acted on before members of the Legislature rush for the exits would deal with a recent Iowa Supreme Court decision seen as harmful to owners of Iowa farmland. This is one piece of legislation that could cause more problems than it solves if lawmakers are not careful.
Business Photo Galleriesview all
- 99664Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 16608OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant tours Moore, meets with residents
- 13275Oklahoma tornadoes: ‘All I could do was sit there and hold her'
- 8705Line of storms brings flash floods to Oklahoma City area
- 8419Oklahoma tornadoes: Love for Oklahoma generates big donation
- 8235How to help tornado victims
- 7896Oklahoma tornadoes: Rams quarterback Sam Bradford leading aid effort