The congressional investigation of the Enron debacle is frustrating, to say the least. Both House and Senate participants are clearly unqualified to probe the complex financial and political issues that characterize Enron's dirty dealings.

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (IDCA) has articulated a brilliant concept in the form of a bill currently before the state legislature to provide funding for arts and culture. The IDCA is asking legislators to appropriate $1 million annually for the next 10 years to help seed a new "cultural trust" for operational support of arts/culture-related organizations throughout Iowa.

As the Enron travesty unfolds, promising to be the most diabolical and heinous corporate scandal in America's history, perhaps citizens are beginning to awaken to the corporate terror being perpetrated upon us (is it any less terrifying to have your life's savings, the resources you planned to live out your life with, wiped out by the very people you believed were protecting it?).

The Iowa legislature is considering new legislation to curb the predatory practices associated with contract home sales. There is also legislation pending to undo the damage perpetrated on Iowans in 1996, when the legislature passed a law permitting "pay day loans" that allow usury interest rates, or "fees" as they are called, to be charged to consumers who utilize the service.

The 2002 Iowa Legislative Session began Monday, January 14, in the midst of serious budget constraints. Both income- and sales-tax revenues are lower than expected, flatlining growth for the state and jeopardizing such line items as education, Medicaid, and affordable health care, to name a few.

On Christmas Eve of 2001, another dear and cherished friend of my family died, Jim Ven Horst. Jim was 88 years wonderful.

Jim wed two lovely women in his life. His first wife, Florine - with whom he had three childen, Joe, Roger, and Debbie - died almost 20 years ago.

On December 29, 2001, my husband Todd and I had the privilege of witnessing our news and arts editor, Jeff Ignatius, marry to his beautiful bride, Pamela Kennerly, in Springfield, Illinois. It was an occasion for true celebration because their union holds all the magical promise of real and abiding love.

Davenport City Administrator Craig Malin, in concert with the Economic Development staff, has wasted no time responding to a September city council mandate for staff to prepare a course of action relative to the city-owned property at 53rd and Eastern.

Davenport had another dismal civic failure on the part of its citizens with the disgraceful voter turnout for the mayoral race November 6. A pitiful few bothered to vote, practically guaranteeing a continued apathy on the part of our elected officials toward the broader public concerns.

Suzie Martens, a dear friend of my entire family, passed last week amidst the comfort and love of her family. Suzie had battled cancer for years, and battle she did. She actually survived much longer than her doctors predicted, but those who knew her were not remotely surprised.

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