Years after Von Maur's move from Iowa City's Sycamore Mall to Coralville's Iowa River Landing raised regional tensions, the mayors of Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty will formally sign on to an Economic Development Communication Protocol at a ceremony Friday.
The plan, a collaborative approach to growing business in the area, was recently approved by the city councils of all three communities. It will also be signed by the Iowa City Area Development (ICAD) Group.
The protocol states all three cities are "dedicated to refraining from actively encouraging business migration from one city to another" and will not actively pursue relocation of businesses.
"If a community provides incentives for public infrastructure that supports private development or incentives that directly support speculative buildings ... the community agrees to discourage developers, realtors and others involved with the project from recruiting businesses from the other participating communities," the protocol states. "Moreover, each participating community shall incorporate language into development agreements prohibiting developers from actively pursuing businesses located in participating communities."
The plan also lays out a series of steps for communication should a business decide to move from one city to another.
"This would prohibit, say, Iowa City - our staff or any third-party agents - from going into Coralville or North Liberty or any participating city and actively recruiting their businesses," Iowa City City Manager Geoff Fruin said just before council passage of the plan in November. "The second thing is a protocol ... how do we handle those situations in which we have a local company who wants to go from one jurisdiction to another, and is requesting financial incentives."
The protocol follows years of discussion and a failed attempt in 2015 to enact such an agreement when the city of Coralville declined to discuss it. In 2012, Von Maur received $9.5 million in financial assistance from Coralville for its relocation to Iowa River Landing. The issue surfaced again in 2015 when Iowa City-based Leepfrog Technologies expanded to Coralville's University of Iowa Research Park, requesting TIF financing.
"If a business or a developer or a realtor is trying to play one city off another, we have a unified front," ICAD President Mark Nolte said at the November meeting. "We can say now, this is what we're going to communicate, keep everything above board, and make sure we're working in the best interest of the communities and the business."
Thomas L. Cardella & Associates (TLCA) has announced plans to open its second El Paso, Texas, contact center in May.

The new facility, adjacent to Fort Bliss Army Base and Biggs Airfield, is expected to employ 500, and will serve some new clients for the company.

"We are extremely excited to announce the expansion of our new 26,000-square-foot contact center in El Paso, Texas," TLCA founder and President Tom Cardella said in a release. "We have such amazing associates in our Southwest region, it just made sense for further expansion."

Cedar Rapids-based TLCA announced its first call center in El Paso in late 2017, and has since opened two other contact centers in New Mexico, beginning a second "hub-and-spoke" system of contact centers.  
Although the availability of job candidates in Iowa was one motivator for creating the second network, Mr. Cardella said being in the Southwest also serves to mitigate travel and weather issues for clients.

"We find that our Fortune 500 clients love working with our associates across Iowa, Texas and New Mexico, as they find the same down-to-earth mentality and strong work ethic," he said.

TLCA Chief Commercial Officer Thomas Moroney said the company's growth has positioned it as a global player in the contact center and business process outsourcing industries, offering a wide range of solutions to a Fortune 500 client base.  
TLCA contact centers are located in Cedar Rapids, Keokuk, Ottumwa, and Marshalltown in Iowa, Las Cruces and Alamogordo in New Mexico, and El Paso in Texas. TLCA has international locations in Santiago, Dominican Republic, and Delhi, India.

Iowa's fastest growing city is about to get even bigger, CBS2/FOX 28 reports, with the Ders Group now working on a new 265-acre mixed used project that will include retail, housing and entertainment. Young developers Alex and Nick Andersen, alongside their father, Scott Andersen, have been acquiring more than 400 acres of land for development in the Tiffin area.  "The original vision for Park Place was to create an environment with a downtown feel with it, but also it's very people-oriented," Alex Andersen said of the project, which includes roughly 2,000 apartments, 100 single family lots, a two-acre park and a mix of retail. Read the full story and watch the video here.
Brad Baldwin
Coralville-based MediRevv has named Brad Baldwin as its new president, effective Jan. 1.
Mr. Baldwin will assume the operational relationship of the company's California-based office, Providence St. Joseph Health, in addition to his current responsibilities, including revenue cycle services, information technology and human resources. 
"Brad is skilled at driving detailed consistency and accountability, ultimately leading to increased company performance," said Chris Klitgaard, CEO of MediRevv, in a release. "We are looking forward to another great year and Brad's strong business acumen will lead our growth forward in 2019."
MediRevv officials said Mr. Baldwin, a has been integral to the leadership of the national healthcare revenue cycle management and coding company over the past 10 years, citing his "organizational strategy, leadership development and financial stewardship." 
Since 2008, he has served in a variety of roles, including chief operating officer, senior vice president of revenue cycle services and vice president of extended business office services. He was the architect of the company's employee success model and was "instrumental in developing the award-winning culture at MediRevv," the company said.
A new study released by the Institute for Women's Policy Research claims we may be underestimating the gender wage gap we've come to know and often cite in arguments.

The Des Moines Business Record reports the study, titled "Still a Man's Labor Market: The Slowly Narrowing Gender Wage Gap," suggests women today earn just 49 cents to the typical man's dollar - significantly less than the 80 cents usually cited.

