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Dan Charleston fired a second time from Polk County Sheriff's Office

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office fired Deputy Sheriff Dan Charleston on June 23, Linh Ta reported for the Des Moines Register. Officials declined to state the reason for his termination, citing the possibility of an appeal or lawsuit.

Charleston had been under investigation over a pair of personal Facebook posts disparaging Islam. I’ve enclosed a screen shot of one post below. Iowa Informer has an image of the second, which Charleston apparently deleted.

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IA-Gov: Ron Corbett responds to critics of his labor record

As Ron Corbett seeks the GOP nomination for governor, his support of project labor agreements in Cedar Rapids will be a leading point of attack by Republicans supporting Governor Kim Reynolds. Corbett’s stance put him on a collision course with Governor Terry Branstad in 2011. The mayor explained his reasoning in chapter 25 of his memoir Beyond Promises and in an interview with Bleeding Heartland last week.

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Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Cow parsnip

For years, I thought today’s featured plant was a European invader, but cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum) is native to most of the U.S. and Canada.

Sometimes known as common cowparsnip, these plants are easy to spot in the late spring and early summer, in part because of their large clusters of small white flowers. They also tend to be taller than anything growing nearby. (By the late summer, other woodland plants may reach similar heights.) Cow parsnip “can be found in both high quality natural areas and disturbed habitats,” but I’ve mostly seen them in the woods. I took most of these pictures near trails in Des Moines and Clive in early June.

Cow parsnip is “the native counterpart to the highly invasive non-native Giant Hogweed.” It grows taller than the non-native wild parsnip, which has yellow flowers and should be avoided unless you want to experience a horrible blistering rash.

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IA-Gov: Ron Corbett faults Iowa officials' failure to address health insurance crisis

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett finds it “disappointing” and “short-sighted” that neither the Iowa legislature nor the Branstad/Reynolds administration developed a plan earlier this year to address the collapse in Iowa’s individual health insurance market. By his account, state lawmakers and executive branch officials knew insurers were likely to stop selling individual policies for 2018 and should have developed “some type of backstop” instead of waiting for Congress to act.

Corbett plans to launch a Republican campaign for governor later today. He commented on Iowa’s potential health coverage crisis during a telephone interview with Bleeding Heartland last week.

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IA-Gov: Ron Corbett says "exclusively Republican" push for tax reform would be "big mistake"

When Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett kicks off his Republican campaign for governor on June 20, tax reform will be a major part of his “new game plan for Iowa.”

Iowa has no shortage of Republican politicians seeking to lower taxes for those with high incomes or replace a progressive income tax structure with a flatter tax. State House and Senate leaders have promised to push for income tax cuts next year, and in her first speech as governor last month, Kim Reynolds identified “reforming Iowa’s tax structure” as her “first priority.”

But Corbett frames the case for tax reform differently from the usual GOP rhetoric about spurring investment or putting money back in people’s pockets. In a wide-ranging interview last week, the mayor repeatedly called for addressing inequities in the tax code, which now favor the wealthiest Iowans over middle-class taxpayers. He also warned it would be “a big mistake” for Reynolds to lead an “exclusively Republican” push for tax changes next year.

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