This Week in the Village: Jan. 5-11

Catch up on the biggest headlines, videos and photos published by Little Village in the past week.

Letter to the editor: Fight for the climate like a preschooler

The LENA Project’s Straw-Less Initiative has, with the help of preschoolers, encouraged local restaurants to go strawless or provide alternatives to plastic straws. — LENA Project on Facebook

Published Monday, Jan. 6

By Tricia Windschitl, The LENA (Lessen Empower Notice Act) Project

“Do small things for the Earth and make big things happen.” —Teo, age 5

In 2018, I was led by a group of preschoolers to take on single-use plastic waste in our community. They wanted to protect the Earth and her animals. At the beginning of their campaign, Lucas taped a sign on his back. “Everyone who follows me will see my message. They will tell someone, and they will tell, and they will tell. The end.” Continue reading…

After five years of false starts, Iowa City’s bike-share program will (probably) start in April

A bike rest on Clinton Street in downtown Iowa City. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Published Monday, Jan. 6

Last year, the Iowa City Department of Transportation announced the city’s long-awaited bike-share program was scheduled to launch “in the fall” of 2019. That didn’t happen. Just like it didn’t happen in 2018, despite the department announcing it planned to start the program in the fall of that year.

In 2018, the problem that derailed the program happened as the city was finishing negotiations with the company it selected to run the bike-share. Continue reading…

Reader-Submitted Photos: Black and white

“Arms and Faces,” Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, September 2019 — Peter Rodd

Published Tuesday, Jan. 7

Performances, polar vortexes, walnut husks and Hawkeye Waves — these contemplative photos were submitted to and selected by Little Village for the 2020 Reader-Submitted Photo Issue. Continue reading…

Reader-Submitted Photos: Faces

“Tom Becker and Jerry the Cat,” near Bellevue, Iowa, 2017 — Sandra Dyas

Published Tuesday, Jan. 7

From portraits to spontaneous moments, these human- and feline-focused photos were submitted to and selected by Little Village for the 2020 Reader-Submitted Photo Issue. Continue reading…

Reader-Submitted Photos: Scenery

Coralville, July 4, 2019 — Zoë Woodworth

Published Tuesday, Jan. 7

These observational photos of landscapes, buildings, streets and skies were submitted to and selected by Little Village for the 2020 Reader-Submitted Photo Issue. Continue reading…

Judge orders Iowa to pay an additional $3.1 million because Gov. Terry Branstad violated state’s LGBTQ discrimination law

Iowa Governor and soon-to-be ambassador to China Terry Branstad speaks during Donald Trump’s Thank You Tour stop in Des Moines. Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Published Tuesday, Jan. 7

The amount of money the state of Iowa will have to foot because Gov. Terry Branstad violated the state’s anti-LGBTQ discrimination law grew by more than $3 million on Friday.

In July, a Polk County jury found that Gov. Terry Branstad broke the law in 2011, when he tried to force Iowa Worker’s Compensation Commissioner Christopher Godfrey, who is openly gay, to resign by cutting Godfrey’s salary from $112,068 to $73,250 (the lowest salary allowed by state law), drastically reducing the budget for Godfrey’s office and even eliminated the job of one of the commissioner’s assistants. Continue reading…

Dreeam Sports is launching a mentorship program for at-risk kids in Cedar Rapids

Brandon Jackson is the founder of Dreeam Sports, a Cedar Rapids nonprofit focused on providing affordable sports and other volunteering opportunities to youth in the area. — photo courtesy of Brandon Jackson

Published Tuesday, Jan. 7

Dreeam Sports is starting its second year of working with young people in the Cedar Rapids area by launching a new mentorship program.

Brandon Jackson started the nonprofit in February 2019 to help make sports affordable for kids in Cedar Rapids. He added the extra “e” to Dreeam to emphasize the importance of “exceeding expectations,” Jackson told Little Village. Continue reading…

Bernie Sanders returns to Iowa City on Sunday to accept Sunrise Movement endorsement

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaking during Political Party Live at Coe College’s Sinclair Auditorium, Jun. 7, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Published Thursday, Jan. 9

Sen. Bernie Sanders is returning to Iowa City on Sunday for a climate town hall at the Graduate Hotel, where he’ll officially receive the endorsement of the Sunrise Movement. The nonprofit, which has become well-known for its Green New Deal proposal, describes its mission as “building an army of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people.” Continue reading…

Kimberly Teehee, UI Law grad, could become the first Cherokee Nation delegate to Congress

President Barack Obama talks with Kim Teehee in the Oval Office, April 26, 2012. — Pete Souza/official White House photo

Published Thursday, Jan. 9, 2019

Kimberly Teehee is no stranger to firsts. In early 2009, President Barack Obama appointed her as the first senior policy adviser for Native American affairs on the White House Domestic Policy Council. Before that, she served as the first deputy director of Native American Outreach for the Democratic National Committee. Now, she is set to become the first delegate of a tribal nation to Congress — a position that would fulfill the terms of a 235-year-old treaty. Continue reading…

State Auditor: ‘Bad data’ from Iowa DHS make it impossible to assess state’s Medicaid home health program

Blood draw — Thirteen of Clubs/Flickr

Published Thursday, Jan. 9

A new report from the Office of the State Auditor was supposed to summarize the results of an 18-month-long attempt to audit the Medicaid program administered by the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) that provides health services to patients in their homes. But that proved to be impossible, because repeated attempts to get accurate information from DHS over an almost 18-month period were unsuccessful.

“Long story short, the finding in this audit is that we do not have reliable data,” Auditor Rob Sand explained during a press conference on Thursday morning. “Data are missing, data are incomplete and incorrect.” Continue reading…

Marianne Williamson drops out of the presidential race

Marianne Williamson at the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame celebration in Cedar Rapids, June 9, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Published Friday Jan. 10

Marianne Williamson dropped out of the 2020 presidential race on Friday. The California Democrat announced her decision in a written statement on her campaign website.

Williamson’s decision won’t surprise anyone who has closely followed news of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Williamson laid off the last of her paid campaign staff at the end of December. Continue reading…

David Wiggins, acting chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, announces his resignation

Justice David Wiggins (front left) seated next to Chief Justice Mark Cady (center) — Iowa Supreme Court official photo

Published Friday, Jan. 10

David Wiggins, the acting chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, announced his retirement on Friday. According to a statement posted on the court’s website, Wiggins will step down on March 13. His current term was scheduled to expire in December.

Wiggins has been acting chief justice since the death of Chief Justice Mark Cady in November. The brief statement from the court did not give any reason for Wiggins’ decision. Continue reading…

Bernie Sanders finishes first in the latest Iowa Poll

Sen. Bernie Sanders arrives at his 2020 College Campus Tailgate Tour stop on the Pentacrest. Sunday, Sep 8, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Published Friday, Jan. 10

Sen. Bernie Sanders leads the other Democratic candidates in the upcoming Iowa Caucus, according to the Iowa Poll published on Friday evening.

The Vermont senator was the choice of 20 percent of poll respondents. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was in second place with 17 percent, followed by Pete Buttigieg — who finished first in the last Iowa Poll, which was published in November — with 16 percent. Joe Biden, who received support from 15 percent of respondents, was the only other candidate in double digits. “Not Sure” was the choice of 11 percent. Continue reading…

New issue: Little Village issue 276

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