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New park proves popular

More than 10,000 people used Cone Park's sledding hill during its first six weeks of operation, The Journal reported on Thursday.

Through Jan. 29, the park averaged 280 users per day.

"We're very pleasantly surprised," Matt Salvatore, the city's Parks and Recreation director, told The Journal.

An ice skating rink opened last Saturday should further strengthen Cone Park visitation.

Bicycle-sharing service on its way 

Sioux City will become the first community in Iowa to offer a bicycle-sharing service operated by San Mateo, California, based LimeBike.

On Monday, the City Council approved an agreement with LimeBike, which operates in more than 40 communities across the nation. Under the agreement, LimeBike will park some 250 bikes on downtown city sidewalk and right-of-way locations from which users can rent them.

The bicycles will be free-standing and self-locking, requiring no docking station and no investment of taxpayer money by the city.

On to Mars?

In a dynamic boost to the future of space exploration and travel, billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk's groundbreaking SpaceX on Tuesday launched Falcon Heavy - the world's most powerful rocket - from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

After launch, SpaceX guided two of Falcon Heavy's three first-stage rocket boosters back to Earth and landed them upright in unison to the Kennedy Space Center for future use.

In addition to using its new rocket to launch payloads, such as satellites, for clients, what's next for Musk and SpaceX? Among its projects, the private company continues to pursue plans for the eventual transportation of cargo and humans to Mars.

Begin the congressional investigation

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including Iowa's Joni Ernst, on Wednesday introduced a bill for a congressional investigation of the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics in the aftermath of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

At a news conference to introduce a Senate resolution for creation of the panel, senators lauded the courage of more than 200 women who have come forward publicly with stories of sexual abuse by Nassar.

According to Ernst, the proposed congressional committee would be "entirely focused on investigating how this abuse was allowed to go on for so long and why leaders of the USOC and USA Gymnastics failed to protect these young women, and a path forward to put an end to this type of outrageous abuse."

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The mind reels

Discussion about guns in the courthouse at Tuesday's meeting of the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors showed again why the Iowa Legislature needs to revisit the package of gun-related proposals passed by lawmakers last year.

The discussion focused on a plan by which guns will be allowed in those parts of the courthouse not controlled by the judicial system.

As we have said before, the idea of allowing guns in some areas of the courthouse but prohibiting them in others is folly. How do you properly enforce that system? Once an individual with a gun is inside the building, who or what will stop him or her from going wherever he or she wants with the weapon, including areas considered off limits? Besides, why are all sections of the courthouse not deserving of the same level of security?

Only the Legislature can clean up the mess its new law created for Woodbury County and, likely, for other counties.

Again today, we call on state lawmakers to pass a bill that gives local government bodies the legal right under state law to adopt a ban on weapons in public buildings. Once that measure takes effect, Woodbury County supervisors should reinstate a complete ban on guns in the courthouse.

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