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Deserved honor

Former Sioux City Journal sports editor Terry Hersom will be inducted into the Iowa Association of Track and Field Coaches Hall of Fame as a special contributor, The Journal reported on Wednesday.

The induction ceremony will be on Dec. 7.

Hersom, who began his career as Journal sports editor in 1977, retired on Jan. 1, 2016.

We offer congratulations to our former colleague for this deserving honor.

Philanthropic spirit

Klinger Companies and the Gleeson Family Foundation have donated $1 million to the United Way of Siouxland endowment. The gift, announced at a recent luncheon by Klinger Chief Executive Officer John Gleeson, is the single-largest gift in the local United Way's history.

"In the past year, I have been asked, 'How are we going to celebrate our 100-year anniversary?'" Gleeson told some 125 people invited to the luncheon at the Delta Hotels by Marriott South Sioux City Riverfront. "I reflected on how my parents raised my siblings and me. I looked for a common thread from my family’s history and the answer became obvious for a number of reasons.

"My grandfather, my parents, and (my wife) Karen and I have been and continue to be staunch believers in paying our fair share to our community’s nonprofits. My father in a letter he wrote to his family, he stated, 'It is important that you share some of your success by contributing to worthy causes and helping others who are less fortunate.'"

The gift continues a long history of support for United Way by the Gleeson family.

“The Gleeson family and members of Klinger Companies have been involved, not just as donors, but as volunteer leaders of United Way in a variety of capacities over the last century,” United Way of Siouxland President Heather Hennings said in a Journal story about the announcement.

Sioux City hosts SAVE signing

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a 22-year extension of the one-cent Secure an Advanced Vision for Education, or SAVE, tax for school infrastructure on May 24 in, appropriately enough, Sioux City. The Sioux City School District's Career Academy was the site for the signing.

The roots of this tax stretch back more than 20 years to Woodbury County. This county was the first in Iowa to approve a 10-year, local-option sales tax for public school infrastructure (the tax first passed in 1998; county voters approved a 10-year extension in 2005). The tax was supported by Iowans through referendums in individual counties across the state as a local-option sales tax before it became a statewide tax in 2008.

Arguably, no district in the state has benefitted more from the school infrastructure tax than our local district. With revenue from the tax, the Sioux City district built or is building new elementary schools across our community, built three new middle schools and built science wings at each of the district's three public high schools.

The tax was scheduled to sunset in 2029, but the Legislature this year commendably approved an extension to 2051. By ending uncertainty about SAVE, the extension helps our local district and school districts throughout Iowa plan and bond for necessary infrastructure needs of the future.

Year-round E15 sales approved

The Environmental Protection Agency last Friday approved year-round sales of E15 - a fuel blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. The approval ended a ban on sales of E15 during summer months.

The decision was hailed in Iowa, the nation's leader in production of corn-based ethanol.

"This is positive news for rural Iowa when we can really use it," said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. "E15 will provide an immediate boost for ethanol demand, and the long-term potential is quite significant."

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How would this be different?

In answer to a question during a recent visit to Paducah, Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, told his audience if a vacancy opens on the U.S. Supreme Court in 2020, the Senate will fill it.

Didn't McConnell, in fact, block (ahem, withhold the Senate's constitutional right to consent) President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to replace the late Antonin Scalia to the High Court because 2016 was a presidential election year?

"Of course, the American people should have a say in the court's direction," McConnell said at the time.

Hmmm, isn't 2020 a presidential election year, too?

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