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PolitiFact - Iowa broadband touted by Republicans was funded by Democratic votes for American Rescue Plan

More than $210 million was awarded to 160 applicants for new broadband infrastructure in Iowa as part of the state’s Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced in a press release on Tuesday, Jan. 4. "These grants will bring more than $526 million of new broadband infrastructure investment to Iowa, serving over 39,000 homes, schools, and businesses." In response, Democrats ranging from state legislators, running for the Legislature and party activists said on F

Book Review: This book is bleeding in my hands.

“The Accusation” (고발) by North Korean author Bandi bleeds pain. The dissident short story collection is currently the only work of fiction successfully published internationally by a North Korean author still living in North Korea. Bandi, whose name is derived from the Korean word for “firefly,” is affiliated with the state sponsored Chosun Writers’ League Central Committee and has defected from North Korea out of fear for retaliation against his family. Bandi was born to Korean parents in 195

PolitiFact - Build Back Better tax break in play for some millionaires

The U.S. House passed President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan 220 to 213 on Friday, Nov. 19. The bill now heads to the 50-50 Senate, where it is expected to face unanimous GOP opposition. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, has been critical of the bill, tweeting on Nov. 16: "Hardworking #Iowa taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill for millionaires to get a tax break, but that’s exactly what Democrats are proposing in their reckless tax-and-spending bill." She also tweeted on Nov. 18: "D.C. Democrats wa

Steven Vogel convicted of first-degree murder of Grinnell resident Michael Williams

Steven Vogel, 32, was found guilty on Tuesday, Nov. 16, of the first-degree murder of Grinnell resident Michael Williams and of abuse of a corpse. Williams’ body was found burned in a ditch near Kellogg, Iowa on Sept. 16, 2020. Officials identified strangulation as the cause of death and believe that he died four days prior. The trial began Friday, Nov. 10. The prosecution presented evidence that Vogel had allegedly admitted to murdering Williams out of anger involving a “love triangle” with V

Michael Williams’ friends and family gather to celebrate his life as Steven Vogel’s trial begins

A vigil for Michael Williams, a Grinnell man who was killed on Sept. 12, 2021, was held in Central Park on Saturday, Nov. 13. Friends and family of Williams wanted to honor his life in light of the trial of 32-year-old Steven Vogel, who is charged with Williams’ murder. Williams, who was 44 at the time of his death, had lived in Grinnell since 2003. His murder as a Black man living in Grinnell (a city reported as 3.7 percent Black and 90.0 percent white in the 2020/21 census) came on the heels

Victoria Jones, winner of the 2021 Grinnell Prize, talks Memphis, empowerment, and Black joy

If you listen closely, you will hear her voice quicken when she talks about the city. If you watch closely, you will notice her shoulders rise with excitement when she talks about the people there. And so, when Victoria Jones accepted the 2021 Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize of $50,000 for her work as executive director and founder of TONE, she chose to speak about Memphis instead of herself. TONE, located in the majority-Black Orange Mound neighborhood, is dedicated to emp

How does 2020 redistricting affect Grinnell?

The Iowa state legislature approved new legislative and congressional district borders on Thursday, Oct. 28, in a continuation of redistricting after the 2020 Census. Poweshiek County and neighboring Tama County will merge into one Iowa House district. Poweshiek County Rep. Dave Maxwell (R) will face current Tama County incumbent Rep. Dean Fisher (R) in 2022 to compete for the district seat. In the Iowa Senate, all of Poweshiek County is represented by Sen. Dawn Driscoll (R) of neighboring Iow

Starrett and Belcher elected as at-large directors to the school board in a close race

Challengers Chris Starrett and Roger Belcher were narrowly elected as at-large directors to the Grinnell-Newburg School Board (GNSD) on Nov. 2, 2021, over incumbents Meg Jones Bair and Barbara Brown. Challenger Tyler Harter also defeated District One incumbent Helen Redmond. Each new director will serve four-year-terms. In the four-person at-large race, less than 3 percent of the vote in a pool of 5,000 votes separates the first and fourth place finishers. The top two candidates are elected to

Grinnell-Newburg School Board candidates on mask mandates, Critical Race Theory and their five-year-plans for the district

Candidates for the Grinnell-Newburg School Board (GNSD) clashed over mask mandates, CDC guidelines and culturally responsive curricula at a town hall hosted by the Grinnell League of Women Voters on Thursday, Oct. 28. The seven-member board has two at-large director positions up for re-election this year. Incumbents Barbara Brown and Meg Jones Bair hold the seats currently and are running for re-election against challengers Roger Belsher and Chris Starrett. Helen Redmond, director of District

