Connect with us

Iowa

Iowa native Mitchell seeks return to Victory Lane at Iowa Speedway

Published

on

Iowa native Mitchell seeks return to Victory Lane at Iowa Speedway


West Des Moines native Mason Mitchell remembers attending the very first race at Iowa Speedway when he was 12 years old.

Winning the ARCA Series race at Iowa Speedway in 2015 was one of his favorite moments as a driver.

Mitchell’s race team, Mason Mitchell Motorsports, ceased operations in 2018, but the 2014 ARCA Series championship winner has returned to racing recently and hopes to win another ARCA Series event at Iowa Speedway on Friday night.

“It means a lot to be able to come back here and race at my home track,” Mitchell said. “It just feels right. I’ve always had a connection to the fans there. It’s a special place.”

Advertisement

Mitchell, who graduated from West Des Moines Valley in 2012, was a driver and team owner in ARCA from 2012 to 2018. He compiled 55 wins as a driver and seven victories as team owner.

Now 29 years old, Mitchell has resurfaced recently with Sigma Performance Services and team owner Joe Farre.

Mitchell competed in two dirt races in 2022 and scored seven wins during a full season of dirt in 2023.

The 2024 schedule includes two ARCA platform events plus another full slate of dirt racing.

Advertisement

He competed in the ARCA Menards Series West MMI Oil Workers 150 earlier this season and placed 18th. He had engine issues and only completed 58 laps.

The second ARCA platform event for this season is this weekend’s Atlas 150 at Iowa Speedway.

“We had some mechanical stuff go wrong for us at that first ARCA race,” Mitchell said. “I’m trying to control the things I can control. I think my maturity, confidence and mentality will help me at Iowa. I will rely on my championship experience and my ability as a driver.”

Mitchell agreed to the two ARCA Series events before NASCAR announced its schedule and return to the 7/8-mile oval. But knowing it’s a full weekend with the first NASCAR Cup Series race on deck, Mitchell wants to be a part of the event even more.

“The stars just aligned for us,” Mitchell said. “It’s going to be electric there. I love that place. The Sigma Performance Services team leaves no stone unturned. They have a no excuses mindset. I just need to perform to the best of my ability.”

Advertisement

The ARCA Series Atlas 150 at Iowa Speedway is the seventh of 20 races on the schedule this season and the fifth out of eight races on the ARCA Series East slate.

Eight drivers have eclipsed 200 points in the standings. The top five are Andres Perez (273), Greg Van Alst (257), Amber Balcaen (240), Lavar Scott (236) and Kris Wright (234). Not too far behind are Christian Rose (226), Andy Jankowiak (223) and Toni Breidinger (221).

The top eight in the standings have completed all six races. Michael Maples and Alex Clubb are two other drivers who have finished the six races.

The wins have come from Tanner Gray, Gus Dean, Jake Finch, Connor Mosack, William Sawalich and Connor Zilisch.

Zilisch is currently the ARCA Series East points leader, while Sawalich is second. Sawalich also finished second at last year’s event, while Breidinger and Scott were in the top five.

Advertisement

Perez’s 23-point lead at the top of the standings comes with top 10 finishes in five of the six races.

The ARCA Series Atlas 150 starts a three-day weekend full of racing. The green flag is slated to drop at 7 p.m. on Friday.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Hy-Vee Perks 250 is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The NASCAR Cup Series Iowa Corn 350 Powered by Ethanol will be under the lights starting at 6 p.m. on Sunday.



Source link

Advertisement

Iowa

Watchdog group, GOP U.S. House members blast ‘reckless’ earmark spending • Iowa Capital Dispatch

Published

on

Watchdog group, GOP U.S. House members blast ‘reckless’ earmark spending • Iowa Capital Dispatch


WASHINGTON – A group opposed to wasteful government spending and a handful of U.S. House Republicans warned at a Wednesday press event that project-specific spending known as earmarks was contributing to an increase in the national debt.

The event to discuss the Citizens Against Government Waste’s latest annual report, titled the 2024 Congressional Pig Book and released Wednesday, highlighted congressional earmarks and called on lawmakers to rein in government spending.

Leaders of the nonpartisan organization, which works to oppose “waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government,” according to its website, were joined by Republican House members and a live potbelly pig to address earmarks and rising debt limits.

The organization’s annual pig book highlights earmarks, often called “pork.” An earmark is a project-specific funding allocation approved by Congress through the annual appropriations process.

Advertisement

The group identified 8,222 earmarks for fiscal year 2024, totaling $22.7 billion. That’s 13% less than fiscal year 2023 but still the fifth-highest spending year for earmarks since the CAGW began releasing its annual report in 1991.

Republicans ended the controversial spending practice in 2011 after winning control of the House. A decade later, Democrats and Republicans voted to allow earmarked spending again.

