Please, for veterans’ sake, let up on the fireworks this July 4

Please, for veterans’ sake, let up on the fireworks

Out of consideration to my fellow combat veterans, please consider foregoing firework explosions this Fourth of July. Reliving the horrors of combat, flashbacks, PTSD and other unpleasant experiences are a real thing every time fireworks are set off for hours at a time.

It would mean a lot to all those affected if you found another way to celebrate the Fourth.

Thank you.

Ed Mitschke, Clive

More: Editorial: We give up. Time for Iowa cities to legalize fireworks. Bans aren't working.

I have more confidence in Biden’s cognitive ability

To everyone clutching their pearls regarding Joe Biden’s supposed cognitive decline, might I suggest watching his State of the Union address or his more recent D-Day commemoration speech. Either should largely alleviate your concerns.

If, however, you’re one of those people who need something to worry about, just cue up Donald Trump’s elegy to powerful batteries and sharks from a recent Nevada rally and remind yourself that he might once again be president.

Marty Stutz, Des Moines

Note the respect for the rule of law after Hunter Biden’s conviction

A guilty verdict of a president's son was rendered. No gag order needed, no "sham" accused. We call that class and respect of the law. Let's hope our Iowa governor and attorney general are listening, to learn a much-needed lesson in civics, a lesson they try to avoid in the banning of books.

Robin Crabtree, Madrid

More: Why Iowa GOP leaders' reaction to Trump verdict doesn't just disappoint; it's dangerous

Caitlin Clark always takes the high road

For the first time, I am following women’s basketball. And, yes, the reason is Caitlin Clark.  She’s a woman, an Iowan and graduated from the same school as my children. I would follow her, no matter her race. It is not just her talent, gender, or athleticism that appeals. It is her grace and courage under fire. In almost every situation, she takes the high road when it would be far easier, under such enormous pressures, to capitulate to lesser qualities. Her parents are to be congratulated, less for her abilities and achievements, than for her remarkable character.  She is a much-needed model for youth because of who she is, not what she achieves.

Mary Ann Dorsett, Des Moines

More: Caitlin Clark is part of the culture wars. It's not her fault. It's everyone else's.

State should invest in Iowa Speedway

I agree with the Register’s fine sports columnist, Chad Leistikow: The Iowa Speedway needs a track makeover, new paving, more seats and expanded press box if NASCAR is to continue to race there.

The Iowa Corn 350 was a smashing success! But will that alone keep the Cup Series stopping in Newton? Should the 7/8-mile track be lengthened to a mile or more? Should the entire track be repaved?

The state of Iowa has a large budget surplus.  Should Iowa and NASCAR team up to modernize Iowa Speedway?

I say yes.  Rebuild it and they will come!

Tony A. Powers, West Des Moines

Children are going hungry as it is; don’t cut SNAP

The draft farm bill unveiled in the House proposes significant cuts to food assistance programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) that help millions of Americans afford groceries. These programs are essential for providing healthy food and reducing food insecurity in our communities.

I have led operations and been secretary on the board for Booster Pak for the past five years. This program runs in the West Des Moines Community Schools and has had to fill holes that the government would not. We provide food on the weekends to kids who would otherwise struggle to eat enough when not in school. This past school year, we sent food home with around 650 students every week. These are kids that government programs should be helping more.

When a child is hungry over the weekend and depends on meals at school for nutrition, it can take until Wednesday to get enough nutrients for their body and mind to function properly. Because of this, many kids who are simply hungry instead struggle with behavior issues, learning problems, illness, and other health problems.

Organizations like Booster Pak should not even need to exist if the government did its job properly. Congress is supposed to work for the people but is ignoring so many of their constituents. West Des Moines has always been known as a financially secure district, but one in three students in the district struggles with food insecurity.

