Transit blog, day eight

Transit blog, day eight

Gazette Blog
There is sort of an app for that At the beginning of this series I said that after I used the Cedar Rapids Transit app more, I’d offer a review. Today seems like a good day. The first thing you need to know is that the website — rideCRT.com — and the companion mobile app aren’t homegrown. They are part of a system offered by Utah-based Ride Systems, which reports it works with more than 150 transit agencies in North America — municipal, academic, corporate, airport and resort. I’ve used their site to access a tutorial for the app, and have also embedded that video below. (If you aren’t into new age music, you might want to watch with the sound muted.) I can’t say that I learned anything from…
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Why ’70 Acres in Chicago’ matters in Iowa

Why ’70 Acres in Chicago’ matters in Iowa

Gazette Blog
Documentary screening, discussion planned for Friday night My first introduction to Cabrini Green, a 70-acre housing complex in Chicago, came via sitcom. This was likely your introduction too, even if you didn’t recognize it. The name Cabrini Green was never used in the 1970s sitcom “Good Times,” although the housing project was featured in video during the opening and closing credits. And while some of the challenges of living in poverty within a housing project were part of the scripts, the show barely scratched the surface and provided a warped view of the real people who made a life there. “Good Times” was set in inner-city Chicago, a CBS sitcom spun off the earlier shows “Maude” and “All in the Family.” It featured two families — the Evans and Woods…
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Incentives speed Iowa bill to terminate parental rights of rapists

Incentives speed Iowa bill to terminate parental rights of rapists

Gazette Column
This is the most disgusting example possible of state lawmakers first ignoring and then profiting from a morally abhorrent problem. Back in 2012, when U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., waxed poetic about “legitimate rape,” the nation was yet again embroiled in a debate about abortion rights. Specifically, if abortion was illegal, should a woman’s health or sexual assault warrant exceptions. Akin was widely, and rightfully, chastised for suggesting that rape didn’t exist and, if it did, women couldn’t get pregnant as a result of it. Lost within the fanfare of ignorant comments uttered during an election year were the voices of women who had been raped, did become pregnant and made a choice. Too often those choices were made more difficult by laws that allow accused and convicted attackers to…
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Study shows wisdom of Cedar Rapids’ Hy-Vee incentive

Study shows wisdom of Cedar Rapids’ Hy-Vee incentive

Gazette Column
A decision by Cedar Rapids city leaders to use taxpayer dollars to keep a Hy-Vee neighborhood grocery store drew significant ire, but a new sociology study proves the funds were well spent. There are several similarities between Topeka, Kansas — the focus of the study — and Cedar Rapids. Census figures for 2013 show the cities with a population of roughly 128,000, with a population density of about 2,000 people per square mile. Both cities are predominantly white, although Topeka is more quickly moving toward diversity. Median income levels are similar, as is the percentage of residents living at or below the poverty line. Given the similar demographics and geographic proximity, it shouldn’t be surprising the communities are also wrestling with similar cultural issues. Both are, for instance, searching for…
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Wendell Willkie is a 2016 cautionary tale

Wendell Willkie is a 2016 cautionary tale

Gazette Column
This is what happened in 1940 when Republicans opted for a political outsider National pundits pondering what a Donald Trump nomination means for the Republican Party and the nation have been reading the tea leaves. They’d be better off reading history books. This isn’t the first time party activists have engaged in friendly fire or looked beyond political loyalists for a savior. Seventy-five years ago Repubicans decided a businessman was their best presidential bet. Like Trump, Wendell Willkie, the GOP’s 1940 presidential nominee, once considered himself more left than right. Less than a year before he was named the GOP nominee, Willkie was registered as a Democrat. And he too bucked the establishment. Willkie didn’t run for the nomination, instead taking a stand at the party’s national convention in Philadelphia.…
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Small, determined group can make a difference

Small, determined group can make a difference

Gazette Column
Sometimes, when confronted with big challenges, people freeze. But not always. Brandon Carleton is a resident of the Quad Cities who, last May, attended a conference in California and heard from an organizer of Laundry Love. The project began on the West Coast when a homeless man — Eric, who went by the nickname of T-Bone — was asked what would make a difference in his life. “If I had clean clothes,” Eric responded, “I think people would treat me like a human being.” That was 12 years ago and, in the wake of that conversation, Laundry Love was born. At its most basic level, it provides free laundry services to those in need, but the benefits hardly stop there. When Carleton, who also runs a small church out of…
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Missouri professor no longer deserves position

Missouri professor no longer deserves position

Gazette Column
Communication department professor should uphold First Amendment University of Missouri Assistant Professor of Communication Melissa Click must be fired. If you’ve watched the video, then you are hereby excused from reading this rest of the column. If not, let me set the stage for you. The video, shot by MU junior Mark Schierbecker, begins by focusing on MU senior Tim Tai, who is holding a camera and being surrounded by a crowd of people who want him, and all other journalists, to leave Carnahan Quad where a temporary encampment was set up by student activists. Students, who had been actively and peacefully protesting the university’s lack of response to ongoing incidents of discrimination and racism, were celebrating the resignation of university system president Tim Wolfe and the decision by MU…
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Let’s not forget the ladies

Let’s not forget the ladies

Gazette Column
Thanks to Schoolhouse Rock, I can no longer read the preamble to the Constitution. I must sing it. “We the People … in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” As a child, I was quite addicted to the various Schoolhouse Rock videos that aired on Saturday morning television. In fact, “Conjunction Junction” and “Three Is a Magic Number” can be found in my playlists. Still, it wasn’t until they were repackaged in the late 1990s that I realized some of their more subtle lessons. In the “Preamble” video there is a line…
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And how will they know us?

And how will they know us?

Gazette Column
This column was filed late. You see, I’d planned to begin it with a prayer for the harm of another person. Seriously. I considered being a copycat and praying for physical harm of a person. After writing the prayer and making sure readers knew it was offered from a place of love, I planned to include some little jokes to soften it. After all, everyone appreciates light reading on a Saturday. But as I sat down and placed fingertips to keyboard, the prayer wouldn’t come. I couldn’t bring myself expend the energy necessary to actively pray for someone’s harm. I spent some time thinking about that, about why I couldn’t do what I planned. Obviously, like most humans, I’m capable of anger, and there have been moments I’ve wanted to…
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Max Villatoro closer to deportation

Max Villatoro closer to deportation

Gazette Column
An Iowa City pastor swept up in a federal initiative to arrest and expel migrant criminals from the country has been relocated to a detention facility in Louisiana, and is likely to be placed on plane later today and sent back to his birth country of Honduras. Max Villatoro, 41, was arrested by Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents on March 3. He and his wife, Gloria, founded Iglesia Torre Fuerte (First Mennonite Church) in Iowa City about five years ago. But, after entering the country illegally in 1995, the man known locally as Pastor Max had two skirmishes with the law — a drunk driving charge and aggravated misdemeanor related to the use of false documents to obtain a driver’s license in 1999. Villatoro completed probation and paid fines related…
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