What you missed during the DI's publishing break

BY DI STAFF | AUGUST 20, 2012 6:30 AM

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While you were gone …

‘American Idol’ auditions held

Locals and out-of-towners gathered as early as midnight Aug. 14 in Hubbard Park to audition for the 12th season of “American Idol.”

Auditions lasted from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.; Iowa City was one of 10 small towns planned for the tour.

Katie Fennelly, a senior producer for “American Idol,” said the show had some time before big-city auditions and decided to do something new before the new judges were announced.

Contestants who move on in the first round will perform for the executive producers and audition in front of the celebrity judges.

by Jordyn Reiland

Obama campaigns in Iowa for fifth time

President Obama campaigned in Iowa for the fifth time this year as part of a three-day statewide tour.

More than 3,000 people gathered Aug. 15 in the Village of East Davenport to support Obama in his campaign for re-election.

He told the crowd that despite the strides he and his administration have taken, there is still more to be done.
“That journey we started back in 2008 — it’s not finished,” Obama said. “We’ve got unfinished business to attend to. I’m asking you to help finish what we started and help bring about the change that is going to make America live up to its promise, not just for this generation but for generations to come. That is why I am running for second term as president of the United States.”

Obama criticized Mitt Romney’s economic policies, saying his opponent’s plans are the wrong way to go about the issues.

“[Romney’s] vision’s wrong,” he said. “We don’t agree with it.”

Obama also stopped at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 13.

by Anna Theodosis

VP hopeful Paul Ryan stops at Iowa State Fair

Paul Ryan, the presumptive vice-presidential candidate for the GOP, made a stop at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 13. The visit came two days after presumptive GOP presidential nominee and former Gov. Mitt Romney appointed Ryan as his running mate.

Ryan was accompanied on the Iowa State Fair Soapbox stage by Gov. Terry Branstad.

Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman and chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee, criticized President Obama for how he’s handled the economy since assuming the presidency.

“President Obama has given us four years of trillion dollars of federal deficits,” Ryan said. “It is making matters worse, and it is spinning our children into a diminished future.”

by Kristen East

UNI President Ben Allen to retire

State Board of Regents President Craig Lang announced Aug. 3 that University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen plans to retire from his position no later than July 1, 2013.

The state Board of Regents met at UNI on Aug. 2 and 3.

“The board is most proud and appreciative of Ben’s leadership role in Iowa’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics initiative and his extraordinary work in leading UNI through significant economic challenges,” Lang said.

Allen was appointed UNI president by the regents in April 2006.

by Kristen East

Protesters removed from regents’ meeting at UNI

A group of protesters was removed from the state Board of Regents’ meeting Aug. 3 at the University of Northern Iowa after interrupting the regents with concerns about an ethics complaint filed against Regent President Pro Tem Bruce Rastetter earlier this summer.

The Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement filed an ethics complaint against Rastetter with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, maintaining there was a conflict of interest involving Iowa State University and AgriSol Energy Tanzania — the Tanzanian arm of Iowa firm AgriSol Energy.

Rastetter is the cofounder and managing director of AgriSol.

The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board is expected to make a decision regarding the complaint on Thursday.

by Kristen East

FEMA sides with UI following audit

State and university officials released statements Aug. 2 in response to the Federal Emergency Management Agency formally siding with the University of Iowa on funding for 2008 flood-recovery efforts.

A federal audit released by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General on June 19 recommended that the decision to replace three flood-damaged buildings on the UI campus be reversed.

“We audited the Federal Emergency Management Administration Region VII’s decisions to fund the replacement, rather than the repair, of flood-damaged buildings at the UI,” the report said. “We initiated this audit based on an anonymous complaint we received that FEMA Region VII did not correctly decide to replace university buildings.”

UI President Sallly Mason released a statement saying she was pleased with FEMA’s response to the audit.

 “Speaking for the entire university, particularly our 31,000 students, we are very pleased with the forceful reaffirmation from FEMA’s national leadership to replace Hancher, the [music building], and Art Building East,” Mason said in a press release. “We continue to be extremely grateful and thankful for the support of Gov. Branstad, our Congressional delegation, the Board of Regents, and the Office of Iowa Homeland Security.”

by Kristen East

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