Iowa News

Democrats consider distance from Jefferson, Jackson
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Democratic parties in the states that start the presidential nominating process are exploring ending their association with two former White House occupants: Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. Accelerating a trend that goes back years, committees in Georgia, Connecticut and Missouri recently distanced themselves from the slave-owning former presidents by dropping their names from the titles of annual fundraising dinners. Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — which typically attract big crowds and presidential hopefuls to their events — could be next. In South Carolina, where the June massacre of nine black churchgoers spurred state leaders to remove the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds, the state Democratic Party will discuss renaming the dinner in September. State parties in Arkansas and Jackson's home state of Tennessee also are considering dinner name changes.

Trump's call for mass deportations runs into messy realities
NEW YORK (AP) — In one of his first forays into policy as a presidential candidate, Republican Donald Trump calls for the deportation of all 11 million people estimated to be living in the country illegally while allowing the "really good people" to return. It's a plan Trump offers with few specifics — and one complicated by the messy realities of the nation's immigration system. The billionaire businessman and former reality television star has shot to the top of polls in the crowded race for the Republican presidential nomination in large part because of his hardline stance on immigration. Until Wednesday, Trump largely side-stepped questions about how he would tackle an overhaul of the nation's immigration system. The issue is one that two-thirds of Republicans said was very or extremely important to them in a July Associated Press-GfK poll and also one Trump takes on regularly.

Bush calls courtship of minority voters integral to campaign
ORLANDO, Florida (AP) — Following his own advice, Jeb Bush is taking his presidential campaign to the neighborhoods and churches where Hispanics and African Americans live and worship in an effort to broaden his appeal among minority voters. The former Florida governor was in the central part of the state earlier this week, speaking to a diverse group of 150 pastors and other religious leaders, repeating his oft-stated pledge to campaign in "every nook and cranny" of the country. On Friday, he'll be one of only two Republican presidential candidates to address the National Urban League's annual conference, joining Hillary Rodham Clinton and two other Democrats seeking the White House. Bush and Ben Carson, a retired, African-American neurosurgeon, are the only two Republican candidates speaking at the event, where White House hopefuls are being asked to "share their visions for saving our cities."

Old YMCA building in Des Moines nearly ready for demolition
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The old Riverfront YMCA building in downtown Des Moines is nearly ready for demolition. The Des Moines Register reports demolition crews have begun to tear out the interior of the closed facility. They began knocking down parts of the building in late July and will continue the process in August. Officials say remaining parts of the building will be imploded likely in September. The building has been vacant since the Y moved to its new location on Grand Avenue. Historic preservationists had hoped to save brick murals on the old building, but the proposal would have been too expensive because the murals were built into the architecture. Instead, they've been photographed and some will be recreated at the new Y.

Iowa DNR: Volunteers removed 30 tons of trash from river
OLIN, Iowa (AP) — Officials say more than 400 volunteers have helped remove 30 tons of trash from the Wapsipinicon River in eastern Iowa. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says throughout July, volunteers picked up trash in the river and along its banks. The cleanup spanned 63 miles between Independence and Olin. The volunteer work included an annual event that encourages people to visit Iowa rivers and pick up trash. On one day, a record 277 volunteers cleaned up trash. Officials say most of the trash pulled from the river was recycled.

Interim U. Iowa president hopes for short, smooth transition
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Jean Robillard says he hopes his term as interim University of Iowa president will be short and free of controversy. Robillard, the university's vice president for medical affairs, takes over as the school's temporary leader Saturday as President Sally Mason retires. Robillard is leading a 21-member search committee that is helping find a slate of finalists to recommend to the Iowa Board of Regents. The committee is evaluating a pool of 44 candidates and will conduct closed-door interviews Aug. 11-12. Robillard says he hopes the regents can pick the next president by early September, and that his replacement can be in place by the end of the calendar year. He says he's confident the search won't get bogged down in political disputes like one that ended in failure in 2006.

Authorities: Woman on bike fatally hit by car along highway
OSAGE, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a woman was killed in northern Iowa after she was hit by a car while riding a bicycle along a rural highway. The Iowa State Patrol says Grace Harken, of Riceville, was riding the bike Wednesday morning on Highway 218 in Mitchell County when a vehicle traveling in the same direction hit her. Harken was taken to a local hospital and died from injuries sustained in the crash. The car was driven by 23-year-old Courtney Johnson of Osage. Additional information about Johnson was not released. The case remains under investigation.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press

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