The study, conducted by economists Heidi Hartmann and Stephen Rose, used the Panel Study on Income Dynamics, a longitudinal dataset, to look at the gender earnings gaps between men and women in 15-year time spans. When measured by total earnings across the most recent 15 years for all workers who worked in at least one year, women faced a wage gap of 51 percent in the 2001-2015 period. The analysis also found that while the long-term earnings gap has narrowed significantly since 1968, progress has slowed in the last 15 years.
"Much ink has been spilled debating whether the commonly cited measure of the wage gap - that women earn 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man - is an exaggeration due to occupational differences or so-called 'women's choices,' but our analysis finds that we have actually been underestimating the extent of pay inequality in the labor market," wrote Ms. Hartmann in a release.

As progress slows, Mr. Rose wrote that it will be important to prioritize policies "that strengthen women's labor force attachment."
Other major findings from the study include:
  • The penalties of taking time out of the labor force are high - and increasing. For those who took just one year off from work, women's annual earnings were 39 percent lower than women who worked all 15 years between 2001-2015.
  • Improving access to paid leave and affordable child care is critical to strengthening women's labor force attachment and narrowing the gender wage gap. Despite considerable progress over the last 50 years, 43 percent of today's women workers had at least one year with no earnings, nearly twice the rate of men. With high penalties for weak labor force attachment, achieving higher lifetime earnings for women will require strengthening women's attachment to the labor force.
  • Strengthening enforcement of equal employment opportunity policies and Title IX in education is also crucial to narrowing the gender wage gap further. Improved enforcement will help women enter higher paying fields and occupations that are now, despite decades of progress, still too often off-limits to women.
See the full study here.

The site of a proposed $36.7 million Cargill plant upgrade was incorrectly identified in an item in Monday's Business Daily. The upgrade is proposed for the company's Cargill Soybean Processing East Plant at 410 C Ave. NE. We regret for the error. 
Jan. 9
1 Million Cups, by 1 Million Cups 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. The featured presenter will be Sam Hanna, a serial entrepreneur and the founder of Loyal Customer Club. Free. For more information, visit facebook.com/1MCICR.
1 Million Cups, by 1 Million Cups 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 1millioncups.com/iowacity.

Jan. 10
Your Resume: Ticket to a Promotion or Interview, by PMI Eastern Iowa Chapter, 7:15-9 a.m., Cedar Rapids Marriott, 1200 Collins Road NE, Cedar Rapids. Participants will obtain tips and tricks on upgrading their resumes and having successful interviews/conversations that could lead to leadership and growth opportunities. Cost: $13 for members, $20 for guests. For more information or to register, visit pmieasterniowa.org.

Membership 101, by Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, 3:30-5 p.m., Economic Alliance, 501 First St. SE, Cedar Rapids. Find out how to best use your membership, meet other new members and hear from existing members. Free. For more information visit bit.ly/2KTYPzq.

Six Steps to Growing Your Business, by SCORE of East Central Iowa, 6:30-8 p.m., Linn Area Credit Union, 3375 Seventh Ave., Marion. This workshop will unpack the six essential steps for every successful business, and provide strategies for planning, financials, marketing, people and more. Attendees will receive worksheets, a business analysis survey and a free book. Free. To register, visit scorecr.org.

Jan. 11
Opportunity Zones Educational Panel, by Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, 10:30 a.m.-noon, Economic Alliance, 501 First St. SE, Cedar Rapids. This panel discussion will focus on how the community can use Opportunity Zone investments and incentives. Topics covered will include how communities can mobilize to match potential projects and investors, and the current regulatory framework. Free. To register, visit bit.ly/2Eu5BKN.
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Headlines from CBS2/FOX 28
These news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28  
The bells for the Red Kettle campaign may have finished ringing, but The Salvation Army's Christmas goal has yet to be met. The Salvation Army in Cedar Rapids tells CBS2/FOX 28 it has raised 81 percent of its $763,000. Another $142,529 needs to be raised to meet the goal by Jan. 31, 2019. This goal is about 45 percent of the organization's annual operating budget, which helps provide a community meal program, rent and utility assistance, supplemental food boxes, senior services, youth programs and various other social services.

Linn County authorities are looking for an inmate who didn't return to the Linn County Jail from his court-ordered job search program. The Linn County Sheriff's Office says Robert Baer left the facility at 9 a.m. on Jan. 7 and hasn't returned. He is 5'9" and weighs 153 pounds. If you know about his whereabouts, please contact the Linn County Sheriff's Office at (319) 892-6100 or the Cedar Rapids Police Department at (319) 286-5491. Mr. Baer is serving a 90-day sentence for two counts of contempt of court and false use of credit cards.

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

It's back to reality, with temperatures closer to average through the rest of the week.  A weak system will be moving through Eastern Iowa this morning. There may be a light rain/snow mix near and north of Highway 30, otherwise it will be partly cloudy and windy today. Winds will be increasing through the morning and could gust as high as 40-50 mph at times. On top of that, it will be cooler with temperatures in the mid-30s to low 40s.  Winds will remain strong tonight and temperatures will drop down into the teens. With the strong winds there will be a wind chill near zero Wednesday morning. It will be breezy Wednesday and colder with temperatures in the low to mid-20s.