I’m sure many of you are feeling the same thing I am. Life is in 5th gear right now but it’s that out of control pace that makes you feel like you might run off the road anytime. We’re “getting it done” at our house but the run up to Christmas is always a little hectic.
It’s because we travel for the holiday. You have to have everything planned out well. One of my jobs yesterday was to take all of the presents my wife wrapped and put them into bags that can then be labeled for the appropriate Holiday location (Her Mom’s House, My Parents house…etc). We’ll then pack the car in reverse order of present distribution so we can simply grab the nearest bag full of gifts and go. It may sound a little over the top but it works.
To the News:
The Des Moines School Board made a decision about Central Campus. The decision is to buy the building next door and renovate the existing campus to the tune of about 26 million dollars.
This means we will have the company of all of the High Schoolers across the street for years to come. Whether that’s a good thing is a matter of opinion in our building.
There’s a ceremony at the Westroads Mall for the victims of the Mall shooting today. Tomorrow the Von Maur opens up for the first time since the shooting. I’m sure that’s going to be a hard day for a lot of people. I guess the company got some heat for opening “Only two weeks after the shooting”. I’d like to hear your opinion on this one…Is it too soon?
Clarke Co Electric
All but about 20 of the customers have power again. I’m wondering if Brad Hook and his family
have their electricity again. He called and left a message last Friday about not having a warm shower and having to run the furnace off a generator. It sounds like a horrible way to have to live for a week. If you’re out there Brad Post a response for us and let us know when things get back to normal!
3rd Street Exit opens
And so ends the 235 construction closings…Brad Ehrlich asked us what he’s going to do from now on…I told him we’d find work for him. I think we will. There are a lot of construction projects on the books still that I think you’ll all want updates on…and I still hear from people every day, “I know there’s usually no traffic but I want to hear that from Brad before I head out the door.” As we’ve talked about here…a few minutes can make all the difference in your morning commute. We don’t have epic back-ups or anything but we do have traffic, and Brad will continue to bring it to you.
Those of you with Farmers in the family…they’re working some valuable land. the value of farmland in Iowa went up 22 percent last year! It still doesn’t mean a lot of farmers are getting rich, but adding value to the farms is a good thing for the hard working families who live on them.
Hanukkah vs Christmas
We got an email yesterday from someone upset that we kept referring to Christmas.
I’m writing, because as a Jew living in Des Moines, I’m tired of hearing references to “Church” on Sunday. If you insist on speaking about “Church” then perhaps you should consider mentioning Synagogue on Saturdays. Also, I didn’t once hear a “Happy Hanukkah” but I often hear “Merry Christmas” on your station. I thought this was 2007…
It is in fact 2007.
I checked the calender just to be sure.
I also checked back on some of our shows and, as I thought, we referenced the beginning and the first few days of “The Festival of Lights”. That’s Hanukkah for those of you who don’t know.
So I asked one of my Jewish friends who often has an opinion on issues like this: Are we being insensitive? Her response, was a question. Allow me to paraphrase.
She often wonders why fellow Jews have to compare the two holidays? They have completely different significances in the two faiths.
Her argument is that Hanukkah is not one of the most significant or “High Holidays” in her faith and so making a big deal out of it doesn’t make sense. It’d be like me (a lapsed Catholic) making a big deal we don’t get more recognition for All Saints Day or The Feast of the Assumption. Both Are holy Days of Obligation for Catholics and they happen to fall near the High Holy days of Roshashana (Rosh Hashana) and Yum Kippur.
Still, there’s a natural impulse to compare them. Her solution? Don’t take offense when someone says Merry Christmas. Along with the obvious Christian basis for the day there is also a popular and secular feeling to the season. Peace on Earth, Good will to Men…that kind of thing. It’s a sentiment of good will no matter how or why you say it. I can’t imagine a case where it’s meant as an insult or slight.
And if you know someone celebrates Hanukkah…Wish them well in in their reflection and rededicating to their faith. Happy Hanukkah!
I’m going to run over to The Library…we need some books on CD for our Holiday Road Trip.
Have a good one.
Noon Update: We got a Release from Sen Chuck Grassley’s office saying:
M E M O R A N D U M
TO: Iowa Reporters and Editors
RE: Earthpark DA: Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Senator Grassley secured a $50 million federal appropriation in 2003, to help pay for part of Earthpark (formerly known as the Iowa Environmental Project). The total cost of the project was an estimated $150-$200 million. Senator Grassley received the appropriation after a tax-credit bond proposal was dropped during the final stages of consideration of an energy bill.
The Iowa Environmental Project has been supported by former Governor Bob Ray; then Governor Tom Vilsack; Senator Tom Harkin; Congressman Leonard Boswell, the former Director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, Mike Blouin, and the former Director of the Iowa Department of Education, Ted Stillwell.
Two years later, Senator Grassley took action to ensure the federal money was not frittered away. He subsequently won passage of legislation that required non-federal matching dollars to be raised before additional federal tax dollars were spent on the project. The matching money had to be raised by December 1, 2007, or the federal appropriation would be reclaimed by the U.S. Department of Energy. Since December 1, Energy Department officials have been reviewing the pledges and commitments made by non-federal entities to Earthpark for matching funds.
Monday night, the House of Representatives passed a year-end omnibus spending bill that includes legislation rescinding the Earthpark appropriation. The Senate passed the omnibus bill last night which included the same provision. The President must sign the spending bill before Friday in order to keep the federal government from shutting down.
If the Department of Energy does not approve the match proposal submitted by Earthpark and dispense the funds before the President signs into law the omnibus spending bill, then the federal money will no longer be available for the Iowa project.
Congress this year failed to complete action on 11 of the 12 annual appropriations bills that fund government operations and the result is this massive 3,500 page measure that includes more than 9,000 earmarks.
Senator Grassley’s office learned of the rescission of the Earthpark appropriation after the spending bill had been formally filed and prepared for the House vote. Senator Grassley does not serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Appropriators have primary responsibility for the omnibus measure, along with the Democratic leaders of Congress.
Here is a comment from Senator Grassley.
“Earthpark could bring unique opportunities to Iowa – not just environmental or energy related — but also long lasting benefits to Iowa’s economy and education system. Some may agree or disagree with the worthiness of this project, but I put in place a process to ensure the money wasn’t frittered away. The Appropriations Committee should have let the current law play out, giving the Energy Department ample time to consider the matching funds proposal, before allowing the law governing the federal dollars to be changed. I’m frustrated with this move by the majority. It goes to show that the pledge to be more transparent doesn’t appear to be more than a campaign promise that wouldn’t be kept. This action was unfair to Pella, the project leaders, and those who stepped up to the plate to provide contributions.”
The Earthpark Project issued a statement saying it was disappointed with the Congressional action.
As the memo says, if the Dept of Energy doesn’t approve the matching grant for Earthpark by the time The President signs this budget bill, Earthpark will lose it’s FEDERAL Funding.