Residents and visitors who have been in the vicinity of Dubuque’s Flora Park since midsummer have likely caught a glimpse of the city’s new 16,000-square-foot skate park, which opened in mid-July.

A steady stream of skaters has come to the park to check out its deep bowls, various pipes, ramps, boxes and other obstacles.

The park represents the hard work, tenacity and advocacy of Kids in Dubuque Skate, a local organization that raised funds for the effort. It was 14 years in the making, but the group never gave up its mission and worked to see this attractive amenity brought to the community.

City officials agreed to put $600,000 toward the park, with KIDS securing grants and donations to gather the rest of the money needed. By the time the park opened, the grassroots drive had overshot its goal and secured $265,000.

That’s an impressive effort and deserves the gratitude of the community. In addition to being a tourism draw, it provides a local outlet for kids and adults to be active and moving in one of the city’s beautiful parks.

Thanks to Jennifer Tigges, Laura Bies, Mike Heitz and all the KIDS members and supporters who brought this project to fruition.

An effort in the Epworth community to rename the local school after one of its longtime educators is an idea worth developing.

The suggestion came from Tom Wickham, another former longtime administrator in the Western Dubuque Community School District, who has begun a petition drive. Wickham believes the school should bear the name of Geraldine McCarthy, who was teaching principal at Epworth Elementary School from 1970 until her retirement in 1999. In all, her teaching career spanned more than 50 years, predating the district itself and stretching back to the days of the one-room schoolhouse. McCarthy died in 2018 at age 91, having devoted her life to education.

That sounds like a local star, worthy of recognition.

For centuries, the names stuck on edifices far and wide tended to be people who climbed traditional success ladders or amassed fortunes — like political leaders, heads of institutions and captains of industry. That left out a lot of ordinary people who led extraordinary lives and made enormous impacts on the lives of others. It also left out most women and people of color.

While all five elementary buildings in the Western Dubuque Community School District are named for the communities in which they reside, Drexler Middle School in Farley is named for a beloved local educator — Wayne Drexler, so there is precedent for such a move.

WD Superintendent Rick Colpitts said the school board will consider hearing more from the petitioners and reach a decision after that.

Here’s hoping the board runs with this suggestion and names the school after a woman who dedicated her life to educating the children who attended there. What could be more fitting?

Much has been written about the Environmental Protection Agency’s changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard and its impact on corn farmers. But the reach of those federal changes is even broader than the agricultural sector.

Dubuque city officials recently learned that the company chosen by the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency to capture and move CO2 from the landfill has pulled out of the agreement. An agreement with Trillium called for the company to build a system to compress the gas created by burning methane from deep in the landfill and then create biofuel for vehicles. The plan called for Trillium to make the capital investment and then pay the solid waste agency $300,000 in annual royalties.

But changes in the Renewable Fuel Standard have led to instability in the biofuels sector and falling prices, so Trillium backed out of the deal.

How disappointing. When citizens hear politicians talking about making changes to the EPA, it might seem like something far removed from everyday life. Yet right here in Dubuque County are two significant examples — corn farmers and the landfill (aka taxpayers) — that suffered financial blows thanks to these changes at the federal level. It’s one more reason to restore the Renewable Fuel Standard to its previous strength.

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