In an IowaWatch interview, Des Moines Register investigative reporter Clark Kauffman talks about uncovering an Iowa judge’s willingness to let attorneys write rulings in cases they tried before him, plus Kauffman’s process while writing this article and other stories he has uncovered in his career with The Register.
The University of Iowa announced last week that it will close seven academic centers, shrink three others and eliminate 33 jobs. The reductions will save $3.5 million, officials said. The announcement should come as no surprise if you have been paying attention to events in our state. The university has been caught in a vice — squeezed between public pressure to hold down the size of tuition increases and the Legislature’s desire to hold down government spending. Randy Evans
Randy Evans is the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council.
“Let him stay there. Maybe he can catch his wife when she comes flying over the ropes,” Clara (Muscles) Mortensen issued that statement to the husband of her wrestling opponent Mildred Burke in a bout in Chattanooga, Tenn., in 1937. Mortensen was defending her five-year reign as women’s world wrestling champion, when she encountered Burke’s husband, Billy Wolfe, at ring-side shortly after being tossed out of the ring by Mildred. When Wolfe tried to block Mortensen’s way back to the ring, Mortensen fought back. “I jabbed him in the stomach with my elbow.
Don’t be surprised if a guy named Jamie Campbell turns out to be one of the key players in the 2018 race for Iowa governor. Campbell’s name will not be on the ballot in November. He will not be crisscrossing the state, appearing at one campaign event after another. Randy Evans
Randy Evans is the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. He is a former editorial page editor and assistant managing editor of The Des Moines Register.
Iowans will lose access to home energy audits, insulation rebates, and light bulb discounts under new five-year efficiency plans proposed by utilities. The plans, filed with the Iowa Utilities Board before a Monday, July 9, deadline, are the first since a new state law capped the amount of money that utilities spend on the programs. The result is a huge step back for energy efficiency in the state, according to clean energy advocates. MidAmerican Energy and Interstate Power & Light, an Alliant Energy subsidiary, emphasized the bill reductions most customers will see under the plans, but critics predicted those cuts will eventually be absorbed by the cost of new investments to meet growing energy use in the state. “These plans are significantly smaller and leave significant energy-efficiency savings on the table, even more than in the past,” said Josh Mandelbaum, an attorney for the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Des Moines. MidAmerican Energy is proposing to spend $257 million between 2019-2023 on programs estimated to save 898 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and nearly 8.3 million therms of natural gas.
Former Iowa Gov. Robert Ray died July 8 at the age of 89. Ray, a Republican, was respected by people in his party and Democrats because of his bipartisan approach to governing. Test your knowledge on some of the other chief executives who have served the state during its history.
“My advice to women who wish to rise in the railway field would be to miss no opportunity to learn. Such opportunities must be more than welcomed, they must be sought,” Daisy Oden told Railway World magazine in 1915. Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays. Cheryl Mullenbach is the author of non-fiction books for young people. Her work has been recognized by International Literacy Association, American Library Association, National Council for Social Studies, and FDR Presidential Library and Museum.
The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, which runs IowaWatch.org, has filed its 990 tax return for 2017. The return shows what the nonprofit center reported as earning and spending in the past calendar year. The center, founded in February 2010, spent $125,312, while raising $122,935 in 2017, the return shows. The center received a boost at the end of the year when donors responded to the center’s inclusion in a Knight News Match fund drive. That fund drive resulted in a $19,020 match disbursed in 2018.
As we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence 242 years ago on July 4, as we mourn the murders last week of five employees of the Annapolis, Md., Capital Gazette, four of them journalists, and as we think about the “fake news” accusations and slanderous “enemy of the American people” slurs that are hurled like stones at journalists, we should reflect on the important role they play in our United States and in protecting and preserving our democracy.
Some called it the fastest and best typewriting machine in the world. It was destined to revolutionize the business world. What was this marvelous invention that everyone was talking about in 1893? It was a duplex typewriter invented and patented by Iowan Adolphus S. Dennis, a former teacher at the Commercial College in Iowa City. Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays.