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IOWA CAPITOL DIGEST: Lottery win is a 'blessing'

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Iowa Capitol Building

The Iowa Capitol in Des Moines is shown in a June 2018 file photo.

A roundup of legislative and Capitol news items of interest for Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021:

LOTTERY “BLESSING”: Officials with the Iowa Lottery said Tuesday’s $100,000 prize won by Kati Calkins couldn’t have come at a better time for the Cedar Rapids woman.

“We’re expecting a baby right now, so this is just a blessing,” said Calkins, 30, who won a top prize in the “25X” scratch game.

Calkin’s boyfriend, Chauncey Westerfield, bought the winning ticket at BP, 1581 First Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids. Calkin scratched the lottery ticket in the store, and she and Westerfield were shocked it revealed one of the game’s top prizes.

They checked the ticket on the store’s lottery terminal, then immediately made plans to claim the prize at the lottery’s Cedar Rapids regional office.

Calkins said she plans to put her winnings toward a home purchase.

“I want to cry happy tears,” she told lottery officials. “I definitely wasn’t anticipating this today at all.”

BROADBAND GRANTS APPLICATIONS: Officials in the state Office of the Chief Information Officer said Tuesday they have received 178 applications from broadband providers for the latest Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program.

The requests stem from the $100 million broadband investment that was approved during the 2021 legislative session and signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Applications were accepted last month and overall the 178 applications requested more than $292 million in grant funding, which state officials said was a nearly 3-to-1 ratio of funds requested to funds available.

In light of that, state officials are looking to leverage federal funds to apply toward the goal of achieving universal broadband access in Iowa.

“Build it and they will come,” the governor said in a statement. “The nearly 200 applications, as well as the size and scope of these projects, reflect the demand and need for quality accessible broadband throughout Iowa. This effort will open new doors for Iowa communities large and small, resulting in one of the most significant broadband build-outs in the entire country.”

State officials said they planned to announce the notice of intent to award for the grant funds in September.

SPECIAL ELECTION: A special election to fill a legislative vacancy in created by the death of Rep. John Landon, R-Ankeny, has been scheduled for Sept. 14, Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office announced Tuesday.

Iowa law requires a special election to be called within five days following a vacancy in the Iowa Legislature.

Landon died Thursday.

In 2020, Landon won reelection in House District 37 over Democrat Andrea Phillips, 14,309 to 12,578. Republicans hold a 58-41 majority in the House. Phillips has announced she will run in the special election.

Republicans plan to wait until after Landon’s funeral to announce plans for their nominating convention.

HALL OF FAME WOMEN: Officials with the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women on Tuesday announced the names of four women who will be inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame this year.

The 2021 honorees are the late Donna Reed, an Academy Award-winning actress who grew up in Denison; Roxann Ryan of Cresco, a former commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety; Cornelia Clark of Grinnell, a nature photographer and book illustrator; and Jan Mitchell of Des Moines, an educator who was Iowa’s 1997 teacher of the year and 2019 recipient of the Iowa Latino Hall of Fame Robert D. Ray Award for Equity and Justice.

The inductees will be honored in a virtual ceremony with details and dates to be announced later this month.

As of this year, 188 women will have been inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame, which was established in 1975 to highlight women's heritage and recognize their important contributions to society, according to the commission.

INMATE DIES: Officials with the state Department of Corrections said prison inmate Chico Mario Newman, 47, was pronounced dead due a medical emergency Tuesday at the Jones Regional Medical Center in Anamosa.

Officials said an autopsy would be completed by the State Medical Examiner’s Office.

Newman had been serving a life sentence for a first-degree murder conviction in Des Moines County. His sentence began in September 2013.


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