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THUMBS UP

National Music Museum plans expansion

A $9.5 million, 16,000-square-foot, multi-level expansion of the National Music Museum located on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion was approved by the state Legislature, The Journal reported on Sunday.

The addition will include exhibit space, a gallery for temporary exhibits, a performance hall, a classroom, a conservatory lab, a photography lab and new office space for staff.

Sioux City lands medical marijuana dispensary

Sioux City will be home to one of five medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, the Iowa Department of Public Health announced on Tuesday.

Under the state's medical marijuana law expansion approved by the Legislature last year, the state requested proposals for cannabidiol dispensaries. MedPharm Iowa LLC's application for a licensed Sioux City site was approved.

Location of a dispensary in Sioux City, which should be operational by Dec. 1, will benefit affected individuals and families in Northwest Iowa.

Downtown Partners plans lighting project

Downtown Partners plans a multi-phase project to brighten poorly lit portions of downtown Sioux City for improved pedestrian safety.

The project will include lighting improvements on Fourth Street, Pearl Street, under skywalks and near the riverfront.

Members of the Downtown Partners Board of Directors outlined the plan during a joint meeting with the City Council earlier this month. Board members said they have worked with private companies, MidAmerican Energy and city staff to identify dim or dark areas along downtown sidewalks.

"First and foremost is safety, making people feel comfortable that they can basically walk the streets and not feel like they're going to get mugged," Downtown Partners Board President Dennis Johnson said at the meeting.

The project will begin this spring.

THUMBS DOWN

Agriculture will feel pain of trade war

As we feared, President Trump's decision to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum entering the United States put farm country in the cross hairs for retaliation.

Last Friday, China said it is considering slapping a 25 percent tariff on American imports, including pork.

Iowa leads the nation in exports of pork, corn, and feed grain, ranks second for soybean exports, and is second for overall value of agriculture exports. If other countries, in fact, target U.S. agriculture products in response to Trump's tariffs, Iowa will feel the pain of the trade war as much as, if not more than any state. This, at what is an already challenging time for the farm economy.

The mind reels

In public comments last week, former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump each told the other he would win a fight with him.

"If we were in high school, I'd take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him," Biden said in an appearance at the University of Miami.

"Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. ... He doesn't know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way," Trump tweeted.

Can American political discourse sink lower?

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