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Saturday News, April 20

Students' Debt On the Rise

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A report shows increased debt for students graduating from the University of Iowa and Iowa State University but less debt among graduates of the University of
Northern Iowa.
The Iowa Board of Regents report indicates University of Iowa graduating students saw the largest debt increase for the 2011-2012 school year. Average debt rose more than 3 percent, with Iowa
residents at $25,415 in debt and non-residents at $28,218.
Iowa State graduating students had the highest average debt among the three universities, with $28,940 for residents and $29,573 for non-residents. Debt for in-state students dropped slightly but increased overall less than 1 percent.
At UNI, average debt among both resident and non-resident students dropped to about $23,500, for a decline of about 8 percent.


Iowa Unemployment Rate Declines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Workforce Development says the state's unemployment rate for March dropped slightly to 4.9 percent, but the number of people working in nonfarm jobs also
The state agency reported Friday that the seasonally adjusted rate was down from 5 percent in February and had declined from 5.4 percent a year ago.
Although the number of unemployed people dropped from 82,300 in February to 80,700, the nonfarm employment figure also dropped by 5,500 workers.
Iowa's numbers are substantially below the national rate, which stood at 7.6 percent in March.


Contractor Sent To Prison For Hiring Unauthorized Worker

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A man who worked as a roofing contractor in eastern Iowa last year has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for money laundering and harboring workers not legally authorized to be in the United States.
Federal prosecutors in Cedar Rapids say Luis Trejos, a Costa Rican citizen, pleaded guilty in December. In a statement released Friday U.S. Attorney Sean Berry says Trejos was sentenced in
federal court on Thursday.
Trejos worked as a roofing contractor for several years. In March 2012, he agreed to work for an eastern Iowa roofing company.  The prosecutors say Trejos hired workers not lawfully present and
not authorized to work in the United States. Trejos admitted in the plea that he took no action to verify the workers' legal status.


Branstad Releases Tax Statement

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad has released his income tax returns and they show he earned $226,728 and paid $32,734 in federal taxes last year. He's getting a refund of just
over $12,000.
Most of the income comes from his governor's paycheck totaling $121,188. He also earns money from the state's retirement pension fund from his earlier service as governor and in the Legislature.
Additional income is from capital gains earned on his share of ownership in an Iowa banking company, and business income from consulting work he did before being elected governor in 2010.
Branstad release Friday continued his annual practice of offering his returns.
While Branstad is in the 28 percent tax bracket, he paid an effective tax rate of 9 percent by reducing his tax burden through charitable donations.

Mock Video Released By Branstad's Administration Staff

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The chief of staff for Republican Gov. Terry Branstad says he proud of his staff for producing a video that Democrats say mocks them for their position on education
reforms and funding.
Chief of Staff Jeff Boeyink says  on Friday his staff succeeded in the 1-minute, 45-second video in restating the governor's education priorities.
Democrats say the video won't help negotiations that already were sure to be difficult.
Legislators from the two parties disagree about overall funding of education and whether local school districts should be required to implement reforms for paying teachers and other measures.
Boeyink says taxpayer money was used to produce the video, which was posted to the Internet site YouTube, and that is was a good use of public dollars.


Backpacks Not Allowed At Drake Relays

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Organizers of the Drake Relays say they will not allow spectators at next week's events to bring backpacks and large bags into Drake Stadium.
Earlier in the week, Drake Relays officials were asked whether security would be enhanced following the explosions at the Boston Marathon, and they expressed confidence in their preparations but
added they would tell the public of any security changes.
On Friday, Drake announced the ban on backpacks and large bags. Other banned items include coolers and thermoses, strollers, camera tripods, umbrellas and weapons.
Competing athletes and coaches can bring bags into the stadium but they may be searched.
The event will run from April 25-28.




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