- The Waldorf College Theatre Company's performance of The Tempest at Lund Pond on the Waldorf campus has been postponed to Tuesday, May 21 at 6:30 p.m. due to pending weather conditions. In case of rain on Tuesday, the performance will take place in the Atrium.:
- 5/20/13, The Forest City Parks and Rec has cancelled all ball practices at Pammel Park for today. :
- 5/20/13-No Forest City Park and Rec Baseball practice today at the Waldorf Field.:
POPE-IOWA-NEBRASKA Bishops in Iowa, Nebraska welcome new pope DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Catholic leaders from Iowa and Nebraska are welcoming newly elected Pope Francis. Bishop Martin Amos from the Diocese of Davenport says in an online post that he’s sure cardinals considered many factors in their selection Wednesday of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has chosen the papal name Francis. Archbishop Jerome Hanus of Dubuque called the election historic. In Nebraska, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln posted a brief celebratory note. The Omaha World-Herald reports Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha asked members of the church to pray for the pope. Amos says cardinals picked a leader who could bring reform to issues such as church scandals, Mass attendance, the role of women in the church and evangelization. An Argentinian, the 76-year-old Bergoglio is the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.
FLAT TAX-IOWA Iowa House OKs flat tax bill; plan moves to Senate DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A proposal to give taxpayers the option of paying a flat income tax has the support of the Republican-controlled Iowa House. The legislation was approved Wednesday in a 53 to 46 party-line vote. The plan says taxpayers could pay a 4.5 percent tax on income instead of the current progressive tax. Most deductions and credits wouldn’t be available to those paying the flat tax. Supporters argue such a system would simplify the process. Opponents say a flat tax provides costly breaks to the affluent. Lawmakers in the House amended the bill to include another proposal to use surplus budget funds to give credits to taxpayers. The surplus has been estimated at up to $800 million. The legislation now moves to the Democratic-majority Senate, where it has little chance of support.
HIGH WATER-CEDAR RAPIDS Water levels drop in NW Cedar Rapids after ice jam CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – Water levels in northwest Cedar Rapids are dropping after an ice jam along the Cedar River caused street flooding. City officials say Wednesday that crews have reduced or eliminated water in low lying areas from overnight pumping operations. Officials have plugged storm sewers, and internal flood gates from a nearby river dam have been lowered. Public Works Director Dave Elgin says temporary flood barriers installed Tuesday night also have sealed off the flow of water. Built-up water from the ice jam caused a water surge Tuesday for some residential streets. Some streets were closed as workers pumped out water and placed sandbags in nearby homes. Officials say ice jams are common, but recent rain and melting snow makes this a difficult case. They continue to monitor the ice jam.
COLLEGE STUDENTS LOBBY Iowa college students seek support from lawmakers DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Students from Iowa’s state universities visited the Capitol, lobbying lawmakers to grant a proposed tuition freeze by the Board of Regents. A group of students from all three universities met with legislators Wednesday as part of “Regents Day.” Undergraduate student representatives say a tuition freeze is most important for students at Iowa’s public universities. Nic Pottebaum, the University of Iowa’s undergraduate student body president, says 12,000 UI students would benefit from the tuition freeze in the next school year. Gov. Terry Branstad’s budget proposal includes the funding increase requested by the Regents to provide the first tuition freeze in 30 years at state schools. But his budget plan does not include the full amount sought by the Regents for student aid. The Legislature must now consider the plan.
UNIVERSITY APARTMENTS-IOWA Demolition means higher rent for U. Iowa students IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Some University of Iowa students with families will face stiff rent increases after the Iowa Board of Regents approved the demolition of the crumbling apartment buildings where they live. The regents approved the university’s plan Wednesday to demolish portions of the Hawkeye Court Apartment Complex, which has housed graduate and international students since the 1960s. University officials said the buildings had to be replaced. The plan calls for a Dallas company to build 270 apartment units on the site, where students with dependents, graduate and international students will be given preference. The university opted not to subsidize rent, which means it will spike. A university official said rent could rise from $480 monthly for a two-bedroom apartment to the market rate of $750, though no rates have been finalized.
IOWA REGENTS-TRANSPARENCY Iowa regents name members to transparency group AMES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Board of Regents has approved members of a 9-person task force that will recommend guidelines for improving the public’s access to information at the state’s public universities. The regents voted Wednesday to appoint the task force’s members and name Regent Nicole Carroll, an attorney, as its chairwoman. The group will hold public hearings across Iowa and make recommendations to universities and special schools for deaf and blind students for how to consistently respond to public information requests and improve access to information. The group will include Democratic Sen. Jeff Danielson of Cedar Falls, who has been critical of regents’ leaders for not gathering enough public input on some decisions. It will also include representatives from the universities, Rep. Peter Cownie and Drake University professor Kathleen Richardson.
BEATING TRIAL-EXCUSE Iowa man granted excuse from material during trial (Information in the following story is from: The Daily Nonpareil, http://www.nonpareilonline.com ) COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A man in western Iowa accused of beating his girlfriend wants to be excused from his trial when he feels uncomfortable with material. Judge James Heckerman granted Darion Love’s request Tuesday in Pottawattamie County. Love said he didn’t want to see evidence showing photos of the victim, Jennifer Pruett. Heckerman said Love’s right to confront his accusers would be diminished if he wasn’t in the room when evidence was presented. The Daily Nonpareil (http://bit.ly/Z0frnJ ) reports Love is charged with first-degree kidnapping, attempted murder and willful injury in connection with the alleged seven-hour beating of Pruett in May 2012. He later said the couple was attacked in Omaha. Love’s attorney says he has schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and he was defending himself from Pruett’s attacks. Testimony is expected to continue Thursday.
IOWA PRISONS-MENTAL HEALTH Lawmakers decry mental health prison closure DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Six southeast Iowa lawmakers are asking Gov. Terry Branstad to reverse his decision to close a mental health care unit at the state penitentiary in Fort Madison. In a letter sent to the governor Wednesday, one Republican and five Democratic lawmakers say closing the 10-year-old unit will be detrimental to inmates with mental health needs. Branstad’s budget proposal announced in February calls for closure of the $26 million, 200-bed facility in 2014. Prisoners would be transferred to prison medical units in Clarinda and Coralville and the new state penitentiary in Fort Madison. State budget director Dave Roederer says closing the unit saves the state $8 million in annual operations costs. Signing the letter were Democrats Tom Courtney, Rich Taylor, Dennis Cohoon, Jerry Kearns and Todd Taylor and Republican Dave Heaton.