Duck Creek bioreactor

The city of Davenport received a grant for $31,875 from the state of Iowa in March 2016 to install this underground bioreactor system near Duck Creek at the intersection of Fair Avenue and 32nd Street. Work on the project was delayed until this summer.

Kevin E. Schmidt, QUAD-CITY TIMES

Thumbs up to U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, for demanding answers surrounding the suicide of Army veteran Brandon Ketchum.

A long-awaited Inspector General's report detailing Ketchum's treatment at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Iowa City was finally released this month. The IG report largely exonerated individual hospital staff who interacted with Ketchum prior to his suicide in July 2016. It did, however, level broad criticism at VA policies regarding following up for patients that have sought help. 

It can never be known for sure if anything more could have been done for Sgt. Ketchum. His is one among an inexcusable number of veterans taking their own lives after deployment.

But, at the very least, a full investigation provides some answers that, hopefully, save a life. And it's on those answers where Ernst wouldn't back down.

Her office dogged the IG as one deadline after another blew by for the report.

Thumbs down to the continued tragic failure that is Iowa's privatized Medicaid system.

Back-door negotiations continue between state health officials and the three providers, reported The Des Moines Register this week. The talks were supposed to end weeks ago. And yet, they drag on and the taxpaying public remains in the dark. 

All three firms have decried funding levels and demanded more cash. Lost in all of this are the poor Iowans who rely on Medicaid for access to health care.

Thumbs up to bioreactors, the ag industry's response to demands for limiting nitrates seeping into rivers and streams.

Local farmers, governments and non-profits alike have installed the systems designed to strip nutrients from runoff. Some, no doubt, are looking to dodge regulation. Others are simply concerned about water quality. 

Whatever the motive, bioreactors are a step in the right direction. 

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