Many schools in Congressional District 3 may struggle even more. It is essential to always support funding for government programs, like SNAP, to ensure these families can simply eat. I urge Zach Nunn to prioritize the protection and enhancement of these programs in the final farm bill. Families accessing nutritious food is not only a moral imperative, but also an investment in the health and productivity of our nation’s workforce and future generations.

Lori VanLo, West Des Moines

Half of Iowans aren’t backing Trump

The latest Iowa Poll, to no one’s surprise, has Donald Trump leading President Joe Biden by double digits.

What’s more noteworthy, however, is that Trump gets support from just 50% of those polled. This is Trump, who dominates political news and demands unwavering loyalty, in a state where Republicans dominate the Congress, statewide offices and the Legislature – and he can only muster half the voters.

That says at least half of Iowans want someone OTHER than Trump. They just can’t agree that it should be Biden. For the Republican Party of Iowa and Trump himself, it’s embarrassing. It shows that at least half of the state’s voters aren’t buying the con. They won’t elect someone who took children from their parents; who downplayed a deadly pandemic, belittled health protection measures and embraced quack remedies, causing thousands of unnecessary deaths; who refuses to accept he lost an election and sparked a riot that injured and killed law officers; who was legally found to be a sex criminal; who took government secrets and hid them rather than return them; and who was convicted of 34 felonies.

Trump will win in Iowa, but he doesn’t own the state. Lawmakers should remember that.

Thomas O'Donnell, Keosauqua

Biden should address real issues, not scaremonger about Trump

Leading up to the June 27 presidential debate, I'd like President Joe Biden's team to put less (or no) emphasis on the subject of former President Donald Trump having been convicted on criminal charges. I'd much rather hear what the Democrats have to offer voters on certain subjects.

AARP says some members of Congress want to create a debt commission to set up a fast-track process leading to drastic cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

What does Biden plan to do about that?

Right now everyone still feels the pinch from rising prices at the grocery store; how will he address this? How will FEMA be funded when it runs out of money in August? What about people's home insurance that doesn't pay after tornadoes go through, or hurricanes? What about people who can't afford home insurance anymore, and can barely get car insurance, due to rising costs due to climate change? What about the cost of gasoline?

I want to hear about practical things like those, and how Biden plans to look out for Americans if re-elected, not a rehash of Trump's legal troubles.

Lisa Boyes, Grinnell

Iowa delegation stands out for bipartisan work

Iowa ranks 26th in area and 31st in population, having been passed by Utah. We are in the middle of America. We are Middle America. Over the past 50-plus years, Iowa has been a Republican “red” state twice, a Democratic “blue” state twice, and a true “purple” state on and off for nearly 30 years in between.

For the past dozen years, I’ve heard from more and more Iowans tired of polarizing, partisan politics in Washington – where time is wasted on extreme or silly bills and amendments with near zero chance of becoming law.

Most Iowans want common sense public policy aimed at the common good. Toward that end, I appreciate the Register reporting 2023 bipartisan ratings of all 535 members of Congress from the Lugar Center.

The late Richard Lugar of Indiana was among the 10 most consequential U.S. senators of the 20th century. He knew how to effectively work across party lines; I was fortunate to meet him years ago. In Indianapolis last month, I spoke with people close to the Lugar Center about this annual ranking of members of Congress on foreign and domestic policy legislation.

Special recognition and appreciation are due central Iowa’s Zach Nunn, the 10th-most-bipartisan U.S. congressman, out of 435. That is serious confirmation of Nunn keeping faith with what he pledged to do in 2022.

And hats off to America’s and Iowa’s senior U.S. Senator, Chuck Grassley, who again demonstrated being principled and bipartisan are not mutually exclusive. Out of 100 U.S. senators, Chuck ranked as the 11th most bipartisan. Indeed, all six of Iowa’s senators and representatives ranked in the upper half of the Lugar Center Bipartisan Index. That’s good work by them, a good example for their colleagues, and good for Iowa and America.

David Oman, Des Moines

Research proves ethanol is clean

A June 13 story cited recent anti-biofuels claims by the so-called Environmental Integrity Project (EIP).

