Some well-known Iowa retailers are being sued for allegedly charging the Iowa sales tax on food that’s not supposed to be taxed. Iowa Federation of Labor president Mark Smith has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Iowans who he says have been over-charged by Younkers, T-J Maxx, Borders Book Stores and the Richman Gordman Half-Price Stores. At issue: charging Iowa sales tax on items like tea bags, boxes of cookies and jars of pasta. The sales tax is only to apply to food that can be consumed on the spot.Smith says the lawsuit seeks to stop the retailers from charging sales tax on certain food items, and to pay damages.Smith and others have been buying food products around the state for the past six months to spot check retailers — and the four chains failed their test.Smith says the law is clear — and he’s got the receipts and food products to prove the retailers were in the wrong.
Archives for August 2000
The People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals staged a protest today in downtown Des Moines that involved a partially nude woman. 26-year old Anna West climbed into a small wire cage dressed in orange body paint accented with black stripes designed to make her look like a tiger. PETA had said West would be appearing covered only in body paint, but she donned black panties and orange patches over the nipples of her breasts to comply with Iowa law. West says she’s trying to point out the cruel way circus animals are treated in America.PETA hopes the protest will keep people from buying tickets when the Ringling Brothers Circus stops in Des Moines in two weeks.Several hundred people surrounded West’s cage located in a busy downtown plaza–including Dirk Gearsdorf of Des Moines. Gearsdorf, a union metal worker, doesn’t think PETA is going to sway many people’s opinions. He thinks people showed up just to see West’s painted body.West says people may show up to see her scantily clad body, but she hopes they will also listen to the message about animals.Another Des Moines man also didn’t think the protest would change anybody’s mind, but he credited West for having the guts to do what she did.Phyllis Mumford of Des Moines says PETA sometimes goes too far in their protests — but she didn’t think this stunt was over the line. She called it “tastefully done.”Mumford says she’s protested in the past for some of the things PETA supports.
Manchester police and U-S Immigration officials say they’ll deport five people arrested in a raid on a construction site. Police believe four of the five were brought to the Manchester area by a local roofing company. Police were tipped off that the men were illegal aliens after one was arrested on an assault charge.
Two people narrowly escaped from a semi-truck that was smacked by a train yesterday near Grand Junction.The driver and a passenger jumped out of the truck after its trailer got hung up on the railroad tracks in Greene County. The train hit the truck and the trailer swung around and clobbered the train and causing a fuel leak. No one was hurt. The truck driver, 21-year-old Jeremy Crozier of Persia, Iowa, is charged with failure to have a valid commercial operator’s license.
Dogs aren’t just man’s best friend. It’s been reported pets are a big advantage for elderly people, alerting of prowlers and offering company, but a certain dog has found a new role at a Clinton elementary school and has just spend its first week there. The yellow lab is that is used to calm troubled or upset children.Cheryl Ernst, owner of All Pets Mobile Clinic in Clinton, is donating the dog’s food and care. She says “therapy dogs” can sense when a child is in trouble or frustrated. It’s being kept in the behavior disorder room but is available to the whole school.
In what could eventually bring great changes to Iowa’s agricultural landscape, Tennessee researchers have cloned a dairy cow using a quicker, less-complicated method than that used to clone Dolly the sheep. Millie is the third cow cloned from adult cells born in the U-S. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the research is fascinating.Grassley visited Trans Ova Genetics yesterday in Sioux Center where he saw some cloned cows. He supports the genetic research, to an extent, saying it has the potential to help medical research..Today, Pope John Paul the Second is addressing an international scientific conference in Rome on organ transplants and cloning techniques. Grassley says the emerging technology does raise red flags. He says it’s right to be cautious about cloning humans.The 18th International Congress of the Transplantation Society will focus on organ shortages and studies aimed at overcoming the problem, such as cell transplantation.
An Internet watchdog group claims an eastern Iowa priest sent sexually explicit messages to someone he thought was a boy.The Archdiocese of Dubuque confirms Father Michael Fitzgerald of Marion is undergoing counseling for inappropriate activity on the Internet. No criminal charges have been filed. A man volunteering for “Better A Millstone” posed as a 13-year-old boy in several chat rooms and was sent explicit messages which were allegedly traced back to Fitzgerald.
State transportation officials are re-writing accident reports to start tabulating the number of accidents caused by drowsy or distracted drivers. Scott Falb of the Iowa Department of Transportation says sleepy drivers can be more dangerous than a drunk behind the wheel.Falb says officers of the past didn’t keep track of drunk drivers either, but changed as it became a major problem. He says the same thing will happen with fatigue driving.Falb says starting in January, crash reports in Iowa will list different categories, such as driver talking on cell phone.National data indicates up to one-quarter of accidents are caused by sleepiness, fatigue or drowsiness. Falb says Iowa will start collecting those kinds of statistics next year. Falb says the causes listed on present-day accident reports indicate up to 20 percent of accidents in Iowa could be caused by fatigue.In Iowa, about 27 percent of accident fatalities are alcohol-related and another 30 percent of crashes are attributes to alcohol consumption.
A report by a national group counters the notion Iowans can improve education by spending more money on students. The report by the American Legislative Exchange Council examined standardized test scores to rank the educational systems in each state. John Berry, who wrote the report, says Iowa ranked third despite a low ranking for money spent per student.Iowa is not near the top in dollars spent per student, leading to the conclusion that spending more dollars on education will not increase achievement. Berry says instead of spending more money on education, state and federal officials should give more power to local schools, by letting principals and teachers decided the curriculum.He says Iowans should be wary of those who want to improve education by throwing more money at the problem.Berry says charter schools are one way to increase local control over schools.Minnesota and Montana ranked first and second in the report. Berry says Minnesota also ranks low for the amount of money spent per pupil on education. The American Legislative Exchange Council is an organization of state legislators, predominantly republicans.
Northern Iowa opens Thursday night at home against Morningside. U-N-I coach Mike Dunbar says he knows very little about the Mustangs.Dunbar says with an opening game, preparation is even more a key. He says his number one concern is the minor injuries that have kept some of the veterans out of practice.Dunbar says some of the younger players will see action at running back. Last week, leading rusher Adam Benge quit the squad. Dunbar believes they have the depth to fill in for Benge. He says this means some of the younger backs will get their chance to play sooner than expected.