Effort to name ‘Ding’ Darling Memorial Highway underway
BRIGHTON – Supervisor Steve Davis will remain chairman of the Washington County Board of Supervisors, and Jack Seward Jr. will remain vice chairman. That was the first item of new business during Thursday’s meeting.
The second item of new business was a presentation about renaming a portion of Iowa State Highway 78 to Jay N. “Ding” Darling Memorial Highway. Nancy Adrian, Rose Jaynes and Rosemary Pacha, all of Brighton, told the supervisors about the effort to honor Darling in this way.
Adrian said that the city of Brighton has approved a resolution in support of renaming the highway. She talked about the millions of dollars that have been spent on Lake Darling State Park and that plans for more improvements are ongoing. The park was named for Ding Darling. He was present at the dedication of the park in 1950.
The resolution states that Darling won two Pulitzer prizes for his editorial cartoons. He also was an early conservationist in the United States. He was the first president of the General Wildlife Federation, the creator of the National Duck Stamp program and the Sanibel National Wildlife Refuge.
Adrian said the memorial highway would be on Highway 78, from Highway 218 to Highway 149. She said the Iowa Department of Transportation needs resolutions from the city of Brighton and Washington County to proceed with preliminary plans being made. Brighton has approved a resolution to that effect.
Seward said the resolution doesn’t say that Washington County is the home of Lake Darling State Park. After finding out from county attorney Larry Brock that adding that text to the resolution could be done, Seward made a motion to table the resolution until next week.
A discussion about the use of all-terrain or off-road utility vehicles on county roadways was also on the agenda. The supervisors approved a motion requesting the county auditor to publish the ordinance Jan. 9, and to hold a public hearing on Jan. 14.
Public Health Administrator Danielle Pettit-Majewski asked the supervisors if they know the health risks involved in using off-road transportation on roads. She also said she plans to talk about the risks during a public hearing.
Seward said that he had read an article in Tuesday’s Des Moines Register that quoted some of the statistics Pettit-Majewski referred to. He said that about 80 percent of the injuries and fatalities were from risky behavior and things that are already against the law.
“Passing more laws isn’t going to help anyone else. It’s the risky behavior that’s the problem,” Seward said.
Before adjourning, Seward said that the supervisors have received many emails and phone calls about the Washington County Conservation department. He said that the supervisors are not directly involved in decisions about the department and that the supervisors have been directing comments to the conservation board.
The next meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, in the county courthouse.