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Iowa News Analysis - April 30, 2009

posted on May 1, 2009 at 5:27 PM

Unlike the Quad Cities; Omaha-Council Bluffs has yet to find its full identity.  But could that be changing?  In this episode of The Iowa Journal, we’ll take a hard look the potential emergence of a new and powerful regional economy. 

Paul Yeager: We need to get to the edge of the news and we'd like to get it from a local here.  Tim Rowher is a reporter at the Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  Good to have you on the program.  Also with us tonight, Mike Peterson of KMA Radio.  Both of you gentlemen have been on The Iowa Journal before but now we're live and in person.  I don't think you've ever done this before.  We'll get to the news here right now.  Tim, let's talk about the big story nationally and now in the state, H1N1, they call it the swine flu as well.  Anything in this part of the state that people are concerned about or talking about right now?

Tim Rowher: Well, there are no cases here in southwest Iowa.  I talked to our public health director today.  There's not even any probable cases.  I think there are two in eastern Iowa but none here.  Obviously everyone is following it just like across the country and I think it's just a wait and see attitude.

Paul Yeager: Wait and see.  Well, there wasn't very much wait and see, Mike, on Saturday night or really more Sunday morning when the legislature finally gaveled down for the last time in the 2009 session.  It was quite the session considering all the late nights and the routiness.  What is going to be the playout for what happened in Des Moines and your part of the area around Shenandoah and the rest of southwest Iowa?

Mike Peterson: I know I talked to a couple of sleepy legislators afterwards and they like to play on the fact that amid all the rancor that went on in this session there are some bipartisan accomplishments, they pointed towards the changes in the sex offender laws, establishing the safe zones.  That had a lot of interest in our area.  Also the work that they did to shore up consumer fraud laws and more importantly the money that was passed for flood repairs, bridges, infrastructure, a lot of the focus has been on Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, the areas that were really hit by the flooding but there was some damage down here in southwest Iowa too.  I know Fremont County always seems like they take a hit during the flooding, Riverton, that area is flooded almost constantly the last two years.  So, hopefully some of that flood relief money is going to flow down to southwest Iowa.

Paul Yeager: Tim, you had a conversation earlier this week with the senate majority leader, Mike Gronstal, he's from Council Bluffs, he represents your area well.  What did he tell you that he thought were big parts of the session?

Tim Rowher: Well, he thought it was a very productive session.  He said that their emphasis was on healthcare and education and other issues and he thought that they did well.  He mentioned in general terms they are providing tax credits for community colleges and Iowa Western Community College is located here.  He mentioned a tax credit to start helping movie production.

Paul Yeager: That's the big thing going on right now because a couple of people thought you were George Clooney earlier tonight because they thought he was here because they're filming and I'm sure they'd like to have some of that money here.

Tim Rowher: That was one thing he mentioned, tax credits to try to set up movie studios and that could obviously help here and across the state.

Mike Peterson: An interesting point, they've also been filming a movie in Lenox, Iowa over the last couple of weeks, a movie called "The Crazies" and one of the reasons they came to Lenox besides the great ball field was the tax credit, a 50% tax rebate to these movie companies coming into this state to film.

Paul Yeager: It's a whole other revenue and we can get into that in just a moment.  I want to move on, we're in our final minute here, the other big story has been the same sex marriages.  On Monday couples could go get their licenses.  I know Pottawattamie County was very busy.  Tell me what were some of the numbers there and where were they coming from?

Tim Rowher: As of today there were 40 marriage applications that began on Monday and there was one wedding on Monday, they received a waiver, and then I believe there were at least three today, one in the courthouse and then there was one in Bayliss Park.

Paul Yeager: We saw that one in Bayliss Park that was going on.  Same for you, Mike.

Mike Peterson: Yeah, I took a quick check at the county recorder's offices closer to our area, four issued so far in Fremont County, four in Mills County and two each in Page and Montgomery Counties.  The county recorders I talked to said that it's a very, very difficult issue, they feel like they have to enforce the law.  One county recorder told me I have to uphold the constitution, I was sworn to uphold it and we're going to go about this whole thing business as usual.

Paul Yeager: Mike Peterson, I appreciate you coming up from Shenandoah tonight from KMA Radio and Tim Rowher from the Nonpareil.  Gentlemen, thank you so very much for coming by The Iowa Journal. 

Tags: Council Bluffs gambling Iowa Nebraska news Omaha

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