Defenders of the practice say it allows members of Congress, who know the needs of their states and districts, to respond with specific funding. The projects comprise a small portion of total federal spending. And lawmakers have a chance to vote on them as part of appropriations bills.

But some Republicans continue to oppose them. Four members on Wednesday gave a similar rationale Wednesday as Republicans did when they eliminated earmarks in 2011, calling them a form of wasteful government spending that’s adding to a rising national debt.

Rep. Bob Good, a Republican from Virginia, stressed how much debt the country continues to accumulate.

Advertisement

“Here we are with $35 trillion in debt,” he said. “After it took us about 200 years to accumulate the first trillion, now we’re accumulating a trillion every four months or so.”

Data from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and a CNBC analysis confirms these amounts.

Good, the chair of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, criticized his party for passing a 2023 law to suspend the debt limit. The measure allowed Congress to appropriate “as much as we can joyfully, gleefully spend together,” Good said.

Speakers at the event, which included Reps. Debbie Lesko of Arizona, Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Tom McClintock of California as well as Good, shared the sentiment that permanently ditching earmarks would help restore Republicans’ reputation as the “fiscally responsible” party.

“Republicans cannot reclaim the mantle of fiscal responsibility until we end once and for all this reckless and self-indulgent practice,” McClintock said.

Advertisement

Maine and Alaska benefit

Members also spoke to the disproportionate allocation of earmarked spending in Congress.

CAGW President Tom Schatz opened Wednesday’s event by highlighting who in Congress received the most funding in earmarks this fiscal year. Earmarks are required to have a sponsor in the House and Senate.

Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, took home the most bacon this year with 231 earmarks totaling $576 million.

That total was almost 24% more than the legislator with the second-highest number of earmarks, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska who is also on the Appropriations Committee. Murkowski’s 185 earmarks amounted to $466 million.

Members of the appropriations committees in the House and Senate, which write the annual spending laws, gained much more in earmarks than the average member, the report notes.

Advertisement

“Earmarks continue to provide the most benefit to the most powerful legislators,” Schatz said.

The rest of the top five were Sen. Angus King of Maine, Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. King caucuses with Democrats, though he is an independent.

Together, these five senators received 10.3% of all earmark spending in fiscal 2024, but make up less than 1% of all members of Congress.

Senators generally won more earmarked spending than their House counterparts, with 37 of the top 40 lawmakers by dollar amount coming from the Senate.

Schatz also spoke to the differences between the parties. Nearly all – 99.6% – congressional Democrats took advantage of the spending practice, while only 62.4% of Republicans did.

Advertisement

The CAGW president also noted an uneven distribution of funding among states and territories.

A potbelly pig, named Poppy, pictured June 12, 2024 at a press conference opposing earmarks. (Photo by Lia Chien/States Newsroom)

States with smaller populations receive more “pork per capita,” with Alaska taking the top spot at $645 in earmark spending per person. Maine, with $434 per person, and Hawaii at $336, followed.

The bottom three jurisdictions included Indiana at $4.32 per person, Puerto Rico at $3.67 per person and North Dakota, which received no earmarks.

‘Legalized bribery’

McClintock pointed to earmarks as a cause of corruption in Congress. He said if a project is worthy of funding, it will receive the money under “open, competitive bidding.”

“Worthy projects in open, competitive bidding don’t need earmarks,” he said. “They rise or fall on their merits.”

Advertisement

Good further supported McClintock’s claim of corruption, saying earmarks entice members to vote on legislation to benefit their districts.

“Make no mistake about it,” Good said. “Earmarks are used to buy bad votes for bad bills.”

He added that committee chairs often find earmarks much more rewarding. Appropriations subcommittee chairs can add earmarked funds into spending bills to entice their colleagues to pass a bill, Good said.

“Folks, this is nothing but legalized bribery,” Norman said.

Lesko said celebrating legislators that bring home earmarks makes government spending increase.

Advertisement

“The people like Tom [McClintock] and I and others that actually want to reduce government spending, so it’s responsible, aren’t celebrated at all,” she said.

She pointed the finger at her fellow Arizona representative, Democrat Greg Stanton, after he secured a $700,000 earmark to renovate an economics and business finance program for fourth, fifth and sixth graders.

“Now, is this coming from his bank account?” Lesko said. “No, it’s coming from your bank account.”

Asked Wednesday about Lesko’s comment, a spokesperson for Stanton replied with a written statement from last month’s earmark announcement.

In the release, Stanton said the funding “is an investment in the future of Arizona’s children.”

Advertisement

McClintock closed the press conference by advocating to once again put an end to earmarks.

He referred to former House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican who was instrumental in banning earmarks in 2011.

“It can be done,” he said. “It has been done, it will need to be done again.”



Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Iowa

PODCAST: 6 bold Iowa football predictions for the 2024 season, more Caitlin Clark drama

Published

on

PODCAST: 6 bold Iowa football predictions for the 2024 season, more Caitlin Clark drama


The offseason in Hawkeye sports can often bring very little to talk about. But as this spring/summer continues to show, there is ALWAYS something to talk about.

