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Q: Back in the late 1950s and ’60s by Smokey Row Park, was the alleyway on the south edge called Blood Alley because of all the fights and knifings?

A: That’s the common explanation, according to Bob Neymeyer, historian at the Grout Museum.

Q: What year did the Waterloo Village Inn open?

A: The building was constructed in 1989; the Village Inn is listed in the 1991 city directory.

Q: Did City Hall replace the trees after the new communications tower was built? If so, why do these replacements look so poorly now? Is no one watering them?

A: The initial trees to screen the tower were drought-stressed at the time of installation and were replaced by the landscape contractor under warranty at the end of the 2017 growing season. The replacement trees were installed late in the fall and watered properly until the ground was frozen. Now that frost is out of the ground a proper watering schedule will start back up and trees will also be straightened for a proper aesthetic look.

Q: What is going on with the house that blew up a few years ago at South and West Ninth streets that still has the basement fenced off?

A: The house at 1102 South St. was donated in June 2017 to Americans For Independent Living, which took out a demolition permit in September 2017. AFIL Executive Director Tim Combs said the agency is looking for funding to build a new home on the existing foundation for a veteran in need. The lot also is listed for sale if anyone is interested in purchasing it, with the proceeds used for AFIL’s current veterans programs.

Q: In Iowa, if you are over 65, do you have to pay state income tax on Social Security and pension?

A: According to the Iowa Department of Revenue: “If you or your spouse receive a pension, annuity, self-employed retirement plan, deferred compensation, IRA or other retirement plan benefits, you may be eligible to exclude from Iowa income tax a portion of the retirement income that is taxable on your federal return. Distributions on Roth IRAs are exempt from income tax. Social Security benefits are not included.

The exclusion can be up to $6,000 for individuals who file status 1, 5 or 6 and up to $12,000 for married taxpayers who file status 2, 3 or 4. To take this exclusion you or your spouse must meet one of the following conditions:

  • You must be 55 years of age or older on Dec. 31, or
  • disabled, or
  • a surviving spouse or a survivor having an insurable interest in an individual who would have qualified for the exclusion during the year.”

Q: Is it true Joni Ernst has accepted almost $3 million in money from the NRA?

A: Ernst has benefited from $3,124,273 from direct donations from the NRA as well as independent spending on her behalf, according to a New York Times report.

Q: Is Justin Gehrts who does the weather on Channel 9 related to Kurtis Gertz who does the weather in the Des Moines area?

A: No, no relation we could find.

Calls 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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