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October 2014

September 2014

50th anniversary celebration planned Saturday for Robert A. Lee Recreation Center

Robert Lee RecreationIOWA CITY, IA. -- The Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center will take a step back in time this weekend as it marks its 50th year in the Iowa City community. To commemorate its golden anniversary, City Recreation staff have planned an anniversary celebration on Saturday, October 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. that will take attendees back to October 15, 1964, the day that construction on the facility was completed.

People are encouraged to don their best 1960s attire and come prepared to dance to "Twist and Shout," a band that will perform 1950s - 60s tunes live in the Social Hall, where light refreshments will also be available. Music from the era will also be played for roller skaters in the gym, where Limbo, Four Corners, Wipe Out, and Twist contests will be held. All events on Saturday will be free of charge, including swimming in the Robert A. Lee pool. When the recreation center first opened, a pass to the pool required dropping a dime into a turnstile to gain access, but on Saturday, all patrons will be allowed to swim at no charge.

The public will also be able to view the newly released master plan for the facility's Edible Landscape project, a joint effort between Parks and Recreation and the local nonprofit, Backyard Abundance. This project will extend the Discovery Garden, located on the north side of the building, down the west side on Gilbert Street, creating an environmentally beneficial landscape that will provide healthy food and wildlife habitat.

The 44,000 sq. ft. facility was built after the original American Legion Recreation Center burned to the ground in 1955. Bob Lee, who served as Superintendent of Recreation for the City of Iowa City from 1951 to 1983, immediately got to work on building a new center on the same site at the intersection of Burlington and Gilbert Streets. In 1962, a bond issue for $490,000 passed with 87% approval. An additional $225,000 was raised from fees and donations to complete funding for the $715,000 structure. When Bob retired in 1983, the City Council voted to name the facility the "Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center" in his honor. Lee died on October 17 last year at the age of 95.

Numerous changes and upgrades have been made to the building since it first opened in 1964. Over the past 50 years, air conditioning was added, an access ramp and elevator were installed to meet ADA requirements, and two dressing rooms were converted to office space. A gun and archery range that existed on the lower level was removed years ago, and today that space serves as a training room for gymnasts. After sustaining tornado damage in 2006, all the building's windows and exterior doors were replaced, and the damaged roof repaired. The pool has undergone numerous upgrades, and a rock climbing wall has been installed in the pool area. Other recent projects include a redesign of the east-side entrance, relocation of the information desk and exercise equipment to the lobby area near the pool, and relocation of the game room to an area off the gym.

While changes have been made to meet Iowa City's ever-evolving needs and interests, for 50 years the building has stood the test of time, providing a welcoming place for the pursuit of recreational activities for all ages and all levels of ability.

For more information, contact Chad Dyson, Recreation Superintendent, at 319/356-5102 or

People Are Asking: Local Option Sales Tax Insert with Mailed Ballots

The Johnson County Auditor's Office is receiving inquiries about an insert mailed with absentee ballots which includes local option sales tax language.

For the five contiguous cities voting as a unit on the ballot measure - Coralville, Iowa City, North Liberty, Tiffin and University Heights - the full text of the ballot measure was too long to include on the ballot. For these five cities, only a summary of the measure is included on the ballot. The full text of the measure is included on a half-sheet insert labeled NOTICE.

Voters in the five contiguous cities should read this language before marking their ballots. The NOTICE insert is not a ballot, and does not need to be marked or returned.

The NOTICE insert is included with all mailed ballots. Voters who live in Hills, Lone Tree, Oxford, Shueyville, Solon, Swisher, West Branch and unincorporated Johnson County will see the full text of their sales tax issue on their ballots, and may ignore the insert.

Report: Obama Has Missed over Half His Second-Term Daily Intel Briefings

A new Government Accountability Institute (GAI) report reveals that President Barack Obama has attended only 42.1% of his daily intelligence briefings (known officially as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB) in the 2,079 days of his presidency through September 29, 2014.

The GAI report also included a breakdown of Obama’s PDB attendance record between terms; he attended 42.4% of his PDBs in his first term and 41.3% in his second.

The GAI’s alarming findings come on the heels of Obama’s 60 Minutes comments on Sunday, wherein the president laid the blame for the Islamic State’s (ISIS) rapid rise squarely at the feet of his Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

“I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” said Obama.


Iowa City VA says Legionella bacteria not harming patients - KWWL

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - When you take your loved one to the hospital, you want them to get better which is why it may be scary for some to learn Legionella bacteria -- which causes Legionairres' Disease -- has been found in the water system at the VA in Iowa City.

"When it's detected at very low levels, the risk to the patient is very low," said Stacey Klutts, Staff Pathologist. "What we're wanting to do is prevent situations where there would be a lot of this bacteria."


The Iowa Economic Development Authority should be disabled

By Mike Thayer

In 2012, the Iowa Economic Development Authority appropriated more than $43.5 million taxpayer dollars.   That's money that left the pockets of every day Iowans and was sent to Des Moines.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority does NOT generate $43.5 million in business every year and it is NOT government's job to "award" money to small businesses, it is NOT government's job to pick winners and losers.  It is not local government's job to chase this money either.    Even more taxpayer money is spent for that very purpose, the paper pushing, the application jostling/reviewing/processing, the administrative costs and the government jobs justified to chase money that really shouldn't be in government's hands to begin with.

