The resulting deformation of the emerging leaves is heartbreaking. Over the last 20 years, we have called several times, and asked for an inspector to come and collect damaged leaf samples for the analysis by IDALS, the Iowa department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The results come back with a cocktail of noxious chemicals, and always include Acetochlor, Atrazine, and, in recent years, Dicamba and 2,4-D.

Your article on education funding was one of the most thorough and accurate analyses of the funding problem and the competing bills that I’ve seen.

The only quibble I had with the piece was the reference to a “poison pill” in the budget requiring school funding to be “evidence-based.” Although that provision was included in the budget bill that ultimately passed the General Assembly (see page 433 of the PDF version of the enrolled SB6), that identical language was included in the Republicans’ “Capitol Compromise” budget proposal, SB2214, which the Democrats had no hand in drafting. I’d refer you to page 533 of that bill for the reference to “Evidence-Based Funding.”

I have to admit: I don’t normally read the e-mails from the Farm Bureau. I probably should pay more attention to rural politics, but I’m really just in it for the car insurance. And I’ve selected that provider for the most Iowan of reasons possible: My agent goes to church with my family back home. But when I read in one of their updates that U.S. Representative David Young (R-Iowa) had gotten a bill through the House to devote a portion of our nation’s Homeland Security efforts to something called “agro-terrorism,” I perked up. The Securing Our Food & Agriculture Act passed the House last month and its Senate companion – S. 500 – is pending before the Homeland Security Committee.

Although I appreciated the observation about cherry-picking studies to confirm a conclusion, in an essay (“Iowa’s War on Government-Worker Unions: Attacking Organized Labor Is Good, Divisive Politics on an Issue That Deserves Better”) devoted to the state’s alleged war on government-worker unions, the choice of an “unbiased view” was flawed.

Our program at Black Hawk College, Art & Visual Communication, recently received the devastating news that two of our four full-time faculty positions will be cut. Kyle Petersen teaches new media and had just created a photography certificate unique to the western-Illinois region. Melissa Hebert-Johnson teaches full sections of art history every semester and several innovative online sections of art history and art appreciation. She is also department chair. Both faculty are hailed by our students as not only great teachers, but as having strong, positive impact on their lives in general. The justification that has been given is that a consultant recommended dismantling our AAS in Visual Communication and the Art Technology one-year certificate. We have not been granted access to this report.

Mike Schulz’s review of Manchester by the Sea prompts me to write this congratulatory note that’s been my intention for years. Recognizing, analyzing while not spoiling great films for potential viewers in a review is hard enough. Scolding those responsible for lame efforts, filmic messes, and acting disasters is easier but still hard to do without unnecessary snark.

My sincere thanks to Scott County Supervisors Diane Holst and Brinson Kinzer for supporting recording Scott County Board meetings, making them accessible to everyone with a television or Internet access. They are taking the people’s side in cond...

On the first of February, the CEOs of corporations, small- and large-business owners, police chiefs, city leaders, pastors and priests, government and state workers, owners of trucking companies and convenience stores, and farmers participated in ...

Congratulations on the 900th issue of the River Cities' Reader. Keep up the great work on covering the arts and entertainment, news, and politics of the bi-state area, as you have for the last 22 years.

I was a contributing ed...

On November 18, staff and residents at Vera French Pine Knoll, a residential facility for individuals with chronic mental illness, were notified that the Iowa Department of Human Services has proposed that residential facilities (regardless of the number of beds) will not be eligible to receive any Habilitation funds (federal Medicaid funds) after January 1, 2016. Without these funds, Pine Knoll will no longer be able to provide vital services to meet the needs of the residents. The current residents (currently more than 40 individuals) would have to relocate to other facilities or programs in or outside of the Davenport community. Due to the significant lack of residential placements for individuals with mental illness, these individuals will most likely be placed in the community, and may be subjected to a lack of necessary care and services. By placing an individual with mental illness at an inappropriate level of care, it can increase the possibility of hospitalization, homelessness, or incarceration, all of which potentially cost more than the current cost of allowing these individuals to remain in their "home" - which is Vera French Pine Knoll.

In less than a month and a half, more than 40 individuals - some of whom have not lived in the community for some time - will be forced out of their current home and mandated to seek alternative mental-health services. This extremely short notice does not provide enough time to relocate current residents to appropriate care settings. Therefore, these changes to Medicaid rules should not be applied. Currently, there is a lack of openings in community-based mental-health services in Davenport and throughout the state due to the limited number of mental-health providers. It is extremely important to note: The state of Iowa ranks 44th out of 50 states in the nation for mental-health provider availability. It is my belief that these immediate and significant changes are unethical and inhumane when there is already a dire lack of services. How would you feel if your loved one, diagnosed with a mental illness such as schizophrenia, was doing very well in their "home" - working, interacting with others - and they were told that in approximately 45 days they would be moving, possibly to a location quite far from their current home? They would have to quit their job and would lose all local social connections and support.

You may ask: "What can I do?" We all can have an impact on this issue, which can significantly impact individuals within our community. I urge you to advocate for individuals with mental illness in Iowa. You can make written comments on or before December 1 as follows:

• Write to Harry Rossander, Bureau of Policy Coordination, Department of Human Services, Hoover State Office Building, 5th Floor, 1305 E. Walnut St., Des Moines IA 50319-0114.

• Fax comments to (515)281-4980.

• E-mail

You are also welcome to attend a public hearing at the Scott County Administration Building Boardroom at 600 West Fourth Street in Davenport on Wednesday, December 2, from 1 to 3 p.m. to share your concerns.

For more information on this legislation, you can refer to "DHS Notice of Intended Action, ARC 2242C, items 24 and 25": and

As Ghandi says, we all need to "be the change we wish to see in the world." I'm urging you to take action. Mental illness impacts one in four individuals; it may not be impacting you personally, but is likely impacting a coworker, neighbor, or friend.

Ashley Adams