TUESDAY, FEB. 14, 2017  |  IN THIS ISSUE

Cornell President Jonathan Brand announces plans for the new Russell Science Center on Monday in Mount Vernon. PHOTO / CBJ 
Cornell College plans to build a $35 million science center on the college's campus in Mount Vernon, marking the first time in 40 years the college has constructed a new academic building, college leaders announced today.

In less than two years, the college raised more than $32 million for the project. That feat was made possible in large part thanks to a donation from alumna Jean Russell, who donated $20 million -- the largest gift in Cornell College history.

Cornell President Jonathan Brand said the benefits the Russell Science Center will bring to the college next year are enormous.

"Just think about this: science education, on the lot, in cutting edge spaces and facilities - there's nothing better," Mr. Brand said at today's announcement. "I choose to believe this is a powerful emblem for where Cornell College is and where it is headed."

The project will include the construction of a four-story, 45,600-square-foot science building and renovation of the current West Science Center and Law Hall to house STEM studies.

The new building will house biology and chemistry lab spaces and classrooms, faculty offices, dedicated research space and study areas. Math and computer science programs will join physics and engineering in West Science, and kinesiology will have two floors of Law Hall, according to Cornell communications staff.

Benjamin Greenstein, associate dean of the college and a professor of geology, said the new building will integrate lab and classroom spaces, in addition to bringing faculty closer together.

"In the sciences, really, the pedagogical statute is to remove that physical and conceptual wall between the research lab and the teaching lab, and when you do the research, doing science the way we teach science, and the new building will foster that," Mr. Greenstein said.

Last week, Cornell's Board of Trustees authorized construction of the science center, scheduled to begin this spring and finish in January 2019. Renovations at West Science and Law Hall should finish in fall 2019.

The college will now turn to raising the remaining $3 million needed for the project as it enters into the public phase of its "Greater > Than" fundraising campaign. 
Story2ISU dealt blow on logo, mascot usage
A federal appeals court has ruled that Iowa State University (ISU) can't bar students from using the university's logo and mascot on shirts that support the legalization of marijuana.

Monday's decision by a three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals Eighth Circuit upholds a federal district court decision, which permanently barred ISU from using its trademark policy to prevent a campus student group from printing t-shirts advocating for marijuana legalization.

Plaintiffs Erin Furleigh and Paul Gerlich were ISU students and leaders of the university's chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML ISU) when they filed their lawsuit in 2014, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which assisted in the plaintiffs in the case.

"In today's opinion, the Eighth Circuit held that ISU administrators had engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, violating Furleigh and Gerlich's First Amendment rights," FIRE stated in a press release. "NORML ISU had multiple T-shirt designs rejected by the university and was subject to unusually heavy, politically motivated scrutiny when applying to use ISU logos under the school's trademark policy."

The university originally allowed the group to use its logo and mascot. However, that changed when the chapter's president was quoted in the Des Moines Register suggesting the university supported NORML's mission. The statement prompted backlash from local political figures, including Dale Wollery of the Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy, who contacted the university to express his objection.

"[A]nytime someone from the governor's staff calls complaining, yeah, I'm going to pay attention, absolutely," ISU President Steven Leath later said in a deposition.

In their ruling, the judges wrote that the university's response to political pressure qualified as "unique scrutiny" unfairly placed on the student organization.

"After the governor's office and an Iowa House Republican Caucus staff person contacted ISU regarding the article, however, defendants immediately took measures to contain the political controversy by revising its Trademark Guidelines and imposing unique scrutiny upon NORML ISU's trademark application process."
Mount Mercy University's new Plaster Athletic Complex remains on schedule to open this summer, but the Mustangs' athletics department won't be adding football to its roster anytime soon.

As recently as last summer, administrators discussed launching a football program once the $17 million facility was completed. Scheduled for completion in August, the complex will boast a multi-purpose track and field stadium, a soccer field, a softball stadium, a baseball stadium and a practice field.

The university established an advisory board last year to study the feasibility of a football program, which would have competed in the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) Heart of America conference, which the university joined for on-field competition last fall.

Athletics Director Paul Gavin said in a press release, however, that more pressing demands related to residence hall space took precedence over launching a football program.

"While there is much support for football, it was clear that an excellent student-athlete experience -- which is so important to us -- could only be realized if campus residence hall space was available," Mr. Gavin said.

Earlier this month, Mount Mercy also announced the purchase of two nearby buildings that previously housed operations of Terex Cedar Rapids. The university bought the Barry K. Wendt Building and a neighboring warehouse at 909 17th St. NE. A portion of those facilities will be converted into the Rinderknecht Athletic Center, which will house athletic coaches' offices, weight-training facilities, and meeting space for teams and staff. 
Bruce Rastetter
Bruce Rastetter has announced that he will not seek another appointment to the Iowa Board of Regents, and will instead allow his six-year term to expire April 30.

Mr. Rastetter is the founder and CEO of Summit Agricultural Group, an agribusiness based in Alden, and has served on the board overseeing Iowa's public universities since 2011, when he was appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad.

"Because of the importance of our three public universities and the pride I have in them, this was a tough decision," Mr. Rastetter said in a press release issued Friday. "However, I will leave the board satisfied that we made significant strides improving the value of higher education in Iowa."

