Wednesday, May 8, 2013

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Entertainment,Food and Drink

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The owner of a restaurant in southern Iowa has pleaded guilty to employing cooks and dishwashers that he knew were in the country illegally.

Ali Sengul, owner of the Tulip Garden Restaurant in Pella, pleaded guilty to harboring immigrants for profit and filing false tax documents under a plea agreement reached Wednesday.

Under a stipulation of facts included in the agreement, Sengul said that, as of last month, he knowingly employed five individuals who were living in the United State illegally. He says that he paid them cash wages weekly and did not deduct taxes from their payments.

Sengul says that unlike his cooks and dishwashers, he hired U.S. citizens to work as waiters and waitresses and issued them legitimate paychecks.

Sengul has been released from custody pending sentencing.

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama presented 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service awards to 10 organizations across the country, including two in Iowa.

Obama joined Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Susan Hildreth at a White House ceremony on Wednesday in announcing the awards.

Among those honored are the Marshalltown Public Library and the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids.

Hildreth says in a news release that the institutions honored had "achieved extraordinary success at reaching out and connecting with the communities they serve."

The winners were selected from nominations that demonstrated innovative approaches that exceed expected levels of community outreach.

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A proposal to increase funding for tax credits that go to the restoration of historic buildings has won final approval in the state legislature.

The bill won final Senate backing Wednesday and will now move to Gov. Terry Branstad.

The program, started in 2000, offers property owners or developers tax credits for 25 percent of qualifying rehabilitation costs in eligible historic buildings.

Currently the state approves up to $45 million in credits in a fiscal year. Under this legislation, that number would increase to $60 million annually for the next three years, before dropping to $50 million annually.

A spokesman for Branstad said he would review the legislation before deciding whether to sign it into law.

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WINTERSET, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa economic development board has awarded a $400,000 grant to help build a museum that will honor the legendary actor John Wayne near his birthplace.

The Vision Iowa Board approved the grant Wednesday for the John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Winterset, a $1.4 million project that will feature an interactive museum and learning center honoring the life and work of Wayne.

The award is contingent on project supporters completing private fundraising.

Wayne was born as Marion Robert Morrison in 1907 in Winterset, where his father was a pharmacist. His family moved West when he was a boy.

The John Wayne Birthplace Society is raising money for the museum. It currently operates the modest home where Wayne was born. He died in 1979.

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Five cities in Iowa and one in Nebraska have received federal grants to help clean up contaminated former industrial sites.

The Environmental Protection Agency awards the money for environmental assessments, planning, and cleanup projects.

In Iowa the cities of Dubuque, Fort Dodge and Ottumwa each received $400,000 to assess sites in need of cleanup. Council Bluffs received $200,000 and Coralville $382,000.

Lincoln, Neb., is getting $400,000 to be split between two cleanup projects. One is a former scrap metal recycling facility and the other a former gas plant and lumber yard.

The EPA says grants target under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed.

The EPA awarded grants to 240 projects in 45 states this year.

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