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Posted May 31, 2013in Iowa Watchdog

Des Moines mayor considers possible bid against Iowa’s governor

DES MOINES — Democrats across Iowa have yet to attract solid candidates to challenge Gov. Terry Branstad, who is expected to announce a run for an unprecedented sixth term. Des Moines, however, is proving to be an exception to that rule. Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie has confirmed with Iowa Watchdog that

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Posted May 31, 2013in Iowa Watchdog

Iowa transparency board to operate on shoestring budget

DES MOINES — An Iowa agency aimed at improving transparency among public entities will have a shoestring budget and about six months to prove its effectiveness, said Bill Monroe, chairman of the newly created Iowa Public Information Board. Lawmakers this session provided the board with $350,000 in funding for its first

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Posted May 31, 2013in Iowa Watchdog

State officials given broad discretion in welfare spending oversight

DES MOINES – Iowa Department of Human Services officials will have broad discretion in how the state complies with a federal law requiring it to prevent welfare money from being used at certain locales. Lawmakers passed a bill this session that gives the department authority to implement the new rules,

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Posted May 30, 2013in Iowa Watchdog

Davenport schools ripe for cheating expert says

DES MOINES – At least one teacher in the Davenport School District voiced concerns about low morale and overstressed staff prior to a cheating scandal that broke earlier this year, according to district emails. The anonymous author described, in a three-page letter to Superintendent Arthur Tate, teachers as demoralized, overwhelmed

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Posted May 30, 2013in Iowa Watchdog

Madison principal hired lawyer amid cheating investigation

DES MOINES – The principal of a Davenport elementary school embroiled in a cheating scandal hired a lawyer, although district leaders have publicly said they have no suspects, according to district emails. Sara Gott, principal of Madison Elementary School, is being represented by attorneys Cathy Cartee, whose mother Patt Zamora

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Posted May 29, 2013in Sore Thumbs

Two months ago, for the April Fools’ issue, I wrote a special edition of Sore Thumbs, covering a fake unveiling of the new Xbox, which I called the Xbox 5 (despite it being the third iteration of the console) and described as being fixated on its diverse array of multimedia

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Posted May 29, 2013in Food Dude

Independents in the western suburbs

Why do certain kinds of restaurants flock to different zip codes? In Des Moines, such restaurant profiling was so extreme a couple years ago that Orchestrate Management’s Paul Rottenberg suggested everyone could benefit from a moratorium — no new chain restaurants in suburbs and no more independents downtown. Things have

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Posted May 29, 2013in Sound Stage

This is not a concert

The beginning of Andrew W.K.’s set at Vaudeville Mews served as a microcosm for the evening as a whole. “How you all doin’ tonight?” came the call from the speakers. The crowd cheered. “I said, HOW YOU ALL DOIN’ TONIGHT?” The crowd cheered louder. “Are you ready to party?” The

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Posted May 29, 2013in The Sound

‘This is what Cirrus Minor really is’

Cirrus Minor is about as complete a band as you could wish for in a local scene. One could argue that there are bands around that do this or that specific thing better, but you’re not likely to find anyone willing to argue that any band in town does everything

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Posted May 29, 2013in Cover Story

Michael Gartner’s Memories of 715 Locust Street

I first visited the Register and Tribune building in 1941 or 1942, when I was 3 or 4 years old. My mother had put on her white gloves and hat and tailored suit to take me downtown on the Crocker Street streetcar, probably for a doctor’s appointment — in those

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Barmuda