In the press release, Mr. Rastetter said the decision will "allow him to return to his agribusiness interests in the Midwest and in South America." Summit's operations include row crop, beef cattle and pork farms in the U.S. and a presence in the Brazilian biofuels market.

A 2015 article published by Politico also identified Mr. Rastetter as Iowa's single biggest donor to the Republican Party at both the state and federal levels, supported by his investments in pork and ethanol, as well as farm real estate.

Mr. Rastetter recently served on a agricultural advisory team for President Trump formulated last year that also included Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. He also said he plans to remain involved in policy issues relating to farming and agriculture, including the 2018 Farm Bill.

 
Every dollar that an Iowa community college student pays for his or her education equates to an added $6.50 in future higher earnings, according to a new statewide analysis of Iowa community colleges' economic impact.

The Des Moines Business Record reports that the newly released study commissioned by the Iowa Department of Education found that Iowa's community colleges collectively contributed $5.4 billion into the state's economy and supported 107,170 jobs, or about 6 percent of all jobs in the state, during fiscal 2014-15.

The top industries benefited by the community colleges include health care and social assistance, manufacturing, finance and insurance, and construction.

"In addition to enrolling nearly 150,000 students each year and preparing them to meet the state's workforce needs, Iowa's community colleges have a significant impact on the business community," Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise said in a press release.
aroundthewebFrom around the web: 
  • The Clear Creek Amana Community School District may add two new elementary schools and a replacement high school if voters approve two bond issues in the next five years, the Press-Citizen reports.
  • The school board for the Iowa City Community School District on Monday approved "historically low" pay increases for teachers and staff, which comes as state lawmakers consider legislation that would overhaul Iowa's collective bargaining rights for public employees, the Press-Citizen reports.
  • Student activists at Grinnell College got some support this month when actor Leonardo DiCaprio shared a video featuring Grinnell students, who are calling on the college's president to divest the portion of the college's endowment tied to fossil fuels.
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General Mills GIS 63.09 0.20 0.32%
GoDaddy Inc. GDDY 36.34 0.26 0.72%
Great Western Bank GWB 43.00 0.39 0.92%
Heartland Express HTLD 20.37 -0.51 -2.44%
KemPharm KMPH 3.65 -0.12 -3.31%
Marsh & McLennan MMC 71.94 0.46 0.64%
MidWestOne MOFG 36.72 0.29 0.80%
Pearson PSO 8.20 0.08 0.99%
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Whirlpool WHR 174.87 -0.55 -0.31%
Short-Term Event Planner
       
Feb. 15
Female Founders: Full Circle Wellness and DeltaV, by 1 Million Cups, 9-10 a.m., MidWestOne Bank, 102 S. Clinton St., Iowa City. Female Founders in February is a special themed month of 1 Million Cups that features women-led businesses. Full Circle Wellness and DeltaV will each give a six-minute presentation to mentors, advisors and entrepreneurs, with the businesses receiving feedback. Free. For more information, visit bit.ly/2kuxkP7.
 
North Liberty Roundtable - Hills Bank, by the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, noon-1 p.m., Hills Bank Trust and Wealth Management, 590 W. Forevergreen Road, North Liberty. Roundtables are social lunches over the noon hour. All are invited to network, keep up to date with chamber and community events and frequent a member restaurant or business. For more information, call the chamber at (319) 337-9637.
 
Investing During Uncertain Times, by Strellner Agency Group, 6 p.m., Cedar Rapids Public Library, Whipple Auditorium, 450 Fifth Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. This event will feature a presentation by Mark Godfrey from Jackson National. Free. RSVP to LaVonne at (319) 393-6526 or lsmith@strellneragencygroup.com.
Headlines from CBS2/FOX 28 
These news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28 
The Linn County Sheriff's Office is getting the word out about a phone scam where the caller claims to be with the sheriff's office. The person receiving the call is told they failed to show up for jury duty or are in violation of some other offense. They are then told they must post bond immediately or face arrest. The sheriff's office does not call people and ask them for money. If you receive a call like this, you should write the number down, hang up and call your local police department or the Linn County Sheriff's Office at (319) 892-6100.

Responding to weekend headlines that Sears had pulled Donald and Ivanka Trump products from their stores, the retailer wanted to clear the air Monday morning. According to a press release on its website, Chris Brathwaite, VP of corporate communications, confirmed "a very small number" of Trump products were removed from websites, but not all. "Any fair observer who searches for Trump or Ivanka Trump on Sears.com would find hundreds of products available for purchase. All of these products are offered by our marketplace sellers and not directly by Sears or Kmart," the statement read. "The headlines do not do justice to our business or this specific brand of products that we offer through our marketplace sellers." The news comes after controversy brewed over Nordstrom pulling Ivanka Trump's products from their stores.
  
T hese news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28 
CBS2 Chief Meteorologist Terry Swails' Weather First Forecast
 
Expect breezy and northwest winds this afternoon gusting around 25 mph. Temperatures will be a few degrees cooler in the low- to mid-40s. A dry cold front will pass through Tuesday night, however with a lack of moisture, we are not expecting any precipitation. Colder air will settle in with upper teens/low 20s by Wednesday morning. Readings will be much cooler than we've seen lately with mid/upper 30s for Wednesday afternoon, but still above average.