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Iowa Poison Control Center: #TidePodChallenge ‘not really the smartest thing to do’

More Iowans have poisoned themselves by deliberately putting laundry detergent pods in their mouths during the first three weeks of January than during all of last year, the Iowa Poison Control Center (IPCC) reported this week. Poison control centers around the country have also seen similar spikes, thanks to the popularity of #TidePodChallenge that have gone viral on YouTube and social media platforms in recent weeks. […]

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Marion Christian minister who ran Iowa’s broadband internet agency misused almost $380,000 in state funds, audit finds

The former head of the state agency that provides high-speed broadband service to schools and other public institutions misused $379,547 in state funds, according to a new report from the Iowa State Auditor’s Office. The report published on Thursday reviewed decisions by Iowa Communications Network (ICN) Executive Director Richard Lumbard between Jan. 2015 and Jan. 2, 2018. Lumbard was fired two days after the audit concluded. He had been ICN executive director since 2014. […]

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Sen. Joni Ernst unintentionally makes Iowans laugh by claiming Trump is a well-respected world leader

Laughter isn’t something that’s usually heard at Sen. Joni Ernst’s town hall meetings, but Ernst’s attempt to portray Donald Trump as a respected international leader caused the audience to burst into laughter at the senator’s town hall in Red Oak on Sunday. […]

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‘We’re just talking about fair access to the system’: the Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project helps people detained by ICE

The increase of the number of arrests by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of people suspected of being in the country illegally has made headlines over the past year, but less attention has been paid to what happens next. Since President Trump took office, there have been reports around the country that ICE is setting much higher bonds for people awaiting an immigration hearing than in previous year. Because those hearings are often scheduled for three to five years after someone is arrested, these higher bonds effectively means detainees without access to ready funds will serve a jail term before they are ever found guilty of an offense. […]

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‘Too foul for public consumption’: Steve King doesn’t like bad language, but thinks Trump’s ‘shithole’ comment is great

Like a lot of people on Twitter on Friday morning, Iowa’s Steve King was upset about a public figure’s language. But unlike most, King was upset about a comedian saying “fuck,” not the President of the United States saying, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” while discussing immigration from Africa and Latin America on Thursday. […]

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Iowa environmentalists scored a victory for water quality as 2017 ended

Last year saw many setbacks for environmentalists as President Trump and Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), took charge of the federal government’s environmental policy. But in Iowa, 2017 ended with a win for those concerned about the state’s water quality. […]

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Gov. Reynolds sued for ‘unlawful misuse of state funds’

The ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee in the Iowa House of Representatives, Chris Hall of Sioux City, is suing Gov. Kim Reynolds for her use of $13 million from the State Economic Emergency Fund to balance the state budget in September. In the lawsuit filed on Tuesday in the state district court for Polk County, Hall alleges that Reynolds actions constituted an “unlawful misuse of state funds.” The lawsuit also names Director of Iowa Department of Management David Roederer for his role in carrying out the transfer of funds the governor ordered. […]

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Seeing red and getting called ‘unhinged’: Iowa politics in 2017

Republican took full control of state government in Iowa in 2017, and moved quickly to enact an intensely ideological agenda, making major changes that reduced women’s access to health care, reduced union bargaining rights, expanded access to guns and decreased support for public education. But it was liberals Gov. Kim Reynolds called “unhinged,” at her first campaign fundraiser. Public statements by Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst called in question how well-hinged Iowa’s two U.S. Senators are. Meanwhile in the Iowa State Senate, Senate Majority Leader Bill tried to convince the public there’s no problem with sexual harassment in the Republican caucus (a jury disagreed). The Democratic state Senate caucus, on the other hand, made news by replacing Cedar Rapids Sen. Rob Hogg as its leader, even though Hogg had held the position for less than a year. […]

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Gov. Reynolds keeps Steve King as campaign co-chair, won’t say if King’s comments are racist

At her weekly press conference on Tuesday, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Steve King’s recent comment declaring diversity to be a weakness that is damaging America has not changed her mind about having King as a statewide co-chair of her campaign for governor. […]

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Greenhouse gas emissions decline in Iowa as renewable energy use increases

Iowa’s greenhouse gas emissions decreased last year, thanks, in part, to increases in the amount of wind and solar power the state is producing, according to a new report from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The 2016 Iowa Statewide Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Report shows the state emitted 128 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, a decrease of two percent from 2015 levels. […]

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Grassley tweets: He’s upset by a Senate snub, but loves what Trump is doing

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley was up early Thursday morning, and judging by Twitter, he wasn’t happy. At 5:23 a.m., Iowa’s senior senator vented to fellow early-morning tweeter President Donald Trump about not being appointed to the conference committee that will reconcile the tax bill passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate. On Wednesday evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed eight Republicans to the committee. […]

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Iowa has the nation’s highest overall graduation rate again, but some students are still left behind

Iowa had the highest high school graduation rate in the country in 2016, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). Last year’s graduation rate was 91.3 percent, much higher than the national average of 84.1 percent. The statistics track the on-time graduation rates of students who have attended high schools for four years. […]

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