Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Posted June 29, 2016in Civic Skinny

Platforms: Puppy mills, legal drugs, and back to 1913. Culver gets a Y job, with a little help from his friends.

State political platforms mean absolutely nothing, practical politicians agree, but the planks often show where the power lies in the parties. And occasionally a plank is so bizarre it can be used against that party’s candidates. Such is the latest platform of the Iowa Democrats, where — buried among the

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Posted June 22, 2016in Civic Skinny

Architect Kirk Blunck had assets of about $6.4 million. Death: ‘Blunt force trauma, manner undetermined.’

    Architect Kirk Blunck had assets valued at about $6.4 million when he died Jan. 24 under mysterious circumstances in a stairwell of the Teachout Building that he owned in the East Village. And the cause of death now has been determined, sort of. It was “multiple blunt force

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Posted June 15, 2016in Civic Skinny

Happy Father’s Day. A dad who lived to be 102 tells his son the secret to a long life: No left turns

  Michael Gartner is on vacation. This column, about his father, ran in USA Today just before Father’s Day in 2006.   My father never drove a car. Well, that’s not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car. He quit driving in 1927, when he

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Posted June 08, 2016in Civic Skinny

U of Iowa hires $895-an-hour lawyers. Culver to the Y? A little lesson for Branstad. And some real-estate deals. 

    Your tax dollars — or your medical dollars or tuition dollars or philanthropy dollars or something — at work: The University of Iowa is about to hire McDermott, Will & Emery, a Chicago law firm, to “assist and advise” it in response to a subpoena from the U.S.

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Posted May 25, 2016in Civic Skinny

President Ruud leaves UNI after faculty carping. But the system is rigged against the university.

    Bill Ruud is not leaving the University of Northern Iowa for some idyllic small college in some idyllic small town. Marietta College, now with about 1,200 students, is an ordinary small college in an ordinary small town. The college fights for money and students, has laid off nearly

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Posted May 18, 2016in Civic Skinny

Two quit the board of planned convention hotel. Eddie Mauro has a chance. More on bar exam.

Two of the seven board members of the planned downtown convention hotel have resigned just as the hotel gets ready for its groundbreaking this week. Cynthia Eisenhauer and her husband — retired Chief Appellate Judge Larry Eisenhauer — are moving to Kansas City to be closer to their family (and

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Posted May 11, 2016in Civic Skinny

How some ‘Give Local’ money ended up in Texas.

  As schools lower standards, more flunk the Iowa bar. The generous people of Des Moines last week gave $272,344 to around 140 local charities as part of the “Give Local” campaign sponsored by The Des Moines Register and the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation. Sort of. More than $16,000

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Posted May 04, 2016in Civic Skinny

Polk GOP likes God and guns — but not public radio or TV.  Andringa quits. Hensley collects. LaMarca bills top $900,000.

  Not much has been happening of late in Chris Godfrey’s lawsuit against Gov. Terry Branstad and five other state officials named in the retaliation, defamation, extortion and discrimination proceeding. But that doesn’t mean the state officials’ lawyers haven’t been busy — busy billing, at least. The LaMarca Law Group,

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Posted April 13, 2016in Civic Skinny

Bubu Palo sues Iowa State. ISU keeps pursuing NORML.

  No foes for Polk Supervisors. Some plans for MacRae Park.   Bubu Palo, the former Iowa State basketball player, has sued the university and the Board of Regents in Story County District Court. Palo had been accused of raping a classmate, sometime lover and longtime friend in the fall

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Posted April 06, 2016in Civic Skinny, Featured Story

Four good men: Ward Reynoldson, Dick Jacobson, Joe Garagiola and Bob Hudson

  Ward Reynoldson For the past 40 years or so, I have kept a small picture of Ward Reynoldson on my desk at home. It was taken at a picnic at his home outside Osceola when he was Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court. In the picture, he is

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