Thumbs Up … to the Quad-Cities Community Foundation for two $100,000 grants that will go a long way toward making our community more inclusive. The grants were announced earlier this week. Called “transformation grants,” the funding will go to the Vera French Mental Health Center and to Mercado on Fifth.
Vera French will use the funding to help support employment among people with severe mental health illnesses. Only a third of this population wanting work is able to find employment. We can do better, so we applaud any effort to help lift up these folks. It helps not only them, but it will help to make our community a better place. Specifically, Vera French will work with Transitions Mental Health Services to expand its employment program to Iowans.
Anybody who has been to Mercado on Fifth’s events know what a phenomenal organization it is. Best known for its open-air market adjacent to Moline’s Floreciente neighborhood in Moline, it provides a platform for 50 minority-owned businesses. The organization extends micro-grants and helps with training needs, among other assistance. This funding, we’re told, will help support Mercado with the purchase and renovation of a building, enabling year-round use of its business incubator and event space.
Thumbs Up … to the U.S. Justice Department for its investigation of the Glenwood Resource Center, a state-run facility in western Iowa for people with severe intellectual disabilities. The facility has seen a sudden increase in deaths, and recently the Des Moines Register reported the investigation involves allegations of “sexual arousal studies.”
We don’t know enough yet about this to make any judgment, but we’re happy the federal government is looking into it. The department notified the state last month it was investigating Glenwood and the state-run Woodward Resource Center, which also provides care to people with disabililties. Earlier this week, the leader of the Glenwood facility was placed on administrative leave.
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We hope the Justice Department’s inquiry is vigorous, and the state is transparent with the results.
Thumbs Down … to Iowa’s continued mismanagement of the sale of cannibidiol in the state. Derived from hemp, CBD is in high demand, and you can see it marketed all around the state. However, it is illegal to sell CBD over-the-counter, a fact that seems to be lost on much of the public. The purchase of CBD is only allowed at a handful of state-sanctioned outlets.
Much of the confusion is due to the uneven enforcement of the law, something that was brought into focus with the arrest of a business owner in Ankeny last week. Local authorities said the arrest stemmed from complaints about a number of businesses.
We believe in following the law, but we also think the state's tight-fisted approach to CBD sales is a contributor. It only is available at a handful of locations; it's only available to people who have state-approved medical cards, and only for certain conditions.
We have been hesitant to get behind more aggressive marijuana legalization efforts. And we’re eager to see what the experience is in Illinois, where recreational marijuana sales will become legal at the beginning of the year. But what the state of Iowa is doing just doesn't jibe with public expectations.
Thumbs Up … to the progress being made on building the new Interstate-74 bridge. Earlier this week, Barb Ickes reported that a critical piece of the arches for the new Iowa-bound span has been put in place and the alignment shaped up pretty well. A lateral brace between the two segments of the arches measured only a small variation. And, as we all have been able to see, the progress toward erecting the arches has gone considerably faster in the last few weeks.
As this newspaper has reported, there’s been a dispute between the Iowa Department of Transportation and Lunda Construction, not to mention delays in the construction schedule. Given that, we applaud this recent progress. We hope it continues.