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NORML Women’s Alliance Family Picnic set for today. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. is greeted by local Republicans before speaking ... News-Talk 1110 WBT | News: Paul not first ensnared in Mideast policy in Iowa. HIAWATHA, Iowa (AP) — Campaigning this week in Iowa, Republican Sen. Rand Paul said he'd never proposed cutting off U.S. aid payments to Israel. It didn't take long for Paul to be confronted by his own statements from 2011, when he offered a budget plan that called for ending such aid to all nations, including Israel. It's a row that's cast a shadow of sorts over Paul's three-day swing through Iowa, where he's campaigning for Republican candidates while tending to his own 2016 ambitions.

That includes working to overcome what might be his greatest political challenge: convincing the GOP — and its most powerful donors — that he's not simply a younger version of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. Rand Paul isn't the first prospective White House candidate to find himself ensnared by questions of Middle East policy and politics in middle America. Among them, then-Sen. Such pitfalls are part of the delicate dance of prospective presidential candidates. Rand Paul Dons Cowboy Boots in Iowa on Path to 2016 Bid. Rand Paul has generated buzz for his possible 2016 Republican presidential campaign by doing unconventional things such as speaking to minority audiences his party often ignores. This week, he’s taking some very conventional steps. Wearing cowboy boots, jeans, a sport coat and tie, the U.S. senator from Kentucky is on a three-day, 714-mile (1,149 kilometer) trek across Iowa, the state that will host the first presidential nomination voting.

Paul told Republicans attending a party fundraiser yesterday that they need to expand their ranks or risk having their vision for governing wiped out. “There are not enough of us,” Paul, 51, told about 100 people gathered at the event in Iowa City. “We need a bigger party.” Paul’s trip is the most expansive visit yet to an early voting state for a potential 2016 candidate from either party, and he’s engaging in the sort of old-fashioned, foundation-laying exercises that prospective presidential candidates have made here for decades. Israel Aid Hard Work. Cedar Rapids man ordered to remove garden or matter will go to police. Neighbor Charlie Stoneking stands in the lettuce patch she tends in Ed Thornton’s garden in southwest Cedar Rapids. The city has ordered Thornton to remove the garden.

(photo/Cindy Hadish) CEDAR RAPIDS – In a city that touts itself as a healthy, “Blue Zones” community, Ed Thornton faces a trespassing violation. His crime? “If I’m doing something and it’s not hurting anyone, why am I being punished for it?” The city demolished two duplexes on the site after purchasing the two small lots with Community Development Block Grant funds after the 2008 flood. No plans have been made for the lots, which Thornton said were neglected and overgrown with weeds before he transformed the land into a bountiful garden. Beets and other vegetables flourish in the garden started by Ed Thornton. Now 44, Thornton, who works as a house cleaner, was displaced by the flood and stayed with friends in Marion before moving to his current apartment in 2009. At age 5, Charlie is learning to garden. Rebuilding in Flood Plains - It's Difficult to Resist.

The city's website documents the magnitude of the flooding of the Cedar Rapids River, which "crested to its highest level in Cedar Rapids history on June 13, 2008. The flood waters penetrated 10 square miles or 14 percent of the city. This monumental flood impacted 7,198 parcels, including 5,390 houses, dislocated more than 18,000 residents and damaged 310 City facilities. More flood facts. " Funds of up to $307 million for the rebuilding have flowed from federal, state, and local sources "to redevelop flood-affected public facilities". However, residents rejected - twice - "extending a one-cent sales tax to pay for flood protection". There are those who question the extent of the rebuilding considering it's vulnerable location.

In Cedar Rapids, the economic forces appear too strong to allow nature a stronger role in the flood's aftermath. After the flood, the city bought and demolished about 1,400 homes, but is building 1,311 new housing units within the flood-affected area. Highway 100 Extension Groundbreaking Today - KGAN-TV CBS 2 Iowa - Top Stories. Was there a post-flood exodus from Cedar Rapids? Rick Smith Published: December 26 2010 | 7:47 pm - Updated: 3 April 2014 | 6:48 pm in CEDAR RAPIDS — The Census Bureau’s once-a-decade count of America helps places get their stories straight, and the chapter on Cedar Rapids could be among Iowa’s most interesting. The Census Bureau is slated to release place-by-place population counts and other data for Iowa in February or March.

One of the questions officials hope that data will answer is whether the Flood of 2008 reversed population growth in Cedar Rapids, as some suspect. "When you see houses empty, it’s natural to assume that those people are gone,” said researcher Liesl Eathington with Iowa State University’s Regional Economics and Community Analysis Program, “but they might just have gone somewhere else in the (city). She points to reviews of the Cedar Rapids area immediately after the flood and about a year afterward.

“So I think most people relocated here,” Corbett said. "So yeah, we’re really pleased and proud of that,” he said. The Corporation raises profile on flood recovery; chairman John Smith backs local-option sales tax | Eye on the Island. There’s a new guy on the block when it comes to flood recovery. It’s called the Economic Planning & Redevelopment Corp. The Corporation, formed last fall with modest fanfare, is a place for private business leaders to flex some muscle. It is a place for them to bring their influence to bear in hopes of landing some public and private funds that the city might not get otherwise.

If successful, the public might come to calling the entity, The Corporation. Even with a bit of a corporate titan-feel, the group is structured as a public-private partnership. This is, in part, because much funding that might come into the community will need to come through City Hall or Linn County. Thus, the four-person board of directors of the Corporation consists of its chairman, John Smith, president of trucking firm CRST International Inc.; Monica Vernon, Cedar Rapids council woman; Linda Langston, Linn County supervisor; and Dan Baldwin, president/CEO of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. Why did mayoral prospect Monica Vernon change from Republican Party to Democratic Party? | Eye on the Island. First it was U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter. Now it’s Cedar Rapids council member Monica Vernon. In recent days, Specter changed his political party affiliation from Republican to Democrat as he readies to try to keep his seat in the U.S.

But why is Vernon — a long-time Republican with a husband, Bill, who as recently as 2008 was a member of the party’s state central committee — moving to the Democratic Party? Vernon, who is the second year of a four-year term as District 2 council member, has been among a group of people considering a run this year for Cedar Rapids mayor, which, like other City Council seats in Iowa, is a non-partisan post. This year’s mayoral race, though, surely will come with a partisan flavor. To date, only Ron Corbett, a former Republican speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives, has announced that he is running for mayor. On Monday, Linn County Supervisor Linda Langston, a prominent Democrat, said Democrats were urging her to take on Corbett.

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