A BVU football attendance record; rotting leaves and the statehouse

FILLERS

BY JOHN CULLEN

A remarkable record came to an end Saturday when Times sports editor Jamie Knapp missed his first Buena Vista home football game in 29 years.

Jamie has a column about his feat in today’s Sports section. I was happy to fill in for him Saturday, patrolling the sidelines of Peterson Field with his trusty camera slung around my neck. I started out in newspaper work 48 years ago as a sports writer and photographer, but it has been years since I last covered a BV football game. I occasionally help out Jamie during basketball season when there are more games in town than he can cover. There are nights when BV, Storm Lake High and St. Mary’s all play with boy/girl doubleheaders — six games can be too much even for a champ like Jamie.

Phil Jarnagin, longtime Storm Lake newspaperman in the 1940s through the 60s, probably holds some kind of record for attending sports events here. He was the official scorer for Tornado basketball games for years and wrote about the games for the paper. Wayne Andrews ran the clock and scoreboard at St. Mary’ s basketball games for over 50 years.

It’s hard for me to call BV’s turf Peterson Field, renamed for donor Cordell Peterson who gave $1.1 million. When I was a kid it was Bradford Field, and I still think of it that way today. There was a Little League baseball field where the grassy parking is east of the football field, and that’s where we played baseball nearly every day in the summer, where you could join a game of workup with area kids just about anytime. Another Little League field was east of old North School, where McDonald’s is now.

Before the days of J. Leslie Rollins Stadium, which went up in the late 1980s, small cobblestone bleachers held about a fourth of today’s capacity, and while there were lights, they weren’t much brighter than candles.

I don’t know who Bradford was, probably an early businessman in Storm Lake. There was also a hotel named the Bradford, on the site of MetaBank today.

I FINALLY got a chance to mulch the fallen leaves in our yard Sunday. We used to rake and bag them until a few years ago when I started mulching them with the lawnmower. It saves a lot of work raking and bagging, and the chewed up leaves fertilize the grass as they decompose.

Mulching basically involves covering the discharge chute so the leaves are chopped up into small bits before they drop to the ground. There are also special mulching blades if you’d like to go the extra mile. Mulched leaves, which are about one-tenth the volume of whole leaves, are so small it appears that the lawn has been raked.

I’m late getting on the mulching this year because leaves were still on the trees when it turned cold. There are still some leaves on the trees, but I wanted to get mulching before they got too thick on the lawn. I may take another shot at them this Saturday if the weather forecast for 55 and sunny holds up.

CORRUPTION in the Iowa statehouse is rearing its ugly head again. In the past year or two the state has had to pay several multi-million dollar settlements because of sexual harassment involving Senate Republicans. Then there were more sexual problems in the Iowa Finance Authority.

Most recently, excellent reporting by Ryan Foley of the Associated Press discovered that board members of the Iowa Communities Assurance Pool — a state agency that provides insurance to counties, cities and local governments — were meeting at swanky resorts in Florida and Michigan at taxpayer expense amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.

When the AP asked for financial records under the Freedom of Information Act, the state agency said the public would have to pay $22,000 to see public records of how the state agency settled legal cases.

And I won’t even get into the whole Medicaid fiasco that has cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

Our state’s leaders are doing a lousy job managing our tax dollars and keeping corruption out of government.

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