SEQUESTER FALLOUT: The Federal Aviation Administration says airport control towers including those in Dubuque, Sioux City and Waterloo could be closed from April 7 to Sept. 30 if a proposal to furlough FAA employees for up to 88 hours is implemented. It’s an FAA response to the federal budget sequester’s across-the-board budget cuts, and it targets airports with flights under a designated threshold. Like many of the sequester threats, the across-the-board approach is problematic.
APPLE GROWERS’ STRESS: Iowa apple growers fear they’re on the verge of the second blow of a 1-2 punch from by Mother Nature. Last year, a late-arriving hard freeze following an unusually early and extended warm-up socked the growers’ blossoming trees and led to a 94 percent decline in apple production. Now, with the entire state still in drought, many producers may be forced out of business this year unless timely rains arrive.
GRAD RATES: All three Iowa public universities graduate fewer than half of their students within four years. The schools’ rates are above the national average but there’s much room for improvement.
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