The latest news of Pat Angerer joining the Iowa radio booth is discussed, and the Register’s Chad Leistikow and Tyler Tachman continue by offering three bold predictions (each) for the 2024 Iowa football season.

Chad and Tyler tackle the men’s basketball roster, too, and then Dargan Southard joins the show for 20-plus minutes of Caitlin Clark conversation plus the latest developments for Hawkeye women’s basketball.

For a direct link to the podcast, click here. The embedded version is below.

Advertisement



Source link

Continue Reading

Iowa

Iowa’s book ban law reaches a federal appeals court

Published

on

Iowa’s book ban law reaches a federal appeals court


A panel of federal appeals court judges will choose what happens next for Iowa’s education law that bans books with sexual content in school libraries and prohibits instruction related to gender identity and sexual orientation for grades K-6.

In oral arguments held in a St. Paul, Minnesota, courtroom Thursday, an attorney for the State of Iowa asked the judges to lift a preliminary injunction that has blocked enforcement of SF 496 since late December.

That ruling was made in response to two separate legal challenges that argue the law silences LGBTQ students from expressing their identities and restricts students’ free access to information.

Iowa Solicitor General Eric Wessan told the three-judge panel with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that the state has the ability to tell schools to remove books that show or describe sexual acts, as defined in criminal code, because “library curation is government speech.”

Advertisement

“The public schools are themselves representative of the state and the values that the state seeks to inculcate in children as part of its pedagogical goal of raising its future citizens,” Wessan said.

Matt Sieren

/

Iowa Public Radio

Advertisement
The list of banned books includes The Giver, Animal Farm, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, To Kill A Mockingbird, Farhenheit 451 and The Diary of Anne Frank.

When District Court Judge Stephen Locher blocked enforcement of the law, he called it a “bulldozer” because so many books could be banned. The Des Moines Register has found nearly 1,000 different titles were removed from school libraries since the law first took effect. Those include titles by authors John Green and Jodi Picoult who are part of the lawsuit involving the publisher Penguin House, as well as well-known books like 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Kite Runner.

Attorney Nathan Maxwell of Lambda Legal, which is part of a lawsuit with the ACLU of Iowa representing LGBTQ students, said the law’s definition of what is age appropriate is simply too broad.

“The problem with this law is it says if it’s not appropriate for a first grader it’s therefore not appropriate for a senior in high school. And so those seniors in high school are losing out on information,” Maxwell told reporters after the appeals court hearing. “There’s something special about a school library, which is where students go specifically to learn. Having access in school libraries is substantively different than being able to buy [a book] anywhere in the world.”

Judge questions scope of challenge

The lower court’s injunction also applies to a ban on instruction related to LGBTQ topics in kindergarten through sixth grade. The state argues both major pieces of the law should be enforced as the legal challenges proceed.

In questions he raised during oral arguments, Judge James Loken appeared to criticize the groups suing the state for bringing a facial challenge — that is, a claim that the law is entirely unconstitutional based on how it was written — instead of challenging how the law has been applied.

Advertisement

“This could easily have gone to a — probably a series, certainly more than one — as-applied challenge, from which, the judicial interpretation of this statute and how school boards should apply it, would become clear to educators in Iowa,” Loken said.

“I question how many it would take,” replied ACLU of Iowa attorney Thomas Story. “I can’t see any because I can’t see a way to read this law without it not making sense or not being constitutional.”

Speaking after the hearing, Story warned against guessing a judge’s position on the case based on the questioning in courtroom.

Christy Hickman, an attorney for the Iowa State Education Association, said the courts need to weigh in on the law because guidance from state education officials is limited and school districts don’t seem to agree on how it is supposed to work.

“If you look at the extreme differences across school districts and the number and types of books that have been removed, it shows you that there is a lot of confusion and ambiguity and interpretation,” Hickman said. “If we had to start all over, and start suing individual school districts, think about the court and school and public resources that go into that. I hope that is not where we end up.”

Advertisement

What happens if the book ban law is enforced

The law includes potential consequences for school districts or teachers who are found to have kept books on library shelves that contain sexual content.

One violation warrants a written warning from the Iowa Department of Education. But after two or more violations, the case would be referred to the Board of Educational Examiners, which certifies teachers and administrators to work in Iowa schools. The BOEE could bring up the case for disciplinary action.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals must decide on the current preliminary injunction before the two cases against the education law continue.

Attorneys involved in the case would not comment on their strategy if the injunction is lifted, but Maxwell said they would continue to stand behind students and others impacted by the law.

“We will continue to fight for the students and families in Iowa to be able to access this information and to be able to speak freely about who they are in school and anywhere,” Maxwell said.

Advertisement





Source link

Continue Reading

Trending