- 6/18/13; West Hancock vs. Corwith Wesley Luverne Baseball will play varsity first at 5:45 p.m. No JV. :
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – The Cedar Rapids City Council has voted to sell a city park to a corn processing company so it can expand and create more jobs. The Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/UBx7do) the council on Tuesday unanimously approved the sale of 8.5 acre Riverside Park to Penford Products for $1.67 million. Penford employs 250 people at its plant, which processes corn into starch products and ethanol. Under the agreement, Penford will have three years once it takes possession of the land to begin its expansion. Council member Ann Poe noted that Riverside Park includes a skate park, ball diamond and playground. She asked if those would be rebuilt elsewhere, and city officials replied that such features likely would be included in 230 acres of new parkland created from buyouts after the 2008 flooding.
IOWA STATE-LOBBYIST Iowa State’s new lobbyist has close ties to regent IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Board of Regents says a spokesman for Regent Bruce Rastetter’s investment business has been named the next lobbyist for Iowa State University. The board announced Tuesday that Joe Murphy will become ISU’s state relations officer. Murphy has worked as public affairs director for Rastetter’s firm, the Ames-based Summit Group, for more than a year. Murphy served as Rastetter’s spokesman during a complaint over whether he violated conflict of interest rules in pursuing a development in Tanzania with Iowa State, which was eventually dismissed. Rastetter is the board’s no. 2 official and an ally of Gov. Terry Branstad. Murphy previously worked three years as the state relations officer for University of Northern Iowa. Murphy replaces Ann McCarthy, who assumes a new role coordinating economic development policy for the board.
PAROLE REVIEWS-IOWA Iowa lawmakers back parole board change (Information in the following story is from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com) DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – State legislators are allowing the Iowa Board of Parole to proceed with plans to reduce the number of board votes needed to parole high-risk inmates. The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/W68bWN ) the Administrative Rules Review Committee discussed the proposal Tuesday and opted to let the change take effect next month. The panel could have delayed the new rules so the full Legislature could debate the matter. The change would trim the number of votes needed to parole high-risk inmates to three from the current four or five. Backers of the change note that because two board members work part-time, inmates can wait up to 60 days before the entire board can gather to make decisions. That delay costs the state about $500,000 a year as inmates are held pending decisions.
ATHLETICS OFFICIAL-FERENTZ Ferentz: Ex-UI official no longer worked with team IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz says an athletics department official who resigned after being accused of sexually harassing athletes had stopped working with his players. Ferentz told reporters on Tuesday that Peter Gray worked with the football team in the past, “but it’s been awhile. A significant while.” He did not elaborate on when Gray stopped counseling his players or why that came about. Gray resigned last week after a decade at the athletics department, where he was in charge of monitoring the academic progression of all student-athletes. An internal report released to the Iowa City Press-Citizen found that Gray violated the university’s sexual harassment policy through improper behavior that included rubbing, massaging and hugging students. UI President Sally Mason said Tuesday she’s launched a review of the matter.
INDUSTRIAL WASTE-SETTLEMENT Iowa plant to pay $4.1M to settle waste dump case KEOKUK, Iowa (AP) – A company that runs a grain processing plant in southeastern Iowa will pay a $4.1 million penalty to settle allegations that it repeatedly dumped industrial waste into the Mississippi River in violation of federal law. The U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday that Roquette America, Inc., will also be required to take other steps that could cost more than $17 million to upgrade its sewer and wastewater treatment plant to prevent future discharges from its Keokuk plant. The company does not acknowledge wrongdoing in the settlement, which was filed in U.S. District Court. The 42-page consent decree settles a complaint alleging the company repeatedly violated the Clean Water Act and a permit limiting how much pollution it could release. It will become final after a public comment period.
WIND TAX CREDIT Governors call for renewing wind energy tax credit Warning that tens of thousands of jobs are at stake, governors in wind energy states are calling on Congress to renew an expiring tax break. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said at a teleconference Tuesday that uncertainty over the future of the wind energy production tax credit already has hurt the industry – which employs 75,000 people and drives more than $10 billion a year in economic development. Branstad and Kitzhaber lead the Governor’s Wind Energy Coalition, which represents 28 states. The credit was first signed by President George H.W. Bush and backed by a number of prominent Republicans. But it stalled in Congress this summer amid opposition from conservative House Republicans, who argued it was wasteful spending.
FEDERAL JUDGE-IOWA Iowa’s Rose becomes youngest on federal bench DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Former prosecutor Stephanie Rose is now the nation’s youngest federal judge and the first female federal judge in Iowa’s Southern District. The 39-year-old former U.S. attorney for Iowa’s Northern District took the oath of office at a Tuesday ceremony in Des Moines. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder attended the swearing-in at the federal courthouse. Rose, of Center Point, received attention during her Senate confirmation hearing in September for her role in prosecutions stemming from a 2008 raid by federal immigration officials on Agriprocessors, Inc., in Postville. Critics alleged that hundreds of workers at the kosher meatpacking plant, many in the country illegally, were rushed through the court process. Despite that, she was overwhelmingly confirmed Rose became the Northern District’s U.S. attorney in 2009.