A salute to the members of the Iowa National Guard’s “Ironman” 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, who returned home this week, with Company A touching down Tuesday at Dubuque Regional Airport.

A couple of hundred family members and friends were there to cheer them on. No doubt it could have been many more were it not for COVID-19 and the decision by organizers that the welcome home be limited to the loved ones of the troops.

That should be no indication of the enthusiasm in the community in support and tribute to these men and women. Away from home for the better part of a year, the battalion supported Operation Spartan Shield in the Middle East.

Additionally, a handful of Cascade natives returned last week from the same deployment, as members of Company D of the 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment.

We honor the sacrifice of all those who spent these many months in service to their country, and those families here who kept the home fires burning while their loved ones were on duty. May all enjoy a wonderful reunion and a painless re-entry into the norms of everyday life.

Iowa has long gotten it right when it comes to drawing congressional maps, dividing districts equitably and fairly without partisan rancor. What threatens to disrupt the process this year won’t be political haggling — it will be yet another consequence of COVID-19.

States are required to redraw maps every 10 years following the new census. But the 2020 Census got well behind schedule with the pandemic, and fresh data from the U.S. Census Bureau might not be available in time to meet the Sept. 1 deadline for the Legislature to approve new maps and send them to the governor. If that happens, the Iowa Constitution calls for the Iowa Supreme Court to take over, draw and approve maps by year’s end.

Here’s where we’re thankful for Iowa’s fair and impartial judiciary.

The Iowa Supreme Court recently announced that it intends to meet its constitutional responsibility by following the process “set forth in Iowa Code Chapter 42,” referencing the chapter that outlines the state’s nonpartisan approach.

It’s good to know that Iowa’s fair and equitable boundaries shouldn’t be disrupted despite this change in process. The maps will be in good hands with the state’s Supreme Court if it is pressed into action.

It’s too soon to get excited. Let’s not count our funnel cakes before they hatch. But it’s encouraging to hear that area county fair organizers are cautiously optimistic that fairs will be “as normal as can be” this summer.

After the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation or modification of nearly every 2020 event, local fair organizers are anticipating a more typical fair season this summer while still prioritizing safety.

Imagine, a midway full of carnival rides, barns full of 4-H kids and projects, food vendors galore and musical acts taking the stage. It’s a vision that folks are hungry to behold.

Hats off to fair organizers in area counties who have pivoted and worked hard to keep funding coming in and keep planning for the future. Bring on the corndogs — tri-state-area residents will be more than ready to celebrate the sights, sounds and tastes of the county fair this summer.

Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board.

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