Laurie Hamen
Mount Mercy University President Laurie Hamen announced plans Wednesday to leave the position she has held for more than six years when her contract expires in about 13 months.

In an open letter to the Mount Mercy community this week, Ms. Hamen said she does not intend to renew her contract when it expires on June 30, 2020. She  plans to move with her husband to the Twin Cities, where she will be developing a new nonprofit organization, and they can be closer to four of their eight grandchildren.

"The decision to leave this remarkable university was difficult; however, having served colleges and universities for nearly 35 years it is the right time for me to pursue new opportunities," Ms. Hamen wrote.

Ms. Hamen began serving as Mount Mercy president in February 2014, coming from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, where she served as vice president for enrollment management, athletics and student affairs. She had been at North Central for 18 years, after serving in Catholic higher education at the College of St. Benedict and St. Mary's University in Minnesota, and at public institutions.

The university had record student enrollment in traditional and non-traditional programs under Ms. Hamen's leadership, according to a university news release, established the Martin-Herold College of Nursing and Health and added such new academic programs as a doctoral program in nursing and marriage and family therapy. Physical expansions of the university included completion of the Robert W. Plaster Athletic Complex and Rinderknecht Athletic Center and the renovation of the Wente Education Center.

In her letter, Ms. Hamen said the university has made considerable strategic progress over the past six academic years, and expressed confidence about plans for the 2019-20 academic year. She said she will pursue those plans with enthusiasm to leave the institution in the best position for a new president, and plans for a president search will be announced soon by board Chair Charles Rohde.

CREDIT: SmartAsset
Dallas County residents have the most purchasing power in Iowa, according to a new study by SmartAsset, however two Corridor counties are among the top 10 percent of Iowa's 99 counties.

In the study, SmartAsset compared median household income and cost of living data to find the counties where residents have the most purchasing power. It ranked the counties through a purchasing power index.

Dallas County residents led the state in purchasing power, with a high median income of $82,719 and a cost of living of $49,092. The results gave Dallas County a purchasing power index of 74.32, far and away ahead of number two Sioux County, which had a purchasing power index of 67.73.

Only a few Eastern Iowa counties were near the top of the list. No. 6 Linn County, with a purchasing power index of 66.16, came in just behind No. 5 Polk County, which had a purchasing power index of 66.48.

Delaware County ranked fourth, more on the strength of low cost of living than high median income. Benton County came in tenth, with a purchasing power index of 64.89, just below No. 9 Bremer County.

To see the full study results, methodology, and interactive map click here

Clean Laundry has announced the opening of its third Cedar Rapids location and seventh store nationwide, located at 1400 Sixth Street SW, Suite 100 in Cedar Rapids.

A grand opening is set for Friday. Customers will be provided with unlimited Free Dry through the end of June. More information about and investment opportunities is available at

Ethan Akin founded Clean Laundry in 2014 in Waterloo utilizing his father's years of experience operating laundromats and his own experiences living in apartment buildings that lacked proper laundry equipment. He  sought to create a more positive experience for the customer and the environment. 

After his first two stores in Waterloo were successful, Mr. Akin began dreaming of expanding throughout the country. Through a relationship with Clickstop, Inc. CEO Tim Guenther, a blueprint to achieving the dream was identified. 

"At first, we weren't sure how an ecommerce business and a brick and mortar laundromat would work together," Mr. Akin said. "The idea of shared services is where it made sense. We could utilize Clickstop's purchasing, warehousing, shipping, IT, and marketing services to help us grow so much faster."

In 2018, Clean Laundry was acquired by Clickstop, Inc.  Clean Laundry opened stores that year in Cedar Rapids and Marion. So far in 2019, stores have opened in Kissimmee, Florida; St. Anthony, Minnesota; and the latest in Cedar Rapids. 

By the end of May, three additional locations are expected to be under construction: a First Avenue location in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Liberty, Missouri. In July, the first Iowa City location will be opening.

CREDIT: Drury Hotels
The new Drury Inn & Suites Iowa City Coralville has opened at 805 First Avenue in Coralville's Iowa River Landing.

The new hotel is the company's first in the Greater Iowa City area and second in the state. In addition to its 180 guest rooms, the property features more than 2,800 square feet of customizable meeting and event space, the company said in a press release.

Eastern Iowa native Chad Pitlik has been named the property's general manager, and Courtney Barksdale, a University of Iowa graduate, will serve as the area sales manager.

"Both Chad and Courtney have strong connections to the Coralville community, and they bring deep expertise and great enthusiasm to their positions," Chuck Drury, president and CEO of Drury Hotels, said in a news release. "We are delighted to have them join our team of more than 5,000 co-workers nationwide, who provide clean rooms, great value and award-winning service to our guests."

Hotel amenities include an indoor/outdoor pool and spa, business center, free Wi-Fi, fitness center, free hot breakfast and free snacks and cold beverages during Drury's trademarked 5:30 Kickback. 

Plans for the 180-room hotel were announced in 2015 by the Missouri-based Drury Inn chain. The project continues a hotel building boom in Coralville ahead of the opening of the Xtream Arena Powered by Mediacom at Iowa River Landing. 

By Jonathan Schmidt, 303 Legal, P.C.  

