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Q: Do our two senators and four representatives get paid during the current government shutdown? If so, how do they justify still getting pay?

A: Senators and House members get paid through the shutdown because their salaries are written into the Constitution. So far, 64 members of Congress say they will turn down their paychecks during the partial shutdown. U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack and freshman Rep. Cindy Axne, from the 2nd and 3rd congressional districts respectively, are asking to have their pay withheld during the shutdown. First District Rep. Abby Finkenauer says she will donate the same portion of her pay federal employees lose. Sen. Joni Ernst and Rep. Steve King did not respond to questions about their pay.

Q: Under the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act, where does the Dysart Middle and La Porte/Union High schools fall? Are they in need of help in math and other areas?

A: Both of those schools — and all Union Community School District buildings — met the state’s student performance requirements. That’s based on a score accounting for reading and math participation, proficiency, average achievement, and growth. The score also factors in results of a school climate survey given to students in grades five through 12. A lot more detailed information can be found online at

Q: Since they are putting stoplights and turn lanes at Greyhound Drive and Ridgeway Avenue are there plans to resurface the dog track road that is in bad need of repair?

A: Greyhound Drive is not in the most recently approved five-year street reconstruction and overlay plans adopted by the City Council. Those are subject to change annually.

Q: Now that the city of Waterloo and Iowa Department of Transportation have announced plans to have a beautification fund for University Avenue, will the DOT spend some kind of money beautifying the Highway 63 corridor from Franklin to University where they took out all the trees and bushes?

A: The Iowa Department of Transportation will not be doing an enhancement project on this section of U.S. 63. Before letting the project, Iowa DOT and the city agreed the city of Waterloo would let a separate project for that area. Interim Waterloo City Engineer Jamie Knutson said the city is adding some enhancements under the current project between Jefferson and Franklin streets with more planned over the next three years. There are no current plans to replace the trees removed between the Cedar River and Franklin Street, but that area will have brick crosswalks at the intersections.

Q: The city of Waterloo installed red and yellow flashing lights at the intersection of Dubuque and Osage roads a year ago and the lights are still not working. Will they ever get these lights working like they’re supposed to?

A: Yes. The traffic signal controller needs to be connected to the railroad cabinet. The city is still waiting for permission from the railroad to make the connection.

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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