Newton Casino, Another tour in Iraq and Riding the bus

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Good morning everyone. Have you ever had one of those mornings when you wake up and can’t remember pushing the snooze button on your alarm three times? I usually know that I am delaying getting out of bed but this morning I must have done it in my sleep. So I got a later start to my day and as a result I feel like I have been trying to catch up all morning. It feels like I am 10 minutes behind with everything I am doing.

It was nice to have some sunshine again today but it sounds like we’re in for more snow tomorrow morning during the morning commute.

To the news of the day….

Newton Casino
This morning the Jasper County Board of Supervisors will meet to discuss the proposed new casino for Newton. Developers want to built it next to the Speedway and they say it will bring hundreds of new jobs to replace those lost when Maytag pulled out of town last year. Today the Jasper County Gaming Development Corporation says it has enough signatures from people who live in the county to put it to a vote in April. Even if that happens and the county approves it, the Gaming Commission still has to give it a license. So there are still a lot of things that have to happen before a casino is built. Meanwhile, city leaders in Tama, Ottumwa, Fort Dodge and Franklin County want a casino in their towns and they are meeting with The Gaming Commission to find out if it is a possibility.

Frankly, I have to wonder if there is a point at which there are too many casinos. And this is not a judgement on casinos. Are there enough people to support that many casinos in Iowa? If they build more will others lose money? I am sure there is an argument for both sides.

Tour #3
This is a story that makes me sad for all the families effected. The Company B 248th Aviation Support Battalion out of Boone just got word that it will go to Iraq again in June. The soldiers will likely be there for a year. This is the third tour of duty and it just makes you wonder when it is going to stop. Will there be a fourth? I have a brother-in-law who has spent nearly 3 years away from his family since 2003 and I am beyond proud of his dedication and service. He wouldn’t want to be home right now or he’d feel like he wasn’t doing his part. But I think my sister would tell you that she isn’t sure she has the strength to go through this a third time. I guess this is where the community, friends and family have to come in and help support these people left behind.

Riding the Bus
Megan Ruether did a story this morning about DART (Des Moines area regional transit authority) asking other communities in the Des Moines area to pay more in property taxes to fund public transportation. Right now Des Moines taxpayers pay most of the costs. The smaller communities don’t use public transportation like Des Moines does, so some of them like Johnston have expressed concern for an increase in property taxes when they don’t get all the services Des Moines gets. As part of her story, Megan took the bus from the Hy-Vee in Altoona and said she got dropped off downtown in about 35 minutes. If I worked downtown (and not at 3:00 a.m.) I would definitely consider it.

Enjoy your day and see you back here tomorrow.
Brooke