REPUTATION OFF BASE: Too often, Wellington Heights gets a bad rap on its public safety reputation. Yes, the southeast side neighborhood still has crime, and last year had the most arrests among 13 Cedar Rapids neighborhoods that have formed associations. However, the trend there is noteworthy: Arrests have fallen from 637 in 2009 to 548 last year. And keep in mind that Wellington Heights has the largest population — 4.448 — among those neighborhoods. Wellington Heights also offers many community-connecting events and is benefiting from the intensive Four Oaks TotalChild project that is restoring many of the historic homes in need of repair and building some new. Justin Wasson, association president, cites increased communication between police and residents as a factor in the improving situation. More residents are stepping up, he said, and that needs to be more broadly recognized.
CONFIDENTIAL CONTROVERSY: Mike Carroll, director, Iowa Department of Administrative Services, testified Thursday that he “made a mistake” by allowing confidentiality clauses to be included in employment settlement agreements among various state employees that were revealed last month — 24 of them included payments totaling nearly $500,000, sparking a controversy that has yet to be cleared up. Carroll apologized, said they would never happen again, yet insisted that those confidentiality clauses were legal even though Iowa law doesn’t allow them. How does that figure?Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org or (319) 398-8262