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Wednesday morning read: Iowa senate drama derails legislation, former Barnstormers coach faces child porn charge, Cedar Rapids tax rate set

The Senate Chambers in the Iowa Capitol Building in Des Moines on Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
The Senate Chambers in the Iowa Capitol Building in Des Moines on Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Iowa Senate drama derails some legislation: The fact that lawmakers don’t meet on Friday, and the disruption created by Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix’s sudden departure Monday and a replacement vote Wednesday, spelled new trouble for bills already facing challenges to advance in the Iowa legislature. Catch up on what's still being debated and what's off the table for this year. Read more >

 

Former Barnstormers coach faces child porn charge: A former coach for the Iowa Barnstormers youth basketball organization will remain in jail for now, charged in federal court Tuesday with secretly recording three naked teen players. The arrest of Greg Stephen, 42, comes nearly a month after a contractor working in Stephen’s Monticello home discovered a recording device in a bathroom and later tipped off police. Read more >

 

Biofuels industry worries about refinery deal: The biofuels industry was dismayed Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency’s apparent reprieve to a Pennsylvania refinery over its obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Reuters reported Monday that the EPA will allow Philadelphia Energy Solutions to satisfy only about half its $350 million in Renewable Fuel Standard compliance costs. And now biofuel groups aren’t happy about the implications. Read more >

 

Cedar Rapids tax rate stays same, utilities to increase: While the Cedar Rapids property tax rate will remain unchanged for the 10th straight year, residents will see their utility bills increase under the fiscal 2019 city budget approved by the City Council on Tuesday. Council member Scott Olson said the increase puts the city in a position to upgrade its stormwater flash flooding protection — something he said the city needs. Read more >

 

Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, city agree to extension to keep hockey club in town longterm: The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders are remaining in Cedar Rapids, and the building they play in is getting some upgrades. That was assured Tuesday when the Cedar Rapids City Council voted to approve a lease extension for the United States Hockey League club. The new extension runs through Aug. 21, 2032, with another 20-year extension automatically kicking in if RoughRiders ownership — Newco Riders, LLC — makes a minimum of $1 million in capital improvements to the arena. Read more >

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