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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa • Page 1

Des Moines, Iowa
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A leg Mo it mewsier i I DESMOINESREGISTER.COM THE NEWSPAPER IOWA DEPENDS UPON JANUARY 4, 2009 $2.00 STATE EDITION Register Exclusive Ailing areas miss out on flood-tied tax credits Israeli ground forces enter Gaza Officials say the objective is not to reoccupy Gaza but to stop Hamas attacks. I I Dt. Li WHERE ARE THEY NOW The Register revisited the subjects a few of 2008's most memorable images. These before-and-after frames do more than remind us of what we've seen. They show how far we've come and maybe give a glimpse of where we're headed.

-1 Of the proposals for low-income housing receiving a boost, only a few are in hard-hit Cedar Rapids. By LEE ROOD Many of the first housing projects set to receive special disaster-relief tax breaks do little to replace housing lost during last spring's massive flooding. Instead, the vast majority of the use-it-or-lose-it tax incentives approved by the end of 2008 will benefit projects in Des Moines, West Des Moines and other parts of Iowa where low-income housing is needed but not necessarily because of flood damage. Just 166 of the roughly 1,400 rental apartments, townhomes and houses approved so far for construction or rehabilitation were in hard-hit Cedar Rapids. "I think it makes sense that flooded communities should be a top priority," said Maryann Dennis, who runs an Iowa City low-income-housing nonprofit, the Housing Fellowship, that was approved in December to receive the credits.

"But the tax-credit program is quite complicated, and a developer has to be somewhat sophisticated to even qualify." Led by U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley CREDITS, PAGE 5A Jf By IBRAHIM BARZAK Associated Press Gaza City, Gaza Strip Israeli tanks and troops launched a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip on Saturday night with officials saying they expected a lengthy fight with Hamas militants in the densely populated territory after eight days of punishing airstrikes failed to halt rocket attacks on Israel. Hamas vowed Gaza would be a "graveyard" for Israeli forces. "This will not be easy and it will not be short," Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said soon after the ground invasion began.

The incursion was preceded by several hours of heavy artillery fire after dark, igniting flames in the night sky. Machine gun fire rattled as bright tracer rounds flashed through the darkness and the crash of hundreds of shells sent up streaks of fire. Artillery fired illuminating rounds, sending streaks of bright light drifting down over Gaza's densely packed neighborhoods. Gunbattles could be heard, as troops crossed the border into Gaza, marching single file. They were backed by helicopter gun-ships and tanks.

MIDEAST, PAGE 3A I. HARRY BAUMERTREGISTER HLE PHOTO Brandon Smith carries his fiancee's cats Fry, left, and Bender to safety June 1 2 in Cedar Rapids, as 2 feet of water covered their home's main floor. "Everything's a complete loss," he said. "At least we have a brand-new couch that wasn't delivered yet." 2009 Iowa Legislature Democrats' simple step of talking thaws relations 4 ii ii I 1 Growing family has new home in De Witt It's hard to say who Iowans identified with more in Harry Baumert's photo from the June floods: human or feline. Brandon Smith wading through water in Cedar Rapids with his cats clutched to his chest embodied the ultimate test of mettle that the historic disaster foisted upon Iowa.

Yet the cats with clinging paws reflected perhaps the entirety of 2008 a year in which we often felt as if we needed to hold on as tight as we could. The good news is, like Smith and his cats, we endured and in some cases thrived. Smith, fiancee Sarah Neumann and their beloved pets are dry and living in a farmhouse near De Witt. The couple, who already have a toddler, two dogs and a third cat, are adding to their brood, expecting their second child. Daniel P.

Finney By THOMAS BEAUMONT Gov. Chet Culver and the leadership in the Iowa Legislature cannot blame partisanship for problems they have worked to overcome in recent months. Culver and his fellow majority Democrats say they are approaching the 2009 legislative session with improved communication that is a far cry from the icy rapport that marked the previous session. Their deliberate steps to meet and talk frequently come as the new session opens Jan. 12, bringing a daunting pair of challenges: sharply declining revenue and reconstruction from last summer's natural disasters.

Tension within single-party government is not new to Des Moines, other state capitals or Washington, D.C. But it has been a wake-up call to Iowa Democrats, recently DEMOCRATS, PAGE 7A Bad economy helps four Iowa companies Hard times for some can create business opportunities for others. While much of Iowa is rocked by a sour economy, four companies manage to thrive. Business Ag, Page 1 Long road leads to prisoner's freedom Seven years ago, a Des Moines lawyer began a bid to free Reed Prior, a Des Moines native and one-time teacher sentenced to life in prison on drug charges. The lawyer persuaded a long roster of Iowa's political and business elite to support Prior's cause, and last month secured his client's freedom from the only person who could make it happen: President George W.

Bush. Read about the lawyer's quest. Opinion, Page 3 OP HARRY BAUMERTTHE REGISTER Brandon Smith, 23, and Sarah Neumann, 24, now live with their cats in a farmhouse near DeWitt. They're also expecting their second child. Today's hard times present the perfect opportunity for overhauling Iowa's Meet the other stars of 2008's most memorable images.

Page 2B 19th-century government mechanisms for the 21st century, writes David Yepsen. Page 1 OP High 20 Low 8 Becoming mostly sunny, breezy and colder. Page 8B Copyright 2009, Des Moines Register and Tribune Company A Gannett Newspaper Customer Service: (877) 424-0225 2008 2008 -o a fill v-k-jsmttp MINIVAN 11400 NW 54TH GRIMES, IA 50111 POWER WINDOWS LOCKS ir ir if 1 I ilsti Hi.i,., K89330 KIA MOTORS The Power to Surprise" 10 YEAR 100,000 LIMITED POWER TRAIN WARRANTY u3ZQ STARTING AT OPf MON THUR SAM 8PM FRI SAT SAM 6PM fncw ptm lax tftlf ktme frpight indttdes all nVrs nalf i 'o dftaiK CD.

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