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In the news
Glenwood to close: The Glenwood Resource Center, home to 152 residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities, will be closed in 2024, state leaders announced Thursday.
The state will begin moving out the residents in July by sending about 60 to another state-run facility in Woodward and 10 others into community housing.
Over the next year, transitions will continue until the center is closed, with plans to sell the building by July 1, 2024.
The federal justice department in 2021 issued a 33-page report condemning the way the facility was run.
Do-or-die for bottle bill: Key lawmakers warned Monday that if the Iowa Legislature can’t fix the four-decade-old “bottle bill” this year, the recycling program for beverage containers might be repealed.
Iowa is also the only state with a container deposit law that hasn’t increased the handling fee in 43 years.
Critics say the Senate version of the bill would likely reduce the number of places where consumers could return their containers and claim their nickel deposits to fewer than 100 across Iowa, critics said.
Mobile homes: A bill to safeguard residents of mobile home parks against rapid rent and fee increases, as well as add protections against evictions, passed the Iowa House on Tuesday night despite criticism it had become too watered down to help tenants much.
Rep. Amy Nielsen, D-North Liberty, who’s been working on the affordable housing issue for years, called House File 2562 “crumbs — this is nothing.”
The legislation is in response to the purchases of mobile home parks around Iowa by venture capitalists and real estate investment trusts, where they quickly raise the rent.
A Gazette investigation found about 25 percent of Iowa’s 549 mobile home parks have out-of-state owners.
The bill goes to the Iowa Senate, where it’s expected to pass.
Shovel-ready: Iowa will use $100 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to launch Destination Iowa, an investment in “transformational, shovel-ready attractions," Gov. Kim Reynolds said.
Cities, counties, nonprofits and other organizations can apply for grants starting May 9 from four funds: economically significant development, outdoor recreation, tourism attraction, and creative place-making.
They said ...
“It’s not the bill I’d like to have, but it’s the bill I can get.”
— Iowa Rep. Brian Lohse, R-Bondurant, about compromises made to get mobile home rent safeguards bill passed
“Having carefully studied her record, unfortunately, I think she and I have fundamentally different views on the role judges should play in our system of government. Because of those disagreements, I can’t support her nomination.”
— Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa about why he wouldn't vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court
Odds and ends
Pikes Peak upgrades: The campground and main parking lot at Pikes Peak State Park will undergo a major overhaul this month.
Improvements planned at the park near McGregor in northeast Iowa — with its scenic views of the Mississippi River — include electrical system upgrades, added space between camping pads and the addition of pull-through campsites.
The park’s main entrance will be closed while the work is done.
Tabernacle razed: Demolition of the Kanesville Tabernacle in Council Bluffs began Monday.
The structure was a replica of the original Kanesville Tabernacle built in 1847 by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It became structurally unsound and will become an interpretive landscape with a path that winds past statuary, interpretive panels and gardens.
The water cooler
Still alive: Federal marshals have arrested an Iowa man in Washington state who has been on the run for six years after faking his own death to avoid a trial on child pornography charges. Jacob Greer, 28, was arrested Monday in Spanaway, Wash.
Lucky store: Another Glenwood man has won a $100,000 lottery prize. Joshua Kisler won the 11th top prize in the Iowa Lottery’s Super 20s scratch game. Another Glenwood resident, Jacob Harper, won a Mega Crossword game in late March. Both bought their winners at the Casey’s on Locust Street in Glenwood.
In the news
Deaf education: A bill that will provide new resources for deaf and hard-of-hearing children was approved by the Iowa House on Wednesday and is on its way to the governor.
House File 604, sometimes referred to as the LEAD-K — Language, Equality, Acquisition for Deaf Kids — is the result of more than a decade of work by lawmakers, educators and the families of deaf and hard-of-hearing children.
Bolkcom honored: The Iowa Senate on Tuesday honored the 24-year legislative career of “scrappy” Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, with a resolution and complimentary remarks from many colleagues, both Democrats and Republican.
Bolkcom, 65, will not seek a seventh term this year, saying, “It’s just time for new, younger people.”
Bolkcom became the liberal lion in the Iowa Senate, a fierce frontman on issues like medical marijuana, protections for LGBTQ Iowans and a ban on smoking in public places.
Gazette Des Moines Bureau