• Grubhub serves up new controversy in Iowa City market
• Beatty named new president of Mount Mercy University
• Inadequate childcare costing state nearly $1 billion a year
• Legislators consider two new specialty license plates
• University of Dubuque announces transition partnership
Grubhub serves up new controversy in Iowa City market
Grubhub was effectively chased from the Iowa City-area market more than two years ago when local restaurateurs banded together to launch their own homegrown delivery service, CHOMP , in protest of the company doubling service fees.

Now the Chicago-based delivery behemoth is back in town, and it’s not winning many friends this time, either.

According to CHOMP co-founder Adam Weeks, Grubhub recently added about 90 area restaurants to its delivery roster without permission, leaving owners bewildered and angry.

“Their goal is to pay full price for the orders while simultaneously hounding the restaurants for a contract,” Mr. Weeks said in an e-mail, adding Grubhub was also publishing out-of-date menus and causing general confusion among staff and customers. “I've spoken to several restaurant owners who are very upset about this extremely predatory business practice.”

Seth Dudley, general manager of Iowa City’s Hamburg Inn, said he was surprised this past Saturday when a Grubhub driver arrived at the restaurant to pick up an order. After checking the Grubhub website and seeing that the Hamburg Inn had been listed without permission as a participating restaurant, he attempted to contact customer service to have the restaurant removed. A second Grubhub driver showed up on Sunday and another on Monday.

Though the Hamburg Inn filled the orders, reasoning it was not the fault of the customer or driver that Grubhub had added them to their site, Mr. Dudley called the business practice “unethical, bordering on illegal.”

“I was so appalled by how they handled the whole thing with OrderUp, so off-put by their business practices that we started CHOMP,” he said, referring to the Grubhub’s move to immediately double delivery fees from 15 to 30 percent when it purchased all 27 markets served by the former Groupon subsidiary in August 2017. “They’ve reached out to us several times asking us to join and I specifically told them, ‘No, I don’t want anything to do with you.’”

In an emailed statement, Grubhub said it began the practice of adding restaurants to its marketplace using available online information in late 2019.

“Historically, we’d only chosen to list partnered restaurants, and we still firmly believe this is the right way to build the marketplace and the only way to drive long term value for diners, restaurants and drivers,” a spokesperson wrote. “As other food delivery companies have chosen to list non-partnered restaurants on their marketplaces for years to widen their supply of restaurants, we’re now trying this strategy in select markets as a way to close the restaurant supply gap and drive more delivery orders to local restaurants.”

The company added that it hoped to convert non-partnered restaurants into partnered restaurants.

Mr. Dudley said he would not be signing up. After repeated attempts, he believes the Hamburg Inn has been removed from Grubhub’s site, though that is not the case for other restaurants, many of which he knows for certain do not wish to be included.

Grubhub said restaurants wanting to change hours and menu offerings or be removed from the site altogether should contact .

IMAGE: A picture of the Grubhub app. CREDIT GRUBHUB
Beatty named new president of Mount Mercy University
Cedar Rapids native Robert (Bob) Beatty has been named the 10th president of Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, succeeding retiring president Laurie Hamen effective July 1.

Mr. Beatty currently serves as dean of the Soules College of Business and F.M. and Fannie Burke Professor of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Tyler. In his role there, he leads four interdisciplinary areas – human resource development, computer science, industrial technology and business – and oversees seven university institutes and centers, including the Longview Small Business Development Center.

“Dr. Beatty is an entrepreneurial and progressive leader whose collaborative and inspirational leadership will build on the important work done by MMU’s faculty and staff,” MMU Board of Trustees Chairman Charlie Rhode said in a release. “His commitment to the mission and values of Mount Mercy University and his ability to guide the institution through the complex and ever-changing higher education landscape is extensive. We are absolutely thrilled to have him join us.”

Prior to his role at UT-Tyler, Mr. Beatty served as the dean of the Lutgert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida; dean of the Rohrer College of Business at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey; and dean of the School of Business at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington.