But years of peer-reviewed research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Lab, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Health and Engineering and other institutions have all concluded that today’s ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 50% compared with gasoline – a tally that includes emissions from biorefineries.

Moreover, when it comes to traditional pollutants, ethanol in the U.S. has long been recognized by experts, including leaders at the American Lung Association, as a key tool for reducing air toxics, such as carbon monoxide, benzene, and other harmful chemicals. EIP’s report claims otherwise by ignoring the vast majority of emissions from petroleum refineries, while inflating the biofuel numbers with emissions from other bio-based products.

Ultimately, this latest report just proves EIP is more interested in undermining the role of American agriculture in the energy transition than they are in finding real solutions to our environmental challenges.

Emily Skor, Washington, D.C., CEO of Growth Energy

Turbines and tornadoes: What to know

In my four and a half years as a project manager with JCG Land Services, I have witnessed wind turbine damage from a tornado only once: last month in Adair County.

Damage to wind turbines from extreme weather is a rare occurrence, and nothing is immune to natural disasters. In the development process, site-specific engineers tailor turbines to the natural disaster risks in an area, building them to withstand high wind speeds and tornadoes, for example. Additionally, turbines are equipped with sensors to stop the blades from spinning when high-speed winds occur. Engineers strategically spread out the turbines over the project area to decrease the likelihood of a tornado hitting multiple turbines.

Extreme weather is one of many aspects developers consider in the planning process. Practicable setbacks are designed to provide an additional layer of safety for the residents and property near a wind farm. The damaged turbine in Adair County remained well within the setback, causing no harm to nearby dwellings.

Safe and reliable operations are a top priority for Iowa's wind energy developers. The developers I work with have comprehensive safety guidelines for energy facility employees and emergency protocols in place to respond to fires and collapses due to natural disasters.

Wind power is one of the safest forms of energy generation, and Iowa is a national leader in its production. I encourage state and local leaders not to let this once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence deter them from continuing to build Iowa’s renewable energy portfolio.

Robert Welch, Urbandale

Republicans ignore corruption on the Supreme Court

Republicans such as Joni Ernst, Kim Reynolds, and Mike Johnson are hyperventilating regarding Judge Juan Marchan’s alleged ethics violation by not recusing himself in Donald Trump’s falsifying-business-records case to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. Yet they remain stone-silent when it comes to Supreme Court justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas refusing to recuse themselves from hearing Trump’s claim for immunity when Thomas’ wife was very involved in the effort to overturn the 2020 election while Alito’s wife flew flags reflecting support for Trump’s big lie about the 2020 election being a sham.

All federal judges, except those on the Supreme Court, have ethics rules: “Judges should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities.” Specifically, “a judge should disqualify himself in a proceeding, in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including instances in which the judge’s spouse is a party to the proceeding or known by the judge to have an interest that would be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.”

Six Supreme Court justices appear to have no ethical limitations, and since their decisions empower Republicans, Ernst, Reynolds, and Johnson remain silent. Partisanship threatens our democracy.

John Beisner, Ames

Problem with Iowa child labor law was always apparent

Iowa legislators and the governor passed a law that changed the hours and types of work that can be performed by minors, and that particularly impacted restaurant employees. These new state laws were less strict than federal laws that are in place to protect minors. When state and federal laws differ, the more strict of the two is to be followed.

I would think that our Iowa legislators and the governor were aware of this difference and should have thought this situation through before passing laws that provide less protection for minors in employment situations. It should not come as a surprise that federal investigators are imposing fines on employers who are violating federal laws governing the employment of minors. Our state legislators and the governor created this unfortunate situation where significant fines have been imposed on some employers and that may put some restaurants out of business.

Please do not blame the federal government for enforcing existing laws that protect minors. Whether Iowa’s law is a good for minors and employers or not, it conflicts with federal laws. State legislators and the governor should have been aware of this conflict before signing it into law and given the responsibility for changing the law to our federal congress persons and senators.

