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Q: What is Cedar Falls Utilities doing for work along Ansborough/Ridgeway by Hy-Vee and Walnut Ridge Baptist Church?

A: CFU is constructing point-to-point fiber optics for a customer. There are some local companies that have operations in both Cedar Falls and Waterloo, which CFU is allowed to connect.

Q: Are Country View’s wages and benefits comparable to what other nursing homes pay in the area?

A: Black Hawk County officials said the wages are typically lower, but the benefits are better at Country View.

Q: Who would I call at the city to ask why the construction company doing the airport is not using John Deere equipment to tear up the runway?

A: The city does not require a specific brand of equipment to be utilized by contractors when seeking competitive bids on construction projects. Such a requirement, especially when the project is using federal funding, may very well be illegal.

Q: Iowa Workforce Development keeps sending out letters saying after Oct. 1 if we file for unemployment we will be issued a debit card from Bank of America. How is this legal for them to issue me an account when I’ve never authorized this? Isn’t this similar to the Wells Fargo fiasco where they created 1.3 million accounts?

A: The state has been using prepaid debit cards for unemployment insurance benefits since 2008, and we could find no cases where the legality was challenged. The state of Iowa sets up and deposits money into the account in your name, but you can only use the card if you activate the account. The Wells Fargo situation involved bank employees setting up accounts for persons without their knowledge or consent and then charging them fees for the account services.

Q: Some states have toll roads on part of their interstates, but Iowa has no toll roads on I-80 and I-35. How can some states make their part of the interstate system a toll road but not Iowa?

A: When Congress created the Interstate Highway System in 1956, states were prohibited from collecting tolls, except for states that had tolls in place. But lawmakers have chipped away at the ban. Tolling is allowed to add new capacity or to reconstruct a bridge.

Q: In the U.S. Senate, why is 50 percent needed now for the health care bill to pass and after Sept. 30, 60 percent is required? Is this for all bills trying to be passed?

A: Republican senators were trying to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act through a process known as reconciliation, which expedites budget bills and eliminates the chance to filibuster. Congress’ current “budget reconciliation” instructions, which set up the process that lets the Senate advance a bill with a simple majority rather than 60 votes, expires Sept. 30. But the GOP could set up reconciliation again by passing a new budget resolution with new “reconciliation instructions.”

Questions are taken on a special Courier phone line at 234-3566. Questions are answered by Courier staff and staff at the Waterloo Public Library.


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