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Morningside College KMSC 92.9 FM
Professor leaves lasting legacy to Morningside College radio station

SIOUX CITY --  Mark "Doc" Heistad was beloved by all of the Morningside College students that he had taught and mentored as an associate mass communications professor.

When the Minneapolis native died of esophageal cancer in April 2017, he knew he wanted to leave a lasting legacy to the college's mass communications department that had been his passion for the last 15 years of his life.

"'Doc' was the driving force behind KMSC-FM., our student-run radio station as well our TV station and our very busy sports programming," assistant professor Dave Madsen said. "'Doc' wanted a part of his estate to be used for our department."

Specifically, Heistad provided a gift of $100,000 as a way to upgrade the television station with high definition equipment, provide an updated scoring system for sporting events as well as a major makeover to the radio station.

"'Doc' was a radio man," Madsen said, noting that Heistad had worked as a host and producer for public radio stations in Marshall, Minn.; Cedar Falls, Iowa; and St. Paul before becoming a professor. "It made sense that KMSC would see a big improvement."

Located in the back of the college's Hickman-Johnson-Furrow Learning Center, the mass communications department had already seen a few changes in recent years.

"A room that we had been using for storage suddenly gained a window it really didn't need," Madsen said. "We decided to expand this area by making it into the radio station's control room while converting what was previously our control room into production space."

A control room with a window will allow announcers to see outside.

"There's nothing worse than reading a weather report that says it is raining when the sun is actually up," Madsen said with a sigh. "Now, students can actually confirm the conditions for themselves."

The space also had room for a separate area with multiple mics that can used for either talk shows or live musical performances.

An open-to-the-public dedication ceremony for the newly-opened Mark "Doc" Heistad Studio will be held at 4 p.m. Friday at Morningside's Hickman-Johnson-Furrow Learning Center.

"I know 'Doc' was completely dedicated to his students," Madsen said. "Now, a new crop of students will experience Doc's dedication to this department and his students for many years to come."

Trade war isn't helping Iowa 4th District farmers, Scholten says

SIOUX CITY -- J.D. Scholten isn't interested in trade wars with China, especially if Iowa farmers are caught in the middle. And if the president wants tariffs, they should first be approved by Congress.

The Democratic challenger to Iowa 4th District Rep. Steve King told the Journal's editorial board Thursday that he's met many farmers and representatives of agricultural groups during his campaign who feel the same way.

"I oppose it," Scholten said of the escalating trade war with China and the series of retaliatory tariffs the two trading partners have placed on each others' goods. Among the casualties in the trade war are prices of soybeans and pork, two of Iowa's main exports to China.

"I don't see New York building owners getting hurt. I don't see Texas oil men getting hurt. I don't see Silicon Valley getting hurt. We're bearing the brunt of it (in the Midwest)," Scholten said.

Scholten, 38, of Sioux City, said King's give-it-time approach on the tariffs won't work for farmers of Iowa's 4th District that he represents. After eight terms in the U.S. House, the Republican should be a leading voice for agriculture, but he's not. Iowa farmers deserve better representation, Scholten said.

"If you look at Twitter, he's not talking about any of these things. He's talking about his agenda. At some point you need to become a team player and step up for your district. He's not doing that," Scholten said.

During his continuous swing through the 4th District's 39 counties in his Winnebago RV, dubbed Sioux City Sue, Scholten said he's heard similar frustrations from farmers and ag trade groups willing to back a challenger's campaign, voters said an incumbent should have sewn up long ago. Few congressional districts depend on a strong agricultural economy as much as Iowa's 4th, and, Scholten said, its representative should be out front on issues such as market consolidation and problems with the renewable fuels standard.

Scholten said he's heard little to nothing from King about those issues, and neither have his constituents.

"There are enough agricultural folks who are frustrated with him. I'm always going to be on the side of Iowa farmers," said Scholten, a freelance paralegal who returned to Iowa after the 2016 election, when he said his grandmother urged him to come home and ensure the future of her family's farm near Lake Mills, Iowa.

Photos: J.D. Scholten Editorial Board

Rather than take up farming, Scholten took up the challenge of facing King in a district in which the number of registered Republicans heavily outnumbers registered Democrats. Frustrated by what he saw as a lack of jobs paying more than $15 an hour, Scholten created his own job and decided to try to do something about wage stagnation in the district. Improving the ag economy is a big step in doing that, he said, so ending harmful tariffs that hurt Iowa's ag exports is a must. A modernized visa program for immigrants and other immigration reforms would benefit Iowa employers, Scholten said, and a revitalization of unions and raising the federal minimum wage would help the state's workers.

An East High graduate, Scholten played baseball at Morningside College before transferring to the University of Nebraska for his senior season. He continued to play baseball professionally after his graduation, including a number of years with the Sioux City Explorers. Perhaps because of his athletic background, Scholten's statements contain many references to teamwork.

He emphasized that he's willing to reach across party lines to find solutions to the issues that affect Northwest Iowa.

"I'm probably one of the more patient Democrats you'll ever meet. I'm willing to work with anyone as long as it will help our district," he said.

King, he said, has failed to do that and seems unwilling to seek input from the people he represents.

"What this democracy is about is engagement with the public, and that's not what the district is getting now. We have a representative who's not doing town halls and won't debate me," Scholten said.

Justin Wan, Sioux City Journal