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Monday morning read: Mixed reviews for Iowa energy bills, Vinton fire investigation continues, Blues 'n' Buffett Chili Challenge inspires local cooks

Vinton fire fighters continue to work the scene of a fire at (from) left Fischer Law Firm,  Clingman Pharmacy and Michael & Dowd Furniture and Appliances on E. Fourth St. in downtown Vinton on the morning Friday, February 9, 2018. The fire started on Thursday evening at Michael & Dowd Furniture and Appliances and spread to the two attached business.  (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Vinton fire fighters continue to work the scene of a fire at (from) left Fischer Law Firm, Clingman Pharmacy and Michael & Dowd Furniture and Appliances on E. Fourth St. in downtown Vinton on the morning Friday, February 9, 2018. The fire started on Thursday evening at Michael & Dowd Furniture and Appliances and spread to the two attached business. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Iowa energy bills receive mixed reviews- A pair of duplicate bills in the Iowa Statehouse aim to change the way some energy rates are managed by utilities — as well as how some rates are approved by the Iowa Utilities Board.

Whether that’s good or bad for Iowans depends on whom you ask.

The utilities say the bills would increase efficiency and make them better able to respond to Iowa’s changing energy landscape.

Renewable energy and consumer advocates believe the proposals would increase utility bills and damage the solar industry and its customers. Read more...

Vinton fire investigation continues as last of flames are stifled Sunday- An investigation into the cause of a Thursday night fire that destroyed three downtown Vinton businesses continues as the Vinton Fire Department extinguishes final remaining flames on Sunday.

A news release stated that fires in the basements of Michael & Dowd’s and Clingman’s were unable to be completely extinguished immediately, due to the large amount of material that had previously collapsed from the roof and upper floors. That material prevented water streams from adequately reaching the basement fires, which continued to burn and create significant smoke. Read more...

We asked 5 contestants at the Blues 'n' Buffett Chili Challenge 'what makes your chili special?'- The smell simmering chili and an abundance of spices wafted into the lobby of the Cedar Rapids Marriott on Sunday, as eager contestants of the annual Blues 'n' Buffett Chili Challenge served up heaping spoonfuls of their tasty creations to hungry guests who were tasked with crowning their favorite.

We asked five of the contestants to share their chili-making expertise. Read more...

Schools brace for small budget increase- A new school is set to open in the Solon school district this August, but Superintendent Davis Eidahl doesn’t expect to have the budget to make any new hires to staff it.

The Solon district won’t be able to afford a librarian, nurse or counselor for the new fourth- and fifth-grade school, he said, should state legislators approve a plan to increase state aid for K-12 schools by only 1 percent next fiscal year.

“We’ll just have to do our best with staffing the building with the minimum essential positions,” Eidahl said. Read more...

 

Iowa City West's Evan Flitz commits to play QB at Pomona College in California- It was a longer process than he expected, but Evan Flitz has finally found a college home. He’s headed west.

The all-state quarterback from Iowa City West announced Sunday night that he has committed to play football at Pomona College in Southern California. The Sagehens have a NCAA Division III program.

“Pomona College offers me the place where I will pursue my academic and athletic apsirations to the fullest, as well as explore and develop as a person,” Flitz said on Twitter. “Though far from Iowa City, the friendships and culture of my hometown will continue to inspire me.” Read more...

 

 

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