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Editor’s note: Below are some random thoughts on current events.

Kudos to the city of Muscatine

Highway 92 from the Norbert Beckey Bridge to highway 61 in Muscatine has been an eyesore for our city for many years. If you haven’t traveled it recently, especially the stretch of Mississippi Drive that runs along the river front, trust me when I say that the road is in terrible shape. For years the city has been trying to work with the state to re-do this stretch of roadway. For the past couple of years we’ve been asking for Mississippi Drive to be resurfaced. Now, finally, it looks like the city and the people who have to take Mississippi Drive will get their wish.

The city of Muscatine has agreed to take over this portion of highway 92 from the state. The state is even throwing in $13 million for maintenance and upkeep costs. That’s good news for Muscatine and for the long-stalled Mississippi Drive corridor project. Randy Hill, public works director, and Steve Boka, director of community development, deserve both congratulations and a thank you, for negotiating this deal with the state. I look forward to seeing the city move forward on the planning and repairing of this section of roadway.

Wilton voters do the right thing

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Another bit of good news comes from the city of Wilton. Wilton’s residents got behind the school district’s push to build a new elementary school and passed a bond referendum to get it built. I personally haven’t been in the current Wilton elementary school but from the descriptions that I’ve read, it sounds like it was well past time to do something to improve the educational experience for Wilton’s youngest students.

Congratulations Wapello booster club

I’m always heartened when a community comes together to do something good for its future. After four years, the Wapello Athletic Booster Club was able to raise $125,000 to build a new wellness center for its junior and senior high school. Recognizing that something more needed to be done in the community to help encourage fitness and reduce obesity, the group worked to add onto its weight room. The new wellness center addition will feature treadmills, stationary bikes, rowing machines and other cardio equipment that can be used by students, both in gym class and on their own time, to get fit. I think this is a great idea and a great addition to the school and I hope that other area schools adopt this idea. Wapello principal Steve Bohlen said it best, “kids who have healthy bodies hopefully can have healthy minds.”

Jeers to the jet stream

I grew up in Minnesota. I’ve seen my share of bad winters, but as I get older I must be turning into a wimp. The steady whiplash between snow and cold is beginning to wear on me. So, what is driving this winter of our discontent? Apparently it’s the jet stream. According to a recent AP article, normally the jet stream stays in Canada or the northern U.S., going west to east in a somewhat straight line. But this winter it has plunged south, creating high pressure ridges and low pressure troughs and taking cold polar air south and east and leaving warm, dry weather to the west. That means that while we are experiencing more than our share of cold and wintery weather, the west coast is going through an extreme drought and Alaska set heat records. While this winter has been cold, it hasn’t been a record-breaker by any means. We just haven’t seen a winter like this in a while. Looking at the forecast, it doesn’t look like we’re going to warm up any time soon. I’ll be glad when the jet stream gets back where it belongs.

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Steve Jameson is the editor and publisher of the Muscatine Journal.

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