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the Iowa Utilities


A rose to Richard O. Jacobson for a hk business gift  to the University of Northern Iowa that will keep on giving for decades to come. UNI and state leaders unveiled Jacobson’s $15 million gift to the Cedar Falls university, which will be devoted to enriching the university’s College of Education through student scholarships, hiring new faculty and researchers and hosting an annual summit on teacher education. Jacobson obviously did well in the warehousing industry, and he has made a second career of sharing his wealth with gifts that amount to tens of millions to the three state universities, as well as the Iowa State Fair and other fortunate recipients. Jacobson’s latest gift will have an important impact at UNI’s role in producing future generations of Iowa teachers.

A thistle to Sen. Chuck Grassley for going along hk executive gift with the Senate’s regrettable slide back to its bad, old ways of the filibuster. Last week we gave Grassley a rose for his bipartisan effort with Sen. Tom Harkin to move the president’s nomination of Jane Kelly of Cedar Rapids to the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Then, on Wednesday, Grassley voted to sustain the filibuster of another federal circuit court nominee who has been targeted by the NRA. Her sin: Representing her boss (then the New York attorney general) in a liability suit against gun manufacturers. We thought it had gone out of fashion to hold lawyers responsible for their clients’ views. Then again, we thought Republicans believed judicial nominees deserve an up-or-down vote. So, another election has come and gone in which voters say they are fed up with Washington gridlock, and yet nothing changes.

A rose to the state of Iowa hk advertising premium and to the World Food Prize Foundation for showing how buildings can be made energy efficient whether they are brand new or a century old. The state won platinum status from the U.S. Green Building Council for the new state office building southeast of the Capitol housing the Iowa Utilities Board and Office of Consumer Advocate. The Food Prize Foundation achieved the same coveted status with its stunning renovation of the 1904 Public Library. Both buildings serve as examples of how any building project, done right, can be accomplished with the future of the planet in mind.

A thistle to U.S. Secretary of advertising-premium Agriculture Tom Vilsack for snapping at a legitimate question about federal spending. An ABC-TV reporter caught up with Vilsack the other day to ask why cabinet officers still sit for oil-on-canvas portraits that cost $400,000 in the past two years alone. Vilsack, clearly miffed with the reporter’s impertinence for asking such a “small ball” question, said he’d be happy to talk about bigger budget issues. What the heck, a few grand here, a few grand there, and it all adds up to a revealing portrait of Washington’s spending philosophy.