Iowa News

Iowa Senate candidate cancels on newspaper editors
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst has cancelled a meeting with the Des Moines Register's editorial board, saying her time was better spent campaigning in Iowa. Editors at the newspaper say Ernst notified them Wednesday night that she wouldn't attend the Thursday meeting. Publisher Rick Green says he's disappointed. Ernst spokeswoman Gretchen Hamel issued a statement saying the Register's recent editorials make the newspaper's position "perfectly clear." The paper has run several editorial pieces criticizing Ernst's policy positions. Ernst has met with editors at Nebraska's Omaha World-Herald, whose readership extends into western Iowa, and in Sioux City. But newspapers in Cedar Rapids and Dubuque say they unsuccessfully sought meetings with her. Ernst is running against Democratic U.S. Representative Bruce Braley. Braley's spokesman says the congressman has accepted all editorial board invitations.

Iowa universities want more study on job changes
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The presidents of Iowa's three public universities are calling for more analysis before moving forward with cost-saving plans to restructure administrative jobs. The presidents told the Iowa Board of Regents on Thursday that they need more specifics on how recommendations by Deloitte Consulting would be implemented. Deloitte recommended earlier this month that the universities restructure their human resources, information technology and finance staffs. Those functions could be performed at a college level rather than in individual departments. The consultant says the schools cut could up to 250 jobs through attrition and retirements in coming years by changing the way work is performed, saving millions of dollars. Deloitte is also recommending using fewer desktop computers and printers. The regents are scheduled to vote on whether to implement the plans next month.

Veteran U. of Iowa vice president set to retire
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A longtime University of Iowa administrator credited with helping rebuild the campus after a 2008 flood has announced plans to retire. The university's vice president for finance and operations, Doug True, is planning to leave the school in early 2015. He had been in that role since 1991. True has worked closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to push forward major building projects to replace those damaged by the Iowa River flood of 2008. He's also credited with helping manage the university's finances. UI President Sally Mason says she's promoting two campus officials — Rod Lehnertz and Terry Johnson — to take over True's duties on an interim basis. Mason is praising True for his "talent, dedication and deep knowledge." The Iowa Board of Regents also honored him Thursday.

Dubuque school officials investigate speeding van
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Dubuque school officials are investigating an apparently speeding district van caught by another motorist on video. The incident happened Tuesday when Jay Shipley of Solon, noticed a van traveling more than 80 miles per hour on Interstate 280 near North Liberty. Shipley told the Telegraph Herald he could see children inside and became concerned, so he called the Iowa State Patrol and then sped up to get video of the van. He later posted the video on his Facebook account. The van appears to be owned by the Dubuque Community School District. Rick Colpitts, the district's human relations executive director, says Shipley notified the district. Colpitts says a school staff member was driving students to a conference in Des Moines. Colpitts says the district will decide whether to discipline the employee.

Iowa corrections facility escapees back in custody
WEST UNION, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say three men who walked away from a residential correctional facility in northeast Iowa are back in custody. The state Department of Corrections says Shaun McBride and Taylor Oakes were arrested Wednesday night in Mitchell County. Tyler Roe was arrested Tuesday in Howard County. Department spokesman Fred Scaletta says the men, who were all on probation for various charges, walked away from the residential correctional facility in West Union on Friday and did not return. He says Oakes and McBride also cut GPS tracking monitors. Scaletta says information about the escapes will be sent to the county attorney's office.

Davenport OKs new ordinance on hunting coyotes
DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — The city of Davenport has agreed to let certain residents kill coyotes on their properties. The City Council voted unanimously in favor of the new ordinance Wednesday. It will allow people living on 10 acres or more inside Davenport city limits to kill coyotes on their land. A landowner or person living on the land will not need a hunting license. Additional hunters on the property will need a license. The Quad-City Times reports a special meeting with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources was held before the vote. Department officer Jeff Harrison noted state law prohibits discharging a firearm within 200 yards of an occupied structure such as a residence.

Status of Cedar Rapids downtown district discussed
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Supporters of a proposed historic district in downtown Cedar Rapids say the designation would enable property owners to get big tax breaks when renovating their buildings. Cedar Rapids television station KCRG-TV reports the Cedar Rapids Community Development Department hosted two meetings to discuss the idea Wednesday. Franklin Rainbolt, maintenance supervisor for United Fire Group's buildings, attended one of the meetings and spoke favorably about tax credits that companies could apply for if renovating in a historic district. United Fire purchased a 100-year-old building in Cedar Rapids a year ago and is considering modernizing it. Renovations could reach $5 million in costs. Rainbolt says historic district tax credits could fund up to 25 percent of that cost.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press