“Mount Mercy University is truly a special place," Mr. Beatty said in a news release. "Growing up in Cedar Rapids, I have long known the transformative education the university provides. I am delighted to join the community of educators and scholars that is wholly dedicated to helping students achieve their personal dreams and professional ambitions. I look forward to building on the visionary legacy of the Sisters of Mercy and serving the Mount Mercy family and Cedar Rapids community with integrity, dignity, and passion.”
Mr. Beatty holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Texas Christian University, a master’s in computer systems management from Creighton University, and an MBA and doctorate of business administration from Mississippi State University.

IMAGE: Robert Beatty. CREDIT Mount Mercy University
Inadequate childcare costing state nearly $1 billion a year
A new report released today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation suggests that Iowa is missing out on an estimated $935 million annually for the state’s economy.

That number includes a $153 million annual loss in tax revenue as well as an annual loss to Iowa’s employers of $781 million on absences and employee turnover as a result of childcare breakdowns.  

“Iowa has one of the highest percentages of working parents and at the same time is losing childcare providers at an alarming rate,” said Jillian Herink, executive director of the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children, in a release accompanying the Untapped Potential study of four U.S. states – Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania. The study reveals the cost of childcare challenges as well as opportunities to unlock economic potential for states and employers.  

“This report demonstrates the significant impact that childcare has on both families and employers across the state of Iowa,” said Mike Ralston, president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. “We will continue to work with local employers to address childcare challenges and create solutions for Iowa’s workforce of today and tomorrow.”  

Other key findings include:  

  • More than half of parents in Iowa reported missing work due to childcare issues in the past 3 months.  
  • Nearly 70% of parents in Iowa rely on family members for at least some childcare.  
  • Approximately a quarter of enrolled parents in Iowa postponed school or a training program due to childcare issues.   

“Each state's challenges are unique–as are their childcare systems, and the diversity of their employers–so the solutions that tackle these challenges must be unique as well,” said Cheryl Oldham, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce. “To solve this complex issue, it will take a collaboration of partners, including federal and state investment, support from the business community, philanthropic organizations, and expertise from early education advocates and providers.”  
Legislators consider two new specialty license plates
Two bills winding their way through the Iowa Legislature would provide Iowans with more choices of specialty license plates while generating revenue for the state, the Des Moines Business Record reports.

Bills for both plates – "The Corn State" and "Flying Our Colors" (mockup pictured) – have passed out of the Senate’s transportation committee.

If the legislation is approved, the two license plate designs would join Iowa’s more than 70 other specialty plates from which vehicle owners may select. Five percent, or more than 221,000, of the 4.5 million vehicles registered in Iowa have specialty plates, according to the Legislative Services Agency.

Iowa in July began offering "blackout" license plates, which were approved by the state Legislature during the 2019 session. The specialty plates sold out in most counties the first week they were available.

Iowa Sen. Tim Kapucian, R-Keystone, said after seeing how popular the blackout plates were, he thought about reintroducing a vintage plate that included the slogan "The Corn State."

"I know they won’t be as popular as the blackout plates, but I think farmers would like them," said Mr. Kapucian, who grows corn and soybeans on his Benton County farm. "Farmers take pride in what they do, and it would state it right there on their pickup or their car and people would see and say, ‘This guy’s a farmer."

"The Corn State'' was the first slogan used on an Iowa license plate, according to the website Licenseplates.TV. Those plates were first issued in 1953. Read the full story here .
University of Dubuque announces transition partnership
The University of Dubuque (UD) has announced a new partnership with Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC) to help create a seamless transition for students seeking a four-year degree.
The Transfer Majors program, set to begin fall 2020, is an innovative statewide plan designed for students wishing to pursue specific majors. Through the program, transfer major associate degrees will lay out the precise course path students must complete at EICC before they continue their education at UD. That path will include general education classes as well as major-specific classes. Transfer students who obtain a transfer major associate’s degree through EICC will then transfer to UD to complete a bachelor’s degree.

