OUR OPINION: Cheers and Jeers

OUR OPINION: Cheers and Jeers

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Frank LaMere honored

Family members, friends and community leaders gathered in South Sioux City, Nebraska, on Nov. 1 for the dedication of Frank LaMere Park.

The admired, respected Native American activist died in June at the age of 69.

The city park named for him is located within the Flatwater Crossing residential/commercial project under construction along the Missouri River. Ho-Chunk Inc., owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, is the developer.

"Frank was the type of a person who would answer the call every time," Lance Morgan, president and chief executive officer of Ho-Chunk, said at the park dedication. "If a cause was close to his heart, he became its champion."

A park bearing his name strikes us as a wonderful way to keep LaMere's name and life accomplishments alive for future generations.

Move of school election helps

One of the reasons we used this space to advocate for moving school elections in Iowa from September to general election day in November was we believed these important elections deserved greater voter turnout. The abysmal turnout we saw in the past for school elections in Sioux City wasn't commensurate with the responsibilities vested in our Board of Education.

On Tuesday, 26 percent of voters in Sioux City cast ballots for Board of Education and City Council. By comparison, the 2017 school board election produced turnout of less than 10 percent.

That’s no insignificant improvement.

Court is in session

Kudos to the Nebraska Supreme Court for bringing its outreach program, designed to raise awareness of court processes and the importance of civics in society, to the auditorium of South Sioux City High School on Nov. 1.

The court heard oral arguments in two cases first, then the seven justices took questions from the audience, including from local students.

The visit, the first of its kind in Dakota County, lasted two hours.

Criminal justice reform

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday named 14 members representing a cross-section of organizations, state agencies and professions to a committee she formed to study and make recommendations on criminal justice reform.

Chaired by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, the panel will focus on two commendable goals: Reduction of recidivism among former offenders and removal of racial bias from the state's criminal justice system.

Reynolds wants a report from the committee in December, prior to the start of the 2020 legislative session.

We look forward to reading the committee’s proposals.

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Conflicting signals

In an encouraging sign, the Chinese government on Thursday said China and the United States have agreed to remove tariffs in phases as trade negotiations continue between the two nations.

On Friday, however, President Trump appeared to throw cold water on the statement from Beijing.

"... I've not agreed to anything," Trump told reporters.

In the meantime, farm states like Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota continue to bear a heavy burden for the U.S.-China trade war started last year.

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