In life, we make certain plans and agreements. Sometimes, if the necessity arises and if both parties feel it is in their best interest, those plans and agreements become contracts.  Unfortunately, some of our best thought-out plans don't always turn out as we envisioned. In some instances, when we thought there was a meeting of the minds, in reality there wasn't. Or, perhaps two people initially had the same goals when entering into the contract, but circumstances changed.

For any number of reasons, contracts often are made and broken.  Certain matters that were believed to be clear become foggy. Terms are disputed. What constitutes complete performance is debated. In those instances, the parties may have difficulty in resolving their disputes. When they do, one option is to take the other party to court. 

Other options for resolution exist for those who don't want to enter a lengthy litigation process. Some common methods for contract dispute resolution include:

Mediation is a process in which both parties involved in a dispute agree to meet with a neutral third-party mediator - often another attorney or a retired judge. The person chosen as mediator usually will have training in negotiation techniques, the skills of effective listening, and the ability to articulate and restate the positions of the parties in a way that will help guide them toward a resolution that is satisfying to both. The mediator does not determine a resolution to the matter, but rather assists the parties as they craft their solution. 

Read the rest of the column at 
May 23
All Stars of ICR Luncheon, by Kirkwood Community College, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids. The event will honor young people who are making an impact in Eastern Iowa's key industries. Tickets: $49/person or $400/table of 10. To register, call (319) 398-1022.
May 29
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

Investing on Tap, by Hills Bank, 4:30-6 p.m., Tin Roost, 840 W. Penn St., North Liberty. Join Hills Bank Wealth Management for drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Candice Tse from Goldman Sachs Asset Management will share a summary of trends in socially responsible investing. Free. Register at

See and Be Seen

in the CBJ Book of Lists - THE definitive resource guide for business leaders. Ranked information on Corridor companies by sector, regional market facts and profiles of the most influential people under one cover. Don't be left out - Be Seen! For advertising information, contact Andrea Rhoades at .
Headlines from CBS2/FOX 28
These news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28  
Just days before James Booher's family had  planned to observe the five-year anniversary of his death and disappearance, three people were indicted in his fatal shooting. Fifty-one-year-old James Booher was last seen May 31, 2014.  Danielle Busch, 29, Matthew Robbins, 46, and William L. Yancey, 43, were charged in federal court Wednesday in Booher's robbery and death.  The indictment charges each of them with three counts, two of which involved robbing Mr. Booher on May 31, 2014, and one which involves using a gun "during a crime of violence" that resulted in Mr. Booher's death.  Court documents show that Wednesday Mr. Busch pleaded not guilty to all three counts. Mr. Yancey and Mr. Robbins, currently behind bars on previous charges, have not yet been arraigned.  In May of 2015, investigators dug up Mr. Robbins' property in Ely.  A criminal complaint  filed a month earlier shows law enforcement recovered text messages from Robbins' former wife, Danielle Ayers, that discussed a robbery of Jim Booher that Mr. Robbins and Mr. Yancey were involved in. Danielle  Busch is set to appear in federal court June 3.  The Booher family released this statement: " My family is very thankful to all the law  enforcement agencies that were involved in this investigation , (who) never stopped working on this case , getting justice for my brother Jimbob. He was a very loving person who was taken too soon. We love and miss him."
The Catherine McAuley Center's new program in Cedar Rapids could bring more licensed child care providers to the area.  It's called the Refugee Child Care Business Development Program. Run by the center's refugee child care coordinator, Hannah Miles, the program looks to help refugees who have been in the United States for five or less years to start their own in-home business.  "The core of the program is to really get them registered with the Iowa Department of Human Services as child development home type aides," Ms. Miles says.  Wednesday was the first day of the program. It's facilitated as a seven class training program that once complete would allow people to watch up to six children in their homes.  "There are not enough child cares in Cedar Rapids to take care of all the children whose parents need to go to work," says Miles.  The Center for American Progress shows there are more than 11,000 kids under the age of five in Linn County. There are only a little more than 200 licensed child care providers throughout the county.  Naombi Roussi is one of 10 people who came out to the program's first session on Wednesday. She's lived in the United States for five years and has eight children of her own.  "I like kids; I love them. I like to take care of them," says Ms. Roussi. She  will undergo the training for the licensing that includes CPR training and mandatory reporting training. Once they submit their application to DHS, they have to undergo a home inspection. Ms. Roussi says the training isn't much to handle when comparing it to the end results.  "The kids...they are the generation of tomorrow," she says. "That's why I like to work with them, to teach them, to take care of them."  To find out if you're eligible for the program, you can contact Hannah Miles by email:

T hese news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28 
CBS2 Chief Meteorologist Terry Swails' Weather First Forecast

It will be dry and warm once again today with temperatures in the 70s under mostly sunny skies. Clouds will build tonight as a warm front lifts north across the state. Showers and thunderstorms will move in after midnight and continue into Friday morning. Showers and storms will be possible on and off through the day Friday. Some strong storms will be possible along with locally heavy rain. Temperatures will remain warm in the 70s and 80s.  That front will stall out in the Midwest and lead to scattered showers and thunderstorms this weekend. It won't be a washout, but there will be periods of rain Saturday and Sunday. Temperatures will be warm still in the 70s and 80s both days.