Gray's Station | Cedar Rapids | United Way of Central Iowa board | Tuition Task Force
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Friday PM Daily | July 7, 2017
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Differing perspectives on Gray's Station
By Kent Darr | Senior Staff Writer

Recent stories about Hubbell Realty Co.'s proposed Gray's Station development have drawn some interesting responses, none more so than the perspectives of Kevin Crowley of Iowa Realty Commercial and Tom Sacco, devoted bicycle tourist of the abandoned railroad and industrial land where the mixed-use project is planned.

For his part, Crowley has high praise for Hubbell Realty's efforts to plan out a responsible development, one that has so far run afoul of the city of Des Moines' comprehensive plan, something called an overlay district and zoning designation.

Crowley has some experience with the property. He represents Norfolk Southern railroad, which owns the 75 acres between Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and the Raccoon River where Hubbell wants to develop a range of housing types, a wetland conservation area, trails, green spaces, and maybe a smattering of specialty retail shops. For now, the land is weedy, sprouts a healthy population of scrub cottonwoods, and is a land of odd experiences for those who wander around it, as Crowley has. So has Sacco.

Crowley's story first. He was walking the property with a Norfolk Southern security guard when a homeless man used a cellphone to call Des Moines police and report two trespassers — Crowley and the railroad cop.

"I found it interesting that in an area with absolutely no electricity, the homeless guy had a fully charged cellphone," Crowley said.

Continue reading to learn Tom Sacco's thoughts and discoveries on the site. Full Insider Story

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NEWS BRIEFS

Cedar Rapids receives $1.7 million grant for flood control
The U.S. Department of Commerce announced it has invested $1.7 million into creating flood control infrastructure in Cedar Rapids. The Department's Economic Development Administration will provide funding for a project intended to protect the city's business district, hoping to avoid flooding events like that of 2008, which caused $2 billion in damage. The EDA also estimates the funding will save 440 jobs and generate $432,000 in private investment.

Mahoney to chair United Way of Central Iowa board
Tom Mahoney, chairman and CEO of ITA Group, has been named board chair of United Way of Central Iowa, effective July 1. Nora Everett, president of retirement and income solutions at Principal Financial Group, became chair-elect. United Way's board of directors also approved the addition of six new directors, each of whom will serve a two-year term. "We are honored to welcome this group of talented leaders who are dedicated to improving the lives of central Iowans," Elisabeth Buck, president of United Way of Central Iowa, said in a release. To view the list of new board members, click here.

Tuition Task Force meeting to be held July 27
The Board of Regents Tuition Task Force has announced dates and times for four public stakeholder meetings. The Tuition Task Force was established this year by the board to facilitate a public discussion examining core issues and strategies central to the process of setting tuition at Iowa's public universities. The first meeting will be held in Des Moines on July 27 at the John and Mary Pappajohn Education Center, 1200 Grand Ave., from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A legislative stakeholders presentation will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, with an economic development and business stakeholders presentation scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m.

Retired DMACC administrator receives lifetime achievement award
Laurie Wolf, recently retired executive dean of student services for Des Moines Area Community College, has received the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators' Lifetime Achievement Award, the organization's highest honor. Wolf, who was the NASFAA's national chair in 2010-11, helped lead the charge on the organization's reauthorization and legislative efforts, and her work has benefited millions of community college students nationally, NASFAA President Justin Draeger said in a release. The award was presented at the 2017 NASFAA National Conference recently held in San Diego.

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Sears closing 43 more stores
Business Insider: Sears Holdings is closing 43 more stores in the U.S., in addition to the 265 closings that had already been announced this year. No Iowa stores are included in this latest round of closures. The new list includes 35 Kmart stores and eight Sears stores.

Buffett bets big on power with $9 billion Oncor deal
Reuters: Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said today that it had agreed to pay $9 billion to buy the parent of Texas power transmission company Oncor Electric Delivery Co., stepping up its pursuit of steady profits from utilities and infrastructure deals.

Trump, Putin reach Syria deal, discuss election interference
CNN: President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for over two hours this afternoon, discussing interference in U.S. elections and ending with an agreement on curbing violence in Syria.

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SmartBrief: The challenge of learning by experience is like sand in the oyster; it's irritating and uncomfortable at the time, but you can end up with a beautiful pearl. Research tells us that 70 percent of our development comes when we have certain experiences that present a challenge, like turning around a business, implementing a new process, handling a difficult customer or stepping into a larger role. Twenty percent is support provided by your supervisor or others, and the last 10 percent is formal, structured learning. Read more

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July 13: W.D.M. Chamber Membership Luncheon
Host: West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce
About: Join the West Des Moines Chamber and meet the head football coaches for Valley, Dowling and Waukee. No matter whether you cheer for the Tigers, the Maroons or the Warriors, this is a must-attend event. John Mickelson, West Des Moines city councilman and former Iowa Hawkeye defensive end, will moderate the event. Coaches can be enormously influential in kids' lives. Ask a random group of adults to recall a sports memory, and you're likely to hear every intimate detail about a game-winning hit, a dropped pass or a scoop 'n' score that, even decades later, still elicits passionate emotion. What students learn from such moments can shape their lives.
When: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Des Moines Golf and Country Club
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Iowa woman charged with voting twice pleads guilty 
An Iowa woman charged with voting twice for Donald Trump last fall has pleaded guilty to election misconduct. Court records show Terri Lynn Rote entered a plea on June 27 to the felony charge and a District Court judge in Des Moines accepted the plea. Sentencing is set for Aug. 15. Rote, who is 56 and lives in Des Moines, told police she turned in two absentee ballots before the November election because she believed Trump's unsubstantiated claims that the election was rigged and that her first ballot would be changed to a vote for Hillary Clinton. Read more

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Intervals of clouds and sunshine. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 89. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph. 

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Morning thunderstorms. Highs in the low 90s and lows in the low 70s. 

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