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Newscast 11.30.23: Book publisher and authors file suit over book ban law in Iowa schools; New task force targets crime on tribal lands

A second lawsuit has been filed against Iowa’s law banning books with sexual content from school libraries.

The state’s largest teachers union, the Iowa State Education Association, is joining with the book publisher Penguin Random House to ask a federal court to block enforcement of the law.

Four well-known authors are also part of the lawsuit, including Laurie Halse (HALTS) Anderson who’s novel Speak has been removed from more than a dozen school districts according to a Des Moines Register database.

Anderson says the law violates students’ free speech rights to choose the books they want to read.

"The families of Iowa have the right to supervise and choose what their own children are reading, of course. But no one group of parents or politicians has the right to limit the books available to other citizens."

The lawsuit is directed at leaders of the Iowa Department of Education as well as the superintendents of Urbandale and Norwalk schools. Earlier this week a separate legal challenge was launched by the ACLU of Iowa arguing the law also discriminates against LGBTQ students.

Gov. Kim Reynolds responded to that lawsuit saying “books with graphic depictions of sex acts have absolutely no place in our schools.”

A news conference at the FBI’s Sioux City office Thursday announced the formation of the Siouxland Safe Trails Task Force. The Sioux City Journal reports that the joint cooperative effort with other law enforcement agencies tackles violent crime and drug trafficking on tribal lands.
The task force identifies, investigates and prosecutes criminal enterprises and violent offenders.
The participants are: Knox County Sheriff's Office, Nebraska State Patrol, Nebraska National Guard Counterdrug Program, Walthill Police Department, Omaha Nation Law Enforcement Services, Thurston County Sheriff's Office, Dakota County Sheriff's Office.

The task force has been operating for several months. From January through November of this year, the task force has made more than 70 arrests in 48 different cases, recovered over 20 different weapons, located five children and conducted nine drug seizures.

Former Big Twelve Commissioner and Waterloo’s own Bob Bowlsby has been named the interim Athletic Director for the University of Northern Iowa. Former A-D David Harris recently accepted a job at Tulane University. https://unipanthers.com/news/2023/11/29/general-uni-names-former-big-12-commissioner-bob-bowlsby-as-interim-athletic-director

Bob Bowlsby
The University of Northern Iowa
Bob Bowlsby

This marks Bowlsby’s second stint as U-N-I’s Athletic Director. The Waterloo native previously held the job from 1983 to 1991. He is expected to hold the position for several months at most.
Bowlsby was also the director at both Stanford and the University of Iowa.

The University of Northern Iowa’s campanile renovation project is getting a boost with a 250-thousand-dollar donation from alumni Jan and Scott Bittner . The U-N-I Foundation President says phase one of the renovations improved the instrument’s sound.


UNI Campanile
UNI Campanile

The second phase focuses on renovating the plaza around the campanile and the addition of seating and landscaping to create a community gathering area.

The university hopes to complete the tower’s renovation by 2026, which will mark the school’s 150th anniversary.