Editorial: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Editorial: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

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Thumbs Up …. to Palmer College of Chiropractic for its $20 million plan to create two "first-of-their-kind" academic spaces on campus.

Palmer announced the plans this week. The first project is called a Learning Commons and will feature a glass atrium and grand staircase. Construction is scheduled to begin next month and finish in January of 2021.

The commons, which will be at the south end of the courtyard on Brady Street across from the new R. Richard Bittner Athletic & Recreation Center, will bring together functions of the college’s library, labs, lounges and seminar spaces into a communal area.

That project will enable the college to build what it calls an Experiential Learning Center, which won't be visible from the street but will house labs and technique rooms. Construction there is slated to begin in March of 2021 and finish sometime about January of 2022.

The college says the new projects will make use of existing spaces and won't expand its footprint. It's just the latest investment Palmer has made on its campus in recent years.

Thumbs Down …. to the continuing increase in vaping-related illnesses. The Associated Press reported earlier this week the nationwide number is up to 1,888 confirmed and probable cases. That’s 284 higher than it was the week before, and a greater increase than we’d seen in weeks, according to the AP. An Illinois report said there have been 38 deaths. In Iowa, as of last week, 43 people in the state had reported vaping-related illnesses.

We have been critical of some of the practices of the e-cigarette industry, but we appreciate the caution that Iowa leaders, like Gov. Kim Reynolds, are exercising on this issue. Some states are moving to ban vaping devices, and while we would never advise any non-smoker to take up this habit — quite the opposite — we know some smokers trying to stop see the value in using these devices. Most of the vaping-related illnesses also have been linked to using THC.

Public health officials are studying this outbreak, and we hope they get to the bottom of it — and soon.

Thumbs Down … to scammers and hoaxers trying to undermine the U.S. Census. The once-per-decade head count is vital to drawing political boundaries and distributing federal funds. But the Census Bureau is preparing for hoaxers, especially those online, who they expect will try to foul up the process.

In recent weeks, fake posts have popped up online warning that scammers were trying to get into people’s houses by asking to check their identification for the upcoming census. The government worked to get the fake posts taken down. And officials and experts say they are worried about trolls, especially those from foreign countries.

The Associated Press reports that social media companies like Facebook and Twitter are attuned to the threat. We hope they’re serious about combating it.

Thumbs Up ... to the federal government and states like Iowa and Illinois that are setting money aside to figure out ways to beef up alternative fuel infrastructure along Interstate-80, particularly charging stations for electric vehicles. The $150,000 grant is aimed at finding and filling the gaps along the eastern stretch of I-80, which was defined as from New Jersey to the Iowa-Nebraska border.

Worries about the availability of charging stations are a major hurdle to people buying an electric vehicle.

According to Consumer Reports, the Department of Energy estimates there are about 22,000 electric charging stations in the nation and 65,000 individual outlets. That's only a fraction of the gasoline stations out there — and far short of what industry experts and advocates believe is necessary to position us for greater e-vehicle expansion.

We're glad to see Iowa and Illinois officials devote funds to study these gaps.

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