Wednesday Reads — Closed for the Economy?

Montauk Clermont, Iowa

Montauk Clermont, Iowa

So what’s the bad economy taking away today?

Well, if you were planning an nice summer trip to Clermont to tour Montauk, the beutiful and historic home of Iowa’s 12th Gov.William Larrabee, you might need to think again. The home and some other historic sites may be closed due to state budget cuts, according to The Des Moines Register. The Department of Cultural Affairs’ budget will take a $700,000 hit, which could mean cutting seasonal employees that look after the sites.

Get ready for a lot of stories like this in the next few weeks as Iowans get a reminder of some of the things state government does that it won’t be doing next year.

A bad economy, and a lawsuit, are delivering a final one-two punch to the Elk’s lodge in Mason City. It’s also closing, according to a front-page account in the Globe-Gazette. It opened in 1958 with 1,200 members but now has only about 200. Recruiting has trailed off. And then a former exalted ruler and his wife filed suit against the club for more than $10,000. The story doesn’t give much detail on why they sued.

Out west, even the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival is being downsized. The World-Herald doesn’t miss a chance to channel the Bard in its headline: “Recession’s unkindest cut: Shakespeare abridged”

 Some things aren’t supposed to be closed, however. That applies to a meeting of the Fort Madison City Council, where members went into closed session to discuss compliance with Environmental Protection Commission sewer rules. But the Burlington Hawk Eye reports that the board likely violated state law.

City officials say they closed the meeting because the EPA process could, eventually, someday, lead to litigation. Trouble is, that’s not what the law allows:

But to qualify for an exemption to Iowa open records laws as cited, the issues discussed would have to be about “matters that are presently in litigation or where litigation is imminent where its disclosure would likely to prejudice or disadvantage the position of the governmental body.”

And, I regret to inform you that Wednesday reads is now closed. This way to the egress.


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