“Building a great relationship with EICC is important to us so that we can support their academic advisors to make the transfer process easy to attend UD,” said Jill Groth, director of admission at UD, in a release. “Students will be able to plan ahead and know that their credits will not just transfer, but also will meet the requirements of the Transfer Majors that we have approved at University of Dubuque."
UD majors that will be offered in the Transfer Majors program are biology, business, chemistry, criminal justice, mathematics, and psychology. Transfer students will still need to meet UD’s admission requirements.
Other institutions that have partnered with the statewide Transfer Majors program include the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa, Clarke University, Iowa Wesleyan University, Mount Mercy University, St. Ambrose University, Upper Iowa University, and Western Illinois University.
“Because this is a statewide initiative, we plan to reach out to the other community colleges in Iowa to partner with them as well. This represents our best effort to support community college transfer students and live into our commitment to be transfer friendly,” Ms. Groth said.
Short Term Event Planner

March 4
1 Million Cups , by 1MC Cedar Rapids, 8:15-9:15 a.m., Geonetric, 415 12th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. Join for community connections, free coffee and presentations by entrepreneurs, established companies, experts and more. Free. For more information, visit .

1 Million Cups , by 1MC Iowa City, 9-10 a.m., MERGE, 136 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City. Join for community connections, free coffee and presentations by entrepreneurs, established companies, experts and more. Free. For more information, visit .

2020 Ag Outlook , by Hills Bank, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, 3184 Highway 22. Speakers will include Dr. Matt Darr, of Iowa State University; Dr. Kay Stefanik, of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center at ISU; Todd Hultman, DTN; and Howard Hagen and David Repp, of Dickinson Law. Registration is required. Free. To register, visit .

March 5
Wake Up Marion , by Marion Chamber of Commerce, 8-9 a.m., Travel and Transport Vacations, 1317 Seventh Ave., Ste. 210, Marion. Get to know the Travel and Transport team while enjoying conversation with other Marion Chamber members. Free. To register, visit .

Commercial Real Estate Luncheon , by Corridor Business Journal, 11:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m., DoubleTree by Hilton, 350 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids. This is the CBJ’s annual look into the commercial real estate market. Network with local business professionals and real estate experts. Cost: $65, or $585 for a table of 10. For more information, contact Ashley Moore at or call (319) 665-6397, ext. 311.

Youth Job Fair , by city of Iowa City, IowaWorks and Vocational Rehabilitation Services, 4-6 p.m., Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center, 220 S. Gilbert, Iowa City. This job fair is geared toward individuals ages 16-21. There is a $10 registration fee for employers. For more information, call (319) 356-5022 or email .
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Headlines from KCRG-TV9
These news items are provided by KCRG-TV9  
More than three weeks after the Iowa caucuses, the Iowa Democratic Party has released the results from the recounted precincts. Over a two-day period. starting on Tuesday, the process of recounting 23 unique precincts, resulted in no change to the number of National Delegates allocated to each candidate. The presidential candidates finished within a fraction of one percent of each other in the Feb. 3 caucuses. Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg will have 14 delegates, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will have 12 delegates. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will have eight delegates, Former Vice President Joe Biden will have six delegates and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobachar will have one delegate. Both Sanders and Buttigieg asked for partial recounts. The Buttigieg campaign had 14 submissions for a recount, while the Sanders campaign submitted 10, with one precinct overlapping. Because of the recount, county-level delegates changed in 19 precincts.

A lot of Eastern Iowans enjoy taking trips this time of year to get away from the winter weather, but the Centers for Disease Control are issuing travel warnings as the number of countries with cases of the coronavirus continues to rise. Kris and Jim May own and operate Gateway Travel Agency in Marion, and have for the past 31 years. They say they're seeing people cancel their travel plans, some even months out, because they're scared of the coronavirus. May told KCRG-TV9 that if someone is thinking of canceling, to be sure to check their trip insurance policy to see what the restrictions are, covered reasons for canceling, and what the cancellation penalties are. The CDC says right now, there's a low concern for people here in Iowa of getting the virus. Dr. Tony Myers, vice president for medical affairs for Mercy Medical Center, says now the focus is on monitoring where the coronavirus is spreading. Read the full story here

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Your KCRG-TV9 First Alert Forecast
Like yesterday, there may be a dusting of snow in any given location to start your day. No impacts from this snow are expected at this time and it should quit by mid-morning at the latest. Also in similar fashion to yesterday, the sun should take care of it and melt any snow that did accumulate. Plan on highs again in the upper 20s north to mid-30s farther south. This weekend, the warmup is on!   After a cold morning start to Saturday, highs will turn around to the 40s and lower 50s. A warmer morning start on Sunday should lead to even better highs with widespread 50s northeast to lower 60s from Cedar Rapids and points south. Next week continues to look mainly dry with highs remaining above normal each day.