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Cedar Rapids Gazette Newspaper Archives Jun 8 2015, Page 1

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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - June 8, 2015, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Monday, June 8, 2015 Eastern Iowa’s independent, locally owned newspaper www. thegazette. com $ 1.00 Daily KCRG- TV9 FIRST ALERT WEATHER, 9B TODAY 82/ 60 Mostly sunny Tuesday Wednesday 84/ 67 88/ 66 Chasing a record How local man’s dream of speed took him to the Bonneville Salt Flats Sports , 1B Iowa City wants mural painted on steps of local park Iowa Today, 7A Seeking artists VOL. 133 NO. 150 © 2015 The Gazette • CLASSIFIEDS ................................ 6B • COMICS ...................................... 12A • COMMUNITY ................................. 6A • DEAR ABBY ................................ 10B • DEATHS ...................................... 10A • LOTTERY ....................................... 9A • PUZZLES .................................... 10B • RIVER LEVELS .............................. 9A • SPORTS ........................................ 1B • TV ................................................. 9B • WEATHER ..................................... 9B © 2015 The Gazette By Alison Gowans, The Gazette M embers of the CongoReform Association pulled up to an apartment on the southwest side of Cedar Rapids Thursday and unloaded a mattress, some blankets, three dining room chairs and a few bags of groceries. It wasn’t much, but it was a start. The donations were for a family of six — immigrants originally from Sudan who arrived in Cedar Rapids three weeks ago with no furniture and just enough money for a deposit on an apartment. Abdalgadir Haroun and his wife still are trying to scrape together enough money for their first month’s rent. But Haroun said they’re happy to be here. For two years, they lived in a refugee camp in Egypt after fleeing fighting in Libya, where they had been living. He is enrolled in English- language classes at nearby Kirkwood Community College and is trying to get his family on their feet. CongoReform Association members are doing what they can to help. After dropping off the furniture, they took the COMMUNITY KC McGinnis/ The Gazette Mariam Wendo, 4, helps her father, Byamungu Belton Wendo, unload a minivan with supplies for a newly arrived family from Sudan on Thursday at the family’s apartment in Cedar Rapids. Wendo is part of the CongoReform Association, an organization of immigrants helping more newly arrived immigrants. The group also is organizing a World Refugee Day celebration in Coralville for June 20. ‘ You are not alone’ Association wants immigrants, rest of community to connect Byamungu Belton Wendo helps unload furniture for the CongoReform Association, a group of mostly East African immigrants. Thousands of people from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Sudan and other countries have made Eastern Iowa their home over the past decade. œ What: World Refugee Day celebration œ Where: Coralville Public Library, 1401 Fifth St., Coralville œ When: 9: 30 a. m. to noon Saturday, June 20 œ More information: Call Boumedien Kasha at ( 319) 202- 0610 or Tom Sandersfeld at ( 319) 521- 4633 œ Donate: The CongoReform Association is a 501( c) 3 registered not- forprofit and is seeking donations to help new arrivals. Donations can be directed to the CongoReform Association account at U. S. Bank. IF YOU WISH TO HELP GOVERNMENT Trails- heavy funding to shift back to roads in 2021 By Rick Smith, The Gazette CEDAR RAPIDS — Cities in the metro area appear to have mended fences — at least in how they divvy up a regional pot of about $ 5 million in federal transportation funds each year. The congeniality on display this past week at the Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization showed itself in a lengthy, give- and- take discussion in which the MPO board voted 11- 1 to use 50 percent of its annual allotment of funds from 2021 through 2024 for road projects, 30 percent for trails and 20 percent for public transit. This is a major shift from the board’s use of funds in the period of 2016- 2020, which was pushed by the board’s Cedar Rapids contingent in a vote in 2012 in the face of some board opposition and directs 80 percent of funds to trails and 20 percent to roads. Along with this week’s vote, a consensus of the board said it wanted to focus roads spending on big projects and, in particular, on the completion of Tower Terrace Road from Highway 13 through Marion, Cedar Rapids, Robins and Hiawatha to Interstate 380 and beyond. The consensus of members also said they wanted to focus more dollars on public transit, and they wanted to see some of what will be $ 1 million a year in spending on public transit go to expand service in the metro area rather than just to purchase new buses. Cedar Rapids City Council member Monica Vernon, the MPO chairwoman, said the decision to focus on big road projects and the decision to focus on expanding public transit both ranked as “ bold moves.” So, too, she said, had been the decision by the MPO board in 2012 to shift 80 percent of its funding to trails for five years — even if some on the board opposed the idea. Brandon Whyte, a planner for the MPO board, said the total of $ 24 million in trails funding will allow Friction eases over transit spending In Sioux City meth cases, judge’s hands are tied by penalties required by law By Eli Saslow, Washington Post SIOUX CITY — They filtered into the courtroom and waited for the arrival of the judge, anxious to hear what he would decide. The defendant’s family knelt in the gallery to pray. The defendant reached into the pocket of his orange jumpsuit and pulled out a crumpled note he had written to the judge the night before: “ Please, you have all the power,” it read. “ Just try and be merciful.” U. S. District Judge Mark Bennett entered. “ Another hard one,” he said, and the room fell silent. He was one of 670 federal district judges in the United States, appointed for life by a president and confirmed by the Senate, and he took an oath to “ administer justice.” Now he read the sentencing documents at his bench and punched numbers into a calculator. When he looked up, he repeated the conclusion that had come to define so much of his career. “ My hands are tied on your sentence,” he said. “ I’m sorry.” For more than two decades as a federal judge, Bennett, 65, often had viewed his job as less about presiding than abiding by dozens of mandatory minimum sentences established by Congress in the late 1980s. Those mandatory penalties, many of which require at least a decade in prison for drug offenses, fueled an unprecedented Facing the reality of mandated sentencing Washington Post U. S. District Judge Mark Bennett, in the courtroom of the U. S. Courthouse in Sioux City, says ; METH, PAGE 11A mandatory sentencing guidelines affect how he disposes of a wide range of drug offenses. ; REFUGEES, PAGE 11A ; FUNDS, PAGE 11A COURTS

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