Local government

Kate Payne/IPR

Seven Iowa cities are more welcoming to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people than the national average, according to a recent analysis by the Human Rights Campaign. The organization rated 506 cities across the country and nine cities in Iowa for its annual municipal equality index.

A one-cent local sales tax took effect in Des Moines in July. Now the issues is going back before voters in neighboring communities.
City of Des Moines

Residents in five Polk County cities will vote Tuesday on whether to raise their local sales tax by a penny. Urbandale, Grimes, Johnston, Clive and Bondurant will vote on the local option sales tax for the first time since it was approved in Des Moines and several suburbs in March.

Paul "710928003" / flickr

Woodbury County is starting the process of building a new jail, joining several others around the state that are building new jails or making major renovations.

Stacey Walker via Twitter / Chair of the Linn County Board of Supervisors Stacey Walker outlined a vision for racial and social equity in an annual speech to community leaders.

The first black chairman of the Linn County Board of Supervisors is calling on more leaders to address racial disparities. In the annual State of Linn County address, Supervisor Stacey Walker focused on equity and access in the state’s second largest county.

Wikimedia Commons / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lone_Tree,_Iowa#/media/File:Lone_Tree,_Iowa.JPG

The mayor of a small city in eastern Iowa wants to do away with his own position as it exists now. The elected leader of Lone Tree wants the community to hire a city manager, and let the council choose a mayor.

Courtesy of Lorena Lopez, La Prensa

An investigation into three Denison city employees has come to a close. The workers were placed on paid leave in December.

Jim Gilliam was hired by the BrownWinick law firm in Des Moines to conduct the investigation. He informed the city council last week that he found no evidence of criminal conduct or personal profit among Fire Chief Cory Snowgren, City Clerk Lisa Koch and City Manager Terry Crawford, who were all placed on leave from Dec. 18 until Jan. 9.

Michael Leland/IPR file

A team of Iowa researchers has concluded that there's no actionable evidence that the sound of wind turbines is a danger to public. Instead, the report authors found that reported symptoms of hearing loss or poor sleep are more likely related to people’s attitudes and beliefs about wind development.

Sakuto via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/sakuto/

People in need of warmth and shelter in eastern Iowa can find around the clock services during this week’s cold snap. Meterologists and public health officials are warning the blast of Arctic air can be life-threatening, and anyone exposed can develop hypothermia or frostbite within a matter of minutes. Here are some of the services and resources available in the eastern part of the state for those looking to get out of the cold:

Katie Peikes/IPR

Three Denison city employees return to work today after being placed on paid leave nearly three weeks ago.

State and county elected officials across Iowa started new terms Wednesday. After the swearing in of a newly-elected supervisor in Johnson County, the county's board is now made up of four women and one man, thought to be a first in the state.