The sports world was incredulous this week when one Division I college announced it intended to bring 25,000 fans into its stadium for its football home opener. The announcement seemed even more preposterous because it came from the No. 1 COVID-19 hot spot in the nation.
That the school was Iowa State University was downright embarrassing.
Thankfully, Iowa State officials weren’t afraid to walk back a bad decision. President Wendy Wintersteen on Wednesday reversed the athletic department’s plan to fill the stadium to about 40% for its home opener after “weighing feedback from the community.”
That feedback was something along the lines of: “Are you nuts?”
Equally troubling were Gov. Kim Reynolds’ comments defending the original plan. About 90 minutes before ISU announced the reversal, Reynolds defended the plans for the Sept. 12 Cyclone football game.
Reynolds talked up Friday night high school games and getting “back to normal.”
“We can do these things safely and responsibly,” Reynolds said.
This is the same governor who ordered the bars closed in the urban areas of Story County (home of Iowa State) because Ames was ranked as having the most coronavirus cases per capita in the country. And the governor noted that the surge was primarily young adults.
“We did see a rapid increase over a week as (students) moved back in. ... If we don’t see that number come back down, then we’re going to have to take a look at what else we need to do,” Reynolds said.
Well, discouraging 25,000 people gathering in a stadium at the virus hot spot epicenter would seem like one thing to be done.
It’s a good thing Wintersteen made the call to shut down the gathering of fans. Iowa’s anti-mask-mandate governor could have had a new surge in her state.
A tip of the cap to Mary and John Gronen, owners of Gronen real estate development and restoration company, for hearing what their employees needed right now and taking action.
When employees expressed concerns about having their children in every-other-day, in-person schooling, Mary Gronen went to work on a solution. She brought into the company’s employment two retired teachers, made space for students and invited employees to bring their kids to work on the days they weren’t in school. The Gronen workspace now includes a classroom of employees’ kids.
In these unusual times, adapting to new practices is key. The Gronens showed their innovative skills and managed to solve a problem for their employees and their families. That’s a job well done.
It’s September now, people, tick-tock. You have until the end of this month to do your civic duty and help out your city, your county and your state. It’s pretty painless, but everybody has to participate.
Fill out the census.
Over the past six months, we’ve seen the critical connection between government and citizens. At the city, county, state and federal levels, our elected officials are charged with taking care of citizens and responding to community needs.
A key factor when it comes to the distribution of resources is population. That’s why every decade, local officials take seriously the need to get the census count right. Right now, it’s vitally important that every member of our community be counted.
Getting the count right matters because population is the determining factor in distributing billions of federal dollars, as well as deciding legislative districts.
Area counties right now are sitting at a response rate of 60% to 75%. That won’t cut it. Respond now before Sept. 30 at 2020census.gov, by calling the U.S. Census Bureau at 844-330-2020 or mailing back received census questionnaires.
Make sure you’re counted. Your city, county and state are counting on you.