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Much ado about something

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013 11:00 a.m. CDT

Sometimes, there are a bunch of topics I would like to write about that, on their own, aren’t “meaty” enough to warrant a full column.

Sometimes, you’re lucky enough to have a few of those nuggets fall into your lap simultaneously.

This just happens to be one of those times.

Constitution Week

Thanks to Suzanne Van Zandt, you may have noticed a few items in the paper the last couple of days regarding the U.S. Constitution and the annual celebration of Constitution Week. If you haven’t seen the DAR display at the library, I would highly encourage you to take a peek.

I have been a member of SAR -- Sons of the American Revolution -- for nearly 20 years. I can claim membership through five ancestors, mostly on my paternal grandmother’s side, because my paternal grandfather’s side descended from heirarchy of the Menonite Church.

I was blessed to have a number of important people in my life who instilled in me when I was still young the importance of our nation’s founding documents. But, I also understand many of you out there have not, which is why I think Constitution Week is so important.

So, when a local citizen came to me to tell me about the Constitution Week display at the DMACC Newton Campus this week, I was a little disheartened. So, as a former DMACC Constitution Week speaker, I thought I quickly share what troubled both the local citizen and me.

To quote directly from Public Law 108-447, Section 111: “Each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students served by the educational institution.”

At the DMACC Newton Campus, their idea of “educational program” this week was to have copies of pocket Constitutions available on a table, along with a plate of cookies. Next to it, a sign told those who took the time to read it that “Dr. Politics”was speaking that day in Ankeny, and will be speaking again tomorrow in Boone.

His speech may be viewed in the Fred Maytag II Auditorium (see the front page of today’s Daily News for details). The public is supposedly invited to attend, as well, while he speaks about the Second Amendment.

DMACC means the world to me, but I’m sorry, that’s the equivalent of “phoning it in.” There was no effort made to contact local media, and there was no widespread effort to “get out the word” among DMACC-Newton students.

The letter law requires better. The students deserve better.

Silly Season

In NASCAR, the period leading up to and following the September race at Richmond International Raceway is called “Silly Season.” Usually, that’s because of all the shuffling of drivers from one race team to another as contracts expire and teams begin the process of building for the next season.

It’s also the time of year when NASCAR usually rolls out its schedules for the next season. That hasn’t happened yet — and I hope I’m wrong — which could have Iowans looking back at 2013 and wondering “what if” next season.

NASCAR may be in complete overhaul mode for next season’s Sprint Cup schedule, and Iowa Speedway may not be the first track invited to the dance. FOX Sports is reporting as many as seven races could be getting juggled around in preparation for 2014, but Iowa Speedway is not part of remains an unsubstantiated rumor at this point.

I put at least some stock in the rumor because it’s coming from FOX Sports. And, as of this morning, only seven of the 36 race dates on the schedule are confirmed.

We had a chance to invest in infrastructure at the speedway this past spring, and failed to do so. It will probably take about 12 months to get the necessary infrastructure in place, once funding is secured. Having the funding in place before the start of this season could have allowed track officials to begin that work this summer in the hopes of 2014.

I can’t help but wonder if Newton would currently be part of the “Silly Season” rumor mill right now if we hadn’t failed to provide that investment. I guess we will just have to wait and see on that one.

Office Hours Change

Due to an overload of work sitting on my desk with deadlines yet this week or early next week, I will not be holding office hours Thursday. Starting next week, I would like to hold office hours at a new time and location, but I’d like to get your input as to when and where.

Let me know what you think.

• • •

If you’re reading this, thank a teacher. If you’re reading this in English, thank a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine.

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