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New restaurants and other changes on the local food scene in 2017

Fifteen restaurants — serving everything from burritos to bao — opened in the Iowa City area this year. Some were entirely new ventures, some belonged to local favorites that expanded (you no longer have to go downtown to get a pie shake). Taking a big step beyond its NewBo District coffee shop in Cedar Rapids, Brewhemia started distributing its nitro coffee throughout the corridor. And in Iowa City, a new, locally-owned food delivery was launched, to provide an alternative to big, national services like GrubHub. […]

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Ten ways Iowa City changed in 2017

Every year brings changes, and 2017 saw the start of construction on a major new public park and progress on a new approach to community living in Iowa City. A new co-working space for entrepreneurs opened on the Ped Mall, and the sale of an important Ped Mall building revealed a strange world of art that had been hidden from public view for decades. Plans for major improvements to the Ped Mall were finalized, as were the plans for new building for the University of Iowa Art Museum. […]

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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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Coping with Trump, replacing Corbett and Iowa City makes history: 2017 in local politics

The year started with reactions to the new Trump administration — some involving careful city council deliberations, one involving fire — and such reactions continue throughout 2017. The year also saw elections for the school board, followed very quickly by a major change in leadership after the new board was sworn in. There were also city elections. In Cedar Rapids, voters had to choose a replacement for Mayor Ron Corbett, who decided to run for governor, instead of reelection. Iowa City made history by electing Mazahir Salih to the city council, the first Muslim to serve on the council and likely the first Sudanese-American woman elected to office in the entire country. In a preview of what is to come in 2018, Iowa City native son and LGBTQ activist Zach Wahls announced a run for state senate just before Christmas. […]

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