Liberal Arts in Prison back in-person after COVID-19 lockdown

A student body without internet access. A student body in confined quarters. A student body where the possibility of solitary confinement for COVID-19 outbreaks was ever-present. These were the conditions for students at Newton Correctional Facility (NCF) enrolled in Grinnell College’s Liberal Arts in Prison Program (LAPP). After a year of remote coursework through paper handouts, videoconferencing and closed-circuit TV channels, the Liberal Arts in Prison Program has shifted back to in-person i

Breaking: College will now provide PCR COVID-19 tests to any student who requests one, regardless of exposure or symptoms

COVID-19 PCR tests will be available for any Grinnell College student, employee or family member to request, the College announced in an all-campus email on Tuesday, Sept. 21. The tests will be self-administered, but will not return results until sent to the State Hygienic Lab in Coralville, IA. Students will now be able to access a test without presenting symptoms or having been exposed. Tests will be free for Iowa residents. The email did not specify whether tests would be free for non-Iowa r

Special primary elections to be held on August 3 in Michigan State Senate Districts 8 and 28

The special primary elections for Michigan State Senate District 8 and 28 are on Aug. 3. The major party candidate filing deadline passed on April 20, and the filing deadline for minor party and independent candidates is Aug. 4. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 2. In the Democratic primary, John Bill and Martin Genter are competing to advance to the general election. In the Republican primary, Mary Berlingieri, Bill Carver, Kristi Dean, Grant Golasa, Pamela Hornberger, Terence Mekoski

Recall election of Colorado city council member scheduled for July 20

A recall election to remove Jon Voelz from the Westminster City Council in Colorado is scheduled for July 20. Voelz first took office in 2019. The recall effort began in Aug. 2020. Recall supporters allege that Voelz failed to support lower water and sewer rates in Westminster. One of the recall organizers, city resident Gary Shea, stated, “We’ve seen the water bills and some of them have just been so outrageous. A lot of the people that are upset with this are just disappointed that the Counci

As COVID-19 case counts plummet, some residents are still wary of a vaccine

COVID-19 cases in Poweshiek County have dropped from a weekly average of 27.9 cases per day between November and January to an average of just one case per day as of late April. Despite the drop in cases being largely the result of residents getting vaccinated against the virus, vaccination rates across Poweshiek County have stagnated in recent weeks, due to some residents’ hesitancy to get the vaccine. Poweshiek County was one of 80 Iowa counties that declined some or all of their COVID-19 vac

Amid global COVID-19 surge, fear and anxiety escalate for many international students

As vaccines become readily available and COVID-19 cases fall across the United States, a return to pre-pandemic life is approaching for many domestic Grinnell College students. But many international students face a different, more brutal reality: exploding COVID-19 surges in their home countries, strict visa regulations and insufficient vaccine access for them and their families. “Things here feel like we’re sort of back to normal. For most of our international students, it doesn’t feel that w

New police chief says addressing racism a priority, but immediate change not necessary

Grinnell’s new police chief, Michael McClelland, has strong words when it comes to confronting racism in his police department, but as of now he has no specific plans to increase racial bias training or institute new department policies. Speaking at a Grinnell League of Women Voters (LWV) forum held over Zoom on March 11, McClelland stated that, “If there’s any evidence that my cops are being racist … I’m going to fire them. Plain and simple.” Audience-members were instructed to send in their

Fourth-years plan for an uncertain future

The pandemic has added an extra layer of uncertainty onto what has always been an elusive question for fourth-year Grinnellians: “What will you do after graduation?” Saketan Anand `21, an economics and Spanish double-major from Mumbai, India, said it’s not so much the lack of job openings, but the increased competition for each job that makes the pandemic job search challenging. “Businesses struggle if there’s uncertainty, and so the demand for new-graduate hires has fallen,” said Michael Lawr

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issues statewide mask mandate as case counts soar

After more than 52,000 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported statewide in the past two weeks, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced a mask mandate for all indoor public spaces and new social distancing restrictions at a press conference on Monday, Nov. 16. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, Iowa has surged to over 200 COVID-19 hospitalizations per day, as of late October. One out of every four patients in Iowa hospitals are hospitalized due to COVID-19, and this is pushing the stat

Student groups find creative ways to meet in person

After nearly a year, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts is no longer silent. In the building’s rotunda, Professor John Rommereim is now conducting six weekly rehearsals for Grinnell Singers after months singing with each other only through their computer screens. “Being in one place together is at this point such a privilege,” said Rommereim. “We can share the space sonically, make a chord at the same moment and live that music.” As campus capacity expands to include first-years on campus, student

13 students removed from campus after breaking COVID-19 safety protocols

13 Grinnell College students have been sent home within the first week of the Spring 1 term due to breaking COVID-19 safety protocol, College President Anne Harris revealed in an all-student email on Tuesday, Feb. 2. Harris wrote that the College’s excitement to bring first-years to live on-campus in Spring 1 rests on a bedrock of trust that all students follow community health guidelines, like the Grinnwell Together Commitment and other COVID-19 protocol both on- and off-campus. “Unfortunatel
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