A roundup of legislative and Capitol news items of interest:
BRICKS OF HISTORY: You can’t buy the gold on the Iowa Capitol dome, but original bricks from the landmark’s construction in 1880-81 are available for purchase.
So far, about 14,000 of the 667,525 bricks in the dome have been removed and replaced due to moisture damage.
The dome is considered one of the largest gilded domes in the United States. Formed by vertical iron ribs with infill brick vaulting, the dome is 80 feet in diameter at its base and rises to a height of 275 feet. The hemispherical part of the dome weighs 487,000 pounds.
The bricks are available for purchase at $100 each, with all the proceeds going to the maintenance of monuments on the Capitol Complex.
Each brick includes a 3-inch medallion that is sequentially numbered and a certificate to authenticate it. They will be sold wrapped in bubblewrap and placed in a cardboard box. Bricks can be shipped for $15.
The bricks will be available March 1, but orders are being taken now at the tour desk in the Capitol basement and at legis.iowa.gov/store.
ARMED ENCOUNTER TRAINING: Members of the Iowa Senate are slated to undergo active armed encounter training at the Capitol. Officials with the state Department of Public Safety will provide an interactive presentation for senators by a member of the Iowa State Patrol who is an ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) certified instructor. The training includes learning strategies for identifying and handling behavior that may be concerning as well as response options to increase survivability. The instruction will have 11 objectives that include having a basic understanding of behaviors leading to violence, being able to identify warning signs and understanding what a threat is and knowing how to report it.
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HINDU PRAYER PLANNED: Lawmakers in the Iowa Senate and the Iowa House will start their respective sessions Monday with Hindu prayers, containing verses from world’s oldest existing scripture. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who is the president of Universal Society of Hinduism, will deliver the invocations from ancient Sanskrit scriptures. After the Sanskrit delivery, he then will read the English translation of the prayers. Sanskrit is considered a sacred language in Hinduism and root of Indo-European languages. He plans to start and end the prayer with “Om,” the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work.