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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

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By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

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By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

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PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Atheists offer alternative to Focus on the Family series at Iowa Capitol

By Lynda Waddington | 03.04.10 | 12:28 pm

An Iowa organization dedicated to supporting non-religious individuals wants to ensure that a Christian educational series being shown in the Iowa Capitol does not go unanswered.

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Dave Grzeskowiak, vice president of Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers, said his group learned that screenings of “The Truth Project,” a DVD series produced and marketed by the conservative group Focus on the Family, were being shown in the statehouse by reading about it in the Iowa Independent. In response, the group decided to present an opposing viewpoint.

Next Wednesday the group will bring Dr. Hector Avalos, professor of religious studies at Iowa State University, to room 103 at the statehouse for a discussion on evolution or “intelligent design,” which is one of several topics in the Focus on the Family series. The discussion will take place at noon and is open to anyone who wishes to attend.

“Our preference would be for this to be a non-issue and neither [event] to have been at the Capitol,”  Grzeskowiak said. “But, because one already is, we feel it is our responsibility to present both sides. We are also very grateful to have the opportunity to do so.”

In January, The Iowa Independent learned that a room had been reserved inside the Iowa Capitol by a legislator for the purpose of showing the controversial Focus on the Family DVD educational series. The meeting, despite being held in a public facility, was not subject to any public notification by the state.

The Iowa Independent has since learned that very few meetings or events of the same nature — held in the statehouse with the room reserved by a lawmaker — are openly announced to the public on calendars produced and maintained by Capitol officials. Due to the lack of transparency in the existing process, several open-government advocates have called for changes, and The Iowa Independent has filed document requests in order to learn more about the types of meetings that take place in statehouse rooms.

The meeting being planned by the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers is being openly announced by the organization, but is not required to appear on existing statehouse calendars.

Prior to the start of the legislative session, the Iowa group sent a letter to all Iowa representatives and senators asking them to end the practice of prayers that begin each legislative day. Chief among the group’s complaints is that the state pays the invited clergy a $10 stipend for the service as well as reimbursing round-trip mileage.

“We did the same last year and received absolutely no responses,” Grzeskowiak said. “This year, however, we received a few replies and have met with a few legislators. They have been very productive and very supportive, which, honestly, was something of a pleasant surprise.”

The group also made waves recently for its ad campaign on public buses in Des Moines, which drew the direct ire of Gov. Chet Culver.

“I think [next week's Capitol event] is a large step toward the acceptance of non-religious people in society, which is really one of our main goals,” Grzeskowiak said.

Grzeskowiak declined to comment about which lawmaker made the room reservation on behalf of his group. The Iowa Independent has asked Capitol officials for the information but had not received a response by publication.

UPDATE at 2:40 p.m.: According to Mark Brandsgard, chief clerk of the Iowa House, the room that was reserved for the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers was done so by state Rep. Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines, However, Brandsgard’s records have no indication of the purpose of the meeting or on whose behalf the reservation was made, only that Hunter reserved the room.

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Comments

  • RegularJoe

    Equal access is a beautiful thing. Good on Rep. Hunter for assisting our citizens in providing another perspective to balance the proselytizing from the Crazylanders.
    'm a bit surprised our favorite Peglett hasn't been by clamoring about this being the first sign of the apocalypse or some such black-cat-under-a-ladder-spilling-salt-on-the-13th claptrap.

    • darlene1waters

      I went to the Capitol for Dr. Avalos' lecture on why creationism is not science, and found him to be very well-versed in scientific and religious matters. I recommend taking in a Dr. Avalos lecture if you have the opportunity.

  • darlene1waters

    I went to the Capitol for Dr. Avalos' lecture on why creationism is not science, and found him to be very well-versed in scientific and religious matters. I recommend taking in a Dr. Avalos lecture any time you have the opportunity.

  • darlene1waters

    I went to the Capitol for Dr. Avalos' lecture on why creationism is not science, and found him to be very well-versed in scientific and religious matters. I recommend taking in a Dr. Avalos lecture if you have the opportunity.

  • darlene1waters

    I went to the Capitol for Dr. Avalos' lecture on why creationism is not science, and found him to be very well-versed in scientific and religious matters. I recommend taking in a Dr. Avalos lecture any time you have the opportunity.

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