Recent Articles

Controversial Pleasant Valley school board election could be decided by a drawing

For additional details of the recount and mishandling of election report, see this article in the Pleasant Valley High School newspaper

by Clark Kauffman, Iowa Capital Dispatch
December 1, 2023

A hotly contested race for school board in a small eastern Iowa community may be decided by a drawing on Monday.

The Scott County Auditor’s Office recently presided over a recount for one of the races involving a seat on the school board for the Pleasant Valley Community School District.

Initially, the results of the Nov. 7 election indicated challenger Jameson Smith had beaten incumbent Tracey Rivera on a vote of 256 to 250. Rivera then requested a recount which led to a new controversy involving Iowa’s own version of a hanging-chad dispute.

An assistant Scott County attorney had allegedly explained to the three parties handling the recount that because the Nov. 7 election involved the use of optical scanners, any write-in votes could only be counted if the oval alongside the line for the name of a write-in candidates was filled in by the voter.

One of the individuals involved in the recount objected to a ballot in which the oval was not filled in, while the other two individuals argued such ballots should be counted since the intent of the voter was clear. Rivera allegedly benefitted from the majority decision to count two such ballots as valid, and that led to a determination that the candidates were tied at 255 votes each.

With the process headed toward a randomized outcome, with the election to be decided by a drawing, attorney Alan Ostergren wrote to the county auditor and lodged a protest on behalf of Smith.

Bettendorf firm fined $6,000 for failing to control erosion on Forest Grove/Middle Road development

The developer of the commercial property northeast of Middle and Forest Grove Roads in Bettendorf has been fined $6,000 by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) for failing to control erosion on the construction site.

FG80 Holdings, LLC, owned by developer Kevin Koellner, agreed to the fine in September for violations of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit that occurred in 2022 and 2023.

According to the IDNR, a routine inspection of the property in July 2022 found soil had flowed out of the sediment basin and that the sediment traps that had been installed did not provide adequate control of the soil runoff.

"Silt fencing in low lying areas had been overwhelmed," according to the inspection report, which was sent to the developer along with recommended corrective actions.

Court order sought requiring pharmacies to fill controversial COVID-19 prescriptions

by Clark Kauffman, Iowa Capital Dispatch
October 16, 2023

An Iowa physician is seeking a court order that would require pharmacies to fill prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19.

The order is being sought as part of a civil lawsuit brought by Dr. David Hartsuch, an emergency medicine physician from Bettendorf, against the Iowa Board of Medicine and Iowa Board of Pharmacy in Scott County District Court.

Hartsuch, a former Republican state senator, alleges the two licensing boards have attempted to discourage patients from receiving “certain lawful prescription drugs” – his lawsuit references ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine — to treat COVID-19.

Fiddling while we burn: We know what to do about climate change but who will do it?

by Art Cullen, Iowa Capital Dispatch
August 25, 2023

Here we sit sweating it out under a heat dome. It’s supposed to get hot in an Iowa summer, but like this? One heat dome after another. Then a shower just in the nick of time. They say it’s a sign of climate change — that seasonal extremes like a hot August day become more extreme, and linger.

Storm Lake was in a water emergency during RAGBRAI last month. City wells stressed by drought and thirst failed. They got fixed for the time being, but our water system is limping along in need of more improvement than we can afford. Our drinking water sources, underground aquifers, are in decline from increased pumping for humans, livestock and ethanol.

If you don’t think that we are burning up the planet, look around: Maui got toasted as people jumped into the ocean to flee the fire. LA does not get hurricanes, but now it does. Entire towns in Canada are evacuating from wildfires. The smoke gags the Midwest.

If you’re trying to grow wheat or run cattle near the Panhandle, good luck, pardner.

If climate change is not a thing, then what is all this?

Seizure of 131 dogs from Riverside puppy mill prompts Coralville legislator to call for action

by Iowa Capital Dispatch
August 29, 2023

Last week’s seizure of 131 dogs at a rural Iowa breeding operation has prompted one state lawmaker to call for changes in the way the state oversees puppy mills, dog breeders and brokers.

Rep. Dave Jacoby, D-Coralville, wrote to Gov. Kim Reynolds this week asking for her cooperation in holding unscrupulous breeders accountable.

In his letter, Jacoby wrote, “It’s time for us to work together to fix this problem. I look forward to a strong and immediate bipartisan effort to end this wrong. It is as simple as inspection and enforcement. We need to stop unscrupulous puppy mill owners by strengthening the laws that govern commercial breeders, increase inspections, and penalize those who violate the law.”

Jacoby’s letter to the governor comes one week after the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship inspected Sunset Valley Farm, a commercial dog-breeding operation in the town of Riverside.

Operating cost reductions, digital revenue growth boost Lee Enterprises' net income in third quarter

A 15 percent increase in digital revenue plus a 15 percent decrease in operating expenses led to a $2.1-million profit for Lee Enterprises, Inc. in the third quarter ended June 25.

Lee, headquartered in Davenport, owns more than 70 newspapers and online news sites including the Quad City Times and Daily Dispatch/Argus.

Privacy lawsuit against Lee Enterprises will proceed

by Clark Kauffman, Iowa Capital Dispatch
July 31, 2023

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit alleging an Iowa newspaper publisher violated customers’ privacy rights through information sharing with Facebook.

The Iowa-based newspaper chain Lee Enterprises is facing a potential class-action lawsuit alleging it has shared readers’ personal information, including the videos they watch on Lee websites, with Facebook in violation of federal law.


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