State government is fat, and local governments spending time and money to chase after other money means local government is fat, or at least out-of-whack in priority.

Return that $43.5 million to Iowa taxpayers.



Iowa Economic Development Authority Awards Incentives To Seven Firms - Area Development

CORALVILLE COURIER EDITOR'S NOTE: This is not a proper role of government. Government isn't supposed to "award" taxpayer money back to taxpayers at pennies on the dollar.  Government isn't supposed to pick winners and losers.  Local government shouldn't be spending even more taxpayer money in pursuing these kinds of things.  It amounts to a shell game and this is just another example of more than $1 million in taxpayer money that should have never left the communities it came from. Next week, if not tomorrow, there will be another story similar to this.... A million here, two million there, five million over there.... All money, taxpayer money, that unnecessarily gets sent to Des Moines.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority board awarded direct financial assistance and tax benefits to seven companies throughout The Hawkeye State to promote job creation and expansion projects.

In Burlington, Iowa, Shearer’s Foods, a national contract manufacturing and private label supplier in the snack industry in North America, plans to expand its production facility. Shearer operates eight manufacturing facilities throughout the U.S. Because of the recent acquisition of a private label cookie and cracker business, Shearer’s proposed a $33 million project that willinclude the addition of a new cracker line including equipment for bulk materials, mixing, baking, production, receiving and warehousing. The board awarded the company, which plans to create 83 jobs, tax benefits. The project also received benefits via the Targeted Jobs Withholding Tax Credit program.


Tuesday Quick Hits: A review of the local newspaper coverage

The Iowa City DePressed Citizen vs. The Gazette

The big story today, Tuesday, September 30, 2014 is the news of the body of missing ISU student Tong Shao being found by the Iowa City Police.  Both papers gave it front page coverage.  It was The Gazette's top story, but not for the DePressed Citizen, which gave it the right margin.

Iowa City Press-Citizen:

The Gazette

THE top story for the DePressed Citizen was driven by their parent company, Gannett, and the Iowa Poll conducted by the Gannett owned Des Moines Register.  The Iowa Poll tells us what we already know, Terry Branstad is going to defeat Jack Hatch in the Governor's race, and rather handily.  The article:

Understandably, The Gazette did not run a story about a competitor's poll, but they did run a story on page two pertaining to the Governor's race, a report showing how Jack Hatch likes to complain about Terry Branstad, rather than promote his own record and vision for the state of Iowa.  The article:

Now here's a truly BIG national story that got coverage in The Gazette, but is glaringly missing from the Iowa City DePressed Citizen.....   The White House Intruder....

When the fence-jumper story first broke, we were told the Secret Service apprehended the guy just after he got through the front door.  Turns out that wasn't true, not even close, we were lied to.  The guy got deep inside the White House.  It's flat out frightening how badly the Secret Service failed on this.

That's BIG news, but does the Iowa City DePressed Citizen care to report it?  Nope, it's a story that makes Obama and his administration look bad/incompetent. 

A big THANK YOU to The Gazette, which actually performs their journalistic obligation and REPORTS the news.  They care about their readers and so when they can't actually cover the story, they find a source that did, in this case they ran a Washington Post story, which The Gazette ran on page 3:

This story is rather alarming, and the Iowa City DePressed Citizen CHOSE not to run it.

Once again, the DePressed Citizen fails to properly report things to its readers.

Secret Service Chief Rebuked by Lawmakers Over Breach -

CORALVILLE COURIER EDITOR'S NOTE: When people jump the White House fence (we've now learned that White House fence jumping is not so uncommon), they are soon tackled by Secret Service personnel. Jumpers typically don't get more than 30 feet from that fence before getting taken down to the ground and cuffed. What happened to that vigilance this time?  This guy was not only able to sprint more than the length of a football field to the front door, he got deep into the White House.  This is a serious problem folks.

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers from both parties on Tuesday assailed Julia Pierson, the director of the Secret Service, about security breaches at the White House, including an intruder who earlier this month breached multiple security measures and evaded capture as he ran around the first floor of the mansion.

Ms. Pierson said in opening statements before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that she takes full responsibility for the breaches and she pledged that “what happened is unacceptable and it will never happen again.” But her promise of a comprehensive review of the incidents appeared to do little to satisfy members of the committee.


47% Think Holder More Interested in Politics Than in Justice - Rasmussen Reports™

Voters think Eric Holder played politics as U.S. attorney general and hope President Obama picks someone who’s not like him to be the nation’s next top law enforcement officer. But those who view the Constitution as “a living document” are much more appreciative of his efforts than those who favor a strict interpretation of that document.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 47% of Likely U.S. Voters believe Holder was more interested in politics than in administering justice in a fair way. Just 28% disagree and think fair administration of justice was Holder’s chief interest. Nearly as many (25%) aren’t sure.