Cynthia Erickson, Des Moines

Iowa must take responsibility for restaurants’ woes

It was mind-boggling to read the story “New Iowa child labor laws not recognized” and find the Iowa attorney general, legislators voting for this legislation, the governor, and the Iowa Restaurant Association did not know that federal laws more stringent than state laws would take precedence. That’s pretty basic.

For them to have claimed or acted not to know this was derelict. Then failing to notify the businesses of Iowa is sheer travesty. And seems the reason businesses, who are not following federal law, are now at risk. And, unfortunately, for businesses, ignorance of the law is not an excuse, as for us all.

It would be no different than passing a state law saying that Iowans no longer need to pay federal taxes, let Iowans act on that law, and then blaming the IRS for enforcing the federal law. All along the state would and should have known better and provided guidance accordingly.

It seems to me the state of Iowa should be liable for knowingly putting Iowa businesses at the bleeding edge of risk with assurances that the law they passed would take precedence. That was nothing but playing politics with people’s livelihood.

Phillip Thien, Des Moines

Register panders to the far right

John Allan of Cedar Falls is woefully misinformed when, in a letter, he describes the Register's editorial board as liberal.

My argument to the contrary is based on several years' worth of my letters about and against Donald Trump going unprinted. The Register has moved to the right and is aggressively moving further in that direction; just note so many printed op eds from so many ultra-right voices. Printing Allan's letter is "balance."

Phil Armstrong, Des Moines

Freeway speed camera makes traffic more dangerous

Maybe the city of Des Moines will give up its money grab with the eastbound Interstate Highway 235 traffic camera.

It is more a hazard, at best slowing traffic for a few mph for a few blocks. Drivers are not completely dumb. Once you locate the cameras, people slow to the permissible speed until they clear the camera zone, then accelerate back to their previous speed.

The danger is in the people who slow down for the camera and create a bottleneck between those who stay below 10 mph over the speed limit and those who slow to the posted speed limit. When you clear the camera zone, it's pedal to the metal, and the lane jumping begins.

This is the most ridiculous and hazardous plan for collecting revenue the city has come up with yet. A constant unified speed is the safer than changing speed. If you want to make a difference on I-235, make the speed 60 from the east mixmaster to the west, and enforce proper lane use. You might be surprised at the results.

Francis Picray, Des Moines

Pay attention to potential environmental impact for carbon pipeline

The Sierra Club recently raised critical concerns about the environmental impact of Summit Carbon Solution’s proposed Midwest Express pipeline, particularly regarding water use. Monte Shaw of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association dismissed these concerns without providing concrete data or independent studies, which is deeply troubling.

Summit’s decision to decline to comment only heightens concerns about transparency and accountability. The Sierra Club’s report highlights the endangerment of water supplies in smaller Iowa communities, already facing limited resources. The public deserves thorough explanations as to why these communities are being treated with such disregard.

Additionally, the environmental impacts go beyond water use, affecting local ecosystems, agriculture, and residents' quality of life. Shaw’s bias as the executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association cannot be ignored. Scrutinizing statements from vested interests is crucial to ensure unbiased decision-making.

Comprehensive scrutiny and public engagement are essential to maintaining the integrity and sustainability of our environmental resources.

Janet Miller, Ackley

More: Carbon pipeline foes say it would use billions of gallons of Iowa water resources annually

Fault Iowa, not the Department of Labor

The real problem here is that the Iowa Legislature passed and promoted child labor laws that can't be enforced because they violate federal law. If they knew it violated federal law, why did they pass it? If they didn't know, how can they be qualified to serve in the Legislature?

Legislators were warned that this would not fly, according to the Register.

While I feel for the Maquoketa Subway owner, I believe she has been victimized not by the US Department of Labor but by the Iowa Legislature.

Charlotte Baldwin, Ames

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Please, for the sake of veterans, let up on the fireworks this July 4